Search is a massive marketing tool, but can it work alone? How should you integrate search into both your on-and offline advertising strategies? What are the pitfalls of ignoring the role of search in planning your ad strategy?
There is no doubt that search can work in isolation, especially in the mainstream market and with known brands. In the total absence of any other advertising activity, online users will continue to search for well-known brand names. Yet at the same time, ignoring an increased spend offline would inevitably lead to missed opportunities online as the number of searches increase.
The real art of integration is to understand the role of search within the customer journey, the behaviour of searchers and the value of search within the sale funnel. This frankly is not simple and getting it right takes effort and experience. But ten minutes spent searching and looking at search volumes will give you good examples for the integration argument.
For instance, the launch of any new car creates a swell of searches around it. Typically, TV and outdoor advertising prompt consumers to find out more information online. In many cases they don’t focus on just the brand as often they will not remember it. Nor do they necessarily focus on the car’s name as many motor manufacturers increasingly pick names no one can spell.
When we follow this customer journey, the first site visit may have come from a generic product search, i.e. new car, and once the user has established the manufacturer they will attempt a second visit by searching for the brand name. This brand search done properly will cost pennies and can be the tipping point to purchase. Of course, it follows considerable amounts of investment elsewhere in the sales funnel to support the customer journey.
What a waste ignoring search can be...
Matt Mills, Director of Search Marketing, Equi Media Ltd contributed to an article by Nathalie Kilby (link)