Wednesday, April 01, 2009

DBE 90% - SEMPO Average 54% (or less)

I don’t know about you, but I found this slide from SEMPO’s 2008 State of Search Survey troubling on several levels when looked at it wearing my industry glasses.
First, what does it say about the average paid search agency if only 19% of its clients can say they are very happy with their SEA programs? And only 54% can say they are happy to some degree? With these confidence levels is it any wonder more and more advertisers are taking their campaigns in-house? Or that the ones who are still outsourcing are treating agencies more and more like vendors instead of partners?

Second, does it really make readers of this report feel better to see that these mediocre-at-best findings represent “a significant leap from” previous years? Is it going too far to compare this to the idea of a car company reporting that its crash test results improved from 2 stars to 3 stars on a 5-star rating basis?

Third, while the above covers paid search agencies (and is included in the executive summary made public), the full report includes results for SEO agencies and they did not fare better. In fact, they were actually rated a little lower in terms of the happiness quotient.

In a business where referrals and references are critical for new business development, you would think search agencies would do a better job of client service. And don’t think it’s just the nature of the business (like used car salesmen) because DBE’s Client Satisfaction Survey results revealed a 90% client satisfaction level. So client satisfaction can be achieved and until the rest of the paid search and SEO agencies catch up, we’ll keep using these results to differentiate DBE from the other average Joe search firms out there.

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