Monthly Archives: June 2011

Google Tools: Google Correlate

I recently received an email newsletter (as opposed to the dead tree kind) that talked about a relatively new tool from Google called Google Correlate.

Being the math junkie that I am, I found this approach to looking at how search phrases relate to one another pretty interesting. Google Correlate takes a search phrase that you enter, for example “tulip bulbs”, and it will show you other phrases that people also searched for at the same time. The data that Google has spans over 7 years.

The graphic below shows the top correlated words to “tulip bulbs”:

Google Correlate results for "Tulip Bulbs"

Google Correlate results for "Tulip Bulbs"

What I think is really interesting here is the cyclicity of the search. Horticultural products are most certainly seasonal in nature. And it appears that lots of people are searching for phrases related to trees; which makes sense. Fall is the perfect time to plant trees as well as spring flowering bulbs.

From a PPC perspective, if I had a customer who sold spring bulbs as well as trees, I’d make sure that they had an optimized trees campaign as well as a bulbs campaign. From an SEO perspective, it would be good to make sure that the content on their website was optimized and ready for those searches. From a cross-channel marketing perspective, it would be good to consider marketing campaigns that highlight trees and their related products as well bulbs and theirs.

From what I see, Google Correlate has the ability to point out other marketing opportunties that might otherwise have been missed. I do not agree with the author, however, that Google Correlate can in some ways be better than Google Insights or the Keyword Tool. I believe that each of these tools allows search marketers to approach their work from different angles; so that their resulting efforts are, perhaps, more complete. Google Correlate offers another window through which one can research, analyze, and make decisions on good keyword choices.

And, perhaps a year or so from now, we’ll find that “google insights” and “google keyword tool” correlate to “google correlate”

Print Media: Postcards versus Emails

I recently read a printed newsletter that stated that postcard marketing is more permanent and tangible than email. I have to heartily disagree with my respected colleague.

I may be an anomaly, but most postcards that I receive wind up in the trash within 30 seconds of walking in my door from a trip to the mailbox.

Emails, however, are something I hang onto for quite a while before I “trash” them. I might not be in the mood to read an email advertisement – so I simply ignore it (as opposed to tossing in my tangible garbage can – after whence it gets covered with more garbage). I can go back to it when I am ready to read it and if it interests me, but I am not yet ready to act, I’ll save it. I won’t save a postcard, because if I’m not ready to act, I don’t want it cluttering up my counter or desk and I think, “Forget it, I’ll toss it and find it later on the web if I want it”.

And “tangibility” is a word that I think needs to be redefined in todays more virutal age. Just because I cannot “touch” an email doesn’t mean it doesn’t impact me in other ways. I do not have to “touch” something to be moved or affected by it. Email is as tangible to me as the memory of a warm summer day on the beach. I can see email. I can react to it. I can do something with it. It is certainly tangible.

Email is also much cheaper “per piece” than a postcard ever will. In addition, email is “by choice” where getting a postcard in the mail often is not. I have to give my permission for you to email me; but often companies assume by virute of a past purchase that they can mail me anything they wish atany time, even if I don’t really want it. And getting mail in my mailbox for things I didn’t ask for, as opposed to getting an email that I did ask for, impacts my loyalty to a company far more.

I am also an advocate for saving a tree when we can. Trees are wasted when they are cut down so companies can send essentially what is junk mail to people who never asked for it. Post cards are not “green”.

I think that print mail marketers need to be very careful about criticizing online forms of advertising and making, really, what I feel are ridiculous claims ; stated because they compete for those dollars.

Post cards, as the printed piece stated, can be used to deliver very specific and niche messages to existing customers; for it’s only in the extreme specificity that the cost pays for itself. Email, on the other hand, can go to existing and non-existing customers who have chosen to receive it, thereby increasing conversions at a much lower cost.

I would challenge the marketing community, in general, to get off the rickety, old hobby horse of “tangibility” and focus more on efficacy and efficiency of dollar spend to determine what method of marketing it will use.

Post cards, catalogs, print ads in glossy color magazines, and printed newsletters are, in my opinion, on the demise. They may never go away completely. Diehards will cling to the methods they are used to – but print media is more costly, reaches smaller audiences, and is not remotely as viral as online media forms of advertising are; especially when that online advertising is managed critically with an eye to ROI, cost per conversion, and targeted markets.

But, I have to admit, print material does have one markedly added benefit that email and other online marketing media will never have: I can use the printed material I get and burn them in my patio fire pit. Thanks for the free fuel!