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Search Marketing & American Idol

How will your marketing campaigns be judged in 2009?

Yep, the economy is bad.  There is no way to sugarcoat it.  Sure, it has impacted some industries and areas more than others.  But even if it hasn’t caused a serious downturn in your market, geographic area, or your business in particular, I’d argue that fiscal caution reigns supreme at the moment.

But what does that have to do with American Idol?

Every marketing spend out there is currently being judged by the corporate version of American Idol’s Randy Jackson (as VP of Business Development) , Simon Cowel (CEO/CFO), and Paula Abdul (VP of Marketing) and new exec Kara DioGuardia (VP of Technology).  Think of this audience.  They are in your meetings.  They decide whether you live or die (at least from a project standpoint).  In a good economy, Randy (Biz Dev) is given enough rope to risk new products and experiment with new business channels.  “Yo Dawwg, I’m gonna roll with your new Facebook-but-for-lawyers-website-thing.  It could be HUUUGE!” Paula (Marketing) can argue that a new emotionally charged TV campaign will have a big impact. “Honey, it’ll be great.  Soccer Moms all over the country will be calling in to sign-up. “Kara (Technology) will be allowed to pursue the latest and greatest tech solution to save the day.  That’s all fine and dandy in a good economy.  Yes, it’s still evaluated and put to discussion.  But it’s not quite as tough.  In a bad economy, people want a sure thing.  And the final (and sometimes only) vote goes to Simon (CEO/CFO). And guess what’s he going to look at?  Yep, the ROI. What would Simon say about your marketing campaign?

Hopefully, he wouldn’t be this harsh

Search Engine Marketing (both SEO & PPC) Continue to Provide ROI

Fortunately, for search engine marketers, ROI can be easy calculate for the Simon’s of the business world.  In fact, a recent article from Enquiro discusses how search engine marketing (primarily from Google’s perspective) is still growing despite poor market conditions.  Here’s an excerpt:

Despite one of the worst economic years in recent memory, Google showed 23% growth in revenues. During the same time period every other economic metric went into free fall. Consumer confidence plunged to its lowest levels ever. Retails sales and online sales both hit the skids. Let’s not even talk about home sales. The Dow Jones is down 40% in the past year. The economy didn’t just slow down. It screeched to a halt. But in this same time, search kept plugging through without a hiccup. Did the astronomical growth continue? No, but 23% is pretty damn good in anyone’s books.

The article then went on to say:

So, when we hit bottom and start climbing out of this economic black hole, Search will have consolidated its position as the most accountable of marketing channels. It will form the basis of a new marketing model: consumer driven, immediate, measurable, effective, interactive.

Search Engine Marketing is consumer driven, measurable, & effective.

A completely non-scientific inquiry search engine marketing professionals (myself and people I know and trust in the industry) has shown that we are busier than we have ever been. A big part is due to our unique ability to prove that we are improving business for our clients.  It’s not a gut-check.  It’s not a demographic guide that says we likely reached 17% of our target audience.  It’s detailed analytics showing how we provide value and increase revenue.  In addition to the obvious, we are also able to make insightful recommendations to help aspects of your business we aren’t even managing.  But don’t take my (somewhat un-objective) word for it:

Marketing Sherpa’s Recent Internet Marketing ROI Survey

Web Pro News’ Top Internet Marketing Strategies

Search Engine Optimization came in first place with 36% of respondents indicating SEO was likely to be the most important online advertising channel. Blogging came a close second at 33% and Pay per Click (PPC) advertising came third with 26%. These three marketing channels, which are the mainstay services offered by search marketing firms, tend to offer the strongest returns on monies invested by the advertiser.

And to give you an idea of the wide variety of options on the table, nearly 500 marketing professionals were polled last November by public relations expert Lee Odden about the Internet marketing strategies and tactics they would be employing in the next six months.  Their responses are quite interesting.

All of this data helps me remain confident in my belief that search engine marketing (SEO & PPC) will make it out of Hollywood week and continue its trek to the finals despite the worst economy in decades. Oh yeah, when we win you (our clients) win, too.  That’s why we’re in business in the first place.