Don Draper is Alive and Well!

‘Too many agencies today are “Don Draperish” focused - they think about making and broadcasting messages, whether they are Web, Print, TV, Radio, Billboard-centric.  They aren’t thinking about creating communities around their client’s brands and engaging with the community to build long term relationships.

No lighting bolt of knowledge to announce marketing is shifting from Analog to Digital and even beyond this to Web 2.0 and 3.0. But, still, many agencies we bump into are s in an Analog frame set - targeting consumers with a message that is not relevant and “pushed out” to attract attention (that is quickly waning).

We are morphing to community silos that are driven by the consumer listening to other consumers (Yelp is great example), while simultaneously tuning out marketing messages, regardless of how artfully the latter are crafted.

The purchasing decision is driven by consumers engaging with other consumers - ad agencies need to find a way to stimulate the conversation and then participate directly or on behalf of their clients.

Course Corrections for Agencies:

  1. Create viral content that consumers share with each other.
  2. Get out of “broadcast” mode and into engagement.
  3. Learn the “Pay it Forward” maxim of Social Media Marketing - Communicate something of value, engage and add more value - sales and brand awareness will come.
  4. Deploy, broadcast and publish meaningful/informative content (see first bullet) across multiple Social Media Platforms simultaneously (You Tube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, Reddit, Facebook, SlideShare, etc.) and measure effectiveness.
  5. Get Web 3.0 Analytics Savvy: grok more than Clickthrough Traffic, Impressions, et al - this means understanding ReTweets, Likes/Dislikes, Mentions, Followers, Friends, Social Votes, Viral Forwarding, Comment Value, Conversation Flow - must be much more than Google Alerts coupled with Google Analytics reports.
  6. Utilize and understand baseline Search Engine Optimization and how it complements Social Media Marketing - there is a lot of overlap and this will increase over time.
  7. Think about Google Instant making SEO obsolete in three years - will it happen (?) hard to say, but preparing for it might not be bad idea.
  8. Learn how to cross promote content across the Social Web - your clients need help understanding how to leverage content development costs and economies of scale for publishing to drive engagement with their brands.
  9. Ignore half of the heat and light around Social Media - there are no social media experts; we are all building this beast as we move forward in time - creativity and paying it forward will seize the day.

Remember the old Arab Proverb: “The dogs bark but the caravan rolls on.” Keep rolling down the road and listen, learn and be creative - works for the rest of us!

Google Instant Search Analysis

Last week Google’s Marissa Mayer announced a new feature enhancement for Google’s Search via a live streaming hook up on YouTube (expect to see much more of the latter) branded as Instant Search. Google’s branding and positioning “search at the speed of thought” generated a tremendous amount of interest and comments in the Blogsphere and via Twitter, Facebook et al.

Google’s intent is to improve the user experience for the searcher consumer by increasing the speed to access information and to make it more “fun and fluid.”  We expect to see full fledged browser support and integration within a few months - but Google hasn’t been clear on the exact date when this capability will be rolled out.

How Instant Search Works

Think of instant search as a linguistic predictive modeler - as you type in search words and letters Google shows results that it thinks are relevant to your terminology in real time - returning search results right under the query box that relate to what you are typing in and you utilize arrow keys to work through the search results.

This new process negates the need to type in full phrases hit return and then wait for results, although some may prefer this methodology, which will remain an option.

Instant Search is very fast and it will deffinitely save you time - Google claims an hour after Instant Search was launched it saved users 36,542 hours of time. We don’t disagree about it’s efficiency for the average user in terms of saving time, but be aware there are filters built into the service and other variables mapped out below.

The filters are there to knock out nasty words but time will give us a much better picture of what these filters are doing in reality.You can also turn off Instant Search using Google’s Preferences.

When and Where is Instant Search Available?

Google Instant is starting to roll-out to users on Google domains in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia who use the following browsers: Chrome v5/6, Firefox v3, Safari v5 for Mac and Internet Explorer v8.

Please note, users on domains other than can only access Google Instant if they are signed in to a Google Account. They will continue to add new domains and languages over the next several months and mobile support at some point as well.

Our Analysis of Instant Search

We believe Google is using some kind of IP Caching  and location technology, as in our tests we generated different results using it from one location in California and another in New York. This is no  surprise - Google has been utilizing caching for years to speed up the search experience.

One concerns based on extensive testing, is that Instant Search forces the user to quickly work through the top results that are returned and may ultimately negate any searcher digging deeper into search results, including page two.

There have been many complaints and observations in the Blogsphere that this new Instant Search is Google’s way of embracing and supporting bigger brands (corp accounts) that have the marketing muscle and marketing resources to ensure their sites are showing up in the top 2-3 results.

Are these concerns voiced in the social conversation valid? It’s hard to tell right now as the service is just being rolled out and we need more time to analyze the data. But, in a preliminary sense, there is validity to the concerns being echoed about the focus on top tier search results being a core part of the user experience.

Another wild card is how Pay Per Click (PPC) results will be displayed and impact Instant Search. Google’s cash cow to date has and will continue to be PPC - so, we don’t think Goolle will do anything that negates PPC’s tight integration with SERPS (Search Engine Results Page).

Net/net, Instant Search may be a significant productivity tool and will certainly help smart phone and mobile users moving forward. But, could have major impact on traffic for smaller brands and sites and companies who don’t have significant dollars to throw at SEO optimization.

Google Steals Headlines from Social Media Crowd

Finally, Google is certainly realizing Social Media Silos (Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Gowalla, etc.) are negating their opportunities to interact with and/or sell services to members of these growing communities.

If nothing else, Instant Search may at least be some kind of shot across the bow, with the intent to show that Google has the marketing muscle to grab instant mindshare when/if it wants to - they at least can win the PR war for a period in time. Keeping Facebook, Twitter and horde of bright shiny social media start ups off the front pages!