Google Trends and CRM Vendors

Google Trends - CRMIn a previous post, we wrote about interest in marketing automation vendors, based on Google brand searches over the course of 2015.

Not surprisingly, we discovered that the search term “hubspot” registers as having the most interest among marketing automation vendor brands.

We decided to run a similar comparison for CRM vendor brands. Google Trends is limited to five comparison terms, so we picked a range of CRM brands that have come up often in conversation, including two variants of Microsoft’s CRM application. We also chose a five year period, ending in December 2015, to show more of a long term trend.

As with “hubspot” in the marketing automation arena, it’s not surprising that “salesforce” has the highest interest among CRM vendor brands. However, “salesforce” leads the CRM vendor pack by a much wider margin than “hubspot” leads the marketing automation pack. In fact, at the “salesforce” September 2015 high water mark, “dynamics crm” and “microsoft crm” each had only 4% of “salesforce” (hover your cursor over the blue line to see this for yourself).

In terms of interest, “zoho” is a distant second to “salesforce”, followed by “sugarcrm” and our two Microsoft CRM variants.

As companies, Salesforce and Microsoft both have a very high marketing spend. The difference is that virtually all of Salesforce’s marketing is centered on the CRM platform.

Microsoft’s marketing spend is spread across multiple divisions and even across product categories within the divisions. Dynamics CRM is one of nine products within Microsoft Business Solutions.

Based on our observations, there is presumably more value to Microsoft in promoting the overall suite of business solutions than in heavily promoting CRM as a standalone brand.

As a result, in addition to being a three-word brand, “Microsoft Dynamics CRM” is also a relatively ambiguous brand, at least as far as Google search goes. Few people search on the full brand name — they instead fall back on a number of brand variants.

Partly because of this brand ambiguity, “zoho” is second in the above chart, well ahead of Microsoft. Zoho’s vendor brand fits the “Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead” advice that we referenced in the previous post. Make your brand name distinctive and memorable. A two syllable, single word brand name is a plus. In fairness, “zoho” is also searched for its non-CRM components.

Google Sitelinks and CRM Vendor Brands

Brand ambiguity causes other search related disadvantage. Google does not give Microsoft Dynamics CRM any sitelinks or Knowledge Graph sidebar panels on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

However, Salesforce and Sugar have both. Zoho has sitelinks on the SERPs.

Is Google search the be all and end all for brand discovery? No, but a non-ambiguous brand certainly helps with organic website traffic.

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