Search: A Strategic Market Research Tool

The connection between consumer-generated media and search marketing is a topic of intense interest and debate among many of my colleagues. "CGM and search" was even its own panel topic earlier this week at the Search Engines Strategies conference in New York (which my colleague Pete Blackshaw participated in). I’d like to offer another angle to this discussion: search as a strategic research tool. In my latest MediaPost Search Insider column, I review some of the lessons from the CGM research playbook and how they extend to search.

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. Searchers are, by definition, highly engaged with the task at hand, so the data they produce in this psychological state are especially valuable and otherwise difficult to collect. And with "engagement" the new buzzword in marketing and advertising circles, it almost seems a crime for any marketer to omit search behavioral analysis–both quantitative and qualitative–as a key input into overall marketing strategy.

I offer four key applications for leveraging search as a strategic research tool. Read about them in the full story here (free registration required).

Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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