If You Live by Google—You Can Die by Google
Rishad Tobaccowala—marketer extraordinaire with 40+ years of experience—was recently on an episode of the Content Callout Podcast. He speaks in-depth about some of the challenges marketers are facing in 2020. He also talks about the dangers of our complete reliance on certain platforms for marketing—including Google and Facebook.
We have to begin to rethink Google. Rishad points out that Google is not the Google you know, it’s changing in front of your very eyes. Google is beginning to talk about being responsible, being discoverable, and being useful. They don’t talk about search anymore.
The future is voice, AI, and Android. The future is discovery. The future is giving you all the answers without ever having to go to a search page.
Rishad drops a bomb, saying “If you live by Google, you can die by Google.”
Our dependence makes us vulnerable
Our dependence on various platforms makes us vulnerable. It isn’t only Google, but Facebook as well. Rishad isn’t afraid to go on the record and point out that we rely too heavily on Facebook. It’s become a HUGE issue. He goes on to say “You are highly dependent on a platform where you don’t know how your data is being used or being leaked. You have no power against them.”
He also points out that there is no strategic optionality. He states that marketers wholeheartedly believe they can’t cut their use of Facebook. Rishad’s comeback is: “You can do without me. You can do without Condé Nast, you can do without CBS. But you can’t do without Facebook. So in effect, you’re a drug-addict telling me your drug dealer is going to tell you how to run the business.”
Rishad emphasizes that most board levels don’t know that marketers bid against each other for Facebook. He also points out that Facebook doesn’t bid against Google for your business. You are bidding against everything: “There is no duopoly. There are two monopolies. There’s a search monopoly and there’s a social monopoly.”
But the tide is changing. Boards of directors and every CEO are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore. It’s time for a strategic shift. But how do marketers shift?
Shift towards human connection
Distribution, shelf space, TV advertising, communicating about your brand and managing price, and promotion are less relevant today. What is becoming important is the ability of people to seek out things for themselves—the importance of utility. The importance of influencer marketing. The importance of interaction.
The world is moving into: Are you offering a solution? Are you easily accessible? Are you delivering value? Are you creating a great experience? A human connection is required to create a bridge between brands and their people.
So how do you create that connection?
The best way to create connections with individuals is to understand the purpose and values of your company and what benefits you actually deliver. Are you truly delivering a real benefit and solution? Rishad points out that we are entering an era of a new ESG. Formerly it was a focus on the environment, sustainability, and governance. Now it’s a focus on employees, society, and government:
- Employees: “If you can’t look after your employees, don’t tell me about your brand values. I’m not interested.”
- Society: You have to think about the ramifications of what you do.
- Government: The system needs to be funded. Pay your taxes.
Rishad emphasizes: “If you cannot look after your employees, cannot provide them with a living wage, cannot provide them with healthcare, and cannot provide the training—then I believe that all your purpose and values are nothing but big ideas roaming free on your website.”
The bottom line is that people are voting with their credit cards. There has been an awakening around the world. It has been positive that people have been re-thinking. So marketers need to do the same. Rishad believes that begins by questioning your dependence on platforms and shifting your gaze toward human connection.
To hear more of his expert insight into the realm of marketing, listen to episode #2 of the Content Callout Podcast!