We don't talk a lot about the relationship between Natural Search and Multichannel Forensics (book, study).
We have talked about micro-channels. Natural Search is the perfect complement to micro-channels.
Many times, you cannot tell that the customer arrived via Natural Search. At Nordstrom, in November - December 2006, we knew that 141,000 visitors came from one of a thousand high-ranking blogs. Undoubtedly, many of those visitors arrived at the blog after conducting a search on Google, Yahoo!, or MSN.
Our future includes a veritable plethora of micro-channels, and more important, micro-channels that include combinations of advertising channels. We'll have the customer who receives an e-mail campaign, searches on Google, visits a blog, visits our site three times, then buys something in-store. This customer will be fundamentally different than the customer who receives a catalog, searches on Yahoo!, hears about something on Twitter, visits our site three times, then buys something online.
Though the behavior is fundamentally similar (direct marketing, search marketing, social media, website, purchase), the customers are very, VERY different. Without a thorough analysis of micro-channels, we'll be unable to respond to the needs of these customers.
Natural Search is at the core of each micro-channel described above. From a database marketing standpoint, we have no choice but to build an information infrastructure that allows us to categorize customers based on past behavior, prior micro-channel behavior.