Gavin O’Malley at AdAge writes a nice column about search informing offline marketing strategy and campaigns. Just as I pointed yesterday to ’s guest column in iMedia yesterday, it seems people are finally catching on to what I’ve been saying for a long, long time, and, most recently, here in my MediaPost search column:
Marketers big and small have given credence to the short-term, direct-response benefits of paid search and optimization. But the cost of that excitement is that search often takes a back seat when it comes to longer-term, more strategic applications. One significant area where search has tremendous potential involves the long trail of search-query data that consumers leave behind when seeking, comparing and analyzing information. Similar to consumer-generated media–which marketers are increasingly paying attention to amidst the rise of blogs and other social media–consumer search queries represent one of the largest pools of unprompted consumer intelligence. Setting aside keyword buys, consider the wealth of real-time insight into consumer intentions, behaviors, attitudes and drivers.
With most of my professional attention wrapped around consumer-generated media research, I can tell you these search guys are not even yet scraping the surface of possibilities. They’re light years behind where they should be. I believe most innovation in this area of search mining for consumer insights and research will led by marketers, not their agencies. Similar to mining intelligence around consmer-generated media, agencies will take part and support marketer-led innovation, but agencies – especially interactive ones that deal with search – still are so focused on the short-term in terms of strategy, tactics and even the lifecycle of their client relationships. Moreover, the digital agency people generally have little experience dealing with non-digital media (although that silo will probably erode over time as digital becomes more unbiquitous). But the biggest hurdle goes back to my original point above: the addiction to the short-term, blatant ROI of direct response search strategies will hinder marketer’s and agencies’ ability to see bigger.