Leveraging Searcher Stimuli

I recently had the experience with a client where they had enough infighting with various marketing and advertising tactical silos as well as the functional units of the agency all playing one tactic off the other to gain a sliver of the ever decreasing marketing budget.  They told everyone they are tired of the fighting and did not want any more inter-competitive studies but how it can all work together.  Finally -  the client takes charge and understands that it all works together.
One of the ways we have used to get everyone to place nice is to emphasize the interaction between the tactics.  In the end, all forms of marketing are potential influencers that may prompt someone to go and search  – this reaction we call Searcher Stimuli.

To experienced Search Marketers team it is a no brainer that these should be synchronized not only paid and
organic but with social media and any digital.  We are working on a model around “searcher stimuli” which are all the elements that trigger the “need” to search – by aligning them with the intent of the searcher and the right landing page we create a perfect opportunity to move them along the buy cycle.  We have identified the three key elements as:

Mass Media:

This is the form of stimuli that based on seeing a TV commercial, hearing a radio spot or reading the newspaper are prompted to search.  This is a hard one for may traditional marketers to accept. They get frustrated when they put in a perfectly good 800 number in the ad and people search in Google for information rather than calling the number.

At the same time, we have found search connected to a mass media spot to be a great proxy for how well a tag line; offer or specific phrase resonated with the market.  In reality what happens is they don’t have a pen to write the number or they later recall the ad and don’t remember the advertiser.  I have done this a few times with my children.   They laugh at a commercial and think that it was cool, funny or interesting and a few hours later I ask them who the ad was for and they can’t recall and will typically search for it in YouTube or Google to get the company.

Word of Mouth and Social Media:

With this form of stimuli the searcher searches after having contact with a friend or associate who has the product or spoke highly or poorly of it.  This new interest can prompt someone to go and search for more information.

Social media is starting to play more of a role in this area. People are reading blogs or looking at pictures in Flickr and get the idea that they want or need a product, service or want to go to a destination and will often search for more information.  Interestingly enough we are often finding that the WOM stimuli may be as a result of some form of mass media advertising that prompted the interest and reaction from the person passing on the information.

Searcher Need:
This form of stimuli comes typically from self-awareness or need.  If your old TV dies and you suddenly need a new one many will go to the web and search for information about new models.  As with WOM, they may have seen a TV commercial recently for a specific brand and then go and search for that brand and the type of TV they want.  The same is true for auto insurance.  One of the largest drivers for searching for auto insurance quotes is triggered by receiving the quarterly or semi-annual bill.  When they get the bill they will often look for a cheaper alternative.

We will be writing more about this in the future.  Are there other stimuli?