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How Google Markets Products On the Cheap

“The best way to succeed is to have a really great product” – Seth Godin

Google lives by the philosophy that products lead marketing. Just like you know you’ve hit it big when other people create and maintain your MySpace page for you, you also know it when your customers do your marketing for you. It’s ironic that a company that provides advertising and marketing services for businesses doesn’t actually spend much time advertising their business.

According to an article in ReportonBusiness, they’ve sold more than $30-billion in advertising since 2001. But it wasn’t with expensive advertising. In fact if you don’t live in a major city or in California you probably haven’t seen or heard any ads for Google at all – except for online. Instead, Google puts money into development and hiring talented employees. Other online companies have built similar empires with little advertising – they spread virally. YouTube, MySpace and Facebook all take this approach.

Yahoo Earning More Search Revenue

It’s no secret: Google dominates search advertising (PPC). We often say that for anyone to legitimately challenge their dominance, they’ll have to capture more of the search advertising market. (Of course, to do that, you usually have to catch more market share, which you usually do by advertising, which you usually do with the extra revenue. . . .)

And now it looks like Yahoo might have a chance. According to 500 marketers surveyed by SearchIgnite and RBC Capital Markets, search advertising was up 7% in Q3 this year—and most of that 7% went to Yahoo.

The researchers found third quarter spending on Yahoo’s percentage of media spend increased 7.8 percent over the prior quarter. SearchIgnite and RBC noted spending on Google for the same period increased only 0.8 percent. MSN’s share increased from 5.1 percent in Q2 to 5.8 percent in Q3, but suffered a total spending drop of 3.4 percent.

MoveOn Backs Down – Allows Trademark Bidding

I recently wrote on how MoveOn.org had ads by a Republican senator removed. The organization whose aim is to elect Democrats to office generated a lot of controversy for filing a complaint with Google. The ads, run by Senator Susan Collins, used the trademarked term MoveOn.org in the text. Google’s policy is to remove Google AdWords that use trademark terms in the copy, if the trademark owner complains.

Wired Magazine blogs that MoveOn.org decided to reverse their decision and let Collins run the ads. They say they want to promote free speech. According to Google’s Pablo Chavez of Google’s public policy counsel, the decision was not political. But conservative bloggers and an opinion piece in the San Francisco Examiner suggested otherwise.

Nike+ a Lesson in Social Community Marketing

image In my forthcoming book, I take a look at how Nike has increased sales by tapping into social community marketing initiatives. Instead of simply shoveling more TV and print ads down our throat, Nike is instead shifting its marketing budget to non-traditional channels.

The NYT has a great summary of Nike’s “Nike+” effort to engage runners and get them to connect and compete with each other. In conjunction with Apple’s iPod, runners can time their laps, download their progress, and keep track of how their friends are doing–all without forceful participation by Nike.

This use of social media is helping Nike to better allocate its marketing budget.

Google Rejects Campaign Ads

MoveOn.org is quite savvy online and has a large marketing budget. They protect their trademarked term too. So when campaign ads for Republican Senator Susan Collins used their trademarked name, they had the ads removed. Google told FOX News on Friday that it wasn’t politics, but their trademark bidding policy that was the issue. Google will pull ads (Google AdWords) on trademarked terms if the trademark owner complains.

Lance Dutson, the internet marketer for Collins campaign thinks Google is being unfair. He’s not arguing Google policy, he thinks his small advertising budget shouldn’t be shut down.

Why Small Businesses Don’t Invest in Online Marketing

I just wrote about the story of Costco who continually expands online so it even eclipses their sales offline. Since the cost of doing business is so much less online, this is an opportunity for businesses of all sizes, including small businesses.

A new study by Opus Research shows why small businesses don’t invest in online marketing – even though it could have a large impact increasing sales. Many said (25%) the reason they don’t invest is because they think it will cost too much. Then another 20% think are intimdated by the technology or don’t have the staff to handle it.

What is the solution? Something I’m a big advocate of – education. Opus Senior Analyst Greg Sterling, wrote the report “Small Business Attitudes toward Online Marketing and Web 2.0.” The survey included responses from 1,200 businesses with 653 from North America.

Costco.com Hits the Billion Dollar Sales Mark

Internet Retailer.com reports that Costco Wholesale has reached a billion in online sales. This year their online sales grew by about 39% to $1.22 billion. Last year they were at $880 million. They reported net income of $1.08 billion on revenue of $64.4 billion for the 2007 fiscal year. Overall the web accounted for about 2% of total sales.

What is working for the retailer? They credit ongoing marketing strategies implemented since 2005. That includes marketing to Costco club members via e-mail, direct mail, a monthly magazine, as well as in-store programs, flyers, and kiosks.