I participated today in a CMO discussion on search marketing, hosted by Pete Krainik of the CMO Club. With me were three other heads of marketing, including Bill Muller of iProspect, Robin Caputo of Ciber, and David Cumberbatch of SimpleTuition. (For the record, I’m technically not a “CMO,” but am marketing head for my company.) You can listen here (and you don’t need to be a member of the CMO Club for the download).
My key message? Foremost, hire a business-savvy, statistical ninja to build and maintain a disciplined customer conversion funnel with sophisticated performance analytics. Then tackle search, and all other marketing activities, within that construct. We hired a brilliant performance-analytics director, Ben Seslija, at Clickable. The payoff has been amazing.
Within search, specifically, I offered the following recommendations for CMOs (largely informed by my aformentioned colleague).
- Recognize that search is a demand-capture strategy, while branding is a demand-creation strategy. The two must be tightly integrated.
- Ensure a disciplined strategy and tightly defined program so you can measure your execution and variables with precision.
- Install sophisticated performance tracking systems so you can constantly test and optimize.
- Leverage analytics to drive search with other critical business decisions, including customer- segmentation and conversion-probability models.
I’m a little biased here, but I think another well-justified contribution to the discussion: Stay on top of the burgeoning tools market. Marketing automation is a big deal and makes practitioners more efficient and effective. Embracing tools means gaining a competitive advantage over those who don’t. Besides, they can have immediate and lasting impact on your own bottom line.