Is Marketing Dead?

According to Google, marketing is dying! Can this be true? What is the latest state of play in the SEO v Inbound Marketing showdown?

You are reading: Is Marketing Dead?

Don’t worry, this is not going to be another SEO is dead post. Today, I am announcing the demise of marketing (if the gospel of Google is to be believed).

I was looking at Google Trends (one of my favourite sources of insight) this morning and was slightly startled to see the graph for the term ‘marketing’:

marketing google trends
Worldwide searches for ‘marketing’

It seems unbelievable that interest in marketing is waning to this extent and I would suggest that this is a good example of long tail searches taking the place of the generic / top level terms.

I was actually exploring how the battle between ‘SEO’ and ‘inbound marketing’ was raging. This is of particular interest to me as we aligned ourselves with the inbound marketing mantra back in 2012.

That feels like a long time ago and I think it is fair to say that inbound marketing remains an alien concept to most marketers in the UK. Indeed, some research that we carried out recently revealed that only 8% of marketers had actually heard of inbound marketing.

This is a great source of frustration for me as I believe so strongly in the principle of inbound marketing, but I was interested to see that old friend @lakey has moved to DueDil where his job title is ‘Head of Inbound Marketing’. DueDil is a very forward thinking organisation but it is encouraging to see that such a job title exists and perhaps indicates that the tide is turning?

The fact is that all this is largely a matter of semantics. Whether you call it SEO or inbound marketing, few website publishers are not interested in attracting more traffic and search engines remain the most potent source of high quality web traffic. Search will therefore always be an absolutely vital string in the inbound marketing bow.

Although I promised that this wouldn’t be another SEO is dead post, it is interesting to look at what Google Trends tells us aobut interest in ‘SEO’:

SEO google trends
Worldwide searches for ‘SEO’

Clearly, a very healthy growth in popularity until 2010, when it hits a plateau on which it has remained. This, no doubt, is reflective of all the calls that SEO is dead.

If you compare this to ‘inbound marketing’, there is a different story to be told:

inbound marketing google trends
Worldwide searches for ‘inbound marketing’

It is a new term, so you would expect to see growth along these lines, but I am encouraged to see that it hasn’t (yet?) hit the plateau that SEO has stalled at.  Being truthful, SEO still has far, far more searches than inbound marketing but Google Trends is all about, you guessed it, the trend rather than absolute numbers.

So, is marketing dead and is inbound marketing the future?

I would like to think that inbound marketing is the future (actually, let’s make it the now AND the future) but I do not believe, for a second, that marketing is dead. Looking at recent CEO appointments in big companies, marketers are the new financiers. Whereas the CEO role was almost always filled by FDs / accountants, it is the multi-dimensional marketers who are now taking the crown.

The Google Trends graph for ‘marketing’ is masking the fact that people are looking for specific forms of marketing and shows how important it is to look at the long tail. To prove the point, look at what Google Trends is showing for the term ‘digital marketing’:

digital marketing google trends
Worldwide searches for ‘digital marketing’

Phew! Breathe a sigh of relief….

If you want to find out more about inbound marketing and how it could help your organisation, please feel fee to get in touch as I would love the opportunity to show you why it is so important.


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