Gleanings From IAB's Doubleheader

While joining hundreds of interactive industry professionals to partake in two full days of sessions, panels, lectures, and networking events with the Interactive Advertising Bureau last week, there was no shortage of column ideas bubbling out of it. Consider this 'greatest hits' roundup the next best thing to being there.

Wednesday was IAB's Annual Member's Meeting, and the next day brought the Leadership Forum: Agency Summit. On Wednesday alone, the two keynote speakers presented a staggering 27 tips in under 90 minutes combined. That's nowhere near the slide-a-second clip trademarked by eMarketer's Geoff Ramsey, but both days left many a pen-holding hand cramped from exhaustion.

Taking a page from one session where online publishers had to give their best sales pitch in three minutes or less, here's a series of takeaways, with subsequent lessons for the search industry capped at three sentences.

1) "You're either a mentor or a tormentor." - Jeff Lehman, Author, "The Sales Manager's Mentor"; "You're either a nurturer or an abuser." - Joey Reiman, Thinker and CEO, BrightHouse



Tim Sanders, Yahoo! vice president and author of "Love is the Killer App," would be proud to see other acclaimed speakers siding with the mentors, nurturers, and other love cats out there. When pitching search engine marketing (SEM), be it to a boss, client, or anyone else, you can beat it into them, or you can patiently guide them along the garden path. Keep building the good karma so it's clear we're here for the long haul, not the quick buck.

2) "Only when you change your character will you change your destiny." - Reiman

Reiman was referring to a life lesson, which is worth noting, but there's also wisdom for search marketers. One of the underappreciated facets of SEM is how it can be used to promote aspects of a brand that don't easily come across in traditional ad campaigns. However, the brand attributes must be real - no charlatans allowed; customers will see through a façade.

3) Encourage clients to conduct return on investment (ROI) measurements on other media so they can compare their marketing effectiveness to SEM. - John Nardone, Executive Vice President Product Development, Marketing, and New Business, Marketing Management Analytics

With search marketing so measurable, it's difficult to conduct convincing apples-to-apples comparisons with other media, but marketers need to take up the challenge. If marketers engage in cross-media research, they will be more demanding, but they will also be the most exciting people to work with. The clients themselves need to take a leadership stance here.

4) "We have to be careful about putting up yardsticks against new media that we haven't put up against old media." - Jana O'Brien, Executive Vice President , Executive Director, GM Planworks Strategic Research

The bar is higher for online media because it can be. Still, viewing the Internet as a panacea is akin to buying weight loss products from spam; expectations must be grounded in reality even if aiming high. The key is showing clients how SEM is part of a balanced diet.

5) Keep paid search advertising and contextual advertising as separate as church and state (or, perhaps, as separate as church and state are supposed to be). - Andrew Zucker, Senior Vice President Sales, Kanoodle

For Kanoodle, Zucker notes contextual ads convert better than sponsored links since contextual ads tend to be so buried and subtle that a customer needs to go to greater effort to click them. What's most important is to separate the two types of links out (the fact that they all look alike is truly deceiving). They're different types of ads - about as different as billboard and magazine advertising - so measure them accordingly.

6) "It's like Jewish geography, but with Catholics." - Ed Byrnes, Vice President Sales, IAB

The best takeaways from events always come during networking sessions, and Byrnes' zinger over lunch is no exception. Search engine marketing is all-inclusive - the question's never about whether to engage in it, but to what extent, and how can the returns keep coming in. Everyone's invited, and with the diversity of offerings out there from players big, small, and everywhere in between, there's something for everyone.

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