What marketing can learn from search engines

Jun 16 2013

A recent article by Neil Perkins at OnlyDeadFish, talking about the future of search, is well worth reading for any marketer or researcher. For me, the most interesting part of the article discusses the increasing importance of context for search engines, referencing a talk by Will Crtichlow also called The Future Of Search.

Marketers and market researchers still pay far too much attention to consumer dispositions and far too little attention to context. However, context is more important than disposition, but we continue to make the fundamental attribution error, focusing on personal attributes, opinions and attitudes and attributing behaviour to these factors rather than context and situation.

Behaviour is all about the ‘person in the situation‚Äô and not about personal dispositions. For marketers and researchers this means paying far more attention to context and social situation, and far less attention to measuring opinions and asking questions in artificial contexts.

Both articles talk about the growing importance of implicit contextual information in shaping search results. Just as our minds rely on contextual information to make useful predictions, so Google are making ever increasing use of information on location, device and search history to make search results more relevant. The use of social information could make such enhancements to search even more relevant and useful.

Is it time for businesses to make contextual information central to the design and marketing of brands?

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