Lee Odden

Minnesota Search Marketing Association

Lee Odden     SEMPO

Online Marketing Blog is fortunate to have readers all over the U.S. and world wide, but this post is geared towards search marketers here in Minnesota and the upper Midwest. Although, it would be great to hear opinions from others that have been in a similar situation as what’s described here.

There’s been a bit of buzz over the past year, very slight at first, and recently it’s been picking up around the idea that the midwest or Minnesota at least, needs a dedicated search marketing association. I know there are many, many super talented, experienced SEOs as well as paid search pros that have either kept their networking and collaboration to very small, tight circles or rely on national events and the connections that technology has brought through IM, social network sites and the ever unproductive microblogging formats like Twitter, to stay connected, collaborate, network and share.

At the same time, there are also plenty of people that are new (less than 2 years) to the field that are looking for more professional collaboration opportunities that are local. Add all the related industry professionals in advertising, PR, web development and interactive that can influence, benefit from or affect a client’s search marketing success and it would seem there may be good reason to have a geographically located and operated entity that can support the needs of furthering SEM interests.

The local interactive marketing association (MIMA) does a great job and has hit record numbers of members and quality of educational programming the past few years, but there are so many interest areas within interactive it would be difficult to drill down deeply into something like search when there are numerous other disciplines in need of attention such as web design, email, advertising, user experience and many others.

Let’s face it, the budgets allocated to search are more than significant enough to pay attention to. SEMPO reported in their “State of Search Marketing” survey results that $9.6 billion was spent on search marketing in 2006 and that figure is estimated to hit $18.6 billion in the next 5 years.

“Wow” is right.

Speaking of SEMPO, I know they’re doing some testing at the regional level and if that pans out, they might start to launch more in other regions. I think that rather than starting something from scratch as the successful SEM groups in Dallas/Ft Worth, New England and Portland have done, it might be a very desirable option to hook up with a search marketing organization that already has the infrastructure and processes down, not to mention national exposure.

But that’s jumping ahead a bit because I am first curious about opinions on whether a regional organization is needed. It would be interesting to know if the needs of upper Midwest search marketers are being met with current organizations and national associations.

Does Minnesota need a regional search marketing association?

  • Yes (71%, 15 Votes)
  • No (19%, 4 Votes)
  • Maybe - see my comments (10%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 21

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he’s the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he’s likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.