by Tony Fannin, President, BE Branded
Google has now joined traditional media in a big way. Google TV. They are bringing their search expertise into the homes of millions of people in the U.S. Google even has a brink-and-mortar presence, Best Buys, who will be carrying the set-top box. Sony and Blu-ray will be on board later in the year. Here are a few bullet points about Google TV:
• Broadcasters will be able to build apps for TV(NBA and CNBC already have apps in the works)
• It’s not just about video. Web sites such as NY Times, USA Today, Vevo, and Pandora will have a presence on Google TV.
• This launches a prospective new category: social TV
So, what does this all mean? Here are a few take aways in relation to brand and marketing:
• Brick-and-mortar distribution – Google has realized that online only marketing doesn’t reach critical mass. Their first attempt at TV was Nexus One which relied on only online marketing and distribution. We still live in a real world, not just a digital, virtual world. Eventually, everything has to become physical in the end.
• TV is still the dominate tactic in mass reach (so far) – Though you can reach thousands of niches online, it’s difficult to build critical mass with an online only marketing plan. Traditional TV still carries a lot of weight when it comes to building critical mass quickly. Maybe that’s why Google has started to learn how to do TV ads with their Super Bowl ad earlier this year. Brands are still built by connecting with all of your customers regardless of tactic.
• Mass reach platform as the base – Both Apple and Goole have realized with the fragmentation of media (mobile, online, traditional, and who knows what else…) there still needs to be a platform that is the foundation of your strategy. TV has become that critical mass foundation to launch niche tactics from. For example, the Super Bowl is a great example where traditional media helps drive online and mobile usage. Many advertisers have seen spikes during and for many weeks after the game on their mobile and online properties. All because the TV ad had a compelling enough message to cause viewers to act on their other media devices.
• Smart pads accelerate blurring of the lines – Larger screens, multiple functionality, and mobile makes smart pads the ideal choice for the future. It eliminates the need for multiple devices (book readers, laptops, etc.). The screen is large enough now where people can, and will want to, watch their favorite TV shows on the go. This is where the broadcast apps can come in to play a big part.
Marketing is not about specific tactics or channels. It never was, but too many marketers jumped on the “online only” bandwagon and cut their advertising dollars in other areas. If Google realizes, to reach critical mass, a mass media channel like TV, is needed, then others should learn from their mistakes. Do I criticize Google’s founders for abandoning a statement they made several years ago, “It will be a cold day in hell for us to advertise on TV.”? No. I give them credit for realizing that online is not the “only” marketing channel that is important. Brands need to keep their minds open, for not only, new technologies, but realizing when the current channels still work for your purposes and goals. Just because it’s traditional doesn’t mean it doesn’t still have a place in your marketing mix.