I don’t know about you, but I dislike the word ‘strategy’. It’s right up there with ‘skill sets’, ‘engagement’, ‘synergies’ and ‘leverage’, words businesses often use to invoke and associate with the aura of higher thought. With Search Engine Strategies San Jose, the world’s largest search marketing conference, upon us next week it occurs to me that the show has devolved to tactics, not strategy — and that needs to change.
The tactics used to successfully attack paid and organic search *are* important, but can I please get a ‘whoop whoop!’ from attendees who will high-step it out of *any* session whose panelists talk about keyword generation, campaign structuring and ROI-based management as if those were strategies and not just tactics we’ve all learned about, implemented and lived by since the Long Tail was 100 keywords?
Strategies are overall plans to achieve an objective, and tactics are the discrete activities we engage in to implement our strategy.
Panelists, vendors, consultants and engine folk, let’s admit it — in our haste to secure our piece of this rapidly expanding pie, we have turned this conference and others like it into a glorified feeding frenzy where insiders position tactics as unique insight and experience as vision.
Strategy really matters now. Like you, your competitors have learned the tactics and implemented them; they too have seen the growth, the ROI and the measurability of search. Sheer effort still distinguishes some from others, but that same sheer effort eventually takes a 40% pay raise from a competitor, leveling the playing field right quick. As for the engine duopoly, they’re wringing so much more money out of advertisers by pushing gratuitous, default campaign settings and silo’d SEM measurement that it’s no wonder most advertisers are seeing diminishing returns.
Omniture will be discussing search engine Strategies next week. In our view, the Internet is not just a marketing channel. It has become an enabler for a business strategy:
1) measure customer acquisition and conversion;
2) use information to inform automated optimization;
3) extend the view of the customer across channels on and off-line; and
4) apply new insights to optimize your business based on a complete view of all customer interactions
Come join us next week at the sessions Ron Belanger and I will participate in — or at our booth — and we’ll look forward to talking… Strategy.