MRG Conference 2008:Surviving The Slump With Search

MRG Conference 2008:Surviving The Slump With Search

MRG Logo Mark Howe, country director UK Sales for Google, presented day three’s Keynote speech at this year’s MRG conference in Lisbon.

With Google now 10 years old, he took us through a whistle-stop tour of how Google has evolved over that time.

The main focus of his presentation was how search will be more important in the forthcoming recession than ever before.

Marketing in a digital economy has to be part of the solution in the downturn. Cutting budgets is not the solution, and history has demonstrated how the most successful companies are often the ones that continue to invest during a downturn.

Google believes that search is a barometer for the wider society, stating for example that recent searches have greatly increased for home safes, as consumers begin to believe that their money is more secure in their homes than in the bank. In addition, searches for online vouchers and printable coupons are on the rise.

Howe stated that “bargain hunters do not drive”, explaining that three quarters of shoppers now compare prices online before shopping, making consumers better armed to research bargains.

Demonstrating the power of search, Howe explained that research had shown that 57% of online consumers have performed an online search after watching an offline advert, and a case study on Mercedes showed that search doubled the effectiveness of other media, and therefore drives sales in a difficult economic period.

Search was also considered vital for brand values, with 71% of consumers expecting major brands to appear high in search lists. The position of a brand in a search list is considered by consumers to be a representation of that brands standing.

Howe also explained that companies need to maximise the opportunity of conversions, stating that 57% of online shoppers will not buy with a brand offline if they have had a bad experience with it online. A significant 60% of online shopping carts are abandoned before the final sales, with 12% left before checkout and 48% at the actual checkout.

Looking to the future, Howe sped through his predictions for the next couple of years, stating that he believes that 2009-2010 will be “the year of the mobile” and that consumers will be greater empowered to access whatever information they require through data “clouds”.

He summed up by stating that as ever it all comes back to the consumer and it is up to us to listen and respond, and to utilise digital throughout this forthcoming recession.

Further reports from the MRG conference will appear on MediaTel.co.uk’s NewsLine service over the next couple days.

MRG: www.mrg.org.uk

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