Here’s some free, easy marketing advice: advertising doesn’t make a product valuable. It might have worked in a world where consumers were spoken to, not spoken with. In today’s environment, consumers are smart. Everyone is his or her personal Private Eye. They know if your ad campaign oversells the product or meets or even exceeds expectations. They know how and where to find value. If your product oversells itself, you’re probably not fooling anyone. That brings us to Microsoft’s new search engine: Bing (often poked at as an acronym for, But It’s Not Google). We’ll discuss how today’s environment will not support an old way of doing business. As much as Microsoft preaches innovation, they are very much doing business the old way.
Convincing VS Engaging
$100 million. That’s the marketing budget Microsoft has allotted to convince people to buy into their new search engine. Google’s new e-mail, instant messaging, wikis, forums, blogs, mobile, SMS… and everything-else-under-the-sun aggregator, called the Google Wave, intends to spend zero.
Why will the Wave outshine Bing? For starters, Google gave Influencers (ie developers) a sandbox version of Bing several months before the product is slated to launch. After the developers build upon the framework Google has created, when it launches, it will have tremendous value. With the efforts of those Influencers, the Wave will add incredible value to the market while positioned ten steps ahead of Bing. Google is inspiring Influencers, whereas Microsoft is ignoring them.
Quality VS Convenience
Already, Bing has been jabbed at and jeered by many in the blogging community. Instead of offering quality query results, Bing is focused on convenience. Microsoft says in its press release, “The explosive growth of online content has continued unabated, and Bing was developed as a tool to help people more easily navigate through the information overload.” They’re asking, “How can we make the search experience more convenient?” Problem: isn’t the market leader Google, already convenient? Microsoft’s focus on owning convenience seems off-target. If Microsoft truly wanted to gain leadership, they would make progress on Search results and convenience, and move a few steps beyond with a game changer. We’re not convinced that they’ve even advanced the ball on the user’s basic needs.
While Google traditionally relies on it’s open source collaborative approach and value-driven product philosophy, Microsoft has gone in the other direction. Instead of investing that $100 million into product development to turn a six search engine into a nine or perfect ten, they’ve settled on creating a six search engine and selling it as a ten.
A Value-Driven Future
No longer can you make your product successful by screaming the loudest. No longer are the 30-second radio or TV ads the end-all, be-all in product marketing. Re-allocating some of those marketing dollars to increasing the value of your product will go further in an era where consumers are smart. They will quickly know the difference between the Google Wave and Microsoft’s Bing. They will vote with their keyboard.