Yahoo Search Marketing Launch Event

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Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the Yahoo Search Marketing (YSM)
launch at Kai Lounge and dinner afterwards.
Now I’ll be the first person to say that YSM have the work cut out for them.
Google is a 500 lb gorilla that earned a dominant piece of market share by
doing a lot of things right. 

In the past YSM or its predecessor Overture had
account management that ranged from poor with gusts to downright awful.
Having said that, they have assembled a pretty strong team in Canada, of which
a few I know and respect a lot.  No more servicing Canadian clients out the
United States – which is definitely a good thing.
The YSM Canada team are determined to win Canadian business.  And everyone
deserves a second chance.  And at a minimum, competition is a good thing as it
will keep the folks at Google and Microsoft on their toes.  Which can only be
good for clients and the search engine business in general.

At the YSM launch event, I got to meet some old friends and make new ones.  The
presentation on the future growth of search marketing in Canada indicated
things were rather promising.  One daring prognostication was that total online
advertising in Canada would exceed $1Billion in 2007.  Of which, search engine
marketing would represent a significant chunk.

Overall, there was some interesting facts/figures in the presentation and it
was a definite improvement over the last YSM event a few months ago where the
speeches seemed to go a wee bit too long.  (Note to self #1: If my presentation
is over 5 minutes make sure the audience can drink, sit down or do both during
the presentation.  Making people stand up for a long periods of time = bad.)

And the folks at YSM are too humble to state this but their team and event
management company deserve some props.  The launch was originally scheduled at
the Ultra Supper Club but was double-booked and YSM got booted with 4 days
notice.   As someone remarked, once the YSM lawyers are done with the Ultra
Supper Club, it may very well be rebranded as the Yahoo! Ultra Supper Club.
(Note to self #2: Don’t ever book an event with the Ultra Supper Club)

If you have ever worked in event management, you know how tough it can be.  So
in 96 hours, they not only found a great alternative venue but made sure that
each invitee was personally called and emailed to advise of the location
change.  On top of that, they had someone wait at the old location in case
clients showed up, armed with taxi chits.  Sure enough two invitees did show up
at the old location and they were redirected to the new location.
Lastly, at the end of the dinner, they provided taxi chits for everyone.  To me
that is a sign of real professionalism especially when people have had a few
too many soda pops to drink.  (Note to self #3:  Taxi chits look good and also
reduce liability in the event an invitee gets into a drinking and driving
accident.)

There is no question that the YSM performance will speak for itself via the
results.  That will be the deciding factor.  But if their business can react so
quickly in the face of adversity then the future for YSM in Canada may be very
promising indeed.

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