Despite the conditions of almost perfect competition, with consumers and producers holding almost equal marketplace knowledge, the power of being in the right place at the right time has never been more relevant — nor more attainable — than in today’s world of brand marketing.
With the convergence of marketing, media, and technology enabling the interconnectedness of all communications with consumers, brands have a far greater opportunity now than ever before to reach and influence consumers at the point of their first inspiration and then to drive them to action. With the rapid adoption of mobile devices and social media, and the enormous advancements in user experience through touch screens, 3D imaging, voice-activated technologies and more, consumers have willingly placed themselves in a kind of communications ecosystem where every interaction can link to another and has the potential to build deeper brand engagement.
Search marketing lies at the heart of this ecosystem, acting as the key connector between the various communications channels. It has become the ultimate team player, serving as an essential catalyst in every campaign by speeding the consumer journey from brand awareness and perception to product research and through to point of sale. Just as importantly, search becomes a key element in linking the sales efforts of companies to broader brand-building efforts. By capturing and measuring demand from every other marketing channel, search helps to inform and activate the overall brand campaign and ensure its optimum effectiveness.
The exciting part is that the consumer’s journey through the ecosystem from awareness to purchase can happen in any number of ways — regardless of where they enter — whether from seeing a TV ad, viewing a billboard, through a friend recommendation on Facebook, or being physically present in a store or at an event. In the following pages, we’ll present four examples of how convergence and the capabilities of search have transformed traditionally disparate marketing disciplines and channels into contributing elements in the overall communications program, providing a continuous flow and movement that mirrors a consumer’s own behavior and engagement choices.
This technology-enabled ecosystem now connects all of us wherever we are, and the opportunity (and challenge) for marketers is to design brand communications programs that are living, breathing, creating, and learning within those connections. Marketing is moving from driving want creation to fulfilling the unmet needs of consumers. The brands that know how to meet those needs — all the way from the point of consumer inspiration through to purchase and beyond — will carry the day. The disciplines of building long-term brand equity, driving sales, marketing, and communications are also converging, and search marketing will develop to play an even more pivotal role in the success of the brands and businesses of our clients.