Give Us Something to Talk About in Park City

First published September 24, 2009 in Mediapost’s Search Insider

From Dec. 2-5, in the ski hills of Park City, Utah, a bunch of really smart search marketers will get together to share what’s on our minds at the Search Insider Summit. The almost seven months that have passed since the spring show in Florida have been interesting ones. I’ve taken a quick look back at the Search Insider columns in that time to see what things we were writing about:

Real Time Search

Twitter? Facebook? The Nexus between Social and Search? This was probably the most consistent topic for Search Insiders over the past few months. I think we all know something important is happening right under our noses. We’re just not sure what.

What Would Google Do?

Everyone in this industry is endlessly fascinated with the Big G. What can we learn from them? How will they reshape the marketplace? How has the culture changed through the recession?

The Interplay of Search and Everything

The Search Insiders have long known that search lies at the center of everything, but there’s little hard data out there about how search interacts with other online (and offline) ad channels. What is the lift from search and display? How about search and video? We know that prospects bounce back and forth across the Web through search, but we’re still figuring out how to use that to get the right message in front of the right person at the right time.

Fundamental Shifts in the World of Search

A number of us have written about the shifting sands of our industry, feeling that something big is happening. Is search as the industry we know dying? Are SEMs changing with the times and providing value? What has the impact of the recession been, good and bad?

Bing, Yahoo and Google

In terms of sheer volume, this was the hands-down winner as the most popular topic for we Insiders. Can Bing break the Google Habit? What is Yahoo’s role? And who are the dark horses who might break the whole race wide open?

Search and Human Behavior

Of course this is one of my favorite topics, but lately Insider Kaila Colbin has actually been beating me at my own game. How and why do we use search? What are the pros and cons of targeting? What is the role of habits in search. And why don’t we spend more time trying to understand why our customers do what they do?

The Future of the SEO Business

SEO still seems to be alive and well — or is it? A few columns have looked not only at the long-term sustainability of SEO, but also the fundamental nature of companies that tend to do SEO well. Is SEO success something you have to earn?

Personalization and Privacy

Personalization is one of the hot topics that seemed to go under the covers for a while, but I suspect it’s due to raise its head, along with a lot of questions about privacy. The big one is: How much are we prepared to trade for a better experience?

How Does This Industry Make the Leap from the Front Line to the C Suite?

 Search has always lived on the tactical side of the corporate org chart, but there are signs that this might be changing. We’re getting more attention from the C-level folks, but often at the expense of understanding what this is all about. How can we help companies “get it” before the coming wave of change wipes them out?


Finally… maybe? It’s almost to the point that we’re afraid to talk about mobile for fear of being branded as a false prophet. But with the explosion of functionality, surely we must be getting closer to the tipping point.

What Do We Talk About?

So, that’s a quick summary of what’s been on the collective minds of the Search Insider over the past seven months. How about you? What would you like to see covered in Park City? We want to make sure this is as relevant and timely as possible. Please post your comments, or, better yet, visit MediaPost’s quick survey (all we ask is five minutes of your time) and indicate which of the above topics are most interesting — or add the ones I’ve totally missed.

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