Qualifying Prospective Search Marketing Vendors

by The Guy March 13th, 2008 

It was my intention to blog on something else today until I chanced upon this article from SearchEngineWatch.com: 48 Practical Questions to Qualify Prospective Search Marketing Vendors by Marty Weintraub.

The 48 questions in question are both enlightening and informative.

And frankly, they should be information volunteered, not solicited. Run the questions around your agency/office and everyone from the receptionist to the CEO should be able to answer any one of them.

Can each and every person name two successes? They should. Success should be endemic to any organization, and it should be applauded and celebrated at every turn. Success in process. Success in execution. And of course, success in results. Like the proverbial ringing of the sales bell or reading revenue figures each day: it sets a higher bar and it is a celebration of success.

Conversely, each and every company member should be able to readily and easily name a failure. Failure impacts the way we approach thing and leads to success. Either better processes or the realization that your failure is not a core strength or capability and as such, should and must be a consideration.

I would challenge for a third type of anecdote… success within a failure or failure within a success. I can think of two immediately: My first organic search engine optimization strategy was so successful it increased traffic from 10,000's of thousand to millions. (Ah those heady early days.) Champagne flowed and there were visions of that first really, really, really, hugely successful Canadian IPO. Canadian? D'oh! Right. All those millions of visitors aren't coming from Canada, they're coming from the Internet. Well, there goes that Canadian advertiser business case.

And then there was the time I did the organic search engine optimization for the forex arm of a company and their vacation travel business segment (more consumer oriented) got (rightfully) terribly distressed when their listings were submarined.

Two successful initiatives requiring reconfiguration.

If you do things long enough you'll experience success, failure and everything in between. And being able to share that, easily and readily is testament to the type of business partner you'll be.

So, kudos and thanks for the questionnaire.

And all you young'uns, those are important questions that you should be able to ask and answer in the interview process. You're asking will demonstrate the intensity of your interest and curiousity.

Have a good one.

~The (SEP) Guy

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2 Responses to “Qualifying Prospective Search Marketing Vendors”

  1. Nick James says:

    Could I just resubmit this with the brackets in the right place:

    I’ve worked for a few firms in the past (None of them in search marketing) and the one thing I’ve found in common between them all is the lack of communication between management and the shopfloor. It’s as though they didn’t want the workers knowing anything that was going on. This of course creates animosity, distrust, and general bad feeling between a workforce and the upper echelons, and this in turn affects morale and ultimately productivity.
    What I’m trying to say (in a very roundabout way) is that you’re exactly right in saying that each and every member of the team should be able to name two successes and failures, as this not only demonstrates the quality and qualifications of the entire team, but it also shows that communication on all levels is treated seriously, and people aren’t just left to go stagnant in the dark.
    Thanks for the post.

  2. Ruthrbns says:

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