Modify search plan going forward

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Shar VanBoskirk is VP-principal analyst at Forrester Research. Her report, “The Future of Search Marketing,” was released last month. BtoB asked VanBoskirk to summarize some of her projections. BtoB: What changes have you seen in search marketing that marketers need to adjust to? VanBoskirk: The biggest thing is that search marketing is moving far beyond just paying for ads and optimizing your website. The reason is [that] people are searching differently today, and it will get more pronounced with the variety of connected devices and sites, such as mobile and social. But, especially for b-to-b marketers, most still haven't mastered the basics of paid search and search engine optimization. I wish I could say every company optimizes their site, but that's not the case. ... There are degrees of sophistication, but b-to-b companies typically perform lower than consumer-oriented companies. BtoB: In your report, one of your recommendations is for companies to sacrifice short-term results for experimentation. Can you explain? VanBoskirk: Most marketers are focused on quick hits in the media game, but that can sacrifice longer-term innovation. For example, it's easy to maintain the status quo with keywords you know will bring in immediate results. But you might want to set aside 10% of your budget to try something new and different from what your competitors are doing, perhaps focusing on nurturing long-term customer relationships. Most marketers don't think about search that way. They think of it to drive one-time purchases, and then—like retailers—pay for keywords again to reacquire the same customer through search. Wouldn't it be smarter to think about how to increase loyalty ... just to target new customers with search and offers, and existing customers through other channels? For example, you could integrate certain keywords into your customer e-mails and put the appropriate content behind that so it's found via search. It's about integrating with other digital tools to close the loop. •
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