Search Data Drives Strategy, Wells Fargo Advisors CMO Says

Looking for a financial adviser could take months. Consumers take to search engines to find information, and social sites to research other opinions -- and this makes the ways people consume content just as important as what they search for on engines, on brand Web sites and in social networks. The two combined increase the value of the data produced.

"There's a real power to take search data and influence products and copy," said Chris Moloney, CMO at Wells Fargo Advisors, the bank's investment firm. He worked at a firm where searches influenced the name change. Some companies have changed product names based on the keyword data feed. Search data can drive strategy, he said during the MediaPost Search Insider Summit's Monday keynote moderated by Kevin Ryan, CEO at Motivity Marketing.

Social sites scare the financial industry. Financial groups are looking at creating portals that will allow advisers to comfortably post content to investors.

CMOs still need to sell the value of search to the C-Suite, partly because of the long sales time in the financial industry. Some relate to content, while other issues point to educating others. The frustration comes into play when trying to explain search, which evolves quickly through long sales cycles. This means explaining an evolving strategy, but using old metrics that don't work with a long sales cycle, Moloney said.

The way consumers make a decision to purchase continues to evolve. In addition to financial companies, new industries will begin to use search and the data from the searches. The medical profession will become another, per Moloney. More companies need to consider data to run search strategies, he said.

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