Performics: Talking to the CEO about SEO strategy

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

How does a performance marketing company stay one step ahead of the game? MarketingTech spoke to Daina Middleton, Performics CEO, and Matt Miller, Performics SVP strategy and analytics, about SEO, semantics and social CRM.

The algorithms change, but the principles remain

According to Performics, if you’ve got a healthy attitude to SERPs and have the right strategies in place, all the bluff and bluster about avoiding SEO traps is irrelevant.

“It’s really funny, the algorithms do change and we absolutely have to be on our toes, but it’s designed to make our jobs easier,” said Miller. “When you do practice ethical, white hat SEO, you do end up following a core set of principles.

“What Google is really penalising is building content farms, creating duplicate content, and massive link schemes.

“At the end of the day, good SEO will never need to chase algorithms,” he added.

Performics advocates a content distribution strategy, with the SEO side forming an evident part of it.

“It’s knowing the audience and their needs, the right frequency, how do they want to interact with you on that channel, because someone who’s following you on Facebook, their needs are going to be different to someone who’s following you on Twitter,” Miller said.

“Our teams spend a lot of time, particularly on the SEO side working with our clients on distribution strategies for content, and connecting that with the insights on what the audience needs, what that content is [and] how you deliver it at the right moment,” he added.

Marketing: a question of semantics

Another element which stood out about Performics was a different philosophy, using intrinsic motivation theory – motivation driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself – to advocate a marketing strategy.

“If you think about the old days, the role of marketing really was to change the perception, or inform an uninformed customer,” said Middleton, adding: “We have very informed participants who expect to have an interactive relationship with you; we want to actually motivate people to take part in something.”

So, moving from a one-way dialogue to a two-way dialogue – in other words, social CRM?

MarketingTech spoke to Ivar Kroghrud, CEO of QuestBack, after the social CRM company was named in Gartner’s social CRM Magic Quadrant as a niche player back in October.

Kroghrud noted the vital differences between traditional CRM and social CRM – and it all appears to be a matter of semantics.

“The traditional CRM approach is losing traction and to a large extent is disconnected from the C, from the customers; in my mind traditional CRM has been focused on the M,” said Kroghrud.

He added: “Social CRM is really about engaging with your customers in a conversation that is of mutual benefit. I have to give you something of value to the customer if I as a company engage with you, and it needs to be open, completely transparent, and needs to be well-timed.”

Sound familiar?

Middleton puts the “control messaging” philosophy, as she puts it, simply down to not changing with the times. The solution? Semantics again.

“It’s scary for marketers, but all of that was built on the birth of broadcast,” said Middleton.

“Having been on the brand marketing side for 16 years, I really saw it start to fall apart. Our tools, our policies – it was clear they were broken.

“I came up with this notion of calling the consumer a participant…it’s not that I have a problem necessarily with the word consumer, but sometimes if you change your language it helps you remember that you need to make a behaviour change.

“We were just so accustomed to the old way of doing things, and we didn’t have a good alternative,” she added.

Theoretic principles of marketing

To that end, Middleton developed a formula, adopting those principles of intrinsic motivation and adapting them to a marketing theory.

The formula, as Middleton details in her book Marketing in the Participation Age, relates to the Participation Way:

Discover (D) + Empower (E) + Connect (C) = Participation (P), which results in Performance (2): D + E + C = P2.

In other words, humans love to learn and become confident in something they know; they want to have a meaningful role in a project; and they love other humans, especially those who have similar interests.

Middleton stressed that this was more of a framework and not to be taken too literally, but it did have practical benefits.

“If you do those things and incorporate elements of those in your campaign, you get better participation. If you get better participation, in an area such as search, you get better performance,” she said.

Do you agree with this theory to improve marketing performance? Does your company have a similar ethos or a theory of its own?

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