One of the biggest problems faced by businesses today is the inefficient collaboration between marketing and sales teams.  So when it comes to Search Engine Marketing – who owns it?

By the name of the activity itself, most would say the marketing team owns it.  If your company is still living in the dark ages (2005), IT likely owns it.  However, it would also make sense – in fact, it may make more sense – for the sales team to own it.

Of course it depends on your business and what the goals of your SEM efforts are, but I submit – a company’s website and their Search Marketing efforts should be an equal collaboration between each of these departments:

1. IT
2. Marketing
3. Sales

Here’s why:

Unless your entire web-side business (including analytics) is hosted elsewhere, you have to have some IT ownership.  Someone needs to be the superstar that keeps the site running, ensuring analytics is reporting accurately, and guaranteeing appropriate security and backup measures are in place and working.

If you have a marketing department – they, and only they, should ever touch the messaging of your SEM efforts.  You want to be sure the corporate brand is not sacrificed for a sales-pitch or an easy way out IT solution.   You also want to be sure that appropriate audience and market research is conducted before implementing a campaign.
 
And finally, it seems obvious that if the site is build to sell, or drive leads, there should be significant sales department involvement as well.  They should have say in how sales are directed, handled, and reported.  They should also be included in the sales process on the site.  There are specific offline sales strategies that often work online as well – these should be used to increase conversions.

In the end, the executive team should be looking to each department to fill their respective roles in the online market place – just as they do offline.