• http://www.brickmarketing.com nickstamoulis

    Hi Hanan, Excellent post! I tend to think small businesses can handle many offline local advertising efforts on their own but online, I think many folks do still need assistance. The main reason I tend to think this is because many of the same aspects apply to online and offline local advertising, such as: understanding the target audiences, offer, timing, etc. but online is different world and it is very easy for a small business to spend/waste their media budget very quickly if they don’t know what they are doing…

  • http://themarketingspot.blogspot.com Jay Ehret

    Well, not sure about your automation prediction. There is really no media yet that has achieved real automation. Things just keep changing, especially in search.

  • http://mattmartone mattmartone

    I agree with Nick. Since offline is less complex, most SMBs can and should handle it.

    When it comes to online, the complexities can be daunting for a small business owner without experience. Sure she can create an account and pick keywords. But an SMB is likely to waste money and spend way to much time on the learning curve: spending on irrelevant or poorly matched keywords; never to figure out the value of negative keys.

    In my opinion, local search is creating an opportunity for local search consultants to set up shop in a similiar manner to accountants and lawyers. I did it in Newark, NJ because SMBs need the service, even its its just a set up and monthly or quarterly review or optimization.

  • http://www.searchworxx.com Marcus C

    The biggest factor I find with SMBs is their available time to manage these campaigns. Not only do they need the time to figure out what they want, but then they need to take the time to do good keyword research. What makes these systems complex is understanding the research that makes your campaign perform the way you want. They just don’t have time to learn a new “business.”

  • http://qapacity.com Ina

    “A complexity that for now, for the majority of SMB owners, can be overcome only with the help of… a middleman.”

    Or if the middleman is invisible. If you use a service that makes this easier for the small business owner, while not taking the attention on him.

  • http://searchengineland.com/080107-160520.php Hanan Lifshitz

    Nick, thanks for the comment.

    I think we can all agree that for most SMBs self serve is still not here. But I do envy that company that will eventually build a truly simple automated ad management system for SMBs with clear ROI. While many great SEM companies are working on it, Borrell’s recent churn data (http://gesterling.wordpress.com/2009/06/08/borrell-on-local-sem-churn/) suggests that we’ve still got some work ahead…