Beware Integration for Integration’s Sake

By Aaron Goldman, VP, Marketing & Strategic Partnerships

Over the past couple years, I’ve joined the buzzword police, monitoring verbiage du jour at trade shows and reporting on them in my patent-pending Buzz-o-Meter. For a while now, one of the hot catch-phrases in our space has been “integration.”

In fact, at Resolution Media, we used to go to market with the tagline “search marketing strategy and integration.” On the heels of our acquisition by Omnicom Media Group, we were singularly-focused on working hand-in-hand with our sister agencies to integrate search initiatives with broader marketing programs.

Now, don’t get me wrong, integrating search can be one of the most powerful weapons in a search agency’s arsenal. That being said, we have to be careful of just integrating for integration’s sake.

Too many companies think that just buying their brand name or their advertising slogan checks the box of search integration. And some companies go too far in their efforts to integrate. One example is using the same copy points in search ads as TV spots -- they may resonate with passive TV viewers but not proactive searchers online that are exposed to a marketer’s listing on a cluttered page filled with competitors.

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Integration: Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

With this sage advice in mind, let’s look at some specific benefits of integrating search programs:

  1. Attribution - if search and display ads are not tracked through one central platform, both channels will be taking credit for the same conversions. In some cases, we’ve seen duplication rates upwards of 30%.
  2. Messaging Consistency - using the same look and feel can help reinforce your brand positioning. Beware my earlier example, though.
  3. Fluid Budget Allocation - when paid search is an integrated component of the media plan, budget can be moved around in real-time to whatever vehicle is driving the best results. This can be harder to do when the search team is not in sync with the larger media team.
  4. Cost Efficiencies - when marketers are building a website, it is crucial that SEO best practices are ingrained from the start. If the search folks aren’t in lock step with the web dev team, there is the potential for a lot of “undoing” after the website launches, leading to additional costs.
  5. Leverage Insight on Consumer Intent - search is the best real-time focus group a marketer can ask for. Applying search learnings to broader marketing tasks like audience segmentation can only be achieved when search is an integrated part of the planning process.
  6. Capture Demand Driven by Other Channels - search spikes when broadcast TV airs or direct mail drops. Integrated search programs can capitalize on this phenomenon through budget flighting, day-parting, geo-targeting, etc.
These 6 points are just the tip of the iceberg, so they next time you set out to integrate your search marketing efforts, make sure you’re delivering real business value and not just integrating because you can.


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