How to Help Executives Better Understand Search Marketing

Utah Web Services has a post entitled ‘A CEO’s Perspective On SEO, SEM, SMM, PPC, and ROI‘ that really hit home for me.

So often we as a company have to answer to CEOs, Presidents and executives who do not have a clear understanding of search marketing and more importantly a clear understanding of what they are paying us to do.

One of my biggest weaknesses (and thankfully Andy’s biggest strengths) is explaining search marketing in a way that everyone can understand it. With improved analytics and tracking it is certainly much easier to show ROI but it isn’t always easy to explain the SEO processes themselves.

In the UWS post, the CEO provides some suggestions to the online marketing industry that I thought were both honest and extremely valuable. Here are a few of his suggestions along with my own thoughts:

  • Forget the Tech Talk – How many times have you been in a meeting and realized that eyes are glazed over and heads are simply nodding? Many executives don’t want to know or don’t care about the website architecture or backend system. They have much bigger concerns on their plates.
  • Be Honest With Me – This is probably my favorite tip he offers. While it may be scary telling the CEO of your new client that the results are not positive, it is certainly better than lying and having to come back and explain later. His tip: “…come prepared with why our first effort fell short and your proposed changes to make the outcome better the next time around.”
  • Most Of Us Are From Missouri, The Show Me State – I don’t have the easiest time explaining processes but I can definitely show you how they are done and why they are beneficial. The author says, “Show me the process and then be patient while I embrace it completely”. The CEO may never truly embrace it but at least they will have a better understanding of what you are doing and why they should keep paying you.
  • The Bottom Line – “Bottom line is that the guys writing checks have a lot to learn from each of you at this conference and in the search industry. Remember when all is said and done that we are all in the people business, so handle with care.” Here is a CEO who really believes in this stuff but is basically saying ‘You have to show us and you have to teach us in order for both sides to benefit’.

I am not positive of who the CEO in this article is but I would like to thank him for being so candid and providing us in the online industry with a different view and some helpful information.

“With other agencies, the tendency is to see a flurry of work initially, and then communication and accountability starts to fall off. Our KoMarketing account team is in contact with us almost daily – it’s like they’re sitting right here in our office. They’re truly an extension of our marketing team.”

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