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Search, Social and Mobile: The Three Pillars of Modern Marketing

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Until recently, marketers faced a dilemma: try to establish a ubiquitous presence across countless different channels, or somehow decipher which avenues to pursue based on guesses as to which would be the most fruitful. Without a crystal ball or any other method to predict results, marketers found themselves in a crippling position with limited resources and too many potential scenarios. Fortunately, in today's digital world, marketing doesn't need to be the balancing act it once was.

These days, content channels operate synergistically, with search, social and mobile at the core. These three pillars of modern marketing create a holistic experience for consumers that, if leveraged properly, stands to deliver massive business results. Brands that emphasize social and mobile engagement while adapting search for their revamped strategy are poised to be a step ahead of the competition, driving more impact while using their resources more efficiently.

Interconnectivity: The New Marketing Standard

In the past, search, social and mobile were considered separate spokes of a marketing program, with little to no integration. In this siloed model, marketing professionals used different and individualized strategies for each channel. This is no longer the case, as marketers are recognizing that they can only achieve their full potential through a unified front.

What has brought about this change? Consider a consumer's journey to conversion and how this process has evolved. Traditional search engines were once the standard procedure for learning about products, reading reviews and ultimately purchasing. Over the past several years, search algorithms have become increasingly complex and unpredictable, creating a challenge for search marketers. Furthermore, Google is no longer the go-to source for consumers seeking information about the newest iPhone or reviews for a specific vintage guitar. Social posts and networks like Facebook and Twitter now wield massive influence over a consumer's purchasing decisions. According to Search Engine Journal, 72 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. What's more, mobile has transformed the consumer ecosystem. U.S. smartphone adoption grew by 30 percent in 2012 alone and shows no signs of slowing. The resulting growth in mobile traffic has toppled that of desktop, changing how brands interact with consumers.

Now that these once isolated channels intertwine and impact one another, modern marketers must adapt. The first step is to understand the intricacies of a consumer's experience, which likely involves engagement with multiple social networks, websites and devices. Brands can then develop strategies that better resonate with consumers, drive conversions and impact the bottom line.

How it Works and What You Stand To Gain

Brands not only need to coordinate their content across search and social channels, they also need to deliver it in an optimized format based on the user's device of choice. Search-enhanced content is useless if the customer is browsing on their smartphone and gets redirected to an irrelevant app download page. A study by Compuware reveals that 57 percent of consumers said they would not recommend a business with a poor mobile experience, and 40 percent said they would switch to a competitor offering a better one. These numbers simply cannot be ignored.

Now that consumers are taking the web with them wherever they go, brands must be right alongside them. The key is to provide an experience that is worth returning to again and again. We find that the brands that have the most success are those that create relevant content, optimize the experience for mobile and implement their campaign across the core channels for their particular audience. These are best practices that every brand takes into consideration when engaging with the modern consumer.

As brands look to the future of digital marketing, it's crucial that they consider their customers, the content they might be interested in, and how it can be incorporated into a fully integrated strategy across search, social and mobile. Success is derived from understanding the consumer and delivering hyper-relevant, engaging content in a holistic way. This approach will optimize marketing efforts and resources, resulting in better customer loyalty and ROI.