by Michael Block
Vice President, Client Services
“The sky is falling!”
Generally, when it seems like the world is crashing down around you, in all actuality, it isn’t. The “sky” doesn’t simply “fall” of its own accord. It is important to remember that when Chicken Little was absolutely convinced that the heavens were careening earthward, the situation was no more severe than a simple acorn smacking her on the head as she ate her lunch beneath a tree.
We are currently in the midst of one of the most tumultuous economic periods in modern American history. The era of the investment bank has ended, there is an unprecedented credit crunch in the global financial markets, consumer spending is down, home values have been falling and people are universally scared. Last week, the Dow Jones had its biggest weekly drop since 1933.
Surely, this is no acorn!
No, unfortunately, the current economic situation that is especially worrisome to small business owners is no acorn. However, it is the way that businesses react to these challenges that will determine whether or not the sky will fall on them. The common reaction is often to cut costs; one of the first victims of all the slashing usually being the marketing budget. This, in turn, reduces a business’s presence in the marketplace and sales will likely drop as a result. The short-term gains of cost cutting in this fashion inevitably lead to long-term losses in overall sustainability.
It is a vicious cycle and, if allowed to prevail, the sky will indeed fall.
But this isn’t news. The question has never been, “Why cut marketing?” We all know that a healthy business relies on marketing to sustain and grow its consumer base. The question has been, “Why not cut marketing?” It is difficult to link revenue back to any single advertisement and, in the absence of better data, why shouldn’t a business owner shore up capital by pulling back on marketing efforts?
Why not? Because not all marketing is created equal.
Enter, search marketing.
In any crisis—economic or otherwise—it is vital to recognize competitive advantages. After all, half the battle of getting through a crisis is survival and survival, when consumer spending is down, can resemble a zero sum game amongst competitors. Search marketing may very well be the competitive advantage that will help your business through this rough patch.
Unlike every other medium of advertising—from a thirty-second television ad during the Super Bowl to a sun-bleached billboard on the road to Yuma—search advertising can account for every penny spent. Companies like Wpromote can help you assess the correlation between dollars spent and traffic, leads, sales, revenue and more. Search marketing can help you survive; smart search marketing can allow you to thrive!
In most advertising media, the consumer base is either dwindling or migrating online. In spite of this, or, perhaps, because of this, search marketing has continued to grow decidedly. Even despite the lagging economy, Google’s search volume experienced accelerated growth in the previous fiscal quarter. The Dow Jones may be way down since August, but overall search volume is up over 25%!
As more Americans turn to search for their consumer needs and more advertisers slash their marketing budgets, there will exist an increasing disparity between the consumers using search engines like Google and Yahoo to find products and services and the advertisers willing to risk the dollars necessary to capture their interest. If there are more consumers and fewer advertisers, then, technically, now would the absolute worst time to abandon a search marketing effort and the absolute best time to start one up.
Even if consumers lack the purchasing power that they wielded a few short years ago, they are still worth pursuing, especially through the medium of search. With unrivaled accountability and a marketplace growing at a rate that practically negates the trends of decreased average spending, search marketing can be the difference maker for your business.
How big a difference? About the difference between the sky crashing down around you and an acorn bouncing harmlessly off your head, I’d say.
After all, Chicken Little may have believed that the sky was falling, but Chicken Little didn’t have Google…