Introducing The Search Marketing Playbook

The ways consumers find information about companies or brands is changing. Where natural search results once were the primary way users discovered content or websites, now non-search engine media such as mobile apps, social networking sites, and consumer review hubs are veritable contenders in your users' paths to discovery. Users have become so comfortable searching and discovering online that they employ their own methods and weave together personal paths of discovery that lead them to what they’re looking for. To ensure that marketers are “findable” across all different types of media, Forrester believes that search marketers must shift the scope of their work from just buying paid search ads and conducting SEO projects to enabling brand discovery — a practice we’ve dubbed “discovery marketing” — the practice of collecting users engaged in all forms of digital discovery.

This won’t be easy. Search marketers have been marketing on search engines for over a decade and are no strangers to success — the need to expand their oft-effective strategies doesn’t feel quite pressing to most search marketers who hardly struggle to meet their search-engine-centric goals. And sure, they’ll continue to meet their search engine goals but will miss out on incremental benefits if they continue to ignore the opportunity that lies for them across other types of discovery media. But where and how to start?

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Is your company preparing for discovery marketing?

Much of my research agenda focuses on the notion that consumers now discover brands across myriad channels – not just search engines. That’s right – acquisition is happening in places other than on traditional search engines. Forrester calls the strategies for positioning a brand or products within a user’s discovery path, “discovery marketing.”

Some companies employ cross-channel acquisition strategies, but we’ve not seen many examples of firms that are adjusting their search marketing strategies to accommodate this notion of discovery marketing.   

What about you? Does the notion of discovery marketing make sense to you? How well prepared for it is your firm? What does the advent of discovery marketing mean for your company? How will discovery marketing change your current approach to search marketing? I’d love for you to share your thoughts about discovery marketing here or through ongoing direct dialog. Drop me a line if you want to talk!

Stay tuned for more discovery marketing research!

Discovery Marketing -- Helping Brands "Get Found"

The boom of the cheap and trendy bus service that links our cities together is old news to most of us East Coasters. You can’t bring up the BoltBus in a New York City office without inadvertently starting a lively Bolt/Mega debate. Everyone has opinions and these opinions – qualitative bits of data – are often what we’re relegated to evaluate before we choose. Based on the opinions of friends whose tastes are most in line with mine, I chose to take the BoltBus, on which I now sit, to Washington DC.

But what if this little heuristic of relying on the opinions of my likeminded chums leads me astray? Well, I could eliminate the risk of a bad decision by researching extensively. The research would involve screening potential advisers on myriad criteria for my travel preferences and general expectations. Thorough? Sure! Data-informed? Absolutely. Efficient? Not in the least.

In the January-February edition of the Harvard Business Review, Richard H. Thaler and Will Tucker explore this idea of data-driven decision making from the consumer side. The authors predict that the movement towards “Smart Disclosure” (i.e. “the timely release of complex information and data in standardized, machine-readable formats in ways that enable consumers to make informed decisions”) will have profound effects on policy, economy, and businesses. Incidentally, this movement will enable consumers and business alike to make better-informed decisions that are not only thorough and data-informed, but also are efficient. Based on their hypothesis, the authors anticipate the rise of the choice engine, a platform that will store consumer’s personal data and spew recommendations that are based specifically on the data the consumer provides.

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