Here’s a fairly extensive Q&A I did with Guy Kawasaki for Amex OPEN Forum. In it, I share some practical tips for applying my Googley Lessons to the SMB space and also take some shots at Rupert Murdoch and those new-fangled check-in social media platforms. Thank you Guy for the opportunity to “open” up a bit here!
If you’ve never been to Catalyst Ranch, it’s quite the unique venue filled with all the accoutrements to satisfy your ADD. Think play-dough and pipe cleaners… ok, stop thinking about them and get back to my email!
During this session (which will only go 60-90 minutes, leaving the rest for socializing), I’ll be toggling between white-board exercises, powerpoint (no more than 7 words per slide, promise!) and rapping.
As you know, I’m not one for over-hyping (hah!) but I’m fixin’ to outdo the 2 minute rap I threw down at SES Chicago a few weeks ago.
Counting on audience participation throughout so bring your energy, ideas, and beat-boxes. :)
Here are the nitty-gritty deets. See the email below for the full pitch. And feel free to invite others.
Date: Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 from 6pm to 8:30 pm
Location: Catalyst Ranch, 656 W Randolph St, Chicago
Cost: $20/person or 2 new children’s books (all proceeds & books will be donated to Open Books). Light refreshments will be served.
Hope to see you there! Please register through this link.
McGraw-Hill facilitated some Q&A for me with Michael Mink of Investor’s Business Daily for his piece, “Click with Social Media.”
Mink does a great job of threading together insights from a number of various authors to show how social marketing “can be low cost, high reward.” I’d definitely suggest investing some time in reading through his column.
Here’s the full Q&A:
What is the “Big Picture” idea of “Everything I Know About Marketing I learned From Google?”
The big picture idea is that any organization — regardless of size or category — can apply lessons learned from Google to better engage new and current customers.
Many people think the secret to Google’s success is some complex algorithm or similar marvel of engineering.
The truth is that Google just applied some tried and true marketing principles to drive usage and revenue.
The goal of my book is to demystify Google and share the key elements of its success so that any business executive can inject a little Google juice intro his or her organization.
What are [some] tips that business people can start implementing right now that will make the most difference in their marketing with respect to the information in [your] book?
Here are 5 “Googley Lessons” from my book that business executives can act on right away:
1. Keep it simple, stupid.
There’s nothing simpler than Google.com. There’s no ambiguity over what the product is or how to use it.
How can you bring Google-like clarity to your business? One way is to perfect your Twitter Pitch. Describe your company in under 140 characters. Then shrink it to 95 characters and run it as a text ad on Google. Experiment with different versions and see what works best.
2. Be where your audience is.
Google doesn’t make you go to Google.com to Google things. You can Google from your desktop, toolbar, mobile phone, and anywhere else where there’s an Internet connection.
In today’s world of infinite sources of information and entertainment, it’s critical to bring your brand to your audience and not what for it to come to you. Your website should be your hub but you need spokes everywhere your audience is spending time. The first step is figuring out where your audience is. There are great tools available from the likes of comScore, Experian Hitwise, and, yes, Google (AdPlanner) to see where your target customers are on the Internet.
3. Test everything.
Google is fanatic about testing. It once tested 41 different shades of blue for a toolbar. But Google doesn’t test in focus groups. It tests in live environments. There’s no better way to gauge performance.
Rather than wait to go to market until you’ve got everything buttoned up, launch your product or your ad campaign as quickly as possible and use real-time customer feedback to tweak and iterate until you’ve found the right combination. The only failed test is the one that never happens.
4. Make your company a great story.
Who doesn’t know the one about the 2 guys at Stanford that crashed the university’s servers with its new web crawler? Or the one about the company that gives its employees free food, massages, laundry, and transportation? Or the one about the company that uses goats to mow its lawns?
Generating word of mouth requires more than just creating a great product. It requires creating a great story — nay, becoming a great story. How can you make your brand more memorable? You don’t have to reinvent yourself. Just give people something to talk about. For example, if you’re a retailer, stock your cash register with $2 bills and give people a reason to tell others about their experience in your store.
5. You can learn a lot from a query.
Every day, billions of people around the world tell Google what’s on their mind. Google uses this data to deliver targeted ads to the tune of $20+ billion annually.
How can you use search data to drive growth for your company? Track query volume for specific products to adjust your offering and/or features. Monitor query volume in certain geographic regions to help prioritize expansion plans. Measure query volume for your brand name to gauge the effectiveness of your other marketing efforts.
When it’s all said and done, what makes the most difference and is the best use of a company’s or their executives’ time and money in the digital and social media marketing space?
At the end of the day, if I had to pinpoint one reason for Google’s success, I’d say that it figured out how to be relevant. It created a product that’s highly relevant (read: indispensible) to anyone using the Internet. And it created that product based on new and innovative ways of determining relevancy based on what people are looking for and what assets are available.
As a business executive, when thinking about digital marketing and social media, you must make yourself relevant. Build a brand that’s relevant to your target audience(s). And create assets that Google will deem relevant to people searching for related products and services.
Getting to the top of Google is not about gaming the system. It’s about proving relevancy. If you can’t get a #1 ranking then you’re not as relevant to your audience (or the product/service being searched) as you think. Find new and innovative ways to demonstrate your relevance and Google will reward you. And so will your customers.
Today ClickZ ran a Q&A I did with Stewart Quealy under the heading, “Marketing Lessons from Google.” I’ve known Stew for quite some time and always enjoy side-barring with him at SES shows so it was nice to riff a bit out in the open. Speaking of, I’ll be speaking at SES Chicago on 10/21 on how to leverage SEM across other marketing channels. Good chance my alter ego, Tha Lyrical G, will make an appearance so make sure to bring your video camera (and earmuffs).
I did a little Q&A with Dan Butcher from Mobile Marketer for his piece on “Can Google Make Money from Mobile?”
Here’s the full transcript…
What is your take on Google’s mobile strategy, and how it fits into its overall plans for generating revenue?
Mobile is a huge opportunity for Google. Eric Schmidt has said over and over that the mobile advertising market will be bigger than the “fixed” web. That’s why Android is getting so much attention. And that’s why Google threw down $750 million for AdMob.
In my book, chapter 5 talks about being where your audience is. Google’s audience is anyone using the Internet. Every day, more and more people are accessing the Web from their mobile devices. Therefore, Google needs to be there.
Android allows Google to control the user-experience and make sure search is front and center so it can make money off search ads. And AdMob allows Google to cash in on ads via mobile sites and apps.
Given that Android is open source, how does having a mobile operating system benefit the company’s bottom line?
The bottom line revenue impact for Android is primarily through search ads. By having direct access to mobile users, Google can make sure search is always baked into the experience. And if Apple were to lock out AdMob or change the search default to Bing on the iPhone OS, Google wouldn’t be totally screwed.
At some point, every business will have a mobile app, the way every business today has a website. If Google can get the millions of mom and pop advertisers that buy search ads on the fixed web to buy ads on the mobile web, the long tail revenue will be huge. The first step towards that is helping these businesses create mobile assets. Open-source is key and Google App Inventor is a great example of how to convert the mom and pops.
Will Google be as successful monetizing mobile search as it has been monetizing search via PCs?
Yes. The key to PC-search for Google is having a large enough pool of advertisers that it can show a relevant ad (or 10) for every possible query. That makes it a good user-experience. If the ads aren’t relevant, people won’t click.
Beyond just mobile web search though, there are opportunities for Google to put relevant ads in SMS, Voice, and Image search. These formats really take advantage of the unique features of mobile.
What companies do you see as Google’s main competitors in the mobile space, and what are Google’s prospects for success going forward?
Apple is the one I’d be most concerned about if I were Google. Sure Microsoft is a player and the Bing mobile search app is nice. But, just like with the fixed web, Bing’s still playing catch-up and copycat.
Apple on the other hand is taking a totally different approach. Now I’m not in love with iAd but I do think that format has legs for brand advertisers. What I am in love with is Siri, the “virtual personal assistant” that Apple bought back in April.
In chapter 21 of my book I talk about the potential for app-ssistants like Siri to supplant search. Rather than do a bunch of search queries to plan a trip or a date night, you can just send one instruction to your app-ssistant and get back a personalized itinerary based on your preferences.
If I’m Google, the idea that someone might skip me completely in the process of performing this kind of commercial transaction would definitely be keeping me up at night. That said, I have no doubt Google will find a play in the world of app-ssistants and I explore a few different paths it may take in my book.