Category Archive: Get to Know SEMPO

  1. And Our 9th Annual State of Search Survey Says…

    Author: | Leave a Comment

    SEMPO is pleased to release our 9th Annual State of Search Report.  For an industry that is constantly evolving, this report remains a critical touchstone for digital marketers looking to assess where they stand today and where they should be looking to succeed tomorrow.  Plus, our unique approach of surveying and segmenting results for both companies and agencies provides perspectives and insights not easily found in other reports.

    The 2014 State of Search Report is no different in this regard but we did make some significant changes in the survey approach to be able to capture today’s reality of search marketing’s integration into the overall digital marketing mix. Here are some of the key elements that we implemented to further enhance our ability to provide meaningful and relevant data:

    - The survey was shortened to be more strategically oriented – focusing more on objectives, metrics, and ROI and less on resources and tactics.  This appears to have produced the desired result as 70% of our company respondents either manage or contribute to strategy, budgets, and direction of marketing.

    - We added social media marketing questions to the survey several years ago as it was becoming clear that search engines were evolving their algorithms to include social signals. This year we added more digital channels, including mobile, email, and display. The results illustrate the degree to which content marketing integration is still more of a strategic concept than tactical reality – somewhat more particularly with companies. We think you will also find it interesting to compare key objectives, metrics, challenges with emerging trends, and ROI perceptions between channels as well as between companies and agencies.

    - Budget questions were included as in the past but this time we drilled down a little deeper to understand allocation/aggregation between digital channels as well as flexibility to alter spends based on more real-time ROI assessment.

    - There are also a few new questions around how much time digital marketers are investing in learning/researching the latest trends and how experimental they are in testing new techniques/technologies by channel. We were a little surprised to see that both companies and agencies are less experimental with search engine optimization than all the other channels except email. Another sign of the maturation of SEO or more of a reflection of last year’s developments regarding Google’s algorithm and analytics “enhancements?”

    SEMPO members can access the complete report here. We look forward to your comments and the ongoing conversation around the report as we dig deeper into the findings and surface more observations.

    Finally, sincere thanks to our members and sponsors for their participation and support of this survey and for their continued commitment to advancing search marketing best practices as part of today’s integrated digital marketing mix.


  2. 2013 Salary Survey Infographic

    Author: | 8 Comments

    SEMPO is excited to present the 2013 Salary Survey Infographic.

    What are search marketers getting paid? What is the job growth for search? How many search marketers are in agencies? Discover the answers to those questions in the 2013 Salary Survey Infographic. The infographic is a visual representation of the 4th Annual Salary Survey that was fielded by the SEMPO Research Committee in conjunction with ClickZ.

    SEMPO members can download the 2013 Salary Survey here.
    If you would like to become a SEMPO member, please click here.
    Past Salary Surveys can be viewed here.

    Sempo_Infographicv4 2

  3. Growing the Search Marketing Ecosystem

    Author: | Leave a Comment

    This post comes to us from Scott Smigler, Chair of the SEMPO Boston Working Group, and CEO of e-commerce marketing firm Exclusive Concepts, Inc.

    Last summer, Andrea Wasik and I met with Googlers Seth van der Swaagh and Katherine Allan to propose a crazy idea. We pitched a series of one-day “Search Summits” at local Universities throughout the country that would encourage its best and brightest students to consider pursuing careers in search.

    Our logic was simple.

    On one hand, the Search industry is composed of technology companies and agencies of all sizes that are starved for talent. On the other hand, the unemployment rate amongst millennials (Americans aged 18 to 29) is over 13%.

    We suggested that by bringing these two groups together for a day of learning and networking, we could help grow the search marketing ecosystem while empowering young people to discover meaningful career paths.

    We later summarized the grander mission as follows:

    Grow and strengthen the “search” ecosystem by advocating “search” to the best and brightest college students throughout the country.

    Seth and Katherine didn’t need much convincing, and began helping us to flesh out what would become our first Search Summit at Boston University (watch the video).

    Seth helped marshal resources from Google (including both dollars and many volunteers including Whitney Moskowitz who project-managed the event), and we proceeded to sign on Microsoft and Yahoo! as joint sponsors of the event.

    We then recruited speakers for sessions that included:
    - Search industry overview (both Google’s and Bing’s perspective)
    - Career panel discussions from recent grads
    - SEO – “Designing and Delivering Great Content”
    - SEM – “Effective Marketing Strategies”
    - Social Media

    In one breakout session, students were given an overview of search marketing strategies, and then asked to create an impromptu presentation for their imaginary CEO. I was amazed how quickly they picked up what seemed to me to be esoteric jargon and relatively complex concepts!

    We also signed on 6 local agencies (Digitas, AMP Agency, Gupta Media, RKG, iProspect, and my company Exclusive Concepts), which participated in a networking lunch that connected students with 45 open internships.

    130 students in total registered to attend the event, which surpassed my expectations. That was thanks, in large part, to the incredible support we received from the Boston University School of Management, its Dean (Kenneth W. Freeman), and Tony Tristani.

    I believe the event went incredibly well, and that it could easily be scaled to cater to students and businesses throughout the country, but don’t take my word for it. Here’s what the students told us in the post-event survey:

    - Attendee likeliness to recommend the event to peers: 8.56 (avg from 1-10 scale)
    - 92.3% of attendees “more likely to pursue a career in search marketing”
    - 76.9% of attendees pursuing an internship with a company they met at the summit
    - 100% at least somewhat likely to join SEMPO

    SEMPO Working Group leaders from other cities who would like to organize a similar event can feel free to email me with questions, or for the planning materials we used. My e-mail address is

    Once again, I would like to thank Google for its incredible support. They provided a lion-share of the resources that made this event possible, in addition to the SEMPO Boston Working Group members Michael Flint (Metropolis Creative), Seth van der Swaagh (Google), Andrea Wasik (Skyword, Inc.), and Pavel Khaykin (AMP Agency).

    Again, you may watch a recap of the event below:

    Scott Smigler
    Chair of SEMPO Boston Working Group
    President of Exclusive Concepts, Inc.

  4. Why Are We Here

    Author: | 1 Comment

    Why are we here?

    This is my first year as a SEMPO Board member. It’s also my first post on the new SEMPO blog (built by Bruce Clay’s awesome crew, thanks guys!). I thought I’d answer some of the questions I most often hear about SEMPO:

    What does the SEMPO Board of Directors do?

    Mostly, we have catered lunches on fine crystal in overly ornate rooms, while plotting the downfall of rival organizations.

    Or not.

    Every member of the board has a role, but as a group, we’re focused on:

    • Education. This is my passion, and it’s shared by every board member. We want digital marketers to be smart about search.
    • Brand. We want everyone who touches digital marketing in general, and search specifically, to be a credit to our industry.
    • Tools. We try to provide SEMPO members access to great tools from industry members, at a discount. Don’t pshaw—saving 20% off someone’s cross-functional toolset can mean more money for Kit Kats.
    • Awareness. This is the toughest goal, and one we’ve not had a lot of time to work on. But we put a lot of energy into promoting search to the marketing industry at large, and on legislative issues as they arise.

    Why should I join?

    Ah, the million-dollar question. Well, the $125 question, anyway.

    I’m not a zealot. I won’t say “OMG man if you don’t join you’re missing out on the champagne fountain and the unicorn petting zoo!!!!!”

    But I’ve got two pretty strong arguments:

    • Self-interest. As a member, you get free access to all SEMPO webinars, Powerpoint downloads from those webinars, use of the jobs board, attendee discounts on a whole slew of conferences like SES, Marketing Profs and SMX, discounts on training from MarketingProfs and others and discounts on tools. If you use any of the discounts, it pays for itself in a hurry.
    • Less self-interested self interest. Our industry needs a concerted voice. SEMPO’s trying to make it happen. If we can, it will help all of our credibility, which means we can all make a little more money.

    _____ said you guys suck

    If you want to see the quality of an organization, look at its people. The board is a bunch of fantastic marketers who really want to see good stuff happen in search: Check ’em out here. Recognize a few of those names? We’re there to make good stuff happen.

    What are your goals while on the SEMPO Board?

    For my part, I want SEMPO to be an organization that can teach, clarify and build both credibility and awareness for our industry. Eesh. That sounds like a campaign speech.

    Here are some specific goals I’m working on:
    • A SEMPO speaker series, bringing together all the folks I see give great talks at conferences. Worth $125/year, I promise.
    • A steady stream of good content to our blog.
    • Better transparency for the organization.

    These are my goals. The organization has loftier ones.

    What now?

    My next post will be more of the day-to-day how-to stuff about which you always see me ranting.

    For now, though, if you have questions, post ’em in the comments.


    Ian Lurie
    SEMPO Board Member
    CEO | Portent, Inc.

  5. Introduction to SEMPO Local Chapters

    Author: | Leave a Comment

    Sempo2SEMPO’s local working groups are thriving and expanding!  If you weren’t aware of the SEMPO local working groups that will continue to expand in 2013, go to and check out the list under “Local Groups.”

    These chapters are led by a group of passionate industry leaders, called Chairs, and put on at least 4 events every calendar year in their area.

    As a SEMPO member, you can learn about local events in your city by clicking “Join Group”. By becoming a part of the distribution list, you’ll stay current with event planning.

    Member Perks!

    As a SEMPO member you get to attend local events Free of charge! (a $25 per event savings).

    Get Involved!

    Want to be a leader in your Local Chapter? Contact the Chair via the SEMPO Group or contact me, and I can make an introduction.

    Want to start a local group in your city?  Contact us and we can communicate the process, support you through launch and provide best practices and insight into other local chapter successes.


    Lindsay Blankenship
    SEMPO Board Member