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April 11, 2007

Putting Search Into The Marketing Mix

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Gord Hotchkiss is moderating today’s Putting Search Into The Marketing Mix panel with speakers Bill Mungovan (Carat Fusion), Curtis Dueck (Epiar), and Misty Locke (Range Online Media).

Gord starts off saying that search can be the fundamental glue in your marketing strategy both from an execution perspective and a marketing intelligence perspective. This means that search shouldn’t be your entire marketing campaign; it should be used to connect your marketing campaign into a cohesive whole. Use it to leverage the campaigns you’re running elsewhere in order to combine their effectiveness. Make sense? I think so.

Up first is one of my favorite Canadians, Curtis Dueck (Hi, Curtis!).

Right off the bat, Curtis defines two important terms for us: search information marketing and search frequency research.

Search Information Marketing uses search data and intelligence to improve marketing. It entails using user’s own words to get a better understanding of who they are, what they’re looking for, and what’s important to them.

Search Frequency Research is, simply put, entering search terms into the search engines. More on that from Curtis later.

Curtis argues that marketing is simply connecting supply with demand. You’re offering something that hopefully your customers are interested in. In order to meet their needs most effectively, you need to see your demand clearly. Until you do this it’s hard to market at all.

To see this you need to do research and track analytics. The four prerequisites for succeeding with search information marketing are:

  • Willingness to embrace change
  • Willingness to genuinely provide what the market demands
  • Willingness to change your vocabulary to match what people are asking for
  • Comprehensive search research and insight

Time to revisit search frequency research. As stated earlier, simply put, it is how often people enter a phrase into search engines. As a savvy marketer, you should be leveraging this information. Gather the search info around a given topic, analyze large volumes of phrases and their search requests, and look for trends, patterns, oddities and ultimately meaning. By looking at things as a whole instead of individually, it enables trends to easily stand out.

Analyzing the phrases users type into their search box can help companies see areas they haven’t capitalized on yet, gather customer feedback, act as social research, or highlight problems with your branding strategy (i.e. half of your target audience is spelling your brand name wrong – Philips vs. Phillips).

This information can help anyone in the business of marketing and dealing with the concept of demand.

Next up is Bill Mungovan to offer up an agency perspective and talk about how you can take Curtis’s data, build a good search campaign, and then map that to other marketing efforts.

Bill notes that $20 billion will be spend on 2007, about half of which will be spent on search. Sounds awesome, but then Bill mentions that $150 billion will be spent offline. Kinda harsh, but it emphasizes the importance of looking offline to increase your brand and conversions.

Once again we hear that search is a function of demand. It’s the ultimate form of pull marketing. Inventory fluctuates with demand influencers and it’s vital for marketers to understand all the brand influences that impact search demand.

He then gives audience members some important takeaways to help bring search into their marketing efforts"

  • Allocate enough budget to capture the volume created offline – TV ads
  • Connect with offline media plans BEFORE client approval
  • Map keyword bundles to overall goals, not just lower funnel acquisition efforts
  • If your client doesn’t allocate enough budget to search, a competitor or an aggregator will gladly take that volume.

Next up is Misty Locke.

The first thing Misty does is comment that she’s freezing. See, I told you yesterday that it was cold in here. My poor naked toes. At least Misty feels my pain. I bet Susan is back in Cali wearing her slippers. Jerk. [No slippers but I do have the heater on. --Susan]

Anyway, Misty shares the scary statistic that only 32 percent of marketers are tracking online sales. That seems insane to me. Misty says it’s because advertisers are looking at ROI incorrectly. Currently only 15 percent of advertisers have consolidated all online and off-line consumer data. The others are allowing their competitors to take advantage of the thousands of dollars they’re spending on marketing campaigns. Sweet.

Another scary state: 85 percent of advertisers who strive to increase brand awareness though online advertising do not measure brand metrics.

Misty also offers several case studies to prove the effectiveness of integrating all of your marketing campaigns. There are lots of good stats, but the meat of it is that by not complementing offline campaigns with online efforts (and vice versa) you’re missing out on conversions, as well as brand recognition.

This was a great session. Somehow in the marketing world offline and online have been divided, but it shouldn’t be that way. If you’re running a television ad, there should be some sort of Web presence that plays off that. What’s the point of running an ad featuring talking dogs if you don’t use that as a keyword online? By not doing that, you open the door for your competition to do that and take away your traffic. And believe me, they will.

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