Optimizing Corporate Culture for SEM

  |  January 19, 2005   |  Comments

An in-house SEM manager's goals include getting all kinds of corporate divisions on board with the program; IT, PR, even legal.

Turning the page to the New Year brings about a sense of renewal, personal and professional. Everyone focuses on forward thinking. In business, people put objectives in writing, obtain management approval, and seal the fate of their fiscal 2005 bonus.

For an in-house search engine marketing (SEM) wonk like me, it's a wonderful time. New projects are initiated, timelines set, and resources allocated. SEO (define) projects and SEM campaigns touch nearly every facet of a dot-com corporation's business objectives.

Education and Advocacy

My primary assignment is an integral part of my corporation's overall business objective this year. Consequently, I must continue to educate our IT staff, programmers, and Web developers on the fundamental principles of search-engine-friendly site architecture and design. I don't do it alone. I bring in a variety of external resources to help pilot specific projects.

Together with SEO experts, we'll continue to explain the ins and outs of various organic SEO tactics and why we recommend they be implemented on various projects. The tech team demands proof that such undertakings are worth their time and energy. Fortunately, I thoroughly enjoy developing the metrics that underscore the key performance indicators of each SEO project. Working with an IT team can be a very demanding part of this job. I also find it the most rewarding.

I'll spend some quality time advocating the many benefits of optimizing corporate communications. Empowering the communications team with the knowledge of how to pick the right words to land our messages in news engines, measure the effects of their efforts, and monetize results are dot-com business imperatives.

Luckily, I've got two great partners working with me on this particular business initiative: my boss and a top SEO PR firm. Together with the corporate communications team, we're making great strides toward improving our online corporate communications visibility.

Culture-Building and Holding Court

I'll continue to advocate SEM strategies with brand managers. I hope to pull them, kicking and screaming if necessary, out of a conventional marketing mindset by extolling the many benefits of interactive and paid-performance marketing. This part of the job can be pretty challenging, as I'm working to adjust a very entrenched mindset.

I've only been with my current company four months, so I'm still working to break down the department barriers that inhibit the progress of building effective SEM strategies. Success is a powerful aphrodisiac when it comes to changing attitudes. By working to meld the unique selling points of our products and services with the services of an SEM vendor who can provide the right mix of organic and paid-performance tactics for specific initiatives, future brand-based business objectives will be a little less painful to achieve.

I'll also get to spend some quality time with our legal counsel on matters concerning paid-performance, trademarks, and protecting intellectual capital online. The legal ramifications of SEM are highly dynamic at present. This adds another interesting layer of responsibilities to my core objectives in 2005.

That's not to say explaining how SEM works to the legal types can't be amusing. The most fun I ever had with a lawyer was a hands-on lesson in building a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. For some reason, I particularly enjoyed showing how Google AdWords automatically objects to using "spank" in a headline.

Personal Renewal

All told, it looks like 2005 will be a very interesting year. I'll advocate the benefits of building a succinct corporate SEM strategy with top brass. I'll work with some of the top SEM industry experts to transform legacy barriers into perpetual opportunities. I must stay on top of the legal ramifications of our SEM activities at all times. And, I get to bang the drum about what SEM can do in terms of online brand building.

Ultimately, my goal as a corporate SEM specialist is to get everyone optimizing all the time. I love this time of year, because I get to see which design projects, paid-performance campaigns, and online media promotions will be next year's success stories. It's not just a time of business renewal, it's also a time of personal renewal.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

P.J. Fusco

P.J. Fusco has been working in the Internet industry since 1996 when she developed her first SEM service while acting as general manager for a regional ISP. She was the SEO manager for Jupitermedia and has performed as the SEM manager for an international health and beauty dot-com corporation generating more than $1 billion a year in e-commerce sales. Today, she is director for natural search for Netconcepts, a cutting-edge SEO firm with offices in Madison, WI, and Auckland, New Zealand.

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