Search Engine Supplement Case Study: Search’s Role in the Marketing Mix

When it comes to marketing, Hewlett-Packard Co.’s Web site understands the importance of incorporating consistent messages across all of its online and offline customer touch points.

Launched in 1998, the site is HP’s direct-to-consumer e-commerce store for HP home and home office products. The company typically deploys several marketing tactics to point consumers to promotions around specific offers.

For instance, one recent campaign included direct marketing tactics such as e-mail, a catalog, direct mail and inserts, traditional advertising through television and interactive tactics including banners, affiliate marketing and sponsored search. This campaign featured an offer for a complete home computing and photography solution including a notebook computer, all-in-one printer and digital camera – with a combined price below $1,000.

The campaign messages touting “ease-of-use” and “simplicity” along with “stunning professional quality photos” and “home printing” were incorporated into all of the key marketing initiatives down to the copy in the short descriptions contained in their Yahoo-sponsored search advertising listings. But it didn’t stop there. Knowing that consumers overwhelmingly prefer to be delivered directly to the most relevant page for their query, linked these customers not to the company’s home page but to a page displaying product and purchase information for the featured promotion. finds that, in general, integrating its campaign efforts across all media drives an additional sales life of an impressive 10 percent to 25 percent, depending on the vehicle.

In less than three years,’s search advertising program has grown from a few keywords to more than 12,000. Early campaigns were modest, focusing on basic brand-name terms such as “HP” and “Hewlett-Packard.” But the keyword program expanded rapidly as the company recognized the value of advertising that not only could drive sales but also be measured easily and effectively.

Overall, executives say their cost per order has decreased by 10 times since they began the search marketing campaigns, mainly through careful management of keywords, titles, descriptions and landing pages.

For, consistency and coordination are key in integrating search into the marketing mix. And with tracking mechanisms that not only show positive results, but also point the way to refinements that increase ROI, it’s an approach that attracts customers who are ready to interact and buy HP products.

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