Lessons from a search marketer of the year
Every day, paid search marketers are developing strategies, managing campaigns, communicating with stakeholders and optimizing for ever-better results. But what sets the best search marketers apart from the rest?
Felicia Delveccio, director of digital media at DAC Group and Search Engine Land Award search marketer of the year along with Andrew Cooper of Metric Theory, says it’s largely about relationships. But it’s certainly more than that. In Delveccio’s case, she listens closely to her enterprise client, is always looking for new opportunities and is also able to take a long-view approach. She systematically refocused her enterprise client’s programs around the customer to achieve better results — at scale.
At DAC Group, Delveccio leads the Bridgestone account team and works with Bridgestone’s internal team on a daily basis. Over the last two years she aligned Bridgestone’s disparate programs across its brands and stores under one integrated “enterprise-to-local SEM strategy.”
Taking the long-view to focus on the customer
The singular strategy is centered around customer intent. Working with Bridgestone, Delveccio and her team identified which brand, landing page content, ad copy, and keywords best aligned to customer intent at each stage of the journey. They then restructured the accounts based on this intent mapping and designated “best-fit” geographies for specific Bridgestone brands.
The complex restructuring took more than 18 months to complete. Delveccio now coordinates SEM activitieses across more than 75 search accounts, which comprise “Bridgestone” as a whole.
Media spend across the program is allocated based on cost and performance goals. Success is measured by the KPIs that best demonstrate the success of each intended action for each brand and part of the program.
Among the many success indicators: The new strategy delivered a 59% increase in revenue year over year even as spend decreased by 14% overall. Added focus on mobile and local search drove a 971% increase in store visits on a 150% increase in spend.
Beyond checking off the boxes
“I think what makes a really great client-agency relationship is trust,” Delveccio told Search Engine Land. “It’s about doing what’s best for the client, not what’s best for the agency. . . . The team is really passionate and not just about performance or the numbers, but about how we’re moving the client’s business.”
“We never look at a program as checking off boxes. Yes, we have timelines throughout the year that we follow, but it’s about making new boxes as we research, explore new programs, features and goals. It’s about challenging the client to think about new opportunities as well.”
Advice for marketers getting started
Delveccio has been working in search marketing for 12 years and with DAC Group for nearly five years. “She’s a strategic thinker who not only stays on top of all the latest betas, changes, and offerings within SEM, but also smartly builds them into her strategies,” her team wrote.
I asked her what she’d say to someone just getting started in the search industry. “Don’t get discouraged when you get overwhelmed,” she said. “If you keep working and have the right mentality to grow and develop, you can master the skills. But at the core, it’s about understanding what you’re doing is working toward the businesses’ goals — understanding the big picture and how you fit in it. We aren’t just thinking about paid search specifically, we think of it as a discipline that’s part of a greater holistic media strategy.”
Delveccio’s off-the-cuff acceptance speech at this year’s Search Engine Land Awards hit at the heart of the spirit of the search marketer of the year award, which aims to recognize marketers who may not be “household” names in the industry, but they are thought leaders and role models in their companies and to their clients and are doing great work that exemplifies the best of what’s happening in search today. Delveccio also proves that perseverance pays off.
Delveccio’s speech has been lightly edited:
“Thank you so much. Thank you, Search Engine Land.
I just want to thank my team at DAC. I would not be here
with out them. Someone said it before, but people really matter, and it means so
much to me to work with people who have so much passion for this industry and
share the passion I have for this industry as well. I’d also like to thank
Bridgestone, our fantastic client. They make this work really fun and exciting
to do every single day.
I’ve been in this industry for maybe 12 years now, and I’ve had people tell me that I’m not a leader, I can’t be a leader, that maybe I’m not cut out for this industry. And every time somebody said that to me it made me work harder and put more into this because I believe in myself. This just means so much to me. I have a five-year-old daughter and winning this award just proves to her that if you put your mind to anything you can do anything that you really care about. Thank you so much, and I just want to say thank you to my husband who is here with me tonight for all of your support. I love you, thanks.”