Enterprise search marketing $1 billion opportunity: SEM Director CEO interview

Is search engine marketing mission critical to the enterprise?
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor

Is search engine marketing (SEM) mission critical to the enterprise?

Russ Mann, CEO of SEM Director, asserts it is “the newest critical core competency that the Fortune 500 needs to build in-house.”

Mann is convening Fortune 500 and Global 2000 leaders for a two-day enterprise summit in La Jolla later this month to make the case for why the online marketing and advertising industry is at an “inflection point”:

The largest advertisers are rapidly moving away from siloed processes and spreadsheets, to the application of proven microeconomics, marketing analytics and software automation.

Mann’s ten-year track-record with CRM and enterprise-scale advanced analytics includes leadership roles at Peregrine Systems, Inc., Fair Isaac Company, Homestore, ONYX Software…As CEO of the newly-formed SEM Director, Inc., Mann applies his enterprise-scale CRM, analytics and online lead generation expertise in developing “best-of-breed search marketing automation solutions” enabling large organizations to perform SEM at scale.

I spoke with Mann to discuss the market opportunity SEM Director is targeting and the company’s search marketing automation software portfolio.

SEM Director is a newly funded (including investment from Dubilier & Company private equity firm) spin-off of Silicon Space, a San Diego-based systems integration firm providing web software and application development for the government and enterprise customers.

I asked Mann how he quantified the search marketing automation software market opportunity in discussions with prospective investors. The slide below illustrates SEM Director’s conceptualization of the search marketing ecosystem.


Mann believes SEM Director is uniquely positioned to deliver enterprise-class search marketing automation in a SEM tools and services market he pegs at $1 billion, citing SEMPO. Mann is banking on SEM Director’s suite of hosted search marketing applications being in a market sweet-spot for software as a service solutions.

SEMDirector’s Enterprise Search Engine Marketing software solutions claim to deliver “visibility, actionability and profitability” to Fortune 500 and Global 2000 organizations. The product portfolio addresses enterprise analytics needs in natural search, paid search and channel marketing and is comprised of:

SEM Director ShelfSpace: "Monitor and evaluate online brand presence and competitive metrics for paid and organic programs."

SEM Director Organic: "Automate the optimization of enterprise web sites to improve search engine visibility and increase rankings."

SEM Director Enterprise: "Create, manage and optimize paid search advertising campaigns across business units, search engines, geographies, languages and target audiences."

SEM Director Value: "Model and measure the Return-On-Investment of Search Engine Marketing activities based on organization-specific goals and objectives."

SEM Director Channel: "Leverage Search Engine Marketing and co-marketing activities to increase channel effectiveness."

The two-day enterprise summit that SEM Director is hosting is titled “Inflection Point 2007.” Mann is confident SEM Director is poised for a positive inflection in 2007.

Martin Laetsch, former head of Intel’s worldwide search division, agrees; He just joined SEM Director to collaborate in delivering “fundamental breakthroughs in search marketing automation.”

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