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SEARCH MARKETING: Sensational search

To date, B2B marketers have been relatively restrained in their take up of search engine marketing. There are though, signs that this is changing as they begin to recognise the potential benefits. As more and more new technologies make search engine marketing (SEM) ever more effective, this is no longer a technique that the serious B2B marketer can ignore.

Andy Atkin-Kruger, president of the Search Marketing Association, says, "Search engine marketing is ideal for B2B marketers, it allows small niche companies to have a wide geographical reach. It provides companies with prospects who are actively looking to buy, and it offers clear measures of return on investment."

Most agencies report a significant increase in interest and spend levels from B2B marketers, and this appears to be supported by recent research. According to a September report from Forrester Research, the past 12 months have seen a 57 per cent growth in the SEM market, and SEM has so far accounted for 66 per cent of online spend in 2005, compared to 53 per cent in 2004. Similarly, according to data from MarketingSherpa and Merrill Lynch, total spending on SEM in the US has risen 177 per cent over the last 12 months.