For a company that has long relied on word of mouth to promote its products — Google has been going crazy with advertising lately. This summer the company launched an old school ad campaign, complete with billboard and print ads, to promote its cloud-based apps business. And now the company is announcing that its "Going Google" billboard campaign will be going global, with more print, online and outdoor ads promoting the Google suite of office products.
Tom Oliveri, director of enterprise marketing at Google, tells The New York Times this will be “one of the most visible Google has done and the most significant campaign for the enterprise side.” The company is also looking to hire two big marketing titles.
Is the this notoriously anti-marketing company changing its tune on advertising? Maybe. But not because of changes in the search business.
According to ClickZ, Google is starting to get scared about the progress that Microsoft has made with Bing over the last few months. That's why Google is suddenly hiring a director of Marketing, Media and Platforms and a Head of Marketing, Americas.
A source tells ClickZ:
"Google continues to be successful, but they have a strong competitor for the first time from the launch of Bing and the combination of Yahoo and Microsoft."
But the numbers don't quite add up. Bing has gained ground on search, but Google has increased its dominance of the market. Google handled 71% of all U.S. Internet searches in the four weeks ending October 3, while Yahoo! and Bing accounted for 16.38% and 8.96% respectively, according to Hitwise. And ComScore said last week that Bing increase of .1% in September came out of Yahoo's pocket. Yahoo fell half a percent to 18.8% of the search market compared to Google's increase from 64.6% to 64.9%, according to ComScore.
Rather than spending its dollars to increase Google's notoriety in search, it's more likely that the search giant is trying to increase awareness in its other divisions. The company needs to show consumers and businesses that currently use Microsoft Office products, purchase display advertising and care about social media that they will prefer Google's products — like Google apps, the DoubleClick Ad Exchange and Google Wave.
Higher ups at Google have an ingrained disdain of advertising and marketing (as ClickZ' source puts it: "Larry, Sergey, and Eric don't really believe in advertising and marketing.") But when it comes to some of Google's newer products, there are established players in those areas, and consumers are not accustomed to dealing with Google.
Google once made headlines for not allowing any advertising on its home page, but the company has been buying up space to promote its services — and adding all kinds of new inventory since the recession started. A few security concerns — from email lockouts to high profile account breakins like the one Twitter suffered from this year — have made some wary about the reliability of cloud based apps, and it makes sense that the company would continue to ratchet up its marketing efforts.
That's not to say that Google is backing off of its search business. Eric Schmidt recently assured investors that the company will remain focused on search, saying "We want to get to the perfect search engine." But advertising some of the company's other products may be a neccessity if it wants to compete in other areas.