US 2012 Roadshow – Interview with Gemma Birch
I met Gemma Birch, Marketing Manager at Webcertain when I was at the International Search Summit in New York. As an organiser of Search London and a keen interest in international SEO, I wanted to find out more about Webcertain and its conferences and training seminars.
How did you get into the field of online marketing?
I studied French and German at university and I wanted to work in Marketing using my languages. Webcertain were looking for people with language backgrounds so I applied for the job and was successful.
What has been your biggest achievement in the industry to date?
Organising the events. I worked on the first International Search Summit (ISS) in 2008 and it’s kept going. Now we have delivered 22 conferences so far. The second achievement to date was being asked to blog for State of Search, which was pretty exciting! My next post is the 13th of November, so please share it.
How do you keep ISS interesting?
We always try to get a mixture of the speakers we know before and new speakers too. We want to have a balance of new content and staple content. I contact these people through Twitter and Linkedin and research potential speakers and just email them.
What is the USP of Webcertain?
Webcertain handles 44 languages in house. We do not use external agencies or partners, all our team are search-trained native speakers.
How often do you run ISS?
I run ISS 6 times a year, but for 2012, there will be 7 as there is a new conference in Las Vegas in December. We normally have 4 in the United States, 2 in London and one in Munich.
How do you think the search market in the US differs from that in the UK?
It is not massively different, but biggest difference is that people target UK but in US they target by State and there are 50 states….What do you like the most about running ISS?
I love meeting a lot of different people, across different markets. I like the fact that I can travel and see other places and it’s a good feeling when I knowpeople have benefited from the sessions.
What is the hardest element about organising an event outside of the UK?
The hardest part is having access to good speakers. Now we are running 7 a year and therefore we want to keep it interesting and attract new speakers. It is hard to attract those to talk about international SEO because those with the best brand case studies are those who do not want to speak at the conference. Sometimes people cancel at the last minute, so getting people to commit and stick to presenting is very difficult.
How far in advance do you have to organise ISS?
I like to start finalising speakers and putting agenda 3 months before. We run ISS with SMX and therefore we use their venue and their dates.
What is the USP of the ISS school in Barcelona?
The International SEO School is an intensive and in depth training of all elements of international SEO, PPC and Search and Social. The sessions are all focused on managing international projects. The next International SEO School training sessions can be found on the website.
What do you see as the future of international search?
It can only get bigger as more companies realise they have to have a global presence. Companies are expanding more out of their domestic markets. We will continue to have 7 events per year as there is the demand for these conferences where people can learn about international search.