Monday, March 21, 2005

The 3 faces of Google

As part of my firm's work in calculating Marketing ROI, it's become obvious that Google has 3 faces to the corporate marketer concerned with reputation management and lead flow.

It's important to distinguish these 3 facets of Google's role in driving website traffic & sales leads.

1. Generic search. Say your company's name is Widgetopolis, Inc. You sell widgets. A generic search on the term "widgets" brings up your URL in the "organic" search results. The prospect clicks the link, and your web analytics package captures this data, which, assuming the prospect asks for more info, ought to be qualifed in your CRM system as a "Search Engine lead."

2. Advertising (AdWord). Say your company's name is Widgetopolis, Inc. You sell widgets. A generic search on the term "widgets" brings up your paid "Google AdWord" link. The prospect clicks the link, and your web analytics package captures this data, which, assuming the prospect asks for more info, ought to be qualifed in your CRM system as an "Advertising lead."

3. PR hit. Say your company's name is Widgetopolis, Inc. You are well-known as a maker of widgets. A prospect searches Google for the term, "Widgetopolis." They see the URL pop up and, assuming the prospect asks for more info, ought to be qualifed in your CRM system as an "PR lead." They knew your company's name, reputation, etc. That's what "Public Relations" is all about, eh?

Note that it's incumbent on the Marketing VP to make these distinctions. For example, in scenario #3, the prospect might click on either the URL (organic search) or the AdWord (advertising) ...This is subtle but stay with me: regardless of which link is clicked, if your analytics package can capture the fact that the original search term was "Widgetopolis," then you need to label the lead source as coming from PR.

In an informal, anecdotal survey, we asked a score of Marketing VPs whether they had implemented this sort of nuanced analysis. So far, no good. These are smart folks, and they intuited the need, but they're "too busy" or yada yada...

Without marketing ROI metrics, how can Marketing defend its budgets and decisions?

FORTUNE agrees with me

Didja see the recent issue of FORTUNE Magazine, which profiled "Most Admired" companies? Didja further notice that these heavyweights were industry leaders in terms of both revenues and innovation?

Innovation builds reputation.

Reputation drives revenue.

It's not just my company's tagline; it's gospel truth.