iProspect: Most SEMs Hold Multiple Roles

An iProspect study conducted by Jupiter Research found that search marketers are responsible for an average of five other job functions within their organization. Most often, those roles include Web design (58% of respondents) and e-mail marketing (57%), as well as other marketing, PR (26%), and IT functions (26%).

Robert Murray, iProspect’s president, pins the practice of SEMs holding multiple roles on lack of good search talent available, as well as the tendency for in-house SEMs to be picked from within the marketing department, many of whom keep their old roles as well.

“Search marketing is still relatively new at some organizations, and the lack of dedicated resources to the channel are likely due to the absence of enough early results to warrant investment at this stage,” he said.

While Murray’s understandably biased conclusion is that search should be handled by full-time, dedicated experts (such as those at iProspect, he notes), he admits that it is encouraging that most of the marketing job functions are closely related to search, and present opportunities for cross-channel integration.

The fact that a quarter of search marketing efforts are led by IT is concerning to Murray, who said, “Given the success of the medium as a marketing channel, I had thought that ownership of budget, management, and implementation of the search engine marketing process was very much in the hands of the marketing department, where marketing expertise resides. We had hoped that ownership of any serious marketing initiative by the IT department was something of the past.”

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