ILM East Conference View: Ad Spending Shifting To “Services” Like Content, SEO

John Denny speaking at ILM East Boston on SEO for CEO's

ILM East Boston: "SEO for CEO's"

This week I had a great experience traveling to Boston to speak at the Kelsey Interactive Local Marketing East Conference. My overall talk was on the basics of SEO for CEO’s and building an in-house SEO department, but I also touched on the wider trends happening in search related marketing spend and how they impact local markets. Afterwards we had a panel discussion with two of the people I view as among the top experts in search (and local SEO): Will Scott and Andrew Shotland  (you can find a recap of the session on the Kelsey blog here).

One of the themes I touched on during my talk was the growing importance of “Services” in the world of marketing priorities for businesses. That money is now shifting from what has always been viewed as “Advertising” (whether traditional or digital media) to a whole host of growing priorities including Search Engine Optimization,  Social Media Optimization, blogs and Content Marketing.

Digiday recently wrote about this shift when they discussed a new Society of Digital Agencies survey of top marketing execs, which found that:

66 percent plan increases in outlays for paid and owned media, which are arguably the biggest opportunities for brands in digital media. When asked what would get increased priority in 2012, for instance, 61 percent said content creation like blogs, and 57 percent said mobile Web development.

The survey data showed that Marketers clearly have identified the areas of Earned and Owned media as new priorities:

SODA Survey Spending Shifts from Advertising To Services

New Survey Shows Marketers shift to "Services" as a key priority.

Greg Sterling also commented on this trend in a recent post when he wrote: “(Local businesses) are investing in websites, social media, email and SEO and spending less on paid digital media — on ‘advertising.’ While advertising was often the sole focus of marketers offline, it’s just one of several areas of focus in digital.”

For media companies and agencies accustomed to the way the world used to work, the implications are clear.  They will need to rapidly diversify into areas beyond Paid media to service the rapidly growing spend in Earned and Owned media.

Additional Photos from ILM East Session “SEO for CEO’s”:

The audience at ILM East Boston SEO for CEO's

SEO for CEO's Audience at ILM Kelsey

John Denny presents the basics of Search at ILM East in Boston 2012

John Denny covering the basics of Search at ILM East



John’s digital experience dates back over two decades, to before the web was born. He is currently VP Marketing for Advance Digital, and is a regular writer and speaker on topics including Search, Social Media, Content Marketing, Local Media and the Digital Marketing Revolution.

5 responses to “ILM East Conference View: Ad Spending Shifting To “Services” Like Content, SEO

  1. John,
    Good insights; thanks. The money invested in “Promotions,” consisting of the cash value of discounts, redeemed coupons, sweepstakes and a other short-term-sales stimulants, has exceeded the investment in advertising in the offline world for a long time. Online is catching up. A big reason we see more growth in promotions than in advertising, both offline and online, is that marketers are learning how to use those tools to begin and build long-term relationships with individual consumers. The value of promotions is being increased by the opportunity to re-market to consumers who participate in them, using database marketing tools and techniques that are becoming cheaper and easier to use every day. This trend also enhances the opportunity for local media companies to to offer services that include database marketing for smaller businesses.

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  4. Hi John,

    Enjoyed the post and think you hit on a lot of topics (earned vs owned media) that I have been swirling about in ad circles, specifically in the search and content communities. The days of banging customers and potential customers over the head with media are over. Earning your customers attention through well thought out content seems to be the shift that is happening with advertisers. I agree with this strategy.

    Would be great to connect and talk more on the subject.


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