SEM not daunting for companies with rich content tools

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Internet search engines are a prime force in connecting buyers and sellers across every industry and market. Potential customers use search engines to find products, services and information, and companies use search marketing to maximize targeting customers, offering them a significant competitive advantage.

Search engine marketing delivers prospcts to a company's Web site, but firms face challenges while maximizing the return on their SEM investment.

Manufacturers not selling directly or that sell through the channel find themselves with a dilemma: Where should I send my potential customers from a search word query?

The manufacturer's site allows the business to control its marketing content, but it may have no fulfillment capabilities. The channel partner's site may have good fulfillment capabilities but can feature weak, incomplete and outdated content.

A manufacturer also must realize that it's running up the cost of search terms relevant to its products by bidding against its channel partners.

Manufacturers need to develop the ability to deliver controlled marketing messages on their channel partners' Web sites. But they must be updated in a timely, ongoing, cost-effective manner.

Most attempts to deliver such content fail to one degree or another, creating a gap between a manufacturer's controlled marketing and the content that appears on its partner's site.

Some manufacturers have utilized partner portals and FTP sites to provide their partners with Web marketing assets, but this relied upon the partners actually retrieving the content. While manufacturers have tried distributing their Web marketing assets on CD or providing it to their channel partners by XML or RSS feed - they still have no control over how their marketing assets are implemented on partner sites, or what resources are used.

Other companies have attempted to fund partner Web projects. But such projects are expensive and can yield inconsistent results. This type of solution often isn't scalable across a large number of partners. So the gap remains wide.

But times are changing. Rich content syndication solutions have evolved, creating a dynamic link between a manufacturer's site and the sites of its online partners. To activate the company's new or additional product content, online partners simply add a single line of HTML to the relevant site pages. No additional IT work is required, and it delivers a manufacturer's controlled marketing content to their partners' Web sites in a totally scalable manner - one reason why many leading manufacturers today utilize rich content syndication solutions.

These rich content syndication solutions are more than merely copying and pasting content from the manufacturer's site to those of the partners. Product content is compiled, reformatted, integrated and customized to meet the needs of each partner. The service provider automatically prepares merchandising content for real-time delivery and continually updates that content.

The benefits are obvious. There are no lengthy development periods, extensive IT integration or software upgrades required. Online partners maintain the merchandising content, delivering flexibility and performance while allowing manufacturers to focus on business and increasing traffic, maximizing the return on their SEM investment.

If the ultimate goal of search engine marketing is to increase sales, then selecting the right content syndication partner is critical for any retail manufacturer.

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