Inside the Machine: How Search Is Influencing The Evolution Of Marketing And Beyond For Brands

Each month, Mediapost provides me an opportunity to offer perspective on the search industry and the evolution I see it going through. To close out 2010, I thought it might be of interest to hear not from me about the importance of search and where it is going to take us, but from some of the brands that are living this change every day. As luck would have it, I moderated a fireside chat earlier today at the Search Insider Summit in Utah with marketers from Blackrock, Kimberly Clark and SAP. The following is a portion of the conversation in quote format on a variety of topics.

What struck me during the discussion was just how important the integration of search has become and the increasing smart ways t brands are using the consumer intention expressed in search to not only shape their media buying but the way in which their business will come to market in the near and long term

With that, here are a few quotes from the panelists that I thought help give perspective on search, its place in the broader context of brand marketing and where things are headed.



How important is search in your organization, and what has the evolution of the usages of search been like for your company?

"The biggest shift for us in terms of the evolution of search is that if there's a big shift in business results, either up or down, senior leaders first ask - what's happened in search? What did we do that was good or what did we do that was bad?  It is truly a line item on my media plan every day."

Matt Van Dalsem, Vice President, Blackrock


Search is clearly favored as a great direct response vehicle -- but what are the non-DR applications you have found to be successful?

"The way we look at brand and other category keywords is how to flight them out. We're in a competitive category and we've had situations where the competition shows up for our brand. So you have to use search broader, for example, for visibility, to communicate your program's value to your consumer, or to protect your own media."

Jeff Holecko, North American Media Manager, Kimberly-Clark


How are you thinking about the growing importance of developing content for relevant connections, either through SEO or other means?

"We've spent the last four years centralizing our media buying and planning activity. In essence we've turned the aircraft carrier and are making sure our teams are developing content that can readily be available to those interested in our enterprise offering. We've gone through the "cast the widest net" approach to get us to the right approach. We're learning what's happening at different stages and what's meaningful at that point. So, our next step is creating dynamic and compelling landing page experiences. This focus on the content perspective and site informational perspective is where we want to go as a search team."

Dan Fleetwood, Director, Global Search Marketing, SAP


And finally, what is one trend that you see search playing a role in for your business in 2011?


"I would like to see how search plays into mobile, make sure e-content is on demand wherever consumers want it, and to make our content accessible to everyone."

Matt Van Dalsem


"For us, how we connect with moms is important. The intersection of search and social is very important for moms, and it's very important for us. It is where we're putting our toe in and is where we are watching."

Jeff Holecko


"For us it is seeing how mobile develops. Whether it's demand generation or mobile discovery, how people are using mobile devices is what I'm interested in. Also, we've spent the last few years building our search team and building integrated teams. In the next year we'll focus on bringing those together and having a synergy across display, social, search and SEO integration."

Dan Fleetwood


It's always fascinating to end the year with a look back and predictions about what is to come. My key takeaway with brands is that they need help making the data complexities simple while not minimizing the opportunities that this data provides.

These brands are living this now. So whenever we start with predictions, we have to listen to what the marketers in the space are saying, because their dollars will shape many of these predictions' viability.

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