Google Search Protection Money – trademark term search

Merge of google and the godfather logos

“Are you looking at me?” Is it my imagination or if you stare long enough at Google can you see the fat cigar, fedora and highly polished spats. Is Google starting to resemble Don Corleone? By announcing it’s stopping its support of sponsored listing trademark protection in the UK and Ireland, Google is bringing in  the equivalent of brand protection money on search shopfronts.

The resulting is a free-for-all in the PPC field. A search for a trademarked brand will result in competitor ads being served as well as the brand owners. So what’s the fall out for the marketing family?

  1. We know that brand searches (goal oriented ones anyway) are usually associated with higher purchase intent. PPC campaigns which are measured by more short-term measures of ROI will certainly suffer.
  2. Brand reputation management is becoming increasingly mainstream. PPC advertising has it’s part to play in online brand protection. Google’s move shifts PPC’s role from marketing/PR glove to boxing ring.
  3. With the reported downturn in Google’s paid ad clicks for the first time, won’t this be a sweetener for those clutching their shares.
  4. It’ll encourage premium bidding with marketers looking to create “tipping point” ads to generate leads on the back of competitor keywords. Brands will be forced to bid on their own keywords to keep themselves at the top of the pack.
  5. Watch those affiliates go – “yehar, thar’s gold in them thar hills”. Watch brands become more vigilant with affiliate content and t&c’s outlining what keywords they cannot bid on.
  6. Search agencies will be conflicted in response – on the one had they can expect PPC spend to increase on accounts, on the other there’s going to be a lot more monitoring and disgruntled clients to deal with.

As is the case in the States for the last four years, trademarks probably won’t be permitted in the actual ads. The good news is that it doesn’t come into effect until May, then watch for turf wars and some smaller brands “sleeping with de fishes”. Capiche?

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Digital Marketing in a Downturn

What happens if the credit crunch becomes the marketing budget crunch where wrestling with the CFO becomes a grim weekly reality? God forbid!

A lot has changed since the dark, fearful days of the last recession at the end of the 80’s, early 90’s. Back then it was the era of faxes and regurgitated Kotler and McLaren. But from adversity comes success. Recessions can be a breeding ground for marketing innovation in the face of tremendous financial challenges.

Online marketing wasn’t really around during the last recession, nor for that matter were most of Britain’s online marketers out of college (or indeed secondary school!).

Very probably the cost effective aspects of digital marketing would take a larger share of the overall marketing budget in a time of recession. Here’s a few aspects to ponder on.

Metrics – The good times and bigger picutre marketing go hand in hand, a down turn is a time of detail. If you’ve only been giving those stats a cursory look, it’s time to get into the detail. Mine it for the gold.

Competition – Keep a good weather eye on the competition through online tools and be opportunistic. Remember they’ll be feeling the pinch too.

Brand Equity Marketing – inevitably a target of the brown suits in accounting but a refocusing of brand spending to online and more granular activity of Social Media Optimisation will help.

Consumer Decision Making & search – test going against the usual agency SEM mantra of investing in generic keyowrd paid search. Refocus on terms which show a clearer intent on purchase e.g. “value egyptian cotton sheets” rather than “bedsheets online”. Measure the effect of this over a quarter in terms of both ROI and revenue.

Natural Search – it’s cost effective and sustainable if you spend some time getting it right. 90% of all site visits in UK have an element of search engine so make sure your infront of your potential customers when they are looking for you.

Online Inventory – harden up on your online media buying. Relook at the basics of time and geography, layer on context and investigate behaviour opportunities in large networks.  Negotiate!

Social Media Optimisation – can be very confusing for most marketers at the start. Invest in putting a strong strategy together and you’ll find that for ongoing minimal effort will reap strong returns.

Email – get into the detail and segment your database. If your email set up doesn’t give you the detail you want invest consider investing in software or move operations to an online emarketing provider. Focus on building loyalty and repeat sales with existing customers by creating incentives that match their behaviour/interests.