Google+ Is it a Digital Disruption for CMOs?
The onslaught of new digital technologies, decline of traditional methods of reaching customers and the increased use of social media, doesn’t exactly make being a CMO an easy job. Forrester’s advice to CMOs: “Elevate digital to the highest level of business strategy.” (source: Forrester Report “CMOs must connect the dots of the online brand.” Mary Beth Kemp-Forrester, July 27, 2010)
If ever there was a time to engage consumers, battle competitors, and disrupt the marketing status quo – it is now. Google has just introduced Google+, a new social networking service to compete with its arch rival: Facebook. Google spent several years trying to succeed in the social networking space that included two failed entries in Google Buzz and Google Wave. But, after all, it is Google, one of the most respected and valued brands in the world. So, when Google introduces a new social networking site to compete with Facebook, you know their goal is nothing short of total market disruption.
But, how does the CMO know if Google+ can be as powerful for marketers as Google says it is? Should CMOs cautiously wait until their competitors test and implement Google throughout the enterprise? Or, is it time for CMOs to grasp the G+ sword and lead the charge?
Referring to the launch of Google+ Chris Brogan said in a video last week:
“There’s magic in that silk hat.”
Ford is Fully Engaged in the Business Beta
Ford is an old brand with a new life and a whole new attitude. This is the same brand that unveiled its 2011 Ford Explorer on Facebook (via a paid and earned media blitz) with a plethora of chat, video, photo and other Facebook tools to generate interest and excitement. Ford is now proactively working to understand how to use and leverage Google+, participating in a special Google+ business beta. Ford is off to a strong start, using Google+ differently than Facebook. Ford’s (very) early view, according to Scott Monty, Ford social media expert, “The company’s Google+ page won’t be simply a retread of some of its previous social media efforts.” Christian Oestlien, lead product manager for social advertising at Google, said “they’re (Ford) doing some incredibly cool stuff like the ‘hangout’ … it’s the kind of stuff we’re looking to test.” (See Scott Monty, Ford Social Media Chief, in a video interview below talking about Ford’s use of Google+.)
Dell is Engaged with Google+ Hangouts
Michael Dell’s personal use of the video chat platform on Google+ led to his sending this crowdsourced question: “I am thinking about (Google+) hangouts for business. Would you like to be able to connect with your Dell service and sale teams via video directly from Dell.com?” The reaction to Michael’s post was overwhelmingly positive. Even though Google hasn’t opened its social network for businesses yet, Dell is evaluating Google+ to benefit his business. Michael Dell is a strong example of an executive who can visualize an opportunity (and outcome) even before it can be executed.
According to VentureBeat, Google+ will launch business profiles with analytics as well as more sophisticated sharing options, all coming during Q3 2011.
Indeed, is it time for CMOs to grasp the G+ sword and lead the charge? Or, is it time to wait and see? So, ask yourself, is Google+ a digital disruption for CMOs? Then, compare your answer to the responses from our 20 experts below.
Do you see Google+ as a disruptive force for CMOs?
Patrick Adams, @PAdamsNY, CMO, Victoria’s Secrets – “On G+ as a disruptive force? Not sure we know enough about it and how it is going to be used. Too new at this point. Folks seem to be really poking around and exploring its potential. So – not sure.”
Christopher Burgess, @BurgessCT , Social Media/Social Network Security Advocate, Author – “Secrets Stolen, Fortunes Lost“, Website, Blogs at: Huffington Post, Cisco Blog, Personal Blog, – “Google+ brings to the table the ability to Tweet, Comment, Share, Engage and put limits around each of these, while combining the best features of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. The fact that it can integrate seamlessly with YouTube and the remainder of the Google Suite, provides a powerful plus-up for the creative CMO. Does that mean the CMO should abandon prior investments, absolutely not, they should double-down and ensure Google+ is a part of their ecosystem as they engage their clients, customers and partners.”
Mark Burgess, @mnburgess, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Blue Focus Marketing and blogs at Blue Focus Marketing Blog, Blue Focus Marketing Workshops, gplus.to/mnburgess “Change doesn’t always need to be scary. I believe CMOs should start with the premise that new opportunities can lead to the next competitive advantage. A proactive approach (as opposed to wait-and-see) means you evaluate, test and assess. Determine early if game-changer-like qualities exist. Another dimension that’s getting intense digital ink is SEO. Search is Google’s sweet spot and a multi-billion dollar business. Google’s search algorithms are more closely guarded than the formula for Coke. Will Google+ content have an advantage? Google+ brand pages are coming (3Q11) and may lead to a killer ad platform with higher levels of targeting and relevancy than Facebook. Google may be late to the party but is in this battle to win.”
Daniel Charboneau, @dcharb10, Vice President Strategic Partnerships, Spigit – “Not yet, Google Plus has the potential to become a very disruptive force to the CMO. If Google+ embraces its potential as an identity data provider, leverages the Angstro acquisition to deliver quality, context, and relevance in user’s streams, and provides a path beyond content to participation and engagement with brands. Right now it’s just a Facebook with better controls.”
Joe Fernandez, @JoeFernandez, CEO and Cofounder of Klout. – “If you are a CMO and just now feeling disrupted with Google+ you are probably in a hole you are not going to be able to get out of. Google+ is an evolution of a process that is already well under way. If it takes Google+ to get you thinking about conversations, engagement and the power of the individual then it’s too late.”
Howie Goldfarb, @skypulsemedia, Chief Alien, President and CEO – Sky Pulse Media – “Since Facebook Brand Pages in my opinion have been utter failures for marketing and with social media still not moving sales needles for major brands, as a CMO, I would not be worried about G+ being a disruptive force. What Google will do much better than Facebook is targeted digital advertising to the network members which could have a big impact on a CMO’s digital spend performance.”
Anthony Kalamut, @SouthsideAdguy, Professor, Program Coordinator, Chief Enthusiasm Officer, Seneca College, Creative Advertising, blogs at “A View From An Ad Guy” – Google+ could be a total “game changer.” CMO’s who failed to engage with the early social media flavors of the day will see Google+ and its total engagement package that brings together the largest inventory of search, data and now the social communication potential to share like nothing else in the current landscape. IMHO Google+ may simplify and define the difference between ‘Like’ and ‘Want’ for CMO’s. You end up going to Facebook because you might ‘Like’ something, when your starting point is Google it’s generally because you “want” something and are looking for information or engagement. Google+ will curate that process in one place and ready to share with your circles, blog, email… CMO’s need to learn,’want’ is greater then ‘Like’.”
Ben Kunz, @BenKunz, Director, Strategic Planning, Mediassociates, blogs at ThoughtGadgets.com and moonlights as tech columnist at Bloomberg Businessweek. – “No. Marketing begins with understanding consumer behavior, and consumers ‘using social media’ is a new communication norm that like sex, eating chocolate, email or watching movies has stabilized in behavior. But the truth is this social behavior remains a fraction of each consumer’s day. The hours spent per day in media use still remain predominantly in TV and radio, followed by outdoor exposure driving in long commutes to work, with Internet use and social media its subset being a minority. (Go Google studies by Pew, Scarborough, Mediamark Research, Simmons, Nielsen, or Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly for proof.) Within this minority, Google+ is a new ‘channel’ in the cacophonous media stations called social. Google+ has a clean interface, nice videoconferencing, and intuitive privacy Circles that may grab 20% of Facebook’s audience in the next two years. But it’s no revolution. Facebook, the current incumbent leader, may be making money in advertising, but its ads pale in effectiveness, in conversion rates, in costs per sale. If the social-media leader can’t make social media marketing work, who says Google’s little shiny toy-thing will, either?
So CMOs, try Google+, establish a presence, add it as a prong to your media plan. But disruptive? No more so than the big bills social media consultants will send you professing it to be so. Consumers aren’t ignoring you in this new space; they are simply carrying on the conversions that always happened apart from your brand.” Tim Leake, @Tim_Leake, “Creative Director & Solution Creator”, Saatchi & Saatchi, – “No, I don’t see it as a disruptive force for CMOs. Right now, Google+ is “Betamax” to Facebook’s “VHS”. It does the same thing as Facebook, only better. But it needs more people to use it. It’s not a revolution. It’s just a smart company focusing on user experience — something Facebook lost sight of, for some reason.”
Wendy Marx, @wendymarx, President, Marx Communications – “Suspect Google+ will be the next big thing and imagine more CMOs will use it than other social media. Combines the best of Twitter and FB and makes it much easier to engage and have a group conversation.”
Gail Nelson, @Gail_Nelson, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Siegel+Gale – “Social media platforms come and go, and Google+ may or may not become a place that CMOs go to listen to customers, learn and spend marketing dollars. In part, brand will play a role. Does Google treat users with respect and consistently abide by the principles of simplicity valued by its consumers? If so, CMOs certainly will have to keep an eye on Google+.”
John J. Nosta, @JohnNosta, Chief Marketing EVP, Chief Marketing Innovationist, Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide – “Anytime a major stakeholder makes a market move, disruption is usually close at hand. This instance with Google+ is no exception. And given the existing players in the market, disruption is required. The current state of digital communication almost demands a certain threshold to user capacity. The collective time a given user spends on Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, etc., isn’t endless (while some think so) and this requires a conversion strategy vs. another adoption model. Will Google+ be disruptive? Almost certainly, as it shakes the tree to move users away from other sites to theirs. Of course this can result in a an overall growth in the market (people will join more networks) but ultimately, users and the user interface with cause gravitation to the “winners” and away from the losers. Hey…anyone remember AltaVista?”
Andreas Ramos, @Andreas_Ramos, Director of Strategy of Acxiom. – “Too early to say anything about G+. However, look at Google Trends: the level of interest is 50% of the peak two weeks ago. That is very disturbing data. It should be not merely climbing, it should be accelerating.”
Bill Roden, @billroden, Integrated Creative Director, TBWA\Chiat\Day – “I know it’s a tired phrase, but “right content + the right consumer +the right channel = the right relationship” is digital-marketing math few agencies and CMO’s truly follow. The Circles component in Google + has amazing potential for content segmentation. It’s integrated with a host of Google-powered social channels. Gmail integration in the Google + toolbar is a boon for earned media. And then there’s there’s this little thing called Google Search indexing Google + activity. One issue I could see with Circles is potential consumer frustration with duplicated messaging with shared content. Either way, it’s not the size of your network. It’s how you use it. And Google + may have finally cracked the social code for smarter consumer segmentation.”
Ted Rubin, @TedRubin, Chief Social Marketing Officer – Collective Bias “Amazing opportunity for brands to build interactive 2 way engagement, interaction, sharing, but consumers will have to adopt to make worthwhile.”
Richard Sellers, @Sellers_Richard, Founder, Demand Marketing; Chairman, Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), MENG Blend – “Since it’s way too soon to bury LinkedIn and too dangerous to ignore Google+, individuals, recruiters, and CMO’s need to play both.”
Mike Volpe, @mvolpe, CMO, Speaker, HubSpot @HubSpot – Google+ is another tool, no more disruptive than other social tools. The big disruption today is the shift toward more inbound marketing, which includes not Google+ but also other social tools, blogging, search, email and social nurturing.
Video will make you “think” and enjoy a good laugh – Google+ vs. Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg’s Reaction
Christian Oestlien, Lead Product Manager – Social Advertising at Google: Google+ Update for Businesses
Ford Social Media Chief, Scott Monty, explains the automaker’s presence on Google+