What Google Can Teach You About Marketing

what google can teach you about marketing

With an undisputed command of the search engine market and a jaw-dropping stock price, no one can dispute Google’s dominance online. But this success didn’t come by accident—it was achieved by a collection of important marketing strategies that reinforced everything Google had in mind for their brand.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a billion-dollar company to use the same tactics to make your company more recognizable. Let’s take a look at 5 Google-tested marketing tips that can help your business “rank higher” in the eyes of your customers.


Only Hire The Best (And Flaunt It).

hire the best
Google is well-known for hiring brilliant people – the best of the best.  PhDs swarm the campus, eager to leverage their diverse backgrounds to solve challenges and innovate in ways that other companies just can’t seem to match.  The reputation Google has built for hiring only the best and brightest is something they weave into their brand amazingly well, from the impressively titled “Google Labs” to the often-told fact that Google engineers are allowed 20% of their time to work on inventing new technologies.

What it means for your business:  Your people are incredibly good at what they do.  By highlighting the expertise of your people, you can add to your company’s story and stand out from competitors who don’t build up the human side of their brand.  Take Google’s example and run with it.

Have a User-Focused Mission.

google's user focused mission
Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” —isn’t your typical bland company mission statement.  Instead, their purpose focuses on delivering value to you while being carefully written in a way that reinforces the dominance and wide-reaching scope of the Google brand.  And by using words like “accessible” and “useful” they communicate the benefits of their brand in a way that is attractive and compelling. 

What it means for your business:  You mission = your brand.  Does your mission “sound good to you,” or does it answer the ever present question your customers have: “What’s in it for me?”  Make sure that your mission statement gives your customers an exciting reason to buy into your brand, and you’ll keep them for life.

Do One Thing (Extremely) Well.

do one thing extremily well
Sure, Google has an ever-growing number of side services – Gmail, Google Reader, and over three dozen more – but that’s not the primary focus of their company at all.  Google focuses on doing one thing extremely well, and that’s delivering links to relevant content (whether through search results or context-based advertisement).  They know what side their bread is buttered on, and they pour themselves into over-delivering so they can retain their dominant market position.

What it means for your business:  You can’t be all things to all people – so make sure you’re being the most profitable thing for your most profitable customers.  Offering side services and add-ons is a smart move, but smarter still is devoting your focus to being an undisputed expert in your industry.

Run Your Business With Style.

run your business with style
Though people claim to make business decisions solely on rational thinking alone, it’s a fact that emotions play a large part in the decision making process.  They know that if you enjoy interacting with a company, you’re more likely to do business with it and recommend it to others.  Google does a great job of expressing its sense of style while not making it distracting.  From their stylized logos that change to reflect holidays (and other quirky dates of importance) to their over-arching attitude that their work environment should be a fun one, Google knows how to capture attention, communicate a story, and leave you coming back for more.

What it means for your business:  There’s a story behind your business and its philosophy – likely an untold one.  Retell the story in a compelling, exciting way and let the experience build a brand that attracts the kind of attention that turns customers into fans.

Communicate With Your Community.

keep in touch with your community
Google excels at interacting with its community and industry, pulling back the curtain to reveal a little bit about what goes on behind the scenes and what is coming down the road.  An excellent example is employee and search engine expert Matt Cutts, who blogs about Google on a regular basis.  By providing a “name and a face” that can interact with their customer base, Google can get the word out about new products and services, solicit feedback from customers, and build their brand online.

What it means for your business:  You can truly stand out by creating opportunities to interact with your customers and reinforce your expertise in your industry.  Social media and blogs are powerful ways to build your brand and fan base at the same time (which makes the task of converting them to customers that much easier).

You don’t have to be a corporate giant to use the tools and strategies that make them successful.  By using the five tips above, you can add power to your marketing and draw in the kind of loyal customers that keep your business growing year after year.  Google started in a garage and has grown into the world’s most powerful brand … where will their marketing lessons take your business?

Reader Comments

May. 2. 2008 3:18 AM
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Dave,

You provide some good marketing lessons based on Google. Lessons that all business owners need.

I particularly liked your comment about not being able to be all things to all people. That is a very common mistake.

My blog emphasizes that point and provides lots of hints for marketing to the people most likely to buy a business’ product or service.


May. 5. 2008 4:49 PM
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Dave,

This is a really great post. I’ve been a student of Google for some time now, and they certainly do things right. The first suggestion reminded me of Pfeffer’s “Seven Practices of Successful Organizations,” practices that Google employs better than anyone. Here’s a quick look at the highlights:

• Employment security.
• Selective hiring of new personnel.
• Self-managed teams and decentralization of decision making as the
basic principles of organizational design.
• Comparatively high compensation contingent on organizational
performance.
• Extensive training.
• Reduced status distinctions and barriers, including dress, language,
office arrangements, and wage differences across levels.
• Extensive sharing of financial and performance information throughout the organization.

Google certainly pays well and fosters the image of being a great place to work. As a result, they receive over a million job applications each year (http://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-receives-1000000-job-applications-a-year/4308/) and hire only about 0.5% of them. No wonder they can afford to be selective…


May. 6. 2008 1:06 PM
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Kyle,

That’s a great list, thanks for sharing it.

I think it’s amazing how the internals of an organization are so transparent in everything they do. Some companies try to run a crappy business with great marketing, and it just never works. People can see right through it.


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Nov. 11. 2015 2:30 PM
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