22Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing is remarkable because, unlike almost every other form of marketing, it does not rely on the interruption technique. Think again for a moment about what I've called old-rules marketing and its interruption-based advertising techniques. As I've discussed in previous chapters, the old rules required you to interrupt TV viewers and hope they weren't already flipping to another channel, interrupt people as they sorted through the mail and hope your message wouldn't go into the junk mail pile, or interrupt magazine readers and hope they would pause at your stinky pull-out perfume sample. These days, ads are everywhere—on signs along the highway, on the sides of supermarket carts, in elevators. These interruptions are not only annoying for consumers (and harmful to a brand if overdone) but also increasingly ineffective.

Now think about how you use search engines. Unlike nontargeted, interruption-based advertising, the information that appears in search engines after you've typed in a phrase is content you actually want to see. You're actually looking for it. This should be a marketer's dream come true.

For example, when Shaquille O'Neal was on David Letterman's talk show a few years ago discussing how he had enjoyed his life in Boston since he joined the Boston Celtics, Shaq said he found his multimillion-dollar house on Google! “I live in a small town called Sudbury,” he told Letterman. “I signed kind of late, so I really didn't have ...

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