Search Marketing versus Traditional Advertising

I just jumped through all the hoops to earn my Qualified Google AdWords Professional status (thank you very much!).  Doing so deepened my knowledge AND my appreciation for the differences between search marketing and traditional advertising.

Search marketing beats traditional

advertising. . .

The reason search marketing beats traditional advertising can be summed up in one word: timing.  Search marketing puts your ad in front of someone at the time they are educating themselves (67% of people who search are educating themselves on the query they search on) or shopping (33% of people who search are shopping for the subject of their query).  It’s as simple (and profound) as that.

For decades we marketers have twisted over demographics, taking great pains to place our clients’ ads in publications or shows that best delivered the type of people who buy what we’re selling.  But if you’re selling investment services to people with $500,000 to invest, do you put your ad in MSNBC’s Mad Money, The Wall Street Journal or Scottsdale Magazine?  All reasonable, logical choices in terms of demographics.  All the media just mentioned have a portion of their audience that fits your target.

Or wouldn’t you want to put your ad in a magazine called “I have $500K that I want to invest now?”  Of course you would.  And while that magazine doesn’t exist, this is what search marketing gives you: the ability to get your ad in front of people when they are interested in what you’re selling.  As opposed to traditional advertising that gets your ad in front of people who share similar demographics with your target customer.  Are they in the market for what you sell at that moment?  Some, yes, most, no.

Timing.  It is as important a force for change in marketing and advertising as anything; television, direct mail, the credit card, the Sears catalog.  (For those of you who are “young,” trust me on the Sears catalog, it was a game changer.)

Is search marketing your number one or two lead generation medium?  It should be.

3 thoughts on “Search Marketing versus Traditional Advertising

  1. Patrick Giammarco

    First off, congrats on earning the designation of Qualified Google AdWords Professional.

    I enjoyed your post and agree… Search delivers those who are “in the market, ready to buy” much more effectively than traditional advertising.

    Would like to hear your thoughts on PPC vs Organic.


  2. hamilton Post author

    PPC vs Organic
    Both are effective and necessary. In my world (small business) PPC is always the first of the two we do since it is so immediate. It is also a great “lab” that teaches you which terms are the most worthwhile. The worst thing you can do is pound away for six months optimizing on a term only to find out it’s not converting for you. I also like PPC because it is flexible. You can heavy up on your exposure during “the season” and react to the changing motivations of your target customers. Having said all that, having a strong organic ranking on the right term really should be the ultimate goal for all of us.

    I’ve heard all the arguments on both sides (PPC is better because of this, organic is better because of that), and I don’t care. Would organic snobs have you wait in the dark for four months until you have a page one or two ranking? Or six months? Or maybe never? Would PPC snobs have you ignore organic because it takes too long?

    I don’t believe you can have a truly successful internet marketing program without good organic rankings. And I don’t believe you can realistically get there without the business and learning you generate via PPC.

  3. Rich

    Hamilton, also my congrats on attaining another degree 🙂 Your website is like a marketing boot camp for many of us… THANKS!

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