This morning, Intuit Inc’s Avinash Kaushik lashed out against paid search. It created a bit of a stir in the room, with most of the questions after his talk on measuring online strategies directed at his SEM jabs. Most biting from Kaushik was him calling SEM "the lazy man’s option" for marketing.
While I disagree with the extent of his criticism, I see where it’s coming from. Here’s my take on what’s eating him (Avinash, given that you now have the link to my blog, feel free to respond with your own take and continue the conversation):
- Most marketers do not properly measure SEM. It’s dangerously easy for the "lazy man," but if you’re lazy with paid search, as with any kind of marketing, you won’t do it well.
- SEM is a tremendous acquisition tool, but focusing on retention and improving the experience for returning experience to your site can be far more profitable. (SEM can still play a role in retention; more on that another time.)
- Landing pages are hot, but general web design is often neglected, when the latter can be more valuable and cost-effective. I have been a proponent of web design; my first MediaPost column on SEM focused on it. Granted, I tackled the landing page angle. Cut a little slack; it was my first baby.
- More exciting in that conversation on landing pages is the issue of overuse of personalization. I came out swinging against hyper-personalization last April. It’s worth revisiting in a future piece.
Much more to write.