First, SEM has several names:
SEM practitioners use each interchangeably, but they all represent the same thing—paid search listings found mainline or along the right rail of search results:
Second, SEM and organic search marketing (SEO) are two different things:
All of that said, I hope the reason you're here is not only to understand what SEM is but also to understand how to use it. You might be a business owner considering starting an SEM campaign, or perhaps you're a marketing student looking for an SEM definition, or maybe, just maybe, you're a search marketer yourself, looking for a fellow search marketer's perspective as it relates to paid media.
Whoever you are, I'm glad you've stopped by. My goal with the remainder of this file is to familiarize you with strategy—to introduce you to the types of paid search campaigns that produce successful online and offline results. Online and offline you say? Yes! Let's discuss.
Alone, paid search is an incredibly powerful tool that can lift KPI's. It is a conversion-seeking missile that delivers a relevant ad to a relevant audience at a relevant time and location. But wait, it gets better!
When blended with one or more marketing channels, paid search becomes even more effective. Check out the following example to see how Coke blended online and offline advertising to create a unique and wonderful experience: