Tuesday, August 31, 2010

There's more out there than Google, especially for marketing and sales managers. You will be "surprised" by what you are missing in web searches.

By Mark Helfen

If you thought the ultimate internet search tool was Google, come to the next combined meeting of the SDForum Marketing and Search SIGs. According to our speaker, you will be surprised by what you're missing.

Penny Herscher will speak on the topic Intelligent Business Search. Please note that this special combined meeting will be on a different day, and at a different location than our regular monthly Marketing SIG. We will be at the LinkedIn campus, 2027 Stierlin Court in Mountain View on Thursday, September 9. Details here.

This will be the only Marketing SIG meeting in September. In October, the Marketing SIG will return to its regular schedule, the second Monday of the month, at DLA Piper.

Herscher is President and CEO of FirstRain, a company that offers "intelligent business search." The idea is to help their customer "get unique insights and information that will impact their business." FirstRain's products access the publicly visible web, pulling together information and track trends over time about companies and markets that would be difficult to do on your own.

The web is "vast, messy, and voluminous," said Herscher. How can a marketing strategist find information on competitors, markets, and potential customers? Herscher will explain how a marketing manager can track changes in relationships, unannounced partnerships, personnel changes, or other information that is there on the web, somewhere, but you wouldn't find without knowing what to look foe.

"You can't do this with Google," said Herscher. She will explain why and what you are missing with just Google as your search tool. The information may all be there, but putting the pieces together is a lot of work.

There are fee-based services that access non-public information. Herscher named Factiva as one example. But these are expensive to use, and information about a company that is behind a pay wall quickly propagates into the broader, public web and becomes available, if you can find it.

FirstRain's search strategy doesn't include social media sites - Facebook or Twitter, which don't yet include "business quality content," a topic that I'm sure will be discussed at our meeting. 

So come to next Thursday's meeting (remember, Thursday, not Monday) and see what part of the web you've been missing.


Mark Helfen is a freelance writer, journalist, and marketing consultant. He can be reached at:

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