Sometimes having too many smart people with a singular focus in a room can hurt you. I’m beginning to believe this is the case at Google; too many PhD’s in mathematics and computer science, not enough marketers in the room who don’t have any skin in the game. Someone who can be objective about what they see and the best way to capitalize it. It seems that Google just never gets it.
Enter the + (And Everything Else Google Launched Yesterday)
Google + made its appearance to the world yesterday. I haven’t used it and can’t speak to it. What I can speak to is the unveiling strategy of Google+ and how oddly familiar it is to Google Wave’s introduction. And, if we’re keeping score on this one, I was right about Google Wave in the end. As Danny Sullivan said yesterday:
Product List and Reading Materials from 6-28-2011
Because Google pushed so much out the door yesterday, it’s hard to keep track of everything that surfaced. I’m not even sure this is a complete list, but there are some very interesting things that happened yesterday.
- Google Swiffy
- Google What Do You Love (WDYL) Search
- Google’s Aesthetic New Black Toolbar
- Google Places New Look
Whew. That’s an awful lot of stuff to throw at the wall, especially in one day. While everyone is phreaking on Google+, quietly Google put out an awesome resource of Swiffy, converting SWF files to HTML 5. And the changes to the Google Places page is very interesting too, along with the toolbar change.
Throwing Crap Against the Wall
I think even hack, unseasoned marketers know that’s probably not the best way to introduce products to market place or the public. It’s the, forgive the language here, “Shit Stick” method. You throw as much shit at the wall as you can, and see what sticks and holds. For company that has, what seems to be, an unlimited marketing and product development budget, I guess this can be successful.
I’d argue that it makes more fiscal sense, as well as marketing sense, to develop one or two great ideas and create an intriguing, solid go-to-market strategy. But, you say, that’s what Google did with Google Wave.
Google Can’t Market Worth a Damn
Say “STOP” when this sounds familiar: groundbreaking product, huge hype (over-hype), limited admission (huge bottleneck) in order to create the appearance of exclusivity disguised as “slow testing”, and little to no mention from anyone outside the tech and search industry. Wow, that’s exactly what Google Wave was. But, it’s also Google+’s entry into the market place. It has the same scent as Google Wave, same short-sidedness as Google Wave, and nearly the same go-to-market strategy as Google Wave.
Marketing to the Technological Elite Isn’t a Great General Marketing Strategy
Can Google please hire just one marketer to sit in these “product launch” meetings? You know, someone who knows a little bit of something about the general populous, societal behavior, and how to get people into using a product? Because Google hasn’t done it right, again. Unless of course, they only want the tech and search community to use the tool?
What Google is trying to do is get people who don’t need Google+ to use it. And the best way to do that is to explain the benefit and the need to general populous. Not to the people who will use it anyway. They market this product to the people who, for the most part, are fluent in technology and not to folks that aren’t. And that, people, is how scores are kept: can you make this product attractive to someone who doesn’t need it (right now) and make them use it? That is where market saturation is reached. They’ve got it backwards: Google markets to the technological elite and savvy and hopes it filters down to the general public.
And, if Google ties employee bonuses to social product success, as reported by Geekosystem, then their products will consistently fail. Yes, that’s an attractive carrot to dangle; however, in my opinion, people only work just hard enough to achieve bonus levels. Meaning, the initial push should secure the bonus and then no one has to care.
Sacrificing the Core for The Next Big Thing?
Dave Winer’s post “Google Yawn” is an interesting one, and I think it hits home the point: killing who you are and what you do to be everything to everyone. I don’t know how Google+ will shake out because I haven’t used it. I hope it succeeds, I really do. But, if you’re asking me based on the go-to-market strategy, then I say it has a very slim chance of survival past 9 months. Google product launches are nothing more, to me, than a big, expensive firework: huge explosion, flashy presentation, loud noises, and they fizzle away into oblivion.