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ClickZ Live’s Mike Grehan Discusses Ecommerce Marketing Challenges

Mike Grehan is a Director at Incisive Media and producer of one of the longest-running Internet conferences, formerly known as Search Engines Strategies, recently rebranded as ClickZ Live. A search marketing guru, Mike Grehan discussed some of the challenges online merchants face in a new podcast available on Ecommerce Industry SoundBytes.

“The conference initially covered search and search engine optimization and expanded to cover paid search,” he said. “As Google started to diversify into other markets – particularly when they acquired DoubleClick and were in the world of display advertising – the conference started changing shape to become more appealing to the all-around digital marketer.”

Search is still the core of the ClickZ Live conference, he said, but it now includes additional topics such as display programmatic trading, email marketing, affiliate marketing, analytics and more.

Grehan believes the industry is much more about integrated marketing now, and said “paid, owned, earned” is a good way to think about structuring online/digital marketing campaigns. The term refers to having those three different approaches as part of your marketing mix: Paid: You can purchase AdWords, Bing Ads, display ads. Owned: You own your own website, your ecommerce site, blog, Facebook page, LinkedIn group. Earned: This is more about content and news about you or your products and services that other people will share on social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

“Getting that mix of paid, owned and earned is a good way to set a budget for your marketing plan,” Grehan said. “Everybody wants to start with the “earned” bit because it sounds free. “How do I get people to start talking about me?” But the likelihood is that you’ll probably have to start in “paid” to get them to start talking about you in the first place.”

Grehan also talked about the challenges marketers faced with some major changes Google made over the past year or so, such as the move to put marketing emails into the Promotions Tab in Gmail. They received a lot of feedback from the email marketing side when Google added the tabs in Gmail, he said, with some believing it was the end. But many on his team have written about the opportunities now available to marketers.

The most vocal feedback was over Google Product Listing Ads, but said marketers have had to adapt in the past as well. “People went through this curve with paid search when Google launched AdWords. Some people became very good at it, and understood how to get the best return on their investment.” Others did not, so there is going to be a learning curve, Grehan said. Google is trying to provide a much richer experience for the end user, so it’s important to keep the data fresh, with the latest prices in your feed, for example.

Should we expect more changes from the search giants this year? “Search is not a solved problem,” he said.

At this year’s ClickZ Live conference in New York, Randi Zuckerberg will be look at the world of social media and the way it has changed in her keynote address. For those new to the industry, there are sessions on getting up to speed on search engine optimization, paid search and Product Listing Ads. At the other end of the scale, the conference has master sessions with advanced content. Google has their own training program called Learn with Google offered at the conference as well.

You can listen to the full interview with Mike Grehan in this EcommerceBytes podcastand learn more about the conference on the ClickZ Live website.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.