The way we search for things is about to change dramatically
One of the challenges of being a great marketer is keeping pace with the inevitable changes in the industry. Perhaps 'change' is the wrong word. All good things evolve into greater things, supposedly. And with marketing, especially as it pertains to the digital realm, this evolution coincides with advances with technology.
We launched our agency on the principle of being as human as possible. We were like analog beings trying to make sense in a digital world. The cognitive dissonance is real. But, we've learned to channel our resistance into positive energy and understand that we are not alone. Digital marketing changes, like, all the time. It's a fact and as we've learned, everyone is trying to keep up - from advertisers to neighborhood flower shops.
I personally can see a big shift on the horizon of how marketing will change, fundamentally. And Google has a lot to do with it.
As our technology becomes smarter, search inquiries will be vetted by learned patterns, search histories, and other data by smarter machines designed to accurately guess-know what you want before you ask. We've already seen examples of this in real-world practice. I know I wasn't the only one who experienced that is Google reading my mind moment when ads displayed in my inbox "mysteriously" appeared tailored just for me. And in a less-intrusive way, auto-correct and 'suggestions' that automatically generate as you're typing in the search bar are using the same type of technology. Yes, in a way, Google does want to read your mind. They are after the best user experience possible, after all. And this directly affects how information is found online.
Google's concern is to return the most refined searches for its users. They do this through attributes (data) of a business, which are recorded and stored so that any time a search inquiry is performed Google scrapes the results according to shared attributes between the user and the business. The data about you is collected through machine learning, third party data, and location data that Google studies to learn what you like now and what you most-likely will like in the near future. All of this takes into account your past behaviors. It's like they've found a way to combat our indecisiveness and mental bandwidth waste so that we may find exactly what we're looking for more efficiently. And location plays a big part.
By now we're already familiar with the shift to mobile and hand-held devices, when it comes to our digital experiences. A Google search from our phone considers our location and what returns are given. A search for "best Haitian burrito" will offer different results in Los Angeles than one made in Miami. In the near future, results would reflect much more rich data, like your preferred price range, whether you like to dine-in or dash, and if you require free wifi to work on your movie script.
What does this mean for local businesses? In order to maintain relevance (which in the Google language means what you offer and how you present and associate yourself in the digital community are interconnected) a business will need to offer as much granular information as possible. Any attribute that helps capture the nuances and uniqueness of the business will be important moving forward. And in order to market that business successfully, marketers will need to understand their businesses in a more profound way. Understanding how and from where Google captures this data (how the data is organized and grouped) will offer the best insights.
This is what we want right? Better user experience. More transparency.