The Google marketing strategy used to organize the world’s information has certainly been a monetary success for the company. The current trend you’ll find appears to be a move towards a personalized/targeted online marketing strategy.
The goal of such an innovation strategy is to provide the most highly relevant results possible.
However, you have to question whether the move towards targeted results is ultimately going to lead to a bland web experience with no opportunities of serendipity.
You also have to wonder if it will leave out customers who are seeking tangentially relevant results!
The Google search marketing strategy up to this point
The Google marketing strategy, or mantra, for the past decade has been to organize the world’s information which satisfies the key marketing goal of customer satisfaction.
This goal has been implemented through the company’s focus on search, ads and applications. These three pillars provide for the other key elements of any good marketing strategies. The search engine is the core platform upon which increasingly relevant results are provided. You & I no doubt use the engine day-in day-out.
Advertisements (via online marketing tools such as AdSense) provide increasing sales and the new streams of programs and product channels provide ever-increasing ways to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.
The key to the search engine success as detailed on many business management degree programs has been the relevance of its results which has resulted in a great many Internet business opportunities.
The Google search marketing team were smart enough to realize that highly relevant results were key to making the product easy to use and cut down on search times for users. This in itself resulted in a learned behavior pattern of users to really only consider the top three results on page 1 of the search (as these are perceived as being highly relevant).
Google marketing moves towards Google targeting
The company’s business development strategy is now strongly focusing more on personalization of results. It is common for advertisements to focus in on geographic locations or web pages you have previously viewed.
This personalization of results will increasingly become more widespread and targeted based on your behavioral patterns (i.e. which pages you view, how you browse websites, time spent going through search results, etc).
On the face of it, personalization appears to broaden the relevancy of the results by including some of the universal data/results from Google’s range of tools (i.e. Google checkout, calendar, etc).
The major question though is whether or not personalization/targeting is a good thing for all web users online experience? How will this affect their keyword research and business development strategies? Do all users of the search engine want to see highly relevant results?
Highly-personalized and highly relevant results will only work if you know exactly what they are looking for.
Users who use vague search terms or have a vague concept of what they are looking for will not receive the creative results that would point them towards useful products/services/information they were not considering.
Such a digital marketing strategy provides no leeway to returning left-field results that can be tangentially relevant to the keyword search term. Many times it is those happy accidents (as the TV painter Bob Ross used to say) which can cause some interesting things to happen.
That is to say, it is often the quirky or interesting results which can attract your attention and provide you with more creative or innovative solutions to what you’re searching for.
SWOT analysis of their online marketing strategy
The major opportunity an online marketing strategy that includes personalization provides is the chance of increasing the market size even further. This is especially the case when you consider behavioral targeting which will help tie people into using their entire platform of products.
The inherent threat to using more targeted traffic is how people will react to how their personal data and private information is being used by Google to target results. To many, it will appear like Google will know more about their personal life than a great many people, and be able to use these facts to target results to you.
In this regard, the genie is already out of the bottle so this will probably turn out to be less of a concern. Perhaps this is being done to reduce the effectiveness of SEO and SEM add-ons and web design packages, who knows!
The weakness of the strategy is that a large number of people searching online will not have their needs catered for by behavioral/personalized search functionality. All those people who make vague searches will have an increasingly narrow web browsing experience that will converge on mediocrity.
By contrast, websites like Stumble Upon provide the exact type of serendipitous web results they are seeking.
Ultimately though, the strength of any Google marketing strategy is the fact that they are playing a numbers game with dozens of different products, channels, advertising streams, and international markets in order for them to test out new online marketing strategies and customize/drop them as necessary.
They can afford to have many programs run as loss leaders in order to test the waters and seek out what the next big fish will be in online search.
Google will continue using beta releases and constant customer feedback to make sure they don’t lose out on market share or suffer a drop in customer satisfaction. Personalized search will work fine if you know exactly what you’re looking for.
It is quite possible that personalized/targeted search results will result in bland web experiences where customers only really need to see the top three search results. This could result in a massive change in competitive marketing to get into the top three spots. It may also result in users opting for broader search terms in order to avoid the hyper-relevant results.
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