Many traditional agencies and marketers have already set their 2008 budgets in offline media but have yet to lock in their search budgets. If a skilled team has managed it using good tools and technology, search has likely delivered against the market's heightened expectations. To search's proven success add increasing skepticism about offline media getting through to its defined target audience (or making an impact when it does), and you have a situation ripe for a budget shift.
You may believe search deserves a bigger budget, but you still need ammunition to justify a major budget shift. Maybe you plan and allocate auction-based media budgets on an annual basis even though the predictability of inventory levels, engine allocations, ROI (define), or profit are unreliable at best. Each industry and business are different, but nearly every search marketer should ask for bigger budgets now instead of scrambling for budget next year when that a paltry search budget won't deliver the results you desire, as your competition leaps over you.
As you think about next year's budgets, you may want to factor in some strategic reasons and rationales covered in this column. Just one of these rationales may provide a basis for a two-fold budget increase. When combining these factors and trends, you may determine that the correct budget increase is significantly more than double.
Here, in no particular order, are my top 10 reasons to double your search budget for 2008. Most of these reasons are U.S.-centric, but many apply to international markets as well.
It's always easier to ask for the PPC (define) search budget money now than to ask for it during a crisis when rivals are collectively kicking your butt, taking market share, or poaching your most valuable customers. A well-tuned campaign can almost always absorb more budget, so ask for double and support that request with these reasons as well as any internal data showing trends that indicate you'll need more for search.
As you think about budgets, don't forget to take the SEMPO survey and learn what others are budgeting when results are available.
Want more search information? ClickZ SEM Archives contain all our search columns, organized by topic.
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Kevin Lee, Didit cofounder and executive chairman, has been an acknowledged search engine marketing expert since 1995. His years of SEM expertise provide the foundation for Didit's proprietary Maestro search campaign technology. The company's unparalleled results, custom strategies, and client growth have earned it recognition not only among marketers but also as part of the 2007 Inc 500 (No. 137) as well as three-time Deloitte's Fast 500 placement. Kevin's latest book, "Search Engine Advertising" has been widely praised.
Industry leadership includes being a founding board member of SEMPO and its first elected chairman. "The Wall St. Journal," "BusinessWeek," "The New York Times," Bloomberg, CNET, "USA Today," "San Jose Mercury News," and other press quote Kevin regularly. Kevin lectures at leading industry conferences, plus New York, Columbia, Fordham, and Pace universities. Kevin earned his MBA from the Yale School of Management in 1992 and lives in Manhattan with his wife, a New York psychologist and children.
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