At a recent Webinar on search marketing, I received a plaintive question from a participant. She had listened carefully to all my advice, but practically wailed into the phone, "My CEO does not believe in paid search. What can I do?" If you've run into this situation, you needn't be as worried about it as she was. The first thing for us to do is to take away the mystique of paid search, or any marketing tactic, for that matter. There is no need for your CEO to "believe" in paid search. Paid search is a business idea, not a religion. Let's break down what you do need from your CEO.
CEOs do believe in things. Mostly, they believe in money. If you've been trying to get your CEO to believe in paid search, that is an unnecessary abstraction. They don't believe in abstractions such as supply chain management or clean stores either, except to the extent that they've come to believe that those things produce cash. Those abstractions might increase revenue or they might decrease costs, but somewhere, somehow, they equate to more money.
Image by Steven2358 via Flickr
That's every CEO's religion.
So instead of laboring to convert your CEO to your paid search beliefs, it's so much easier for you to present paid search to CEOs as a natural rite of their own religion. Show the CEO how paid search makes money and suddenly your CEO will fervently believe in paid search.
And it's not all that difficult. Just run a small experiment. It won't cost very much--certainly not enough to bother the CEO for an approval--and see what happens. If you've thought a bit about what you are doing, you should be able to run a few small experiments with paid search until you start to see that you are making some sales. At that point, it should be relatively easy to convince your CEO to make a more substantial investment.
Now, you might be balking at this advice for a few reasons:
Paid search needs to make business sense, just like every other investment a company makes. Stop expecting your CEO to believe and start showing everyone in your company, not just the CEO, how paid search makes business sense.
Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, text analytics, and web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.
Mike's previous appearances include Text Analytics World, Rutgers Business School, SEMRush webinar, ClickZ Live.
Mike also founded and writes for Biznology, is the co-author of Outside-In Marketing (with James Mathewson) and the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (now in its 3rd edition, and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.
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