Search engine marketing (SEM) firm icrossing is expanding its offerings to include a broader array of marketing services based on its core SEM practice.
A new Search Intelligence service is an analytics-driven offering that uses the data gleaned from keyword traffic and conversions to drive online and offline sales. A newly-formed Applied Search group will combine creative services with search to more fully promote and protect brands. Examples include crisis communications, search optimization for affiliate marketing partners, and audience targeting.
"Our bread and butter has always been natural and paid search, but we're always working on ways to develop what else you can get out of search," said David Berkowitz, icrossing's director of marketing. "These services are examples of how we can do something that is not being done in search, but really shows its value in creative ways."
While most clients call icrossing looking for help optimizing their Web site or running a paid search campaign, the company's work with some clients has evolved beyond that, which led to the formal creation of these service offerings.
"Our clients are taking a look at search as it fits into the broader picture, and how it fits with broader business goals," Berkowitz said.
Search Intelligence services include competitive search strategies, behavioral and linguistic analyses, offline-to-online mapping, site functionality assessment, and redesign analyses. Maura Lewis, icrossing's director of analytics, has been tapped to head the Search Intelligence practice. Before coming to icrossing, Lewis led the analytics initiatives at AdKnowledge, iTraffic, and America Online.
"There is a wealth of information available to us as search engine marketers. Our expertise in this area allows us to collect, aggregate, and analyze it in such a way as to provide our clients with knowledge, not just information," Lewis said.
The Applied Search services aim to extend the value of search into other marketing disciplines. Erik Mednis, creative director, leads the Applied Search group. Mednis has a background in magazine publishing, corporate advertising, and interactive, most recently with Agency.com.
"Building and owning new markets, battling a sudden public relations nightmare, and using the Internet to form more profitable partnerships are all critical challenges that businesses regularly face," Mednis said. "We've developed the medium of search to a point where it can be integral to the success of these missions."
The first Applied Search service, Audience Match, uses Search Intelligence to identify relevant search markets or high-traffic consumer interest areas; then icrossing designs and deploys targeted content to those areas. Another, Crisis Control, uses natural search engine optimization and paid search management to manage public relations emergencies. For that service, icrossing will create and position "point-of-view" content to influence public opinion by keeping clients' messages on top of search results. The last service, Search Affiliate Marketing, cross-promotes clients' brands in natural search results. To do that, icrossing matches mutually interested and relevant partners, then creates new content and build relevant links to boost the ranking of all partners.
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Kevin Newcomb joined ClickZ in August 2004, covering search marketing and other online marketing topics. He has been reporting on web-based businesses since 2000.
Before the bubble burst, Kevin was a marketing manager for an online computer reseller, handling copywriting, e-mail marketing, search marketing and running the affiliate program.
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