Right after lunch today (which was pretty darn good 🙂 ) was the first of the Orion Keynote presentations – a panel entitled “How Much Search is Enough?” Moderated by Kevin Ryan, this keynote panel discussed issues facing marketing budgets for search and traditional media, and how to make each piece of the marketing pie come together.
On the panel this afternoon were Rob Murray of iProspect, Aaron Goldman of Resolution Media, Steven Kaufman of Digitas and Bob Tripathi of Discover Financial Services. The format of the panel was pretty informal, with Kevin Ryan asking a few questions and the panelists giving their answers. The main focus of the discussion was, however, planning budget for search.
Steven Kaufman stated that the amount of money spent on search engine marketing varies greatly by client. Some of the bigger companies can afford millions of dollars for Super Bowl ads and may not think of promoting those ads online. There are small businesses, though, that cannot easily come up with the millions of dollars it may take to produce a TV commercial and buy the time slot from the broadcast company. They would rely more heavily on search engine marketing.
Bob Tripathi agreed with that, saying that in the down economy that we are in, online is the best channel in which to promote. The cost, compared to traditional advertising and media, is very low and the results can be huge.
Within this down economy, Rob Murray said that the efficiency of search is very important. Within search marketing and search advertising, measuring results and the impact of a campaign is pretty simple. And since it is so efficient, search is taking a larger portion of the marketing budget for a large amount of companies these days.
Aaron Goldman even said that search is used to sometimes justify the traditional marketing budget. Looking at the volume of search queries directly after the time when a new TV spot was aired, you can see that the television spot has evoked viewers to do additional research online.
This is where marketing integration comes into play. Rob Murray stated that less than 50% of marketers integrate their online marketing and promotions with offline marketing and promotions. While this might seem low, the number has increased hugely in the last few years with the increase in search engine marketing. Bob Tripathi gave an example of Discover using paid search to integrate with their offline marketing. He showed us that they have ad copy that supports the television ad and a separate ad creative that promotes the brand. With these ads, there is an integrated landing page that flows with television commercial and is still relevant to the ad copy.
Just like traditional marketing and online marketing, search results can even be branded. Steven Kaufman gave his example of Yahoo! and Special K cereal. When searching for Special K on Yahoo! the result is hugely branded. There are links to the official cereal site, site about their bars and snacks, a branded Special K diet plan, and a couple of images to show the familiar cereal box to the searchers. Kaufman says that search is getting more and more branded, and soon more commercials will end with “and go to your favorite search engine and search for our company name” to increase the media penetration and brand exposure to the consumers.
As you can see from this session, a holistic marketing plan can work wonders for increased sales and brand awareness. Kevin Ryan ended the panel by asking the panelists to share a couple tips for developing an entirely holistic marketing mix. Below are a 3 of my favorites:
- Keep marketing budgets fluid – don’t plan to only spend a small amount on search if search ends up being the biggest money maker for you
- Understand the lifetime value of your customers – listen to what they are talking about and make marketing or product adjustments accordingly to keep the customers happy
- Place television ads online to increase their exposure – this way the message can be shown to people over and over again the medium of their choosing
When all forms of media and marketing are brought together in a truly holistic marketing approach, the results can be sky-high. I think the future will bring many more fully integrated marketing campaigns, and those who successfully implement these tactics will be the ones to win out in the end.