Thursday, February 01, 2007

Search is more

I just came around to read the book “The Search” by John Battelle, published in 2005. In addition to being an excellent write up of the history of search and its impact on marketing, the book helped me to understand that Search is more than the Online behavior of consumers who are looking for something. Search is about connecting consumer intentions with the most relevant information, offer, product, etc. that is as closely related to their intention as possible. And this search behavior happens in any kind of world, not just in the Online space. It is nothing else than an intention (= need) that needs to be fulfilled. Therefore Search should be at the core of any marketing activity that attempts to influence consumer decisions.

Let me explore the Search universe in more detail. Marketing does three things:
  • Create an intention or need (=create a search)
  • Connect an intention with the most relevant answer (=satisfy a search)
  • Utilize an intention to build a long-term relationship (=build onto a search).

In summary, these three core elements of our marketing discipline can be viewed through the Search paradigm. In essence, marketing attempts to be the best Search discipline that exists. Additionally, so many consumers are getting used to Online Search, they are beginning to transfer these Search patterns to other Offline marketing activities.

  • They want to “search” through their TV channels instead of surfing through all the channels to find the most interesting program (Surfing is out).
  • They want to “search” their retail store for the exactly the right product that they have in mind instead of getting lost in the confusing world of store lay-outs (Finding is in)
  • They want to “search” the tune that they just listened to on the radio without having to log onto a laptop to identify the correct name of singer and song (Identifying is in).

I am not postulating that every singly consumer behavior will be search centric, but it will be one of the most dominating patterns, next to the other three dominating behavioral patterns of the 21st century consumer: 1. Browsing and Discovering, 2. Consuming and Experiencing, 3. Creating and Participating. Maybe in the future we have to build our marketing discipline around these four fundamental classes of consumer behavior instead of functional expertise areas.

13 Comments:

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