shorebreak - 6:00 pm on Sep 6, 2010 (gmt 0)
My favorite topic, even still despite the fact I'm no longer in SEM sales.
mkelly7777 - Two things. First, in 8 years of talking to hundreds of 6-7 figure/mo spenders & up on PPC, I've only on the rarest, rarest of occasions seen ones who were doing just fine with Excel, or AdWords Editor as their primary SEM tool; sounds like you recognize its limitations, but it's worth noting that exceedingly few agencies handle SEM reporting/mgmt that way.
Second, generally when an entire class of vendors price in a way that's at odds with your way of doing business, it's your way of doing business that is off. I don't believe I know of a single SEM tool vendor who prices on a fixed monthly fee basis. The rest of the advertising world works in a way where fees are proportional to spend being managed, so why should SEM be any different?