Whilst awareness of search marketing is on the increase within organizations, general understanding is still often limited to someone within the organization typing in words or phrases into Google and seeing whether the company is showing up or not.
Not too long ago, someone (quite possibly in sales) was going through this very exercise, which led to "one of those" questions coming my way. It went along the lines of:
"How come we're not showing up for our competitors' product models? If someone does a search on them, we need to be there so we can take away their business"
I'm sure this isn't the only time that this question has been asked. So if you ever find yourself in this situation, I've got your back. Here's three reasons to help you fight for the greater cause.
Keyword volume on product models and nomenclatures (EG: Z2300), are typically very low, especially when compared to volumes of searches carried out at a higher category level (EG: color inkjet printer). This is even more true for companies operating in the B2B space.
Use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to show people the volume numbers. In most cases, the nomenclature result will come back as "not enough data" (ie: too small a number for Google to bother counting).
Someone typing in a product model or nomenclature has carried out a very specific search and are on a very specific mission. Chances are they have either:
a. Already gone through a lengthy decision process to purchase that specific product
In which case, how persuasive can 95 characters of adcopy be in changing their minds completely? And how come we (as an organization) didn't do a better job in persuading them to buy our product earlier on in this process?
b. [Most likely] Looking for some kind of customer service and support for that product
In which case, sending them to a page about a completely different product is not much use to anyone.
A best practice in search marketing - and marketing as a whole - is to deliver relevance to our audience (ie: our external audience, not our internal staff members). This keeps our customers happy, and provides us with the best path to conversion.
Something that is talked about a lot in search is the concept of "scent". Having good scent (or connection) that bridges the gap between the keyword, to the adcopy, through to the landing page always deliver the best results. Sponsoring competitors' model numbers is not an example of a good scent trail, more like a lingering bad smell.
In addition, nomenclatures are not often unique to a company or industry. For example, "Z2300" is not only a printer by Lexmark, but it is also a speaker by Logitech. Similarly, "DM" doesn't just stand for Dr. Martens shoes, but also Depeche Mode, Diabetes Mellitus and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Do your own search and see what else is appearing in the search result. Chances are, not many will be related.