Founder & CEO, NetElixir Inc
On Search Engine Marketing Technology
MTS: Tell us a little bit about your role at NetElixir and how you got here. (What inspired you to start NetElixir).
I founded NetElixir with the sole purpose of helping businesses succeed online. In my previous role at PartyGaming I had experienced, first-hand, the challenges behind running and scaling a consistently profitable search marketing program. The balance of strategic management and clinical execution, math and art, technology and human expertise is what is required to drive success, but was difficult to achieve. Through a series of paid search experiments run over a span of 14 months, I was able to identify a new system and method of search marketing. This formed the basis of NetElixir.
MTS: How do you see the search engine marketing and optimization markets evolving over the next few years?
I see a number of changes on the horizon:
A) Search engine marketing has morphed into being “discovery marketing”. Searches are no longer just intent driven. The percentage of serendipitous searches have gone up dramatically thanks to the emergence of social search on Facebook, Pinterest, etc.
B) 50%+ share of all searches is from mobile devices. We believe this will go up to 70% by end of this year. Mobile consumer behavior is markedly different from desktop consumer behavior and needless to mention, search marketing has to evolve as well.
C) The emergence of voice search forces marketers to look at search marketing differently
D) Amazon has emerged as the clear leader in product searches and with the growing popularity of Alexa, the battle for “monetizable search queries” will become increasingly interesting over time. Google’s monopoly may finally get threatened
E) Seamless interactivity between connected devices means that the search bar has gotten stretched much beyond just Google. Marketers have to re-think their strategies to be able to “own this search bar.”
MTS: What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?
Connected devices and AI will change digital interactivity forever. These two evolving trends will drive irreversible changes in consumer behavior and marketers will have to rethink their digital marketing strategies. New consumer “habits” will be created because of the smart devices and consumer expectations will get reset. Unless marketers are able to adapt to this rather massive change, they will not be able to effectively compete in this new world.
MTS: What’s the biggest challenge for startups to integrate with a platform like NetElixir into their stack? NetElixir’s LXRGuide uses powerful machine learning algorithms to recommend the “most optimal AdWords strategies” on the fly. The biggest challenge for startups is the “mindset of their paid search manager” who has been used to running AdWords campaign based on what s/he thought was “right”. LXRGuide’s algorithms are like IBM’s chess computer – they are immensely more powerful than most (if not all) paid search managers because they are based on data and logic rather than feelings and beliefs and often LXRGuide’s recommendations will not align with the thought process of the paid search manager. This may pose a challenge.
MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?
We have been keeping a close tab on startups in AI and customer journey analytics space. We believe both these have a transformative impact on how digital marketing will be done tomorrow.
MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
LXRMarketplace Tools and apps, especially sitegrader.
MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success)
On the LXRMarketplace side of our business, we have so many amazing stories that come from the small businesses we’re helping to succeed with search. One example is Priester’s Pecans, which is a small, family-owned business in Alabama. They were working with a search marketing company that simply didn’t have the expertise they needed to succeed. They switched to using LXRGuide and saw incredible results. LXRGuide was able to crunch 40 hours of work into five minutes a week. Priester’s saw their revenue increase by 327% and ROI increase by 200%!
MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?
By having the ability to cut through all the clutter that’s floating in the name of AI and identifying the hidden gems. The fact remains that 99% of tools that peddle as the next big AI innovation are not really AI. We prepare for an AI-centric world by using crowdsourced solutions to solve one AI problem at a time and building on what we have in place for LXRGuide.
This Is How I Work
MTS: One word that best describes how you work.
MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
LXRPlugin – its an excel plugin that we developed last year. It helps me get 40+ analyses pertaining to all our AdWords customers in less than 10 minutes.
MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Never lose site of the BIG PURPOSE and stay true to your CORE VALUES.
MTS: Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
I know that I don’t know, and I try to constantly learn.
MTS: Tag the one person whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Jeff Bezos. I have tremendous admiration for his strategic vision, drive, no-nonsense approach and ability to continuously place big bets.
MTS: Thank you Udayan! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
NetElixir is a rapidly growing search marketing agency with over 12 years of experience working with retailers on their search marketing needs. By helping retailers to decode what makes customers click, NetElixir is helping these businesses succeed online. Its analytical team of industry experts, technology builders and business strategists drive exceptional results and uncover actionable customer insights through a combination of proprietary paid search optimization technology, strategic growth models and expert campaign management services. The company’s LXRMarketplace hub is a destination for small businesses and solo entrepreneurs in need of free or low cost search engine marketing tools. NetElixir is headquartered in Princeton, NJ with wholly owned subsidiary offices in London and Hyderabad, India. For more information, please visit www.NetElixir.com.
Udayan Bose founded NetElixir with a vision to provide online marketers worldwide with a paid search campaign optimization solution capable of delivering magical performance. Prior to starting NetElixir, Udayan was Director of Business Development for PartyGaming, the world’s largest online gaming company. In this role he was responsible for building a new business unit from scratch, PartyBingo that went on to become a major revenue generator for the company. Udayan regularly lectures the MBA classes at the Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University; Zicklin School of Business, Baruch, NY and the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. He has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes and Time magazines. Udayan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and an M.B.A. from Mumbai University, India.