US Airways Flight Attendants Hawking Credit Cards

To and from my vacation in Grand Cayman I was on 4 different US Air flights where the flight attendants were pushing their airlines credit card.   Right after the safety briefing they went into the virtues of the card.   They then went up and down the aisles flashing the applications and taking them back from those who bought into the idea that they needed just one more card.   I wonder if  the flight attendant gets any kick back from the cards?

On the flight from Grand Cayman to Charlotte they actually referred to that flight at potentially being free next time if they get and use the card – they would have enough miles to go to GC from just one purchase.

I am sure this is a sweet deal for US Airways but do we need them pushing credit cards to people who are already maxed out on credit card debt already?

SEMPO Kicks off Asia Tour with Visit to Singapore on June 9

The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO),, will hold a series of events in connection with ad:tech Singapore, June 9. Singapore is the first stop on a three-city Asian tour that SEMPO is undertaking to foster the awareness of search engine marketing and connect professionals in the region with Western markets. It will also provide a rare occasion for search industry executives to network with local search engine company representatives. Other stops include Beijing on June 12 and Mumbai on June 15.

With the goal of creating a better understanding of search and its role in marketing, the SEMPO delegation, which consists of Jeffrey Pruitt, SEMPO Chairperson, Bill Hunt, SEMPO Board of Director. Motoko Hunt, Chairperson of SEMPO Asia, and Paula Hunter, Director of Operations for SEMPO, will host a number of events. For more information about SEMPO’s Asia tour, visit

SEMPO events in Singapore, all being held at the Suntec City International Convention Center, in conjunction with Ad-Tech Singapore and include:

  • Seminar with presentations by representatives of search engine companies, SEMPO and other organizations involved in the state of search, SEO, SEM and social media
  • Press conference
  • ad:tech networking party with SEMPO representatives, delegates and sponsors

“Although SEMPO has had an active Asia Committee for some time, this is our first official SEMPO Asia tour to spread awareness of SEMPO as a global organization,” says Jeffrey Pruitt, SEMPO chairperson and the leader of the SEMPO delegation. “We’re looking forward to networking with Singapore’s SEM and SEO industry leaders and meeting the local media.”

For details about SEMPO’s Asia tour, visit or send an email to:

Search Engine Marketing for the Times – 212 NYC Event

A Practical Guide to Mastering Strategy + Performance in a Tough Economy
Wednesday, May 13 | 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Location: Microsoft, 1290 Avenue of the Americas, Belvedere & Bethesda Terrace conference room, 6th floor, NYC

Attendance capped at 125, limited space, RSVP today!
Light refreshments served throughout

UPDATE! Three Special Workshops by Industry Thought Leaders and Search Practitioners Added:
Bill Hunt, Neo@Ogilvy and Global Strategies International
Jorie Waterman,MRM Worldwide
Matt McGowan, Incisive & Marc Englesman, Digital Brand Expressions

Event Overview

On May 13th, 212NYC invites you to join an insightful and practical evening for a deep look at Search Engine Marketing today and the how-to’s of mastering search during tough economic times. This event is for agencies and Search professionals, geared toward managing Search in these turbulent economic times.

We will hold an hour panel, moderated by industry thought leader Rebecca Lieb, vice president of Econsultancy’s US operations. She will be joined by:

Mike Grehan: Global KDM Officer of Acronym Media, a Top 10 Search and Keyword-Driven Marketing.™ An undisputed search marketing expert, Mike is also one of the industry’s pioneers, having been involved in online marketing since 1995.

Crispin Sheridan: SAP, Search Marketing Strategy, Global Demand Generation Services. Crispin will share stories of learning and success in integrated Search Marketing.

Mark Schwartz: Managing Partner at Steak NYC. He is responsible for generating and managing new business across the whole of Steak’s portfolio of digital services. Mark has over 18 years experience in marketing and business development, in particular search marketing, database marketing and the wider digital field.

After the panel, there will then be a workshop sequence focused on key methodology and tools. Please choose which session you would like to join and send your choice to Kendall Allen at
1.    “Planning, Budgeting and Keeping Exploration Alive” – led by Bill Hunt – 7:00pm
2.    “Maximizing Search Within the Complete Digital Mix” – a discussion with Marc Engelsman by Matt McGowan – 7:45pm
3.    “Building Keywords for Smart Integrated Search” – led by Jorie Waterman – 7:45pm
The lead sponsor of “Search Engine Marketing for the Times,” Search Engine Strategies, will provide information on upcoming conferences of interest to our members on the evening of May 13, including SES Toronto and OMS.

Moving On

Since Ogilvy let the cat out of the bag with a release to the New York Times I can talk about my upcoming departure from Global Strategies.   Actually, I am still here until the end of May and will continue to be a shareholder.

My departure is an amicable one of my choosing.  I needed to take a break from integrating into a large organization with a different belief system and flying 300,000 miles a year to dozens of countries spreading search wisdom and working with clients.  Working 18 to 20 hours a day, as anyone running a company knows, will wear on you and I realized I needed a physical and mental break from pushing the search rock uphill at large companies.

I have not decided what I will do yet other than the wife’s required rest and relaxation period and the SEMPO Asia Roadshow in June.  I do plan to write another book on global search marketing as well as this and other blogs.    I will continue to speak at conferences and do seminars on how to leverage search marketing and enter overseas markets incorporating the bet practices described in Search Engine Marketing Inc.   I am most looking forward to frequent SCUBA diving trips and underwater photography.

I would encourage anyone to take stock of their life and make sure what you are doing is true to your heart and goals.  I created GSI nine years ago after leaving another agency.  I was frustrated at the lack of foresight they had and saw a huge opportunity in the marketplace that turned out to be right.  I set specific goals to achieve and I hit most of them so I can leave with a sense of accomplishment.

Selling to Ogilvy was the perfect option for GSI since it gave us infrastructure and a global footprint that would have been cost prohibitive on our own.  While it has been challenging at times it has also been a growth expereince for me professionally.

I will truly and deeply miss being part of GSI, which I still believe is one of the best search consultancies in the world.  I do believe they will go on to great things under Jeremy Sanchez’s leadership.

I also want to thank my team at GSI for supporting my decision while being understandably pissed and disappointed.  You guys rock and I am extremely proud of working with you and calling you my team and friends.  I will truely miss my role as leader of a team of “brilliant strategists”

Our clients, especially the IBM team, I have worked with for the past 9 years, you guys have been a nightmare to work with but I have learned so much – actually a 600+ page book that was parlayed into a multimillion dollar search marketing company sold for millions.   We turned client organizational challenges into opportunities and how “not to do it guides” and I will always be greatful for the opportunity to work for worldclass brands like IBM, Intel, P&G, Adobe, Nestle, Cisco and great people at these organizations.  Sincerely, it has been a pleasure to work with you and grow with you.

Special thanks to Mike Moran who gave GSI a shot many years ago and taught me how to navigate the waters of IBM – and helped write the book that led to the company that led to my financial ability to walk away from it all.   Thank you to Todd Watson who was a taskmaster but made sure we got the job done and did more for search evangelizing at IBM than anything I could have ever done.  Lee Moore who will continue to drive organic implementation across the board and be my voice in the IBM community.
Thank you to everyone who helped GSI grow and prosper and give me encouragement and support over the years.

Please reach out with ideas for a new journey and speaking opportunities 😉

Forrester Expects Significant Growth in Digital Tactics

This weekend I have received a number of email and seen many tweets about the growth in social media predicted by Forrester and covered by Andy Beal from Marketing Pilgrim

In the Forrester chart there are some interesting predictions.

Tactic                               CAGR Growth
Social Media                  34%
Mobile Advertising       27%
Display Advertising      17%
Search Marketing         15%
Email Marketing          11%

While it is great to see all of these marketing techniques are predicted t go up I think there is a fundamental problem we need to address:

Marketing Mix Allocation – what part of the mix will be cannibalized by this increase in spend in these digital tactics?  The biggest barriers to increased shifts in precious marketing dollars to digital marketing is the media mix.  Many marketers are terrified of making this shift without any guarantee that the exact numbers of leads or eyeballs will be made up in the new tactic.

Tactic Integration – and how we might get them to work collaboratively.   These all have the ability to be ran with a moderate degree of success as independent tactics but the real value will be achieved when they are all integrated and treated as a relay race by linking of the hand offs to one another.

Resources – with the exception of Display Advertising, all of these other tactics require more labor than traditional online and offline advertising tactics.   Where will these people come from?  How much of this will be eaten up by agency fees?  This will be the challenge to marketing organizations moving forward.

What can we do to help achieve these numbers?
Education – we need to start now educating everyone in the marketing chain on the value of these tactics.  We need to education them that they can’t and should not be measured under traditional metrics of sales and awareness but within their own set of metrics based on the desired actions.

Metrics – we need to establish precise metrics for each activity.  If we are going to leverage Facebook then we need to establish specific goal for that activity – how many followers or a specific number of comments or uploaded should be the metrics.

Integration – start thinking of the logical hand offs and start making then integration and connects necessary in the organization.  For social media start to understand how we can reach the influencers now via our press outreach.  Leverage search rankings to understand the authority of those sites in the top listings.  Document the hand offs between the tactics and use that as another proxy for success – how we can integrate them.

Leveraging Searcher Stimuli

I recently had the experience with a client where they had enough infighting with various marketing and advertising tactical silos as well as the functional units of the agency all playing one tactic off the other to gain a sliver of the ever decreasing marketing budget.  They told everyone they are tired of the fighting and did not want any more inter-competitive studies but how it can all work together.  Finally –  the client takes charge and understands that it all works together.
One of the ways we have used to get everyone to place nice is to emphasize the interaction between the tactics.  In the end, all forms of marketing are potential influencers that may prompt someone to go and search  – this reaction we call Searcher Stimuli.

To experienced Search Marketers team it is a no brainer that these should be synchronized not only paid and
organic but with social media and any digital.  We are working on a model around “searcher stimuli” which are all the elements that trigger the “need” to search – by aligning them with the intent of the searcher and the right landing page we create a perfect opportunity to move them along the buy cycle.  We have identified the three key elements as:

Mass Media:

This is the form of stimuli that based on seeing a TV commercial, hearing a radio spot or reading the newspaper are prompted to search.  This is a hard one for may traditional marketers to accept. They get frustrated when they put in a perfectly good 800 number in the ad and people search in Google for information rather than calling the number.

At the same time, we have found search connected to a mass media spot to be a great proxy for how well a tag line; offer or specific phrase resonated with the market.  In reality what happens is they don’t have a pen to write the number or they later recall the ad and don’t remember the advertiser.  I have done this a few times with my children.   They laugh at a commercial and think that it was cool, funny or interesting and a few hours later I ask them who the ad was for and they can’t recall and will typically search for it in YouTube or Google to get the company.

Word of Mouth and Social Media:

With this form of stimuli the searcher searches after having contact with a friend or associate who has the product or spoke highly or poorly of it.  This new interest can prompt someone to go and search for more information.

Social media is starting to play more of a role in this area. People are reading blogs or looking at pictures in Flickr and get the idea that they want or need a product, service or want to go to a destination and will often search for more information.  Interestingly enough we are often finding that the WOM stimuli may be as a result of some form of mass media advertising that prompted the interest and reaction from the person passing on the information.

Searcher Need:
This form of stimuli comes typically from self-awareness or need.  If your old TV dies and you suddenly need a new one many will go to the web and search for information about new models.  As with WOM, they may have seen a TV commercial recently for a specific brand and then go and search for that brand and the type of TV they want.  The same is true for auto insurance.  One of the largest drivers for searching for auto insurance quotes is triggered by receiving the quarterly or semi-annual bill.  When they get the bill they will often look for a cheaper alternative.

We will be writing more about this in the future.  Are there other stimuli?

Digital Marketing commentary from a global marketing road warrior.