SOURCE: Aberdeen Group

November 17, 2008 13:58 ET

Research Reveals How to Create Best-in-Class Search Engine Marketing

Best Practices in Paid Search, Paid Inclusion and Search Engine Optimization

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - November 17, 2008) - Recent research reveals that more than half (51%) of all organizations surveyed say that the biggest reason for implementing search engine marketing the way they do is the need to drive better conversion rates both online and offline. In September and October, Aberdeen, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), conducted a study of over 200 organizations worldwide on paid search, paid inclusion and search engine optimization (SEM) to reveal just what differentiates the Best-in-Class from all other organizations. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=5360

With a continued bleak economic outlook worldwide, the ability to drive conversions and stretch shrinking marketing budgets is more important than ever. "Regardless of the market -- retail, real estate, construction, finance, etc. -- companies must maximize their return on marketing investment more so than in a good economy due to increased competition for the eyes and ears of prospects," said Steve Lawrence, research analyst and author of the research report "What Does It Take to Create Best-in-Class Search Engine Marketing?" Aberdeen's data reveals that the Best-in-Class see an average return on marketing investment of 108%, while Industry Average firms only recognize a 16.5% return. "Companies, large and small, will need to justify to their executives the successes and failures in search marketing efforts in a quantifiable way or risk losing budget. And note that traditionally Marketing budgets tend to get cut first when evaluating spend."

The research data also reveals that 79% of the Best-in-Class provide access to real-time or near real-time analytics and 74% provide historical analysis of SEM initiatives. These numbers compare to 58% and 42% for Laggards respectively. Companies that do not analyze the data that they capture online and offline not only risk not maximizing search engine marketing efforts, but also jeopardize a chance to justify budget increases.

The report discusses the importance of having formal processes and policies in place for delivering leads to the sales team and the fact that 68% of the Best-in-Class utilize a customer relationship management technology solution to support their search engine marketing efforts. With the downturn in the economy having closed-loop marketing in place will maximize online and off-line marketing efforts.

Ultimately, to obtain a competitive advantage companies need to employ a combination of strategic actions, capabilities and technologies. Chapter three of the report outlines the specific actions organizations should take to attain Best-in-Class status.

A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part to the following underwriters: Hubspot, iProspect, and Covario, Inc. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=5360

For additional access to complimentary Information Technology Research, please visit http://research.aberdeen.com/index.php/Information-Technology/

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen™ for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen http://www.aberdeen.com or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to http://www.harte-hanks.com.

© 2008 Aberdeen Group, Inc., a Harte-Hanks Company
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