Andy Atkins-Krüger of Web Certain was announced as the group's president at its first formal meeting at Search Engine Strategies London earlier this month. Mike Grehan from Smart Interactive was named as vice president. Other executive committee members are listed here.
What are the next steps? The group has posted a program for the next year here, which covers things such as building a members knowledge base, providing legal advice for members and promoting the search marketing industry. A PDF download (here) provides more details on each area.
Below, I've pulled out some quotes from individual committee members heading up particular areas for from the report general, which I found particularly descriptive of planned activities:
Search Engine and Supplier Liaison
"I intend to bring together representatives of a selection of agencies who are members of the association ? and create a forum with each of the major engines to exchange opinions and views with the aim of improving the interaction between us to facilitate growth for the search engines and the agencies alike."
Building a web site knowledge-base for members
"I'm creating an editorial and research team which will coordinate the development of the web site, identifying the most important research to be undertaken and then facilitating its implementation. We will be working with research organisations to undertake the research."
Developing an approach to industry standards
"We have had some discussions with the British Standards Institute who approached us to see if we would be interested in laying down the foundations for BSI accreditation and believe this our best way forward. Setting standards for our industry will be difficult, but laying out the way that search marketing professionals should deal with their clients should be achievable and the BSI has had considerable experience even in the most difficult of terrain. We will, however, need to keep an eye on timescales and when this can be achieved."
Legal advice for members
"We know members face many challenges on the legal front including privacy, copyright, client contracts and click fraud. I?ll also look at professional indemnity which was suggested at the inaugural meeting. We may be able to provide a pack of templates for members ? or create a recommended list of lawyers or both."
Promoting the search marketing industry
"We cannot rest on our laurels ? the industry may be growing ? but we have to wise up in terms of presenting our case. I'll be taking the SMA cause to all the major conferences and exhibitions. I'll also be helping Andy to set up the PR operation for the SMA-UK."
Our approach will be to look at using existing certification routes or accreditation of training schemes ? rather than trying to create an in-house SMA training scheme."
We need the Government?s help in NOT regulating our industry so that it becomes commercially uncompetitive ? but also to encourage the Government to use and promote our services.
Membership and Association Marketing
"I will be concentrating on marketing materials needed to actively promote the association and ways in which our members can benefit from these to further promote themselves. So far we?ve had a volunteer offer to draft a Powerpoint to present the industry and SMA-UK to local groups around the country. I?ll also be compiling and cocoordinating the discounts suppliers offer to members of the SMA-UK."