Online Marketing

Oh Dear,

This morning I replied to the editor of Revolution. A must read for any marketer or anyone in the digital marketing industry.

He asked me if I think there should be any topics that they should cover in details. So I wrote him a rather long email and thought I could recycle it here, slightly amended:

So what are my beliefs interests and thoughts on online and digital marketing?

I believe search is still the main area of online marketing. If you use a tabbed browser chances are that you open Google, your private email, Linkedin, Facebook and a news page when you start your browser. All of those are, more or less, search engines. You use Google for your search on something you saw on a tube advertising, you search for that email your auntie sent you a while back, you search for a contact you just made on LinkedIn and your friends on FB. You are constantly trying to retrieve relevant information. Twitter might be on your side bar along your RSS Feed – you can now imagine what my Firefox start-up looks like 🙂 So search is all around and from my point of view still the key door opener for many people to find products/being found.

However, I think the next step are anything “on top of search” – behavioural targeting, on site behavioural targeting. Matching what people search for with the results on your page. That is when I get really excited, however companies don’t really see the value in that as yet. Take it 1-2 years on and we are looking at exactly the same technology from mobile devices. Mobile devices will be more and more similar to the actual desktop devices, resulting in the user experience being the same, maybe a bit slower. So I believe users will search more and more on the go, resulting in companies needing to be more optimised for searches. That throws the whole complex sites (flash etc.) out of the race, unless they have an html version that pops up when recognising the site is loaded from a mobile device.

Looking from another perspective (corporate), companies want to use available resources for promotion and pick up the user where they are. Social Media is going to be big on that one. Twitter is a great example, being a platform for viral marketing. I remember doing my MBA when we were speaking about “relationship marketing” and “viral marketing” and how you could implement it. Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites are now giving us the platform exactly for that. How clever?! Look at the recent Burgerking application, “ditching 10 friends for a whopper”. But there is some curse there too. I read an article about “be careful what you post” , people do not realise the impact a “flapsy comment” on a social media site might have. They are not all friends out there 🙂

Being German living in the UK for many years, working in a multilingual company, I could even suggest to cover worldwide activities in online and digital marketing. There are for instance social networks out there in Russia that are bigger than Facebook. That is, for most companies, untapped potential. Like multilingual search or online marketing outside UK/US. Particular with the recession, you want to look at markets that are still growing and get money from e.g. Eastern Europe or China. That is when the whole idea of “Place, Price, Promotion” becomes exciting. Because online you can just turn on the tap in South America. If the ROI is not coming through, you turn it off and go to Asia or Eastern Europe. Once you know where you hit ROI you can then build portfolio and long term visibility…..
So here we go. Those are my thoughts on search, online marketing and social media marketing.

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Volker