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Search marketers think YOU know it already. Do you?

As with any business, it can be important to step outside of the business, so to speak, to see what might actually be going on. That’s why consultants exist. Good ones allow you to get the objective position from the other side of the desk so you do not lose perspective on what the market is actually asking for, or even how you may be perceived in the market. Search marketing is a classic industry for this kind of approach because it’s very easy to assume that everyone knows a lot about search. I am beginning to think I could be a bit off.

So, since this is Frank Friday, I am looking for some honest opinions. I spend most of my waking hours playing at this internet marketing thing. Even more to the point, I work on the search engine marketing side of the coin. As the marketing/sales face of my company (you can see my picture in my bio so tell me if I should take a back office position), I encounter every type of small and medium business owner and employee that you can imagine. From the solo insurance salesperson to the landscaper with 50 employees to the online entrepreneur to the traditional manufacturing business, and everyone in between, I talk to them all.
Business people are often hurried, overworked, stressed, and a bit scattered. As a result, many end up with a business knowledge that is a mile wide and an inch deep. They need to know a little about almost every aspect of business from accounting, sales, HR, janitorial, marketing, public relations, accounts receivable, and on and on. So why should I expect them to have any true understanding of search engine optimization, pay-per-click marketing, and blog marketing?
I am starting to feel like I have become a bit myopic in my view of the SMB marketplace and the profile of the average owner. I have convinced myself that most if not all of these folks are at least aware of search marketing. Then I actually go a step further and suspect that they would know some of the basic precepts of this important part of their marketing mix. If I am really “buying into” my own stuff on any given day, I may actually get a little self righteous about their absolute NEED to be involved in the greatest marketing tool since the dawn of commerce. Then, if I get what I deem to be an inappropriate response (read: a “no”), then I am sure to wonder how that company will survive through the next quarter, because they refuse to do what I know to be absolutely right for their business.
You see my point? I think I have been on the service delivery side of the ledger for so long that my view is truly askew when it comes to the marketing needs of the small-to-medium biz folks out there.
So here’s where I need your help. If you are an SMB owner/operator reading this post, tell me what you truly feel (or even know) about search marketing. Is it a mystery? Is it hype? Is it even necessary, in your opinion? Please be sure to explain your answer so that I can learn here. I’m depending on you!
For you fellow search marketing providers out there: how do you think you are perceived by your clients and prospects? What do you think the reputation of the search marketing industry is in its current state? Are there changes needed and, if so, what might they be?
I suspect you came here for some nugget of wisdom but I am asking you for the assist here. What does it look like from your side of the street? I am interested to know your POV (point of view) because I think mine may be just a little too biased. Excuse me now, though. I am going to Google to search for an answer to this question. Would you expect anything else from a search marketer?

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