Will The California Economy Really Collapse If A ‘Do Not Track’ Bill Passes?

Back in 1978, the clowns were running the circus, and local, county, and state government found property taxation as a way to solve any financial problems. The situation had become so unbearable that the people of the state revolted, passing an amendment to the State of California Constitution to stop the chaos. Known as Proposition 13, or formally as the People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation, the initiative capped property taxes at 1% of 1975 assessed values, while also limiting the annual growth of property taxes.

How bad was property taxation in 1978? I had purchased a new home in 1972 and the first year’s taxes were $300. The following year the property taxes jumped to $600, followed by an increase to $1200 in 1974 and $1600 in 1975. At the time I was making about $1400 a month, and $1600 a year in property taxes was hitting me and others right in the pocket book.

Before the election, every city, county, and even the state government claimed the People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation would destroy the state financially. The voters didn’t buy the rhetoric and overwhelmingly passed the initiative. The amendment was subsequently upheld by the U.S. Supreme court and guess what? The cities, counties, and state government didn’t fail nor go bankrupt and additional sources of revenue were found to supplement the decrease in property taxes.

So when California Senate Bill 761 was proposed, the big Internet players from Silicon Valley drew their swords and hollered foul. How dare anyone even suggest that regulating the Internet with a ‘Do Not Track’ bill could actually help consumers? Companies such as Google, Facebook, and some 60 others claim that any such action could cause a strangulation of Internet commerce.

Which makes one wonder. How do television and radio stations make money selling advertisements without keeping track of every movement we make? When do we as a society try to curb the amount of information that is being collected, analyzed, and shared between who knows who? Even if California fails to pass a ‘Do Not Track’ bill, how long before the feds pass such a bill for all of the states?

On the flip side there is this thought. Since Google and Facebook offer their services for free, and since we do not have to use either service, we already have the option to ‘opt out’ without the need for any legislation.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

The Ongoing Situation and Japan and Its Affect on Electronics Prices

There is nothing more important surrounding the situation in Japan than the lives and welfare of those affected by it. The earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power plant explosions have created a terrible and unprecedented danger for anyone in the wake of this disaster. The impact this will have on electronics and the economy moving forward only adds to the list of terrible side-effects of this situation.

Bloomberg reported that rechargeable batteries, LCD panels, and chip-wafers may become scarce and see price increases due to plants located in Japan shutting down due to unstable power even in regions of Japan otherwise unaffected. Reuters reported that a Toshiba LCD plant announced that it will be shut down for an entire month as they assess damage and repair sensitive equipment knocked out of alignment by the intense earthquake last Friday.

While it may appear selfish to worry about consumer electronics, many of these plants also build equipment vital to medial and scientific fields which are an essential part of healthcare worldwide. In addition, the global economic impact has yet to be assessed, but predictions thus far are less than positive.

Reuters – Toshiba LCD plant out, Lenovo frets about supplies
Bloomberg – Japan’s Quake May Hurt Battery, Chip-Wafer, LCD-Panel Markets
Engadget – Japanese quake will likely affect the global supply of gadgets

3 Million MacBooks And 750,000 MacBook Airs To Be Shipped

Shipping three million MacBooks is Apple’s dream for this fall. It is predicted that the shipments will go close to one million per month, which is about 24% of the new MacBook Air. According to the data provided by Digitimes’ sources, the range would see a minimum of 600,000 and a maximum of 750,000 of the ultraportables ship at the same time.

There should be an image here!The final IDC data that was not contained in the preliminary summer estimates was used in support of the information. A virtual doubling of US share from 6.7 percent to 12.6 percent and obtaining 5.2 percent of world share versus 3.7 at the beginning of the year, Apple has already risen in computer market share during the hot season of summer. The rising pattern supported another increase in production. 2.64 million MacBooks have been shipped by Apple this summer.

A result of the holidays is a boost for the whole computer industry, but the improvement of each year and season can differ. MacBook numbers dropped in fall 2009 compared to a year earlier. Apple has the advantage in 2010 because of a stronger economy and of the new MacBook Air to help with the sales.

My name is Christopher Pham. My interest is being updated with the world, and I am here to help the Lockergnome community be update-to-date as well! Helping is what I favor the most! I love to write articles on topics dealing with computers, mobile phones, and their carriers, sales, and great deals, and ways to get the most out of your gadgets!

You can find me on Twitter and YouTube. Stop by and say hello!

Americans Have Conflicting Views About Spending On Public Health System

A comprehensive review of national opinion polls shows that Americans have conflicting views about the nation’s public health system and are divided along partisan lines in their support of additional spending on public health programs. A majority supports increased spending on public health in general and sees public health interventions as saving money in the long term. At the same time, however, many do not favor increased spending on a number of areas that public health officials deem important and do not see their state health department as doing a good job preventing chronic illnesses.

The analysis, by Robert J. Blendon, Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health, and three co-authors, appears in the November issue of Health Affairs. The article, which draws on results from 12 national opinion polls, provides an in-depth examination of Americans’ views about the nation’s public health system.

“In order to sustain public support for increased spending, it will be critically important to give specific examples of cost savings from public health programs and to highlight how specific public health programs have reduced mortality from major chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and HIV/AIDS,” said Blendon.

With growing concern about the federal budget deficit, there is likely to be a debate about whether the public health funds in the health care reform law passed earlier this year should be fully funded.

Polls show that three-fourths of Americans believe the U.S. is spending too little on improving and protecting the nation’s health. A majority also sees long-term savings from spending on measures to improve health and prevention.

However, Americans do not believe the nation’s public health system as a whole is working very well: 56% rate its performance as fair or poor, while 42% rate it as excellent or good. Just slightly more than half (52%) have a positive view of their state health department, but a larger majority (62%) approves of the job being done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Most Americans do not see the health of their state’s residents as having improved over the past five years. In addition, a majority does not see their state public health department as having been effective in preventing chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.

This area of weakness is important because preventing chronic illnesses is one of the highest priorities for the public. State public health agencies are seen as more effective in combating outbreaks of infectious disease. However, with the exception of major epidemics such as H1N1, these diseases are lower on the public’s list of health threats.

The polls suggest that Americans may support increased spending in the abstract but may find the expansion of specific health programs less salient. If Americans generally do not see prior health programs as having improved health in their state, they may not feel strongly about increased spending on new public health initiatives when there is increased public concern about the federal budget deficit and states are facing severe financial shortfalls because of the reduction in tax revenues as a result of the economic downturn and the slow recovery of the economy.

In addition to the possible threat from fiscal restraints, the poll results suggest a partisan divide. Republicans are generally opposed to the health reform law and much less supportive of additional spending on public health programs than Democrats are.

Todd Datz @ Harvard School of Public Health

Will the Ford Fiesta Change Your Mind About Small Cars?

Pundit after pundit has stated that Americans don’t like small cars. To that, I say hogwash. Take a look at the roadways around your town and you might come to a different conclusion. There are plenty of small cars on our streets and their numbers will quickly rise as the tightened federal fuel economy rules kick in.

The good news is that small cars can be a blast to drive. The new 2011 Ford Fiesta is a perfect case-in-point. Forget about the tin-can connotations of the sub-compact class. While the Fiesta’s exterior dimensions are tiny, it feels like a much larger and more substantial car when you’re behind the wheel. With an affordable price tag, an excellent cabin (including Microsoft SYNC), and fuel economy that beats many hybrid cars, the Fiesta is a compelling package.

Ford has taken a bold approach to marketing the new Fiesta, from the initial Fiesta Movement – where 100 Euro-spec Fiestas were loaned to “Fiesta Agents” for a six month social media experiment – to the latest 43 Fiestas promotion that wraps rally racing, NASCAR, and some Ken Block craziness into a reason to go out and try something new.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/yV0ZZasAWjw" width="350" height="288" wmode="transparent" /]

Reference: 2011 Ford Fiesta Review

True Or False – Mom And Pop Businesses Are The Backbone Of The Economy?

I know I have heard during most of my adult life that mom and pop businesses are the backbone of our economy. Every president during the past 50 years or so have always stated this as being a fact, including our current President. In a recent speech President Obama made a statement that he supported ‘the little guy’ and credited the small businesses owner with the majority of U.S. growth.

Over at Newsweek they are refuting this myth and have stated the following:

There’s just one problem: it isn’t true, according to a new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The work—the first to track employment by age and size of the hiring company—found that small, mature firms (those with fewer than 500 employees and at least 10 years in operation) are actually net drags on job growth. On average, between 1992 and 2005, they destroyed more salaries than they created. In 2005, for example, small businesses lost about a million jobs, even as the overall economy expanded by about 2.5 million. Start-ups accounted for nearly all the growth.

I am not sure how accurate this information is nor whether it is true or false. One would hope that small businesses would be an asset to our country and not a drain on it. It would also seem to me that with most of our large companies having moved to China, that we would be relying more on small businesses to employ our own workers. Just my two cents.

What do you think? Share your thoughts with us.

Comments welcome.

Source – Newsweek

Doing Both: How Cisco Captures Today’s Profit And Drives Tomorrow’s Growth

There should be an image here!Over the past seven years, in a highly unstable global economy, Cisco doubled revenue, tripled profits, and quadrupled earnings per share. How? By Doing Both.

When companies face key strategic decisions, they often take one path and abandon the other. They focus on innovation and new business at the expense of core businesses or vice versa. They stress discipline and sacrifice flexibility. They focus on customers and ignore partners. And they struggle. Cisco believes there is a better way: Doing Both. Doing Both means approaching every decision as an opportunity to seize, not a sacrifice to endure. It means avoiding false choices, reduced expectations, and weak compromises. It means finding ways to make each option benefit and mutually reinforce the other. In this book, Cisco Senior Vice President Inder Sidhu explains why “doing both” is today’s best strategy. Then, drawing on Cisco’s hardwon insights and the experiences of companies like Procter & Gamble, Whirlpool, and Harley-Davidson, Inder presents a complete blueprint for “doing both” in your organization, too.

Win by Doing Both!

  • Sustaining and Disruptive Innovation
  • Existing and New Business Models
  • Optimization and Reinvention
  • Satisfied Customers and Gratified Partners
  • Established and Emerging Countries
  • Doing Things Right and Doing What Matters
  • Superstar Performers and Winning Teams
  • Authoritative Leadership and Democratic Decision Making

Energy Conservation In South Could Save Billions, Create Jobs

There should be an image here!Energy-efficiency measures in the southern U.S. could save consumers $41 billion on their energy bills, open 380,000 new jobs, and save 8.6 billion gallons of water by 2020, according to a new study from the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. The study concludes that investing $200 billion in energy efficiency programs by 2030 could return $448 billion in savings.

The researchers modeled how implementation of nine policies across the residential, commercial and industrial sectors might play out over 20 years in the District of Columbia and 16 southern states.

“We looked at how these policies might interact, not just single programs,” said Etan Gumerman of the Nicholas Institute and co-lead researcher of the study. “The interplay between policies compounds the savings. And it’s all cost-effective. On average, each dollar invested in energy efficiency over the next 20 years will reap $2.25 in benefits.”

Policies considered by the study, “Energy Efficiency in the South,” include new appliance standards, incentives for retrofitting and weatherization, upgrades to utility plants and process improvements.

The South is rich terrain for efficiency improvements. Without them, the region might expect 15 percent growth in energy demand by 2030. Thirty-six percent of Americans live in the study region. The region consumes an outsized portion of American energy, 44 percent, but it also supplies 48 percent of the nation’s power.

A combination of factors has left this disproportionate usage unexplored by policymakers keen on energy efficiency. The South historically has low electricity rates, which encourage consumption. Energy-efficient products have a lower market penetration than elsewhere in the U.S. And these states spend less per capita on efficiency programs than the national average.

The researchers generated a “business as usual” scenario, without any policies, and compared it with scenarios that included specific sets of energy-efficiency investments, to capture the cost savings.

The study, released Monday, concludes that aggressive energy efficiency initiatives would:

Generate new jobs, cut utility bills and sustain economic growth. Overall utility bills would be reduced by $41 billion a year in 2020 and $71 billion in 2030; the average residential electricity bills would decline by $26 per month in 2020 and $50 per month in 2030; electricity rate increases would be moderated; and 380,000 new jobs would be created by 2020 (annual job growth increases to 520,000 new jobs in 2030). The region’s economy is anticipated to grow by $1.23 billion in 2020 and $2.12 billion in 2030.

Reduce the need for new power plants. Almost 25 gigawatts of older power plants could be retired and the construction of up to 50 gigawatts of new plants (equal to the amount of electricity produced by 100 power plants) could be avoided.

Result in substantial water conservation. The reduction in power plant capacity would save southern regions of the North American Electrical Reliability Corporation 8.6 billion gallons of fresh water in 2020 and 20.1 billion gallons in 2030.

“An aggressive commitment to energy efficiency could be an economic windfall for the South,” said Dr. Marilyn Brown of the Georgia Institute of Technology and co-lead researcher of the study. “Such a shift would lower energy bills for cash-strapped consumers and businesses and create more new jobs for Southern workers.”

Etan Gumerman @ Duke University

[Photo above by Gabriel S. Delgado C. / CC BY-ND 2.0]

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Your Money: The Missing Manual

There should be an image here!Keeping your financial house in order is more important than ever. But how do you deal with expenses, debt, taxes, and retirement without getting overwhelmed? Your Money: The Missing Manual points the way. It’s filled with the kind of practical guidance and sound insights that makes J.D. Roth’s GetRichSlowly.org a critically acclaimed source of personal-finance advice.

You won’t find any get-rich-quick schemes here, just sensible advice for getting the most from your money. Even if you have perfect credit and no debt, you’ll learn ways to make your rosy financial situation even better.

  • Get the info you need to make sensible decisions on saving, spending, and investing
  • Learn the best ways to set and achieve financial goals
  • Set up a realistic budget framework and learn how to track expenses
  • Discover proven methods to help you eliminate debt
  • Understand how to use credit wisely
  • Win big by making smart decisions on your home and other big-ticket items
  • Learn how to get the most from your investments by avoiding rash decisions
  • Decide how — and how much — to save for retirement

Your Money: The Missing Manual

There should be an image here!Keeping your financial house in order is more important than ever. But how do you deal with expenses, debt, taxes, and retirement without getting overwhelmed? Your Money: The Missing Manual points the way. It’s filled with the kind of practical guidance and sound insights that makes J.D. Roth’s GetRichSlowly.org a critically acclaimed source of personal-finance advice.

You won’t find any get-rich-quick schemes here, just sensible advice for getting the most from your money. Even if you have perfect credit and no debt, you’ll learn ways to make your rosy financial situation even better.

  • Get the info you need to make sensible decisions on saving, spending, and investing
  • Learn the best ways to set and achieve financial goals
  • Set up a realistic budget framework and learn how to track expenses
  • Discover proven methods to help you eliminate debt
  • Understand how to use credit wisely
  • Win big by making smart decisions on your home and other big-ticket items
  • Learn how to get the most from your investments by avoiding rash decisions
  • Decide how — and how much — to save for retirement

For Better Trade, Give Peace A Chance

There should be an image here!Liberal theorists and politicians have long argued that trade leads to peaceful relations between nations — a view that informs the push for free trade. However, many international relations experts dispute this claim. New US research out today, in the journal Conflict Management and Peace Science published by SAGE, finds that rather than trade being the driver, peace is actually the vital ingredient that allows trade to flourish.

Omar Keshk and Brian Pollins, from the Ohio State University and Rafael Reuveny from Indiana University dug deep into assumptions behind trade and conflict models. In their paper, Trade and Conflict: Proximity, Country Size, and Measures, the authors home in on four key issues: the nations’ size, proximity, the choice of trade data, and the definition of ‘conflict’ used by theorists. By using a simultaneous equations model, the authors proved claims that trade brings peace are not robust. In fact it is conflict that reduces trade.

Trade’s effect on military conflict is one of the most important issues in international relations. The last decade has seen research and debate into the role of trade intensify; Liberals argue that trade brings peace, neo-realists and neo-Marxists reason that trade brings conflict, and classical realists contend that trade has no impact. This debate is not just academic: some key U.S. policymakers (Senator McCain and former President Clinton for instance) believe that trade brings peace, a view that contributes to their support for free trade.

Economists developed bilateral trade models in isolation from models of interstate conflict, which were the work of political scientists. These two types of models handle distance between nations differently. Bilateral trade takes its cue from Isaac Newton’s formula for the gravitational attraction between two objects: the larger the objects’ masses and the shorter the distance between them, the larger the attraction. So the larger the trade partners’ economies and the closer they are to one another, the greater their trade. However, conflict models instead incorporate shared borders by land or close distance over water (contiguity) — stressing the role of border disputes in sparking interstate conflict.

Distance is included in conflict equations based on the idea that an army gets weaker the farther it strays from its base, but what point in a nation to pick for the trade and conflict equation is unclear. Often theorists use the distance between capital cities, which is problematic: wars generally happen around borders where armies are often based, and capitals have historically changed without this altering the likelihood of war between the nation and its neighbours.

The authors suggest that the trade data set plugged into trade and conflict equations is critical. This type of data often contains gaps — there are a number of reasons why data from a particular nation might be unavailable, inevitably leaving researchers to make assumptions. The majority of trade and conflict studies define conflict to include all types of militarised interstate disputes (MIDs). But Keshk, Reuveny, and Pollins question the results generated when different conflict definitions are chosen. For instance, a conflict such as a threat to use nuclear weapons would not cause fatalities, but may still have some impact on trade and vice versa. In fact, by altering the data treatment and assumptions in the equation, the authors generated a variety of results, which supported several different theoretical viewpoints.

The authors suggest that future research should investigate questions of missing bilateral trade data, and attempt a more subtle use of the meaning of “military conflict.” Researchers might also develop distance and contiguity measures at a more sophisticated level.

“Any signal that trade brings peace remains weak and inconsistent, regardless of the way proximity is modelled in the conflict equation. The signal that conflict reduces trade, in contrast, is strong and consistent,” say the authors. “Any study of the effect of trade on conflict that ignores the reverse fact is practically guaranteed to produce estimates that contain simultaneity bias.”

Studies of the relationship between international trade and military conflict can be traced back many centuries, particularly in the works of luminaries such as de Montesquieu, Immanuel Kant, John Hobson, Vladimir Lenin, Henry Morgenthau, Kenneth Waltz, Frederic List, and Albert Hirschman. This latest study emphasises that international politics are affecting trade between nation pairs, while it is far less obvious whether trade systematically affects politics.

“To our colleagues from the liberal camp we would like to say that we still believe there are limited circumstances in which more trade may help lead countries to more peaceful resolutions of their differences, particularly if they are already at peace,” the authors state. “However, it is past time for academics and policymakers to look beyond the naive claim that the cultivation of trade ties will always and everywhere produce a more peaceful world.”

Mithu Lucraft @ SAGE Publications UK

[Photo above by Cayusa / CC BY-ND 2.0]

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Aftershock – Is Another Financial Meltdown Heading Our Way? Review Part 1

It was about 3 weeks ago that my wife suggested picking up a copy of the book ‘Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown’. At first I balked since I normally do not believe in all of the smoke and mirror predictions that some so called experts make. But just out of curiosity I decided to take a look at the book and see what others were saying about it. After reading the reviews I ordered myself a copy.

The authors of this book, Aftershock… ‘ had previously written the book, ‘America’s Bubble Economy: Profit When It Pops’ back in 2006. I had not read the original book the authors wrote, but apparently these people were right on the money. They subscribe to the theory of a ‘Bubble Economy’, which they claim has six separate parts. The bubble parts are housing, stock-market, foreigner supported dollar, consumer debt, U.S. debt and consumer discretionary spending.

In housing, the theory was that housing would never stop increasing in price. With this in mind loans were given to people who should of not been loaned money. We have all heared of the so called sub-prime loans and the effect it had on the housing market. But some of what we didn’t know is explained in ‘Aftershock…..’ What I found interesting was the way that some borrows were provided three options each month on how they wished to repay their loan. They could pay both principal + interest, or interest only, or just a portion of the interest. This last option would add the unpaid interest back onto the original loan up to a maximum of 125% of the original amount borrowed. That is creative financing at its best! LOL

The authors claim they  “are not bulls or bears or gold bugs, stock boosters or detractors, currency pushers, or doom-and-gloom crusaders,” and “have no particular political ideology to endorse, and no dogmatic future to promote.”  The authors present how they predicted the housing bubble crash and how in turn it caused the stock market, consumer debt and consumer discretionary spending bubbles to burst as well.

So what’s left?  The two bubbles foreigner supported dollar and U.S. Debt. The authors are now predicting that these bubbles are the next to fail over the next few years. They justify their opinion in a way that makes complete sense. The U.S. is borrowing so much money that it will become apparent that we will be unable to pay off the debt. When this happens foreign support of the dollar will wane.

There was a word of caution which I especially liked. The authors state that there will not be a depression like the 20’s and 30’s, but instead will force the U.S. to only spend what it takes in without borrowing. The countries that will be in trouble are the countries that reply on exports. The authors also state that we in the U.S. will not be left out in the streets, since we are to wealthy of a nation for this to happen.

I finished last evening reading the chapter about buying gold. Before reading the chapter I thought gold would be the recommendation to protect our personal wealth. The authors believe that gold will rise, possibly up to $2,500 or more per ounce, but that bubble will pop as well. So what’s left? I don’t know, but I am looking forward to reading the second half of the book to see what strategy the authors may suggest.

Comments welcome.

Stay tuned for part#2.

Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown only $16.34

Virtual Economy Set To Make Billions Of $ In U.S.

Social networking sites like Playfish, which is a gaming social networking site, currently attract some 61 million users. The gaming site, which features 11 games, is raking in the big bucks by selling virtual goods for people to add to their virtual restaurant or pet menu, i.e. virtual furniture. According to a recent BBC article, virtual goods sales are going to take off here in the U.S. and spending is expected to reach in the billions of dollars.

The article also states:

The new gamers

And it is not just the stereotypical gamers that are spending their hard earned cash on goods that only add up to a handful of pixels on a website

Emma Cox is probably fairly typical of the new breed of social gamer who plays as a way to stay connected to friends and family.

“I am not a traditional gamer. I don’t buy console games or go out and spend $40 on a game for my PlayStation,” said Ms Cox.

“I am playing online games for a different reason and it’s instant gratification, playing with friends, showing off to others and have them see all the virtual goods you have bought for yourself and even for them.”

Ms Cox told the BBC she spends about $10 a month per game on virtual goods and plays two to three games. Her favorite is Country Store where players trade real money for coins allowing players to move ahead in the game or to buy goods.

This is an interesting take on playing games online. It seems that for some people it costs less to play online than to spend $40 or $50 for a software game.

There is just one thing I still find hard to believe. Why would anyone want to spend money for goods that are virtual and not real? Seems strange to me. What about you?

Comments welcome.



Recently, a lot of people have been trying to dust off their resumes and get back into the job hunting game because the economy has taken many jobs over the past year or two. Many of the people who are now unemployed have had secure jobs for many years, so the process of trying to find a new job is something that they haven’t had to deal with for a long time. For some, one of the hardest parts about finding a new job is simply creating a resume. That may sound easy, but since your resume is usually your first step in the door, it’s important to get it right. A service called CeeVee (clever) takes your resume online and prevents you from having to worry too much about formatting, etc.

While an online resume won’t be acceptable to every employer, it’s still nice to have an online version that you can point people to. With CeeVee, it’s all about the actual content. The service provides themes for you to choose, and from there it’s just a matter of using the tool to input your information. Resumes can be public or private, saved as a PDF, and shared through social networks. We’re all wishing you the best in your job hunt.

Don’t Cut SEM Budget In Down Economy

Why It’s Vitally Important to Trust Your Search Engine Marketing Company in a Down Economy

It’s a fact of life in business that when there’s an economic downturn, the first thing that’s usually cut is available marketing spend, typically an unfortunate byproduct of accounting’s inability to justify costs without hard data in place. While the argument has been made numerous times over the years in books and articles that cutting budgets in a down economy is one of the worst moves you can make, I won’t rehash this old (but still valid) argument. Instead, I’d specifically like to address why cutting your search engine marketing budget in a down economy is a bad move, and why it’s equally important to place your trust in your search engine marketing company during a down turn.

It’s probably true for most businesses that there are fewer people actively searching for their products and services due to the economic climate. Companies reasonably approach this situation thinking, “Why should we pay the same amount in marketing that we’ve traditionally been paying when our current target market has shrunk?” This is a rational concern, but it doesn’t always lead to rational decisions — and it’s at this point when it becomes appropriate to break down the differences between push and pull marketing.

“Pushing” Your Message Out: The Traditional Method

With push marketing (by modern definition), you are essentially “pushing” your message out to various venues, such as billboards, magazine ads, direct mail, and radio and TV spots, trying to target your ideal customer. You’re spending money to reach mass audiences in the hopes that some percentage of them are looking for your products or services at just the time your message reaches them. Of course, if sales in your particular market have dropped by, say, 25%, you can expect that your push marketing results will probably correlate to the industry decline.

“Pulling” Your Market In: The Value of Search Engine Marketing

Enter the modern definition of pull marketing, such as the services that your search engine marketing company provides. With pull marketing, you are able to target a potential customer at the exact time he or she is seeking your products and services regardless of any declines in the marketplace. If your search engine marketing company is running a PPC program on your behalf, you should remain adequately represented in search engine results pages. If there are fewer people searching for the keyphrases upon which you bid, your costs for pay-per-click may decrease, but at least, in this case, it is a market-driven decrease based upon solid information rather than a decision passed down from someone far removed from marketing.

Another argument can be made for search engine optimization. Although the budget you allocate for a search engine marketing company and its services may be fixed, it’s likely that many of your competitors have lost their budgets, opening up the playing field and potentially allowing you to garner more of the business that’s still out there.

Establishing Long-Term Success with Hard Data

This takes us to another area especially important to businesses where long-term relationships are crucial to long-term success. In a down economy, people cut marketing budgets (including the crucial, but often overlooked online marketing efforts performed by their search engine marketing company), leaving a prime opportunity for you to use pull marketing tactics to gain market share while your competitors are left trying to “ride out the storm.” As previously mentioned, fewer of your competitors will be paying for ongoing SEO efforts or even allotting revenue for PPC campaigns, which opens up more potential search engine real estate for your company in the organic and PPC arenas and, quite possibly, lowers your per-click cost in PPC.

With push marketing, it’s difficult to attribute a direct ROI correlation. It can be tried — companies will use vanity phone numbers or URLs on a variety of different online advertisements or offline flyers, but nothing compares to the ROI metrics that can be provided by your search engine marketing company. Frankly, you can get as granular as you want with data — how much a lead costs, the exact amount of revenue generated by individual campaigns, all the way down to the exact amount of profit you made from particular keyphrases on the Google AdWords campaign between 4 and 5 PM on March 05. The bottom line is that it’s hard to argue with this data, and while many marketing pros are understandably in job preservation mode, it’s obviously valuable to be able to point to undeniable metrics that demonstrate success.

Don’t Cut Marketing; Build on Existing Efforts

Ever since the marketing department made its debut in the modern business world, it has seemed to be the first to get downsized or even axed during trying economic times. Of course, I feel that any marketing that has traditionally worked for a company should not be eliminated during a downturn. However, if budgets must be revised, I recommend you focus your remaining efforts on pull marketing, gaining market share, and concentrating on the metrics (acquired with the assistance of your search engine marketing company) to prove your ROI.

© Medium Blue 2009

About the Author

Scott Buresh is the founder of Medium Blue, an Atlanta-based search engine optimization company. His articles have appeared in numerous publications, including MarketingProfs, ZDNet, SiteProNews, WebProNews, DarwinMag, ISEDB.com, and Search Engine Guide. He was also a contributor to The Complete Guide to Google Advertising (Atlantic, 2008) and Building Your Business with Google for Dummies (Wiley, 2004). Medium Blue has local and national clients, including Boston Scientific, DS Waters, and DeKalb Medical, and was named the number one organic search engine optimization company in the world in 2006 and 2007 by PromotionWorld. Visit MediumBlue.com to request a custom SEO guarantee based on your goals and your data.