I spoke with Lee Odden yesterday, and got an update on things going on at the Search Engine Marketing Council (SEMC), which is a special interest group within the Direct Marketing Association. Direct Marketers are the folks that have mastered the traditional art of direct response marketing, using a variety of techniques, including e-mail, (snail) mail, telemarketing, and other related methods.
Direct Marketers are becoming increasingly interested in search engine marketing. The SEMC is working to provide educational programs to direct marketers to help them climb the curve more quickly. For example, the SEMC is sponsoring tracks at the upcoming DMA '07 Conference in Chicago in October. This conference will include substantial sessions on search, and also on social media.
The SEMC also offers a Search Engine Marketing Certification Program. This program provides direct marketers with training in organic search marketing and pay per click search marketing. Courses are broken into two levels, Level 1, and Level II. The Level 1 courses cover the basics of search marketing, and Level II gets more advanced. Once you complete the Level II course you are eligible to seek a certification.
One of the interesting things from my conversation with Lee was his pointing out how important it is for direct marketers to obtain a direct measurement of results. In the world of search marketing the way you get that accountability is through the use of web analytics. In fact, a growing understanding of web analytics is helping accelerate the direct marketing industry's engagement with search marketing.