San Jose SES SEMPO Meeting

 

First, they checked everyone who walked in to make sure they are a SEMPO member - this was not done at the Chicago meeting. They locked and closed the doors right when they started. The room is packed, a lot more members since the last meeting I attended in Chicago in December 2003.

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Dana Todd said we are going to be very formal but hold all questions until the end. Lots of tension in the air. She introduced Barbara Coll as our fearless leader. Coll started off stating that she has looked back and SEMPO accomplishments and she is proud of what is done.

- Formed a 501c(6) - 249 members - 9 press releases (half a million impressions from this) - numerous mentions online and offline - sempo site referenced often as a resource.

She says UK is the second largest member base. She talks about how to improve international awareness. Raise awareness of SEM is a goal of year two. They launched an advertising campaign today which they will go into later. Lobbying for SEM panels at advertising and marketing conferences to get SEMPO mentioned (example AdTech had one SEM panel and next time they will have 5 panels). Press campaigns. The new SEMPO tag line is "Top of Search = Top of Mind." SEMPO has 50+ volunteers, 9 subcommittees (they want someone in the UK, they need someone to stand up and do it), interim executive director role established, new committees and new chairs and they still need more resources. They promised to clean up their act in member communications. They said it was an oversight and they apologize. In March they looked at the budget and saw they can afford an executive director. She said that in March they decided to hire an interim executive director. The board offered to pay Barbara for 2 hours per day ($300/hour) because she was really spending 5 hours per day. They are going to bring someone new in but she is just temporary. They are going to ask us who we want to have as our board. She said, "there was no reason for not telling you (sempo members), they were sloppy." Barbara doesn't want to be in this role, they want someone with experience with non-profits to run it. But they can not afford a $350,000 salary but they will do their best.

They raised $266,830 to date. Members bring in 77% of the income and sponsors only bring in 23%. They admit they are not good at creating value for their members.

Year One Accomplishments: - They established themselves - Research started - Marketing plan and campaign outlines - Formal budget for 04-05 - Press and visibility worldwide - SEMPO public site - Member site with job listings, RFP postings and restricted content - Discounts on tools, research and conferences.

Year Two Goals: - Better membership communications - Executive Director hire no later then December 04 - Public elections - Staggered replacement/election for BOD in 2005 - Offline ads - Heavy press activities - Defining Best Business Practices - Increase membership by 100% - Increase sponsorship by 200%

That covers Barbara's speech, she introduces Dan Boberg from Overture.

Dan Boberg from Overture: He discussed overture's network and product suite. They support SEM (were the first to support SEMs) and they support SEMPO. Overture has an "Ambassador Program", and about ten of the reps stood up to show they are here. He introduced them all and told us how to work with them for more info.

Darrin Rayner from Verizon SuperPages was next up, they are a new SEMPO sponsor. I personally don't have a good history with Verizon SuperPages or AOL Yellow Pages, they just did not perform for me. But that doesn't mean it won't perform for you. They joined SEMPO to get feedback from us and they know they are far from where they need to be to make it worthwhile for SEMs. They want to develop a communication with us to build a better product. Verizon says they power local search (i.e. MSN local). In March 2004 they launched a new site with natural search, category taxonomy and more. They clapped him off the stage because we all want to hear from SEMPO more, not Verizon.

Dana Todd now is discussing the marketing committee. They created a creative platform and marketing strategy. They defined their target audience as marketing decision makers and budget controllers. They built a new tag line. The 2004 budget for marketing is $110,000. They advertising flight schedule is Aug. 1 - Sept. 30 for first wave tests and Sept. 1 - Nove. 15 for second wave ads. the venues are AdWeek/Brandweek/MediaWeek, ClickZ Network, CoolNews, Other considerations such as fortune and others. They showed us their banner ads for AdWeek and other areas. They developed quite a few creatives, all from volunteers. They need (1) more money, (2) print ads, direct mail, (3) need more volunteers, (4) need new content for site, (5) make banners for members to put on their site, (6) members to do "booth duty", and (7) an international campaign "desired" in 2005.

Research Committee discussion from Rick Bruner (Executive Summary Consulting). We pay this guy to do our research, he does research for Amex, Gillette, MSN, etc. Key research objectives include size the search marketing section, distribution of industry spending, key industry trends, and key industry issues SEMPO should address.

SEMPO Japan, they call him 'K' (Koichiro Fukasawa) from Wasabi communications. He is launching the SEMPO Japan committee. She discussed the size of the Japan market (in 2004 $300 million so far and growing). Internet popularity is growing as well. Japan needs SEMPO because they are lacking information. http://www.sempo.jp/ to be launched the 19th of this month.

Barbara is going to complete the session with a finance discussion. Financials will posted through March 30, 04 on the Web site. Budget Q3 and Q4 will be broken out mostly to infrastructure and marketing. Three board members will be elected by members and we will be emailed next week. They want people to step up and elect themselves.

Q & A Now managed by Noel:

Q: What are members getting in return from the membership fees? A: Noel responded saying that if your asking what is in it for me, then your missing the point of SEMPO. What you put into SEMPO is what you get. Dana Todd said that you are posting in forums but tell us what you want. Coll asked how many of you feel we did something, she asked for applause and she got them.

Q: Is SEMPO thinking about "collaborative marketing"? A: It seemed to me that the panel were surprised, they said "they loved it". They now welcome it.

Some more statements were made to support sempo but nothing too interesting to note on.

Q: Barry Lloyd was given the mic. Does SEMPO have a constitution or by-laws? Do the members have a say in that? A: SEMPO does have by-laws that were signed off in March. They couldn't afford an attorney so they are not so professional. They want to improve them.

Barbara is going to close the meeting. She said she admits she was nervous. Give us feedback she says, it will make for a better organization.

Forum news on this topic: I have closed the old thread (the most replied to thread at SEW so far) and started a new thread named SEMPO Meeting at SES San Jose 2004 where this discussion will be continued.

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