google search

Search Engines are CRM systems of opportunity

By Paul Morris

As part of the McCann WorldGroup I was invited to attend a rather exclusive conference in the week at McCann Manchester that consisted of several high profile speakers including representatives from London 2012 Olympics, Facebook, Apple and Google.

If I find time I will blog about my interesting chat with the Facebook chap however this post will be about the Google presentation.

Whilst the presentation did not live up to the name of ‘the future of google’ it did make me think about future company search strategy.

Broadly the Google presentation was about moving direct response on.

The first 30 second video (above – Parisian Love) shows a lot of hopes and fears and most importantly insight from this one blokes French love story. Clearly if you extrapolate this out to the millions of people who use Search every day then Google has quite a large amount of customer insight knowledge.

John Battelle surmises search engines as being ‘huge databases of intentions’ which is mostly correct however is perhaps rather limiting if we take in to consideration the French love story example. Search engines should also be viewed as ‘huge real time CRM systems of opportunity’.

If each search can give you insight into someone’s state of mind, intentions, life stage, etc then each search could begin a brand/ consumer conversation just like a ‘topnotch’ CRM system.

Google could therefore move away from being a ‘mere’ direct response pull marketing tool to something that people really care about and engage with.

A great example of this is the Converse video above. View the video and you will see a pure brand campaign that is low cost (ppc spend – i bet it cost £10,000’s in terms of production budget) and with high engagement all leading back to Converse.

If you then take this a step further (Converse did not do this) then you could have also dropped a cookie on the person and remarketed to them via the GDN (Google display network) text ads and banners to develop the story further.

Another more basic example (yet still impressive) of this was a recent Ann Summers ppc campaign.

The adult toys retailer bid on keywords such as: budget 2011 Chinese New Year 2011 The British Airways strikes …and delivered ads such as: There’s no recession in pleasure Year of the Rabbit The planes may be grounded, but you can still join the mile high club! This approach is clearly going to damage your PPC campaign, have low quality score, have a low amount of clicks and direct sales however it does show you can use PPC for a brand awareness campaign. Therefore I would just like to finish by ‘simply’ stating that whilst the Converse example would take a lot of planning/ work/ money and the Ann Summers example has plenty of PPC issues that result from this strategy it does show you can use Search for brand campaigns and opportunistic marketing activity normally only seen in the offline world.