Think Bigger: There's a Glaring Marketing Industry Opportunity Up for Grabs

SEO, we’ve got a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) to address.

It’s clear the SEO industry is changing in new and different ways. It’s not as much about the latest new tactic as it is about the latest shift in paradigm. We’re not just asking questions like “how do I address this code issue?” but much more often we’re also asking “how do we address this visibility issue?”  or “how do I get a piece of that marketing or PR action?”. We’re clearly defining the divide between a site’s technical site health and it’s inbound marketing, while having the unique ability to be able to create a valuable synergy between the two.  Who else does that? No one. It’s us.

Expensive Marketing Campaigns are Missing Opportunities

Here’s the thing. Fantastic online marketing efforts repeatedly miss the mark when big online campaigns like AskMen’s Top 99 Women Special oversees that they have duplicate URLs, or marketing campaigns like Hyundai’s SuperBowl ads or Dove’s Real Beauty campaigns have long been notorious for forgetting people will search for this stuff and they need to own those SERPS.

Search is a Black Sheep Marketing Channel

Integrated, multi-channel marketing has

  1. A defined audience
  2. With specific needs
  3. And a message to get out to that audience.

The audience is hanging out in different places online and offline, so marketers send their message out via several channels (print, tv, online, etc). Search is a marketing channel, but still seen by traditional marketers (and truthfully, a lot of us) as something you just optimize your code and links for, forgetting that that same audience is using search to fulfill those same needs. So audiences are researched and defined, personas are carefully drawn up with pictures and stories, value propositions are crafted, marketing budgets are allocated to magazines and Facebook ads and sending people to space, and then they call SEOs to say hey, what do I do with this search optimization stuff?

For sure these guys typically don’t think of SEO as “How can the search channel attract and convert our core audience and help us meet our campaign goals” when they launch a campaign. Not just launch a website – launch a campaign.

This is Your Opportunity

As technical marketers crawling up the marketing food chain we have a great opportunity right smack in front of us. That gap between traditional marketing and technical marketing needs to be filled. Traditional marketers don’t see it yet, but we do. Some of you might say it’s not possible. People aren’t calling us for this kind of stuff. Of course they’re not – they can’t ask you for what they don’t know. AskMen surely has no idea they have duplicate URLs. Dove likely is blind to the fact they weren’t ranking for their own campaign slogan. Some of our clients at SEOgadget are missing that same mark right now, and you can be sure as hell I’m going to let them know. Who’s going to open traditional marketers eyes to this stuff if it’s not you and me?

It’s Time to Think Bigger

I’m not saying this is easy. I often have a hard time trying to explain why we want to make cool interactive experiences for clients, let alone try to collaborate with their’ PR and marketing teams to integrate search into the ongoing marketing mix. But it’s not impossible. Our industry has always been one that needs to educate it’s audience, and this is no different. The smart ones will get it, and we’ll climb our way up the marketing chain and hopefully add a touch of respect back to our industry. It’ll take a while, but if we all start to think a little bit bigger, we *can* make this happen.


Side note: On the technical side, I expect Google to be able to find your keys soon, especially with the addition of the man of The Singularity fame himself, Ray Kurzweil. Get ready to optimize for that. #ThinkBigger

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11 thoughts on “Think Bigger: There's a Glaring Marketing Industry Opportunity Up for Grabs

  1. John says:

    Laura –

    I love the sentiment of this post. However, all the examples you give are very SEO-related. If that’s what we’re telling people as opposed to fixing that stuff and then pitching bigger, we’re never going to unlock the bigger budgets you’re talking about.

    We do that when we can show the return on the other channels. Getting buy-in to work in other channels when you’ve been pigeon-holed into “the SEO” is really hard though (but possible) :-)

  2. Laura Lippay says:

    John, I *am* talking about SEO, *and* fixing that stuff and pitching bigger. Dare I say, the missing links in the examples are the missing links in starting that conversation w/ traditional marketing? :)

  3. John says:

    Laura –
    Maybe I’m missing something, but how does pointing these things out help show that we could successfully run a content campaign or a social media campaign? Or is that not what you’re talking about?

  4. Laura Lippay says:

    Hey JD – Sorry if it’s not clear – I’m not talking about running social media campaigns or marketing campaigns. I’m talking about crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s in a well-integrated, multi-channel marketing campaign by properly weaving in the SEO bits.

    Simple example: Making sure your TV/radio ads consider the rise in searches they may propagate, owning the SERPs for it, and measuring how much lift came from the search channel right alongside the TV or radio channel.

    I was in several marketing groups at Yahoo, we work with CMOs/Mktg Dirs all the time, I was married into the advertising world and I worked at a marketing agency for several years: For sure these guys typically don’t think of SEO as “How can the search channel attract and convert our core audience and help us meet our campaign goals” when they launch a campaign. Not just launch a website – launch a campaign.

    Hope that clears it up a little :)

  5. Will Critchlow says:

    Laura – I love the end of that comment – I’d put that in the post if I were you:

    “For sure these guys typically don’t think of SEO as “How can the search channel attract and convert our core audience and help us meet our campaign goals” when they launch a campaign. Not just launch a website – launch a campaign.”

    Whether we (as companies or individuals) lead those campaigns or not [separate conversation], I love that we need to fix this issue.

  6. Laura Lippay says:

    Thanks Will – I love that we need to fix this too :D :D

    And thanks for the suggestion – I’ll chuck it in the post now.

  7. Greg Shuey says:

    Nice post Laura! This has been something we’ve been implementing with our clients over the last few months. Marketing does just stop at SEO or Social, or PPC, you have to carry it through conversion and then on to lead nurturing and remarketing. There is tons of opportunity to expand and grow campaigns and budgets, you just have to be willing to put in the effort.

  8. Stephen says:

    I love this post! What a pleasure to read something that so clearly articulates the state of our industry. I go to bed and wake up thinking about these issues.

    It’s such an uphill battle in terms of education. There’s so much baggage and pigeonholing to overcome, but I think we’re getting there. And boy is it hard to communicate with folks who don’t yet get it, and I’d say about .5% do. Fortunately, the “big kids” like you guys, Distilled, SEER, etc. are leading the way, and the challenge is forcing us all to adapt and improve. That’s a great thing.

    This “think bigger” notion, to do more and be better, all seemed to culminate at MozCon, and seems to be really gaining steam. We all loved Stephanie Chang’s rally cry for integrated marketing over at Moz (worth a look if you haven’t seen it):

    It’s been awesome watching this all develop. For our part, we quoted both you and Ms. Chang in our post today on the topic. I feel like our industry is having a Jerry Maguire moment.

  9. Spook SEO says:

    Great post Laura. There’s no doubt that the gap is still a huge gap between internet marketing and traditional marketing. True enough, a lot of traditional marketers are still oblivious about the kind of benefits to be had from internet marketing so that a HUGE opportunity for internet marketers.

  10. Dan Farfan says:

    Your list of 3 seems to be missing a 4th…

    4. finely tuned to take multiple paths.

    ” ..needs to educate it’s audience, .. ”
    A pronoun doesn’t get an apostrophe to make it possessive.


  11. Bryant Jaquez says:

    I think we should start teach people how to “pitch better.” What if all of us required consultants and SEOs to go through a “How to pitch” training course as part of their orientation.

    What if Moz Con and Search Love had “How to pitch a client” workshops?

    My business partner and I have started watching as much of the AMC TV show, The Pitch as possible. I love it, and people in my office have started watching it as well.

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