The most powerful form of advertising is being exceptional, says a technologist quoted in Sunday’s NY Times. He’s talking about Google, of course, by far the most innovative and exceptional company of the past decade.
Columnist David Carr’s love letter to the search giant rhapsodizes about the quality and ease of use of company’s many free web apps, especially the latest, Google Video Chat. And about how hard they are to resist.
(Aside: Reading Carr’s piece is almost like watching someone slip into drug addiction. Like most of us, Carr started with the “gateway drug,” Google Search. Then came some harmless experimentation with Gmail — and the boy was hooked. After that it was an easy descent into Google Calendar, Maps, even the hard stuff like Google Reader…)
One familiar aspect of Carr’s piece was his worry that he might someday regret giving up so much personal information to Google. I certainly share his concern. But this is a marketing blog, and Carr’s most cogent observation was about Google’s marketing — or rather, the lack of it.
Take video chat. Many other companies would take that kind of quantum leap and shout it from the rooftops, but Google just did a smallish blog post about the new feature and left it at that. “We have a philosophy that our products should speak for themselves,” said Jeff Huber, senior vice president for engineering at Google. “We tend not to make a lot of noise.”
That’s for sure. When was the last time you saw an ad for Google? Probably never. Compare that to the extensive advertising for Microsoft and Apple. Why the difference? Carr says “Google’s Web platform, in all of its high-functioning glory, is also its marketing.”
Bottom line: If you’re exceptional, you don’t need much marketing. The word always gets out. Of course, most companies are not exceptional, unfortunately. Not even Apple and Microsoft. Which keeps people like me in business.