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SEM Rock Stars: Transforming the Industry

  |  February 19, 2010   |  Comments

A look at the veterans of search engine marketing who served on the SEMPO board of directors and the current slate of nominees.

Before we get to the main topic in this week's column, I'd like to alert you to a great opportunity to gain insights on your competition and the industry as a whole by taking the annual Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) State-of-the-Market Survey. Survey respondents get a free copy of the report, which is otherwise only available to SEMPO members and on a paid basis via Econsultancy, the SEMPO research partner for the 2010 survey. Take the survey today, because the State-of-the-Market Survey is only open for participation through Monday, February 22, 2010. Preliminary results will be available in early March with a full report expected in late March.

Now back to our regular column, which also has to do with SEMPO and your ability to influence the future of the search marketing industry.

I've had the honor of serving on SEMPO's board since its founding in 2002. I even had the additional honor of being SEMPO's first elected chairperson. Each time my term has come to an end I've looked back proudly at SEMPO's accomplishments and looked forward to the challenges SEMPO and the search marketing industry continue to face. The industry (and therefore SEMPO) face some unique challenges over the next two years, and so I've decided to run again for the SEMPO board of directors. But that's not really any big news, since I've run every term since the organization was founded and have been lucky enough to receive votes of confidence from the membership to continue to serve SEMPO and the industry through this year.

The big news is that the slate of those board nominees also seeking an opportunity to help mold the future of SEMPO (and potentially the future of the search marketing industry) reads like a list of SEM (define) rock stars.

However, before touching on the SEMPO board slate, I'm compelled to publicly thank all those who have served on the SEMPO board with me over the years, from early-founding board members such as Barbara Coll to more recent board members. Several long-serving board members have decided not to run in order to increase the chances that new blood will enter the leadership of SEMPO. The current members of the SEMPO board who have chosen not to run have all contributed immensely to the industry and - for those current members who have read the minutes of the board meetings - you are well aware of the efforts and sacrifices these individuals made by serving on the board, often in executive positions. Since the minutes are not riveting reading and you may not have had a chance to read them, let me assure you that those who take on board service, and, in particular, those who take on the executive roles, are making personal and business sacrifices in order to serve the industry.

The workload that SEMPO board members take on in addition to their regular jobs may of course be a contributing factor in the decision of some current board members to choose not to run again. Of the current 13-member SEMPO board, seven are running again and six are not. So, SEMPO is guaranteed a significant infusion of new leadership at the board level. The current members of the SEMPO board who all deserve recognition and thanks from the industry as a whole (and certainly get my thanks, as I learned a lot from each of them) but are not running are (in order of seniority):

  • Dana Todd: A fellow founding board member and fixture at nearly every search conference who, during her multi-year BOD activities, served as president of SEMPO while simultaneously remaining active in several committees.

  • Gord Hotchkiss: Gord wrote a SEMPO BOD farewell post, served as chair during his years on the BOD, and also was highly active in the research and other committees.

  • Sara Holoubek: Sara joined the SEMPO BOD in 2006. Sara took on the role of president of SEMPO during her most recent term and went above and beyond the call of duty.

  • Bill Hunt: Bill also joined the BOD in 2006 and his international perspectives, initiatives, and contacts have helped SEMPO become a more international organization.

  • Duane Forrester: During his BOD tenure Duane launched compensation surveys that became a critical high value deliverable to SEMPO members.

  • Jessica Bowman: Jessica provided the "in-house" SEO perspective.

Luckily, all of these former BOD members will continue to play a big role in SEMPO even as they leave the BOD. Who knows? Even some of the current BOD including myself may not get reelected to the board and will of course provide our value to SEMPO in a different way.

Now, on to the current slate running for the board of directors, who are all veterans of search engine marketing.

  • A.J. Lawrence, the JAR Group
  • Andrew Hazen, Prime Visibility
  • Benjamin Rudolph, Relevance Advisors
  • Bob Russotti, ANSI
  • Brett Lindenberg, Digi-Key Corp.
  • Bruce Clay, Bruce Clay, Inc. (current)
  • Chris Boggs, Rosetta (current)
  • Chris Paradysz, PM Digital
  • Dave Fall, Clickable (current)
  • David Knott, LexisNexis
  • Dmitriy Minenko, Tourism British Columbia
  • GJ Bramer, WSI
  • Jeff Ferguson, Local.com
  • Jeffrey Pruitt, Acendant (current)
  • Jinwei Dong, IBM China
  • Josh Palau, Razorfish
  • Karen Leavitt, Landslide Technologies
  • Kathleen Fealy, KF Multimedia & Web
  • Kevin Lee (myself), Didit (current)
  • Kristjan Mar Hauksson, Nordic eMarketing
  • Laszlo Horvath, Active Media
  • Laura Walker, Consonus Technologies
  • Marc Engelsman, Digital Brand Expressions
  • Margaret Willette, Intuit
  • Massimo Burgio, Global Search Interactive (current)
  • Michael Y. Xu, Beijing Gridsum Technology Co.
  • Mike Grehan, Incisive Media
  • Motoko Hunt, AJPR
  • Richard Gregory, Latitude
  • Rob Garner, iCrossing
  • Robert Adler, WordStream
  • Ron Jones, Symetri Internet Marketing (current)
  • Seth Dotterer, Conductor
  • Thomas C. Kwon, Altruik, Inc.
  • Vinny LaBarbera, imFORZA

Vote if you are a SEMPO member and, if you aren't, now might be the perfect time for you to join SEMPO. Doing so will enable you to vote for the candidates you think are best suited to lead the organization and the industry forward.


Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee, Didit cofounder and executive chairman, has been an acknowledged search engine marketing expert since 1995. His years of SEM expertise provide the foundation for Didit's proprietary Maestro search campaign technology. The company's unparalleled results, custom strategies, and client growth have earned it recognition not only among marketers but also as part of the 2007 Inc 500 (No. 137) as well as three-time Deloitte's Fast 500 placement. Kevin's latest book, "Search Engine Advertising" has been widely praised.

Industry leadership includes being a founding board member of SEMPO and its first elected chairman. "The Wall St. Journal," "BusinessWeek," "The New York Times," Bloomberg, CNET, "USA Today," "San Jose Mercury News," and other press quote Kevin regularly. Kevin lectures at leading industry conferences, plus New York, Columbia, Fordham, and Pace universities. Kevin earned his MBA from the Yale School of Management in 1992 and lives in Manhattan with his wife, a New York psychologist and children.

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