Most people use search engines on the web. Most business-to-business buyers probably use search engines. How do they search? Do they type in the name of the particular company, your company, that they are looking for? Sometimes perhaps.
Are search engines really that much different from the yellow pages of the phone book? When that was the main search engine, people went to the yellow pages to find sources for products and services. Now they go to online search engines to find such information.
If someone finds your company on a search engine and calls you and then buys from you, then great. The search engine gets the credit for the find. If someone sees an ad in a trade magazine and at some later time goes to a search engine to enter the name of the company or product that they remember, find it, and buy it, the search engine gets the credit.
Would you agree that a good advertising campaign in the right media increases your company's potential for being found on a search engine? On the other hand, do search engines create brand awareness. My answers to these two questions is yes and not really.
In order to create brand awareness and increase it, your company will need some very good B2B advertising in the right vehicle. Instead of the readers of that vehicle filling out an inquiry card, they will probably do one of two things if they want to get more information about your products; 1) Type in your url from the ad or 2) use a search engine. Either way, it is hard to credit the magazine or website for finding the new customer but the credit does belong to them.
Advertising is an active means for getting your message to potential new customers as well as existing customers. It is much more than a search engine. It is a way of building your business.