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How Can Business Owners And CEOs Keep Up In The Digital Age

Is it Dangerous to Wait Too Long With Emerging Strategies?

How does a business owner know what online marketing strategies to choose from? There are seemingly new tactics, new ideas, and new tools coming out every day, and most companies simply don’t have the resources to jump right into every one of them. Decision makers must figure out which ones will work best and be the most cost-effective for their companies. The problem is, that it’s just not easy to figure these things out.

“The pace of change is frightening,” New York Times tech columnist David Pogue told WebProNews in an interview at PubCon. “In the last three or four years…it’s becoming overwhelming for me. I mean, it’s my job. I eat and breathe keeping on top of tech, and people will say ‘what do you think of…’ something I’ve never heard of and everyone else has, and it’s like oh my god, now I’m behind. So I don’t have any idea how a CEO is supposed to keep up.”

“Obviously there’s people like me and websites, whose job it is to filter stuff for you, and bring to you what’s important,” he added. “That would probably be one way to do it, but I think it explains why in general business is always behind the curve.”

Even just within the realm of search marketing, things have changed so drastically over the years, with no signs of that slowing down anytime soon. “Now that the industry’s gotten so big…it really struck me that it’s gotten so mature and so sophisticated, it just gets harder and harder every year to maintain your edge if you’re out there doing big paid search programs,” Yahoo’s Director of Search Marketing, David Roth told us. “People are starting to think about how to integrate their paid search efforts with their social and their organic, and their email, display, and affiliate, and I think that’s really where this conversation needs to go next…how to bring it all together and how to look at it through one lens and optimize it that way.”

A lot of companies have gotten comfortable with paid search, simply because it’s relatively easy to measure, compared to social media, whose metrics are still emerging. “We’ve invested in our capabilities internally to optimize our own programs, and the dollars are so big that you can justify spending real money just on optimization,” said Roth. “And in fact, one of the things we talked about on the panel today, was how to make sure, once you’ve invested, and you’ve gone down the road to advanced optimization, how do you then evaluate your success…how do you benchmark it, and how do you sort of establish an ROI for your efforts on advanced optimization?”

“We were ranking number one for an organic listing for a brand keyword and we went ahead and purchased the paid search ad on top of it, and at least in our particular case, we were able to validate…we were actually driving more traffic to that organic listing by virtue of having the paid listing there as well,” he added.

Just look at all of the things that have happened with search just in the last year or two: real-time search, personalized search, social search, Google Instant, Instant previews (launched by Google this week), Facebook data in Bing results, the rise of mobile and connected TV devices. That’s just to name a few, and that’s just search.

There are so many new technologies, platforms, and implementations coming out it’s practically impossible to know which ones to take advantage of. New initiatives cost money and resources, so businesses are reluctant to just jump into new ideas. Should you play the wait and see game? Wait and see how they emerge? Set a timeline for observation?

“That’s what everybody does do,” said Pogue. “That’s what all the corporate companies do instinctively. ‘We’re not jumping in on this.’ The danger is that you wait too long…”

“If you look at every major online development whether it be websites to begin with, or then blogs, or then Twitter or Facebook…it’s always grassroots who are out there first,” he pointed out. “It’s individuals, and then corporate interests come much later.”

“So really all you can do is keep your eyes open, see what other people are doing, read a lot…It’s resources. It’s manpower. There’s no question about it.”

About the Author:
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow WebProNews on Facebook or Twitter. Twitter: @CCrum237

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