Did you ever get dumped in a relationship with the excuse “It’s not you, your ‘Great’. It’s me I’m just not….” You can fill in the blank with whatever excuse it was. Usually in hindsight it was probably all for the best, but it sure didn’t feel that way at the time. Admittedly, some of those excuses for it not working out were just lies designed to “let you down easy”, but in some cases it really was a problem with the other party that was keeping it all from working out.
I read a recent article on Search Engine Land that really got me thinking about the same “It’s not you, it’s me” break-up in the context of Search Engine Marketing. ”Why 50% of SEO/PPC Engagements Fail” gave four reasons for the client/agency break-up but the one that got me thinking was “The client/customer/receiver of the service was unprepared or unable to implement.”
I personally have witnessed this go down, and we as an agency have heard this excuse and knew that it was really true. It’s business – getting let down easy isn’t really necessary. The reality is that we as a search agency found all the flaws with the clients websites and business logistics first and pointed all of those problems out to the client. The clients weren’t able to figure out how to fix them.
I’m really of the opinion that search behavior and web analytics can discover the problems of today’s business faster than any other medium. The problems that we discover through analytics are the problems of the business and are things that they will have to overcome to move forward and succeed. Some of them just aren’t capable of getting it together.
Popular “It’s not you. It’s us” problems we have seen include:
We discover problems like these all the time and give recommendations on how to fix problems like them all the time (some of those suggestions are well out of the scope of just search marketing). We keep pointing them out and keep trying to work around them, but their is only so much a search agency can do. We can drive enormous amounts of traffic to an e-commerce shopping cart, but if the final high product price in shopping cart is driving abnormal abandonment, the search agency isn’t going to be able to fix that problem. The business has to take corrective action, and sometimes they just can’t.
In converse to all of these set backs, we are also the first to see what is working and what is successful about a business through use of search behavior and analytics. Businesses that are successful in search are successful in making the adjustments where we find problems and are “invested” in the relationship with the search agency. We are making it work and it’s a “good marriage”.