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Celebrated Partner Spotlight: SearchLab Digital

Text Microsoft Advertising Partner Celebration, Recognizing our Partner Tier written over a blue background.

Have you ever wondered what makes a Microsoft Advertising Celebrated Partner special? How they utilize Microsoft Advertising to drive business and reach new customers, or what their company culture and vision looks like? We caught up with SearchLab Digital, our US Celebrated Partner for April 2022 and Global Emerging Partner of the Year, to get an inside look at the amazing work that earned them this exclusive title in the first place!

Celebrating our partners is an exclusive benefit of the Microsoft Advertising Partner Program, where we highlight the hard work our partners have accomplished throughout the year.

You could be a Celebrated Partner too—apply to enroll in the Microsoft Advertising Partner Program for a chance to become a Celebrated Partner when our next round of nominations opens in September of 2022.

SearchLab’s logo.

We had the opportunity to interview the Director of Paid Media at SearchLab Digital, Mark Irvine. SearchLab is our April 2022 US Microsoft Advertising Celebrated Partner and Global Emerging Partner of the Year.

Q: Tell us a little about SearchLab Digital—history, current size, audience, and business objectives.

A: “SearchLab was founded in 2017 by Mark Bealin. Initially, Mark's moonlighting gig to earn extra money to support a growing family, SearchLab quickly grew into a family of its own. Throughout the years, SearchLab has always had a passion for helping local small and medium businesses get found online. As the team grew, so did our capabilities to achieve and support that passion.

The team quickly became experts in local SEO, Google paid search ads, display, video, social, and then most recently Microsoft Search and Audience Ads. As we've grown, we've attracted the top talent in the industry, and we are proud to frequently share our experience with the industry on countless blogs, videos, webinars, podcasts, and at events and conferences around the world. Today, SearchLab manages both small and medium businesses' campaigns directly as well as coach and consult with many more businesses and agencies to help them improve their campaigns themselves. SearchLab is a proud partner to over 200 businesses across the globe and is home to 40 of the industry's top digital experts.”

Q: What’s SearchLab Digital’s vision, mission, or specialization?

A: “SearchLab's mission is to cultivate long-term mutually beneficial relationships. Whether that's with our clients, our team, our partners, or with the industry at large—we know that when we grow together, we grow better.

That guiding mission is reflected in our company’s core values—to have integrity in all that we do, hold ourselves to the highest level of accountability, endlessly pursue exceptional results, have a thirst for learning and self-improvement, and nurture a positive, supportive, and collaborative environment for other passionate professionals.”

Q: What product features offered by Microsoft Advertising do you rely on the most to achieve your vision?

A: “Microsoft Advertising has several unique formats and features that aren't available on the other ad platforms. Microsoft's Auto Marketplace and Automotive Ads offer unique and flexible reach across search and native for dealerships with constantly changing inventory on the lot. Beyond their new vertical-specific ad types, Microsoft Advertising's unique Multimedia Ads and Marketing with Purpose Attributes allow us to highlight our clients' brands, images, and values on the search engine results page.”

Q: How has Microsoft Advertising been able to help you reach new customers and grow your business?

A: “Bing and its wide-reaching search partners are under-sung heroes for many businesses to help us serve our vision to help businesses get found online. Regardless of their industry, all small and medium businesses share two challenges: Finding new customers and doing so with a limited marketing budget. To help our customers find new customers online, we know we need to expose them to new audiences searching for their products and services. It's incredible to see the lift in customers that a client will see from day one once they begin reaching new customers across Microsoft's search networks. Combined with the lower costs of Microsoft Advertising to other popular ad networks, businesses can shift a smaller fraction of their budget for larger results.”

Q: What impact on your business have you been able to drive with Microsoft Advertising?

A: “Our partners at Microsoft Advertising have been omnipresent in the growth of SearchLab. Not only are they invested in our client's success in launching and optimizing their campaigns on Microsoft Advertising, but the team also regularly goes above and beyond to provide training for our consultants on new marketing tactics, building relationships with clients, and even coaching them for growth in their career and leadership. My partners at Microsoft Advertising share our goals and values and are always quick to collaborate with us in this ever-changing environment.”

Q: How does SearchLab Digital embody inclusivity and giving?

A: “Our team understands that to find new and diverse customers for our clients, their marketing needs to be agile and speak to different people, personas, and perspectives. As the SearchLab team grows across North America, we've embraced the diversity of a team that spans across different time zones, backgrounds, and experiences. We believe that the combination of perspectives helps us both deliver better results for our clients and pushes everyone on the team to grow as marketers. Across the organization, we regularly bring together teams of all levels to review our clients' work together and embrace different perspectives from each other. We champion features such as Responsive Search Ads and Marketing with Purpose Business Attributes in our clients' ads to speak to our clients' values and needs. We've partnered with several non-profits to onboard and find success with Microsoft's new Ads for Social Impact program as well as Google's ad grants.

SearchLab is proud to participate in non-profit professional organizations in the search and automotive industry across the country. Our founder, Mark Bealin, also hosts a weekly podcast called Suds & Search, where he uses his platform to amplify the voices of emerging marketers and interview them to understand their different experiences and perspectives on the changing digital landscape.”

Q: How have you adapted to recent changes in consumer trends brought about by COVID-19?

A: “The one constant of the past 2+ years has been change. With little notice, consumer behaviors, searches, or supply chains can be upended, and our best-performing campaigns of yesteryear are quickly outdated. It's more important than ever to have your campaigns remain agile. The formulated campaign templates, rigid structures, and restrictive keywords are increasingly less able to adjust to a rapid shift in today's online market. Uncertainty can be intimidating, but we're more prepared than ever with machine learning powered by Smart Bidding and responsive ad formats that can quickly adjust to these shifts in behavior across massive campaigns.

As marketers, we've found success in this crazy time by using our empathy to understand our customers' needs, incorporating that humanity into our messaging, and leveraging these new automation tools to make sure the right user sees these messages at the right time.”

Q: Has your digital marketing strategy changed since the pandemic?

A: “Over the past years, we've seen some reversal of the mobile-first trend that had dominated the late 2010s. As more kitchens, bedrooms, and living rooms double as the home office and classroom, we're seeing a solid reemergence of the desktop and laptop searcher. And as the physical lines between work and personal life disappear in this new normal, so do their personal and professional online activity. Consumers are increasingly likely to browse throughout the weekday for their next personal vacation, home service, or shopping purchase on their work desktop—and professional life doesn't end at 5pm at home either. For both B2B and B2C advertisers, it's worth revisiting some of their past targeting strategies in their campaigns to adjust for this new age of searching.”

The SearchLab team poses for a photo in their office.

Thank you to Mark Irvine and the SearchLab Digital team for showing us how their drive for results, in combination with Microsoft Advertising, helps customers succeed in a rapidly changing digital marketplace! Don’t miss out on any of our other spotlighted celebrated partners in Canada, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand, as well as upcoming events for partners on every tier.

If you haven’t enrolled in the Microsoft Advertising Partner Program yet, make sure that you apply at microsoftadvertisingpartners.com so you’re eligible for the next round.

If you’re an enrolled partner, stay connected with us and up to speed on all things partner-related by joining the Microsoft Advertising Partner Community on LinkedIn.

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