Target and Toys R Us posted overall sales declines during the holidays.
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That message is starting to seep into the market, he says. "Even companies that manage $100,000 a month in pay-per-click spending and have been at this for two or three years are seeking out bidding agents because their teams have hit a wall," Marckini says. "Usually the most sophisticated users are the last to seek a vendor. But even these players are out in the market looking for someone to manage that spend."
But whatever the outcome of search engine marketing--however marketers deal with the fraud issues, decide whether to work it in-house or outsource it, balance the requirements of paid vs. natural search--search marketing is well entrenched as a marketing technique and likely to remain so for a simple reason: It works. "Search is a self-funding model," Wright says. "If you know it`s going to cost you a certain amount of money to make a profitable sale, wouldn`t you want to make as many sales as possible using that model?"