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Innovative marketing strategy of Google: A case study

 Google’s Innovative Marketing Strategy: How marketing helps build brand equity and find faster growth?

 

Google’s global reach has made people twist their minds over its marketing strategy and whether it has one. World’s most popular search engine does have a marketing and branding strategy. At a deeper look, you will find its focus on quality and user friendliness and other aspects related to marketing getting clear. When people think marketing, they think paid promotions, media releases or other similar marketing tactics. This is the common view about marketing.

Google Marketing Strategy
Google’s logo; source: Pixabay

However, there is more to marketing. How you price your product, how easy is brand recall and how well it meets customers’ expectations also decide your effectiveness at promoting your products and brand. Your product must be easiest to recall when the customer needs it. Globally, the largest population of internet users thinks Google when it thinks search. Accessibility becomes an important factor apart from affordability for successful marketing. Google’s products are most accessible and its search engine has played the central role in making the brand popular. Best brands in this world have used this formula successfully. Apple has already proved that successful marketing begins at a great product.

 

How has Google differentiated its brand, products and services?

The level of differentiation is another important determinant of the effectiveness of a product’s marketing strategy. Google’s search engine is not just user friendly; its algorithms are updated regularly and they are said to be at least a century ahead of the nearest competitor. User convenience is a primary focus of Google’s products and service. Customer experience is an important part of marketing both for physical and online brands. After all you are trying to touch and influence the customer. It is the quality of your product and the overall experience based on which they will decide if to use it in future or not. The seamless user experience and the consistency offered by Google’s products and services have differentiated them from competing offerings. Google’s name is easiest to remember. That makes brand recall easy. The largest part of Google’s revenue comes from advertising which is supported by its search engine. The search engine holds the largest market share and therefore Google grabs the lion’s share in online advertising.

Online advertising has grown more popular than any other channels of advertising in the 21st century.  With the growing number of mobile users, a large population of internet users searches and shops from their smart-phones and tablets. Since Google is the easiest and most convenient method to find a response to your queries online, this becomes a primary source of competitive advantage for the brand. Google’s search engine is now also available in several local languages of the world. This has led to higher popularity among the mobile users. Facebook is the nearest competitor in mobile ads and still the overall share for Google in online advertising is much bigger. The Asian markets have become the centre of attraction in this century due to the high level of economic activity in these nations.  Google is also using paid promotions in these areas to reach a larger segment of customers. TV ads of “Google’s search engine in local languages” are helping it grow its popularity faster in the Asian regions.  There are other services by Google like its cloud based services for developers and businesses that are promoted through online advertisements.

Google’s marketing strategy starts from product quality and usability but there are also other aspects of its marketing strategy. Google has a large product mix starting from a simple and easy to use search engine to laptops and watch as well as other web based services that are meant for developers and businesses. A large and varied product mix touches and serves a large and varied customer base. From the smart phone users to social media users and businesses and marketers, Google has products and services that serve them all. It is trying to touch even the rural areas in the developing world by promoting its products there through advertising. Google Plus could not be as popular as Facebook or Twitter. However, there is still a large user base that finds Google Plus convenient to use and uses it for making groups and connections. With some more innovation, Google could use it for serving ads and promotional material.

Competitive Pricing for attracting customers

Pricing strategy is also an important element in the marketing strategy of a firm. Firms use pricing strategies to differentiate their products from the competitors. Apple’s products are premium priced products. This pricing strategy differentiates it from the crowd of brands. Microsoft has a different strategy and that is why its Windows OS has a larger customer base. It has made its products accessible and affordable. Google has also used a competitive pricing strategy. Google search engine, chrome browser, Google plus, Google maps are all free to use. These functionalities may be limited for the individual users but still they are more than sufficient given they are free for use. Google docs also serve an important functionality and even with limited functionality they can be more than sufficient for small businesses and individuals. For larger firms the same products can be available with expanded functionality and at competitive prices. It is not just the hardcore professional user who is familiar with the products offered by Google, but the brand is reaching common users too and academic users through its new products like Google classes.

Technological Innovation for Higher User Convenience

Google is a technology brand. Its products are mainly web based services or other IT related products like laptops and smart-phones.  Professional IT worker is the biggest consumer of these products and services who works with the best in class technology and uses smart phones that provide the best professional functionalities. This is an important reason that Apple has grown its IT related functions in its smart-phone – the Apple I-Phone. Google’s Nexus is priced competitively relative to the Iphone and Samsung’s Galaxy. Competitive pricing strategy has helped the brand influence the consumers of its products and services. The best thing Google is known for is innovation. The brand’s rise was fastest of all in the 21st century. It even becomes difficult to judge at how many points it touches people’s lives directly or indirectly. The degree of innovation being used by a brand is also an important differentiator and helps the brand be discovered. Innovation is the main factor that helped Google find visibility. Google’s release was like the biggest innovation of the era.  Google’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. The search giant was founded with this mission to help you find every kind of information at your finger tips as soon as you want and with as much ease as you deserve. This is why Google’s brand value has kept escalating. The convenience it added to people’s lives is simply unbeatable. Microsoft also has a search engine but when it comes to user convenience the efficiency and convenience Google offers is simply unbeatable. Apart from Bing and Yahoo, now there are several other search engines too in the market but most of them are based on Google’s algorithms and provide the same search results as Google. In the recent years, Google’s search engine also gave rise to some controversies related to user data and privacy. Concerns were raised related to Google’s dominance in the advertising market which also led to a legal tussle with the EU. Every large brand comes across such challenges in the international market and can affect a brand’s image. Brand image is like the central pillar of marketing. How your brand is seen overall by customers affects its influence on the customers and to a large extent its position in the market. Your brand image is how a customer defines your brand and shows how effectively you have connected with them.

Can you see a similarity between Google and Apple? These names are easy to remember, easy to recall and both look distinct from the crowd. This is also how brands create user convenience. When you say Apple, you are reminded of so many things along with an overall happy experience. When you say Google, there is always some excitement accompanying the name.   You think Google and you think search, Internet and all the things it helped you know and get introduced to. Internet would have remained an under-explored world without it. For several millions of people around the globe, Google means the starting point of internet which increased its usability. No need to say that for the largest segment of internet users, Google is a name synonymous with search. Google did not rise as a disruptor, but as an innovator. However, since its rise it has worked to change the internet landscape. All these factors together mean brand value and brand equity and that is also an important component of marketing. Higher brand equity means higher popularity and loyalty which is great for a brand’s health and affects the bottom line in a positive manner.

A Well Marketed Employee Friendly Culture

All these years, Google has remained in news for several reasons and particularly for technological innovation. In the history of technology and innovation, it has made an indelible mark. Another area where Google has created a remarkable difference is that of Human Resources. If it has been being ranked continuously as one among the best employers, then the reason are its excellent HR policies and the employee friendly environment and culture at Google. Apart from high employee salaries and matchless benefits, Google is doing several things to keep its employees’ morale high. Large offices where the staff has every ease from free food to recreation and health services, you know how much people dream of being at Google. Millions around the world apply for the few positions open every year. Google has attracted fame for its employee friendliness and that is not just good but great for a company’s brand image. The brand is also continuously innovating for more success in the Human Resources area. Your influence and impression on the internal stakeholders also matters and adds value to your brand image. After all marketing is about image and influence. You create the right picture and you are effective.  You miss the mark and all may get wasted. This is where brands like Google have pushed the line farther than Apple or Microsoft. Technological organizations are known for high pressure environments. Inside those offices of Apple and Microsoft the pressure is higher and it is why only the best who can bear high pressure situations are able to make it to there. Google too hires the best and to compensate them for everything they do, has created an environment that is more rewarding than its competitors. The internet is abuzz with articles constantly praising the technology giant for its HR innovation.  This gives rise to the perception of a responsible brand which is just as responsible as it is innovative.

Focus on CSR and Sustainability for the image of an accountable brand

Google is touching the world at several other ends too. Its CSR and sustainability strategy have also helped it market itself as a responsible brand. CSR is not just about helping the community or creating better lives for people, it is about adding real value to your brand by adding value to the world. This helps you gain weight in the eyes of the community which might otherwise not be your customer. To raise the bar, most technological brands have invested heavily in CSR and sustainability. The new Apple offices are like a large green ecosystem where everything runs on sustainable energy. Google is also committed to the protection of the environment and is investing Billions in clean and renewable energy. Detailed information can be found on the environment page of Google. It has invested $2.5 billion in solar and wind energy projects. However, Google is not just saving, it is also helping others save their investment in power. The company has remained carbon neutral since 2007. All of this has a good impact on the environment and the community. It helps at marketing the image of a brand that is concerned for the welfare of the environment and the community.

Conclusion:

Marketing is a crucial part of business that helps you establish a connection with your customers and the larger society. How you market your brand helps build brand equity. Effective marketing relies on several things including good quality, an effective pricing strategy, user friendliness, brand recall and overall impact through a larger image. Brands that focus on the overall image and user experience market themselves more effectively. Google’s overall picture is happier than most other technology brands. It has a large product mix that caters to the needs of individual common users, professional users, web developers and businesses. Google’s business has grown due to its pricing and quality. It has focused on accessibility and affordability. To find further growth in the Asian markets it is using online and traditional mediums of advertising. In this way, it is using several channels for growing its customer segment and for creating superior value for its customers and stakeholders. Most important thing is the name. Google’s name is now something that even kids know. Being one of the most familiar names for the millennial generation, Google is one of the best examples of effective marketing.

Sources:

https://environment.google/

Written by Abhijeet Pratap

Abhijeet has been blogging on educational topics and business research since 2016. He graduated with a Hons. in English literature from BRABU and an MBA from the Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi. He likes to blog and share his knowledge and research in business management, marketing, literature and other areas with his readers.

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