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Search Marketing isn't the Future of Marketing - It IS Marketing

Search Marketing isn't the Future of Marketing - It IS Marketing

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Why it’s a mistake to overlook search – even in the FMCG industry – and why it should form the backbone of your marketing as people continue to ROPO (research online, purchase offline) and how digital assistants may impact brick and mortar stores.

Why it’s a mistake to overlook search – even in the FMCG industry – and why it should form the backbone of your marketing as people continue to ROPO (research online, purchase offline) and how digital assistants may impact brick and mortar stores.

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Search Marketing isn't the Future of Marketing - It IS Marketing

  1. 1. 78% of Americans believe companies must do more than just make money; they must positively impact society as well.
  2. 2. Why the #$%$ don’t we come up before page 4 on this damned thing? Page #$%$#$% 4, you #$%$#$% morons!
  3. 3. Speakable Markup
  4. 4. 2.
  5. 5. Summary • Search and digital should not be a marketing channel, but part of a holistic marketing strategy. • Online no longer means on a computer – even over-the- counter retailers need a digital strategy. • The coming AI/AR and voice search revolution will make this digital strategy vital to success offline. • To prepare for the future, FMCG brands should focus their efforts on voice search and local search as well as standard SEO and PPC. To
  6. 6. THANKS FOR LISTENING! LinkedIn @JCPWarner @ClickConsultLtd State of Digital Blog SEMrush Blog Enjoy the rest of the conference!

Notas do Editor

  • Marketing has not always had the best reputation – which I’ll admit, as a skillset that has directly evolved from the early twentieth century propaganda model, is probably understandable. I came to marketing fairly late on – as a hippie, marketing was a profession I didn’t, to put it mildly, hold in high regard – so I was pretty surprised to hit thirty and find myself in a marketing role.
  • After all, according to one of my favourite authors – David Foster Wallace – ads are there to “create an anxiety relievable by purchase.”
    It helps my delicate moral constitution, however, that the 21st century has seen some areas of marketing take on a different approach – we’ve seen the rise of purpose, or mission driven marketing, we’ve seen the cynical nature of branding and marketing that permeated the mid to late 20th century shift so much that Kendall Jenner was hired in an earnest, if misjudged, attempt to resolve racial tension in the US with a can of Pepsi.
  • The point I’m attempting to make is that marketing has been evolving rapidly for more than a century, encompassing each new technology as it came – from print to radio to television – and it occurs to me that the failure – on all sides – to see digital marketing as a new marketing skill rather than a replacement for an industry, will be viewed by future students as one of the most ridiculous and avoidable oversights in a history filled with Kendall Jenner Pepsi ads.
    Marketing has thrived not in spite of its devotion to trends and new technologies, but because of it – and for that reason, despite his death almost forty years ago, Philosopher Marshall McLuhan’s words have seldom been so true:
  • So why have brands constructed such a clear divide between search and digital and traditional marketing? The answer may be something to do with the skillsets at the core of their original founding – while Maddison Avenue’s Mad Men were, in addition to misogynistic, alcoholic chain-smokers, predominately men of words, the early digital marketers can trace their lineage to men of code.
  • One anecdote about the beginning of digital marketing and SEO – detailed in a 1998 book called ‘Net Results’ – traces it back to an angry road-manager for the band Jefferson Starship who was enraged by the fact that he couldn’t find the band’s new website by using any search engine. After a heated discussion, the web-developer responsible for the site began a number of experiments – eventually finding that by adding innumerable repetitions of the desired keyword in black on a black background took the page to number one in a matter of moments.
    How apocryphal this story is, I have no idea – but hidden text absolutely became a key staple of SEO for a number of years, joined by keyword stuffing, link farming, and a host of other predominately technical endeavours carried out by coders and other IT types – while, at the same time, some copywriters, authors and journalists were writing or contributing to articles extolling the virtues of the mechanical typewriter.
    This is what might be referred to in biology as ‘parallel evolution’:
  • This includes things like the development of warning colours in various animals – which look to deter predators by signalling danger from poison or similar, and the development of the cephalopod and mammalian eye.
  • Marketing, in this regard, has evolved in two separate ‘species’ of individual. It evolved in the language oriented as the primary mode of communication was verbal and written, and then it evolved in the numbers people as our communication shifted to the digital sphere – because the evolutionary pressure to fund an endeavour required the evolution of marketing.
    The problems occurred when the two disciplines began to enter direct competition – one was dismissed as outmoded, the other would never catch on. There were even respected computing professionals that dismissed the potential of the internet openly. Take Clifford Stoll – one of the first people to use what would become known as ‘digital forensics’ when he was responsible for catching a KGB ‘hacker’ in the very early infancy of the internet. In a 1995 article, he had the following to say:
  • Of course, there have doubtless been naysayers with regard to each and every technological invention – there was, after all a New York Times article in 1903 which carried this quote:
  • But, as search and digital marketing continued to develop, and Google’s algorithm began to target some of the black hat techniques that were rife in the industry at its inception, it began to compete with traditional marketing departments for talent – looking for copywriters that could deliver a standard of content that would captivate consumers and avoid the penalties that were being handed out both manually and automatically by Google, it then began taking on other creatives – designers, video editors and more – creatives that would ordinarily have been available to traditional marketing agencies. Over the last decade this led to a lot of marketing agencies and brands purchasing digital agencies to bridge gaps – with even Ogilvy & Mather purchasing a majority stake in a Hong Kong based digital agency.
  • So, why am I telling you all this? I’m telling you because the transformation of marketing and, indeed, the way we shop, has not stopped changing – if anything, the change is accelerating. I’m telling you not because I think that traditional marketing is dead, or because I’m joining the ranks of the people that have repeatedly predicted the death of search over the last twenty years, but because there is another change coming that is likely to take people by surprise if preparations are not being made now.
    It’s unlikely that the importance of eCommerce is a surprise to anyone in the room – Statista estimated that, this year, eCommerce would account for almost 12% of global retail spending rising to 17.5% by 2021. Not only that, but spending online is growing almost four times faster than offline spending.

    What is likely to be more of a surprise is how quickly the online and offline world are heading toward a merge point.
  • I’d imagine that most people here will be familiar with the acronym ROPO – or ‘research online, purchase offline’ – which has typically been the norm for larger acquisitions such as cars, televisions and similar, but while this habit has become less pronounced, with much of the population now comfortable to buy a television or games console online, the overlap between the online world and its physical counterpart is about to become a lot more pronounced.
    Part of the reason for this will be apparent to the two or three of you who made it through my article in the magazine – it’s the shift to what Google CEO Sundar Pichai has referred to as ‘the age of assistance’ – referring, of course, to the rise of digital personal assistants and AI, upon which we are likely to be increasingly reliant over the coming decade. The rest of it is an approaching AR revolution that will tie in directly to those assistants and a growing focus on localised and personalised search.
  • In the last five years, Facebook has purchased Oculus for in excess of two billion dollars, Apple has released ARKit and, in September of this year, Google released the first stable version of ARCore – both of the latter being development sites allowing for third parties to develop Augmented Reality applications.
    Add this to the explosion of Pokemon Go in 2016 which has since grossed over two billion dollars worldwide and the proliferation of AR aps and, in some cases, bus stop adverts and you are still seeing only the tip of what is likely to be an expansive iceberg.
    So, how do these seemingly disparate things tie together? To understand that, it’s important to know some of the most quoted statistics in search at the moment. They are as follows:
  • Essentially – voice search is growing, they are looking for your store and they are doing it daily.
    In addition to this – spend on AR advertising has increased from 0.6 billion to 12.8 billion dollars worldwide since 2014, and while these facts are isolated from one another at present, it is only a matter of time before they begin to overlap.
  • This is likely to take the form of personalised AR advertising boards, of personalised local recommendations from your digital assistant and other similar personalised, localised interactions between the digital and physical worlds. Your assistant may remind you of items on your shopping list that you’re short of as you near an appropriate store; they may point out locations of your favourite chain of coffee shop, or – as wearable tech improves – might give you a heads up that your blood sugar is low as you pass a café. It may sound farfetched, but brands are already implementing instore AR experiences and Google is already working on improving the intelligence and communication capacity of your digital assistant.
  • With this all in mind, then – what can a brand do to prepare for the future? Well, the answer is that local is the new global for FMCG. While, historically, the important target for any brand was to climb as high on page one of the SERP as possible on a national or global level, the future is going to require a reframing of your efforts to include a more thorough concentration on local search, but also more joined up thinking and cooperation between traditional and digital marketing teams as the online and digital spheres continue to increase their overlap.
    It is increasingly irrational to keep a wedge between two disciplines that share more and more in common and are targeting the same personnel. For that reason, it seems to me, that traditional marketing will need to welcome digital marketing in to the fold, and digital marketing will need to accept that it is a facet of rather than a separate skill to marketing.
    In the interim, however, there are a few things you can do to ready yourselves for the future.
  • There are numerous varieties of quick answer, whether it’s lists, recipes descriptions, or answers to specific questions. You’ll know which variety applies to your brand, so look at industry terms, see what is presently occupying those position 0s and look to incorporate the practices when you produce your content. This includes things such as the position of key elements on the page, their length, whether they feature a title and which header tag they should fall between.
    For the terms I searched for, the model is Wikipedia but for recipes (in the UK at least) it could be BBC Food whose recipe guides fall between headings with their own sub class class=”recipe-method__heading” and whose recipe pages are filled with recipe specific ‘div’s and is structured according to ‘schema.org/recipe’ – so that the markup on the top there, becomes the recipe card rich result below it.
    You will also need to consider implementing ‘Speakable’ markup (and other applicable information markup schemas – like HowTo and types of location markup) – a lot of content on a brand’s site is there to build authority or address specific user queries and to, therefore, build an association between the brand and the product or service they supply; the available real-estate for this kind of content rapidly and vastly decreases in the age of the personal assistant.

    With only one spoken result at present and with it extremely unlikely to exceed three – simply because of the time and demand on attention it would require from the user. If you want your brand to continue to build that recognition as an expert in the field, you’re going to need to be ready as soon as the markup is rolled out to the general population.

  • While the markup is only functional if you are a registered news publisher using US English in the USA, the schema is available to see on schema.org already (it’s been in various states of construction for well over a year), so can be implemented by any party wanting to be ready at the moment the inevitable roll-out commences.
    The current schema is marked as ‘to do’ for the microdata/RDFa types, but is available as JSON-LD. Here you can see the implementation you would need to replicate (minus the “TYPES…JSON:” section):
  • The simple answer is that even the largest brands will need to begin developing sound and dynamic local strategies as search marketing becomes increasingly geo-targeted and personalised (a trend easily visible even without considering AR). Quite simply, it will not be enough to wait for this to happen, brands need to ensure that their local strategies are already well advanced by the time such a change comes.
    This means that, while the importance of keyword rankings and SERPs positions is unlikely to diminish in the near future, there will be increasing emphasis placed on local search, local links, citations and reviews, meaning that the nature of campaign outreach may need to be adapted to include more local bloggers in areas targeted for growth, that geo-targeting will take on a new level of importance in the quest for personalisation and data-driven search marketing and that the largest brands may well be increasingly within the reach of global giants when it comes to market share – at least on an area by area basis.
    All in all, as the world of marketing is about to become much larger and yet more focused, search marketing strategies will require detailed planning by area as much as by demographic, and therefore it is imperative that this begins immediately, that signals from the industry are monitored and followed, and everything possible is done to avoid a surprise later down the line.
  • Brands will also need to claim their Google My Business pages to allow Google to more easily return their store locations, opening times, contact numbers and more.
  • Oh, and Clifford Stoll? He now sells blown glass “Acme Klein Bottles” – through the truly awful www.kleinbottle.com.