I am old enough to know what marketing was like before the advent of the internet. Before Google. When the telephone and printed business directories were the consumer research tools of the day. I speak to tons of marketing newbies and for most of them the “go to” tactic is search. Paid and organic. It’s what they know, what they were weaned on. But the web is a giant ocean with bays and tides and marshes and an array of currents that make successful search complicated and difficult.
So-called search experts, who are mostly coders and analytics nerds, some with a bit of design sense, are the primary vendors of choice for small businesses today. These experts position themselves as search scientists but are really website developers. Certainly, not marketers. Go to their websites and sniff around. Very little marketing finesse.
Before the web, marketers had to be more strategic. People were their customers, not the algorithm, not search terms. The product and its inherent value were the foundation of marketing. Not the ebb and flow of the internet. I’m not advocating old school shit. I love the web. (It’s the only way one can collapse all the steps to a sale into a single transaction.) But it’s best used downstream as one arrow in the quiver. It’s not the quiver.
Product. Place. Price and Promotion should still rule the day. (Positioning, the key to brand planning, is a function of all four.)