Behind the Scenes with Heather Frahm, Queen of CPG

This week I sat down with our President and co-founder, Heather Frahm, to chat about her recent cover page interview on the topic of Search and CPG in the Winter Issue of Search Marketing Standard.Search Marketing Standard Winter Issue Cover Here Heather talked about her experiences with the world’s largest marketers and their evolution through search adoption. With all of this experience, she is affectionately known as the “Queen of CPG” in many circles, so I wanted to hear firsthand what the monarch had to say.

So, who coined you as the “Queen of CPG?”

I’m not exactly sure, but I like them!

Who do you feel would benefit most from reading your article?

The obvious answer is certainly any brand manager of a CPG would benefit from reading this article. But I have found that companies that want to lean forward as an organization have their CMO’s as well as heads of digital strategies reading articles like this. The overall theme I have seen is that companies that integrate search throughout their marketing efforts are far more successful than those who don’t; and who better to tell that story to than CMOs?

There’s a funny story you tell in the article about a Fortune 500 executive many years ago saying that search marketing is corrupt.  Should we assume he’s been fired by now?

(Laughing) No Comment, it was a she.

You touch on social SEO in the article, on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best, how would you rank most CPG companies with their social SEO strategies?

I’d say 2.  In most cases, the social and search agencies are separate and operating in different silos.  Social agencies don’t have working knowledge of the algorithms and the positive impact the social agencies could have if we aligned on themes and worked together.  And search agencies need to capitalize on all this great social information to create the best search campaigns.  Finally, CPGs need to develop more socially enhanced content that is more conversational and less informational.

Can you go more in depth about “Socially Enhanced Content?”

Sure! I often explain the SEO progression in three steps. The first step, where many CPGs are today, is using search simply to provide information or how-to’s around their products. Many sites like this prominently display FAQs alongside their basic product pages. The second step is occasion related, a great opportunity for brands to utilize their social networks. Think of a brand like Pantene that can feature tips to keep your hair from frizzing during a large rainstorm in the northeast. The last step, where we are encouraging brands to enter, is localized content marketing. Brands need to position themselves as trusted advisors and friends of their consumers. So the same way many of Pantene’s loyalists are asking their friends and family about salon recommendations, Pantene can provide content around the best salons for dyed hair in Boston. For anyone who is interested in learning more about social SEO, be sure to check out Catalyst’s free eBook Social SEO Strategies: Mastering the Art of Social SEO.

If you had a follow-up article to this, is there anything else you’d add to it?

I mentioned the benefits of responsive design in the article, specific to mobile sites. However, I should have made the caveat that I was being specific to North America. Due to phone capability limitations, many brands don’t have the luxury of making responsive design standard across their global sites.

This brings up a larger issue many CPG brands face- how to foster innovation on a global level. Brand Managers can meet the needs of their baseline consumer’s technology or break standardization and innovate in pockets. While it is much harder to manage, I do think brand managers need to combine scalability and standardization with innovation at the local level whenever possible.  

The last thing I would add in a follow-up article would be the importance of Google+. In this very same edition, there is an article that takes an in-depth look at the growth of Google+ and why brands need to act now, which is actually written by one of our Search Managers, Matt Proctor. While many brands discount Google+ as a viable social network, they are overlooking the clear sign that it will change how consumer’s search in the very near future. I definitely recommend reading his article for more information.

In keeping with the digital trend, we learned that this will be the final print edition for Search Marketing Standard. How do you feel about being the last one ever on their cover?

Well, they’re going out with a bang!

And that sounds like the perfect ending. Thank you, Heather.

If you’d like to read the full article by Heather Frahm as well as an article by Matt Proctor, check out the Winter Issue of Search Marketing Standard.

Do you have any questions for Heather Frahm or Matt Proctor? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • Woo Hoo!

    Love the idea of brands positioning themselves as a trusted adviser and a friend by providing insightful, conversational content with focus on the best local places related to the product line offered by a brand.

    Great Interview!

  • Osvaldo O. Pittman

    “If you’re a B2B marketer and you’re not using social technologies in your marketing, it means you’re late.” Josh Bernoff, Forrester.