The future of successful marketing is relevance.
We now live in an age where consumers have developed selective hearing as a defense mechanism against being inundated by thousands of marketing messages every day. Your potential customers are time-shifting, downloading and channel surfing. Most of them research purchases online and many of them rely on the recommendations of those they respect in their social networks.
Interruption marketing is under threat. Customers are in control. You best give them what they’re looking for.
This warning extends to online marketers too.
Ranking highly in search (either organic or paid) isn’t good enough if you had to “game” the system to get there. Link-baiting and link farming often results in disappointment for the consumer who has wasted time visiting a site that doesn’t really address their needs, or lured them there under false pretenses.
What is the point in paying for keywords that deliver traffic that doesn’t really want what you’re selling? What’s the point in a website that ranks first in a search due primarily to a massive link building campaign yet fails to covert traffic into sales because the information presented isn’t really relevant?
Google has spent the last decade teaching your customers that they can find what they need with a few keystroke and clicks. Now consumers are demanding that the information they are delivered be more relevant than ever. Bing is responding with the promise of a more accurate search engine that delivers the results you really want. Implicit in this message is that Google isn’t necessarily giving you the results you want.
Spend a bit of time running Bing & Google side-by-side and you’ll see that there can be a significant difference in results. (example 1) (example 2). One clear difference seems to be that those who “game” the Google search are not being rewarded with the same results on Bing (partly because Bing clearly doesn’t reward high Google PageRank).
Google have responded to the launch of Bing with the most significant overhaul of their search algorithm in 4 or 5 years – dubbed Caffeine. Early tests of Caffeine by Mashable indicate that it is indeed more accurate and relevant than the current Google results. I expect the “relevance race” between Bing and Google to escalate steadily.
This is great news for consumers but presents a significant threat to current marketing models that rely on interruption or duplicity. The public is going to increasing reward accurate, relevant information and increasingly ignore and resent irrelevant messages. This applies to all media.
So the question you and your marketing team now have to ask is: Are you relevant?