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TSA: How did you find your way to search marketing?
Mike: I have been working in integrated marketing for the past 11 years. After getting into online promotion experience at Disney, I took a position with a publicly traded staffing company where search was becoming a growing part of the overall marketing mix and I was really drawn to it. I ended up seeking out a position at The Search Agency, as it was the largest agency in Southern California, and have been here for five years now and have watched it grow and change.
TSA: You recently attended the Search Insider Summit in Florida. How was the event? What were the key takeaways you found important?
Mike: I’ve attended SIS seven times and think the event is always very well thought out and impactful. It truly is a summit of “search insiders,” letting down their guard and talking about driving the industry forward together. Key themes were the rise of Facebook, the rate of change in the industry, integration and driving social interactions by design in the media mix, the internet changing from a web of documents to a web of “things” (buttons, apps, actions), as well as potential overall visions for the innovation of the next 2-5 years.
TSA: You have a webinar coming up on June 16th on search and social integration. Could you please elaborate on what will be discussed during the webinar and why marketers should consider integrating their search and social efforts?
Mike: Search still drives leads – sales – success. But doing it well in competitive verticals entails giving it help both on the SEM and SEO side. Social signals, likes, links, +1s, sitelinks, rich ads in search – there are a litany of elements that are enhancing not just search results but the effectiveness of how conversations take place online – Google/Bing are paying attention and marketers need to as well. Winning in performance means both understanding customer interactions and understanding the mechanics of multiple channels to effectively place your dollars for maximum return.
TSA: What’s one of the key mistakes you see marketers repeatedly make in their search campaigns?
Mike: Poor landing pages. As CPCs have risen, I’m always surprised that way more investment isn’t put into landing pages and user experience – it almost always pays off with the highest ROI. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were possible to get 30% more performance for advertisers out of almost every category on Google. That is a hefty tax that marketers are paying to the publishers. The strangest part is how almost everyone knows that on any given query, many of the resulting pages have obvious flaws of unclear value, odd intent, poor design, friction, bad calls-to-action, etc., yet for some reason marketers just can’t or are afraid to evaluate their own pages critically.
TSA: On a non-search note, what are some of your hobbies outside of the office?
Mike: Making tuna fish pizza, shoveling rock and rooting for the Minnesota Timberwolves.