Online, offline marketing integration still lagging: SES panel

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It is no longer just a good idea to add search to your marketing mix -- it is imperative for marketers to do so if they want to succeed.

Panelists at the "Putting Search into the Marketing Mix" session at the Search Engine Strategies Conference & Expo emphasized the importance of embracing search and integrating it with offline and online efforts.

"Marketing is all about connecting supply with demand," said Curtis Duek, account manager at Epiar.

Mr. Duek said that demand can be found through search queries. All one has to do is some research.

For example, when searching for television-related terms, "satellite," "plasma" and "TV show" were the top search words. This reveals what consumers need in terms of television.

Mr. Duek said search marketers need to embrace change, tweak their vocabulary to match what people are asking for and look for implications from effective search data.

He went over a few case studies where Epiar helped clients make certain assumptions regarding the needs of searchers, searching for goods and services tied to what the client offers. The clients saw success with the help of Epiar, he claimed.

Bill Mungovan, director of search marketing at Carat Fusion, New York, talked about the search industry as a whole, in an effort to emphasize the potential of the channel.

He said that $20 billion will be spent online in 2007 and half will be on search.

"It is a massive market and [it] is growing fast," Mr. Mungovan said.

Eighty percent of all marketers advertise online in some shape or form.

Misty Locke, founder and president of Range Online Media, Fort Worth, TX, said companies like Nike, Target and Pier 1 all saw success after integrating search into their overall campaigns.

It is important to direct people from offline to online channels. In the case of Pier 1, the company actually directed people from online directly to the store, making it an ideal example of integration.

Ms. Locke pointed out the irony in the fact that though marketers are informed and know the benefit of integrating search marketing into a campaign, many still have not acted on it.

Three-quarters of online marketers are not confident that they are getting a good return on their online advertising efforts, but only 15 percent have consolidated online with offline efforts, Ms. Locke said.

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