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01/04/2008 by

Cafeteria Google vs Trendy Restaurant Facebook

Google has disrupted marketing strategies, neutralized monopolies of large brands with huge marketing budgets and has offered small brands opportunities to compete and win.


Then why do I call Google the Cafeteria of the internet? Simply because people visit Google for a quick snack.

They enter the cafeteria, drop their coin, grab the snack and leave again. It all happens in just 15 seconds!

Let me explain why I call Google the cafeteria of the internet and Facebook the new and trendy restaurant.

Are social networks, blogs, forums, communities and video portals (together called: social media) the next step after the search decade? No, I think Google will stay powerful for brands. But not for branding!

Almost all CMO’s around the globe have discovered the power of search: Google, Yahoo! and MSN. They run Search Engine Optimization (called: Natural Search or SEO) programs and Search Engine Advertising (called: Paid Search or SEA) campaigns.

The CMO’s have not discovered this search force yet, will be in a museum near you soon!

When I speak at events and conferences many CMO’s ask me: “Igor, do you think Social Media is the next big thing after Search“? And: “What can Social Media do for my brand”?

This is my answer to CMO’s: Google is not great branding or marketing. Google is a great traffic, leads and sales generating machine. So keep up doing your SEM properly, since it will bring you ROI fast.

But Google is also the “snack bar” (see photo above) of the internet. People get in and out fast for a quick snack. Google is no destination site. People don’t stay long, so it will be difficult to engage consumers in Google.

What you as CMO could achieve with social media? Social networks and social media have other skills. They work very well for branding, engaging consumers or community activation.

Facebook is not better than Google, it has different strengths. Facebook is the trendy restaurant: a place where people sit relaxed for hours, chat with friends, meet new people and peers, while they are wining and dining.

People also spend hours watching videos at YouTube or Tudou. Video portals like YouTube and social networks like Facebook are called: destination sites. These sites have stickiness to the max!

People stay there for half an hour or half a day, during one session. So social media sites like video portals and social networks offer CMO’s great opportunities to create brand awareness, to engage consumers and to launch community activation.

Google disrupted marketing, so here are my Search tips to CMO’s:

1. Google is great for site traffic, leads and sales!
2. Google is a Cafeteria, suited for sales not great for branding.
2. Keep doing your SEO and SEA in Google, Yahoo! and MSN.
3. Search works and will bring ROI if you measure accurate. Search is a no-brainer!
4. Get the best SEM agency available.

Here are my 10 Social Media tips to CMO’s;

1. Video portals are very sticky. Use them for branding.
2. Use branded skins around videos, do not push 30 second pre-roll commercials!!!
3. Social networks are sticky and know user profiles. Use them for branding, community activation or consumer engagement.
4. Use SMO (Social Media Optimization/Natural Seeding) and SMA (Social Media Advertising/Paid Seeding) to get (viral) reach, involve, facilitate and engage consumers.
5. Use blogs, forums and social networks to ask your target group about your products and services.
6. Use blogs to engage important opinion leaders and social influentials.
7. Use buzz/conversational tracking to see what consumers feel about your brand, products and services.
8. Don’t use banners or other traditional shouting ads in social media! Advertising in social media works if you start conversations!
9. Make consumer engagement part of your marketing value chain and marketing strategy.
10. Get the best Social Media agency available.

So I hope this item was of any value to CMO’s and some of their agencies. Google is great. Social media are great too!

Try to understand the power of interactive media: the power of interactive media are interactions and conversations, that’s why it’s called interactive media. The power of interactive media do not tell you to launch another shouting banner campaign; that is called push advertising.

With shouting only, you will not get the full force out of interactive media!

What About You?
Is Google the cafeteria of the internet? Is Google’s power in building brands or driving sales? And why should or shouldn’t CMO’s use social media?


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Comments (10)

  • Robert Michel 01/04/2008, 22:51

    I just stopped by your blog and thought I would say hello. I like your site design. Looking forward to reading more down the road.

    Robert Michel

  • John D.
    02/04/2008, 09:04

    Nice! I like the comparisons you scetsch between Google and Facebook. I don’t think it is totally true because google is the best thing ever on the net in search and their search stands for quality food!(imho)Just like a good “take away” restaurant. Social Media can be trendy but still serve shitty food! Also you could hardly call a cafetaria “quality food”.

    So I see your point and I agree on the short time people use “quality search” at Google. And I also agree that on the Large quality social networks and video portals people spend hours, stickyness is the natural result. The higher the quality of the site, the more stickiness sticks….

    Great Post,

    Best John D.

  • Daan Jansonius 02/04/2008, 09:39

    Great post Igor! While I agree in general, there are a few points worthy of discussion. John D also makes some good points.

    A few years ago Larry Page was heard saying Google’s mission is to get you off their site as quickly as possible. However, their strategy seems to have changed somewhat. With things such as Google News, Google is becoming more of a media company.

    Your general point does hold water though, Google is great for traffic, sales and lead generation, whereas social networks are more suitable for branding excercises.

  • laurens 02/04/2008, 11:04

    Great picture :-)! I believe this post definitely helps marketers to understand how to deal which social media.
    The 10 tips are very clear and useful.

    But I could imagine that many marketers find it difficult to place social media optimization in the regular marketing mix.

  • Daan Jansonius 02/04/2008, 12:16

    @ Laurens, that’s usually exactly the problem! They try and squeeze social media marketing into the rest of the marketing mix. Just because it’s popular they want a part of it.

    But they often do so without taking the time to understand the media they are using, which ends with poor results and unhappy users because they are being spammed!

  • @ Robert

    Thanks for the design compliment. Hope to see you more often!


  • @ John D

    Nice that you liked the post, really appreciated you told us!

    I fully agree with you: Google has proved itself more than 10x times to me as well. It’s great, best search engine, very profitable, great stockprice and cool how they disrupted the market!

    Google is far better than Yahoo! and MSN, they users are clear about that! However, I think in 2 to 3 years, we will laugh about the Goolge of today.

    Why? Because Google drops you back a box of links, and you have to search for yourself if you like what they throw at you.

    We don’t even know why Google throws these specific sites back at us? Are these sites best matching our needs? Are tehse the best websites and best rated by peers?

    No Google is a stupid robot. Better than other search engines, I fully agree. But it’s called search engine because you as user need to chose and pick sites you don’t even know (not rated, not ranked, not recommended).

    I think in a few years we’ll know ‘social matching engines’ in stead of ‘simple stupid and dumb’ robots that throw back
    a bunch of links. That’s not a smart solution.. it’s like starting in 2008 with Windows 3.1. It fulfilled our needs 10 years ago.

    And I know Google is better than search engines. But but that does not stop me from thinking:

    Why is Google so slow in offering a new and better matching search engine? Were is Google’s Social Search: where you get the results of the best rated websites, recommended by people like me (other peers that match my profile)?

    I feel the same with travel and restaurant review sites: what do I care if a user says: best restaurant ever??? Or best hotel ever?? I don’t know if this user is an old dull guy from 65 from the countryside or a young trendy guy from 35 that really matches my taste… (I’m 37 but try to act a few years younger, to be honest 😉

    In other words: search results and review are pretty lousy and a waste of my time, if I don’t know if you match 5% or 95% with my taste!

    So, Amazon is pretty nice with it’s ‘basketing’: I do find some nice recommendations on marketing books or movies I could like… it’s a handy lucky shot, a bit smart already..

    Better is Lastfm that offers and recommends me music I might like based on the fact that my music taste matches 90% with that specific user.

    Google is not even close to basketing, so matching is probably way ahead?? Fact that Google hardly knows it’s users profiles and likes (besides a hand full of registered Gmail users, of which they don’t know their preferences at all) I think Google might experience tougher times the coming years. I don’t hope so, it’s my professional opinion. If you can’t even make your core search product 10 steps better in 4 years time, should I expect it from Google or other players? I’m very curious whom will grab the matching and social search space?!!!

    I do feel that matching results (music, travel, search, etc etc) and social search will become the next steps. If Google will grab that pie, I don’t know…. I think they need to ramp up there thoughts and tools fast, or they might become the next Alta Vista…

    And to be honest: I met Brin, Page and Schmidt at Zeitgeist.. spoke to them for one hour with some other IAB CEO’s… they really own a great company. Really applaud what they have achieved! Superb!!! I like the disrupting age and that is all thanks to Google! But, I have noticed that if you add the media knowledge of Schmidt, Brin and Page together, you have the media knowledge of a strong senior mediaplanner…. Being the best media company in the world, will take more than having developed a great search algorhytm. I will have to see coming years… I’m sceptic about the media part, although I must admit: I use Google daily!

    Understanding media needs more skills. Also understanding that stopping the BPF is a dangerous and risky step. It might be smart, but it’s very risky: fact is that 98% of all global media budget is gowing through media agencies, and is not going to search advertising! So Gogole is doing great, but 98% of all that Billions I call a lot. If cutting out the BPF is biting the hand that can feed you the other 98% is smart, time will tell. It’s either a very brave and smart move in the long term, or pennywise and pund foolish??! I really don’t know …. I simply sum up some facts here… But, if Google really understands the media world very well, this is the best decision. I think stopping the BPF is not the best decision made towards the Google shareholders!! And shareholders might even the more powerful than Google? We will see coming years.. very interesting times I think, so let’s stay in this industry and watch it very close, okay 😉 It’s my professional opinion, there is no truth yet I do admit!!

    But there will probably be better matching machines next years, really hope Google will be one of them!

    This does not mean I feel Facebook is better, please note that 😉

    Hope to talk to you more often!!

  • Lyndon Lawrence
    08/04/2008, 13:23

    Hi Igor,

    An interesting article and thread.

    A few thoughts from me. Google has done an astonishing job of achieving the quite remarkable in a short space of time. Their search engine technology appears to be the best that there is right now. They do have a problem though. Their shareholders. I say this, because I believe that there can be an inverse relationship between shareholder expectations and the innovations that Google can genuinely execute against. Shareholders want to make as much as they can from their investments. This is natural and according to how things work; correct. Where I find Google lacking is in taking things to the next level; parallel or social searching. You might also call this “collaborative search” or even “group search” – with the analogy of hive communications being used to explain what is actually quite simple to see with insects, but perhaps more difficult to execute with people.

    In order to achieve this ‘next level’ or ‘evolution’ – Google needs to change their approach and actually diversify their offering, instead of this blanket approach that they take. I feel that it is misleading to would be advertisers who don’t have deep pockets. Google filled a gap by being cheaper to use for advertising, more effective in their search results due to their technology and I personally strongly believe – the audience felt – “less advertised to” – so they supported them … at the very beginning.

    I know it is easy to make comments such as the ones that I do above. Change brings an inherent uncertainty. Google wants their shareholders to be certain and to trust them. They should. Google has a cashcow and they will keep on milking it for as long as they should or can. That does not mean, they should not have a switch somewhere that they can flick when the time comes to aggregate the search queries that people are simultaneously typing in – let users dynamically share and compare results, improve the Google ranking system with human intervention and their own technology to smooth out bumps or rogue interventions. This is where search technology and social environment integration will go … eventually.

    Last but not least, my experience of media agencies in general is that they feel that they own the communications show. Their thinking seems to me to be rather outdated and has more to with earnings than actual advantages that they could take by further developing the media markets beyond the limits that they have declared. But, more on that some other time.

    Best, Lyndon

  • Hi Lyndon

    I really like your approach and agree with you in full about Google!

    On media agencies, you are certainly right: some of the thinking is outdated and only covering a too small part of the marketing value chain.

    On the other hand, media agencies are often in a very strong relationship with clients and their budgets, that they really do own a large chunk of communications show.

    In many cases I have heard from CMO’s: must ask it to my media agency first… the media agencies mostly seem to be consulted more often than advertising agencies by clients?
    Sometimes this ‘media agency trust and power’ suprises me, but I don’t see it changing very fast… or CMO’s should be willing to change their behavior..

    Looking forward to your reply.


  • Lyndon Lawrence 15/04/2008, 11:13

    Hi Igor,

    Media agencies are indeed in a great position right now and have been so for some time already. With the fee splits being 60/40 or more, in their favour, they have done very well over the years. They will continue to do so for the time to come.

    Yet, I do wonder, how is their performance actually being measured? I’m really not sure if their performance is actually being seriously measured, and that by this I mean, the fancy or not so fancy presentations that they make are being accepted as satisfactory, because they did something. Anything. Just something will do. I’ve other thoughts on “Do Something!” – as an approach that some brands are taking to get a marketing campaign out the door, instead of doing – something of value – that’s for another time though.

    Anyway, I think that times have actually changed, yet media agencies have not changed their offerings. Yes, they can today book media in to blogs and other sites, which is all great and fine, however, what are the actual results of those media bookings in comparison to other media outlet placements?

    What I see is different now or perhaps even an opportunity is in the areas of portable content or widgets. Media agencies have been buying ‘widgets’ – and we can call them banners – for quite some time now, on behalf of brands. As ‘widgets’ and other forms of mashable content become more popular, users, consumers, fansumers and customers, can embed content from a variety of sources as their own content [branded etc.] in to their blogs, homepages and social media sites. Product catalogue applications, brand communications and so on, can be facilitated this way, creating a ‘broad fan’ of communications, that can tap in to a long tail, over time. Widgets to some though, seem to be media. In fact so do ‘platforms’ seem to be media. The definition has become quite blurred. It might be time to evaluate everyone’s role in the communications value chain as to who does what and why; if not to separate and distinguish, then to combine and maximise.

    I think that in the roles that CMO’s play and we can definitely empathise with them, that they trust those around them and what they hear and know from the industry to guide their decisions. Their objectives are business objectives. We could summarise them as – build the brand or build the bottom line. CMO’s are supported by teams of experts and these experts implement their 10,000 foot helicopter views. The problem may be though, that as you get closer to the ground, those down below, don’t understand the objectives above and those above, don’t understand the realities below. It’s a knowledge gap. Is it easy to address? Probably not immediately. Legacy thinking is involved, and perhaps unfortunately there is no “Y2K” bug about to explode on the scene, so the need and or wish or will to change, does not exist.

    What interests me though, and in particular for some market segments across certain product ranges, is that smaller, more niche brands are on the rise, eating away at the market positions of bigger brands. They’re cooler and more nimble, grassroots driven run, maintained and inspired. They possess and enthusiasm that drives them forward. They generally don’t have a lot of media money, but a lot of social credit. Their media is viral, because it is relevant or topical. It’s not a big brand blast. It’s rumours and whispers. These smaller brands, and I am going to go out on a limb here, are making more rapid progress than what the bigger brands realise. Throwing more money at media to combat a changing marketplace, is not necessarily the best solution. CMO’s answer to CFO’s and someone is going to answer to the shareholders at some point in time.

    This is not gloom and doom. It is opportunity. Media should be fluid and dynamic. In line and up to date. This way CMO’s can get actual information to make better decisions as to where and how to instruct their media agencies to act. I am sure that media agencies want to do their best, but they are in a bit of a bind themselves. They may not have all the tools and insights they need to sell new ideas through. If it is indeed something new, this might fall outside of a set budget. Many things don’t happen, because there is not enough finance allocated or enough leverage granted to spend or barter a deal. Corporations in particular, may be skeptical of entering partnerships, concerned that if an equal or worthy enough brand is not to be found, that the benefits of such a relationship may be skewed. We might say that above and beyond what we’re discussing here, that an approach towards “Complementary Partnerships” might better serve the best interests of all.

    Collaborations seem to be one approach, however whether or not they are sustainable, due to a focus on the high end joining forces with other high end forces [brands], the counter-intuitive approach towards more effectively joining an up and coming or off the wall, unexpected alliance with a smaller or less obvious brand / business partner, might just be what the doctor ordered.

    The same might be said of media partnerships and approaches. This however is not in fashion, in a meaningful way, as far as I am aware. It might be in the future.

    To be a bit more concrete. I think that if CMO’s are made aware and are provided with the tools to make those aware, within their organisations as to what is possible and what is going to be [we hope] be a good spend of their budgets, in advising their media agencies, then there’s a better chance of selling better ideas in and through to the end recipient or in this case, the consumer.

    Another thought. It would not surprise me if sometime in the future, Google decided to split off some of the business units it has created, to reinvigorate what it has to offer.

    Nice to have a dialogue with you.

    Kind and best,