• http://www.newfangled.com Eric Holter

    Great post Patricia. I’m glad to see that the dialog between agencies and SEM firms is progressing. My company Newfangled Web Factory has been specializing in partnering with advertising agencies and design firms for web development for twelve years. We have lots of agency partners and I agree that the more transparent the relationship the better things go.

    I think a balance needs to be struck between the agency’s willingness to be transparent and the SEM/SEO/web partner willing to respect the agency/client relationship. One of the ways we try to encourage this is by ensuring each agency partner that we will never accept any work directly from their client for as long as they are a client of the agency. We’ve found that such reassurance in this regard goes a long way. From the agency perspective though, they need to see outside expertise as a necessary component to their overall services to their client rather than a primary opportunity for markups – though there should always be some room for reasonable markups.

    Thanks for the post!

    Eric Holter
    CEO – Newfangled Web Factory
    http://www.newfangled.com

  • Alan Bleiweiss

    Patricia,

    Thanks for covering this critical topic.

    One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in over 12 years in the web business has been coordinating with in-house account managers and outside agencies. More often than not, no matter how much time I expend, how many white papers, marketing materials, SOP manuals, or training I do, the minute I’m out of sight, they end up botching the communication of my work.

    Now that my primary focus is SEO, Analytics and PPC management, it’s even more challenging. I’m grateful that one of the topics at least mentioned when to bring an SEM sub-contractor into the process. Usually, by the time I’m brought in, the in-house account manager or the outside agency does not have the willingness to admit to the client that they will need to completely re-write the copy on every single page on the 65 page web site based on my deep analysis recommendations.

    When this happens, I shake my head in wonder and have to go the extra mile to once again express my concern that this is a most inefficient method, and that it’s vital for me to be involved from the gate DURING the site specification process because of this and just as much because of the WOW preference mentality.

    I am just glad that long ago I got in the habit of putting my position in writing so that nobody can come back later and jump all over Alan for failing to get the right results. (One too many times a client said – “But nobody’s buying my products – they can’t even find me on the search engines…”

    Now, as a normal course of my work I provide my five page SEO white paper up front.

    Fortunately, I am truly grateful when somebody DOES get it. I truly love working with agencies where there is enough mutual respect that we all understand each has our own areas of expertise and together we’re a powerful team.

    Alan Bleiweiss
    SEO Consultant
    Senior Web Analytics Engineer
    WebSight Design, Inc.
    Sausalito, California

  • http://www.receptional.com Receptional

    I think that with PPC, Agencies and SEM experts can work well – it’s no problem to measure and the agency only really has to build a site that can deep link (though many of them fail in even that task).

    Organic is harder. Especially harder at the top levels because the best approach for organic is to have the expert look at all the internal systems and help those systems leverage search. This means that the expert should be looking beyond the remit that the agency may have been given and we have found that politics works best if you continually give credit to another department rather than claiming it as part of the “SEO Marketing channel”. Indeed – it is the idea of SEO as a marketing channel that seems to lead to eternal frustration by all parties.

    Dixon.

  • http://www.receptional.com Receptional

    I think that with PPC, Agencies and SEM experts can work well – it’s no problem to measure and the agency only really has to build a site that can deep link (though many of them fail in even that task).

    Organic is harder. Especially harder at the top levels because the best approach for organic is to have the expert look at all the internal systems and help those systems leverage search. This means that the expert should be looking beyond the remit that the agency may have been given and we have found that politics works best if you continually give credit to another department rather than claiming it as part of the “SEO Marketing channel”. Indeed – it is the idea of SEO as a marketing channel that seems to lead to eternal frustration by all parties.

    Dixon.