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Search Engine Marketing Firm iProspect Study Reveals Search Engine Marketers Wear Too Many Hats


Absence of Dedicated SEM Staff within Organizations Signals Lack of Channel Maturity, Data Reveals

May 8, 2006; 03:58 AM
Watertown, MA - According to new research conducted by Jupiter Research and sponsored by iProspect, The iProspect Search Engine Marketer Job Function Study reveals that search engine marketers perform an average of five other job functions in addition to search engine marketing suggesting that companies are not yet serious about investing human resources in the management of search engine marketing.

Other high-level findings Include:
•Website design is the most frequently cited non-SEM function also performed by search marketers (58%), with email advertising being the second most reported additional function they perform (57%).

•The percentage of search engine marketers who are involved in traditional offline media that can drive traffic to websites, as well as can be effectively integrated with search, include: print advertising (28%), direct mail (22%), radio (9%), TV (7%), and outdoor advertising (4%).

•26% of search engine marketers perform IT functions.

Overall, the findings of this search engine marketing study speak to the relative lack of maturity of the search engine marketing channel as reflected by how organizations who are utilizing search engine marketing are dedicating human resources to its management.

Despite the current popularity and power of search engine marketing, it appears that many organizations are not yet dedicating specialized individuals to the full-time management of the channel, as the data from the study indicates search marketers are performing an average of five non-SEM job functions in addition to search engine marketing.

“While this finding was troubling – given the complexity of the medium and the quality of the results it delivers -- it may only be reflective of the limited pool of experienced search engine marketing talent available in the marketplace, and the need for some organizations to develop this skill set internally,” offered Robert Murray, President, iProspect, “I just don’t know how an organization can expect someone to become proficient at search marketing if they only practice it part time.”

Murray continued, “However, it also suggests that search marketing is still relatively new at some organizations, and the lack of dedicated resources to the channel could possibly be due to the absence of enough early results to warrant investment at this stage. Whatever the reason, organizations should be mindful that search marketing is complex, time intensive, and requires dedicated resources -- it is the rocket science of marketing. Whether an organization has engaged a search engine marketing firm or is handling the process internally, search marketing requires dedicated resources.”

Also key to the study was the finding that revealed website design (58%) and email advertising (57%) as the most frequently cited non-SEM job functions also performed by search marketers.

Given that search engine marketers are performing other non-SEM job functions, it is encouraging that search engine marketing and website design are often being managed by the same person. Because e-mail marketing is also often managed by the search marketer suggests that organizations are at least recognizing the need for these disciplines to be closely aligned. This finding could also be indicative of organizations‘ choice to grow their search marketing talent out of their existing job functions – with website design and email advertising being natural functions to groom into this role.

“This finding underscores the opportunity for integration,” noted Murray. “Given that the same person managing search marketing is also managing other marketing channels, there would seem to be ample opportunity for integration. Unfortunately, we see very little integration happening. From where I sit, this missed opportunity has more to do with other channels choosing not to integrate with the search channel, than the search channel’s unwillingness to integrate with others. Organizations need to acknowledge that the search engine marketing channel is most effective when it is integrated with as many other channels as possible in order to maximize the cross channel conversion opportunity.”

Beyond additional job functions performed, the study also revealed that 26% of search marketers also perform information technology functions. The implication of this finding is that a quarter of search engine marketers most likely work for the information technology department rather than the marketing department.

“I am surprised this figure is as high as 26% today,” remarked Murray. “Given the success of the medium as a marketing channel, I had thought that ownership of budget, management, and implementation of the search engine marketing process was very much in the hands of the marketing department, where marketing expertise resides. We had hoped that ownership of any serious marketing initiative by the IT department was something of the past.”

About iProspect
iProspect is the Original Search Engine Marketing Firm. The company helps many of the world's most successful brands maximize their online marketing ROI through natural search engine optimization, paid inclusion management as a Yahoo! Search Submit Certified Ambassador, pay per click advertising management via their own patent-pending bid management agent called iSEBA®, and Web analytics through their own SEM-configured version of WebTrends. Located in Watertown, Massachusetts, the company can be contacted at 1-800-522-1152, or by visiting www.iprospect.com.

Proper attribution requires that the study is clearly identified as the “The iProspect Search Engine Marketer Job Function Study. Copies of the study can be obtained at: http://www.iprospect.com/about/searchenginemarketingwhitepapers.htm

Questions regarding this release should be directed to iProspect Media Relations Manager, Colleen Reed, at 1-800-522-1152 x1203.


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