Fellow Sage team member Greg Tirico posted an interesting link to an article which suggests that small and medium businesses are beginning to favor social media spending over paid search.
I have always thought of paid search (and even SEO) as a mistake in the consulting profession because it tends to lead to poor customer acquistion. In other words, it produces more D and F customers than A or B customers.
By their very nature web search prospects are in the gather information step in the buying process. They tend to be tire kickers who are generally looking at buying more on (pun intended) low price rather than a long-term relationship.
I think social media has the potential to change this because it turns search on it head. Instead of looking for people who already have their hand in the air (an intercept lead), social media allows the providers to look for people who have unrecognized need.
In my opinion, it is a much better place to spending marketing dollars.