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November 21, 2007

Women of Internet Marketing Wednesdays - Part 28

By Li Evans

Womenofinternetmarketing Happy Thanksgiving Eve!  Just in time for the holiday, I'm bringing you the 28th edition of the Women of Internet Marketing series.  This series spotlights the women of the Online Marketing Industry and their great accomplishments.  From SEO's to Affiliate Marketers, from Online PR gurus to PPC Mavens, we try to pull women from all areas of the industry so you can learn a bit more about them.

This week I have a treat, both women might not be as well know as some of our previous women, but through a referral and through a chance meeting during an interview, I was introduced to both of these very talented women.  Both are actually from my great state of Pennsylvania, but they live on opposite sides of PA (it's is a little wide!).  One of our women is quite experienced in Affiliate Marketing while the other is an accomplished SEO.  Today, let me introduce you to Martine Quinn and Michelle Sharp.

Martine Quinn
Martine_quinn Believe it or not, I got to meet Martine during an interview!  I was so impressed by her love of the search marketing, I knew whether I took the position or not, I had to eventually introduce all of you to her.  She's a dynamo, and really knows her stuff when it comes to affiliate marketing, ppc and search in general.

Martine has been in the industry for 6 years and is the Director of Interactive Marketing for GSI Commerce in King of Prussia, PA.  She handles a boat load of search related projects for GSI's clients which range from the NFL Shop to Linens' and Things.  Her work colleagues also have nothing but high praise for Martine, another reason why I knew I had to let all of you get to know her.  So, lets get to asking Martine all about what she does.

Q:  What brought you into the Search Marketing Industry?
A:  A job with Infospace (search sites included:  Dogpile, Metacrawler, Excite, Webcrawler).  I started out on the publisher side as an account manager for keyword, directory and network ad buys.  This is when advertiser’s campaigns consisted of 10 keywords on broad match at a $20 CPM!

Q:  Most successful industry accomplishment?
A:  When I joined GSI in 2004, we were just starting the interactive group and I was focused on developing our Paid Search and CSE practice.  I led the initiative that took us from 14 Partner* campaigns on Google to 25 partner* campaigns on Google, Yahoo, Findwhat/Miva, & ASK.  (*GSI calls our platform and agency clients, Partners)

Q:  Why do you love most about working this industry?
A:  The people and the pace

Q:  Do you think Affiliate Marketing gets a bad rep?
A:  Yes.  Unfortunately, certain activities associated with the affiliate industry get much more visibility than the entrepreneurial creativity that fuels successful affiliate sites and revenue to our partner’s web stores.  Its common for the CMO of billion $ retailer to know that affiliates tend to leak top secret Black Friday deals, but what they may not realize is that there are other affiliates building out social network plug-ins with ecommerce enabled pick lists.

Gsi_interactive_rgb Q:  Can you give us a brief description of what exactly GSI Commerce does?
A:  GSI Commerce is a leading outsourced e-commerce solution provider.  We supply end-to-end e-commerce solutions for approximately 80 retailers, branded manufacturers, media companies, and professional sports organizations.  We do the vast majority of our business here in the U.S., but we have a growing international business as well.  We also operate a full-service interactive agency called GSI Interactivesm, which provides marketing and design services to approximately 50 of our partners.  As a full service interactive agency, we manage advertising budgets across search, comparison shopping, affiliate, e-mail, and online advertising channels.

Q:  What's a typical day like for you at GSI?
A:  A typical day...hmm…what’s that mean;)  A typical day involves lots of meetings!  My team manages the relationships with the technology vendors that enable our marketing efforts (e.g., ChannelAdvisor, Linkshare) and the publisher sites that display the advertisements.  This includes managing and creating a standard tech integration, coordinating legal/financial processes, creating/ aggregating vendor and channel documentation on our wiki, and identifying new opportunities - typically segmented by Channel: search, shopping, e-mail, affiliate, online advertising and/or Vertical: mobile/ local, video, social. A day’s meeting schedule could look like this:

  • status meeting with our search and affiliate technology partners and publishers
  • status meetings with at least one person on my team – paid/ CSE manager, SEO manager, affiliate manager
  • project meeting about enhancements to the Google product Search Datafeed for our partner’s Web stores
  • meeting with a new widget ad type/ new shop-able video player
  • coordinating “lunch & learns” for the gsi interactive team where new publisher relationships, new technology/ tool enhancements are presented

Q:  What's the most challenging thing you have to do deal in your position as Director of Marketing Technology?
A:  Ensuring that agency offerings are compatible with our ecommerce platform - All the “pieces” are highly integrated at GSI, which is part of the reason retailers and brands partner with us for their e-commerce operations.

Q:  What changes in this industry have surprised you the most?
A:  Google’s ability to take over the world.

Q:  What advice would you give to a woman starting out in this industry?
A:  This space is young and ripe with opportunity.  It’s fascinating blend of technology and marketing.  If you are a multi-tasker who craves a constant state of learning, jump in!

Q:  Who's your favorite blogger to read?
A:  Wil Reynolds (local shout out!), Matt Cutts

Q:  What's the most challenging thing e-commerce sites have to deal with when it comes to PPC or Affiliate?
A:  PPC

  • keeping landing pages up to date when there are 50,000+ skus and constant changes to merchandising layouts SEO
  • maintaining consistency with keyword choice in content across product description writers, category page writers, & merchandisers adding new pages.

Affiliate

  • balancing brand protection and aggressive tactics

Q:  Do you think companies should be blogging?
A:  This is a tough one.  Yes, I do.  The trouble is most companies have way too many legal & PR restrictions to blog on a mass scale – giving up control is so scary that some very large retailers and brands get caught flogging rather than hand over the reigns to real bloggers.  I think starting out a blog focused on a niche portion of the business, run by a subject matter expert, targeted to a smaller audience is probably the way to start for larger companies out there.

Now it's time for some fun with Martine!

Q:  What's the most weirdest thing you've seen a client sell?
A:  The fan face wigs on NFLShop.com.  Those things take the whole game-day body/face-painting ritual to another level.

Q:  Andy Beal, Danny Sullivan or Bruce Clay?
A:  Danny Sullivan

Q:  You are trapped on a desert island - there are 4 other SEOs/SEMs/Affiliate Marketers with you, who are they are they and why?
A:  My co-workers – we need a vacation (even if its on a desert island);

  • Bill Sebald (SEO mg),
  • Brian Sannicandro (Search/ CSE mg),
  • Allison Fox (Affiliate mg),
  • and Mikkel deMib Svendsen for some flavor (I don’t know him but he seems fun!)

I have to say from personal experience, Mikkel is a lot of fun!  He can certainly make any situation interesting and usually laughter is involved!  Thank you Martine for sharing a bit about your self with the Search Marketing Gurus audience.

Now, let me introduce you to the very talented, Michelle Sharp from IMPAQT.

Michelle Sharp
Michelle_sharp Michelle Sharp is a Senior Account Manager for IMPAQT, based in Pittsburgh, PA.  She's also a gal after my own heart - but you'll see why later in the interview.  Michelle was introduced to me through a referral, and I'm really glad to be able to introduce all of you to her.

Michelle's been in the industry for about 4 years, but prior to jumping into Search, Michele worked in the Public Relations industry.  As many of us, she was looking for a change, and working in Search Marketing seemed to be her calling. Originally from Hershey, PA (yes that is land of wonderful chocolate, trust me it does exist!), moved from there to NYC and then to Pittsburgh.  She still misses the NYC shopping, as she told me, I don't think there's quite as many offerings in Steeltown as in the Big Apple.  So now, lets get to know Michelle a little more!

Q:  What brought you into the Search Marketing Industry?
A:  Prior to joining IMPAQT, I worked in NYC at a large PR agency for clients in the pharmaceutical industry. Having worked with numerous brand managers as my clients, I looked for a way to parlay that tough-love client experience into a position within a more dynamic industry. I needed a change and Search was the answer. It’s given me the opportunity to help so many different people in so many different industries!

Some of my family lives here in Pittsburgh, too, so I couldn’t resist. I do miss the NYC shopping though.

Q:  Most successful industry accomplishment?
A:  I’d have to say when I’m able to educate a client about SEO/SEM to the point where they can successfully convey it to their colleagues and management (on their own) and at the same time, help show our worth as their agency of record. And of course, when they get so pumped to see the fruits of our and their labor in the results we deliver to them, resulting in the growth of their business.

Q:  Why do you love most about working this industry?
A:  Its dynamic nature. There is never a day when I come into our office here in Pittsburgh and don’t have a new challenge to tackle, whether it’s just industry related, or a Paid or Organic specific conundrum. It also helps that we at IMPAQT are completely dedicated to knowledge sharing across our team. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into Matt’s office (our VP and General Counsel) to talk about a new approach or strategy I’m thinking of employing on a campaign, just to bounce it off of him and get his thoughts and opinions. I love the debate, too.

Q:  Do you think Search Marketers get a bad rep?
A:  Not really. I think the space is now seen as more sophisticated and critically necessary than it was in the past, so we don’t have to worry as much about being taken seriously when it comes to how we fit into a company’s overall marketing plan. More and more, we’re helping to shape what that plan will be!

Now, those Black-Hatters out there can surely taint our image, but at IMPAQT, we stick with providing our clients with only the most optimal, up-and-up recommendations. In the past, some have asked us to use a less-than-desirable strategy to quickly increase their rankings, but we just won’t do it.

Q:  Can you give us a brief description of what exactly IMPAQT does?
A:  As a leading Search Solutions Provider, IMPAQT helps clients substantially and consistently outsmart, outmaneuver and outperform their competition in the Search space. Founded in 1999, the company redefined Search Marketing and stays at the forefront of the industry with a combination of innovation, strategy, expert staff and analytics.  IMPAQT's offerings include:  Search Engine Optimization services, Paid Search Management, Search Education Services, Agency Partnerships, Search Analytics, Strategic Consulting, Customized Reporting, and Online/Offline Data Integration. The company currently services Fortune 1,000 corporations with data intensive Search Marketing needs in the B2B, CPG, Education, Finance, Insurance, Pharmaceutical, Retail, and Travel Industries.

Q:  What's a typical day like for you at IMPAQT?
A:  My typical day will involve anything from on-site client meetings or calls, data analysis and strategy forecasting sessions, participation in team improvement initiatives or help with Sales RFPs or meetings. I like to help the team in any way I can, so sometimes I’ll work on a campaign that has a particular short-term initiative or need, then shift to working on company-wide project like developing strategic considerations for our Standard Operating Procedures.

Q:  What's the most challenging thing you have to do deal in your position at IMPAQT?
A:  You can’t make everyone happy all the time. Getting a client to understand that when it comes to SEO, results can take time. On the Paid side of things, I’d say the most challenging, but also most exciting part to me, is finding the link between all marketing mediums, its performance, and capitalizing on it through Search.

Q:  What advice would you give to a woman starting out in this industry?
A:  Question everything and know that especially in this space, as with every other professional environment out there, it doesn’t matter how old you are, what gender you are, or how long you’ve been in the game, you have a chance to make an impact because it’s changing everyday.

Q:  Who's your favorite blogger to read?
A:  Ok, this is my downfall, please don’t judge. Bricks and Stones Celebrity Gossip. It’s horrible, I know, but hey, it could be worse…Perez Hilton! I’m also a big fan of Aaron Wall’s blog

Q:  Do you feel all companies should be blogging?
A:  If it’s valuable to the company and its users, certainly.

Q:  PPC, SEO or Affiliate?
A:  PPC and SEO together for a well-balanced marketing diet!

Q:  Link Buying - a necessity, over rated, complete hysteria?
A:  If possible, focus on gaining relevant, quality links the good ‘ol fashion way, but if there are sites out there that are pertinent to you and the only way for you to get onto those sites is by buying a link, then take the plunge. It’s definitely necessary sometimes, but don’t go hog wild, be selective.

And now, it's Michelle's turn for the silly questions!

Q:  What's the most bizarre thing you've seen a client rank for?
A:  “Sexy Halloween Costume”, you better believe it!

Q:  Cameron Olthius, Matt McGowan or Chris Winfield?
A:  Cameron Olthuis

Q:  You are in charge of recasting the Munsters Tv show with folks from the SEO/SEM industry, who would have fill the following characters?
A: 

  • Herman Munster: IMPAQT’s CEO, Richard Hagerty, by nature of his tall stature alone!
  • Lily Munster: tough one, Jennifer Laycock
  • Eddie (Their Son): Rand Fishkin, definitely
  • GrandPa: Danny Sullivan, the most obvious choice
  • Marilyn (their niece): Shari Thurrow
  • Spot the Pet Dragon that lived under the stairs: I don’t think they ever actually showed him, did they? Just flames and smoke coming out from under the stairs? That said, I’ll go with Google, they’re always heating things up!   

Q:  And just for kicks... just since I'm from Philly and you're from the other side of the state - Eagles or Steelers, Cheesesteaks or fries from the "O"  (is that even still around?), Pop or Soda?  :)
A:  Well, I’m actually from Hershey and grew up as a hard core Eagles fan, so this is a good question for me. While I appreciate the Steelers’ hard work ethic and no frills style, their amazing fans and that damn Terrible Towel, I’m gonna have to stick with my E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles, Eagles, Eagles!! I’m just hoping McNabb sticks around for a little while longer!

The O is definitely still around, I was just there a few weeks ago. What you have to do is make sure you get all the sauces or it’s just not the same. I believe they make the fries using peanut oil, and I’m pretty sure that and some magic dust makes them the best thing since sliced bread. But if I’m in Philly, and had to pick between Pat’s, Geno’s and Jim’s though? Definitely Jim’s….and a soda!

Wow, a Philly gal after my own heart. :)  I think DMac's gonna be in Philly at least till next year, but I wouldn't be surprised if he's on the train to Chicago after that (sad but, reality).  Ginos, Pat's and Jim's... hmm... now I'm hungry! Thanks Michele, it was a pleasure getting to know more about you and IMPAQT!

So that wraps up this edition of the Women in Internet Marketing Series.  I'm still trying to pull together an edition for next week, hopefully I can bring you another edition if it all works out!  Remember though, there will not be an edition for December 5th.  So until then, if you haven't read out past editions, check out the Women of Internet Marketing category here on Search Marketing Gurus.

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» SearchCap: The Day In Search, November 23, 2007 from Search Engine Land: News About Search Engines & Search Marketing
Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.... [Read More]

Comments

This is a great post,it certainly makes a good point with the step by step information.Thank you for sharing.

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