How your company’s media mix impacts on search

Everyone has heard that they need to put money into search engine marketing, online media, viral marketing, social media, direct mail, print ads and television. The need to use multiple channels is real, but it is important to note the relation­ship these media and tactics have with one another.

Companies today struggle with media channels; a situa­tion compounded by vendors and agencies that claim con­versions in their medium or credit themselves with winning tactics which may have, in fact, started in another channel. When making marketing deci­sions about a campaign tactic by reviewing clicks and con­versions, it can be easy to miss what caused success or failure. Within all types of marketing, tactics often feed each other.

Paid search is often seen as a “must-have,” driving relevant, targeted, ready-to-buy visitors to a landing page designed to convert to a sale. Other tactics include print media and televi­sion ads that inform people about a specific brand, and include a URL and online banners providing reminders to site visitors. Direct mail may also provide multichannel touches to customers, driving them to a landing page — similar to paid search. Videos are becoming viral, promoting brand interest and encouraging visitors to share with others.

These tactics may result in a prospect’s search; some visitors may click on the natural or paid search ad and ultimately register or purchase. Based on the success of search, the company could decide to lower its budget on other channels, transferring funds into search. This does not mean that search clicks and conver­sions will increase, or even stay the same. The media balance has changed, which influences the media coverage available — in turn influencing the customer’s desire for the product or the brand recognition that may have helped them search and click.

The lesson is that all media should be viewed in aggregate in order to determine the right mix, and although optimization should be performed on individual tactics, it should occur at a high level as well.

Another important takeaway message is that natural and paid search should be an ongoing effort, if only to ensure that the investments made in the other channels and media pay off. Another point to remember is that all effort is for the common good. Balancing media requires testing, careful tracking and mea­surement. It requires dedication to the end goal, an open mind to the concept of conversion and perhaps a deaf ear to those who claim ownership of the “winning” campaign.

Jeannette Kocsis is VP, digital practice for Harte-Hanks.  Reach her at [email protected].

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