Hire A Sales Rep Named Google – Montreal Gazette Column

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As Blogged about in my post, Seven Blogs You Must Read And Other Useful Know-How – Montreal Gazette Column, I am now a Contributor for the Montreal Gazette. Every two weeks in the Business Section (on their Business Observer page), I’ll cover something changing the landscape in the business world from a new media perspective. In my second column – published today – I look at the power of Search Engine Marketing served through the wisdom espoused by Avinash Kaushik (Analytics Evangelist, Google, Blogger over at Occam’s Razor and the author of Web Analytics – An Hour A Day).

My original title for this piece was, Is Your Sales Rep Some Yahoo Named Google?, but it did not make the editorial cut. I also didn’t have a chance to talk about the realities of click fraud. I thought about adding it in, but decided it might be too confusing or scare some businesses who have yet to dive into Search Engine Marketing. I don’t think click fraud is a legitimate reason to not get this into a solid media diet.

Here’s the article (with links and tags):

Hire a sales rep named Google – The key to selling on the Web is a few clicks away.

The whole model for how advertising is done is extremely messed up. Never was it more noticeable to me than at a recent speaking engagement I had at Google‘s head office (aka The Googleplex) in Mountain View, Calif.

I was giving the closing keynote address to the heads of over 200 of the top brands in the United States (including Wal-Mart, Sephora, Costco and more) and some sales and marketing staff from Google.

What blew me away was watching Avinash Kaushik speak. Avinash has what could well be the best job title ever. He’s the "analytics evangelist" for Google.

Simply put, he helps Google define what metrics equal success in all of its product offerings. He’s also responsible for evangelizing these online metrics to Google’s clients. Beyond that, Kaushik writes an amazing blog, Occam’s Razor, and is also the author of a great book called Web Analytics: An Hour a Day (Sybex, 2007).

But it’s when he speaks that you begin to realize that business as we know it is changing beneath our feet.

Google is making its billions from pay-per-click contextual advertising. When anyone does a search using the Google search engine they’ll notice either coloured sponsored search results at the top of the page or additional search results on the right-hand side of the page. Both of them say "sponsored links" – meaning a marketer has bought specifically targeted keyword ads that only appear when a user searches for those specific terms.

It’s powerful because you’re "catching" a potential consumer while they are in active search mode, and you only pay for that ad if the user clicks on it. (Granted, the system is so robust that if your ads are not converting into clicks, Google will automatically boot you off the system).

It’s the perfect dream for advertising – match your products and services up to consumers who are looking for them.

Think about that for a minute.

How much money does the company you’re with now spend on traditional advertising? It could be TV, print, radio, billboards or whatever. Here’s the thought process: "let’s take out an ad in hopes that some of our potential consumers will see it, remember it and then think of us if they’re looking for what we’re selling."

During that process, do you know how many thousands of people have searched online for information or pricing on the exact same products and services?

Are you there?

Yep, thousands of potential customers (maybe more) are raising their hands every day and saying: "Hey, I’m looking for you!" and yet most marketers look at Google, Yahoo and Microsoft‘s search engine marketing opportunities as an after-thought. Most businesses would rather put their advertising dollars against media that is – pretty much – a hope and prayer. Most businesses don’t even know if their traditional advertising campaigns worked until they’re over.

Avinash calls this a "crime against humanity," and while he might be overdramatizing the situation for effect, his point is made: Most businesses are not present enough in the search engines and they’re leaving big money (and clients) at the table.

It’s not that all of the search engines have figured out a better mousetrap for sales and marketing, it’s that they’ve managed to place their messages with potential clients when they’re in the mood for them.

What it boils down to is a sales funnel unlike any other. These search engines act as virtual sales representatives, making their presence known and felt by how well structured those few sentences are when someone types in a keyword query related to your product or service. If you’re wondering where the No. 1 source of traffic to your corporate website currently comes from, you don’t have to bother to look at your Web analytics package, I can tell you right now: it is the search engines.

Just how big is Google? According the to the U.S. Search Engine Performance Report – Q2 2008 put out by Efficient Frontier on July 17, 2008, Google accounted for "77.4 per cent share of U.S. search marketing dollars, while Yahoo captured 17.8 per cent of spending and Microsoft Live Search maintained its 4.8 per cent share."

The cost-per-click pricing may be going up, there might be more and more competition in the search engine marketing field, and the price of conversion may not be as good as it was when there were fewer players in the space, but can you really afford not to have all of those amazing Google, Yahoo and Microsoft sales reps working the virtual phones for you day and night?


  1. Good stuff, Mitch. A couple of questions and comments:
    1) You start the article by referring to your recent speaking engagement at Googleplex where it became most noticeble to you how advertising is extremely messed up. I may have misunderstood, but are you referring to the 200 top brands that were in attendance that had it all messed up?
    2) For most advertisers who “sell” a service (and not a product), the pay-per-click model does not necessarily bring the desired results. A pay-per-lead model, however (i.e. filling out a form, etc.) is something that can result in better ROI for them (and works more like a sales rep, if I were to use your articles title). That said, Google’s pay-per-action (lead gen) program never gained real traction… Of course, investors didn’t mind a lot since the PPC model generates more revenue…
    3) How did the Gazette’s print advertising department think of your article? 🙂

  2. Thanks for the comment Maki.
    1. No. I was saying that after Avinash did his talk, it was apparent to me how much the advertising and marketing world is changing.
    2. I think you can use pay-per-click to generate traffic – be it for a lead or to sell a product or to give something away for free. It’s simply a way to “be” in front of people who are looking for things in the industry you serve.
    3. I love mass media advertising. It’s not a one or another – it’s “everything is ‘with’ not ‘instead'” scenario. They complement each other in a powerful way.

  3. Good article. Now the only other reason to read the Gazette besides news on the Habs. 😉

  4. Love your stuff Mitch. Saw you speak at NXNE with David Usher and together you are changing my marketing/promotion paradigm. Keep writing the good stuff and know that it is much appreciated by the “silent readers”!

  5. Mitch I just printed this piece up – gonna share it with my customers in next week’s meetings. Like you said, so many are missing the boat and lucrative opportunity.
    Thanks for this.

  6. not to put a damper on your infectious enthusiasm there mitch but… to some of us here we can’t help feeling you just got snowjobbed by a google pitchman selling their usual google for everyman rhetoric.
    tell me it ain’t so..

  7. it ain’t so.
    I’m a Google fan, but this article is less about Google and more about the power of analytics and search. I can’t help that Google accounts for 80% of that industry.
    Microsoft and Yahoo were doing the PPC and web analytics thing long before Google.
    It would be like talking about MP3 players and not being overly enthusiastic about the iPod.

  8. Everyone thinks that if you use Google,your website will make millions!Unfortunately,speaking from 10 years experience on the internet it really is NOT so.
    Just because Google sends people(or robots) to your site, it does not mean they will buy.
    Not to mention that sometimes your competitors are banging you out on purpose! Furthermore there is a click “fraud” factor, etc etc
    Therefore, Mitch,I respectfully have to DISAGREE with you on this matter. Contact me if you want to discuss it further.
    p.s. my experience is that direct mail works the best for the money.

  9. I’ve left the comment from David above, but I did change the name from his company name to the person who “signed” the email and removed the URL to this site.
    It seems like “David” runs both a menswear company and a direct marketing channel for some kind of magazine, but to be honest it “felt” like linkbait where he was just trying to get his company link into the Blog.
    Either way, all I’ll say is look at the stats for Direct Marketing and Search Engine Marketing and let me know which has a higher rate of penetration and conversion. I also won’t get into impact DM has on the environment.

  10. I was not looking to “spam” just to let you know. I only filled the slots because it was blank and I thought it was necessary to fill in.
    So please,let’s not jump the gun because this would be the LAST place I would entertain to drum up business!
    Talking about environment,please. Did you forget about the fact that you appear in daily NEWSPAPER The Gazette? Which by the way, I have advertised in the past.
    p.s. I would be happy to hear about your “stats” on this subject.
    and remove those URL slots then,this issue would not come up.

  11. Not a problem. These days,unfortunately,you have to be very careful.
    p.s. look at the end of this month for my ad in The Gazette 🙂

  12. Thanks for the link. I was really surprised about the amazing response you get after the 2nd direct mail campaign!
    “Direct Mail
    The standard response rate for the first piece of direct mail sent to a recipient is about two per cent but a marketer could consider any where between one and three per cent as a “good� response.
    Bearing in mind that a response to a piece of direct mail is a complex action – the recipient must open the piece, read the piece and then take action on it – two per cent sounds like a pretty good response rate..
    However, this two per cent response jumps to between five and 35 per cent when the direct mail has been sent to a recipient for a second time (as a renewal).”

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