The findings of a new study from iProspect reveal that search engine marketers wear too many hats, according to Robert Murray, iProspect’s president.
The data, from a study of search engine marketers conducted by Jupiter Research under iProspect’s sponsorship, found that SEM professionals perform an average of five other functions in addition to search engine marketing, suggesting, according the study report, that “companies are not yet serious about investing human resources in the management of search engine marketing.”
Those other functions include web site design, at 58% the most frequently-cited non-SEM job function performed by search marketers; and e-mail advertising, cited by 57%. A number of search engine marketers also reported that their jobs involved managing traditional offline media that can drive traffic to web sites when integrated with search. In this context, 28% of those surveyed cited print advertising, 22% direct mail, 9% radio, 7% TV and 4%outdoor advertising. 26% of search engine marketers reported performing IT functions as well.
Murray called the findings “troubling," but speculated that it may simply reflect a limited pool of experienced professionals available in the marketplace and the need for companies to develop expertise in this capacity internally. However, “I just don’t know how an organization can expect someone to become proficient at search marketing if they only practice it part time,” he says.
Murray also comments that to the extent that the professional overseeing search marketing also is managing other marketing channels, that creates an opportunity for channel integration. “Unfortunately, we see very little integration happening,” he observes. “Organizations need to acknowledge that the search engine marketing channel is most effective when it is integrated with as many other channels as possible in order to maximize the cross channel conversion opportunity.”