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Question: How did you find your way to search marketing? Answer: When Goto.com first started, I was fascinated by the business model and began testing out paid search when I was the Product Marketing Manager at EarthLink for the Home Networking/Broadband team. From there I was so intrigued about its potential that I went to work at Overture, which soon became part of Yahoo. When I was at Overture, I helped build out and market the first analytics products that we offered to advertisers to understand how the keywords they were buying converted into sales and leads. Ever since then I have been hooked. [NOTE: I could go on forever here as I have bought, sold and optimized search with stops at an e-commerce incubator, CJ Search, PriceRunner, Viking River Cruises and Search123.] [caption id="attachment_9809" align="alignleft" width="160" caption="Mike Solomon"][/caption] Q: What industry developments or trends do you find exciting at the moment? A: This is a very interesting time in the search business as there are so many developments that are impacting what we do on a daily basis. Social media and mobile are the obvious two; and mobile is incredibly interesting because how and where people are searching are impacting user’s search intent. It is one thing to do a search for “60 inch HDTV” from your home computer, but if you are doing the same search on your mobile device in the middle of an electronics store, I might want to change the message I am sending to you. I think tablets will be another seismic shift in our industry over the coming years that will once again force us to re-think how technology devices impact search intent. Q: The last several years have been heralded as “the year of mobile marketing.” Is 2011 finally going to live up to our expectations? Why? A: There are two reasons that support 2011 as the year of mobile. First, smartphone penetration has now climbed to over 25% of mobile phones, which means we have reached critical mass. Second, there are now more smartphones and tablets sold each month than personal computers. These trends mean there is a significant shift in user behavior and mobile is now worth paying attention to. It is still at the point that early adopters can find traffic and conversions at below market rates while establishing account history with the search engines. Q: Is mobile marketing merely a trend, or should marketers start incorporating mobile into their larger search marketing strategies? A: Mobile marketing is here to stay as the installed base of smartphones is only going to increase. Marketers cannot ignore mobile and for those that act quickly, there is an opportunity to get out in front of your competition and gobble up market share. There are many options facing marketers when it comes to converting mobile traffic and it really depends on the goals and the business model. Q: On a non-mobile note, what are you interests outside of the office? A: Well I live and breathe what I do so I am very plugged into everything that our industry has to offer from mobile (and my iPhone) to Facebook to Foursquare to the latest app that I have downloaded. But beyond online marketing I love spending time with family, playing, watching or now coaching sports, and when I get the time I still love to watch a great movie on the big screen. In May I am going to dip my toes into the muddy waters of endurance sports when I compete in the Tough Mudder event in Vermont: http://toughmudder.com/. Register now for our March 30 webinar with the American Marketing Association in which Mike will review our best practices for mobile paid search.