What's Going To Work? TEAMWORK
So what do these Nickelodeon creations have to do with search? Well, since I never attended kindergarten and therefore missed all those things you need to know, I prefer to use my kids' TV viewing as a means for learning the lessons of life. The Wonder Pets, in their "team together" philosophy, exemplify the greatest area of growth still needed in the search space.
As media fragments further, a company's interests become more difficult to realize. Each new ad platform, exchange, social media opportunity or video partner presents harder and harder choices for brands. Every choice creates more options, more fragments and more data points to measure; and with many divisions of the same organization or different companies steering these efforts, it becomes very difficult to reach a successful outcome unless everyone is rowing the same direction.
In order to reap true benefits from your marketing efforts, I see three key areas of focus in the coming months and into 2010:
Clear leadership. The land grab in digital advertising right now is a frightening sight. Creative groups want to do media, media wants to build creative, social media "experts" want to drive online strategies, and the proliferation of display choices from traditional display buys to ad networks and exchanges is enough to give the hardiest of souls pause. As such, it is essential for clients to be transparent and clear on who is driving what and to set an expectation for everyone to play nice and work together. This is rarely easy, as everyone traditionally positions for his or her own cause, but the marketers who are willing to appoint a leader and command inclusive behavior will reap benefits faster.
Bring an end to politics as usual. One of the long-standing and greatest challenges to success in the organic search space has been the internal tussle that goes on between IT and marketing. From who "owns" the responsibility around this function, to priorities and implications of content and architecture changes, the topic is often hotly contested. And usually that fight is rarely beneficial to an end goal. With the continued rise of importance of non-paid media, organic search is rising up the visibility chart for CMOs, and one area of leadership should step in to eliminate these fights. On the upside, even when these fights still remain, universal search and off-page criteria dictate the IT bottleneck will become less of a deterrent for some companies.
Different indicators for single goal. One of the great challenges to cross-channel measurement is that rarely do channels use the same naming conventions for success. Sure, ROI and revenue are constants, but a GRP and a SOV are not. What's important is that they need to be understood in the context of reaching the common metrics. If ROI is the end goal, then GRP and SOV are both indicators and drivers that lead to ROI, so it's important to know and respect their role. Teamwork does not mean singularity in this case, but it does mean a collaborative effort to move down the funnel towards a single goal.
Sustaining presence amidst fragmented media and working with a vast pool of experts doesn't mean a brand can't capture efficiency of channel performance. If your organization can cut through the clutter, agree to the leaders, show leadership by working together internally, and align the metrics to a single end goal, opportunities in search are still great. And then, when it is all said and done and everyone is aligned, we can share a snack of celery, in true "Wonder Pets" fashion. I know a two-year-old who would be game.