In an open letter to marketing directors, Tom Skotidas, head of marketing for First Rate, explains why they should learn about the technology agencies use to manage search engine marketing.

AdNews article: Search bid managment technology

Dear marketing director, I hope this letter finds you and your search engine marketing program well. I am writing because I am concerned that you might be missing out on a key part of your SEM performance.

I want to discuss SEM technology – or as it’s commonly referred to, “SEM Bid Management Software”. This software uses bidding algorithms and rules to automate and help manage a company’s SEM program.

For years now, SEM technologies have proven to be outstanding add-ons to agencies’ consulting work. Leading platforms in this space include Kenshoo, Marin, Efficient Frontier and SearchIgnite – my agency’s own.

But instead of being treated as an add-on tool – a servant to the surgeon – SEM technology often ends up becoming the main feature of the agency. Unfortunately, SEM technology often replaces the very people you think are working on your account.

And this begs several questions: Does your current agency use SEM technology? Have you even been shown what the technology looks like? If so, what is the contribution of your agency’s consulting team, beyond mere software management? Have you been invited to contribute – at the strategic level at least – to the bidding and optimisation process?

I’ve spoken to hundreds of ecommerce and marketing managers over the past three years. I’ve discovered many are aware of the concept of SEM technology, but are not familiar with their agency’s actual technology offering and its impact on their SEM program.

Why is that?

Click here to download the rest of the article, as published in the April 2010 edition of AdNews: Get to know SEM technology.