David Bullock was a mentor for Theme Zoom Co-Inventor Russell Wright early in his Internet Marketing career. The focus of learning was split-testing and conversion testing. David Bullock contributed IP (intellectual property) to a number of applications during the course of his own career, and was not always given credit for his contribution. The primary topics of expertise Wright associates with David Bullock include:
1) Split testing and the Taguchi Split Test method. Rumor has it that Bullock studied directly with Taguchi.
2) Conversion metrics and accountability.
3) Good business sense and strong business accument. (David Bullock is an excellent consultant for a business reality check).
David Bullock: This is Dave Bullock, davidbullock.com. I am interviewing Russell Wright from Themezoom today. We will be asking the tough questions, and hopefully get some good answers.
Russell Wright: OK.
David: Russell, give me the corporate story on Themezoom. Where did it come from, really?
Russell: Well, actually, Themezoom was developed out of a lot of pain in the area of keyword research and SEO. What happened is that I was doing keyword research for a very large corporation. I was trying to take a lot of different bits of data and put it together to make the best choices for my clients based on which keywords to use. What was happening is I was getting a lot of difficult and unrelated data from a lot of different tools in the marketplace. I was trying to create a coherent picture of our model of what was happening in the market and I couldn’t do it by hand because I really wanted the big picture.
And, I was really confused about the difference between keyword research and market research. I used to think that they were the same thing. And I know you really know that that’s the case. But, the story is really interesting. So, what I did is I got an interview with Sue. Actually, I was talking to Sue Bell. And this was early on in our relationship.
I knew that she was a good programmer, but I didn’t know that she was a military industrial programmer with some heavy duty stuff that she had done. And so, when she was talking to me about all of the other keyword tools that are out there, and how they needed to be integrated, and how you needed to think bigger; not just about your keywords but about how it integrates with the web, and how, I mean, her mind just immediately went into this huge place of how to put it all together in some kind of uber program.
And at the time, I thought this was an impossible thing. As it turns out, a lot of other people had viewed that kind of level of integration as very impossible as well. So, they hadn’t even attempted to create a whole system to integrate the whole lifecycle of the keywords, that is, the whole educational buying cycle throughout the whole buying cycle of a. . .
David: A transaction.
Russell: Yeah, a transaction! And so, I was thinking in terms of, you know, just tell me, what are the best keywords to use on my website? And she was thinking in terms of how do you track, monitor and engage the entire conversation from beginning to end, and then build and dig into that conversation to get more value out of it and keep building your empire based on that.
David: We take it a little bit further. You look at the website as an environment, and you actually drop the keyword or the visitor who is in a conversation into an environment. And now, you have them there. The key is to get them in the proper conversation first, then take them into the environment that will cause them to transact. Then they transact, and you move them forward. Now, whether they are looking for new information or they are looking to purchase, those are two separate ends of the spectrum from my perspective of things. You are actually looking for what they call the money keywords. Talk to me about the money keywords. What is that all about?
Russell: Show me the money. I mean, basically what happened is, for us, we have nine species of keywords, the most important one being the money keyword. The money keyword is any keyword idea that had directly led to a trackable or measurable sale. Once you have a measurable sale, you can extrapolate data from the market based on that keyword much more accurately than when you are just guessing. A lot of people out there are building websites based on estimated data, guesswork, keywords that they think might work from various data sources.
But the reality is, you can integrate all of the different keywords at the various phases in what I call the lifecycle of the keyword to determine where that word or idea is within the buying cycle. So the money keyword is, if it’s converted, you can track, it’s measurable, you can tell that it’s given direct results that ended up in a transaction or sale.
David: I know that the Themezoom tool takes into account more than just traffic. A lot of the keyword tools that are out there talk about just traffic. How many people search for this term? I know that this Themezoom tool does more because it looks at actually the market potential, the cost, traffic, number of clicks, number of searches. Talk to me about that. What makes the Themezoom tool different as far as integrating all the real data required to actually make a real, valid decision?
Russell: Well, that’s important. We take into account data from pay per click search engines. And so we have a good idea of the value of a keyword overall because in the pay per click environment, you know if someone has paid a certain amount of money, it’s either converted or not, or it’s had clicks or not. That’s one stream of data which you should consider. But then there’s also the natural search engines. The natural search engines are a different kind of environment. In fact, I’ve talked before with associates like Jerry West and the rest where we believe in some ways, in some markets, it is a completely different market segment of people using pay per click versus natural search engines. So we also take into account the number of queries on Google on a monthly and yearly basis for the natural keywords.
The idea is to bring all of those together in a perpetual cycle of integration so that you can make choices, much better choices than anyone who is not considering both paid dollar amounts and natural organic listings. We take those together, and we have a proprietary technology that takes into account something called co occurrence.
Co occurrence allows you to take a look at the natural engines around major markets and not just focus on a single keyword and its rankings, which is great but it’s not the whole story, but focus on swallowing the entire market whole, based on a global view, a top down view of all the keywords and the associative co occurrences.
And, co occurrences are how a major idea relates to all of the baby ideas, or the children ideas, within that idea. What you can see, with children, are the most important related to the top idea. You can go to your client with how much money is in that market, how much traffic is in that market, how many general queries are in that market. Your competitor has no hope of keeping up with you.
Russell: They really don’t, because you’re looking at a global view, rather than just a piecemeal view of the market. So, we provide that market thumbprint, or that market map, of global, vertical online research. Does that make sense?
David: That makes good sense. It’s not too much to think of what comes to mind there is, that sounds like many years worth of data. You’re not just looking for searches, you’re not just looking for traffic, you’re not just looking for pay per click. You’re looking at it all together. And, you’re making correlations between one channel of data versus another, versus another, versus another, versus another. This sounds like a massive amount of data that then needs to be massaged to become meaningful. It’s not just data becomes information that you can then act upon.
So, if I’m hearing this right, this is a very significant endeavor and quite an accomplishment, a technical accomplishment, because I’m not seeing this anywhere else. This is not a typical keyword research tool.
Russell: No, no you can’t find this kind of technology anywhere in the world. And, when you get close to it, you’re dealing with major archival systems like the Library of Congress and these other kinds of things. But, not only that, those systems aren’t wired for marketing. They’re not wired to give you a value of the market, to help you put a dollar amount on the words, whereas our system is. And, this is not, it used to take, like when Sue and I were compiling a site based on this kind of data by hand, it could take you up to a week or two just to get to the basic keyword structure of the whole relationship.
Cracking some of the drilldowns and cracking for major markets in about an hour. We can cover thousands of keywords within a market, and tell you exactly what place they belong in, what their place is in the hierarchy of your site, as well as in the hierarchy of your vertical.
David: So, done the right way, if someone were to partake of your tool, you can get a market map. You can see the market, how it’s moving, where it’s been and how it could possibly evolve.
Russell: That’s correct. If you know what you’re doing, you can look at, in fact, you can extract every last drop, every keyword within an entire vertical that has any dollar bill tied to it, and the ones that do not. The keywords that do not have money tied to them, that are not useful in a pay per click environment, are called educational keywords. We still provide the queries on Google for those. If you take an extrapolation, you can see what is happening in the market. You can prioritize a list of words that are high dollar, and take a look at all the data. And the ones that are maybe less on your priority list you can put towards the back to add page or content later on.
In fact, we originally designed Themezoom 3.0 to be a content selection prioritization system. So when we integrated that into this, that’s all very easily approachable now. So you can very methodically own your market over time.
You don’t have to take Heaven by storm. You can gradually create a schedule over a month or a year to drip keywords and specific associated relationships in articles in their appropriate frame. Or, you can take Heaven by storm if you have the budget, and own an entire vertical very clearly.
David: So, it sounds like, done the right way, this is the ultimate marketing intelligence tool, business intelligence tool, as well as just being able to really see what is happening in your market from a profitability standpoint and not just a traffic standpoint. Is that a true statement?
Russell: Yeah, very much so. In fact we are moving away from having a myopic view of the web from an Internet marketing perspective, or even from an SEO perspective. We have to, as we move more and more to multi channel marketing, and as the digitization of physical space, that is as offline products and services begin to be tracked on the web, and all kinds of things like that, people need to be aware of their whole vertical market s and think much bigger than just owning a little piece or whether they’re ranking for a page or not. Rankings will become secondary to sales and conversion and business models over the next two to three years in the symantec web.
David: Sounds good. Well, thank you for that overview on Themezoom and what it does and how it works. We’ll talk again soon.
Russell: Good. Thank you.
David: Thanks, Russell.
Russell: Thanks, David. [End of recorded material]