Monday, August 25, 2008

Nearly Half of Search Marketers Do Not Integrate Efforts with Offline Channels

A new study by iProspect reveals that 45 percent of search engine marketers do not integrate their search marketing efforts with offline channels. While the concept of integrating search with offline channels is far from new, the findings from this new study seem to indicate otherwise. In fact, the study finds that just over half of search engine marketers (55 percent) intentionally integrate their efforts with at least one offline marketing channel. Specifically, that integration most often takes place with direct mail (34 percent) and magazine/newspaper advertising (29 percent), while both television (12 percent) and radio advertising (12 percent) trail behind.

When compared to the iProspect Offline Influence on Online Search Behavior Study, these results take on new meaning. Published in August of 2007, the study revealed that two-thirds (67%) of search engine users are driven to search by an offline channel, and that 39% of those offline-influenced search users ultimately make a purchase from the company that prompted their initial search. Moreover, it also shows television advertising to be the leading offline channel that drives users to search (37%).

But the subpar state of integration revealed in this study can be attributed to a lot more than search marketer failure, as obstacles abound. The study shows the lack of integration can be attributed to a number of factors, including: lack of budget (19%), lack of human resources (15%), not considered (13%), lack of senior management buy-in (11%), and separate people managing search marketing and offline channels (11%).

Other key findings from the study include:

--The two integration techniques most frequently employed by search marketers are: prominently including the company Web address (84%) and the company name (66%) in offline marketing initiatives.
--Only 26% of marketers utilize the same keywords in offline campaigns as are used in search marketing campaigns in their integration efforts.
--Nearly a quarter (24%) of companies DO NOT participate in offline marketing at all.

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