Off the wall – marketing at Google

Illustration from page 16 of The Boy's King Ar...

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The MBA’s in the crowd will recognize the idea that there is a right way to do things in business. The 4 P’s of marketing. Choosing the right process type for your product or service. Cost of capital and choosing the right debt-equity ratio. If only we could mold life to fit these lessons, MBA’s would rule the world. Yeah(?)

Unfortunately, problem solving is more than going back through old textbooks. They are great at explaining the past, but not so great at predicting the future. And that is why, for all the bad press that Google has been getting lately, we at TPS report are still reluctant fans. Maybe it’s because its a modern-day version of “King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table” story. Or maybe it’s quotes like these:

“Google did that to you—it made you challenge all your assumptions and experience-based ideas until you began to wonder if up was really up, or if it might not actually be a different kind of down.” Douglas Edwards – see full WSJ article here.

“Is Google secretive? No question. Arrogant? Maybe. Tone-deaf to the concerns of the very users it claims to serve? Occasionally. But evil? I don’t think so.” Douglas Edwards – same article.

Or could it be because they were willing to go against convention and change the branding of the site to odd things from time to time? No fiddling with details there – bold moves that wake people from the haze of routine. Looks like for at least one company, in one period, the status quo bias met its match.

The story of Google meshes nicely with our philosophy at TPS report: Solve problems. When you think you have it all figured out, find more problems.


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