As anyone involved in online marketing will tell you Andrew Walmsley is a smart guy, starting up i-level and presiding over its growth into a multi-million dollar business winning international clients such as Orange, Proctor and Gamble and Sony is impressive. Although he is not a football fan, his analogy that Search Engine Optimization is just a ‘goal hanger’ works well.
For the non-soccerati, a goal hanger is the annoyingly telegenic forward who seemingly flicks the ball easily past the goalkeeper in the final stages of a move and celebrates his team’s goals as his own – often in an over the top way. Sound like SEO salesguys claiming your marketing budget?
Now the market sentiment has changed and the ability of natural search alone to ‘create’ sales has seemingly deserted them. Successful strikers can’t overcome the deficiencies of a poor team alone. These days online customers expect ‘journeys’, patient interplay between the various marketing disciplines as the attack builds and anticipation spreads that a coherent team is working them patiently to the goal.
As usual Mr Walmsley and his team are ‘on it’ creating campaigns which add core skills to SEO ‘goal hanging’. In the tech marketing arena, there is a lot to learn here, from their non-goal hanging methods – retrospective click analysis (buyer-driven market research to analyse buyers’ journeys), buzz marketing (campaign building using PR to create awareness) and the ultimate ‘long ball’ of online communities (with advocacy built up from user groups, trade events and affiliates).
While a lot has changed and I am not suggesting for a second that SEO is dead, these ‘joined up’ campaigns require much more than knowledge of how to insert Meta tags into HTML. Vital thought it is, SEO is rightly a specialist role, not everyone in the team can, or should, sign up. The good news for all us ‘midfield magicians’ is that our team-mates are learning that goal-hanging is not the only way to please a crowd.