Internet Marketing Is About Discoverability (Not Yelling)
Ian Lurie Mar 17 2008
I was listening to Joseph Jaffe’s most recent podcast and one concept blew me away:
Old-style marketing was about interruption. No news flash there. But Jaffe’s statement that marketing is now about discoverability really resonates:
- You must be present at the customers’ convenience and request, not screaming at them 24/7.
- You must answer their questions when they ask, not when they happen to be watching TV.
- And you’d better give them an easy way to ask further questions.
You could say internet marketing is like a good (gasp) conversation. A good conversation is between two willing participants. A bad one has one participant confronting another and forcing them to listen.
So, where customers used to pause for advertising, now the find what they want through search engines, social media and yes, even banner ads.
Internet marketing is particularly suited to this kind of marketing.
Examples of Interruption vs. Discoverability
Search Marketing is About Discoverability
Search engine optimization is the ultimate discoverability medium. You work to gain a high ranking.
Customers search for what they want. They find you.
Even paid search doesn’t interrupt: The user doesn’t have to stop what they’re doing to wait for the ads to go away.
Hence the success of Google, Yahoo and Live (yes, even 1.5% market share is damned good when it’s 1.5% of a gazillion).
Radio Advertising is About Interruption
Radio stations make money by selling ads.
Those ads are inserted right into the stream of music, news or screaming pundits.
If you want to listen to the content, then you have to wait for the ads to finish.
Television is About Interruption
Duh. Commercials. Need I say more?
Social Media is About Discoverability
If you can get 40 bloggers to review your product (bragging modestly), you’ve increased the chances folks will find you when they start looking.
They may have favorite blogs, and one of those 40 may be one of them.
They have a better chance of finding you in a search, because those blogs will have their own search rankings.
Friends may see the reviews and forward them to your potential customer.
A Different Mindset
Discoverable marketing – internet marketing – requires a whole different mindset: A conversation mindset.
- The creative changes. Award-winning creative is fun, but what you really need is valuable stuff: Content (text, images, video, or ??) that makes customers think “Dang, that’s a great idea” and make a note to themselves.
- The tools change. No more focus groups. At their core they’re based on interruption. Inline, live testing and revisions done in short, fast cycles works far better.
- Analysis changes. Don’t measure impressions or column inches. Measure response and discussion: Traffic, comments and discussion on blogs, sales and inquiries are better metrics.
- The ad budget changes. Instead of massive spending in bursts, like on Superbowl ads, smart marketers will spend steadily to increase their visibility through search, social media and other passive messaging tools.
- The strategy changes. Stop building campaigns around mind-blowing creative and shock value. Instead, build campaigns around adding value to customers’ search for information on related topics. Build your image as someone who thinks like they do.
Is your internet marketing discoverable? Or are you still depending on interruption?
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More