Search is not a silo. This was the core message at a Search Marketing Conference I attended last week, and provided plenty of food for thought.
Search engine marketing is a relatively new practice when comparing it to the more traditional marketing tools, like advertising and PR. Yet, it is still just one component within the overall promotional mix. So as search marketers it is important for us to take a holistic approach and integrate it within the entire marketing toolset.
"Search is the lead singer in a rock band. The other marketing channels are the instruments that support search" (Russ Mann, Covario, CEO)
This makes entire sense, and is necessary in order to take the benefits and efficiencies of search to the next level. However, this is not without challenges. Organizationally, it requires us to educate and work closely with our marketing counterparts to ensure the integration of search within marketing programs. Secondly, in order to show the real benefit of integrating search with other media, better attribution models are needed.
Right now, search holds a privileged position when it comes to attribution. Attribution is where credit is given (attributed) to the last action (often click) that the customer makes. Since search is often geared towards the end of the funnel, it tends to take the credit (more often than not); some may argue, over-credited at times. This is just the reality of how a lot of analytics systems are set up within companies.
The reality, of course, is that conversion does not just happen at one particular point in time, or generated by just one particular medium. Rather it is a journey where many different media can work together, and contribute, towards that last click prior to conversion. Therefore, better attribution models are needed in order to assign credit in multi-channel programs.
This is not an easy task due to the vast amount to data it can yield, not to mention the lack of technical expertise and in-house resources, to name a few. It is, however, an important piece of the puzzle we need to solve in order for us to:
- Fully garner the benefits of search across multiple channels
- Better understand the touch points leading to a conversion
- Make better marketing decisions moving forward
Thanks to @covario and all the presenters at the InflectionPoint '10 Conference last week (Twitter event hashtag: #ip10).