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Because professional search engine optimization (SEO) is a relatively new field, many key decision makers are not aware that it exists. Or they simply believe that it cannot work in their industries or with the existing marketing mix.

This is not because those decision makers are ineffective or backward thinking but because in most companies marketing efforts are focused on activities that have already been proven effective. (Think direct mail, print advertising, tradeshows.)

Very often, the people who first recognize the potential benefits of professional SEO are not the key decision makers. They are the people on the front lines of the organization—the ones who deal with prospects and customers every day. However, proposing professional SEO as a new marketing initiative to the people higher in the chain of command can be a frustrating process, very often leading to disenchantment and a general sense that the marketing decision maker doesn't "get it." The real problem, however, may lie in a flawed approach.

But, first, a word of caution: Think about your company's culture. If your company does not have a history of trying anything new, you may be better off spending your energies elsewhere. Professional SEO as an addition to your marketing mix can be a hard sell, no matter how convincing the argument, to a company that is still relying on computers that were cutting edge during the Reagan administration.

Talk the talk

Your motivation for suggesting professional SEO may not necessarily inspire your marketing decision maker to immediately add it to your company's marketing mix. What will? Most marketing execs have a hot-button issue, and they are rarely shy about sharing it.

Is he or she concerned with increasing overall revenue? Is he or she always discussing cutting marketing costs? Does he or she talk about reducing the cost per lead? Does he or she always espouse the value of improving your brand recognition?

For each of these scenarios (and others), there are specific studies on SEO that will support your recommendation. If you approach your marketing decision maker without keeping the issues most important to him or her in mind, you diminish your chances for success.

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image of Scott Buresh

Scott Buresh is founder and CEO of Medium Blue, an award-winning search engine optimization company.

LinkedIn: Scott Buresh