MarTech Interview with Matt Colebourne, CEO of Searchmetrics

As search and SEO practices become more and more complex, it is important for B2B marketers to know what needs to be continuously reinforced. and how; Matt Colebourne, CEO of Searchmetrics has some thoughts:


Welcome to this chat from the MarTech Matt series, tell us about your current role as CEO at Searchmetrics and your journey over the years …

Being the CEO of Searchmetrics is a great job. As we are relatively small, the role encompasses the operational and the strategic. So sometimes I’ll focus on making organic search a much bigger part of the digital marketing mix and other times I’ll work directly with customers and prospects to make sure we’re happy with it. their needs.

Personally, I am a computer scientist and commercial director by training and since the end of the 90s I have worked almost exclusively in adtech and martech. I joined DoubleClick (leader of the adtech display market) very early on. I then moved from adtech display to Paid Search and was responsible for the turnaround and sales of the last major European pay-per-click network. Along the way, my roles in different organizations allowed me to cover mobile, video and increasingly data-driven digital marketing offerings. My take is that, as everyone knows, digital marketing is now so diverse and complex that it’s extremely important to focus on the basics again; awareness, consideration, engagement, conversion and sale. It’s obvious to say (but so easy to lose sight of) that no one channel can meet all of your marketing needs. This means that it is now more essential than ever that we, and others, can speak in a common language that enables marketers to manage their marketing mix for the best overall result.

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When it comes to search and SEO tactics, in what ways do you think digital marketers today need to boost their focus and processes, and why?

First, they need to understand that SEO is no longer a ‘dark art’ that relies on technical tricks to manipulate where your brand or content appears in search results: the many updates to Google’s algorithms and the use of AI and other increasingly sophisticated technologies mean that these tactics no longer work. Instead, getting high rankings is now much more about understanding the searcher’s needs better and then delivering the content that best meets them.

The point is, when people search, they are expressing a demand – whether it’s a product they are hoping to eventually buy, or just finding information about something they want to know more about. Responding clearly to that with the right content can improve your rankings, but search demand analysis like this has the potential to deliver much more. Essentially, I think marketers need to take a look at SEO earlier and more strategically if they are to make a drastic change in ROI. For example, research analysis can help marketers better understand their market, how it is changing, and spot trends in consumer behavior and seasonality much earlier.

Providing that business intelligence is something that research data is, I believe, particularly effective. For example, people tend to use search to research the type of products and product features they are interested in, often long before those trends hit the market. This means that a smart marketer can be ahead of the game and have the right product, the right offer, and the right message in place to benefit from a wave ahead, rather than trying to catch up. To take an example from the pandemic, the volume of searches for 2,000 piece adult puzzles increased dramatically because bored adults were trying to find ways to spend their time during the lockdown. If your business was selling jigsaw puzzles, spotting and acting on this type of intelligence could dramatically increase sales and revenue.

How can marketers today use research data to drive their business intelligence as a whole?

Billions of searches are done every day on search engines like Google, social networks like Facebook, and e-commerce sites like Amazon. And searches also become more complex, moving from unique keywords to specific phrases that reveal more details about searchers’ intent. It is therefore a huge source of strategic market information, continuously updated, providing information on market size, trends, seasonality, competition and customer behavior.

However, it is rarely properly mined, as it is difficult to collect and make usable. With the billions of keywords involved, the key is to be able to group this mass of research data into key metrics that represent market segments, product taxonomies and geographies. Then you can ask questions such as “How seasonal is ski clothing shopping?” Or “when do people buy new cars by country and is it different for used cars?” Or, more fundamentally, “where am I in the total market?” “. By making it usable, research scientists and data scientists can extract a wealth of information from this huge, accessible and constantly updated dataset, avoiding the unconscious biases associated with other research techniques. such as consumer surveys.

Why do you think marketing managers should listen to how SEO and search operations work while using these tactics on a more strategic level?

What they need to be aware of is what they are getting and where, when it comes to the different pieces of the marketing mix they are using. To do this, I think they have to take into account the unique attributes of each channel. So, for example, paid search is great for getting results quickly. Organic search gives better ROI and lasts longer, but takes time to function. Social is a fantastic source of upcoming trends, but doesn’t convert well into selling on its own. Knowing these key attributes then allows you to manage at a strategic level as a CMO. I would say, however, that the one thing I would really like all marketing managers to be aware of is the strategic value of understanding customer demand and the marketplace and how it is changing – and that’s something research can shed light on. a lot because I have already explained it. Having this level of business intelligence from analyzing research on your market allows you to have a proactive, longer-term vision.

Any predictions you would like to talk about when it comes to the future of search and SEO marketing?

I think we will soon run into a shortage of qualified resources. Because, as marketers begin to appreciate the value that SEO and search bring, there won’t necessarily be enough people with in-depth SEO knowledge and skills. This means that brands will not have the human resources they need to fully exploit every opportunity.

Obviously, they can invest in training and developing people, but more importantly I think we’ll see a shift towards more comprehensive and easier-to-use offerings for platform and service companies to bridge the gap. We the platform providers will focus on creating more and more intelligence in the platforms so that instead of just delivering the data which then takes a lot of human resources to apply, we can in to some extent automate results and actions. In other words, technology providers will have to facilitate and simplify the access and valuation of research information for those with less specialized skills. I think we’ll see single-channel marketing service providers go multi-channel and allow their performance to become comparable across all channels using the same key metrics.

Some of the best martech and related tools that you think marketing teams need to use to boost their SEO processes?

Tools must strike a balance between power and suitability for the needs and skill level of users – who may not be specialists in particular areas, such as SEO. My personal perspective is also that what’s absolutely critical is that marketing teams now have a single, unified, and cohesive set of metrics against which they can measure and manage all digital marketing channels. I’m not going to recommend specific tools, as we work with all of the major vendors, and in fact, since we’re a tech-first API, it’s easy to connect even to the most esoteric. However, for me, the holy grail of marketing now is tools that allow you to manage your entire digital marketing mix at an appropriate level from one place. Increasingly, marketers don’t want to have to log into different tools that offer different ways to calculate and present performance metrics and information for individual channels. And they want to be able to make comparable comparisons between channels.

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Some final thoughts, takeaways, tips and best practices in digital marketing and martech before we wrap up!

How much time do I have? There are a lot of things I would love to cover, but I think my main takeaway for marketers is to say ‘don’t get lost in the weeds’. There are so many vendors, channels, and ways to reach your target audience these days, it’s easy to dive too deep and miss the big moves. A good marketing manager needs to know what each digital marketing channel can do for them in terms of relative strengths and weaknesses and ideally how they interact with each other (for example, troubleshoot technical SEO issues for your site. and it will also improve your traffic conversion).

When it comes to measuring across multiple channels, be ruthless; don’t accept someone saying “but you can’t compare x with y” for different channels and demand that they find a way to compare “x with x”. There is an old saying; “Measure what is important, don’t make important what you can measure”. I think a lot of people took advantage of broadcasting different metrics for different channels and thus prevented meaningful comparisons from being made. In the long run, however, for the health of digital marketing, we need to go back to basic marketing metrics and get everyone working on them across all channels.

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