Trying to teach kids about search marketing...with a Walkman
Perhaps my favorite part of search engine marketing is the chance to educate people about it. I never thought much about becoming an academic, but I really have taken a liking to teaching people about. This evening I had the opportunity to speak to a packed (okay, partially filled) auditorium of college students from the Michigan State Marketing Association, and it was a great experience.
I'm very interested in learning how the generation behind me thinks about search marketing, and how they consider it in comparison to other media. I threw out the concept of a revolutionary product during their lifetime, and we ended up talking about the Ipod. Showing my age, I told them that I still owned a Walkman when the Ipod was launched...allowing me a miserable 30 or so minutes of music before I had to flip the tape over - a serious inconvenience mid-workout.
Once they got done laughing at my caveman-like ways (and I didn't even mention that I was still sporting my sweet Sony Walkman at the gym in 2005) I asked them, "How would you let the world know about this revolutionary device?" After a minute of coaxing we started talking about traditional ads, and then using demographics to hit our target audiences, etc. etc. And they were right, this is a great way to build awareness. But as our discussion went on, I made the point that this was a major departure (not to mention a much more expensive one) from the old fashioned Walkman and the CD player.
So while the billboards, magazine ads and radio/tv spots can start the buzz, people want to inform themselves before they buy. Especially in an age when information is so readily available. And that's the main point I wanted to get across to these young marketers - information is cheap now, and you need to stay on top of how people are getting their information to be successful. Search is a key element in that right now.
In my Walkman example I talked about marketing "noise". You may have seen the commercial by watching the game, but if you don't remember the name, how are you going to search for the Ipod the next day? Would you type in "digital Walkman"? "Digital music player"? In these situations, if your product's not there, then you don't exist. Herein lies the importance of search marketing, at new product launch and onwards and upwards throughout the product life cycle - you simply HAVE to be there.
I did a lot of talking tonight, and maybe the point wasn't as refined as it is in the above paragraphs, but I kept the students awake and interested it seemed, and I hope they took away some of the points I tried to make here, because I sure had a blast talking to them about Netvantage and what I do for a living.
Another 1am blog, and in the words of the Ice Cube, whose tape was in my Walkman, "Today was a good day."
About Adam Henige
Adam Henige is Managing Partner of Netvantage Marketing, an online marketing company specializing in, PPC and social media. Adam heads the SEO and link building efforts for Netvantage and has been a contributing blogger for industry publications like Search Engine Journal and SEOmoz.