Does Your Search Strategy Depend On Customers' Memory?

  |  December 17, 2010   |  Comments

Are you ensuring that your search strategy offline and online, internal and external, is available when your customers are searching in the future?

Men dread these moments: my wife's errand was to go to the drugstore and pick up...diapers. My little guy was on his last one. I was ready to get him his Pampers when I was stymied by the store selection. The sale was nearly lost!

pampers-w-dry-max

As I stood looking at the row of diapers, all I could see was Pampers Cruisers with Dry Max. My mission was to return with Pampers Baby Dry. No husband ever wants to return with the wrong diapers. Caution reminded me that there was some issue with these, so I called my wife and she was pretty adamant about not buying them because of a recall months earlier. I told her to search online for an update because it was all that was available and at the late hour I was shopping, there weren't many other options.

So while I waited on the phone, my wife did a couple of searches on Google:

  • Is the dry max recall issue fixed?
  • Are pampers dry max safe now?

She checked out one of her favorite sites, BabyCenter, and of course hit P&G's Pampers website. What did she find out? Zilch!

All she found was content related to the original recall in May: how some kids reacted to the Dry Max ingredient and one person asking recently about the issue with no response from Pampers. If the company did answer it somewhere it sure didn't show up anywhere in her searches. And if I wasn't willing to take the risk that my son wouldn't react, I had to be willing to go driving around to try to find the Baby Dry option. Otherwise, Matthew was going to start potty training really early!

I can understand not wanting to highlight that your product was ever recalled, but if someone is searching if something is safe for their baby, trust me, that content better be found.

What would you do if you were Pampers?

Peek-a-Product

Another strange search event happened to me the other day. We wanted to buy our niece a game off her wish list, but it was selling out everywhere. So I figured I would try to search for it on Walmart.com.

walmart-deadend

So I go to the site and in its internal search engine I type in the game "hedbanz." What do I get as a search result? A dead end.

However, if you go to Google and type in "walmart.com hedbanz" you get to the company's product page, which tells you the item is out of stock. This wasn't a big surprise, but it sure was a surprise to find a dead end search results page on Walmart's website. Tell me the product is out of stock and at least offer me some alternatives.

The same thing happens when I search for old models of electronics or similar stuff. They get rid of the page, so you bounce right off the website. Why don't they take you to an information page that can offer the visitor information about the product that may currently exist and with some possibly updated alternatives? For example, if I tell you how much I enjoyed my Sony DSC-W80, you might go to search for this outdated product but you'll find little or no information and no guidance as to what model or models have taken over for it and why it was liked so much. The reviews would all tell you how quick the camera is, but the product description never highlighted the fast refresh rate it offered.

I know it takes work to maintain these pages, but it can be worth it. Oh, and of course Amazon maintains the page and let's you know there is a newer version available. Do you just want to leave all the sales for Amazon?

amazon-updated-model

Are you making sure your search strategy offline and online, internal and external, outlasts your customers' memory?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Eisenberg

Bryan Eisenberg is coauthor of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times bestselling books "Call to Action," "Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?," and "Always Be Testing." Bryan is a professional marketing speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as SES, Shop.org, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, SEM Konferansen Norway, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others. In 2010, Bryan was named a winner of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation's Rising Stars Awards, which recognizes the most talented professionals 40 years of age or younger in the field of direct/interactive marketing. He is also cofounder and chairman emeritus of the Web Analytics Association. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of SES Conference & Expo, the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, and several venture capital backed companies. He works with his coauthor and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at BryanEisenberg.com.

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