SEMPO Picks New Officers

The Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO) has named Kevin Lee, Did-it.com executive chairman, as its new chairman, and Dana Todd, EVP of SiteLab, as president.

John Sanchez, chairman and CEO of Zunch Communications, was elected vice president; and Jeffrey Pruitt, president of icrossing, was named treasurer and secretary. Lee and Todd were board members last year, and Todd had served as vice president on an interim basis.

“Now that we have our officers in place, one of our first orders of business is to define a specific set of goals around which we can formulate plans and budgets,” said Todd. “We’ve gotten some great member input, and are working on a short-list of items that we feel the board can address this year.”

The board plans to continue to support SEMPO’s primary mission — to build search marketing awareness via events and marketing campaigns — as well as fund a continuation of the primary research it began last year.

“We’re hoping to expand our reach considerably this year, and to quantify the trends in our industry as they evolve,” Todd said. “We’ll also look at expanding our partnership program with other industry groups, to provide educational materials to their members who want to learn more about how to use search in their marketing mix.”

The 13-member board of directors was elected last month by SEMPO members. The board members in turn were scheduled to vote on officers as soon as possible once they began their one-year terms last week.

Outgoing officers include Webmama’s Barbara Coll, who served as chairperson and president; Digital Impact’s Noel McMichael, who was VP and treasurer; and Alchemist Media’s Jessie Stricchiola, who served as secretary. Coll and Stricchiola won seats on the new board of directors, but McMichael did not run for re-election.

Other board members include Mauro Lupi, of Ad Maiora SpA; Ron Belanger, of Carat Interactive; Chris Churchill, of Fathom Online; Koichiro Fukasawa, of Wasabi Communications; Gordon Hotchkiss, of Enquiro; Julienne Thompson, of Advertising.com; and David Williams, of 360i.

The officers come to their positions with specific goals to educate and promote the SEM industry. Lee ran on a platform that emphasized public relations and marketing efforts, including plans to “create a unified message about the importance and effectiveness of SEM and get that message to the C-level executive suites.”

Todd’s platform goals include solidifying SEMPO’s infrastructure, expanding the group’s membership base globally, and empowering local members. “I will give specific emphasis to learning what we can provide for in-house search professionals, to give them guidance and support in their careers,” she wrote in her campaign platform.

Sanchez ran on a promise to heal the wounds of some members of the organization, in order to present a unified front for all search marketers. Much of that he hopes will be accomplished by increasing the value of the organization to members.

Sanchez also hopes to bridge the gap with traditional ad agencies. “SEMPO should be a leading advocate for reaching out to the ad agency community, making sure they know how to serve their clients’ search engine marketing needs,” he said.

In his platform, Pruitt put his focus on research, calling himself “an outspoken advocate for standards and discipline.” He also emphasized his experience as a CPA at a Big 6 consulting firm, vowing to bring to SEMPO the lessons learned there about transparency, education and forging relationships.

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