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How to Choose an SEM Partner


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How to Choose the Right SEM Agency or Technology Partner
Date: Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Time: 1:00pm EDT / 10:00am PDT

How does one avoid the pitfall of selecting the wrong SEM agency or PPC solution for their business? In this session we'll take a deep dive into the questions, strategies and processes that search marketers today must execute in order to stay competitive and avoid the dreaded mismatch. Just a few of these best practices include:
• Knowing exactly what you need and getting proper buy-in internally
• Allowing plenty of lead time and asking the right questions up front
• Understanding that the basics are what matter most
• Looking beyond cost alone
• Meeting the right people and checking the right references

Presenters: Aaron Goldman, Managing Partner, Connectual

Sponsored by Marin Software

Published in: Business, Technology
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How to Choose an SEM Partner

  1. 1. How to Choose the Right SEM Agency or Technology Partner
  2. 2. Agenda • Do’s
  3. 3. Agenda • Do’s • Don’ts
  4. 4. Agenda • Do’s • Don’ts • Q&A
  5. 5. Don’t: Delegate Responsibility to a Junior Team Member
  6. 6. Do: Honestly Assess Your Needs
  7. 7. Don’t: Think a Technology can Do it All
  8. 8. Do: Get Proper Buy-in Prior to Issuing RFP
  9. 9. Do: Determine Selection Criteria and Evaluation Committee
  10. 10. Do: Outline a Budget Before Proceeding
  11. 11. Don’t: Send RFP to More than 5 Companies
  12. 12. Don’t: Include More than 20 Questions
  13. 13. Do: Give 3-4 Weeks Lead-time for Responses
  14. 14. Don’t: Cut and Paste From Another RFP
  15. 15. Do: Include a Thorough Brief
  16. 16. Do: Ask What is Required to Implement
  17. 17. Do: Find Out if the Agency Has a Proprietary Technology
  18. 18. Do: Ask if any Services are Outsourced
  19. 19. Do: Ask How Well the Partner Integrates
  20. 20. Do: Ask what the Partner Looked Like One Year Ago
  21. 21. Do: Inquire About Research Tools
  22. 22. Do: Ask About Incremental Costs
  23. 23. Do: Ask What Other Clients Pay
  24. 24. Do: Get Case Studies
  25. 25. Do: Ask for References
  26. 26. Do: Call All References
  27. 27. Questions to Ask References •Why did you choose the partner? •How responsive is the partner? •How innovative is the partner? •Has the partner been able to scale your program quarter-over-quarter? YOY? •Is the partner proactive in giving you new ideas and recommendations? •What was required of you (the client) to implement the partner’s recommendations/technology? •What (if any) aspect of your (the client’s) organizational structure prevented the partnership from succeeding further? •How many changes have you had in personnel servicing your account? •How many times in the past quarter did the partner miss a deadline? •How often has the partner tried to increase their SOW and fees? • How often were those requests justified? •Why did you fire the partner? (if applicable)
  28. 28. Don’t: Pick a Partner that has More Salespeople than Support
  29. 29. Do: Ask Partners to Present Actionable Items
  30. 30. Do: Narrow Down to 2-3 Finalists for Presentations
  31. 31. Do: Give Access to Historical Data
  32. 32. Do: Meet the Team that will be Servicing Your Account
  33. 33. Don’t: Get Fooled by Bells and Whistles
  34. 34. Do: Try Before You Buy
  35. 35. Don’t: Choose Based on Cost Alone
  36. 36. Don’t: Pick a Partner that Isn’t Fully Compatible
  37. 37. Do: Go with Your Gut
  38. 38. Do: Inform the Losers Why They Weren’t Selected
  39. 39. Don’t: Rinse and Repeat
  40. 40. Additional Resources • – My blog posts on Digital Sea Change about RFPs • – George Michie’s post on Search Engine Land re: SEM Agency RFPs •