The Search Economy: More People and Less Technology 

Pneuma's VP of Marketing, Brett McGrath shares why he believes you should choose people over technology when trying to be found by your next customer through SEO.

The Search Economy: More People and Less Technology 

The Search Economy: More People and Less Technology 

This is my first official article for the Pneuma blog. I joined the team at the beginning of the month to lead marketing and couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity ahead. I love to write. If you’re new to the Pneuma blog you can expect me to use this space to tell stories, share ideas, and promote other content we’re working on that’s getting ready to launch. Pneuma is the first marketing job that I’ve ever had that I wasn’t promoting a piece of software. I’ve worked in B2B SaaS (software as a service) my entire career. I’ve joked that I’ve worked in about every marketing role imaginable for companies of all shapes, sizes, and audiences. My experience in technology is all I know and my transition into a marketing role at a professional services agency like Pneuma has me looking at the world a bit differently. 

I’ll start with an overly aggressive opinion about marketing. 

Marketing has spent too much time, energy, and resources trying to build the ultimate marketing technology stack that we’ve lost focus on what matters most…your next customer.  It should never be about how quickly you can segment your audience, automate workflows, or set up AI prompts to make your job easier. It should always be about getting into the headspace of your next customer and creating a first-in-class journey that makes them feel undeniable that they should work with you. It should be less about automating steps and more about personalizing them. Technology isn’t a bad thing. It’s what has paid my bills my entire adult life, but there’s got to be moderation. Marketers have spent the past decade overspending on technology and underinvesting in relationships. Marketers win more when they spend less time thinking about people as data in a CSV file and more time considering their motivations and desires. 

Marketing has turned into a melting pot over the last decade. There’s a myriad of disciplines that make up a modern day marketing team. It’s nearly impossible for anyone responsible for marketing to have deep subject matter expertise in every discipline. I’ve always known SEO was something that I needed to invest in as a marketer, but it was a blindspot for me. I was too busy writing articles, recording podcasts, spinning up campaigns, and aligning with my sales team to be an expert at SEO. I did understand that if I didn’t invest in SEO at some level then all of the work I was doing creating content would likely go unnoticed outside of my own distribution. I never understood the intricacies of SEO enough to feel comfortable investing in a piece of technology to make sure my content was showing up in search results. I knew it was a critical piece of getting seen by our next customer and instead invested in relationships with people who were experts in SEO who could cover up my blindspots. 

We're Living in The Search Economy

Every business is trying to grow in the current era that we’ve been calling The Search Economy (podcast coming soon). Simply put, your next customer is spending more time online than ever. There’s been a dramatic increase in remote work, social media, e-commerce, and streaming post-pandemic and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. Traditionally, businesses have invested in paid marketing initiatives like advertising that might have done a decent job of creating demand, but lacked the ability to capture it. In The Search Economy your next customer is on offense. The gateway to their next purchase is the mini computer inside their pockets. The results that Google spit out become your next customer’s guiding post. Your untapped audience won’t make it to Page 2 either. They’ll pick your competitor who’s using SEO to capture their fully realized audience. Your next customer values access and convenience. They don’t care about how many subscription based systems you can piecemeal together to try and get their attention. They care about getting their question answered when they’ve got a problem. The best marketing in The Search Economy has nothing to do with the type of technology you use and has everything to do with your business being at the top of the list when your next customer goes to search.  

The best way that you can show up in The Search Economy starts with going back to the basics. It’s about deeply understanding the behaviors of your next customer and showing up to answer their questions when they need you. You're not going to be able to automate this important task with a new piece of technology. It will take putting an emphasis on relationships and finding the right people who could help you capture all of the demand you’re already creating. I’m only 3 weeks into my role at Pneuma and can confidently say that I’ve never been surrounded by so many brilliant minds on all things SEO. 

If you're looking to modernize the way your business gets found with the help of real people we’d love to have a conversation with you. 

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