It’s been a busy couple of weeks, and a little too quiet on the blog front. Sorry about that. I was in Richmond last week for an extremely productive training session and on-site meeting with a client. I always enjoy heading back down south to get away from winter in Ann Arbor and visit friends and family, especially because the temperature topped 70 degrees for half the week.
While I was there I had the opportunity to give a presentation on Search Engine Marketing to the VCU Adcenter Brand Management class taught by Kelly Carson from DuPont. I teamed up with my former boss from CarMax and we set out to see if we could teach the students at the nation’s premier post-graduate advertising program a thing or two about SEM. It was like a reunion of sorts since all of us are veterans of The Martin Agency in Richmond, which both supports and benefits from the top-shelf school.
The challenge with this type of presentation is to balance higher-level marketing concepts with tactical information about Pay Per Clicks and Search Engine Optimization so that future Brand Managers will understand SEM’s capabilities when they are out in the real world of marketing and advertising. They probably won’t be the ones managing PPC campaigns or implementing SEO but they need to know how to work with the people that are.
Our presentation was a mix of internet marketing 101, SEM 101 and our experiences and results from years working on carmax.com SEO and PPC. I removed about 10 slides with carmax.com references and examples but the meat of the presentation is embedded here, thanks to Google Presentations. If anything seems incomplete or out of context, it’s probably because we voiced over most of the best stuff.
We were scheduled to speak for 90 minutes but ended up on stage for over 2 hours answering questions and drawing examples, charts and graphs on the whiteboard. The students seemed very engaged and asked extremely intelligent and targeted questions, all of which made us feel like they were picking up what we were laying down. I think this type of presentation is extremely valuable for marketers at every level. SEM is already a “must have” in any marketing plan and is on the verge of becoming a commodity service just like online media planning and buying is now. Don’t be surprised to see that theme explored in a future post.
You might be wondering what an advertising school looks like. Well, it looks a lot like an advertising agency. I didn’t have too much time to tour the entire building, but what I did see really impressed me. VCU just completed a new building for the Adcenter and it is very cool. Here are some highlights:
|A giant poured concrete table in the cafeteria
|A large open space with configurable ceilings, walls and furniture serves many purposes
|A cool staircase is a space that used to be outdoors but is now a covered walkway
|And of course, any ad agency needs table sports! This one is courtesy of Yahoo!|