SEMPO Dials Back Forecasts for Search Marketing

The headline of this post in the WSJ blog would lead one to believe yet again that the sky is indeed falling on the search marketing world. With all the talkhand-and-monitor of the bad economy, the stock market continuing its downward spiral and folks falling into a malaise it would only make sense that when SEMPO ‘slashed’ its forecasts for ’09 it would give ua more bad news.

Well, I suppose it is all in how you define bad news because despite the adjustment downward by this industry group search is still estimated to grow at a healthy 9% this year. As we have said before at Marketing Pilgrim, let’s celebrate the positives.

According to Kevin Lee, CEO of Didit and part of the research committee for SEMPO, this number may be bigger than it even should be because the definition of search has been expanded to include social networking. Well, that spoils the fun a little more doesn’t it?

The data — based on a survey of 890 search advertisers and agencies – is the latest in a series of alarm bells for the industry. Last week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said the economy remains “pretty dire” and reiterated that his company, which is the dominant search ad provider, isn’t immune. Analysts predict Google’s revenues in the current quarter will be slightly lower than revenues in the fourth quarter. If they’re correct, that would represent the first sequential revenue dip in the company’s history.

Sure it would be nice to continue the salad days of high double digit growth with no end in sight but most thinking folks are not surprised by this news. The continued bright spot for the search industry and the online marketing business as a whole is the continued reallocation of budgets to give Internet types some help in succeeding.

Just think of how many small businesses are not doing anything with Internet marketing. They generally do this out of fear. The biggest fear is wasting money. It’s phantom money though if it has not been budgeted for. Reallocation of non-perfoming dollars to a technique that can be measured should be a no brainer.

Why don’t more SMB’s make that move?