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Google, The Anti-Advertising Advertising Company

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Google’s a bit of a mystery to many marketers; how does a company rise to the position Google is in within the advertising industry without doing much advertising themselves?

This AP article goes into detail about how little Google spends on advertising compared to giant competitors like Microsoft and eBay, but neglects that Google does focus a bit on product placement and business-to-business advertising.

Anytime you see the Google logo in a movie or on TV, that’s product placement, usually on the other side of an Apple notebook. Google advertises with WebProNews, for example, a business-to-business publication.

As for the business-to-consumer side of things, well, Google doesn’t do much. Painfully little, actually. The aforementioned article paints it as a good thing – they keep some nice margins being the anti-advertising advertising company.

Perhaps Google is still a search company at heart, and not admitting its newfound role as advertising and media powerhouse, but the truth is, search and search advertising is the only space the company dominates.

And they’ve done that via word-of-mouth, winning the public by providing a search engine that works better than anybody else’s. But what about the rest of their products?

Remember Google Base? Nobody outside this room does. It was never a contender, not even for a second a challenge to eBay. But that may be because Google relied mostly on what it most often relies on – word-of-mouth and press coverage.

Google Checkout is a bit more successful. Why? Because the company rather heavily promoted it last Christmas, and you can expect that again this Holiday Season, I’d imagine.

But in general, Google tosses products out there to sink or swim – Marissa Mayer just last year noted how they expected 80 percent of their products to fail. That’s a really interesting way of going about your business, but not necessarily a good way.

They can afford a certain volume of failed products because their core product is and always will be search. But it seems strange to abandon good ideas by not promoting them. Heck, if Google’s running two-thirds of all searches, it wouldn’t be difficult to throw some text out there to promote other products.

Then again, they’ve made it to over $600 per share by doing what they do. Who am I to criticize? They’re a big target and I’ve got a big mouth, but it seems to me a waste of product and opportunity for growth.

Google, The Anti-Advertising Advertising Company
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