Search mar­ket­ing is evolv­ing. His­tor­i­cally, search mar­ket­ing has been con­sid­ered to be a more tac­ti­cal, “lights-on” mar­ket­ing discipline—and not a strate­gic one. Good for dri­ving back-end con­ver­sions, but not always per­ceived as pro­vid­ing any strate­gic insight that could inform larger com­pany plans and ini­tia­tives or fos­ter deeper cus­tomer engagement.

Recently, many com­pa­nies have started to real­ize the strate­gic impor­tance of search mar­ket­ing, and it has become a highly val­ued and much more strate­gic tool in the hands of the cor­po­rate mar­keter. This real­iza­tion has cen­tered around search marketing’s strate­gic posi­tion at the front­line of cus­tomer engage­ment and thus an area where sophis­ti­cated mar­keters can cap­ture the cus­tomer voice (and their engage­ment intent) in real time and rapidly share that valu­able and action­able infor­ma­tion through­out many lev­els of the enterprise.

The vari­ety, vol­ume, and veloc­ity of cus­tomer data are one devel­op­ment that has dri­ven this evo­lu­tion. The advent of social media sig­nals being cap­tured from search engine results pages (SERPs) has also accel­er­ated this par­a­digm shift. Cap­tur­ing, ana­lyz­ing, under­stand­ing, and effec­tively com­mu­ni­cat­ing that infor­ma­tion through­out the orga­ni­za­tion is the basis for change. Think­ing of search mar­ket­ing as a tac­ti­cal exer­cise in key­word man­age­ment and only val­ued for back-end cus­tomer con­ver­sion is regres­sive thought these days. Pro­gres­sive search mar­keters think in terms of being the first point of con­tact for cus­tomers … the pointy, strate­gic end of the mar­ket­ing spear.

The ulti­mate goal of any com­pany today is to cre­ate a cor­po­rate cul­ture that knows the cus­tomer more inti­mately, pro­vides per­son­al­ized ser­vices, and engages the cus­tomer directly in the real­iza­tion that cus­tomers have taken back their voice and are telling us every day what they want and how they want it deliv­ered. We just have to lis­ten, ana­lyze, make good deci­sions, and meet the customer’s expec­ta­tions while respect­ing their pri­vacy and being a trusted part­ner in their online expe­ri­ence. Search has a crit­i­cal role to play in this new customer-centric environment.

As the direc­tor of Global Search Mar­ket­ing at Adobe, it is my job to cre­ate a world-class show­case of search mar­ket­ing for my brand. That means being a process inno­va­tor, thought leader in orga­ni­za­tional change, and a vision­ary in see­ing beyond today into what the future must be to real­ize the remark­able and strate­gic oppor­tu­nity of search marketing.

In future posts, I will dis­cuss these par­a­digm shifts and how to make search more strate­gic in your orga­ni­za­tion in more detail. I hope to kick-start a thought-provoking dia­log with like-minded strate­gic search mar­keters as to how you are mak­ing search more strate­gic in your companies.

Does search play a strate­gic role at your company?