Search: As seen on TV!

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If you were to name one person who has drawn the most attention to the search engine marketing industry, who might it be? Danny Sullivan? Sergei and Larry? Any of the veteran search engine marketing agency founders? I think not. The person I credit is Oprah Winfrey. Yes, Oprah. Before you start to whisper that Ms. Holoubek is off her rocker, hear me out.

With millions of daily viewers around the globe, securing a spot on the Oprah Winfrey Show is considered a marketing touchdown. Her book club has been credited for reviving the publishing industry. Oprah's Favorite Things is proven to move products. The success of the Dr. Perricone line might have had a different ending, were it not for the golden touch of an Oprah alliance. The phenomenon even has a name: The Oprah Factor.

So what does this have to do with search? As Misty Locke, co-founder and president of Range Online Media reminded me at last week's Search Engine Strategies show, a lot.

In the case of Ms. Locke's client, a direct correlation was drawn between a product line appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show, search volume and sales. Of course, the key to this success was being prepared for the show and setting up a campaign in advance. And this is when I realized that Oprah (or any major media outlet) is key to making the case for search with your CMO.

Not convinced? Let's revisit recent history. According to comScore, searches for "Pontiac" skyrocketed by 1,000% after Oprah gave away 276 G6 sedans in the 2004 season opener. Last year, Hitwise noted that searches for Barack Obama increased 358% following his October 18, 2006, appearance on the show. And let's not forget Yahoo's Apprentice deal, increasing searches for private jets, fast food and everything in between.

If you have ever considered television chewing gum for the eyes, here's how to make it a meal for the search marketer:

╖ Step one is to push for integration. As hard as it might seem, making friends with the marketing directors on the other side of the office is essential. The sooner you get a heads up on the overarching marketing events, such as television and print flight dates, the more prepared you can be to coordinate keyword spends and optimization.

╖ Make sure you baseline search volume, traffic and sales prior to any mass media push, so that percentage increases can be quickly pulled post-event.

╖ Getting ahold of the existing creative brief in order to incorporate messaging will also win you a few gold stars, if not secure more budget from a kindred colleague.

╖ Have all hands on deck for the big day. Flawless execution will require minute-by-minute monitoring and optimization.

╖ Draft a brief presentation once ample results are in. Keep it simple, and make sure to give credit where credit is due.


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