Over the years, I've written Searching for Meaning in some very strange places. Like any other diehard committed to earning that extra dollar (literally, in some instances) for writing, I've got the usual article written in an airport lounge, from the back of a taxi, or on the plane, but I've discovered plenty of other places to write.
Some of the more out-of-the-ordinary spots include the Mojave Desert, the Grand Canyon, and on a BlackBerry while on the back of a camel in an undisclosed location. Another hotspot I found is somewhere on the I-40 in between Amarillo, Texas, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Today's treasure comes to you live from the Southern California Department of Motor Vehicles in beautiful Costa Mesa.
When we think about targeting people with advertising, we don't spend enough time thinking about where the person might be, and the shift in mindset that transpires each time surroundings change. Of course, how would you know unless you really studied the searcharoundings?
Man = Multiple
In one day, I found myself in the office, at the DMV (twice), back home, and on the road with my car and motorcycle -- all before the clock struck five. Same guy, different needs, different mindset. Of course, we have some idea of where people are (geographically speaking), but how much time do we spend thinking about the searcher's state of mind?
Short answer: we don't. Most search advertising experts spend entirely too much time with spreadsheets and devote most of their time to tightening up ad groups, turning optimizers on and off, and waiting for reports to download.
Our decisions in marketing are driven by whatever the optimizer tells us. Moreover, whatever the click path suggests. Sure, these are really sharp ways of following behavior, and behavioral targeting is a pointed way to reach a more efficient buying process, but there's still a bit more going on.
Why I've spent so much time at the DMV lately is another story, but it got me thinking about how much time we all devote to working, and some of the bizarre conditions we seem to find ourselves in these days. We can work, live and, more importantly, search almost anywhere.
Whether or not we own up to it, our mind and perceived need-set changes each time our dynamic surroundings shift. Do you search differently when your spouse enters or leaves the room? Do you feel different when you mouse around the house alone? Input is constant. Search habits change when input changes.
The theme surrounding simultaneous media consumption and the interrupted consumer with fragmented mindsets really hit home with the BIGresearch findings of 2007. One-half to two-thirds of 15,000 people said they used various forms of media while consuming another form of media.
When, Start Now?
How should you adjust search efforts to accommodate searcharound targeting? No specific tools accommodate search surroundings, but when you begin analyzing response activity combined with audience profiles, patterns begin to emerge.
You can see how people buy, you know when they buy and you can make intelligent decisions about why they buy while tweaking messaging elements around the why equation. Chances are, you're already doing this in some form or fashion, but spending a bit more time with how searchers find themselves could be just the edge you need in this highly competitive keyword marketing environment.
The future of search targeting may include the searcharound, but for now, you'll have to settle for your own analysis. Future searcharound criteria may include inferences from the speed at which one types, the specific framework around how typos are entered, and the timing around selecting specific types of messaging. My, what a world it will be.