There is an old Taoist saying that goes along the lines of this…
Bend and you will be whole
Curl and you will be straight
Keep empty and you will be filled.
Grow old and you will be renewed.
Have little and you will gain.
Have much and you will be confused.
The reason I bring this up is because so many things appear to be coming full circle right now in regards to internet marketing technology.
For instance, just a few years ago, from about 2007 to 2009, there was an exodus away from Pay-per-Click Advertising and into Search Engine Optimization. I, like so many others, touted the residual value and long-term benefits of SEO, which are true of course, but I did not offer to manage PPC for people. This was not because I was against PPC, but rather because I wanted to concentrate on an emerging trend, probably most famously coined by HubSpot as Inbound Marketing.
But the widespread abandonment of PPC to SEO has only created the inverse of the situation from a few years ago. Recently I had a customer tell me it was cheaper and more effective for him to purchase PPC ads for one of his websites as opposed to content marketing and link building. A few years ago this was not the case, because PPC was so in-demand. But it is less expensive today in some cases, to pursue PPC over SEO. In a lot of cases really.
Fathom SEO for example, from Valley View Ohio recently reported that they achieved terrific success with PPC on numerous customers in 2010. It seems the exodus from PPC caused the price of SEO to increase, giving PPC today a new competitive advantage.
The price of SEO increased because the need for high-level, relevant, and consistently impacting content became increasingly more in-demand. This is expensive work because it is so time consuming. The depth and integrity content must have today to be effective could be compared to some levels of elite journalism in a large press or syndication network.
In any regard, these two forms of Search Engine Marketing, PPC and SEO, are quite unique and they are equally as powerful and important to most businesses. The search factor is the difference between marketing and advertising today from in the past, in the pre-digital age. But now something new has evolved…Local Advertising.
Local advertising technically is not new. Prior to search engine marketing, Yellow Book and the Yellow Pages were the local directories of their time. Today people argue that the days of Yellow are past because a printed directory is no match for a digital search engine. I mean, we are talking a Boolean Dewey Decimal System here when it comes to search engines. But while the printed format of local directories and advertising might be getting challenged, local advertising appears in good shape.
With local advertising making a comeback, it just goes to show how things have come full circle. But there is a new twist in the local marketing space. It is identified as location-based marketing.
Location-based marketing takes local advertising a few steps further. We now have the technology to identify your general whereabouts, say through your Internet connection or mobile GPS location. And already breaching the horizon is proximity marketing, which is technology that identifies your wi-fi or Bluetooth signal to determine your near-precise location, and attempts to transmit marketing communications to you.
So you see, marketing is coming full circle in a lot of ways. But this time around, it has brought the Internet with it, and all the bells and whistles the Internet is capable of.
There is more to the Taoist prose I began with. It’s verse 22 in the Tao Te Ching. This translation was done by John C.H. Wu in the Shambala Dragon Editions, the one translation of this book with which I have grown comfortable with over the years.