Marketing (selling) your product is a key to success

John C. Dvorak wrote an essay recently suggesting that Google is “totally clueless about marketing and publicity”.  Rather a bold proposition, but he backs it up:

“I’ve now come to the conclusion that Google, like Microsoft and Yahoo before it, suffers from the “if you build a better mousetrap” mentality that makes marketers laugh.

The company has decided to shutter a number of recent initiatives and acquisitions, many of which are unknown to most people.

These products remind me of all the products Yahoo manages to buy then shutters. Often times, after the termination announcement, I check out the product and say to myself, “Wow, this is great. I would have used this had I known about it in the first place.”

I’m not sure if these companies are totally clueless about marketing and publicity, but my guess is that they are. They genuinely believe that people will somehow find these products on their own and create a huge buzz. If an engineer designs a better mousetrap, people will magically flock to it and they will get rich overnight, so they think.

In the first decade or so of its life, Google never advertised. However, it will evolve into Yahoo II unless it gets a clue.

Much of this attitude stems from Silicon Valley. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt was the CTO of Sun Microsystems, which was notorious for not advertising. Scott McNeally, the CEO of Sun when Schmidt was there, bragged about how little money and effort Sun spent on marketing and advertising. Of course, now it is out of business, absorbed by Oracle. Good work, boys.

Only recently has Google begun to show up at trade shows, usually to promote AdSense. And since Google has become a verb—as in, “Google it!”—the company is coasting down the same road as Sun.

Good information to have; thanks, John!  Kind of ironic that Google, a company that gets the bulk of its revenue from advertising (AdSense, AdWords) doesn’t do much marketing itself.  I’ve gotten the impression from other sources that Google is getting to be a bureaucratic, not so nimble company.

I wonder how much OpenOffice could increase its market share versus Microsoft Office if OpenOffice developed a systematic marketing campaign.


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