Is Instant Always Better?

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The short answer to the question above is “no.” To support this response, we would like to present the following instant items as evidence: instant coffee, instant oatmeal, instant gratification, Carnation Instant Breakfast. Instant replay notwithstanding, the whole concept of being able to get anything worthwhile within a matter of seconds is a suspicious one indeed. So when Google Instant launched last week to a chorus of opinion, we started to wonder: Is faster really better?

Having never thought that Google was too slow or that it took too long, the idea of Google Instant seemed a tad unnecessary. Yet here it was. Without warning, the little search engine appeared at first to be scanning our minds and knowing what we were looking for before even we did ourselves. We Google all day long; to be frank, Instant hasn’t really made things easier – but it’s not annoying, either. While many have warned that the new feature will further fuel our collective need to have answers instantly, others have worried that it could be the end of SEO marketing. But perhaps it goes even deeper than that.

An article in Advertising Age this week declared the press release as officially dead (watch for a future blog discussing the annoying trend of declaring this or that as dead simply to get people to link your article). The piece claims that thanks to Twitter, companies and personalities can get their message out much faster than the old-fashioned press release, which traveled aimlessly through dozens of channels without certainty. Duh. But let’s calm down and remember that social media isn’t the end-all and be-all of PR. Like the thinking behind Google Instant, we’re being prompted to believe that if it doesn’t happen at the speed of light, it must suck.

Yes, Twitter has changed the speed of our messages reaching our desired audiences and Google Instant is an ingenious addition to an already invaluable tool. Still, neither of them promises we have to work less to receive results faster. Quality campaigns take time to develop, time to implement and time to catch fire with the public. Less time than 10 years ago? Maybe. But there are now dozens of marketing avenues that are essential, all of which take hours and manpower to properly utilize. Sure, tweeting your latest product requires less than five minutes, there’s still your Facebook page to be updated, your blog that needs to be written, videos to produce and traditional advertising to tend to. The point is lightning-like goodies aside, online marketing and branding still require work. In many ways, they require even more work than a decade ago.

What do you all think? Are we an instant-addicted culture? Has Google Instant changed how you research? And lastly, do you send old-fashioned press releases anymore?

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