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Top Search Experts Reveal Secrets!

Kevin M. Ryan
Top Search Experts Reveal Secrets! Kevin M. Ryan

What do Time Warner Cable, IBM and Motorola have in common? Why, ultra-complex search marketing initiatives, of course. ad:tech returned to Chicago this week, and --  -- I have a review of one of the more difficult topics in web marketing: managing ultra-complex search initiatives.

Only a few short years ago, a complex search initiative was a few hundred keywords with top bid positions hanging in the balance. Today, we have graduated beyond defining the simple click response mechanism logic as complex.

Modern search 2006 defines complexity as translating hundreds of thousands of keywords into 12 different languages and dialects. Complex search initiatives today cross media channels with regular frequency and represent the efforts of multiple agency, client and third party consultants.

Going international?
Global Strategies Bill Hunt offered some great advice for advertisers and pointed out some of the shortcomings of existing infrastructures in approaching search engine marketing internationally.

Hunt pointed out that language issues are a big barrier to reaching beyond our borders in international search. He also suggested that a lack of education with local experts in the complexities of search compounded the difficulties in international search marketing.

Hunt cited a case study with IBM as an example of how to get around some of the international challenges. With over 63 million pages in Google and more than 5,000 terms in top three search positions around the world, a centralized program management strategy with local execution was needed to execute this complex search initiative.

Hunt also illustrated how search has to be integrated at every pertinent level of an organization. However, that's not quite enough if you want to dig deep into the search value proposition.

Cable vision and complex search
Patricia Hursh of Smart Search Marketing offered a case study in achieving two very distinct goals simultaneously on behalf of her client, Time Warner Cable. First, search had to be integrated into a complex marketing strategy. Second, multiple success criteria had to be satisfied.

Hursh illustrated how search engine advertising should be supported by multiple departments independently. Her presentation also depicted how search listings could be implemented to support existing customer sales, new customer acquisition and brand initiatives.

The keys to this successful execution were multiple established success criteria for each campaign. Brand campaigns were successful if share of total impressions were high and orders were generated. Promotional campaigns were successful if users signed up for the promotion. Sometimes effectively managing the client's expectation and establishing unique criteria for each initiative means success.

Scoring with SLVR
Motorola's Peter DeLegge offered a new twist on showing value beyond the click and buy method in search. DeLegge executed a complex scoring system for the launch of Motorola's SLVR product that had audience heads spinning.

This complex initiative included search engine optimization efforts and search engine advertising combined to form a value-based scorecard that assigned value to the working proposition. Each section of the landing page was assigned a score based on the desired action activity's perceived value.

Sound complicated? It is, but it worked.

DeLegge noted the average search visitor took nearly half of all desired actions. The average cost of a user to click on the "buy" link was just over 50 cents and 82 percent of all paid search visitors clicked on the purchase directing link.

How's that for complex satisfaction?

Search and the SEM future
ECNext's Peter Morse offered the benefit of his experience in managing paid search programs using examples of tools that are available in our industry in the absence of an agency. Morse explained the lack of specialized search provider assistance by explaining that expectations didn't seem to match up with deliverables in his firm's quest for search marketing assistance.

DeLegge also spoke of the shortcomings he experienced in seeking a search partner. He noted that while many search marketing firms are great at technology, many seem to be short in the strategic execution department.

The underlying theme of each expert's presentation and the subsequent panel discussion was a continued focus on integration and engagement. Every presentation with a mention of complex search tactics and strategy also pointed to the significance of integrating online and offline efforts.

Search not only provides an avenue for brand engagement but also delivers a means for each brand to make a new connection with each audience.

Kevin Ryan is the Chief Executive Officer of Kinetic Results. .


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