SEMpdx Past President Kent Lewis gratefully agreed to answer some questions about his newest venture.

1) You have one successful search marketing agency…why start another one? What’s the relationship between Formic & Anvil?
Anvil Media provides search engine marketing (SEM) services to Fortune 1000 and equivalent clientele that have very specific and sophisticated SEM requirements. As much as we enjoy working with smaller businesses, Anvil is not structured to effectively help these companies. Rather than retool Anvil to help a broad spectrum of businesses, we felt it would be more appropriate to create, incubate and spin-off a separate SEM agency designed specifically to help small & local businesses.

2) How does Formic differ from other SEM firms?
Formic Media is the Scion or Nordstrom Rack of SEM, in that you’re getting good service and results at a lower cost. Formic isn’t competing with SEMpdx membership; rather, it’s competing with national service providers like SuperPages, QwestDex and others that are not able to offer the personalized service and caring that a smaller, Oregon-based company can.

3) How could a company with a low monthly budget for search (e.g. $1,000 per month) get a better ROI from an agency?
Research shows that companies large and small experience better performance & ROI from campaigns managed by SEM agencies (See any recent MarketingSherpa reports). At Formic, we want to extend that benefit to smaller companies that agencies are not typically able to service. At any time, we’re happy to transition ongoing SEO or PPC activities in-house, if that is what is in the best interest of our client.

4) The current economic slowdown doesn’t seem to be impacting the search industry much. Why is that?
When the economy compresses, marketing budgets get reviewed, and often, slashed. Whatever budget is remaining is typically allocated to measurable activities, which include direct response and search marketing. As such, we’ve seen 1 or 2 Anvil clients reduce or suspend search activities, while many more companies are lined up ready to allocate traditional advertising budget to search, in order to generate a better ROI and capture market share cheaply in the down market.

5) Some have postulated that search marketing today is more about business consulting than technical wizardry. What’s your reaction to that statement?
Any intelligent search marketer should be both a business consultant and technical wizard. On the other hand, technical prowess will always have its place, but will be commoditized by automated software and services. A solid grasp of business or marketing strategy will always be needed and appreciated. Perhaps I’ve been fortunate the past 12 years in search marketing, but it’s certainly not been my technical savvy that’s help me build successful SEM teams and agencies in the past.

6) How can people learn more about Formic?
Our full Web site is under design and scheduled for a mid-November launch. In the meantime, we have a placeholder page up: Feel free to contact us with questions, or sign up for our newsletter to receive an update when the new site is launched. For those looking to learn more about search marketing or Formic’s philosophy, I recommend visiting Anvil at

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