There’s a line in the 1957 Coasters’ number one hit song that says, “Searchin’ every which a-way.” It seems so appropriate based on what ten national marketing experts shared recently about the future of searches with search experience cloud company Yext.
Ed Doran, Director of Product Management, Microsoft Research and AI CoFounder, at Cortana, Microsoft believes AI and machine learning will drive deeper and longer conversations during searches. “We’re interacting with AI more than ever, and it’s going to be great,” he told Yext.
Like Doran, Marisa Thalberg, Former Global Chief Brand Officer, Taco Bell Strategic Advisor, Yum! Brands also believe that AI, along with voice and touch, will provide seamless and intuitive searches. She added that marketers who are able to combine “creative expression and individualization of a brand persona” would see greater results.
More No-Click Searches
That’s the prediction of Lily Ray, SEO Director at Path Interactive, who suggests that brands will have to work harder in heightening everywhere they appear on Google because consumers aren’t clicking on organic results as frequently as they used to.
What’s the Customer’s Voice?
Google is working to better understand customer interests beyond consumers’ general and initial questions, and brands will need to anticipate answers to follow-up questions in order to be found. That’s the prediction of Del Humenik, Chief Revenue Officer at SEMRush. Brands that answer these anticipated questions can expect positive responses, said Humenik.
It’s About Intent
Similarly, Christi Olsen, Head of Evangelism for Search and Advertising at Microsoft, also believes that in order to be successful, brands need to anticipate and understand consumer intent and utilize digital pr and social media. Understanding the customer journey is key, said Olsen. Everything from organic to paid search and email to social marketing must align with customer intent.
Consumers’ expectations today are that any question that’s asked in search will be answered, according to Jeanna Corley, VP Digital Strategy and Analytics at Massage Envy. As a result, she said that her company is doing their website now in more of a natural language protocol and attempting to show consumers that they’re addressing their questions.
Tug of War
Hamed Wardak an entrepreneur, conceded that along with the desire for more personalized information, consumers are also concerned about their privacy. Companies will have to find a balance between both to satisfy their audiences.
Whose Journey Is It?
Brands no longer own the customer journey, according to David McCafferty, CMO for Romeo’s Pizza. He said customers now own their own journeys and decide who’ll they permit into it. As a result, McCafferty said companies need to figure out how they can best get in front of consumers and generate brand awareness.
Dave Isbitski, Chief Evangelist at Alexa, Amazon believes searches will become more predictive. He said it’s impossible to know when consumers search for things whether they’re seeking factual data or looking for a new experience and brands should prepare for both.
Personalized Results=Clean Data
Cody Crnkovich, Head of Platform Partners and Strategy at Adobe Experience Cloud said brands need to recognize two things. The first is obvious and that is to understand their customers, their expectations and interests. He described the part of gathering data around their interests as being more difficult. This is where he said careful attention should be given so that the results of the gathered data accurately align with consumer interests.
About the Author: Ronn Torossian is a PR executive.