SEM in general is quite an encompassing field to work within as it crosses boundaries between traditionally distinguishable sectors. In one moment you could go from discussing the actual way in which a site is programmed to the last press release that you distributed via your favorite set of sites (plus of course your secret golden sites that you think no-one else knows about).
Therefore it calls for a number of different skills and abilities, or a real degree of specialisation. Which ever position you are coming from it is important to realise the dual aspects of integration and differentiation and how these can be actively employed to primarily benefit of the client and secondarily yourself and your working practices.
Your average client can have quite a number of groups of people all working to make sure that their on and offline marketing is a success. They can include: internal or external PR companies and marketing departments, web developers and IT departments, senior management, copy writers, project sponsors and project managers and of course their faithful SEM team.
So with all of these groups working together what is the best strategy for success? I mean we are all working for the client’s benefit, so what is the best way to go about it? Well I’m sure there are numerous answers for this dependent on project type and scope, but for our lovely SME clients we find that a mix of integration and differentiation of departments, mixed with great communication gives the best value for money in the sector where it is often needed the most.
So, I hear you all saying, integration and differentiation? Didn’t I do that at college? Communication? Yeah I talk, so what? Well with the correct mix you are almost guaranteed client success!
Most SMEs are beyond the stage of having to hire a one-man-band and bodging some press releases, meaning specialisation is really the key. With a little budget you can make sure that you have different people covering almost all bases and that these people have at least heard of the internet before.
From here it is unsurprisingly about letting each person get on with their job as often they know best and this is why they chose to specialise in that field in the first place! But ah-ha, here comes the clever bit, after that get them all together (this doesn’t have to be a physical meeting as this often can be impossible and take too much time) and let them understand each other’s role and how in an environment that is essentially multi-disciplinary it is important to be sensitive to another’s practices and goals.
In other words, communication is key and will benefit the client, who is ultimately paying our wages. By communicating to the web developers that changing the URLs without using 301 redirects it will damage the rankings and explaining to PR companies that putting keyword rich back links in their really nice articles helps rankings your client will stand a much better chance of succeeding. This client success will spawn financial success and this will eventually filter down and they will spend more on your services because they worked so well before.
All of this seems sensible, but it is amazing how many projects are set back, sometimes irreparably, by a lack of communication between specialists. It is important for every specialist to be open in the sense that they are free with their knowledge, yet are free to accept and incorporate the knowledge of others into their own work practices.
By this method of total integration yet differentiated specialisation, focused only around the client’s success, it is almost hard not to see how a client couldn’t thrive. I mean that is why we got into departments in the first place right? So it’s time to do what all good mothers said and ‘share nicely now’.
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