We use the term “Google” like “Kleenex” or “Coke.” And for the world’s best known search engine, that’s obviously a good thing. But for marketers, there’s a bigger issue at hand.
Consumers don’t define “search” the way marketing people do. And that’s a problem – for marketers. We know that prospects (not to be confused with customers; let’s make that important distinction right now) travel down their own unique Decision Paths, from the initial realization of a want or need (whether conscious or not), to shopping cart checkout, and everything in between. In other words, they want it when they want it, and how they want it. Your role? To be there, when and where they reach out.
Consumers don’t just search, they Research. And compare. And learn. And listen (we’re talking testimonials and reviews here). And of course, buy. As a marketer, you must be relevant at the right moment, given your objective. That might mean a white paper from a third party that compares your product to others. Or a Blog where customers weigh in on their experiences. Or a tweet about the lunch special at the diner down the street. It’s not always about where their body is at, but where their head is at.
Google is not #1 in search. More people search on YouTube day in and day out than on Google (so it’s no surprise that Google owns YouTube). In general, folks searching on YouTube are looking for something quite different. Their Decision Path may include YouTube for learning, Yelp for customer feedback, and Bing to find the right merchant.
A search engine as big as (the) Amazon. It may seem like Amazon is just for buying. But think about it: what are you doing on Amazon, versus Google, or Pinterest, or Zillow? Far more than just buying, we’d venture to say. You’re scrutinizing. Comparing. Narrowing. And, probably purchasing when it’s all said and done.
What does all this mean to marketing people? Get “engine” out of your search vernacular. And broaden your definition of “search.” The best marketers empathize with prospects, understand their Paths, then develop and place their content accordingly.