Monday, January 05, 2015

3 Key Take-Aways from Speaking (and Listening) at the Search Insider Summit

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at Media Post’s Search Insider Summit.  The event was a perfect mix of experienced digital marketers from brands, agencies and providers (like Yahoo).   It was also a perfect mix of sessions, activities and networking that allowed for deeper conversations and exploration of how search continues to evolve both as a strategy and as a tactic.  Here are 3 overarching concepts that continue to reverberate in my mind weeks later. I am sharing them as guideposts for your 2015 planning:  Customization, Integration, and Innovation.

Customization:   Last year we saw continued advances in:  the sophistication of search engine algorithms; the presentation of search results (for both organic and paid); and the ability to better parse big (and small) data.  These in turn have created more opportunities for marketers to target their messages to specific audiences on specific devices via specific channels.   This multiplicity of opportunities has upped the demand for “content” and some marketers are having a hard time keeping pace.  Worse, the quantity of the content being produced is often coming at the cost of its quality.   As you customize your efforts in 2015, try thinking about your content marketing as “context” marketing and you should be on the quality path to aligning message and medium.

Integration:  Here I’m thinking about integration in two ways.  First, there were some interesting presentations/discussions at MPSIS around the use of YouTube video as a brand’s primary marketing vehicle (think Blendtec who was on one of the panels).  The key word being “primary” as these marketers made it clear they understand the need to utilize other channels as well to distribute and drive awareness of their brands.  

Secondly, it also became apparent that tactical specialization (paid search vs. organic search vs. social media vs. display advertising vs. traditional media, etc.) within organizations and/or their roster of agencies has made it more difficult to effectively integrate at the strategic level.  More communication and education is needed to bridge these gaps internally and externally in 2015 to drive collective success – especially for brands in competitive arenas.

Innovation:  Some brands are trying new approaches to their search marketing efforts – like using lifestyle keywords in addition to functional keywords.  My fellow panelists on the client-side talked about how they have lobbied management for the chance to test new ideas with varied success.  I mentioned we at DBE prefer to use the term “pilot” program as it implies success and potential roll-out. Regardless of what you call it, search success in 2015 will come to those who encourage branching out from the tried and true solutions.

So those are my thoughts coming into the new year.  Look forward to hearing yours.

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