No claim to original thought here but I heard a presentation today that raised this issue. The thesis goes like this…
Ask a client about his home page and he will say that it’s his first online customer touch point. Well he may not be right. It’s more likely that his first online touch point is the Google results page that comes up when someone types in the name of his brand or business. Before you think ‘so what’ consider this; it is highly unlikely that every result on that page will be data that has been provided by the brand itself.
Take a random example. A search for Ford Fusion shows the following top 10 listings (the first 3 are paid)
- Mazda USA
- Car price secrets
- US News
- Yahoo! Autos
- Car and Driver
- Kicking Tires (blog)
Nothing too scary there (not always the case) but a pretty clear message that reputation management and monitoring are central to digital brand management and just as clear a message that the distribution of brand content into social media environments is a mandatory marketing requirement as influencing the REAL first touch point is important.
This leads to a reevaluation of the role of destination web sites in marketing. Most us think about them as a place we want to send visitors to. That is an incomplete view. If Google really is the first touch point we need to think about our web sites as a repository of positive brand content that needs to be distributed far beyond the boundaries of ‘mybrand.com’.