Google on TV?

by Tony Fannin, president, BE Branded

Did you see that? Google is advertising on prime time TV! What are they doing advertising in traditional media? It this heresy? I don’t think so. It’s just smart marketing. One thing Google is, is smart. In reality, this isn’t their only venture into traditional media over the years. In 2007, they spent approximately $850 million in sales and marketing and a huge portion of that was in print, billboards, and bus wraps in major cities around the U.S. In fact, their ad budget is about 8% of their projected revenues. That’s very normal. We usually recommend to our clients they spend about that much as well, so Google is spending the industry norm in marketing and advertising. So, you may be asking, why was Google using TV to sell Chrome?

Google understands that some products needs to be blasted out there to the masses. Chrome is one of the them. They know to compete in the smart phone category, they must match the efforts of Apple and RIM. Traditional media is just one arena where this battle is taking place. Even the second tier players (Sprint, LG, etc.) are utilizing traditional media in a big way. This is not to say, online marketing isn’t getting their share of the marketing budget and social media is being primed as well, but it may catch some by surprise that Google, of all people, is utilizing every piece of marketing artillery at their disposal. I applaud them for not being such purist to the point where they end up hurting their product launch just to say "they don’t do old school". They are smart and smart marketers don’t rule out anything without a good reason. For example, an agency in Minnesota was launching a marketing campaign for a bike manufacturer. Part of that campaign was a social media push. To promote the social media campaign, the agency used a tactic as low tech as you can get; giant airplane banners. The end result was their facebook page was "set ablaze" with friends, fans, and followers. How counterintuitive is that, promote an online property with old school tactics?

The main idea is that we are still people who live in a physical world. Yes, we have online lives, but a lot of our day is spent walking around, shopping, going to, and living in a real, physical place. Not a virtual world. This is also evident in the number of networking groups that are popping up everywhere. People are wanting human connection, face-to-face encounters that are meaningful. It’s fun to have a zillion friends, but where’s the fulfillment in that? Authentic, human connection is still the ultimate way to communicate and to create lasting relationships. That is what great marketing and branding does. It connects in a human way. People are deeper than just stats, charts, and reports. It’s the intangibles that makes us loyal customers. It’s the emotional connection that keeps your brand from being a commodity.

Smart marketers know when to use what tactic. They don’t handicap themselves by limiting their marketing to the tech flavor of the week. They go where their customers hang out, even if it’s in front of the TV.

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