I had a bout of inbox convergence today. Just as I was speculating what this week's Search Insider might cover, two separate emails surrounded a juicy little topic and delivered it to me on a platter: marketers' reluctance to use online conversations as a source of customer feedback, and the possibility of a channel providing that feedback continuously, in real time.
So what lessons did the father of permission marketing learn from Google? For one, "relevancy rules." And, "tap the wisdom of crowds" -- but think of them more as tribes, since "crowds are close to mobs -- out of control and sometimes angry."
Let's face it: Google scares us. The search giant has been so dominant in the past decade that we have grown to regard it with awe and a bit of trepidation, the way we would a very large dog with big fangs who hasn't bitten us as of now. You might love dogs, and you might think this particular dog is awesome, but you'd still get nervous if someone tied a steak to your chest.
I think most of us agree that search can no longer exist in a silo. To be truly effective, search must be woven throughout media planning and marketing communications because it is the single largest benefactor of all other media.
We've made Google a verb. What does that mean? Well, for one thing, it means we have a better indication of prospect intent than ever before. Google (or any search engine) becomes the connector between our intent and relevant online destinations. John Battelle called Google the database of intentions and predicted that it would become hugely important. Battelle's call was right on the money, but we still haven't felt the full import of it.
Designing enterprise Web sites for search engine visibility has been a major thread of this column. So here are more ideas.
Happy New Year! I hope yours was a good one. I spent mine camped out by a lake in the New Zealand high country. With no Internet access and lousy weather, most of my time was spent reading -- and in amongst novels like the incredibly entertaining Shantaram, I managed to devour Malcolm Gladwell's latest, Outliers: The Story of Success.
OK. So it's the first work day of the new year, and you're digging through your email, which you let pile up over the holidays, and you're feeling your expanded waistline through your now too-tight clothes as you sit slumped over your keyboard wondering how, exactly, it became 2010 without your realizing it. We've all been there. Heck, I'm there now.
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