Vote Now for the Future of Search


Most likely, you’re not a member of the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO). So you may not think the makeup of SEMPO’s board of directors matters much to your company, your campaign, or your career.

However, SEMPO has matured dramatically as a trade association; and the press, analysts (both research and investment), and the engines now recognize it as search’s primary trade association. Its decisions and priorities could have a material impact on your future, so its leadership, and hence its elections, should matter to you greatly.

Voting concludes today for SEMPO’s board of directors. If you’re a SEMPO member and have procrastinated voting until now, I urge you to cast a ballot and make your preferences known. It behooves you to ensure the candidates whom you feel best support both your agenda and the industry’s best agenda have an opportunity to influence SEMPO’s direction in the coming term. (I’ve left my election coverage to the last day because I’m a current SEMPO board member and am running for reelection.)

This year, the SEMPO election will have an even greater impact. That’s because this marks the first time that board members will represent the interests of members and the industry for two years instead of one. The longer board term was a practical matter discussed by the current board, which decided that more could be accomplished with a more stable, longer-term board membership than with a board that changes annually. There has always been some continuity of board representation. But some members are always new, and there’s a learning curve and much to absorb when joining any industry association’s governing body. That situation slowed down work on certain projects in the past, and we at SEMPO hope that a longer tenure will enable more to be accomplished, more quickly.

Perhaps the best reason to vote is the caliber of the candidates — which is unusually high this year, even by SEMPO’s standards. The current slate of SEMPO board candidates reads like a who’s who of the organic and PPC (define) search world and of publisher and technology providers, spanning the top organic agencies, PPC SEM (define) shops and technology companies, and even integrated agencies. I can’t cover all the candidates’ bios in full, but I can offer a sense of the breadth of representation by listing the candidates here. In alphabetical order, the candidates are as follows (current board members noted):

Damien Anderson, Blowfish Digital Ltd. Bill Hunt, Global Strategies International (Current)
Jay Berkowitz, Ten Golden Rules Mark Jackson, Vizion Interactive
Lindsay Blankenship, Avenue A | Razorfish Mike Jacobs, iMarketing Ltd.
Chris Boggs, eMergent Marketing (Current) Ron Jones, Symetri Internet Marketing
Jessica Bowman, Yahoo Max Kalehoff, Clickable
Paul Bruemmer, Red Door Interactive John Koehler, VML
Massimo Burgio, Global Search Interactive (Current) Chris Kramer, NETexponent
Luar Buso, Getupdated Kevin Lee, Didit (Current)
Bruce Clay, Bruce Clay Inc. Robert Murray, iProspect
Chris Copeland, Outrider Jeffrey Pruitt, iCrossing (Current)
Fionn Downhill, Elixir Systems (Current) Riegel, Steve Faction Media
Marc Engelsman, Digital Brand Expressions Farukh Shroff, Solid Cactus
Dave Fall, DoubleClick (Current) David Szetela, Clix Marketing
Mark Fiske, Bazaar Advertising Dana Todd, SiteLab (Current)
Duane Forrester, Microsoft (Current) Tanya Vaughan, Hewlett-Packard (Current)
Sara Holoubek, Free agent (Current) Lori Weiman, Click Forensics
Gordon Hotchkiss, Enquiro Search Solutions (Current)

Although SEMPO bylaws limit the number of board members from publisher organizations, it’s still important for publisher and network organizations to be represented on the board of directors and board of advisors, as they are an integral part of the ecosystem on both the paid search and organic search sides of the equation. (SEMPO embraces members from agencies, independents, publishers, even the investment community, including venture capitalists, private equity, and investment analysts.)

If you’re not a SEMPO member, consider joining. You won’t have an opportunity to influence this year’s board of directors election if you join today, but you’ll be able to influence the industry in the next elections and through your year-round SEMPO participation. And, of course, there SEMPO’s direct benefits, like leads from the “Request for Services” link on the SEMPO site; training opportunities for you and your staff from the SEMPO Institute; and the peer support, discussion, and thought leadership that take place on the committees.

Regardless of the outcome of the SEMPO elections, it’s great to see the industry and its trade association evolve and mature. Please make sure you’re a part of that evolution. Join SEMPO now if you’re not a member yet, and vote today if you are.

Join us for SES London February 19-21 and for training classes on February 22.

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Kevin Lee, Didit cofounder and executive chairman, has been an acknowledged search engine marketing expert since 1995. His years of SEM expertise provide the foundation for Didit’s proprietary Maestro search campaign technology. The company’s unparalleled results, custom strategies, and client growth have earned it recognition not only among marketers but also as part of the 2007 Inc 500 (no. 137) as well as a number 12 position on Deloitte’s Fast 500. Kevin’s “Paid Search Strategies” column for ClickZ is read by thousands, and his book, “The Eyes Have It: How to Market in an Age of Divergent Consumers, Media Chaos and Advertising Anarchy,” has been widely praised.

Industry leadership includes being a founding board member of SEMPO and its first elected chairman and active participation on DMA and IAB committees. “The Wall St. Journal,” “BusinessWeek,” “The New York Times,” Bloomberg, CNET, “USA Today,” “San Jose Mercury News,” and other press quote Kevin regularly. Kevin lectures at leading industry conferences, plus New York, Columbia, Fordham, and Pace universities. Kevin’s expertise is also valued by Wall Street, and he has been invited to brief analysts and clients of JPMorgan, RBC, UBS, Piper Jaffray, Bear Stearns, Citicorp, and others. Kevin earned his MBA from the Yale School of Management in 1992 and lives in Manhattan with his wife and daughter.


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