When researching for a recent business case we had to analyze, I ran into something that I like to call the paradox of the digital marketing strategy. The case in question was related to AirFrance, so I jumped into Google and typed the name of the airline in question to see what the results looked like. Here’s the situation: The first result was a paid advertising, and the second result was organic.
Clicking any of these options will take me exactly to the same landing page. Obviously, whoever is handling the digital marketing strategy for AirFrance had decided to cover all fronts. They have invested money in a paid Google Search campaign, and also have invested to develop a strong and very effective SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
I was not a potential customer this time, I was simply trying to complete my project, and because I have been on the other side of the coin, I knew that if I clicked the paid advertising, AirFrance will be charge whatever amount they are bidding for that click and/or keyword. Considerate and benevolent as I am, I decided to click in the organic result to continue my research.
My decision was not a random act of kindness, I went down the rabbit hole thinking that I would eventually travel back to Paris, and I don’t want their advertising expenses affecting the price of my ticket in the future. I know that if I click on the paid advertising, I might be affecting their budget by a few cents. I’m probably just one in a million, AirFrance is a big company and I’m sure they can afford a few extra cents…but I believe in the “Horton Hears a Who” teachings that even a single voice can make a difference.
So here I am wondering, when is a company strong and powerful enough that they can stop investing in Search Engine Paid Advertising? Won’t their brand resonance, and SEO efforts automatically position them on top of the search results? I Google Searched American Airlines to compare the results and voila! No advertising came up, and they were positioned number 1 in the organic search results.
The data that I was analyzing for my project did show that the AirFrance branded campaigns were the most effective ones. The answers in the long run sometimes are hidden in the questions that are not being asked. Thinking outside the box, is what makes any professional survive disruptive automated processes.
STATUS: Don’t underestimate the power of human observation and inquisitiveness. Nobody is essential until we discover the way to become essential again, and then again, and again… Still resilient!
See AirFrance search results below: