B-to-B: Search for Business
Because search, social and content are inextricably linked, search engines tend to favor social content. And a huge driver of social visibility of marketing is driven by search visibility—we might call this linkage "a virtuous spiral."
Another often overlooked role of search in B-to-B marketing is that we can actually use search functionality as a driver of insight into target audiences—a research tool. Marketers who use search as a blunt inbound tool, and only look at clicks or conversions of their paid campaigns, miss a huge potential value of search—the analysis of the search terms themselves and the intelligence they can derive from these.
The constant shift of buyer search lexicography can fuel more relevant messaging and content development. It also can align itself far better with "real world" needs and terminology than language cooked up in sterile marketing laboratories or self-assigned blindly by product development teams.
Again, this research leverages search's links to social: The more authentically we can create the dialogue with our customers, the more likely it is to resonate and add value to the buying process. And, unlike other media, there is greater ability to analyze non-response while still showing potential interest.
For example, we can see the volumes of those who searched on related terms but did not click on our ads. While there are sophisticated tools to optimize ads to maximize clicks, this should not be left entirely to automation. Viewing search as a living window across multiple stages of the buyer's conversation means that frequent considered analysis and experimentation is critical to maximize search's power.
That brings us to another important point about search in the B-to-B buyer journey. If, as with any data set or digital tool, it's used without consideration of the varying nature of a (potential) buyer's position, then it'll tend to serve marketers badly.