Rimm-Kaufman Group Acquires AudetteMedia


Online marketing has become a melting pot for media -- combining search engine optimization, paid search, social, display advertising, attribution, and more into one strategy. Why? One medium doesn't work as well as a strategically well-culled combination. Understanding this concept, The Rimm-Kaufman Group (RKG) -- mostly known for its expertise in paid-search marketing -- said Thursday it has acquired Bend, Ore.-based AudetteMedia, which focuses on search engine optimization (SEO). All employees of AudetteMedia will join the staff of RKG, founded in 2003 and based in Charlottesville, Va.

The acquisition adds SEO services to paid search, multichannel attribution management, social media advertising, display advertising and comparison-shopping engine management. "We recognized a need in the market for end-to-end solutions and the missing piece was SEO," said George Michie, CEO of RKG.

Most companies these days require more than paid search to support an online marketing strategy. Implementation has become one of the biggest challenges. Marketers supporting campaigns for companies entrenched in retail, travel, media, education, finance and online services know they must tie into the mix SEO, social and other media -- but doing so isn't easy.

"You can provide companies with a bunch of great advice for SEO, but it's not so easy to implement them," Michie said.

Marketers and folks in IT who implement the HTML code on the site in SEO campaign continue to communicate in two different languages, Michie said. SEO experts can make recommendations on link structure and URL structure to optimize sites, but whether marketers for the companies tapping the service can get IT departments to make the changes continues to present a challenge.

For paid-search campaigns, marketers have ongoing problems understanding attribution management and how multiple touches in the conversion stream across media can influence campaigns. Keeping pace with Google's rapid rollout of tools has also become a challenge. Some IT folks simply throw up their hands and say they can't do it. (Side note to IT folks: You should have seen the need to code in HTML long ago.)

The gap in communication also affects the communication between marketers and the companies designing out-of-the-box third-party platforms. In a nightmare scenario, some even require clients to go back to the software or Web-based platform developer to make the change.

Meanwhile, the transaction continues growth for RKG, Michie said, pointing to new hires: EVP of Client Development Paul Wilson, formerly of iProspect; and VP of Strategy John Shea, formerly of Google. Both jointly opened RKG's Boston office earlier this month. Not all search marketing companies continue to do well. Earlier this week, Local Insight Media Holdings filed for Chapter 11. The company filed a Joint Plan of Reorganization and Disclosure Statement with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

With this filing, the company expects to emerge from Chapter 11 during the fourth quarter of 2011 with a new credit facility and total debt reduced by more than 90%.


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