Successfully using search engine marketing for brand promotion is a difficult task and not presently worth the effort

In our opinion Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a low return, high effort undertaking that should be avoided by tech innovators selling software to enterprise markets. We have direct first hand experience in this space. Placing at the number 5 slot for a targeted keyword with Google does not necessarily produce any outreach whatsoever from the marketplace. Further, Google’s “free” online tool for visitor activity analysis, Google Analytics, has grown so arcane as to be useless for anyone without a certificate in the ins and outs related to this software.

We think it makes more sense to simply maintain an underlying understanding that web pages, Twitter pages, etc must all be ongoing activities for a Marketing Communications team. Keep expectations as low as possible as regards a return on investment from electronic media promotion. However, unless your business is operating under the radar, we strongly admonish against simply putting up a brochure as a web site and simply “forgetting about it.” Stale online content does not produce any useful results. Better to periodically post to a blog than to pay for a custom web site that does not lend itself to periodic updates to content.

Nevertheless, if recent research from IDC, the University of Dayton, and SiriusDecisions is to be believed (we think the research is entirely credible), then one should assume that enterprise buyers are making even greater use of electronic media to research purchases than ever before. As we see it, SEM has simply become irrelevant. Further, all the blabber about social media marketing via public venues like FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc is also irrelevant. Bottom line, the activities of enterprise prospects online still require further analysis before useful predictions can be made about online behavior. We counsel clients to continue promoting online, but with substantially lowered expectations.

Online promotion ought to lead to some engagement with prospects. Perhaps many more impressions are required to produce targeted levels of engagement. Our jury is still out on this point. We think some companies are onto an effective approach, such as Alinean. A visit to the Alinean web site should be useful. We recommend reviewing their promotional materials, which are available at no charge. Further, we welcome opportunities to engage with businesses that have felt the impact of electronic media on their promotional efforts, but are still skeptical as to how best to capitalize on them while successfully managing their online market message.

Please telephone Ira Michael “Mike” Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion. You may also email Mike at imblonder@imbenterprises.com.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved

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