Category Archive: Uncategorized

  1. Multi-Cultural and International Search: Trends and Opportunities

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    search keys 478x359As the world becomes increasingly globalized, the roles of multi-cultural and international search in search engine marketing are shifting as well. What trends and opportunities do marketers anticipate?

    SEMPO asked industry insiders what trend they think will have the biggest impact on international search within the next year. Jose Saldaña, Elena MacGurn, and Daniel Hucks provide their insights.

    Daniel Hucks of Digital Strategies, Inc., thinks mobile-friendly sites and content will drive the greatest impact on international search.

    Jose Saldaña of Covario agrees. According to Jose, it will definitely be mobile consumption.

    “Search is becoming more specialized,” adds Elena MacGurn of Covario.

    “A successful search campaign in this maturing market now requires a multi-channel network of seasoned subject-matter professionals, e.g., mobile, usability, UI, local, social, and content marketing experts who specialize in the variety of marketing verticals,” MacGurn says. “With so many facets and opportunities for your brand’s presence on Google, there’s a lot more we now have to take into consideration.”

    The opportunity to capitalize exists, but how do global search engine updates affect international budgets?

    “It keeps the budgets shifting at a much faster pace through the different specialty areas,” says Saldaña.

    MacGurn notes that several big international search engines, including Google, Baidu and Yandex, have recently implemented a number of anti-spam measures targeting poor quality backlinks, link farms, and excessive use of links to game ranking algorithms.

    “These anti-spam measures caused a natural shift in the amount typically invested in link building and content marketing for those markets,” she adds.

    MacGurn anticipates an increase in the importance of multi-cultural and international search.

    “Our analytics, attribution, and local targeting options are becoming more sophisticated to allow for additional customization and localized approach, creating the type of content that can better meet local demand,” states MacGurn.

    According to Saldaña, cultural embracement helps build trust in consumers.

    “I see [multi-cultural and international search] of critical importance, especially as the purchasing journey continues to integrate new and emerging touch points outside of search that empower consumers to have more information and options,” shares Saldaña.

    Daniel Hucks isn’t quite as convinced.

    “Maybe on the B2B side,” he states.

    What trends and opportunities do you see in multi-cultural and international search in the future? Share your thoughts in the comments.

  2. Multi-Cultural and International Search: Research and Strategy Q&A

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    As the world becomes increasingly globalized, multi-cultural and international search are becoming an integral component in search engine marketing. What are the best international search campaign tactics and how are marketers implementing them? SEMPO asked its members for their insights.

    1. How do you conduct research for international search campaigns? Can you share any tools or tricks?

    Jose Saldaña of Covario:
    “First, I understand the market by researching demographics, general interests, and whereabouts. Secondly, I investigate preferences and search behaviors and patterns, and lastly I integrate emerging topics and opportunities.

    Common tools:
    1. Market & Demographics – Display Planner, Hitwise, ComScore, SimilarWeb
    2. Target Audience – Keyword Planner, Bing Keyword Tool, YouTube Keyword Tool, Google related results
    3. Trends & Insights – Google Trends, Trendsmap, Google News, Google Alerts

    I use Google advanced operators to narrow down to various criteria and to discover geographically relevant terminology that I then combine with a list of purchase oriented (or other categories) terms to ID highly refined keywords.”

    Elena MacGurn of Covario:
    “Covario’s strategy for international search campaigns relies on proprietary technology, as well as local search engine platform services. When researching local markets’ organic demand, we also look at local paid campaign insights, user-generated content from local social activity, product reviews, competitive data, internal search results, and related data.”

    Daniel Hucks of Digital Strategies, Inc.:
    “Generally, the research is industry specific first and country and culture more secondary.”

    2. In what ways do you accommodate international holidays and events into your search efforts?

    Jose Saldaña:
    “We celebrate local culture and incorporate seasonal campaigns, exclusive offerings, and semantically-related content for broader non-brand coverage.”

    Elena MacGurn:
    “Seasonality and local search patterns are very important factors in understanding local demand for most verticals. Accommodating international holidays, seasonal events, and any ongoing marketing efforts already targeting local markets is a significant component of our international search campaigns.”

    Daniel Hucks:
    “Only if they are relevant to a campaign.”

    3. What search tactics do you feel are the most beneficial to reach a multi-cultural audience?

    Jose Saldaña:
    “1. Cross-referencing between content languages for awareness
    2. Finding emotional connections to invite reviews and user generated content 3. FAQs for broader content coverage”

    Elena MacGurn:
    “When dealing with multiple cultures and international search, I believe it is important to go a step beyond geo-targeting in order to accommodate any blended search needs of the local consumers. At Covario, we work closely with local trending topics, localized content, local social networks and search engine tools to boost engagement and capture search demand within multi-cultural markets.”

    Daniel Hucks:
    “Have content written by one who is native to the language and culture.”

    4. In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge in multi-cultural and international search?

    Jose Saldaña:
    “1. Acculturation – Understanding the different marketing languages of the target audience.
    2. Cannibalization – Competition between various geographic areas of the same brand competing in one same area and impacting customer journey to purchase. 3. Scalable process for managing href language annotations.
    4. Regional search engine updates. Centralize frameworks that make regional adoption a long or impossible process.”

    Elena MacGurn:
    “The biggest challenge in multi-cultural and international search is understanding real-time local demand and making the most out of those insights to target new and existing content. Scaling this effort across multiple countries or regions often results in missed targeting opportunities at a local level.”

    Daniel Hucks:
    “Understanding cultural nuances and regulatory environment.”

    5. Do you find you are more likely to run ads globally or by country? What factors drive your media strategies?

    Jose Saldaña:
    “Country
    1. Total market opportunity
    2. Cost to reach audience
    3. Brand affinity
    4. Competition”

    Daniel Hucks:
    “By country; culture, language and regulatory.”

    SEMPO thanks the contributors to this blog post and invites you to share your approach to multi-cultural and international marketing in our comments section. Also, come back soon as our contributors continue the discussion on multi-cultural search trends and opportunities.

  3. Comprehensive Local Search Strategies Increase Online Visibility and Offline Conversions

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    Consumers who are searching locally are ready to buy. It’s not rocket science, just common sense! And being discovered through local search makes strong business sense too. The search landscape has evolved, and businesses must evolve their digital strategy too if they don’t want to risk getting left behind.

    There are two main types of local search visibility that a business can achieve – intent visibility is being found when someone searches for a very specific product or service in a specific location. The intent is to purchase within that geo-locality. Extended visibility is being seen when a searcher is looking for a related product or service. For example, someone searching for flights to a particular city might also need a hotel, or car rental.

    Quick wins can be earned with intent visibility.  Many national businesses concentrate on corporate campaigns, and national advertising – it may have worked hard to rank #1 for a national search (e.g. “insurance providers”) but if a local strategy is not in place, it will not rank as well for a local search (e.g. “insurance providers Chicago”), and these are the lower funnel searches, where intent to buy is higher. Local aligns naturally to audience intent.

    So, what can a business with regional locations do to increase online intent visibility – not just from a search perspective, but also from a social perspective?

      – Website Optimization for Search Engines – First, understand what people are searching for to arrive at your site. At the very minimum, optimize your site for your product or service, plus a regional modifier. This can be best achieved by creating a website page for each and every location that the business serves. The pages should be rich with regional/location keywords, and linked to the appropriate local social pages (Facebook, Google+). Include locally relevant keywords in meta data, headers, body copy and urls. Keep page content unique, and specific to the local market you are targeting.

      – Mark-up Content with Schema if possible – This can result in higher click-through rate (although it will not have any direct impact on rankings).  Using schema to describe location information can be one area where you can use rich mark-up to communicate to the engines local information about your business.

      – Local Directory Listings – The impact of local directory listings on the local ecosystem is huge, and the accuracy of directory listings is vital for local SEO. When the name, address and phone number (NAP) on your website matches the same details on verified citation pages, Google sees it as more trustworthy and ranks it accordingly. Get listed on various local directories, review sites, hometown blogs, community websites etc. as this will not only help you build incoming links to your website, but having a strong presence on these types of sites is a huge benefit to local SEO efforts. Businesses with higher ratings from review sites are more likely to appear higher on Google for unbranded, regional search terms (and Google’s July 2014 Pigeon update reflects this approach – directories are being favoured over local businesses, which could be due to the authority that a directory has built up overtime compared to the local business listing).

      – Google+ Optimization – Google+ Local has a significant impact on local search visibility, and Google+ Local pages are directly tied to the appearance and position in a local search query. Ensure your physical address is up-to-date and accurate and make sure you are listed under the appropriate categories. Use relevant keywords and location information in the descriptions to increase your chances of appearing in search results. Google+ Local offers numerous advantages to local businesses, primarily inclusion in Google Maps and the local listings box of the search engine results page.  However, relying on visibility in the local listings on the search engine results page alone is not enough – Mediative’s new eye-tracking study, ‘The Evolution of Google Search Engine Results Pages and Their Effects on User Behaviour’ looked at the interaction users had with various elements of the Google search engine results place, including local results, and we discovered that the ability of local listings to attract attention and win clicks is dependent on the placement of the local listings box on the SERP, and on the nature of the search query.In the event that the local listings box is positioned further down the SERP, a strong on-site SEO strategy will help move your website listing further up the page.

    This heat map from Mediative’s recent study shows how attention on the local listings box is greater than attention to the top two organic listings when the local listings box is above the organic listings. It’s a different story when the local listings box is below the top organic listings.

    This heat map from Mediative’s recent study shows how attention on the local listings box is greater than attention to the top two organic listings when the local listings box is above the organic listings. It’s a different story when the local listings box is below the top organic listings.

    - Drive Local Engagement on Facebook – Businesses with multiple locations must have a dedicated Facebook page for each location in addition to a brand-level page. This gives each location the ability to deliver unique content that targets its neighborhood’s demographic. Fans are more likely to engage with content that is relevant to them. The key with social media is using people’s networks and peers to influence them into choosing your business over a competitor – pulling people out of the open market of natural search where they could potentially choose any brand that is listed on the search engine, and engaging instead through a social channel.

      – Local Search on Mobile – Mobile search users have a higher purchase intent than their desktop counterparts because their search indicates a sense of urgency, therefore mobile optimization must be a priority for local businesses. Responsive website designs will automatically adapt to the visitors screen size, eliminating the need for a separate mobile-friendly website. Take into consideration what a consumer needs when they search for your product or service on a mobile device – as they are on-the-go they likely need information such as location. Retail consumers might want product information, whereas food and beverage consumers would be looking for a menu, or ratings and reviews.  Note: While 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases, according to comScore’s latest Local Search Study many searchers believe that they can find more complete information about local businesses on a desktop rather than a smartphone or tablet. Therefore, it’s equally as important to optimize your local online presence for desktop and mobile experiences.

      – Incorporate paid media into your strategy   Once your website has been optimized to maximize the chances of being found online, you can think about paid media, paying close attention to relevancy and searcher intent, in order to be seen.  Google paid ads, hyperlocal mobile display ads, retargeting etc. can all work to drive more people to your local business pages.

    Note: Google has made an effort to simplify local marketing for SMBs with the introduction of Google My Business, making it easier for businesses to update their business information across Google platforms including Google Search, Google Maps and Google+

    Case Study: Let’s take the example of a fictional car rental company – we will call it ‘ACME Car Rental’. Local online visibility is absolutely critical because, while quotes and booking can be completed online, the service is fulfilled at a physical location. What did ACME Car Rental do to ensure they were highly visible online for regional searches?

    – First, ACME Car Rental created a specific website page for every one of their 53 national locations.  These pages were rich in local keywords and even linked to a few partner sites (such as a local hotel and restaurant – services often required alongside car rental), which in turn, linked back to ACME’s location pages. Also included were links to ACME’s Facebook page for the same location, and to its Google+ Local page.

    – A Facebook page was also built for every rental location (the actual location, not just the city), and ACME proactively targeted consumers through social media with local deals, check-in contests, and even offered real-time customer service support, listening and responding to customers.

    – ACME also invested in some Google Paid Ads – creating a specific campaign for each market served and leveraging geo-targeting options and ad messaging to specifically promote the location.

    – Going a step further, ACME decided to use hyperlocal advertising to strategically target potential customers in competing car rental locations in the same region with discount coupons to their smartphones, increasing visits and new customers to ACME’s location.

     

    Hyperlocal Mobile (HyLoMO) allows advertisers to target users in the right location and at the right time (where their intent to buy was at its greatest)

    Hyperlocal Mobile (HyLoMO) allows advertisers to target users in the right location and at the right time (where their intent to buy was at its greatest)

    Taking local strategy seriously, ACME was able to significantly increase online quotes, phone calls to locations, bookings, and ultimately revenue, at each location.

    Local marketing for local businesses is nothing new – in fact, local businesses have been marketing in some form or another for centuries. The problem is, businesses were not necessarily communicating with consumers when they were open to being marketed to – that is, when they were ready to buy. Search engines have become cluttered with messages from a slew of advertisers who are trying to attract anyone and everyone! From organic search, mobile search, and social media has emerged local search –purchase-ready consumers discovering what is around them. A digitally savvy business will capitalize on this to increase local visibility, driving more online traffic, and in store visitors.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    About Mediative:

    Mediative is a digital marketing company that provides performance services and access to media platforms designed to help businesses enhance their digital presence and influence consumers’ path to purchase.

    Location and research-based data fuels our knowledge, which we leverage across our range of services, online properties, and location-based marketing platforms.

    With precise and unmatched insights into how shoppers buy and how users behave, we take a holistic, consultative approach to drive the results you need.

     

  4. What is your agency’s reputation for client service?

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    3 Ways you can use your client focus to win new business.  

    How does your agency differentiate itself? Do you focus on the experience of your team, the awards you’ve won, or your impressive client portfolio? There are many ways to stand apart from the competition, but there is one that is resonating more with decision makers today: a real commitment to client service excellence.

    Chances are you’ve heard a potential partner or competitor tout its commitment to customers. Perhaps your agency even claims to be ‘customer-centric’ as well. What does this really mean? You send out client surveys? You have your ‘go-to’ client references or testimonials? Your agency’s client service values are listed on your website?

    While these actions can certainly make it appear you care about client satisfaction, there are actually many different layers to achieving true customer-centricity. Senior leaders must lead the charge and regularly reinforce its importance, employees need clear ‘line-of-sight’ into how their actions contribute to the client experience, action must be taken based on input received from clients, and so on.

    How can you illustrate to potential clients that your agency actually ‘walks the walk’ when it comes to customer-centric attitudes and behaviors?

    1. Describe your customer-centric philosophy. Your approach to maintaining an open and honest dialogue with clients; the formal feedback collection efforts you have in place; the importance you place on hiring the right employees and retaining them; setting business goals based on client experience objectives; the senior team’s involvement with each account; the escalation process if an issue arises. These are all areas potential clients will be pleased to hear about as they see how you’ve embedded customer-centric processes and behaviors in your organizational DNA.

    2. Explain how you act on client feedback. It doesn’t matter if your engagements are project based or retainer based – having a systematic and disciplined process for gathering feedback shows potential clients that their satisfaction matters. Tell prospects how often you solicit feedback, who reviews it, and any procedures you employ when “closing the loop.” These actions provide further assurance that clients’ voices are being both heard and used to help inform important operational and resource decisions.

    3. Outline the client experience metrics your agency tracks. Why would a potential client care about the KPIs your agency measures? Many prospects have been burned before – constant turnover on their account team, deadlines missed, poor ROI. Boasting about how successful you are at establishing true partnerships helps you differentiate from the competition. Net Promoter Score®, client retention, employee satisfaction, and the percentage of accounts that serve as references all provide verification that keeping clients happy is a top priority.

    Potential clients are beginning to catch on: any company can announce that it’s customer-centric, but it’s quite different to actually live it. Give prospects the confidence that your agency will treat them better – you will not only win more deals but also retain and grow your existing accounts.

    Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily SEMPO.

    ®Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score and NPS are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld

  5. Identity Crisis: Do you know what I do for a living?

    Author: | 1 Comment

    Recently, a respected veteran of the search engine marketing world – who also happens to be the head of search engine marketing for one of the largest and fastest-growing companies on the planet – asked something on his Facebook account that surprised me. I won’t give a direct quote, but the gist of the question was: What should I call my department?

    Few would think that the head of SEO at one of the world’s largest companies would have such a basic identity crisis. After all, this search engine optimization thing has been around for a long time. I started doing “SEO” 15 years ago in 1998. There are others who I know who were in the profession well before then. And, very few people would argue that Search Engine Marketing is not important to most companies.

    However, my friend’s identity crisis was real. In fact, I think it is a real crisis for many of us who are members of SEMPO and members of the search marketing community worldwide. It’s very rare that I meet a search marketer who describes the whole of their job as “getting stuff to rank in Google.”

    We’re asked to be analytics experts, coding experts, content marketing consultants, conversion rate optimization specialists, and the list goes on and on. Not to mention that we are the ones responsible for knowing about that latest thing that Google did, or the new mark-up language requirements that need to be followed, or how Bing and Yahoo! will react to the new website. Then there’s also the fact that many of us end up being business consultants, guiding our clients and employers on basic business principles – the same principles that, if presented without an online component, they would have no trouble understanding. But, put a piece of HTML code in the mix … well, you get where I’m coming from.

    What do you do when your job description doesn’t adequately describe your job anymore? In the real world, most ask for a promotion. I think that’s exactly what many of us need to do. I believe that the company website should be the center of the marketing universe for most companies. Everything a marketer does should aim to drive consumers to properties you own and control. This has been a controversial opinion in some circles. Why not just convert the visitor on Facebook or Twitter? That’s great if you can, but those conversions should be considered gravy instead of the main course.

    Sustainable and scalable marketing comes from a consistent flow of customers through a variety of channels. Over-dependence on any channel is a recipe for long-term disaster. Those of us in search have realized this earlier than many other marketers. We learned because we have a harsh teacher. Google has taught us that what works today may very well not work tomorrow. Those who survive in the ranks of search engine marketers don’t just expect change – they embrace it. Most SEOs I know have a near obsession with solving problems, and that is what makes them more valuable every year.

    That’s why I think search marketers need more than just a seat at the table. We need to run the table. The time is right. No, Mashable, SEO is not dead. We’re just switching to the big, comfy marketing chair at the head of the table.

     

  6. State of Search Marketing Infographic – Measuring Performance

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    SEMPO is excited to present the State of Search Marketing Infographic on Measuring Performance. This infographic shows the ability to measure ROI continues to be a struggle for social and mobile marketing. While marketers are confident in their ability to measure paid search and email, more needs to be done to improve the ability to calculate overall ROI of all digital marketing programs separately and in an integrated fashion.

    The State of Search Marketing Report showcases changes from 2012 and offers insights into what to expect in 2014. This annual report is a critical touchstone for digital marketers looking to assess where they stand today and where they should be looking for success tomorrow.

    The infographic is a visual representation of the 9th Annual State of Search Marketing Report, which was fielded by the SEMPO Research Committee in conjunction with Econsultancy.

    (Click to Enlarge)

    SEMPO_State of Search_Measuring Performance

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    SEMPO members can download the State of Search Marketing Report here.

    If you would like to become a SEMPO member, please click here.

    Past State of Search Marketing reports can be viewed here.

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  7. State of Search Marketing Infographic – Budgeting Trends

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    SEMPO is excited to present the State of Search Marketing Infographic on Budgeting Trends. The infographic shows that as search marketing increasingly becomes an integrated discipline, companies will need to be more agile in shifting their budgets to stay ahead of their competition.

    The State of Search Marketing Report showcases changes from 2012 and offers insights into what to expect in 2014. This annual report is a critical touchstone for digital marketers looking to assess where they stand today and where they should be looking for success tomorrow.

    The infographic is a visual representation of the 9th Annual State of Search Marketing Report, which was fielded by the SEMPO Research Committee in conjunction with Econsultancy.

    (Click to Enlarge)

    SOS_Budgeting Trends
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    SEMPO members can download the State of Search Marketing Report here.

    If you would like to become a SEMPO member, please click here.

    Past State of Search Marketing reports can be viewed here.

     

  8. State of Search Marketing Infographic – Mobile Trends

    Author: | 5 Comments

    SEMPO is excited to present the State of Search Marketing Infographic on Mobile Trends.

    The State of Search Marketing Report showcases changes from 2012 and insights into what to expect in 2014. This annual report is a critical touchstone for digital marketers looking to assess where they stand today and where they should be looking for success tomorrow.

    The Mobile Trends Infographic reveals mobile is likely to play an increasingly important role in marketing plans, yet marketers have not set aside significant budget dedicated to mobile marketing.

    The infographic is a visual representation of the 9th Annual State of Search Marketing Report that was fielded by the SEMPO Research Committee in conjunction with Econsultancy.

    (Click to Enlarge)

    SEMPO_State of Search_ Mobile Trends

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Share this Image On Your Site

    SEMPO members can download the State of Search Marketing Report here.

    If you would like to become a SEMPO member, please click here.

    Past State of Search Marketing reports can be viewed here.

     

  9. State of Search Infographic – Overview

    Author: | 2 Comments

    SEMPO is excited to present the State of Search Marketing Infographic.

    The State of Search Marketing Report showcases changes from 2012 and what to expect in 2014. The report includes data from both company and agency respondents. This annual report is a critical touchstone for digital marketers looking to assess where they stand today and where they should be looking for success tomorrow.

    The infographic is a visual representation of the 9th Annual State of Search Marketing Report that was fielded by the SEMPO Research Committee in conjunction with Econsultancy.

    (Click to Enlarge)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Share this Image On Your Site

    SEMPO members can download the State of Search Marketing Report

    Click on the link if you would if you would like more information on SEMPO membership and benefits.

    Click on the link to view past State of Search Marketing Reports.

  10. Agency Pricing Realities

    Author: | 3 Comments

    Walk around the halls of any ad agency and you will hear a wide array of colorful language more suited for a locker room than a place of business, but the dirtiest word you are likely to encounter is the dreaded “procurement”.  This word universally sends shivers down the spine of anyone that’s had the pleasure of negotiating scopes of work and more precisely, the agency fee associated with said document.

    I do not claim to offer a surefire cure for the pain of scoping negotiations, however the best remedy to steer clear of “procurement hell” lies in the art of the scope.  And while I can wax on poetically about the importance of defining and outlining objectives, tactics, goals, deliverables, timelines, blah, blah, blah, let’s cut to the case – agency fee model is the biggest hurdle we encounter.  The question we must answer is what is the best pricing model for agencies and clients alike – a retainer approach or an hourly bill model.

    Now I’ll be the first to admit that an endorsement for a retainer approach sounds a bit biased coming from the agency side. But when compared to a billing by the hour model, that tends to be the option of choice from your friendly neighborhood procurement person, the retainer approach offers benefits that stretch well beyond cost alone.

    Why you ask?  Let’s say you have a household project that does not fit into your expertise as a proud, do-it-yourself homeowner. And let’s also assume you don’t have the time and/or equipment to accomplish this project. What gives you more comfort in dealing with a general contractor – a flat cost based on competitive marketplace considerations or the unknowns of paying an hourly rate with variables such as undefined timelines, non-guaranteed staffing (workers) and the inevitability of cost overruns.

    Flashback to the agency world – the reality is staffing is lean even the best of times. Agencies do not hire ahead of the curve and we are not built to have employees sitting on the sidelines waiting for their next assignment.  A retainer approach secures resources by locking in a team and reducing variables such as waiting on team members assigned to multiple projects (i.e. extended timelines and billable hours) as well as the removal of any incentive on the agency side for efficiency of timing. The best agency/client relationships are based on continuity – we are service organizations at the heart and if it’s my money, I want the best talent with the least amount of risk for turnover. The promise from the agency side is that a retained team will provide dedicated resources and that promise must be kept for this approach to work.

    So while procurement may never be an enjoyable process, the pain can be minimized when we are able to provide competitively priced dedicated teams that are set up for success. And isn’t that what both agency and client ultimately want to achieve?