April 13, 2011

Search Shoppers

Pay close attention to the search shopper.

Too often, we give search the "short stick".  I got into this a few weeks ago with a traditional marketer ... the person bellowed at me "HOW DID THE CUSTOMER END UP SEARCHING FOR ANYTHING, SOMETHING HAD TO CAUSE THE CUSTOMER TO SEARCH, AND THAT SOMETHING WAS BRAND EQUITY AND OFFLINE MARKETING, RIGHT?".

Alright.

That's an argument used by a person trying to defend the past.  I hear the argument every week.

I hear this one, too ... often bellowed at me "THE CUSTOMER IS JUST USING GOOGLE TO GET TO OUR WEBSITE, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SEARCH AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH FINDING OUR URL."

Alright.

If the customer cannot remember your URL, and needs Google to help navigate to your website, well, isn't that a fundamental problem with your brand?  Heck, I see the same problem when I go into Google Analytics ... I look at search terms like "MINE THAT DATA" and then I see that the customer visiting my blog after that search is visiting for the 22nd time.  Well, that means that I am failing, I am not providing compelling enough content to cause the customer to bookmark my website, to subscribe to my RSS feed, to subscribe via e-mail, or to subscribe via Twitter.  It means that I failed.  And it means that you, as a marketer, failed if the customer must use Google as an intermediary to get to your website ... you pay Google a tax for not being important enough to the customer.

So often, we view problems one way, when we could view problems through a different lens.  Instead of asking whether offline marketing drove the customer to Google, we could ask the question differently ... "Why did the customer have to research other products via Google if our offline marketing was so effective?"  

Honestly, why don't we ever ask that question?

Maybe we don't want to know the answer to that question.

2 comments:

  1. People who use Google to get places is not always cut and dry. We have a number of web hosting clients who think Google is the URL bar, and use it like their bookmarks.

    Some of our clients don't know what a bookmark is, don't know how to add one, or even get back to them once they are added.

    I often use Google to get to a site, even ones I frequent each week, as it's just as easy as adding a bookmark, plus shows me a few other results around what I want so I can see if something better is out there.

    And sometimes it's just too easy to type into the URL bar a quick google search to get the exact URL on the site I want. Easier than going to the website, and using their search. It's not that their site/search is bad, it's just convenient for me to do it "my way".

    I agree with understanding the why, but often it's quite complicated and very personal in terms of individual behavior when it comes to their use of Google.

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  2. Hi Kevin

    I think you're too harsh here. From what I observed, a lot of people just don't bother to type a URL in the appropriate field (and risk typos) or even bookmark, since they have a lot of confidence that Google will bring them where they want to go (even if they perfectly know what the site address is!). Google is the browser starting page, the curser is already there, and one just needs to type the brand name (and often the actual domain, as I often see).

    Here's when I first noticed it: http://bit.ly/gz1IEn

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