Marketing Mix: Google's Got It

by Michael Hubbard on August 4, 2009

in Media,Search

If you’ve read my posts before, you already know I’m a firm believer in Google. Not just because they dominate the search arena, but because of all of the other intangibles that they bring to the table. Well – they’ve outdone themselves now, as they’ve stepped into my world of Marketing – and damn it, they’re doing it the way we tell everyone it should be done – with a solid Mix!

bulletinboardThis morning I was reading the different articles about how everyone was shocked that Google had good old fashion billboards up across the country. The image of the Billboard here in my post was blatantly stolen from this Media Post article – which I also recommend you read. Common comments on Twitter were along the lines of “why would a gazillion dollar tech company put ads on a billboard?” – to which I was more than shocked how little people understood a solid marketing mix.

I live in the interactive world, so I know we get credit for a lot of conversions – but the reality is, people don’t search in a vacuum and they definitely don’t live on the internet (although some studies about teenagers I’ve seen tells me otherwise). So why are people shocked when they drive in their car that they are exposed to an ad? Just because Chrysler went bankrupt doesn’t mean we stopped driving our car does it? Do Tech Directors tele-port into the office? You see where my logic is pretty sound in common sense – so don’t let firms fool you into thinking the only way to get a conversion is with a Search ad when not even Google themselves believes that!

Of course, further evidence of “Google Getting It” could only happen when I opened up to read an article on VMWare (same audience that would be intrigued by that billboard on their way into work) only to see this banner ad appear on top of the page:

Google Gets Marketing Mix

Google Gets Marketing Mix

So to recap… I saw a billboard on my drive in. I’m a tech director kind of guy (work with me on this part). I hop online in the MORNING after my drive in to view Tech Web to read about virtual servers and services, and I come across a banner ad for Google Apps – which is, oh wait – virtual services. Now the marketing person in me jumps into action because I see they are referencing in the banner ad “Patch Tuesday” – which is nothing more than the day Microsoft releases their software patches to the techies of the world… So I Search on Google the key word “patch tuesday” – and what do I find? The only adwords ad on the page (of course, it’s also properly coded with Google Analytics):

Does “Patch Tuesday” turn
into Patch Tuesday, Wednesday and
Thursday? End the cycle. Go Google.

There were a couple things missing from this campaign though… A presence on Yahoo and Bing. I know – we’d never want to give money to the competitors, but Bing alone makes sense if you’re trying to lure Microsoft techies over to Google, it begs to reason that they might also use Microsoft’s search technology. Otherwise, about the only other thing missing from this campaign was the SEO optimization – which I can imagine Google might have a person or two who could handle that as well :) . All-in-all, this is the kind of marketing mix everyone should be taking… Be a part of their entire day, and then make sure you’re positioned securely to track your results and optimize based on ROI. Goes without saying – but Great Work Google Marketing Department!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Seth Hargrave Seth Hargrave August 4, 2009 at 10:54 am

Interesting, and obviously something they’ve researched and pursued with their own integration of traditional media buying vehicles in AdWords. But what about taking this even further from a strategy standpoint? I see outdoor as a huge (and untapped) opportunity to converge with interactive. Billboards are nice, but integrate that with location targeting such as park benches or bus stops outside of Starbucks – a safe assumption to be frequented by techies with laptops – and test against the billboards for efficacy.


Michael Hubbard michaelhubbard August 4, 2009 at 11:02 am

Only thing I would say to that Seth is that we just don’t know… I never actually saw the billboards, so maybe there are park benches and what not that go along with it. If anyone has any insider information on the full plan/strategy – I’d love to hear it!


Mike Atkinson August 4, 2009 at 12:23 pm

The biggest takeaway is that people DON’T search in a vacuum, so it is important to have these connections and reinforce your brand, or in this case, your message. That said, if people are being critical, it’s probably because Google choose to use billboards in their mix. Now, we are not privyed to their entire marketing plan in this case, so it may be a small part of the picture here. Isn’t ironic that Google, the most targeted media on the planet, chose a channel that is as broad that they come? I mean, sure. You can put your billboard along side the route to say, the RTP, where tons of tech companies are headquartered…but really, in our world that’s RON on Overall, good stuff though…connection marketing is indeed important.


Jon Kenney August 4, 2009 at 2:37 pm

That is a very valid blog post in the argument for having a complete marketing mix that encompasses all channels. Nothing embodies that better than having one of the largest companies in the interactive space in the world make effective use of traditional mediums in a campaign. To speak to what was said before, we don’t search in a vaccum, and we are all consumers of media throughout the day in several forms. Traditional channels just help to keep an online brand top of mind when you aren’t at your computer. Makes sense to me.


john tarsi August 4, 2009 at 3:18 pm

I understand Google’s logic and like the fact they are venturing into traditional media for the first time. The cool part, to me, is I’m sure they are going to review their Analytics to gauge traffic from the zipcodes in and surrounding their billboard placements. Along with this being a branding initiative they are inevitably going to tie it back to an ROI or some KPI. This, of course is something anyone doing traditional advertising should do as well.


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