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DMA executive highlights role of search

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Search engine marketing will be the next major paradigm shift following the transformation of TV viewing habits at the hands of the remote control, according to John Greco, president-CEO of the Direct Marketing Association, in remarks he made Wednesday morning at the DMA’s 2006 DM Days New York Conference & Expo.

This is why, Greco said, the association expanded its content and focus at this year’s DM Days on interactive media and online marketing issues.

“My kids have no concept whatsoever of life without the remote control,” Greco said. “Their experience of watching TV, for instance, is totally based on “flipping” from channel to channel. They have no clue what the TV experience was like when someone had to get up off the couch and walk all the way across the room to change the channel. That’s a major change, a shift that I daresay has driven a complete transformation of television advertising.”

Calling it “the next big change that will compare with the ‘flipper,’ ” Greco said the impact of search will trump other technologies.

“Say what you like about blogs, podcasting and RSS,” he said. “These are all important developments. But search is a fundamental change, a true paradigm shift. Just like today’s kids can’t imagine watching TV without the remote, future generations will have no conception of an information dialogue without search.”

Greco told the attendees that, as marketers, they need to learn and understand how search affects their customers, how they use it daily.

The added programming at the DMA show, which included a dedicated online pavilion, was created to reflect that trend, he said.

“Our Interactive Marketing Pavilion has the latest online and e-mail tools and resources, all in one place,” Greco said. “This reflects the trends that have transformed direct marketing into a widely used strategic process, a process used by more and more marketers in virtually every vertical sector of the economy.”

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