Christine da Silva is the Head of Search for Neo@Ogilvy in South Africa. She has extensive experience in the international markets including the Unites States, Europe, The United Kingdom, and South Africa. She has also been at the head of SEO divisions of three well renowned Search Marketing companies, prior to starting her own consultancy, AlterSage. Christine successfully managed AlterSage for four years before it merged with Ogilvy’s Neo division. She took some time to chat with Heavy Chef and share some important elements concerning international marketing.
What does your role at Neo@Ogilvy entail?
My title is Head of Search, which means that I manage specifically, organic and paid search; and social, as it relates to Search, for Neo. In a nutshell my role can be described as educator, consultant and strategist; both for my team and our clients. Campaign and channel strategy comprises of ensuring that our client’s goals are met by matching them with the most appropriate channels, tracking and following through to ensure ROI is gained.
We know you also specialize in SEM and Usability. How do you incorporate your SEM and Usability skills into your marketing strategy?
They are part and parcel of the same thing. You can’t have a great campaign, but a shocking website to send people to. The same as having a wonderful website, but not employing any marketing campaigns. The nitty gritty is that we look closely at analytics and watch how visitors move through a website. From the very words that sent them there, such as search engines, to which pages they look at and what actions they take. If their actions do not match our intent for them, we change the features, such as design or content of the site, to ensure we make the path easier for them to perform our objectives.
What would you say are the top three lessons you have learned throughout your international experience regarding online marketing?
Whether internationally or locally, the lessons remain the same. Firstly, transparency with clients and their expectations. Secondly, content is king. Lastly, timing is everything.
In your opinion, what are the greatest differences when doing online marketing for South Africa versus international countries?
Localisation of content. Adapt your copy to the voice of your target market. For Angola as an example, we would also create content in Portuguese. Our search engine result pages are not yet as competitive per industry as internationally, therefore there are still many opportunities in our SERPs to perform well. The reason being that internationally, search is considered a must have, rather than a nice to have.
Education. Every search campaign still requires heavy sales, ITO advantages it may bring to clients, as well as handholding and guidance throughout the campaign. Internationally, Search is part of the marketing mix as a standard.
Who do you admire in your industry, or see as a great example for doing online marketing strategy well?
Matt Cutts, chief engineer at Google, for his passion. Danny Sullivan. And anyone that can see the big picture of how channels should be integrated, not only digitally, but through the line.
Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with us Christine. Follow Christine on Twitter here.
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