Today I received an unexpected gift. The FedEx guy came to my door and informed me that he has been trying to deliver this package to me for 2 days. I wasn’t expecting a package and was surprised to see that it had come from Google. Inside, I found some interesting things.
Over the past couple years, Google has been putting greater effort into getting small and medium size business to advertise on AdWords. First Maps turned into Places, then there were sponsored Places listings (or were they still on Maps?) and Google Boost (remember that short-lived product?), followed eventually by AdWords Express, which seems to have stuck around for several months now. And in the midst of all that, Google Engage for Agencies emerged.
I signed up for Engage several months ago, as it was opening to agencies and individuals who manage AdWords campaigns for clients. You see, Google realized that the best way to reach SMBs isn’t by marketing to them directly – because they’re not internet savvy and are distrustful of advertisers who want their money – but by marketing to those of us who actually understand how PPC works, and more importantly, know how to get SMBs to pay up. Google figured out that the people who make a living from selling business owners on the benefits of PPC advertising should be incentivized to do it more and to do it better.
Everyone who has AdWords certification gets an email from AdWords with twenty $100 promo codes good for credit on new AdWords accounts. We get these every few months and Google hopes that we’ll use them as a way to get new advertisers to try out AdWords and see its value. This is nothing new. Google Engage is a more focused effort in helping us sell clients on AdWords and AdWords Express. They figure, correctly, that the more clients we sign up, the more money we’ll make in management fees, the more money Google will make in advertising spend.
So what better way to incentivize us than with cheap gadgets?
This little triangle thing, which is apparently the new logo for Engage, is actually a 2gb USB drive. It comes preloaded with some documents that are intended to help us explain the benefits of AdWords to clients.
And this is the wireless optical mouse that also came in the package. The folding design is kind of clever and batteries were included. It works. In fact, I’m using it right now. It’s a flimsy plastic thing, but it works.
Did I say the mouse can fold? My mistake, the manual says it can “ford“.
This is an unfortunate and embarrassing moment for Google. Clearly, when these mice came back from China, no one bothered to proofread the very concise manual that came with it, before sending it out to tens of thousands of agencies and individuals. Someone in Marketing is really, really, really embarrassed right now.
It’s not as embarrassing a mistake as that “Google Wage” email that went out a month or two ago to tens of millions of people, announcing that Google Wave was closing down. Still, it’s another sign that Google might have gotten too big, gotten past that point at which quality work and attention to detail are high on the priority list. Mistakes slip through the cracks. Typos aren’t a big deal, but it’s the message they send. With each little mistake, Google loses a little bit more trust from its users and its main advocates, the agencies that, frankly, drive the majority of Google’s revenue. And eventually there will come a point at which so much trust is lost that a competing platform will start to be able to take lots of valuable business away from the big G.
And don’t get me wrong – I appreciate the gift. It’s a nice gesture and it makes agencies and AdWords professionals feel like Google is looking out for them, just a little bit. In fact, there was more in the package. The deal is, if we get 2 clients to sign up for AdWords, use a $100 promo code and spend at least $75 more by the end of June, we get $200 in credit at the Google store. And if we get 10 clients to do that, we get a Chromebook. Sure, a Chromebook is worth much less than the amount I’d have to get my clients to fork over to Google, but something about earning a prize makes me want to try just a little bit harder