Unfortunately, in large companies with big marketing budgets, sometimes you see infighting between various marketing and advertising groups, including different functional units of their agency partner, all playing one tactic off the other to gain a sliver of the ever decreasing marketing budget. If you are tired of the intramural fighting because you’d like to attack your competitors instead, you need a way to get everyone to work together.

One of the ways we have used to get everyone to play nice is to emphasize the interaction between the various marketing tactics.  In the end, all forms of marketing are potential influencers that might prompt your customer to go and search–this impulse to search is prompted by what we call Searcher Stimuli.

To the experienced search marketing team, it is a no-brainer that all tactics should be synchronized, not only across paid and organic, but also including social media and any other digital tactics.  When the potential customers see an ad for your brand, they might next conduct a search. When they see a blog post about you or by you, they might next search. And they won’t search only for your brand name–they will search for the exact idea that was stimulated. If you haven’t made sure that you are ranking for those specific keywords, you have created searcher stimuli but you haven’t fulfilled it.

We are working on a model around searcher stimuli which are all the elements that trigger the need to search, by aligning all forms of marketing with the intent of the searcher and the right landing page we create a perfect opportunity to move them along the buy cycle.  We have identified the three key elements of alignment as:

Mass Media
This form of stimuli is based on seeing a TV commercial, hearing a radio spot, or reading the newspaper and being prompted to search. This is a hard one for may traditional marketers to accept.  They get frustrated when they put a perfectly good 800 number in the ad, but people search in Google instead.

At the same time, we have found search connected to a mass media spot to be a great proxy for how well a tag line, an offer, or a specific phrase resonates with the market. When people see the ads, they often don’t have a pen to write the number–or they later recall the ad and don’t remember the advertiser. I have done this a few times with my children. They laugh at a commercial and think that it was cool, funny, or interesting. A few hours later I ask them who the ad was for and they can’t recall. At that point, they will typically search for it in YouTube or Google to get the company.

Word of Mouth and Social Media
With this form of stimuli, the customer searches after having contact with a friend or associate who has the product or spoke highly of it. This new interest can prompt someone to go and search for more information.

Social media is starting to play more of a role in this area. People are reading blogs or looking at pictures in Flickr and get the idea that they want or need a product, service or want to go to a destination and will often search for more information. Interestingly enough, we are often finding that the WOM (Word of Mouth) stimuli may be as a result of some form of mass media advertising that prompted the interest and reaction from the person passing on the information, blurring the lines between the first two forms of stimuli.

Searcher Need
This form of stimuli comes typically from self-awareness or need. If your old TV dies and you suddenly need a new one, many will go to the web and search for information about new models. As with WOM, they might have seen a TV commercial recently for a specific brand, prompting a search for that brand and the type of TV they want. The same is true for auto insurance. One of the largest drivers for searching for auto insurance quotes is triggered by receiving the quarterly or semi-annual bill. When they get the bill they will often look for a cheaper alternative.

Understanding the stimuli that prompts a search can help you use other marketing tactics to prompt searches for your products.