Image by mike.in.ny via Flickr
by Frank Reed
Search marketing has two distinct faces. One is a purely technical side that deals with percentages and code and all things geeky. The other is the reason why you do it: to do more business via the Internet. I have seen these two sides face off and claim that the mere existence of the other makes life impossible for them. I have seen these two not communicate at all. I have also seen these two sides cooperate. In the end though, this is all behind the scenes stuff. How we look to the business world should be on everyone’s mind.
I bring this point up because I love search marketing. I love the potential that it has for making an average business much, much more than that. I love the “A-HA!” moments that occur when an SMB (small medium business) owner or marketer (or both) see the light and start to truly understand the value of search marketing. I love the fact that there is no other marketing vehicle, in my opinion, that allows the seller to be in front of the buyer at the exact time that the buyer expresses their greatest need. I love the directness of the medium and how it connects people so that things can happen whether it’s a purchase of a product or sharing of information. I mean really, as a marketer, what’s not to love?
Now all of those things are the front facing business application excitement of search marketing. I have passion around this because it can actually improve someone’s life to a certain degree. It’s impactful. Here’s where the collision I spoke of earlier occurs though. Unless there is that rare breed of search marketer who is completely tech savvy (not halfway or even 75% of the way, I mean a “knows their stuff” kind of person) and can do all of the behind the scenes stuff AND understands the business application the meeting or collision of these two sides most often is a conundrum, wrapped in a puzzle and gift wrapped with a question.
I would love to see some cooperation in the industry on this. I envision groups of like-minded professionals from both sides of this ledger sitting down and laying it out on the table. It would be cool for me to hear a real tech savvy guy lay out the logic for not being able to do something that appears easy to me from my non tech side of the tracks. I would love to have a chance to explain why in the world someone would want to do something that is not “standard practice” or needs to have something that is completely customized. I would also love the chance to explain what it requires to build relationships and trust with clients and just how fragile that can be.
Business is not clean. In fact, it is messy. So many variables are at play for each individual case that it is impossible to apply the same technique to everyone across the board and have success. Add to that mix that search marketing is an evolving discipline that can look different on a daily basis while other things in business stay the same for years. (Last time I checked debits and credits work the same now as they did in the Dark Ages, right?)
So are there folks out there on the tech side who would like someone to talk to them about the business side without looking down their nose at you? Are there sales or business application folks out there who would like to talk about the technical side of search marketing without being treated like that SNL character, Nick Burns, who just hates anyone who knows more numbers than 1′s and 0′s? Tell me your thoughts on bridging this gap so that we can all just get along and make our industry even better for those who depend on us to deliver the goods.