Alan Mitchell’s article about search-engine marketing (MW January 6) is, on the surface, an able piece of crystal-ball gazing, but he seems to be unaware of the contradiction in his own argument. Yes, search is “driven” by consumers, it does represent “pull” marketing, and it appears to be a refreshing alternative to traditional approaches. Indeed, estimates suggest over half of all online spend is now allocated to search marketing.
And here lies the problem. It follows that, if Google is pulling in “close to $2bn” of revenue from sponsored search, then there must be some very big players out there, with budgets to match. Inevitably, these companies will be the ones most likely to be “pulled” by searching online consumers, as they have the broadest reach, the biggest presence and the deepest pockets.
As a relatively new website, the largest segment of our marketing budget is spent on search. If we relied on “natural” search to bring us business, we would still be waiting this time next year, especially on Google. So call me a cynic, but in the end it’s the bucks that still buy you the business. I fear that real consumer empowerment is still a little way off, Alan.
Craig McGregorManaging directorHalfpricehotels.co.ukHaslemereSurrey