The Class of ’87 doesn’t understand search marketing…

By Tad Miller | Aug 1, 2007
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This past week, I brought my family back to my hometown of Norton Kansas for my 20th High School Reunion from Norton Community High School.

I was really looking forward to seeing old friends that I hadn’t seen in years. But I knew that I would have to spend my time explaining 2 things to all those old friends. Number 1 – how in the world did a Northwest Kansas boy end up living in Virginia and Number 2 – What do you do for a living again?

The answer to the first question is easy to understand – I love my wife and our career opportunities were in Virginia – so we moved. The answer to the second question “What I do for a living was what I spent the majority of my time explaining – and I still don’t think many people actually understood anything I explained about Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click Advertising.

I tried to explain search engine marketing and what we do for our clients, but most of what I got in response were blank stares, the occasional “Huh?”, more than a few WTF’s and several accusations about me sending them spam emails.

What I discovered, and not really to my surprise, was that my classmates living in the more rural areas overwhelmingly represent the 20% of Americans that are not Internet users or are novices. That doesn’t mean they aren’t smart people or poor – their lives and worlds just aren’t necessarily made better by what the Internet offers.

Most of my classmates are business professionals that live in the metropolitan Kansas City area. Our class is more than represented by our fair share of Doctors, Lawyers, Pharmacists and executives. Most of these guys were at least aware enough to be able to distinguish ads from search results, but very few understand how the auction works on keywords – and forget about even trying to explain conversions.

What’s the difference between the majority of the NCHS class of ’87 and the rest of the business world? The NCHS class of ’87 is a two time State Championship Football team and most of the rest of the business world isn’t. Both realize that search is a big deal, but most of them don’t understand it…

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