If you haven’t read my blog in a little while (don’t worry, I forgive you), you might have missed the fact that I’m working on a five part series titled, A Tale of Two CMO’s: A Study in Contrasts. The goal of the series is to contrast the styles of an old school and new school CMO whose personas I’ve fleshed out in my original post. During last week’s installment that focused on generating brand awareness, James’ and Tessa’s responses sounded more similar than different. This week, you will start to see a more noticeable divergence in their positions (a trend that will continue as we move down the marketing funnel).
What role does search play in fostering consumer interest?
James: For us, paid search (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) have become a major component of our day-to-day marketing efforts. To be honest, I can’t think of a better way to “fish where the fish are.” I just wish there were more relevant search queries to buy and page views to serve up. Right now, we max out our key search terms and as it turns out, we’re still only spending 3-4% of our overall marketing budget on SEM and SEO. Obviously product ads on television, print and online also play a huge role in driving customer interest. I don’t see this going away anytime soon.
Tessa: Yes, search is a great tool. And as James mentioned in his repsonse, our company also continues to use product specific advertising to drive consumer interest. However, we’ve been experimenting recently with our newly launched branded online community (four months old) and are starting to see some amazing results. In fact, where we are seeing the most traction is when we take a prospective customer from a paid search term to our branded online community (heavily threaded throughout our website). We’ve done a series of A/B testing using the same keyword and while the sample sizes are still small, the prospects we’ve surveyed post-community visit have shown a 3-5% increase in brand affinity and interest in a specific product vs. those that haven’t visited our community.
As we can see, we’re starting to see a little bit of a divergence between the way James and Tessa view social to drive traditional marketing outcomes. Next week, I have a few additional twists and turns up my sleeve so don’t think we’re done just yet. By the way, if you have any questions for our two CMOs — trick or straightforward, let ’em fly in the comments!