More than ever before, search is a key part of marketers’ integrated marketing strategies. And research is helping marketers understand how different demographic and psychographic groups rely on search engines.
Search is a self targeted channel, and enables consumers to raise their hand and ask for information. This has made search a very efficient direct response and branding channel. But some marketers have found it difficult to integrate search into a more traditional branding program built on demographics or other targeting, where messages are typically pushed to the consumer.
But what marketer would stand for the idea of excluding such an efficient channel from their branding strategy? And how can marketers effectively integrate a pull marketing channel like search into a more traditional branding program?
Consider this basic four-step approach as a starting point:
- Better understand how much that particular segment relies on search
- Validate the findings for your industry
- Forecast activity and budget levels with your search team
- Test and refine the efforts
Many of our clients target moms, a highly desirable demographic. How do they behave online? And how does this behavior translate into online and offline actions? Do they rely on search engines? How much and to support what actions?
Last year, DoubleClick Performics teamed with Microsoft and ROI Research to study search usage among nearly 1,000 moms online. The study found that moms heavily use search engines in support of online purchases, offline purchases, coordinating travel and many other planning activities.
“Searcher moms” use the Internet frequently and in lengthy sessions. More than one-third of those studied (35%) spend three or more hours a day online. Three-fourths spend more than an hour a day online and watching television. Nearly 90% are online at least twice a day, for an average of at least 16 minutes per session.
Clearly, these women are busy people who value productive, efficient use of time. The study findings repeatedly confirm this, but do these conclusions hold up across different industries?
We looked at the behavior of these moms and analyzed their behavior across 13 different verticals, including apparel, automotive, electronics, entertainment, financial products, furniture, personal care products, soft drinks and travel.
Adding search or other pull-based channels to a larger branding mix shouldn’t be difficult nor overlooked if the desired demographics, especially within your industry, prove to be heavy search users. After some basic forecasting and budgeting, if search has been a cost effective option for an organization in other areas, it should certainly follow suit as a component of an integrated branding program.
Marketers will likely reach others, outside of the desired demographic, but this shouldn’t matter. Take grocery shopping for example. The “searcher mom” research found that 98% of respondents reported doing the grocery shopping for their household. So clearly, consumer packaged goods and other relevant types of marketers are and should be very concerned about reaching moms. But what about the households that lack a woman? They certainly need to eat as well.
In other words, don’t over think the obvious. In most instances, demographic targeting is merely a means to an end. Profiles indicate that certain people or groups will be interested in a product or an offer, so marketers pursue those demographics.
If a desired segment relies heavily on search, marketers must either leverage search to reach them or leave substantial opportunity on the table. In most instances, marketers will reach these targets with great regularity. Search allows you to simultaneously reach those not identified as prospects, who will surely stand up, raise their hand and buy products and services with the simple click of a search button.
Stuart Larkins is vice president of search at DoubleClick Performics (www.performics.com) and a monthly contributor to Chief Marketer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to access the above-mentioned 13 reports.