What’s the current state of play in marketing and search?
What will make a brand successful in the digital future?
Knowing the answer to this question is in many ways what will separate marketers who’ll guide their brand to long-term success, from those that will inevitably flounder.
After all, this year has been one of constant flux. Not only have search and marketing leaders had to come to terms with changing consumer behavior, but they’ve also had to realign their strategies to meet this change head-on.
How leaders have gone about this has, perhaps unsurprisingly given the ongoing uncertainty, differed across industries, verticals, and nations.
Note: This article is a sneak peek into our Digital Future report set to be released with Econsultancy on 18th November 2020 at DeepCrawl Live.
Similar challenges, different approaches
Even businesses within the same industry have opted for seemingly polar opposite approaches to becoming digital-first. And some brands, like Primark, have refused to embrace eCommerce.
Many brands have gone full-throttle, spending millions of dollars of their marketing budgets on paid search, and paid social.
In some respects, it’s easy to see why. Both of these channels can provide instant results. But smart leaders can see the fault in such an approach. For starters, investment in these channels might be enough to prop up a business in the short-term, but as you’ll know, both paid ads and paid social are consistently producing diminishing returns amidst intense competition.
As time progresses, sticking to this approach will either mean taking money away from other marketing activities or increasing budgets on an almost exponential scale. Put simply, it’s neither sensible nor sustainable.
What are the most successful brands doing?
So what are smart leaders in marketing and search doing to ensure long-term success for their brand and revenue, while simultaneously reducing their cost per acquisition?
Well, the truth is, we already know. At least, that’s what our latest research suggests.
Almost all of the marketing leaders surveyed in our upcoming report agree that organic search will drive more revenue in the future, and more than three quarters agree with the statement that “strong performance in search results is a key indicator of the health of the business.”
It should go without saying that ensuring your brand is not only present but successful in search, is essential. Especially as over half of businesses’ revenue today comes from this channel.
Though search is a critical success factor, businesses still aren’t prioritizing it
Despite this, our research also suggests that in many organizations, SEO is not given enough strategic weight. Indeed, almost half of marketing leaders we surveyed believe this to be the case.
So what’s stopping them?
This is down to a number of factors. Our research suggests that SEO is still seen as ‘free’ and so does not win budget, for example. This is of course wrong. Though SEO is a more cost-effective priority than almost every other marketing channel, it still requires focus and funding.
Of course, this isn’t the only factor. More to be revealed on November 18th when our report is unveiled at DeepCrawl Live 2020.
The future of search marketing: automation
Almost all the marketing leaders we surveyed in the upcoming report believe that automation drives better outcomes than manual processes.
Despite this, barely any claim that automation is utilized when trying to improve the performance of their website.
Why this is exactly will be revealed on 18th November.
But what’s interesting is when automation is prioritized and introduced, it can help to stop one of the biggest negative factors in marketing performance: bad code being released to a website.
Bad code impacts marketing performance, automation can solve this issue overnight
Almost half of marketing leaders surveyed state that they believe bad code has negatively impacted marketing performance.
More concerningly, over a quarter didn’t even know.
Products like our new automation tool, Automator, can avoid such occurrences by automating code testing for SEO before it goes live.
Even those in the ‘don’t know’ category, and who clearly have a limited understanding of bad code’s impact on their performance, can ensure they’re not inadvertently negatively impacted by embracing such a tool. It doesn’t require significant technical knowledge for it to be successful.
What does the future hold for marketing leaders?
Given current events, it can be hard enough for senior marketers to respond to the present, never mind plan for the future. After all, marketing strategies planned in January 2020 were in many cases torn to pieces by March.
However, our research suggests that marketing leaders will focus primarily on one thing in 2021: digital performance.
Indeed, more than four in five marketing leaders believe their digital channels will drive the majority of sales and revenue. Smart marketers will put more focus and budget on SEO to help achieve the maximum number of sales and revenue online next year and beyond.
Download the Econsultancy survey
To get a full understanding of the current and future state of play in marketing and search, download the full report here.