The Lessons Learned from Slumdog Millionaire in a Recessionary Environment

By Viji Davis, VP, Client Services

A few short weeks ago, my husband Joey and I went to see Slumdog Millionaire. Little did I know at the time, how the movie has a lot of themes that tie into search marketing and our current economic conditions. As I see it, there are three overarching themes that can be applied to search in this recessionary environment.

1. Don’t overreact, go back to the basics and remember to learn from every experience
Throughout each stage of questions Jamal faced as a contestant on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, he was able to retain and apply the knowledge he had gained through the experiences of his life. Just like Jamal, remember your specific circumstances (industry, vertical, etc.) before assessing your position in this marketplace. Although trends do show a slowing down of spending across the board, including search, search is still growing year-over-year, just not as aggressively as before:

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US Search Advertising Annual Spending Increases

This recessionary marketplace could provide many advertisers with the opportunity they are looking for. With slowed investments, this could be the perfect opportunity to capture more traffic and marketshare for a lowered cost. Don’t forget, consumers will not stop searching because of the economy. In fact, trends show that more consumers are spending more time online:

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Average Time Spent Online per Week by US Adult Internet Users

Leveraging natural search is a must in periods of economic slow-down and will only help to further boost your campaigns. Ensuring all of your relevant content and products are available to consumers is essential. Spending a relatively lower investment to ensure all relevant pages are indexed and findable will assist in driving valuable traffic to your site. With consumers spending more and more time online, natural search will be key in keeping your brand in front of these consumers.

2. Remember what works but be creative in tough circumstances
Jamal and Salim faced many challenges throughout their lives. Without giving too much away, as young children, they had to be creative to survive. One example is the many ‘jobs’ they held as they were traveling by train as children to get from city to city.

I’ve talked about the benefits of traditional search. There are also a variety of other ways to reach your consumers. Consumers today are much more savvy and have a larger appetite for content via a variety of formats. Look at the success of YouTube!

One option to try according to eMarketer is Video. In their article ‘Retailers Take Note: Video Sells!’, “Among the benefits of videos touted by Web retailers are a lower number of abandoned shopping carts, reduced return rates and higher sales,” says Jeffrey Grau, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, Video Usage in E-Commerce: The Best Is Yet to Come. “And those are just some of the benefits.”

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Advanced Site Features and Functions that US Online Retailers Plan to Add This Year

3. Be willing to make that big bet
Jamal made the biggest bet of his life when he was willing to gamble away $10MM Rupees in order to double it. Jamal was willing to take a chance and risk an already sizeable amount of winnings to go onto gameshow history.

What will your big bet be?


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