• Pursuing The Unlaunched Search
    Google's doing an experiment. Eight times a day, randomly, 150 people get an alert from their smartphone and Google asks them this question, " What did you want to know recently?" The goal? To find out all the things you never thought to ask Google about.
  • Did You Get Your Slice Of The Thanksgiving SEM Pie?
    I've just been served a hearty portion of paid search data from Thanksgiving weekend and Cyber Monday, as my company looks to benchmark U.S. retail industry performance. Before the food coma (aka data paralysis) sets in, I thought I'd share some of the early observations.
  • Navigating The Nuances Of Customer Segmentation And Searcher Personas
    Deliberate audience segmentation is a crucial prerequisite to success in search. But what about personas? They're kinda, sorta the same thing, right? Though personas are similar to customer segments, they're different in important ways. The distinctions can be subtle, and often cause confusion when discussing how best to create a Web experience or search campaign. Let's investigate.
  • A Gluten-Free Search Diet
    In June of 2009, something unique happened in the world of health news: That's when the Mayo Clinic "announced the imminent release of a study on celiac disease, specifically an immune system response to gluten," according to Forbes.com article. While these kinds of releases are commonplace in the health community, what made this news event different was that the Mayo Clinic chose to share the announcement over Twitter and tracked which of its followers retweeted it. The Mayo Clinic later shared an embargoed copy of the study with select followers, each of whom had celiac disease, who were permitted to …
  • Google's Personality Crisis
    Google has never been comfortable as a marketing company. The only reason it became a marketing company (or worse, a media company) is because it happened to stumble on the single most effective marketing channel of all time and had to figure out some way to monetize it. Anytime Google has tried to embrace its inner "marketingness," the results have ranged from vaguely boring to disastrous. Asking Google to become a marketer is kind of like asking Stephen Hawkins to enter a wet T-shirt content -- a terrible waste of cranial processing power (and frankly, not something I'd particularly want …
  • Search Is But One Tool In Your Marketing Toolbox
    As the old saying goes, when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail -- and search is one excellent hammer. But the fact is, like every tool, there are some things search just does not do well on its own. Let's explore some of the shortcomings of our favorite channel:
  • Just The Web Analytics Essentials, And Nothing Else
    I believe there are only a handful of data points across Web analytics that consistently need to be measured and understood. Given how Web analytics is often positioned, as the centerpiece to a larger data analytics suite of tools, maximizing its value is crucial. So what's really essential about Web analytics? Across any website, in any industry vertical, what are the crucial elements to success with Web analytics? I think there are three:
  • How Regis McKenna Defined Real-Time Marketing
    Real-time marketing is hot. Recently Richard Fouts of Gartner wrote that real-time marketing "disrupts the organization while putting competitors on the defense." But what is real-time marketing? "Real-time marketing" occurs when a brand is always present for the always-on consumer. It is a way of thinking and philosophy that requires businesses to meet the demands of an always-on digital world. As it relates to online marketing, it includes the convergence of search, social, and real-time content production and distribution, with an expanded definition of publishing that makes social conversation and interaction as important as actual writing and digital media development.
  • The Swapping Of The Old 'Middle' For The New
    For the past several columns, I've been talking about disintermediation. My hypothesis is that technology is driving a general disintermediation of the marketplace (well, it's not really my hypothesis -- it's a pretty commonly held view) and is eliminating a vast "middle" infrastructure that has accounted for much of the economic activity of the past several decades. But every good hypothesis must stand up to challenge, and an interesting one came from a recent article in Slate, which talks about the growth of a brand new kind of "gatekeeper," the new "bots" that crawl the Web and filter (or, in …
  • Whole Customer Intelligence Requires Whole Customer Analytics
    One of the more obvious criticisms of Google Analytics, or any web analytics tool for that matter, is that it has always been a decidedly visit-centric tool. How many visits did the website receive? How many pageviews were consumed during those visits? How many visit sessions converted against our primary objectives? All are important questions to have answers to, but all are focused on a singular audience type: the website visitor. So it was encouraging to see Google announce last week that it was introducing what it calls "universal analytics," which incorporates third-party analytics data, mobile applications data, and cross-channel …
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