How To Integrate PPC With Other Marketing Tactics
The world is digital, so the world is flat. We are all connected through the digital threads of communication and news to a level of elegant simplicity requiring nothing more than a few clicks on the keyboard, or taps on the phone. Want to know what everyone in your life is doing right now? Tap your phone or keyboard and the answer is on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Want to find out what your favorite brand is thinking about the rumors about their next big product launch? …Done.
So with simple, instant worldwide communication, it’s not really possible for markets to engage in “stand-alone” campaigns anymore. All campaigns live in a world of interconnected media, where TV personalities reference Twitter feeds and where consumers can easily build their personalized news sources. Accordingly, paid search doesn’t stand alone. The most popular method of paid search, pay-per-click, is a valuable tactic that both feeds off of and drives intricate and interrelated marketing campaigns.
So in what ways can you utilize pay-per-click to actually enhance your other marketing and public relations objectives and campaigns? Here are a few examples:
1. Public Relations
If you have a background in public relations, you know that one of the most popular defenses for crisis communication is a good offense. If you are a larger corporation and there is a crisis (think BP’s 2010 oil leak), if you can get to the media and public first, you have the one-time opportunity to create perception. In marketing, perception is simple to create and very difficult to shift or change once it’s created. So if you have an oil leak and you know consumers are going to be searching in Google for news about “gulf oil spill”, what do you do? Well you can let them find other websites with whatever media news is hot that minute, or you can set up a pay-per-click campaign immediately and drive people to “Official BP News Page for The Gulf Oil Leak”. While it seems counterintuitive to bring consumers to a page where you are actually acknowledging the problem and discussing it, you get the opportunity to shift their perception and explain the situation, before other potentially far worse conclusions are drawn.
So did BP spend? Yes, yes they did. In July 2010 (just after the height of the Oil Spill) an internal Google document was leaked. It showed that BP increased their PPC spend from nearly nonexistent to a whopping $3.59 Million dollars in June 2010 during the spill.
2. Impression Capture
When you spend millions of dollars to run a Super Bowl ad, shouldn’t you make ever good-faith effort to maximize that investment? Of course. A simple, yet underused method is to make sure that anyone who sees your commercial but doesn’t remember your exact URL, is driven to your website. You could set up a large PPC campaign capturing every keyword related to your brand, product and services, for the 24-72 hours following the commercial airing, drive people to a unique place on your website reminding them about the benefits they remember from your commercial. Even better, extend the excitement the consumer feels by offering a continued experience, or build some mystery in your commercial and guide people via PPC search ads to a place where they can explore your brand and answer the mystery offered in the commercial.
The same techniques apply to radio campaigns, of course, since consumers are again trying to remember something, anything, about your brand that will help them find you later. Magazines are a bit more portable, so it’s easier to bring them with you and type in the URL exactly, but how many times are people reading on the go, and only remember something a few days or a week down the road, and then search to find the provider? I’ve done it, you’ve done it. Don’t let that impression go to waste by not following through.
3. Brand Association
Let’s imagine I’m the marketing director for a company that sells aftermarket car seats. And I’m not talking the kind your newborn sits in, I’m talking suede, hand stitched custom luxury seats with an under-seat air conditioning system built in. Do people search for these seats? Maybe a few, but not many. But do people search for Mercedes, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Bugatti and Porsche? Of course they do – by the tens of thousands. How many of these people might be interested in after-market custom seats curing the horrible “thigh-stick-to-seat” condition found in hot climates like my home state of Arizona? Probably more than one, and likely, associating your brand with related luxury brands, offers you a way to cheaply build some brand cache of your own, while hopefully garnering a few new customers along the way.
These are just a few concepts, but there are dozens of other creative ways to utilize pay-per-click marketing to assist, rather than degrade your more traditional marketing and public relations tactics.
Remember, in a world where you can text your sister from central park in NYC, to find out how she is liking that amazing (and scary) live Sushi experience she’s having while on vacation in Japan, and in mid-conversation she asks you why your friend Tony would check-in to Starbucks on Bryant street (in downtown San Francisco), when The Coffee Bar is right next door on Mariposa St. and it’s clearly “way better”…well, communication and media are fast. As a marketer, you’ll truly only get one good chance to control an entire stream of exploration, research and consumption by your target consumer. If you mess it up, yeah you can try again, but it’ll be harder, less effective and more expensive next time.
Feeling talkative? Great! Let us know what other creative uses you’ve employed over the years.
Note: I originally wrote this article for our good friends over at Agencyside