Think2010: Series recap

We kicked off the Think2010 blog series 14 weeks ago with the idea of helping you prepare for the coming year by devoting one post each week to big-picture, forward-looking themes supported by actionable tips. Over the course of the series we've covered topics such as relevance, speed, experimentation and innovation. We've discussed the multiple roles that search can play, how to use data to better connect with customers, and the importance of staying focused on the fundamentals. We've also deliberately infused the series with perspectives from thought leaders both inside and outside of Google in order to give you a range of insights on the changing face of marketing. You can find a more in-depth version of this same conversation taking place on our Fast.Forward. YouTube channel.

As our series comes to a close this week and we prepare to usher in 2010, we'd like to thank you for reading and leave you with some parting thoughts. Here's what a diverse group of industry leaders have to say about the new marketing landscape and the vast opportunity that they believe lies ahead for 2010:

From the Think2010 team -- best wishes for a prosperous and successful 2010.

Think2010: Personalization and accountability

As part of our Fast.Forward. program, we've asked numerous industry leaders - from Google and beyond - about the online marketing trends they think will be significant in the year ahead. This week we'll talk about making your campaigns more personal by targeting mobile devices and increasing the accountability and sophistication of the metrics you use to evaluate your campaigns.

Penry Price, Google's VP of Global Agency and Industry Development, offers his thoughts on these topics.

To increase the personalization of your campaigns through mobile advertising, visit, and learn how to plan, target, create, and measure mobile ad campaigns with AdWords.

Whether it's robust reporting for media buys across platforms, or sophisticated-but-simple measurement tools like Google Analytics, Website Optimizer, and YouTube Insight, you can commit in 2010 to "being greater with data." Get more information about these measurement and optimization tools here.

Visit, to stay engaged with the industry dialog and keep up with additional perspectives on successful marketing in 2010 and beyond.

Think2010: The need for speed

In our Think2010 post a couple weeks ago, we noted how important experimentation will be in the coming year to help you optimize your campaign for the best possible ROI. A very closely-related tenet is the commitment to speed. There is great access to information and insights, and that information is now available faster than ever. This means that marketers who are nimble, work quickly, and iterate as they go will often be the ones who succeed.

A few ways to commit to speed in 2010:

* Set up custom Google Alerts to monitor news, blogs, videos and other coverage of topics related to your brand and its marketplace.
* Regularly mine Insights for Search to see trends as they're emerging for your brand or category -- and quickly create a plan to act on the opportunities you discover.
* Use Display Ad Builder to create display, rich media, and video ads in minutes by incorporating your own text, images, and logo into one of our professionally designed templates.
* Use Website Optimizer to quickly test variations of your landing page to see which works best -- then implement the winning version to maximize performance.

Think2010: Innovate to better connect

As you plan your marketing approach for 2010, think of 'innovation' in a broad sense. You don't need to be the first to venture into uncharted territory or the one to make the biggest splash. You just need to think openly and differently about your customer connections. Strive to be nimble, current, and ever-more relevant as you create them.

In today's marketing world, this often means making use of insights and Analytics tools to continually tweak your approach. It means finding the right mix of social media to engage your customers in a compelling and authentic way, and it means making use of new mediums and targeting methods so you can connect your message to a consumer at the right time.

Here are a few ways you can innovate in 2010:

1) Become a more nimble marketer by crafting your campaigns around current trends. You can stay abreast of the trends related to your brand and business by using Insights for Search.

2) Converse with consumers on 'their turf,' but don't force it. For example, promote your message on YouTube, and then monitor its appeal and virality. Make use of what you learn and keep revising the conversation accordingly.

3) Adapt your strategy to connect with consumers on-the-go. You can try out high-end mobile device targeting to show your text and image ads on mobile devices with full Internet browsers. This means you'll be able to connect with mobile consumers with the same richness as you would via a desktop computer.

Think2010: Experimentation is worth the risk

When it comes to testing and experimentation, there's always a risk-reward scenario to play out. You could go with what you know and what feels comfortable -- or you could try something new and see how it fares. It could really pay off, but it could also flop. If you're responsible for cooking a big Thanksgiving feast this week, you may feel that lots of experimentation is clearly not worth the risk. When you think about your approach to marketing in 2010 however, testing and experimentation should be key elements.

With digital marketing, testing is a low-cost, fast way to learn. The ability to start, stop, or change your approach is easy and actually applying what you learn -- so you can capture the greatest opportunity -- can happen very quickly.

When you market online, the cycle of launching, measuring, and optimizing happens quickly and continuously. The more nimbly you manage this cycle, the stronger your results will be. Don't be afraid to try and possibly fail -- whether you're testing a new creative message, a new communication platform, a new promotion, or another strategy. The long term benefits of successful testing can quickly and easily outweigh the short term costs.

Brett Keller, CMO of, echoes these thoughts on the value of experimentation.

Here are a few testing ideas to apply in 2010:
  1. Use Website Optimizer to test content (e.g. headline, copy, images) or design alternatives for your landing page. This tool will help you quickly identify and implement the combinations that drive most conversions.
  2. Use YouTube as a focus group. Beyond monitoring views, ratings, and comments, use YouTube Insight to learn what's resonating, and where. Based on what you learn, invest in your 'winning' content by driving traffic via sponsored videos, altering your associated messaging in search campaigns, and ramping up geo-targeting in the areas where your video over-indexes in popularity. You may even consider testing that video as a TV spot (e.g. via Google TV Ads).
  3. If you're not yet using display ads, commit to testing them. Use Display Ad Builder to build display, rich media, and video ads in minutes by incorporating your own text, images, and logo into one of our professionally designed templates. This allows you to test a creative message and learn what is working before investing in a deeper level of creative support.

Think2010: Recap of the Four Winning Moves webinar

Last week, Google’s US Managing Director Bonita Stewart hosted the 2nd webinar in the Think2010 series, entitled “Think2010: Four Winning Moves for 2010.” She discussed tools and strategies that you can use to differentiate your offerings, increase competitive advantage, and ultimately seize opportunities as the economy recovers. Below are the four key takeaways from the webinar:

1) Use precision - Flexibility yields stealing share: Utilizing precision through search can serve as the world’s largest focus group and allow you to understand how consumers want to engage with brands. Tools like Google Analytics and Insights for Search can help you increase this precision.

2) Develop deeper connections - Consumers want to connect: Understand your audience and how they are communicating, then develop marketing campaigns to target your ideal consumers. Utilizing new communication technologies within ad creatives can make your advertising more interactive. Advertising on community centric mediums like YouTube can help to increase brand engagement and ultimately help you develop deeper connections with consumers.

3) Innovate - Marry the art and the science: News and optimism about the economic recovery have increased over the past few months. Business leaders across the globe are thinking forward and seizing the opportunity to throw out old marketing rules and embrace innovation as they gear up for 2010. Large brands like GM and JetBlue, for example, are coming up with new digital strategies to act nimbly and ensure they're prepared for the opportunities the recovery will offer.

4) Be relevant - Consumers don’t stop searching: It’s important for you to stay engaged and in touch with consumer demands. Keeping a pulse on search trends is a live, real-time way for you to stay up to date on consumer interest and sentiment.

If you missed this webinar and would like to learn more, please visit the Google Business Channel on YouTube to see the recorded version. Also, be sure to stay engaged with the Think2010 series at where you can view videos, blog posts and future webinars.

Think2010: Stay focused on the fundamentals

As you look to get ahead of the recovery and set yourself up for success in 2010, let's revisit some of the lessons learned during the recession that you can apply going forward. We've been compiling both forward-looking perspectives and retrospective wisdom on our Fast.Forward. channel on YouTube. In this week's post, we want to call out some advice from Rick Carpenter of the agency DDB in Chicago.

From Rick's perspective, the recession underscored the fundamental truth in marketing: you need to continually, and earnestly, focus on the customer. This means understanding what's going on in their lives and what their mindset is, and it's critical to be relevant to the people that the message will reach.

The recession also taught us that marketers must retrench and commit to their own fundamental core values. Your brand and company shouldn't continually have to reinvent itself to adapt to the macro-economic climate. As you prepare for 2010, is your positioning clear?

Listen to what Rick has to say here:

To stay engaged with our Think2010 series more broadly, visit

Think2010: The multiple roles of search

Last week's Think2010 post discussed the need for advertising to be relevant, welcome information that adds value to a customer as he is performing a task or pursuing an interest. But as you think about your 2010 search strategy, make sure to think about the value of search advertising beyond conversions. Be sure to recognize the brand value of search.

As consumer confidence returns, this means you can use search advertising to ensure your brand is top of mind, appropriately positioned, and in a customer's consideration set. Some customers may not be ready to convert at this moment, but search advertising can increase their affinity and consideration for your brand.

Hear about the brand value of search and additional advice for getting ahead of the recovery from Bonita Stewart, Managing Director, US Sales:

Stay engaged with additional perspectives and resources for our Think2010 series at

Providing your customers useful and relevant information

Many ads are aimed at interrupting a consumer to get them to pay attention to the ad, but this approach has proven less effective on the Web, as consumers often come online to pursue an interest or perform a task, such as finding a local restaurant or booking an airline ticket. To address this, many advertisers are moving away from interruption toward helping consumers accomplish their tasks by offering commercial messages that are useful, helpful and relevant.

Hear more on this strategy from Jim Lecinski, Managing Director, U.S. Sales, and think about incorporating this idea into your 2010 planning:

Using data to better connect with your customers

Last week Analytics Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik, hosted a Think2010 webinar on "Using Data to Better Connect with Your Customers." He discussed how to find and use data from Google tools such as Trends for Websites, Insights for Search, Ad Planner and the Search Based Keyword Tool. You can use the data to focus on your most relevant audiences, maximize your return-on-investment, and drive your businesses forward -- now and as you charge forward into 2010. To recap the four key takeaways that Avinash stressed:

1) Mine website trends: Utilize Trends for Websites and other tools to index your performance, identify your competitors' strengths, and find untapped opportunities.
2) Analyze the "database of intentions": Use Insights for Search to segment your share of voice, obtain competitive gains, understand how to most effectively target your campaigns, and find out where you should focus your search efforts.
3) Monetize the long tail: Leverage powerful Search Based Keyword Tool to identify your long tail keywords based on your site's content, and to find additional cost-effective targeted keywords.
4) Identify relevant audiences: Utilize Ad Planner to understand the demographic profile and search behavior of your site visitors, and that of your competitors, to effectively target your messages on the Google Content Network to the most relevant audiences.

Most importantly, follow Avinash's #1 rule: Make sure that your website doesn't stink. Use data to identify fixes (e.g. pay attention to bounce rates) so that your clients stay and interact with your website. To learn more about how to improve your web pages, check out this post by Avinash: Six Tips For Improving High Bounce / Low Conversion Web Pages.

If you missed the webinar and are intrigued to learn more, visit our Google Business Channel on YouTube to see the recorded version.

Interested in more information on our Think2010 series? Visit our site to learn more and sign up for our next webinar, Four Winning Moves for 2010, to take place on November 10th.