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Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) Launches Industry Advertising Campaign

Education Campaign Focused On Media Buyers And Features Tag Line "Top of Search = Top of Mind"

Palo Alto, CA, August 12, 2004 - The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) today announced the launch of a major advertising campaign to increase awareness and promote the value of search engine marketing. The campaign is beginning with banner and e-mail ads on Adweek online properties and will continue with other trade publications. The target market is media planners who may not have had significant exposure to search as a promotional tool. The tag line is "Top of Search = Top of Mind".

Dana Todd, chairperson of the SEMPO Education Committee and a member of SEMPO's Executive Committee, said, "We're using familiar advertising terms such as 'top of mind awareness' to try to cross the breach between the new media and the old media. We want to talk to media planners in their own language and invite them into the conversation."

According to Todd, the biggest demand for search engine marketing is coming from the advertisers themselves. Brand managers are asking their agencies to include search engine marketing in their media plans. While some large traditional and online agencies have significant expertise in search engine marketing, some may not be maximizing its potential for their clients, and may benefit from teaming up with search engine marketing professionals that have more experience in this field. That's what SEMPO hopes to influence.

Todd added, "Almost all of the big agencies have some sort of search engine marketing component in their mix, large or small. They've noticed search, but they're not necessarily allocating as much of their total ad budget as we think is optimal."

Many ad agencies may be holding back because the business model for search engine advertising is different. Since the major search engines, including Google and Yahoo, don't offer an agency commission, many ad agencies are reluctant to charge an extra markup to create and manage a pay-per-click campaign.

Noel McMichael, co-chairperson of the SEMPO Marketing Committee said, "The search engine marketing dollar is hard-earned. Most ad agencies understand that it performs for their clients, but many are concerned about the commission model. Our job is to show them how partnering with search engine marketing firms or hiring search engine marketing professionals can help them generate the kind of returns that will encourage their clients to invest more in search. The business model can work between specialty SEM firms and advertising agencies."

In addition to the advertising campaign, SEMPO has begun discussions with established marketing organizations to provide an educational presence at international industry events. SEMPO also plans an aggressive public relations campaign, promoting research on search engine marketing and critical trends in the sector.

McMichael added, "At its core, our message is 'Search is effective'. At a more complex level, what we want ad agencies to do is engage with search engine marketing firms and professionals to amplify the potential of search in their media mix. Properly applied, search can outperform nearly every other media in terms of efficiency. While some traditional media still provide greater reach, few if any offer better efficiency."

Kevin Lee, co-chairperson of the SEMPO Technical Committee and a member of SEMPO's Executive Committee, said, "Recent research has validated what search engine marketers have known for years - that search results go beyond immediate ROI to generate significant lift in top-of-mind awareness, un-aided recall and other branding metrics."

For example, a Nielsen ReelResearch study commissioned by Overture found search listings help build a brand. In addition, a study by Fittkau & MaaB commissioned by eprofessional GmbH has measured search engine marketing's impact on both direct sales and branding.

About the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO)
SEMPO is a global non-profit organization serving the search engine marketing industry and marketing professionals engaged in it. Its purpose is to provide a foundation for industry growth through building stronger relationships, fostering awareness, providing education, promoting the industry, generating research and creating a better understanding of search and its role in marketing.

Representing thousands in 40 countries, SEMPO has more than 800 members. It represents the common interests of companies and consultants worldwide and provides them with a voice in the marketplace. SEMPO's education and outreach initiatives are funded in part by Yahoo!, Google, SMX, Search Engine Strategies, DoubleClick, Baidu, and MediaPost.


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