The metrics, online and off-, you must consider for your SEM campaign.
For true performance, racecar drivers, fighter pilots, sailors, and search engine marketing (SEM) managers must navigate by their instruments. Like flying or sailing decisions, SEM decisions are balanced with experience and intuition. Even with autopilot and GPS, a human element results in smoother, more efficient execution.
The human factor allows strategy to be adjusted in subtle, yet critical, ways. Watching the dials and gauges takes into account subjective, external campaign factors. The best SEM managers know which dials and gauges to watch and how to adjust campaign objectives to meet overall marketing goals.
I discussed matching online-only data to an SEM campaign last week. My fellow columnist Frederick Marckini covered connecting offline sales to SEM using a case study. Let's continue looking at how both visible and less-measurable variables can be used to tune an SEM campaign for maximum profit.
No two marketers have the same business or objectives. Yet we can all learn from peers who are molding campaigns to their specific objectives. Let's delve into the on- and offline metrics you might want to take into account when piloting your SEM campaign.
Some marketers looking for excuses to use subjective campaign management settings or budgets use terms such as "branding" and "awareness" to justify their decisions. Yet branding variables can be measured. SEM brand-lift studies may not be in every marketer's budget. If you can't afford a branding study, consider the keywords in your campaign, and if those keywords reach likely new customers or those already familiar with your brand.
SEM is a profession. Develop the experience to know when to change campaign settings based on data analysis. Combine this with adjustment factors that reflect your business reality. Sometimes you must make assumptions and back them up with less-than-perfect data. The bottom line will validate or disprove your hypothesis. That's why SEM campaigns are ever-changing.
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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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