Interview: Unleashing the Potential of Total Search

In the first of our new series of Unleashing Potential interviews we talk to iCrossing's Head of Search, Mark Williams, to discover how brands can unleash the potential of his ‘Total’ approach to Search in advance of his Breakfast Briefing event next week...

What is Total Search?

Total Search is a holistic approach to search marketing, which considers SEO and PPC as a single channel.

Why is this important?

We live in C2B world, where consumers lead and brands follow, and the brands that succeed are those that take a channel-agnostic, customer-centric approach to marketing. We must plan around people and people don’t distinguish between search channels, they give their business to the first brand that solves their problem.

Why now?

Good question. Consumers have relied on search engines to connect them with the correct products and services for years, and it has always been important to consider the synergy between SEO and PPC, but thanks to the changing landscape it’s more important now than ever. In 2016 I heard two common themes immerging within search industry. Firstly, that PPC budgets continued to rise with pressure to gain a profitable return on investment. Secondly, that SEO continued to lose share of voice within mobile search results as more and more of the screen becomes monopolised by paid ads. By taking a ‘total’ approach to search brands can overcome these challenges by widening their search reach and only paying for clicks that are incremental.

So how do brands put this into practice and unleash the potential of Total Search?

There are several ways that a brand can realise the full potential of this approach. Some are fairly simple to implement, such as combining keyword research or aligning landing page testing. These can be merged into a single stream of work by your internal teams or agencies and will lead to immediate returns. Others (unifying leadership and introducing one search objective, for example) are likely to be more involved and may require a radical step-change in your organisational structure, driven from the top down.

There are many other ways, which, in combination, can bring more benefits than the sum of the individual parts and drive significant incremental gains. Those brands that embrace a Total Search approach will be the ones that will more frequently be able to solve consumers' problems and ultimately emerge successful.

To find out more about how you can make Total Search a reality within your business in 2017 join Mark Williams for his Breakfast Briefing on Wednesday 25th January where he will explain why, in the modern world, search should be considered a single marketing channel. Hear Mark’s tips on search efficiency testing, combined keyword research, landing page optimisation and the most effective team structures.

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