The Future Of Search Marketing

We published today The Future of Search Marketing; thank you to the many marketers and agencies who contributed to the research.  There are a number of evolutions happening to search marketing now and in the coming three years, including:

  • More content and ways to search
  • Richer search engine interfaces and ads
  • Overlap with social and mobile
  • Increased automation
  • Improved analytics

But what stood out to me as the real future of search marketing was that these changes will actually force search marketers to think more like business planners than like channel managers.  Tactically speaking, this means thinking about “search marketing” as not just SEM and SEO but as an umbrella term that applies to using any targeted media to help an advertiser “get found” (including, perhaps, biddable display media, social networks, and mobile applications).  Strategically, this means focusing more on user intent, your business reasons for using search (and not other media which also drives leads), and fostering collaboration and an awareness of the value of search across your organization.

I've explained these ideas more fully in an article on Search Engine Land.  Or Forrester clients can access the full report here.


Just what I had been waiting for

Fantastic! Your 2009 interactive marketing forecast is extremely interesting and informative. Can't wait to pick up this one!

I completely agree with the

I completely agree with the sentiment that the ever changing search marketing will get marketers thinking about “search marketing” as not just SEM and SEO but as an umbrella term that applies to using any targeted media to help an advertiser “get found." Currently this is our philosophy, how to get our Clients found is more important than what their rank is. Putting a client out there in the online space in the most effective way in order to drive potential customers to their site should be the goal, giving them the most visibility through the most effective channels in the long run is most beneficial to them.

I agree with the holistic approach to driving traffic

Taking a broader view to driving/drawing the right traffic via the widening search avenues is bound to reap greater conversions. It's about getting the right people to your site at the right time and that means reaching them where they are and where they're looking. Great article(s)! What methods or tools are you finding most effective for determining "user intent?"
Rob Davis - Akavit -

Responding to your comments

Thanks very much for the affirmation on this one. Glad to hear the ideas are resonating with marketers and vendors actually living and breathing search. To the comment above about how to determine user intent, the best examples I've found are around customer research to inform profiles or search personas. Roundarch actually creates search personas for their SEO customers. These personas include overall user profiles, but then also identify their common search motivations, habits, and even value to help inform keyword, content and even bidding strategies for marketers who want to apply the personas to paid search as well.

Read through your post Shar

Read through your post Shar and I'm glad to see the emphasis on "identifying a searcher's need" . For a successful campaign, you need absolute clarity of your objectives and how to meet them and I think a search program can accomplish more than just a sale or lead, it can actually encompass a loyalty program with your future customers.