Controlling The Cannibalization Beast With Intent-Based SEO





Blog Date

June 6, 2024


UK, Manchester

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Controlling The Cannibalization Beast With Intent-Based SEO

Taming The Messy Enterprise SEM Campaign

Enterprise SEO campaigns are like wild beasts – complex, multifaceted, and often unruly. As the SEO Director at MCR SEO, a leading search marketing agency in Manchester, UK, I’ve seen my fair share of these ferocious creatures. But through careful planning and strategic intent-based SEO, we’ve learned to tame even the mightiest of SEM campaign “beasts.”

Let me take you on a journey through the treacherous terrain of enterprise SEO, where the unsuspecting can easily fall prey to the dreaded “cannibalization” effect. We’ll explore the different types of businesses you’ll encounter, the four distinct SEM campaign models, and how to leverage intent-based tactics to keep your campaigns aligned and your ROI soaring.

Categorizing the Enterprise Beast

Just as a zookeeper must understand the unique characteristics of each animal in their care, we as SEO professionals must first identify the different “species” of businesses we’re dealing with. Search Engine Land helpfully breaks down the three primary “go-to-market” strategies you’re likely to encounter:

  1. Relational: Businesses focused on lead generation through content like whitepapers, case studies, and e-books.
  2. Transactional: Businesses centered around e-commerce and direct sales.
  3. Partner: Businesses that rely on resellers or distributors to fulfill customer orders.

Recognizing these distinct business models is crucial, as each one will have unique goals, challenges, and SEM campaign requirements. It’s like herding three very different beasts – a lion, a bear, and a snake. They each need to be approached with a specialized strategy.

The Four-Headed SEM Campaign Monster

Once we’ve identified the business type, we can start to tame the SEM campaign beast itself. According to the Search Engine Land article, there are four distinct types of SEM campaigns to consider:

  1. Branding Campaigns: Aimed at raising awareness through non-brand keyword targeting.
  2. Customer Acquisition Campaigns: Focused on driving leads and conversions.
  3. Demand Fulfillment Campaigns: Designed to capture and convert purchase-ready customers.
  4. Demand Generation Campaigns: Intended to stimulate new demand that wouldn’t exist otherwise.

Now, while the first two campaign types are relatively straightforward, the latter two can get downright tricky – especially when dealing with “Partner” businesses that rely on resellers for fulfillment. It’s like trying to tame a hydra – cut off one head (campaign type), and two more grow back in its place!

Avoiding the Cannibalization Conundrum

The real challenge lies in the delicate balance between demand generation and demand fulfillment. You see, when you’ve got a slew of resellers all bidding on the same keywords, you run the risk of essentially “cannibalizing” each other’s sales. It’s a bit like a pack of wolves fighting over the same juicy prey.

Acquisio highlights the importance of distinguishing between branded and non-branded search terms, as the former is often driven by existing demand, while the latter can generate new demand. The key is to focus your demand generation efforts on the non-branded, generic product/service terms and competitor brand terms – the “upper funnel” activities that can stimulate new interest and awareness.

Meanwhile, your demand fulfillment campaigns should target your own brand terms, funneling customers directly to your website or e-commerce store. It’s all about establishing a clear division of labor – the demand generators set the table, while the demand fulfillers come in to seal the deal.

Measuring the Unmeasurable

Of course, with all this talk of demand generation, the question of attribution inevitably arises. How do you measure the true impact of your efforts when customers are bouncing between your website, your resellers, and who knows what other channels? It’s enough to make your head spin like a top.

But fear not, brave SEO warrior! There are ways to tame this beast as well. The Builder Society suggests focusing on metrics like “Find a Reseller” or “Where to Buy” traffic, as these can serve as proxies for the demand you’re generating through your upper-funnel campaigns.

Additionally, by leveraging attribution modeling tools like those found in Google Analytics, you can start to estimate the partner demand you’re stimulating. It’s a bit like a detective trying to piece together a crime scene – you may not have all the evidence, but with a little creativity and analytical prowess, you can start to paint a clearer picture.

Putting it All Together

Enterprise SEO campaigns are not for the faint of heart, my friends. But by understanding the different business models, strategically segmenting your SEM campaigns, and employing intent-based tactics to avoid cannibalization, you can tame even the mightiest of SEM campaign beasts.

It’s a delicate dance, to be sure, but one that can pay dividends in the form of increased brand awareness, customer acquisition, and, most importantly, a healthy bottom line. So embrace your inner lion tamer, my fellow SEO warriors, and let’s take on those wild SEM campaign “beasts” together!

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