Sometimes, it's useful to consider pay-per-click search marketing from a new perspective, particularly when it comes to explaining to others what exactly paid placement means to marketers.

Marketers struggle with understanding both the short- and long-term effect search placements have on purchase and sales. One analogy I've been mulling over recently is that of slotting fees and retailers' practice of charging for shelf space. Marketers who pay for shelf space are quite similar to search engine marketers who seek top positions. As I thought more about grocery stores and the how products are marketed in them, I found significant parallels between in-store advertising, promotional marketing, and slotting allowances as a whole, and overall SEM, both organic and paid.

These parallels may help you explain SEM to a senior executive who perhaps doesn't live and breathe SERPs (define) and real-time keyword auctions the way we do. Although there are no perfect analogies for SEM, we need a handy arsenal of appropriate analogies when discussing SEM with senior managers who haven't delved into the nuts and bolts of search.

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