Search marketers: Help CMOs cool off

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CMOs are squarely in the hot seat.

So said Brian Fetherstonhaugh, chairman and CEO of direct marketing agency OgilvyOne Worldwide, at a session Tuesday morning at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in San Jose. Fetherstonhaugh had some advice for search marketers looking for a dialogue with these pressured C-suite executives.

"CMOs are being beaten to provide more and more innovation," he said, while they simultaneously must deliver ROI. In fact, he said, "they have to prove marketing value every day. The CMO goes through the window first when they're throwing bodies out the window," he said.

Fetherstonhaugh said that the search industry needs to not only figure out how to connect with this handful of high-level executives, but find ways to help them take action. That is what will resonate. And he said that does NOT mean you should start by talking about search. After all, search has about 1 1/2% mindshare of the CMOs agenda right now, he said.

Their brains are crowded with lots of other marketing issues on any given day -- marketing ROI, job security!, their marketing organization, global issues, and the marketing spend across media (TV, direct mail, etc.).

OgilvyOne's head honcho advocates that search marketers begin the dialogue with CMOs by talking about the customer journey, through the continuous cycle of trigger events, research, shopping/purchasing, usage, sharing the experience with others whether positive or negative and back through the cycle again.

"Our job as marketers is to propel people through this cycle," he said. "It's a simple framework. CMOs get it. Then you can talk to them about search."

Search marketers have an opportunity to help the CMO bring value to their organization through search by addressing the ways search can help propel consumers through the customer journey. It is at that point that search marketers can also point out the lift effects of search to other media, such as TV, direct mail, e-mail, print, telemarketing and customer service, face-to-face/retail channels, social media, and sponsorships.

In the end, marketers still lag way behind consumers in digital adoption. While consumers spend close to a third of their time online, ad dollars spent online hover around 10%. It is up to the search marketing industry to help close this gap and align their solutions with opportunities that CMOs can really take to the bank.
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