In my 8 years doing search marketing, I’ve seen our space evolve from a little cottage industry of web geeks to a legitimate line item in the marketing budgets of most advertisers. It’s been an exciting ride and the ad community has become much more aware of the value of search – whether it is used to generate sales, increase brand engagement or as a research tool. I may be a bit naïve, but I really did feel like most advertisers were familiar with search marketing (whether or not they took action) and appreciated the value it offers. I felt like this until… I saw this billboard off the 405 freeway heading to a wedding in Huntington Beach: My first reaction was excitement and affirmation that our industry is finally here to stay. What a great use of search marketing! 2012, an upcoming blockbuster movie starring John Cusack, Amanda Peet and Danny Glover, is said to have a $200MM budget. Clearly Sony is expecting this movie to be a big hit. So you could imagine my excitement when I found that not only has the entertainment community embraced search, but a company like Sony was actively encouraging users to do research about this film by way of search. After my moment of exhilaration, I did the following 2 things –
- Did a search on my iphone for “2012” while I was sitting in traffic (yes, I know, texting is against the law in CA). FAIL!
- Once I got home, I did a search on my laptop for “2012”. FAIL!
- Search can work extremely well to bridge the gap between offline promotions and online engagement. It makes it very easy for users to learn more about the product and gives advertisers a great research tool to measure the effectiveness of their offline promotions.
- This only works if you allocate enough time and thought (and budget) to close the loop. If you do not show up when searchers are looking for you, you’ve failed. Plain and simple.