21st Century Marketing

Times are not just changing, they have changed. When was the last time you looked in the phone book to find a local business, or browsed through the most recent sears catalog to decide your next clothing purchase… oh wait… I don’t even remember the last time I got a sears catalog. When did you last pay particular attention to a magazine add, a newspaper add, a billboard or even a radio or TV add. And if you did notice that add, what did you do?

Odds are you Googled it.

Search Engines are a part of your marketing, whether you are planning for it or not.

Consumer purchasing is drastically different from what it was just 10 years ago. A survey of 600 U.S. consumers by Consultants Accenture reported that a strong majority of consumers use the Internet to research products or retailers before making a purchase.

69% research product features online, 68% compare prices online before shopping in a physical store and 58% locate items online before going to a store to purchase.

Only 13% said the Internet has not improved their in-store shopping experience.

“Instead of replacing bricks-and-mortar stores, the Internet is an extension of consumers’ in-store shopping experience providing a resource to research product and price,” says Jeff Smith, global managing director of Accenture’s Retail practice. “Retailers and manufacturers must understand this consumer behavior trend in order to reach shoppers, educate them, serve them and earn their loyalty.”

67% said they prefer to make purchases in physical stores.

And how do they perform this research?

They enter descriptive keyword phrases into one of the search engines, primarily Google, MSN and Yahoo!

It is obvious that people are using the internet to influence their online and offline purchases. Yet online marketing is still being neglected, especially when compared to older and in many ways, less effective marketing campaigns.

Comparison Marketing Campaigns

Let’s look at the past primary marketing sources and a comparison pricing. I found a comparison of major media types at www.iesbdc.org and of course the pricing is subject to change depending on medium and circulation. The pricing is as follows:

  • Newspapers – $1,300 per week for 2” x 2” ad
  • Television – $200,000 for one 30-second commercial (during prime-time)
  • Direct Mail – $1,500 for 1,000 4×6 postcards (includes postage)
  • Radio – $90 to $120 per week on a rotator (prices higher if time slots for ad are selective)
  • Magazines – $1,200 to $5,000 per month or per issue (depends on ad size and demographics)
  • Outdoor (billboard) – $3,000 to do artwork and install media on billboard; rates depend on impress level, ranges from $5,000 to $500,000 (the higher the qualify of the artwork and the larger the demographic group, the higher the price); minimum contract is 16 weeks

*Note: Prices reflected are negotiated prices for a 12-week campaign

Now, let’s look at online pricing:

  • Online (Banner Ads) – $200 to $1,200 per year per banner ad on websites
  • Online (PPC) – $0.60 – $3.00 pay-per-click or $1,000 – $100,000 a month for aggressive campaigns
  • Online (SEO) – $500 – $5000 a month

An average cost of a proper search engine optimization (SEO) campaign is difficult to establish because there are so many different levels of effort. Pricing is determined by your online market as well as desired keyword phrases. There are certain processes that must be performed for SEO to be effective.

With SEO being a much more involved then other forms of marketing, more care is also necessary when researching an SEO firm. There are unfortunately a lot of individuals and businesses claiming to offer SEO services and providing little to no benefit.

While you must evaluate all marketing avenues to find the right mix for your specific business, it seems that many companies are overlooking this extremely cost effective and valuable form of marketing.

Long Term Marketing or Immediate Gratification?

The biggest difference between SEO and other forms of marketing is time.

With most forms of marketing, both online and offline, visual representation of the investment is almost immediate. A newspaper ad or TV commercial plays on television, people see it and the impression is made.

It is similar for PPC and Banner advertising. Search for a particular keyword phrase or visits a webpage and the advertisement is there to be seen and clicked on.

Effectiveness of the marketing campaign may take longer to determine, but likely not too long to determine if the marketing campaign was effective and worth continuing.

SEO does not have immediate visual representation. Search engine optimization can take months before any significant increase in visitor traffic or search engine rankings can even be seen.

If I was to offer you a choice of 1 million dollars in cash right now, or 1 penny now, then 2 pennies tomorrow and continue to double the previous day’s gift each day for 30 days, which would you choose?

We often hear this riddle in high school math class, usually as an attempt by the teacher to astound us with how great math really is. When we were teenagers, we probably would have taken the million dollars. It was money offered, we were young, and probably would have blown it all in a few weeks on things our parents wouldn’t approve of.

We are no longer in high school and most of us know by now that the logical and most profitable choice is to take the penny. After doubling the amount every day for 30 days you would have $5,368,709.12! That’s a heck of a lot more then a measly million flat and all we had to do to get it was be a little patient.

But this is the trap that so many of today’s businesses fall into. They do not see past the immediate results.

Many people think search engine optimization is expensive. But it is only expensive if you only look at the initial costs of setup.

SEO is long term marketing and studies have shown it to be the most cost effective form of advertising with a low cost-per-acquisition (CPA) and high return on investment (ROI). Studies have proven that dollar for dollar, Search engine marketing and optimization is the best form of advertising… online and offline!

“Good things come to those who wait!”

Times have Changed

At this point in time, you do not need to sell goods or services online in order to need an online presence and visibility within the search engines. Nor do you need to be an international or national company to see the benefits of online marketing. It has been estimated that between 25-50% of all online searches done are local in nature.

People are buying products online, they are buying services online and they are researching their offline purchases online.

Search engine optimization provides visibility within a specific targeted group, a group that is not just a demographic but a demographic that is specifically interested in and actively looking for what you offer.

When a phrase is entered into the search engines, a user only views a limited number of pages, usually just the first page.

If your business is not listed within the top rankings, then a competing website that is will receive the business.