Everything I Know about Marketing I learned from Google

Matt Spiegel, Omnicom Media Group

Matt Spiegel
CEO, Digital, Global
Omnicom Media Group
1/15/10

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

Brands can be answers.

What is important about this concept is that search requires that brands think about how to communicate their value proposition beyond the sound bite, jingle, or image ad. People search to get information. Some information gathering (searches) leads to a direct sale, others help inform a future purchase decision. In either case, brands have the opportunity, because of their “brand” status, to be a trusted source of information.

Your competition is broader than you think.

In our early days of managing search campaigns for marketers, we had to frequently illustrate to our clients that their standard competitor list was inadequate. The dynamic nature of search listings and the ubiquity of searching have made it mandatory that companies view their competition through multiple windows — one window is certainly who own the top spots on Google for their preferred keywords.

Search also causes long term partners to have to manage conflict as part of that partnership. At Resolution Media we worked with many retail clients with an e-commerce presence. Search marketing created a direct competition between these retailers and their manufacturing partners. Ultimately, the web (in total) is responsible for this channel conflict but the popularity of search and its importance in driving sales put a spotlight on that fact that retailer and manufacturer partnered at the very same moment they competed for that individual sale.

What companies (besides Google) are putting one or more of these lessons to good use? How?

The list of companies that are putting these lessons in place [is] endless. No company is a leader in every lesson, but most companies operating with an eye towards the increasing importance of digital technology are implementing many of these lessons — be it companies like eBay which are known for their analytical approach to marketing, or pharmaceutical companies that develop relatively non-branded informational websites, or the many retailers that have a more expansive product list online they off. All of these companies are reacting to the impact of the digital platform and no digital tool has been as important to commerce than search and, therefore, Google.

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

Google is unique in a number of ways. Some of those keys in my mind are:

1) Their approach is truly analytical. It’s clear that almost all of their business decisions are rooted in some form of statistical analysis. In most ways this truth is worthy of admiration and adoption. Although, at times, their analytical nature can, at least in a short term way, be limiting.

2) They trust their brand in the hands of their users. I believe one of Google’s core strengths is its willingness and ability to launch consumer products in beta form and quickly improve those products based on consumer feedback. Their “release and improve” strategy has earned them millions of loyal users of their search engine, gmail, google maps, and more and more, [including] their mobile platform, Android.

In today’s marketing world, what are the 3 most important traits you look for in a new hire?

Every job requires different core skill but, as related to Google, Google has certainly shown the importance of hiring individuals that are comfortable:

1) Utilizing data to set a strategy and tell a story

2) Managing imperfections through constant and rapid innovation

3) Leveraging technology to automate and drive improved productivity

In 10 years, what will the role of Google be in the marketing ecosystem?

In 10 years, Google will likely be a source of much of the technical infrastructure for many digitized businesses including, but in no way limited to, marketing and advertising. Google is actively tackling technology challenges that are required to pave the way for a future world that puts intelligent technology at the center of both micro and macro decisions. Three relevant examples are their investments in their mobile platform Android, their investment in cloud based tools and products, and their recent application for power [grid optimization].

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

Smart people with smart technology can accomplish great things.

1/21/10

How did your time in SEM prepare you for your current role?

Google, through AdWords, really created the blueprint for how many forms of media will transact. Search put buyers in the driver’s seat by providing a tool for placing buys and managing success and a market based pricing model that enabled buyers to determine its own value curve. Much of what I’m working on today is leveraging these transactional model in the purchasing of other digital media. In many ways, the challenge is more complex, but the goal is the same — buyer control and visibility into performance.

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