30 days of WWGD? – The link changes everything

Here’s a second day’s snippet from What Would Google Do? I’m going to jump all around the book, picking bits here and there. Today’s is on advertising. But first, here’s a link to a Newsweek Q&A about WWGD?

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For more than a century, the public face of companies has been their advertising, slogans, brands, and logos. How much better it would be if a company’s public face were that of its public, its satisfied customers who are willing to share their satisfaction, and its employees who have direct relationships with customers. Brands are people.

If that’s the ideal, then here’s the goal: Eliminate advertising. Or at least fire your ad agency. Oh, you won’t get rid of advertising entirely. You should be so lucky. But every time a customer recommends you and your product to a friend is a time when you don’t have to market to that friend. It is possible today to think that one good word can spread as far as an ad would. This scenario is not hypothetical. When I had my problems with Dell, I could see them losing sales as people came to my blog and left comments saying they’d just decided not to buy a Dell, often adding that they’d told their friends their vow as well. There’s no telling how much one pissed-off customer costs you today. The contrary is also true. A happy customer can sell your products. Now that bloggers are praising Dell online, new sales accrue as customers reconsider the company. When Dell started offering discounts to users of Twitter, who passed the word to more users, the company added $500,000 in sales in no time.

The more your customers take ownership of your brand, the less you will spend annoying people with your ads. I can hear your agency: You can’t hand messaging over to the people; they’ll be off-message. Well, tell your agency their message may be off. Your customers have always owned your brand.

Advertising is your last priority, your last resort, an unfortunate byproduct of not having enough friends?.?.?.??yet. Learn this lesson from Google, which spends next to nothing on advertising. It became the fastest growing company in the history of the world without marketing. It grew thanks to its friends, not through ads. In its “10 things Google has found to be true,” the company says its “growth has come not through TV ad campaigns but through word of mouth from one satisfied user to another.” The generation that has that damned “Yahoo-ooo” sound stuck in their heads thanks to untold millions spent on commercials is the same generation that used and spread Google instead, for free.

  • http://wendell.me Wendell Wittler

    And yet, what has Google become but the World’s Largest Advertising Service? With its only reliable source of income from the people and companies who can’t or won’t trust Word-of-Mouth to distribute their message using Google’s “AdSense” to leech off the influence and reputations of those who have it. That’s why right now you can hardly find a blog anywhere without big pictures of two bare bellies (the “stomach fat” ads). I shut off Google Ads when, on the eve of the election, it fed “YES ON 8″ to every blog in California that ever used the word “gay”, most of whom were pro-gay and anti-8.

    Google is taking the greatest amount of goodwill ever accumulated by a company and destroying it by making a fast billion bucks catering to the Lowest Common Denominator of the Advertising business. Tragic.

    • http://- S. Base

      Bravo. I hear that! Google may have grown very fast without conventional advertising but let’s not forget the “Angel Investors” whose money gave them the opportunity to dominate what should be (and tragically never will be) a free resource of information for the people. Who those angel investors are is a good question but they now have more information on you and your websurfing habits than anyone in the world. And who’ll pay billions for this info?

      Advertising companies.

      What will they use all this information for? Anything and everything they can use it for, no one is watching them and no one can stop them.

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  • Eric Gauvin

    I think advertising agencies love the idea of using the techniques you describe to get past people’s filters.

    There’s already been a lot of this perpetrated by advertising agencies (the Snapple lady, “many on the street” interviews, those phony hand-made signs at Trader Joe’s are related examples).

    Also these books would be worth reading for a increased understanding of advertising:

    http://www.amazon.com/Under-Radar-Talking-Cynical-Consumer/dp/0471174696

    http://www.amazon.com/Ogilvy-Advertising-David/dp/039472903X/ref=pd_sim_b_5

    How is what you’re talking about any different from word-of-mouth advertising?

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  • http://- S. Base

    Google owns so much information on each and every one of you that it is hard to imagine them as being careful or trusted with it, and open? At least as open to us with their intellectual property as we are with ours? Few even know how they make money, fewer know how they store it, what they do with it, and how much information they have collected on us and why or who they share it with.

    In ways we don’t even know or have yet to consider, they can use their technology to freely extract our own likes, dislikes, needs, buying patterns, surfing patterns, internet usage, travel destinations, even sexual preference. It is all free information we give to them.

    You have been incredibly open with Google and several other internet companies just by surfing the net, yet they won’t tell you anything about what they are really doing with your information.

    People are always fooled into believing they are sharing freely, then they end up robbed.

    A new way of thinking, what has been shared is used for marketing purposes.

    So, what you are sharing today, is going to be thought of as having been stolen tomorrow and the cycle of trust/love/distrust hate continues.

    If you don’t appreciate marketers prying into your lives don’t surf the net. And no one does. Otherwise, surveys, questionaires and other marketing pry bars would be fun things people would not run from.

    Think about what that means to openess before you fall so deeply in love with Google… the harder you fall, the harder you fall.

    It’s not just about privacy, either.