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'We need to remind marketers of the magic of search' – Google, iProspect, Telefónica, VCCP Media & SMG on bringing search back to the fore

While search is a foundation of digital, its ability to transform a campaign or a business often goes unrecognised. So we caught up with the some of The Drum Search Awards judges to brainstorm how search can get its mojo back.

Matt Bush, director of performance, Google

The core value of search is the richness of what it tells us about human behaviour.

When we type into a search box, we reveal our needs, desires, fears, and intentions – ‘What should I wear on my date tonight?’, ‘Where is the nearest flower shop?’ Mobile makes search even more powerful as we can now layer in contextual signals to understand more of the human story.

Brands that understand these stories and use them to connect with people on a personal level (think Kleenex’s Flu Predictor and Snickers’ misspellings) achieve massive impact.

Ultimately search is about discovery – learning something new about the world, having fun and getting inspired.

We need to remind marketers of the magic of search and the opportunity to tap into a database of intentions in order to get their message out at the right moment, in front of the right audience.

Chris Whitelaw, chief executive, iProspect UK

Search provides us with the most exciting data available to a marketer. We don’t need to infer the wishes of users, they’re literally telling us and telling us now.

The feedback is immediate, granular and easy to categorise. We already know what users are looking for and words like ‘buy’ or ’review’, ‘cheap’ or ’best ’ can reveal even more – search deserves recognition for this.

Moreover, this amazing data interacts with our other channels too, surfacing a user’s previous trends and categorisations to better inform display, social and video targeting.

Oscar Romero, head of biddable international, Starcom MediaVest Group

There is a perception that search is too technical to understand, however search buying is evolving from keyword buying to audience targeting.

This is not only aligning search with other digital channels but also the traditional methods of buying TV, making it easier for marketers to understand it and manage it.

As the process of search activation and targeting will be simplified at some point in the future, this will eventually permit the optimisation of the media mix to deliver a higher yield per media pound invested, raising the profile of search not only as key driver of performance but also as a brand awareness contributor.

Paul Mead, founder and managing director, VCCP Media

Search marketing has become heavily commoditised over the last few years and this has created increasing commercial pressures in the market to do more with less in terms of resource. It’s perceived as a ‘workhorse channel’ rather than one where innovation is still critical.

This has created a market where opportunities are being missed and there is a huge difference between average and great search marketing.

We need to promote the best work and celebrate innovation in this channel and that’s why The Drum Search Awards alongside other industry initiatives at Google and with the IPA Search Group that I chair are so important.

Stuart Bryce, senior digital marketing manager, Telefónica

The culture of an organisation helps to determine the amount of recognition search marketing obtains.

More important than recognition, however, is the desire of non-search professionals within organisations to drive search forward with the strategic steer of the search team.

Obtaining not only the buy-in from key internal stakeholders, but their long-term interest through regular dialogue and sharing of results is key to the ongoing success of search.

To bring search to the fore within organisations, search needs to be the focus of more than just search marketing managers.

You can find out more about The Drum Search Awards at

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