Questioning the Future of Search

  |  January 26, 2009   |  Comments

How consumer embrace of social networks, online videos, and 24/7 connectivity will affect online marketing.

Last week I presented a Webinar based on the "thought paper" I wrote called, "New Signals To Search Engines." As it was a long read at 23 pages, I highlighted the more salient points, but mainly wanted to try and answer the hundreds of questions I received following its publication.

The top question was about social media. It seems that many companies already have barriers to entry. Amy Labroo, associate director of online media at Advantage Business Media, asked specifically about any backlash due to unmonitored content in the social media space.

I've come across this situation quite a lot recently. Many companies worry about negative commentary and therefore don't accept comments on their blogs or social network sites. In fact, many haven't started a blog or a dialogue space at a social networking site.

This is simply hiding from your audience. If people have negative commentary about you and they can't make it known at your Web site or blog, they'll make it known somewhere else.

I advocate putting yourself out there and listening to your audience. Marketing has changed from a broadcast-my-corporate-message medium to a listening medium.

The voice of the customer is very, very loud online. And those companies that still believe they own their brand and the message may well be in for a bit of shock as brands are hijacked by customers.

Let your customers have their say. Keyword-driven marketing is all about understanding the language of the customer and creating marketing messages in that language.

From time to time, I meet with creative agencies and almost always end up arguing about the message they have created about their brand vs. what their audience really thinks about their brand.

Of course, you have little control over malicious comments made online by disgruntled customers or employees. This is not a new phenomenon. Reputation management is an age-old public relations job. And if you find that very negative results at search engines show up following queries for your brand, products, services, you should evaluate if you're doing enough PR in the social media space to counter it.

Hiding behind a closed comments area is not going to achieve anything. Whereas, a productive social marketing, shall we call it -- program -- could work wonders for your brand.

Amanda Elliott, marketing manager at Coverall Health-Based Cleaning System, asked about video in the SERPs (define) as did many others. With video's prominence in search engine results, are we likely to see video from sources other than YouTube? Of course, the answer is yes, absolutely. At this time the major search engines have relationships with trusted networks such as the Google's YouTube, which is owned by Google, and Yahoo, which has a partnership with Metacafe, an online video site. But you can still find plenty of YouTube at Yahoo and plenty of Metacafe at Google. It's still early, but a lot more of these partnerships will happen as online video becomes more prolific.

During the Webinar, I also discussed connected marketing, which I believe is the future of marketing -- not just search.

Connected marketing is about the convergence of mobile, local, social, multimedia on one device. Apple's iPhone is probably the best example at this time. With an always-connected 24 hour a day audience able to receive all types of content at broadband speed, marketing must adapt to that audience.

Sure, you can have a browser on your mobile device, but the browser is being sidestepped as hundreds of apps are developed for mobile devices.

I don't have enough space here to tackle all of the questions that came up. But I have to say, I really do enjoy finding out what people have on their minds and trying to come with answers and solutions.

So, let me take my own medicine and throw the column open for burning issues you'd like to discuss. We're going social. Let's start a dialogue.

ClickZ Live Toronto Twitter Canada MD Kirstine Stewart to Keynote Toronto
ClickZ Live Toronto (May 14-16) is a new event addressing the rapidly changing landscape that digital marketers face. The agenda focuses on customer engagement and attaining maximum ROI through online marketing efforts across paid, owned & earned media. Register now and save!*
*Early Bird Rates expire April 17.


Mike Grehan

Mike Grehan is Publisher of Search Engine Watch and ClickZ and Producer of the SES international conference series. He is the current president of global trade association SEMPO, having been elected to the board of directors in 2010.

Formerly, Mike worked as a search marketing consultant with a number of international agencies, handling such global clients as SAP and Motorola. Recognized as a leading search marketing expert, Mike came online in 1995 and is author of numerous books and white papers on the subject. He is currently in the process of writing his new book "From Search To Social: Marketing To The Connected Consumer" to be published by Wiley in 2013.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Search newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!



Featured White Papers

ion Interactive Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper

Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper
Marketing apps can elevate a formulaic landing page into a highly interactive user experience. Learn how to turn your static content into exciting marketing apps.

eMarketer: Redefining Mobile-Only Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop

Redefining 'Mobile-Only' Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop
A new breed of selective mobile-only consumers has emerged. What are the demos of these users and how and where can marketers reach them?


    • Contact Center Professional
      Contact Center Professional (TCC: The Contact Center) - Hunt ValleyLooking to join a workforce that prides themselves on being routine and keeping...
    • Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador
      Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreAgora,, continues to expand! In order to meet the needs of our...
    • Design and Publishing Specialist
      Design and Publishing Specialist (Bonner and Partners) - BaltimoreIf you’re a hungry self-starter, creative, organized and have an extreme...