All's fair in online marketing until zoo animals hurt someone… just a little online humor to open with. Actually, all is not equal online. There are too many factors to consider. Dr. Pete made a good point earlier in a great 'catchall' online marketing post:
"Search is algorithmic, so we assume it follows the same rules for everyone. In theory, it usually does, but those rules are incredibly complex and situational."
Another post, catching my eye lately is GM's decision to part advertising ways with Facebook. Wait! Isn't Facebook like 'the best social media site' to use for your business? I'm sure you could find a post or two supporting the claim. Yet, GM, America's third-largest advertiser, doesn't want to advertise with the Facebook? You mean there are exceptions to online marketing!? Whoa, watch your speed driving that SEO train, business owners.
'SEO' is Marketing
I don't want to get heavily into defining or redefining SEO; some people don't like that (more inside SEO humor). Rather, for the purposes of business people, I'll make it simplified. SEO is a method of marketing. Marketing is a method of drawing attention (to what's offered).
Many peoples' notions of 'SEO' are becoming more like traditional marketing, especially in the wake of stringent rules ushered by cute Pandas and Penguins. Basically, 'SEO' is/was 'search engine' optimization, meaning live pages were 'optimized' so search engines could read them well; so, if I wrote a page focused on copywriting, a search engine, like Google, would understand the main focus of the article. There are technical things I could do to the page to facilitate the engine's understanding.
At some point, people went crazy, commercially abusing the engines…Then the Web blew up; the social and content aspect of the engines got more attention, leaving those outside of 'SEO' even more intrigued regarding its marketing capabilities. And yet…these days, I think more business owners are realizing the more successful SEO campaigns are light on technical aspects (because 'over doing it' can get you penalized) and heavy on marketing sentiments, you know, those notions of intriguing markets to products/services.
GM – FB = WTF?
In the intro, I mention GM's subtraction of FB paid advertising. What gives? I see it two ways; either Facebook didn't make sense for GM (That could be well understood; not every ad platform is going to work for everyone.) or GM's marketing team couldn't make sense of digital marketing. Are there any marketers out there who would like the opportunity to invest GM's $10 million if given the chance? I bet there would be some takers.
My point is that marketing is not black and white. As Dr. Pete mentions in regard to SEO, there are a lot of factors to consider, making it highly difficult to produce 'objectified' results. This means I could devise an online strategy for BMW and GM, which looks similar; but, due to the shades of differences regarding BMW, GM, and respective target markets, the endeavors could go very differently.
Let's say BMW's campaign goes well; but, I can't say the same for GM. Was I 'off' as a marketer? Yes and no. No in that maybe I find a good strategy (for BMW). Yet, yes, I was off regarding the notion of not finding an 'X factor' of GM's campaign, in finding the differentiation which would make GM's campaign drive well.
Engage in practices that make sense for your brand; take the time to learn and execute well. There is no grand solution; only solutions for single brands. Let's consider a real-life example. Jason Acidre is an incredible link builder and marketer. Link building helps pages achieve better rankings; yet, how did Jason achieve online traction thus far? Was it by online 'rank'? Taken from Jason's guestpost:
"I didn’t get clients because of search rankings. I got them through my blog posts."
Yellow Money Light, Green Consumer Light
Jason found a way to intrigue his target market (which could differentiate considerably from the link-building suggestions relayed to his clients). I'm urging you to slow down, business owners, in regard to your approach to online marketing and SEO. I believe the notion of a 'flourishing business' is causing some brands to make hasty online decisions, believing SEO is a dismissal of or circumvention of traditional marketing. It's not. It's another method of marketing. That goes for all the SEO-related initiatives too such as link building, social media participation, content orchestration, and so on.
Watch your speed. Slow down when it comes to the initial investment; but, accelerate internal notions of marketing toward your target market. It's ALL ABOUT THE CONSUMER end to end. There are no exceptions to that rule. In theory, the product/service does all the heavy lifting. The marketing is a matter of introducing the service/product to the market. All the marketing in the world can't put a magic spin on a wanting service or product, ask any consumer about that.