Dan Boberg from Overture, Jamie Crouthamel from Performics, James Hering from T:M Advertising, and Allan Dick from Vintage Tub & Bath were those on the panel, moderated by Niki Scevak. They all discussed their view points from their perspective objectives.
Dan Boberg discusses how important it is to share and build trust between the publishers and the advertisers. The more that Overture can optimize over time, the better off everyone is - so its not just the upfront work. A deep dive into the keywords on a quarterly basis. They always try to make it easier for the advertiser.
Niki then asked James to talk about the typical relationships formed over time with clients. James sees that its about building a relationship, one way is to bring them to a conference like this. It is important not to set absolute goals, but rather set ranges to help alleviate false expectations. Jaimie added, the way they look at it as an SEM is that for a typical "buy" there is a lot of upfront planning work. He said, they are just building out keywords, and then you focus on the execution phase. He said your almost doing your analysis on the fly.
How do you define expectations? Jaime said it has a lot to do after you start getting into it. You try things, until you get in and try it, you do not know for sure. James said he has seen a very different strategy when it comes to offline and online marketing. With search you can do it in almost real time. You can manage expectations as you go. Allan agreed. When Allan started he could not afford an agency, so they decided to do it in house. Once they started growing they hired an agency, they were good, but they did not fit his particular company. They then brought it back in house and it has been much better. He said he was disappointed with the follow through. (1) He likes to be educated, (2) he wants you to understand his product, how else can you spend his money on keywords? (3) and then set expectations. Managing expectations was the biggest issue he has with agencies.
Niki then asks the agencies how they set expectations. Jaime says that his first set of clients were direct marketers and did affiliate marketing. He took the direct marketing metrics and applied it to affiliate marketing. The cost per click, ROI dropped but it was still effective compared to other methods. Then more traditional advertisers came in and they explained branded concepts with search marketing. Education was key for them to manage expectations. James added that it boggles his mind how agencies mix the two (TV ad and search), when you do TV ads, you need to make sure that search is integrated with that.
Niki asks if you ever reject a client. James says they typically take 1 out of 3 clients. James said they turned down many clients because they were not willing to make changes to their sites. He says there is no sense is spending money when it will have a negative ROI, it will just make the client think search is bad and waste money. Before Allan modifies his site, he needs to know why it must be done. It is about education he says. He said he is willing to make changes, but you need to convince him. Dan explains that one side of the overture triangle is (1) driving leads (2) fine tuning to qualified leads and (3) sending traffic to pages that convert.
Niki asks how do you see pricing models change over time? James said its a bit like the wild west out there. He said he is shocked to see that there are those charging 20 - 30%, he doesn't know how there is a positive ROI on that. James approaches it as a retainer or consultancy fee. Jaime says he does use a percentage of media and they sometimes charge a consultation fee, but this works for them at this point. Allan explains that its all about value to him; its not only about what it costs. He said he doesn't like when you charge both a percentage of the spend AND a labor fee; don't do both. The more Allan thinks you know (the agency) what you are doing, the more value, the less price matters to him. Dan explains that if it was his choice he would have a small percentage of spend and then price tied in with objectives.
Q & A:
Q: Nacho asks where do you draw the line as to which services you should or should not provide? How far should overture go to help the advertiser? A: Dan explains that search has grown tremendously, and increased complexity. The tool side, he explained, is great, both on the 3rd party side and Overture's own tools. They will continue to make it easier. The other speakers say that as long as they don't have a core competency in an area, they will not offer it directly.
Q: Does Overture have plans to offer SEO services, like Ask and Lycos both recently released? A: Overture does not have plans to do so. Niki says that Ask Jeeves acquired a company, so they do not necessarily offer SEO Services directly.
Q: BakedJake I believe asked the next question, about using the engine's tools to track ROI. A: James said they do not use those tools to track ROI. They had to build tools to summarize all the ad spends in a dashboard affect. Niki adds that this will come as analytics tools get more sophisticated. Allan explains that it is so easy to bid up a term, but he is not worried about it because the other company will go out of business and then he will be back in the number one slot.