Everything I Know about Marketing I learned from Google

Damian Blackden, Omnicom Media Group

Damian Blackden
President, Digital, Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA)
Omnicom Media Group

Which of my lessons resonates with you the most and why?

Unquestionably, it’s Relevancy Rules. The business of media is delivering marketing communications at the right time, in the right place, in the right form as competitively as possible. Google and other technologies in its sector are driving progress in two ways:

1. By giving us the means to eliminate wastage and only connect with the warmest prospects. In fact, we can decide whether to buy or not buy display advertising on an impact by impact basis, and dynamically set the price point at which we value an individual.

2. By giving us online tools and services that can deliver a brand’s promise via its actual behavior in media rather than just by messaging through words and images.

Relevancy, therefore, gives us permission to be interruptive, to be disruptive and to use behavioral data to enhance the marketing that consumers experience.

How do digital marketing best practices differ in EMEA vs. North America?

There is no EMEA. There’s a collection of very different markets, each characterized by its own social, cultural, economic and technological drivers. The key to success is to balance international consistencies and efficiencies with a high degree of local relevance.

What’s your perception of the differences in how Google operates in EMEA vs. North America?

Google is engaged in managing the above challenge, and is aided by Yahoo’s relative weakness in the search market vs the latter’s market position in the US.

What makes Google such a unique company? Why has it been so successful?

It’s ruthlessly focused on relevancy and simplicity at all costs. These have powered its search success in terms of consumer usage and marketer ROI [return on investment]. Its success has given it the fiscal flexibility to create free applications and services — and its scale a platform to drive their usage.

In 10 years, how will the marketing world be different and what will Google’s role be in the ecosystem?

Techniques will have polarized into 1) commoditized messages, defined by how well they can be targeted, how cheaply they can be bought, and how effectively they can be adjusted in flight, and (2) bespoke experiences and content which will barely be recognizable as marketing because they will be a significant proportion of the core content and services that consumers seek out and use.

Google will be a major operator in the targeting, delivery and management of the commoditized activities, and a facilitator of the content and experiences via its publishing platforms and O/S [operating system].

In less than 140 characters, what’s the single most important thing you’ve learned from Google?

Simplicity and relevancy combined can be equally magnetic as compelling content.

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