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Why I left Yahoo to join Solohealth

17 Jul

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked in the past 3 weeks why I’m leaving Yahoo or where are you going, I’d be a little wealthier. That being said, figured the easiest and fastest way to address this is to add it to the blog.

First, if you came here to read about the skewering and downfall of Yahoo you can stop reading. That is not what this is. Yahoo provided me with opportunities and education that I’m not sure I could have gotten elsewhere. I’ve met some of the most intelligent people in the digital space over that time and established friendships that will last forever. I’m not naming names because honestly it would take too long. Sure, Yahoo has it challenges but a lot of companies are envious of the position Yahoo is in. This was about the opportunity that presented itself.

I’ve been working in digital media sales since 1998, and because of this my phone rings quite often from recruiters. I’ve had people reach out for opportunities big and small. Major social sites, gaming sites, content creation and others have expressed interest. I decided that when/if I moved I wanted go to a real small startup that provided me an opportunity to grow, be challenged and utilize all my interests.

Solohealth fit that criteria, plus a few others.

The things I was seeking in the next company were as follows:

  1.  Is the product uniquely differentiated
  2. Can it cause disruption in the market
  3. Is it focused

So for those wondering what Solohealth is, I will do my best to sum it up after 1 week.

“We help businesses engage consumers with precision targeted media and content integration, through various health assessments that occur inside retailers stores.” (Yes, it needs work, but that is where I’m at) Consumers are literally logging onto the web at stores like Wal-Mart, Publix, Sam’s Club, CVS and others I can’t mention, and doing health assessments on areas like BMI, Blood Pressure, Vision, Pain Management and others.

Anyone that knows me understands my unique interest in working with CPG manufacturers. I’ve always said half the battle is getting the consumer into the store; the other half is to get them to buy. Well we’ve eliminated the first barrier and depending on the studies you read 65-75% of all purchase decisions happen inside the store.

This solution can help so many businesses ranging from OTC, Pharma, CPG and even companies like Subway and McDonald’s which operate restaurants in Wal-Mart as well as I’m sure a 100 other categories I haven’t thought of yet.

The other thing that appealed to me was our ability to actually work with businesses to integrate content and questions right within the assessments. I can go on and on about the opportunities but that is for another post.

I’ve enjoyed the startups I’ve been part of before, going all the way back to Citysearch in 1998 or when we opened the WebMD office in Chicago. My passion for product development, sales, true measurement at retail, building a team from the ground up has all come together in this role.

I don’t doubt challenges are ahead, I’ve seen a few, but the team at Solohealth is amazing. When you can sit down with the VP of Product and give some feedback and he takes the feedback and starts to think how to implement quickly is an awesome experience. The team is all working, with passion, towards the same goals. They’ve accomplished so much the past 6 months and I can’t wait to help keep the pedal down as we grow quickly. I’ve got a team to build across the country and a lot of people asking to be part of the national rollout.

My tweeting has slowed and my FB surfing will be cut back, but I can’t wait to look back in 2-3 years and see how far we’ve come and think about where we started.

I couldn’t do any of this without everything I’ve learned from my first days at Citysearch to the last 6 years at Yahoo. It was hard to leave Yahoo, it was a part of me, and always will be, but I’m excited to be part of something special at Solohealth.

Can Groupon, Livingsocial and Other Group Buying Platforms Drive Loyalty?

21 Apr

Three years ago at a street festival in Chicago some women asked me if I wanted to sign up for Groupon. What the heck is Groupon I said? Multiple Groupons later I’m a huge fan. But do the marketers who use Groupon like a consumer like me? Probably not.

I just had an opportunity to participate in the Mobile #AiMA luncheon where Groupon, Yahoo and Insight Express all shared great data on the evolution of mobile media. Each individual shared useful information on trends in the marketplace and how consumer behavior is changing rapidly.

During that conversation Matt Drinkwater, VP of Sales East Coast for Groupon, shared with the group that Groupon will be launching in Chicago an opportunity for consumers to choose what they are looking for when they launch the app. For instance you could see a screen with choices ranging from Pampered, Eat, Shop and so on. Groupon is calling it Grouponnow. To be honest I think it is brilliant for both the consumer and the advertiser. The example that Matt shared was that Subway wants to spike breakfast, you would choose eat, and then find a Subway offer that would need to be redeemed by within the next 6 hours.

During the Q&A the question was posed on how many people return to stores, restaurants or shops after using a Groupon. Matt shared that 89% of all advertisers would participate in Groupon again. Just a quick note on the economics of Groupon as I understand it. If you run an offer for $10 worht of product or services for $5.00, Groupon gets $2.50 of that $5.00. So essentially you are giving $10 in product or services for $2.50. I’m not sure where Matt saw the 89% number but it did get me thinkiing about my own behavior on group buying platforms.

I’ve bought numerous Groupon’s, Livingsocials, Hotdealslive, and others. In fact, part of my daily routine is to visit 8coupons.com which aggregates all the deals locally from around the web.

After the individual posed the question to Matt a small focus group started at our table and surprisingly most people say they are a “one and done” crowd. I will admit that most of my group buying experiences result in me not visiting again. I’d put it at close to 75% of all businesses I visit through group buying I never visit again. On the other hand it did get me to visit places that I would have never visited beforehand.

Gawker had a piece on the love/hate of group buying which can be found here http://gawker.com/#!5787645/groupon-the-business-owner-experience
The more people I talk to, the more people say that they really don’t visit or go back to the places that they buy the deals from.

So the common response is that running a group buying deal isn’t a good investment but other things need to be kept in mind. Here are just a few:

1. What’s the value of a consumer who doesn’t buy but is exposed?
2. Driving short term demand at a loss is still good if a certain percentage returns? (Each business should understand this when they go into the deal)
3. If a consumer spends more on services or product because they have a Groupon, what does that due for your business?

I also sometimes questions the businesses that run group buying discounts. Just this morning I saw an offer for Aqua Bistro, which looked interesting. After reading a few reviews on Yelp it sounds overprices and the service is not good. If the prices are already 50% marked up you are not getting a discount.

So back the question at hand, does group buying drive loyalty? I’d say the answer is not very often. The caveats are when the service or product is exceptional. Unfortunately my experiences have been good, not great. This is okay, you don’t need everyone to be a repeat customer. Do I think we are going through a fundamental change on how people buy things? Absolutelty. I’ve gotten to the point if I don’t buy something with a group buying offer, on sale or that days special it is almost a disappointment. I do think I’m an exception to the rule. But what happens when more and more people start to think this way.

Group buying will not go away and is predicted to be a $6 billion dollar revenue in 2015 from the $873 million it is today as reported by BIA/Kelsey.

At the end of the day I think group buying has a place for businesses moving forward, and I think it is a big one. The ROI will work in some scenarios and in others it probably won’t. Then again isn’t that like most advertising.

On a side note my good friends at General Mills just did the first CPG Groupon today. Looking forward to hearing how that worked for the promotions team. I give them credit for trying something different.

Love to hear what you think.

Advertising and Social, like Oil and Water?

17 Feb

It’s been sometime since I last blogged and a lot has happened. Some quick hits and observations.

While attending CES it became evident that CPG advertisers are beginning to value how Tech, Media and Creativity continue to merge.

The tablet game is evolving and opportunities to engage consumers are endless through this platform. I’ve seen some interesting studies that I will share in upcoming blogs.

On a personal note me and my wife are now residents of Atlanta. Hence, the reason for the tardiness in blogging.

Over the past few weeks I’ve had an opportunity to be part of conversations with marketers from diverse categories in regards to how social advertising is working. What they shared was that from a traditional sense, Social Advertising is failing to deliver on the success metrics they have identified.

So what does that mean? First when we refer to advertising we are talking about pixels on a page, not content that is advertising. This morning I came across an article from emarketer that highlights some of the trends in advertising and social. As you might expect click thru rates are decreasing.

In comparison to the industry standards and that of Google text ads this is quite low. The article does provide insight on how to create higher CTR. These are rather obvious but good reminders.

1. Make your ads social
2. Incentivize the Consumer
3. Lead with insights and make your messaging relevant

For those of you who work in the industry we’ve all heard the term social graph and many of us refer to it but still aren’t quite sure what it means. Wikipedia even struggles to define this but in short here is what they say, “social graph describes the relationships between individuals online, as opposed to the concept of a social network, which describes relationships in the real world.”

So what does this mean and how does it affect you as an advertiser? As more and more publishers connect to the social leaders and activate social on their own platforms we now have vast data to help tell a better story to consumers. Today, Facebooks platform is extremely limiting in letting marketers tell stories via creative. So what happens when you have the proper canvass to tell a meaningful story to consumers using the social graph and various other data? High likelihood of either engagement or CTR substantially increasing. Think of it as having a 1/4 of a page on a magazine versus a full page. From a personal experience what are you likely to remember? Imagine now having all the information to make that full page extremely relevant. New mom – Diapers, Like Twilight – New Movie Release, Enjoy Basketball and live in Atlanta – Hawks Tickets. You see where this is headed.

My title should probably say, “Facebook and standard advertising like Oil and Water.” That seemed a little long and boring. In summation if you can successfully tap the social graph and place it on a canvass that can engage consumers in a meaningful way the impact will be much higher then what you could get using the FB platform as it exists today Where FB wins is when they move advertising into content and it something that they have the unique ability to do, but by my standards have not done it very well. Earned Media will continue to see the increase in investment as exhibited in this emarketer study.

In the coming weeks we will discuss how people are engaging fans in a meaningful way. Today marketers struggle to continue to develop continues dialog with consumers but I have some great examples of who is actually doing this without just relying on promotions.

A Guide to Creating a Shopper Marketing Plan to Win

9 Nov

In my last blog I talked about how at the Shopper Marketing Expo the focus of digital was overwhelming and marketers are quickly trying to identify ways to use all the data available to create a marketing plan to win. We are still in the learning phase but things are moving fast. I’ll share you with you some of my thoughts and how to effectively use digital in shopper marketing, but like I said the space is moving rapidly, so this is an evolution.

Today Marketing Daily actually had an article on how Shopper Marketing is growing faster than Digital and Social. In the article Matt Egol, who moderated a panel on “Recipes for Success with the Digital Shopper,” talked about how the traditional vehicles have staying power but how consumers are engaging in the digital environment.
A few blogs back we talked about all the technologies and targeting that can be used to drive high ROI for Shopper Marketing initiatives.

I don’t want to devalue other means of driving ROI through shopper marketing; in fact I believe in-store marketing still is driving the highest ROI for CPG manufacturers.

Over the past years I’ve seen a lot of companies talk about capabilities to target consumers based on geo, surf behavior and offline purchase data. Some of it has validity and some it is smoke and mirrors. Some fundamental issues that I’ve seen in these proposals are lack of scale or in some cases even remote ability to show how the targeting really works.

I’ve taken part in numerous digital shopper marketing campaigns and some key learning’s have come out of these programs and I will try to highlight some guidelines as you move forward.
1. Targeting
a. Geo – by creating zip code bundles and in some cases grouping DMA’s we’ve been able to reach large amount of consumers who are more likely to shop at one particular retailer. This is a great way to go broad and deliver scale. We’ve been successful with retailers as big as Wal-Mart and retailers as small as Food Lion.
b. Offline Data – Things get a little funky when thinking about offline data. We have all kinds of companies talking about targeting based on offline data. My recommendation here is use something like Vizu or Dimestore and asks the offline data partner to show you, via a simple question such as “Have you shopped at Target in the past 30 days for food, soda?” or whatever product you are promoting. Offline companies can provide scale but I’ve also seen a lot of these companies lack true audience sizing. Make sure to manage R/F when running these programs

2. Creative
a. Dynamic Ads – I’ve talked about these before but just a refresher. The use of dynamic ads let you pull in appropriate banner stores creative it also can help to deliver creative messaging based on the retail trading area.
b. Personal Retargeting – for brands that have large websites that attract numerous visitors this data can be extremely powerful. For example if you are a large CPG manufacturer and people are visiting a site like Green Giant you can now serve up a Green Giant offering. If they had visited Yoplait now you can serve up a Yoplait ad. Extremely powerful.

3. Publishers and Platform
a. DSP’s – So the DSP’s definitely offer the ability to manage R/F on a global level but the transparency on where the ads run is a little tough to swallow for most CPG companies. The first time you show up on a questionable site you might want to reconsider the DSP angle
b. Networks – Networks definitely provide some control over where you may or may not be seen. Think about scale when trying to determine the right network. Smaller networks will give you transparency but you might be sacrificing scale
c. Publishers – This is the safest environment but most likely the most expensive of all the options. Again thing about scale when running this campaign. Yahoo, Facebook and Google provide some of the largest reach. Figuring out who can overlay 3rd party data or do zip bundles is something you need to figure out. FYI: Yahoo can do both
d. Search – This is probably the cheapest way to reach consumers and obviously you only pay for the click. You will not get scale when you do this but it typically can deliver effective ROI. Today, only Google allows for zip code bundling

By linking the 3 pieces above you can start to create a Shopper Marketing plan that will allow you to learn, react and adjust. Utilizing these 3 areas effectively will put you ahead of the curve of most of the things I’m seeing in digital around shopper marketing.

On a personal note some things are changing for me and my wife, Sara. As some of you may have noticed it’s been a few weeks since I’ve blogged. We’ve been extremely busy trying to get ready for our big move. Over the next few months I will be transitioning from Yahoo Chicago to Yahoo Atlanta. I’m looking forward to the warmer weather and some year round golf. My blogs may be sporadic in the coming weeks but I will do my best to continue to share my thoughts.

Should I Build An App For My Brand?

27 Sep

We live in an App happy world.   The android market announced they have reached 80,000 apps and the iPhone app store claims to have over 250,000 apps according to Mobile Business Briefing .

http://www.mobilebusinessbriefing.com/apps/article/android-market-hits-80-000-apps

Windows marketplace is actively trying to grow and blackberry seems to making a better effort to create a more robust marketplace having finally reached 10,000 apps.  So should your brand have an app?

First, when did this app world explode?  The other day I was telling my dad about this app I downloaded.  My father, who has been in sales for the majority of his life, asked what I what I was applying to, as if I was looking for work at McDonald’s.

For those of you that have been active in downloading apps, basically at this point if you can’t find an app that does what you need you probably haven’t looked hard enough.  In fact people are now complaining that there is too much junk in the app stores.

So before you run out and build an app think about this.  It’s estimated that the average app gets downloaded 22,222 times, based on 225,000 apps with 5 billion downloads as of August this year.

On top of that the average app gets used less than 20 times before they are abandoned according to Pinch Media.  Here is a great blog from Josh Clark on how to create sustainable apps.

http://mashable.com/2010/07/20/iphone-app-development-lifespan/

Think about you as a user.  I probably have 15 apps and use 3-4, Slacker Radio all the time, and a few other social and infotainment sites.

The question I pose to the brand managers that ask the question of creating an App is, “What consumer need will your app provide a solution to?”  The typical responses are centered on health and wellness, cooking and recipes.  For anyone that trolls the app landscape like me you know that the amount of apps that are out there for these types of things are numerous.    So the questions you have to ask yourself are as follows:

1.       Can you make a better app

2.       Can you create a unique differentiator

3.       Are you committed to evolving and marketing your app

If you can say yes to the 3 things above then it is definitely worth investigating.  Consumer behavior can be changed just think about your surfing behavior.  I’ve gone from Mapquest to Google Maps, Pandora to Slacker Radio and so on and so on.  They all created a product that I felt was better than the one I was using.

I’d also challenge your brand to think outside the constrained walls of your business.  What if your brand created a great social gaming experience with product integration?  It doesn’t have to mimic your website.  Keep in mind your app has to be built for each marketplace.

The estimated cost of building an app is roughly $50K and can range from $25K to over $100K.  You have to commit to investing more in the marketing then you are in the app.  It’s not a build it and they will come world for apps, the exception to the rules are the ones we all read about.  For every 1 of those another 100 that struggle to build a base audience.

Can Apps be a great way to drive a good ROI?  Absolutely.  Many challenges exist but with a well thought out strategy and a commitment to market you can create a compelling app that can drive ROI.  Like everything else you need to have a plan and a vision going into the discussions with key marketing objectives clearly defined.

So what are your favorite Apps?

Here are some of mine you may have never heard of:

Slacker Radio

ESPN Radio (Streams radio from your local town, wherever you are)

Tweetdeck

Taxi Magic

Dragon-Dictation

Gate Guru

Special thanks to Brian Kilmer for helping with some of the data and insight on this blog @btkilmer

@btkilmer shared this with me.  Great article on best branded apps

http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/13-branded-apps-that-got-it-right-sarah-kessler

Are 3rd Party and BT Targets Really My Target?

9 Sep

I’ve been selling Behavioral Targeting now for the past 7 years at a few different publishers.  In the early days I always questioned the validity of these targets.  If someone visits the Finance section of the site once in the course of one week are they truly a BT Finance person.   Now I don’t know what really goes into the black box of BT’s, no one really talks about it.  I will say the information that we’ve used to build BT’s has gotten better and deeper over the years and I do think that good data goes into these targets.  The same can be said for all the 3rd party targets out there selling their data.  It seems that all the buzz in the marketplace is around the ability to buy 3rd party data.  These data providers range from the Blue Kai’s to the traditional companies that are now offering up digital data such as Axciom, MRI and Experian to name a few.

So how do we start to understand if these targets really are what they say they are?

While I’m not sure of all the companies that are actively doing target verification I have come across  two companies that are doing some things that can help you better understand if your target is really what you thought it was when you bought it.  Those companies are Vizu and Dimestore.  Again, I’m sure I’m missing other companies but these are the two I’m most familiar with.

So how does it work?  It’s actually pretty easy.  Simply take your media buy and Vizu or Dimestore  will create a poll and take a small portion of the impressions and post a simple question.  For instance if you bought a target of Moms you could post the question, “How many kids do you have in your household?”  Give the users a choices of 0,1,2 or 3+.  Users will respond to the target and start to create an understanding of just how good these targets really are.

So why do you want to do this?  As I mentioned earlier, so many companies are talking about the “advance targeting” via 3rd party or site data.  Most media buyers take what publishers are sharing at face value and the reality is what someone considers “advanced targeting” might not really be what you think it is.  Now if you bought a Mom target with the expectation 100% or your ads are Moms that is just not a realistic expectation. But if you see that close to 30% of the target is responding with 0 kids in household you should really think twice about this targeting.

Take some time and dig around www.vizu.com and www.dimestore.com and start to test your way into this.

Dan Bonert is a Strategic Account Director who has worked in the digital space with CPG companies for the past 12 years with companies like WebMD, USATODAY, Citysearch and currently at Yahoo.  His CPG background is rooted in his early childhood when he worked at his local supermarket where he was first exposed to marketing side of the CPG business.  Follow Dan @ http://www.twitter.com/dbonert

How Can I Use Dynamic Ads to Make My Marketing Better?

26 Aug

The holy grail of marketing has always been right message, right person at the right time.  I’ve been working with advertisers for the past 15 years to solve this problem.

In the early days we put print advertising in the contextually relevant areas to reach consumer when they are in the right state of mind.  We evolved it to using consumers surfing behavior to serve appropriate ads in the most relevant period of time based on the buying cycle of the category.

In the past few months we’ve evolved it even further.  We can now reach consumers with relevant messaging based on numerous data points.  It is a fundamental change that is occurring across the industry and the early results are staggering.

So what is a “Dynamic Ad?”  People sometime refer Dynamic ads as smart ads.  The concept is simple; it’s about serving multiple messages to consumers based on various data points.  It the simplest form it could be serving up an ad for Target Stores for women that highlight beauty products and that same ad for a man could show men’s clothing.  One way that I’ve discussed with CPG advertisers to tap the capabilities of dynamic ads is to use BDI (Brand Development Index) and overlaying that date with RTA (Retail Trading Area) to serve up messaging that is relevant.   Imagine being able to message to consumers differently who are heavy buyers, low buyers and buyers of your competitors product all on the same media buy.

Numerous companies are offering dynamic ad serving capabilities.

  1. Tumri
  2. Teracent
  3. Dapper
  4. Pointroll
  5. Mediamind

I’m sure there are more companies implementing these technologies but that is what I’m aware of today.  Tumri has done numerous case studies and can be found here.

http://www.tumri.com/advertisers-agencies/showcase

While ad serving is only one component of creating a successful campaign, the real power lies in the data.  You have to have strong data to drive the decision.  That data  can come from companies like Blue Kai, Experian or tapping into the insights from websites like Yahoo or AOL.   Yahoo refers to these ads as Smart Ads.

Techcrunch did an article on Yahoo Smart Ads.

http://techcrunch.com/2007/07/02/yahoo-launches-smart-ads/

Barriers still exist to the adoption of dynamic ads.

  1. Creative companies aren’t exactly sure how to implement
  2. Time needed to launch historically has been 4-8 weeks
  3. Misconception around the cost of creating dynamic ads (Costs are typically the same)

There are numerous benefits to dynamic ads and here are just a few.

  1. How different consumers are reacting to messaging
  2. Which offers perform the best
  3. Which components work best from background color, brand images and call to action perform the best

I think we will continue to see high adoption of the offerings as advertisers start to see some of the great results that dynamic ads have to offer.   Think about all the social data we could tap into to serve up more relevant messaging  We are just touching the surface on what we can do with these capabilities.  I look forward to seeing the evolution.

How the Heck Do I use “Check-In” as a Marketing Tool?

17 Aug

If you aren’t actively engaged in the “Check-In” craze you‘ve at least heard about sites like Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt and Twitter Check-in.  The news today is that most likely to be announced this week the Facebook Check-In.

Read Techcrunch article by MG Siegler for more information on the Facebook announcement.

http://techcrunch.com/2010/05/09/facebook-places-check-in/

So let me caveat, that while I still don’t know why I “Check In” to places, I still find myself doing this all the time.  Currently I’m the mayor of 7 places and looking to regain a few titles I’ve recently lost.  Al O. you are going down at Panera on Clybourn.

So as part of my job I concentrate the majority of my time thinking about how to help CPG manufacturers grow their business.  So last week it finally hit me how they should be using this tool.  All you CPG marketers feel free to steal the idea.

Subway, Starbucks and McDonald’s have been extremely active on advertising on Foursquare.  Rightfully so, based on this article by Kunur Patel in Adage  http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=145413

So anyone who is in CPG and works in advertising understands that the best ROI typically comes from in store advertising.  That might be shelf talkers, in store radio and all the other things that the grocery chains have to offer.

Now think about this if you “Check In” to your grocery store I can’t think of a better place to reach consumers.  Now you, the advertiser, will not know if they buy your category, but either did the person who saw your ad on the floor of your local grocery store.

I realize one grocery store isn’t going to give the scale needed to move a large level of product, but if you aggregated Supervalu, Kroger, Safeway, Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens and all the other places you offer your product this adds up to a large amount of users.

You could offer up a coupon to these consumers or maybe you have a current promotion that will help drive case movement.  I’m not going to dig into creative execution but I will say that the opportunity has real power and would love to see someone execute and share the results.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the idea or if you think you have a way for CPG advertisers to use the new “Check In” to move product feel free to share.

Thanks for reading

Dan Bonert is a Strategic Account Director who has worked in the digital space with CPG companies for the past 12 years with companies like WebMD, USATODAY, Citysearch and currently at Yahoo.  His CPG background is rooted in his early childhood when he worked at his local supermarket where he was first exposed to marketing side of the CPG business.  Follow Dan @ http://www.twitter.com/dbonert

Can Paid Search Drive Strong ROI for CPG?

12 Aug

Over the past few weeks we’ve talked about social media and the effects on ROI and this week I’d like to talk about Search and the effects on ROI.

Not to offend anyone that works in search advertising but search unfortunately is an afterthought to a lot of CPG advertisers.   When I talk about Search to my CPG clients the typical response is “My agency handles that.”  Yes search can be very tactical and yes you are writing text and buying keywords so what is sexy about that.

Although this article would disagree on search not being Sexy – http://bit.ly/9WZ6I3

When you ask brand managers what their search strategy is they look at you like you just asked them to explain why people don’t get along in the Middle East.  This usually prompts me to ask the question, “Why are you buying search?”  It’s scary but here is the answer I get most times, “Because I know I have to.”

Let’s think about this reality for most brand managers.  Let’s say your average CPC is .35 and the margins on a single product is .15.   This would lead you to believe that this is not a good way to invest your marketing dollars.   Then think about this if you are a searching for laundry detergent and your brand isn’t showing up in the search results.  Do you think that is good for your brand?

The best analogy I’ve heard, and I take no credit, is not buying search is essentially like not being on the shelf.  Imagine you are Tide and you go to Wal-Mart and the product isn’t even on the shelf.  That is essentially like not buying relevant keywords for your brand.

So the question is can search drive effective ROI.  I’ve actually seen search show up in Media Mix Modeling and guess what – it delivers not only a strong ROI but most times the best ROI of all the mediums.  The challenge that currently exists is that there just isn’t enough volume to really drive velocity at the shelf.  That’s okay; you can’t expect every channel to drive huge volume.  The reality is the volume is small but on the investment you make it is truly some of the best performing ROI’s.

Yahoo did a case study with P&G a few years back which I think is still extremely relevant and worth reading.

A few highlights:

1.    Nearly ½ of all internet users search on CPG related terms

2.    64% of searchers are seeking information that help in making a buying decision

3.    SEARCHERS SPEND 20% MORE IN-CATEGORY THAN NON SEARCHERS

Here are the full results.  Since it was in a PDF you will have to click on the link on the page to download:

http://drop.io/1w3xps8

So what are some of the things that you should keep in mind when putting together a search strategy.  Here are 4 things you should think about:

  1. Make sure you buying all the way up the and down the chain.  Make sure to include relevant broad terms as well as long tail terms that can in aggregate drive large volume
  2. An always on approach most times is relevant for brands.  These searchers are hand raisers and just  because it’s your off season you should not ignore them
  3. Make sure to buy your brand terms.  Most times you will show up in SEO under your brand terms but think of this as a shelf on the store.  By being in paid results and SEO this gives you double the space on the shelf. 
  4. Control your message through paid search.  Brand CPC’s are typically inexpensive, and buying them gives you much more control over your messaging, something you don’t get from SEO, which is tedious to update.

(I’m sure there are more please add in the comments)

Bill Mulller from iProspect recently wrote an article on “Five Mistakes CMO’s Make With Search”

  1. Using your internal jargon on your web site rather than the language used by your consumers
  2. Focusing on only “Big” keywords and ignoring “Long Tail”
  3. Limiting the amount of :Shelf Space” you occupy on the search page
  4. Ignoring the relationship search and offline conversions
  5. Managing search in a vacuum

For more detail check out Bill’s article

http://www.cmo.com/search/five-big-mistakes-cmos-make-search

So if you, the brand manager, isn’t participating in search get started and think about how your budget allows you to talk to your audience.  It’s a great method of driving ROI and something you need to be exploring.

So all you search guru’s, do you agree or disagree?  Love your thoughts.

A special thanks to Greg Mroz for providing insight in this weeks blog.  You can follow Greg at twitter.com/gmroz

Dan Bonert is a Strategic Account Director who has worked in the digital space with CPG companies for the past 12 years with companies like WebMD, USATODAY, Citysearch and currently at Yahoo.  His CPG background is rooted in his early childhood when he worked at his local supermarket where he was first exposed to marketing side of the CPG business.  Follow Dan @ http://www.twitter.com/dbonert