Search Marketing: Vertical Search Holds Great Value for B-to-B Catalogers
Lately, it seems like decent size database now calls itself a specialized vertical search engine. There’s some clever marketing logic in positioning itself as such given that good search results are a cost-effective form of inquiries, leads or orders when a search-based marketing program is done well. And taking advantage of those vertical search engines will allow B-to-B catalogers to leap ahead of the competition.
Consider the fact that search is the new cognitive framework for buyers of industrial, technical and business products and accordingly, industrial marketers must radically shift their marketing mixes to online channels if they haven’t done so already.
Those marketers involved in specialized online marketplaces to generate intelligence-rich, contactable and highly measurable sales leads are reaping the benefits. So when evaluating a potential vertical search engine, consider that a true vertical search engine is based on three fundamental principles:
1. Context. In this regard a good vertical engine can divine the user’s probable intent, unlike a mass market engine. For example, when engineers query for “gyros,” they are not expecting Greek sandwiches to be returned in the search results. They expect the context to be all about engineering.
2. Organization. A vertical engine ideally should be organized to align with workflow and job tasks of the user. Think of it as an “information cockpit” for a specialized user group.
3. Access. A good vertical engine must completely provide the user with access to content from all over the Web. The index of a vertical engine therefore must contain hard-to-find or hidden content and other important content that’s off limits to mass market crawlers.
There’s an evolving point-of-view that skillful use of specialized vertical search engines might be the most important strategy for companies in the industrial sector today. The reason is simple: B-to-B audiences -- especially engineering, technical and scientific audiences -- have aggregated on the Web and are increasingly finding good vertical search engines that focus on the domains they care about. Since the B-to-B audience is on the Web, this is where most of your leads will come from. In many regards it’s simple common sense: Fish where the fish are.