Watching the progression of Google’s newest social attempt with Google+ (also referred to as Google Plus), I have noticed a strong similarity with male marketers attempting to get on board with marketing to women.
There are two main stages that both must go through to be successful. Acceptance and understanding.
STEP I: ACCEPTANCE
Google had to first accept that “social” was going to ultimately dictate “search.” The best assessment I have read about this can be found in one of Jay Baer’s recent posts titled: Why Google Has the Hammer to Make Businesses Use Google Plus. It is a must read.
Google has always been about page rankings and algorithms. Hence, they devised their PageRank formula using the number, type, and reputation of other Pages that link to your own as a major ranking factor. This has worked quite well for years and boosted Google to be recognized as the dominant leader of all search engines. But as social moved in, Google resisted change and by the time they recognized social as a necessary component of search (some might say “the” component of search,) they were already way behind.
Male marketers and CEOs continuing to resist the staggering power of the female consumer may too find themselves way behind as fresh, up and coming competitors recognize the vast opportunities that exist in targeting the female market. And with a majority of new businesses being started by women, it’s not difficult to see who might have the edge in this arena.
STEP II: UNDERSTANDING
Once male marketers and CEOs accept that women are the market, the real work begins. But some men are not willing to actually get to “know her” and sincerely “understand her” to build relationships and connect effectively. Likewise, although Google saw the writing on the wall with the undeniable impact of “social,” they continued to attempt to control people’s social paths to fit into their algorithms. They could not veer from the numbers long enough to allow users to be authentically social and their several failed social attempts reveal just that.
As Jay Baer put it in the article mentioned earlier, “Google has tried to invent a source of social signals to give it the scoring information it needs to stay on top of the relevancy heap in an ever-expanding Web. Orkut. Google Buzz. To some extent Google Wave. Picasa. None of them got even Twitter-level traction, much less Facebook.
But Google Plus just might be different. After being out only a week, a study conducted by The Next Web reveals that 66% of those who have tried Google+ are ready to abandon Facebook. Why? Because Google decided to listen to what people wanted out of social. Actually, they pretty much copied the good of both Twitter and Facebook, but the point is they now get it. It’s not just about the numbers.
Google finally accepted that “social” is the future of search. But just as important, they finally chose to abandon forced paths for the numbers and are offering a genuine “social” experience. Which ironically, has led to higher numbers – certainly in terms of consumer buy-in. You know they must be doing something right when Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook is the most popular person on Google+.
Questions for male marketers: Have you accepted the power and influence of the female consumer? And more importantly, are you willing to listen to and understand her? My advice would be to not wait. Few can afford the expensive cost of a comeback like Google.