By TOM ADAMS
Don Batsford knows a thing or two about marketing and advertising. His 19 years working in the Digital Marketing space have included starting an advertising agency from the ground up and leading powerful teams across various online advertising and marketing firms. His efforts in the field have culminated with his current senior-level position at Google, where he works with key clients and agency representatives. The Marketing Club had the pleasure of hosting him for a Speaker Event this Tuesday where he gave his insight on how the future of marketing and advertising is truly evolving.
Before delving into the technologies Google is using to effectively market to consumers, Don gave us a short history lesson to fully contextualize the industry. He started off by bringing us back to the late nineties, when the internet was just starting to really be seen as a tool to actually market to consumers. Since then, the growth of technological advancements has turned traditional, “outbound” marketing over on its head. Outbound marketing is defined as a “traditional method of marketing seeking to obstruct potential customers.” These traditional marketing tactics include cold calling, purchasing email lists, and advertising on mediums that prove to be difficult when measuring their actual consumer impact. While these methods have partially work in the past, they didn’t take full advantage of the growing amounts of data that could be drawn upon to better understand actual consumer behavior.
Fast forward to about 2008, and revolutionary new technologies emerge. Machine learning takes the forefront of modern marketing efforts. In its simplest form, Don explained machine learning as advanced pattern recognition technology. He emphasized that when the technology is used in an application where it can pick up on specific patterns, it can be extremely powerful to marketers and advertisers. For instance, Don explained that his Android phone’s camera could recognize even the most granular patterns, such as different currencies placed close to the camera lens. Beyond that, machine algorithms can even determine whether an individual could be interested in buying a particular product by culminating together different usage factors and unique identifiers of that particular consumer. This advent of machine learning allowed and continues to empower marketers to fine tune advertising spend by recognizing the patterns consumers take online and leveraging these insights to deliver meaningful, targeted ads.
Moving into 2018, Don expressed that Google sees “assistance as the new battleground for growth.” Referencing both Google Home and their competitor Amazon’s Alexa, Don explained how these automated cloud-based devices are taking the industry by storm. Using his young children as an example, he told us that through their interactions with their family’s Google Home, they expect the device to be able to recognize them via voice and tailor its services specifically to them. This newest generation is truly expecting more from their “smart” devices, and marketers definitely have to take note in order to leverage it.
Google is taking notice of these heightened expectations. In Don’s presentation, he outlined a few surprising insights about how these expectations are changing the way consumers search. For instance, when most people search for a restaurant or store near them, they omit the phrase “near me,” assuming that Google can already take into account their exact location and tailor the search results to that. The same could not have been said just a few years ago. Similarly, when searching for products, more consumers are omitting location-based search terms. They expect Google to already know their exact location and provide a result that takes it into account. Don also told us that “53% of site visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than 3 seconds to load.” This shows that consumers not only expect search results to be accurate, but they also expect to be delivered the information they seek almost instantaneously.
In addition to making Google searches “smarter,” Google is also responding by providing seamless integration between their distinct services by linking Google Maps, Google Voice, Google Drive, Gmail, and more all into one easy-to-manage space that makes it easier for the consumer to find exactly what they’re looking for. Don stressed that these rapidly changing consumer expectations are truly the impetus that’s fueling Google’s corporate strategy.
Given the huge emphasis Google places on satisfying rising consumer expectations through data analytics, what can we do now as college students to put ourselves ahead and stand out within the tech industry when it comes time to develop a career path? As a Senior Executive at Google, Don explained what makes most candidates stand out is having firsthand experience within an e-commerce business. For example, sourcing and selling a product online or developing a mobile application from the ground up could be examples of this. He explained that being able to establish and effectively market a product or service in a saturated online environment is truly impressive to professionals whose main job role is to do just that. Having experience making those strategic marketing decisions makes job candidates truly stand out from the pack.
Overall, it was an amazing opportunity to be able to hear from Senior Executive like Don who is working for one of the most influential companies in the world. Google is truly making its mark in this new realm of marketing, and I’m more than excited to see what they develop next!
If you’re interested to learn more about Don and his past and current professional experience, you can connect with him on LinkedIn here!
If you enjoyed this article, make sure to come out to BU Marketing Club meetings every Tuesday from 5pm-6pm in KCB 107! We have plenty more exciting events planned this semester with companies like Cisco and New Balance. Thanks to all that came out this Tuesday!