Colin Jeavons, CEO at Vertical Search Works
Uncertainty is a hallmark of today’s business climate, but it can be managed in your online presence. Semantic search technologies are emerging to help curate your company’s reputation, target customers more effectively, and stay current with the latest mobile marketing trends – without having to hire another technology guru.
Broadening your online presence may not be a top priority amid financial risk, regulatory changes, fraud, and economic turmoil. Some CEOs remain laggards to avoid unnecessary reputational harm, but an online presence can drive growth and profitability and many executives who outperform their peers have embraced it.
That’s because there are some significant ROI benchmarks on social media and online advertising that should be taken in to consideration. McKinsey Global Institute has found that social media will unlock between $900 billion-$1.3 trillion in value by 2016 and IBM interviewed 1,709 CEOs to learn that many identified social media as a key enabler of collaboration and innovation. It can be used to monitor your brand in real-time. Dove boosted sales by 6% with online advertising, and the uplift increased to 11% when ads were shown on national TV.
Customer contact points can range from basic email to advertising networks that may place your company name next to content that you don’t control, and comments made by customers on social media. It’s important to know that governance processes are in place to minimize risks (and this is increasingly made possible through advanced search technologies).
Email is well understood, and few would argue against using it. Using it effectively is key, because it’s no longer a static marketing channel. Data analytics solutions can send more targeted emails to customers and will even predict their interests. These often utilize semantic understanding, a search technology to apply intelligence to a client’s interactions on your website and other available consumer information.
Consumer behavior is changing
Recent survey data shows that sales prospects will sort their email on a mobile device and then convert on their desktops, while mobile users are also more likely to open an email message on their device. Mobile optimized emails are essential, and so is mobile advertising. The latest ad solutions have left banners behind in the dust and now improve the user experience by making meaningful recommendations. A search-enabled messaging app could make suggestions in-line for any product or service that’s relevant to the user or even take it a step further by offering a restaurant reservation or a coupon to a local business.
Your brand will be safer
Advertising networks are combining human intelligence with advanced semantic technology to eradicate undesirable sites and content. Significant inroads have also been made to eliminate click fraud, ensuring that your budget gets put to good use. The “Wild West” days of online advertising, are over, and sites like Pinterest’s “ad placement fail” blog, where quarterback Michael Vick is distastefully paired next to a dog food ad, will be a thing of the past.
Technology now functions like a human brain
By now, you’re beginning to understand that semantic technologies make information systems such as email or advertising networks function more like a human brain. You probably wouldn’t dream about using Twitter without people managing the risks. We wouldn’t advocate firing your social media manager or not having established a communications policy for employees, but social media monitoring works better with semantics too. You’ll never have your legal or marketing teams pouring over every tweet that’s made about your company, but monitoring solutions can extract intelligence from online conversations that might otherwise go unnoticed. It allows your business to be proactive rather than reactive.
Semantic search technologies are generating new business opportunities online and making it easier to capture intelligence from customer interactions. The results of online marketing campaigns can never be predicted in advance, but your uncertainty can be managed.
About the Author
Colin Jeavons is the CEO of Vertical Search Works, a search technology company that leverages its proprietary services to deliver more valuable results for advertisers, publishers, and consumers across targeted vertical industries.
Colin has over 27 years of experience in the publishing, digital media, advertising, and technology industries. Prior to his current position, Colin was CEO of Parliamentary Communications, the largest political communications group in Europe. At Parliamentary, Colin led the creation of the organization’s first digital content management system and a new digital advertising model that served as a precursor to Google AdWords and AdSense.