Home > Identity and Branding, Lead generation, Marketing, Online advertising > Advertising above the fray: an update

Advertising above the fray: an update

So Google got the name of their NexusOne phone in front of 100 million people in their target audience. They promised their online store would revolutionize the way smartphones were sold. News broke that Android phones surpassed the iPhone in sales for the first time ever.

Why didn't the NexusOne live up to Google's expectations?

And in the middle of all this, Google admitted defeat.

Now, selling 165,000 phones at almost $600 a pop in less than 6 months can hardly be called a failure. Creating revenue of $100M in half a year with no marketing but a webstore and a text ad on a search page is actually quite phenomenal. But even that $100M in revenue fell far short of Google’s own expectations.

But why did the NexusOne fail to hit the sales numbers of the iPhone and the Motorola Droid in that time?

Smartphone market experts think that people probably wanted to hold the phone in their hand at a store before they made the buying decision. While this makes a certain amount of intuitive sense, Apple sold a million iPads to people who couldn’t hold one before making the purchase.

I think that Google, in their rush to be innovative with marketing, ignored the marketing rule of 1+1=3. Running an 1/8-page ad 8 issues in a row has greater impact than a full page ad in a single publication. The iPhone and Droid both were advertised heavily on TV, billboards, magazines–as well as websites.

And the text for that ad on the Google search page? “Experience the NexusOne, the new Android phone from Google.”

There’s no compelling content in the ad line at all–no reason at all given by Google for a user to consider a NexusOne in the world of smartphones out there. (Except, possibly, that the phone is from Google, which smacks of arrogance.) The iPhone (“There’s an app for that”) and Droid (“In a world of doesn’t, Droid does”) are both about features, productivity, and being able to do everything you want on your smartphone.

It seems to me that Google ignored a few of the essential marketing fundamentals–they relied on a single medium to drive product awareness, and they failed to create a compelling story. Perhaps the “it’s from Google, it has to be good” works when your products–search and Chrome–are free, but the world changes when you now need a $600 investment from your customer base.

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