is virtually synonymous with search. So much so in
fact that the company has little need to advertise. Not all sales pitches are
quite as easy as selling Google ads, however. Getting businesses to buy Google’s
online suite of office applications is taking a bit more work.
To help spread the word about its online suite of office
applications, Google is leasing billboards along major highways in New York,
San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston this month. Google’s bundle of business
applications sells for $50 per worker annually. Google plans to have a
different message displayed each weekday throughout August, starting today.
Google has been selling its applications package since 2007.
The company only recently decided it needed a more aggressive sales pitch. As
Michael Lock, director of sales and operations for Google's enterprise division
in North America, put it, "People don't necessarily think of Google when
it comes to how we can help companies." For now, Google has no intentions
to advertise the applications in other offline media.
The billboard advertising venture from Google shows just how
serious the company is about competing with (and stealing customers from) Microsoft
By contrast, Google has rarely purchased advertising to promote its search
engine that was created nearly 11 years ago. Instead, the company relied on
word-of-mouth and free media exposure to establish its stronghold in the
The tactic has worked well for the company: Google’s search
engine generated $10.7 billion in revenue during the first half of this year.
Software licensing and Google's business applications are a much smaller piece
of the revenue pie, having generated just $365 million in revenue during the
At this point it’s hard to say whether Google’s efforts with
the billboard advertisements will pay off. Although it’s easing, there’s still
quite a bit of resistance from businesses to adapt online applications and cloud
—many companies prefer to install the programs on their own
computers for security reasons. The good news for Google is that as companies
come under increasing pressure to lower costs, they are also becoming more
willing to experiment with cloud computing. Google believes its message about
the benefits of cloud computing are catching on, and hopes to increase its
business sales force by hiring about 100 workers even though the company’s
overall payroll has been shrinking lately.