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Even if a company needs to slash ad spending, its Web site will require support to maintain an online presence. Hallerman said search is an essential tool for driving traffic to the company's site--with showing up in a search query becoming as vital as having the site in the first place. In that light, search marketing--both paid ads and search engine optimization (SEO)--is a fixed cost of doing business.
The ability to track back performance will send more marketing dollars into search than any other form of advertising media, according to David Hallerman, senior analyst at eMarketer. "Nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM," he said, taking a phrase from the 1970s and 1980s. "Today's IBM is Google."
A reduction in display ad spending also can ambush search spending. Since display ads help feed both search queries and clicks, fewer display placements could result in fewer successful search-based sales
Search ads are like direct-response print ads: They may be great for promotions, acquiring leads, and other short-term tactical efforts, but they aren't a substitute for awareness and brand-building advertising. Let's take Widgetco hemp-powered cars as a hypothetical example. Widgetco display ads sell the idea that Widgetco hemp-powered cars reduce dependence on foreign oil and create "happy smog" instead of unwelcome air pollution; search ads help Widgetco dealers attract tire-kickers with deals and incentives that will help move cars off the lot. Both types of advertising are necessary, because prospects won't be searching on "Widgetco" or "hemp-powered cars" unless they're aware of the Widgetco brand or the hemp-powered car concept.
- Big companies will use a combination of display and search ads, taking money from traditional media to fund their online efforts;
- Small businesses will continue to use search ads as they've done in the past: as the equivalent of direct-response ads and an alternative to dealer direct mail.
It is folly to cut back when times are at their most competitive; in fact, the right thing to do is to promote more. The problem comes when the budget is slashed, which is understandable in tough economic times.
Businesses need to be savvier, and need to maximize their bang-for-buck. If anything SEM has a greater role to play, as it can be extremely cost effective.
Hallerman said search is an essential tool for driving traffic to the company's site--with showing up in a search query becoming as vital as having the site in the first place. In that light, search marketing--both paid ads and search engine optimization (SEO)--is a fixed cost of doing business.
I certainly would not call paid ads or marketing expenditures via the internet in general a, “fixed cost of doing business”. Yes it should be the last expense cut as it’s so much more measurable relative to other traditional marketing dollars spent, but comparing it to electrical, heat and rent is not an accurate portrayal of its role, and its vulnerabilities.
If anything SEM has a greater role to play, as it can be extremely cost effective.
Agreed, and in particular spending should continue to ensure a site is mechanically sound and “optimized” so it can be readily found and present well in the results. Abandoning that would be foolish.
However, believing there won’t be cut backs, and companies spending less would be optimistic. The pinch will be felt in many sectors, and actions during difficult economic times often are not rational, but born from frustration and fear.
How many web marketers thought the affiliate credit card feast would suffer a major contraction six months ago?
If the internet was the Indy 500 many companies are just realizing that they can't bring 1980 technology to today's races and expect to win. Of cource they may fancy themselves Indy drivers but the racecar is still what wins the race and the pit crew needs to know SEO else they might build you a very beautiful 10 ton brick and call it a champ.
Somehow I don't think I'm alone in feeling like that article is stating facts that these companies should have known LONG before times got tough. I'm already seeing a lot of scammers and false promise makers getting in line to take these companies money so the REAL challenge moving forward will be to find truly talented SEO experts and not self professed pros.
I LOVE that I can still show off my SEO skills by ranking ahead of a site that paid 10's of thousands of dollars on SEO experts, it goes to show that they hired the wrong outfit. SEO experts who truly know their stuff can earn business simply by beating the competitions results... now THAT is pure competition.
It raises the question though - should a good SEO'er even be working for other companies... or for himself/herself? If you can beat em, why join em ?