So, rather than use up precious word count in my post-show Buzz-o-meter, I'll do the recap here as a preview to next week's SIS and, while I'm at it, see if I can't predict what the hot topics will be when the Search Insiders assemble in Captiva Island.
November 2006 - Palm Springs
5. Mobile, Local (tie)
6. Long Tail
8. Click Fraud
5. Community, Connection (tie)
7. Discovery, Personalization (tie)
8. Social, Mobile, Video (tie)
3. Big Agencies
3. Social, Facebook (tie)
7. Data, Analytics (tie)
10. Mobile, Local (tie)
2. Economy, Recession (tie)
3. Data, Analytics, Attribution (tie)
4. iPhone, Mobile (tie)
6. Relationship, Transparency (tie)
7. Strategy, Tactics (tie)
8. Bid Management, Quality Score (tie)
Here's my best guess at how the buzzwords will stack up next week. I wonder if this will turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy?
There's no escaping the "poor man's email." With Ashton Kutcher at 1 million followers and Oprah now actively (er, paying someone to handle her...) tweeting, Twitter has officially gone from a playground for early adopters to the mainstream of pop culture. And, as I predicted in my column "What's the Point of Search?," it's inevitable that SIS will be all atwitter over the micro-blogging platform's impact on search marketing.
Previous SIS shows have featured such sound-bytes as "Search is God." Now we all know Google has become synonymous with search, so it's clear who we mean when we refer to the Big G. Surely, Google will once again be omnipresent in Captiva Island. (Just don't call it Shirley!)
3. Recession, Opportunity (tie)
With the Day 1 keynote featuring Gian Fulgoni of comScore on the topic of "State of the Internet Economy," the SIS programmers may as well have brought up Debbie Downer herself to kick things off. Day 2 doesn't look much lighter, with Gian returning for a keynote conversation with Jordan Rohan (who has graciously discontinued offering stock picks to summit attendees) entitled, "Search in a Recession." Thankfully, rumor has it that someone from Leo Burnett Lisbon will be onsite with a plugin for the conference audio that changes every mention of "recession" to "opportunity."
4. Attribution, Post-Click (tie)
In December, "Attribution" shared space on the Buzz-o-meter with "Data" and "Analytics." I expect a continued focus on attribution at this SIS, but with the emphasis on post-click activity. As summit emcee Gord Hotchkiss teased in a recent column, there will be a live eye-tracking clinic showing how people navigate Web sites following the search-click. One full year ago, at the last Captiva SIS, Gian Fulgoni asked, "Whither the Click?" and catapulted "Clicks" to the #2 spot on the Buzz-o-meter. I'm looking forward to seeing the focus shifted to Post-Clicks this time out.
While many of the big players in search marketing have turned their back on the local market given the challenges of scaling piddly mom-and-pop budgets, others have embraced the opportunity to aggregate local marketers through automation and innovation. WebVisible, for one, has placed its bet on the local space, announcing that it will offer free consultation and $50 discounts to Office Live Small Business customers that want to start running search campaigns. EvenSkype and Craigslist are cashing in on the growth of local search.
6. Microsoft, Live Search, MSN, Kumo (tie)
At the last SIS, Microsoft got its fair-share of, ahh, critiquing. I expect no less this go-round, especially if Gord has anything to say about it, what with all the hubbub over its new search brand and the $100 million it has committed to promoting it. Microsoft's search identity crisis is likely to result in a split tie on the Buzz-o-meter for all its various iterations. It's really too bad because, if it could consolidate all that link, er... buzz juice into one brand, it might be able to start closing the gap on Shirley, I mean, Google.
7. Social Media
For evidence that social media has usurped search as the new hot digital marketing channel, look no further than our very own David Berkowitz' departure from the Search Insider for the greener emerging pastures of the Social Insider. As we discussed at the last SIS, there's a fine line between search and social, particularly when it comes to agency ownership. And, at the last SIS Captiva, seeds were planted (that have yet to break ground) for social search, aka "Page Rank for People." For what it's worth, I still think the perfect search engine is one that crowd-sources results.
I've definitely seen a trend lately towards clients moving their search marketing programs in-house. This is, no doubt, a response to the economy and the prevailing notion that it's cheaper to manage search internally. A few years ago, I pointed to 4 reasons why marketers should outsource search and I think my rationale holds even stronger in a recession. Day 3 of SIS, as has become the norm, is dedicated to in-house marketer issues and the final session appropriately covers "how agencies and in-house teams can work together." My hope is that we'll reach consensus that the in-house/outsource decision is not an either/or proposition.
Hopefully this SIS will be the last time we hear these 3 letters, as I believe it's truly time for the RFP to RIP. On the heels of seven, count 'em seven, Search Insider columns on the client and agency matchmaking process, I'll be leading a Day 2 session featuring two clients and two agency biz dev execs debating the merits of the RFP. We'll surface the horrors and highlights of actual RFPs from the folks in the trenches and discuss whether future RFPs will be delivered in 140 character increments.
Get Ready to Get Buzzed
It will certainly be interesting to see which way the Buzz-o-meter tilts next week. The only sure thing about SIS is that there's always plenty of opportunity to catch a buzz. See you there!