Everything I Know about Marketing I learned from Google

Scott Shamberg, Critical Mass

Scott Shamberg
SVP, Marketing and Media
Critical Mass
2/3/10

Which of the lessons I’ve outlined resonates with you the most and why?

I don’t believe in interruption. Consumers will tune out when forced to tune in as it pertains to display. No form of SEM [search engine marketing] to me qualifies as interruption as it is all user initiated. Showing off assets is the one that resonates with me.Content is king is a cliché but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. As we move forward content is going to drive digital marketing in ways we haven’t seen and all of that content needs to be findable. Being where your audience is doesn’t go far enough. I agree with the concept but I think it’s be there WHEN your audience is ready to engage with you. In other words, be on demand.

How have your clients put one or more of these lessons to good use?

Most of our clients now start with a process that is driven by insights and leads to what we call a Distribution Map. That map combines audience insights with marketing objectives to provide a hierarchy of channels in which brands can communicate. Clients who follow this will always be where their customers expect them to be, [but] they will [also] be in places where maybe the customer doesn’t expect them to be even though it is still the right place and as a result that brand will truly be on demand.

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

I am not one who buys into the theory that everything Google touches turns to gold. They have rolled out some products with marginal success and some with no success at all. I’m not sure I would use the word unique. I think for a long time they followed the Good To Great model of being the best at one thing in the world. The result of that were unprecedented market share and a first mover advantage that may never be matched. Sure, the algorithms were unique and gave them a differentiator and they hire only the best of the best. But, eventually, digital consumption will be the first option for entertainment as well as information and Google’s unique model will need to adapt.

Is Google a friend or foe to the ad agency community? Why?

I would say a friend for two reasons. One, their move into the agency model with online bookings of print and radio did not work out, even with local and small businesses. Second, the agency model, at least the current digital model, is becoming more and more about the creation and implementation of strategy and new ways to measure the impact of that strategy. Google can be a player in measurement but I am not sure they can or want to provide the level of strategy that brands need.

You’re a champion of distributing brand experiences. Why is this so important?

Because the Web by nature is two things – experiential and interactive. At first, it was ok to drive consumers to the experience. But now they are the VIP in the night club. They want the velvet rope up, they want the bottle service, and they want to be seen and heard. If brands want into their wallets, they have to go to them on their terms and be willing to follow them without stalking them. It’s a very tough balance.

Lesson #17 is “Show Off Your Assets.” The idea is that marketers must make all of their archival assets available because every old file is a potential way to get found. Besides, a lot of time and effort went in to creating them so why not extend their shelf-life? Do you agree with this POV [point-of-view]? Why or why not?

Absolutely. I said it before. Content is king.

The more you have that is tagged and searchable the better off you will be. Look, every client in the world is saying “more for less”. We look at content in one of three ways – existing, in the can stuff you can re-purpose, user generated and digital original. Brands can and should use all three but they need to identify how the consumer will interact. Is it searchable, syndicated or social?

Does the short-term promotional microsite still have a place in today’s marketing mix?

I don’t believe so, no. Why create a micro-site when you can do so much of that same functionality in a banner or on Facebook. The site will always have a purpose but it’s more of a hub for brands than a living, breathing element of a marketing plan. They do it and they feel comfortable that they have a digital program.

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