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Last week I had the opportunity to attend a very cool live streaming broadcast from Google HQ in California. Thought I’d share some of the highlights; it’s a smart and cool concept. The way they launched was unique and interactive.

Basically Google is partnering up with agencies that handle Adwords campaigns for their clients by providing them with marketing support, training, special offers and a badge. What a great way for Google to capture the SMB market without incurring the cost of a salesforce.

The criteria to join the program:
• Your agency operates in the US or Canada, and you can even be a solopreneur
• You have an active My Client Center account on Google Adwords
• Your business has a website
• You specialize in helping small and medium sized businesses advertise online

On Tuesday March 5 at 1pm EST, Google launched their Engage program across North America via a live streamed event with their Engage partners. Agencies participating in the Engage program invited clients and prospects to their offices to view the presentation, which was geared to small and medium sized businesses, trying to get them to drink the Google Koolaid. It was well done: here are some highlights.

How to Connect with Your Customers: Google Marketing’s Perspective

First up was Lisa Gevelber, VP of Americas Marketing, who was a strong opener. She started by saying that 75% of all US employees work for small businesses. No wonder Google wants this market.

Lisa then talked about Google’s project to re-imagine some of the most iconic ads of all time for the digital medium. They selected Coke (I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony…), Volvo (Drive it Like You Hate it), Alka-Seltzer (I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!) and Avis (We Try Harder).

The Coke ad was presented in the Engage launch: which translated to people around the world connecting over a can of Coke. As a consumer interacting with this advertising, you can digitally send a Coke to others around the world, select destinations, add custom text, get your message translated if needed and then watch your Coke’s journey to the selected vending machine. The recipient can send a thank-you note along with a video of their reaction to receiving the Coke. The execution is brilliant, engaging viewers and getting them to interact in a very fun way with the product but retaining the original concept of the classic ad.

Lisa then shared Google’s core marketing principles:
1. Focus on ONE individual user at a time. Don’t market to the many, market to the one.
2. Champion customers. Lisa noted that small businesses that use the web for their business grow 40% faster. As such, Google offers small businesses free websites through their “Get Your Business Online” program (GXBO). She then showed a very slick case study for a small flour business demonstrating their huge success with online marketing and advertising.
3. Take risks; say YES. Another heart-rending success story was presented for a start-up restaurant whose owners took a huge risk and succeeded, thanks to online marketing.

Zero Moment of Truth: Reaching Customers When It Matters

John Nicoletti, the Director of Agency Development spoke about evolved consumer purchasing patterns which Google has coined as “Zero Moment of Truth: ZMOT”. For full details you can download the handbook here:

The premise of ZMOT is that the traditional purchasing model of:

Stimulus>First Moment>Second Moment
has changed to:

Stimulus> ZMOT (digital interrupters, online research, reviews)> First Moment>Second Moment

Some quick US stats:
• 83% of consumers rely on reviews from friends and online before making a purchase
• 75% of online reviews are positive
• 78% of consumers go online to search before making a purchase
• 32% of consumers have written reviews themselves
• Year over year, reviews are up by 95%, coupon downloads are up by 339% and local search is up by 177%.

The bottom line: Online search plays a pivotal role in purchase decisions for both B2B and B2C.

If you want to watch the presentation yourself check it out here.

If you have any thoughts or comments on Google’s Engage program or launch feel free to comment below.

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