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Search Marketing Maturity Models: Where Do You Fit In?
Sunday, September 20, 2009
As Search continues to "grow up". There are two things to consider (strangely enough these two items were pointed out by IonInteractive about a year ago at this time):
  • the level of sophistication any given organization has in search marketing
  • the many different dimensions that contribute to optimized search marketing
Enter the Search Marketing Maturity Model

Search is complex with different levels and a variety of disciplines that can be addressed. As a result there are different scopes and needs both of which can change regularly. Scott Brinker from ion Interactive posted a great piece on maturity models over at Media Post where he mentioned the benefits of maturity models:
The benefit of a well-defined maturity model is that it gives practitioners a common framework by which to assess their organization, benchmark it against others, and develop a plan for improvement. Often, there is not just one achievement associated with a particular level, but rather a series of capabilities across several dimensions.
In fact, Brinker went on to devise a draft of a search marketing maturity model primarily focused on sponsored search. The main categories/components of the maturity model consisted of:
  1. Ad hoc -no management, no budget, no real structure
  2. Engaged -some executive awareness, basic keyword research, limited testing of landing pages
  3. Structured - actual budget, management responsibility, more detailed keyword research, some competitive research/insight
  4. Managed - active executive participation, daily management, professional bid management of keywords, competitive benchmarking
  5. Optimized - strategic executive participation, significant budget, integrated multi-channel analytics, segmentation of audiences etc.
This is but a high level overview, but you get the picture.
Click on the following image for ion Interactive's Search Marketing Maturity Model.


I have seen very few sites that are in the "Optimized" phase of the Search Marketing Maturity Model. In fact many companies are still struggling in the initial "ad hoc" or "engaged" phase of the model. The companies that "get it" should be able to progress through the model and enjoy success with Search marketing. Others that are still evaluating whether Search is a phase or are not putting their resources into Search will quickly learn that they will have to adapt to keep up with their competition.

We will be discussing search marketing maturity models more in upcoming posts, for now we would love to hear your thoughts on the search marketing maturity model and where you feel your company fits in.


posted by Jody @ 7:17 AM  
  • At 5:20 AM, Anonymous Scott Brinker said…

    Thanks for the kind words about my article on search marketing maturity models. It's definitely a work in progress -- as is search marketing -- so I look forward to hearing more of thoughts around it!

  • At 4:12 PM, Blogger Jody said…

    Thanks Scott, you are definitely on to something with the search marketing maturity model. While it is a work in progress, I think it would be great to have a sponsored and organic variation of the search marketing maturity model that contributes to a larger more encompassing model.

  • At 12:11 PM, Blogger willson said…

    Interesting… I might try some of this on my blog, too. It’s quite interesting how you sometimes stop being innovative and just go for an accepted solution without actually trying to improve it… you make a couple of good points.
    online marketing

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