For the companies most involved with search marketing, it’s not always about the actual dollars and cents. Sometimes, companies focus on auxiliary projects to try and better your user experience, increase your dependence on their products or improve your opinion of their brand. Don’t get me wrong, the hope is that these sorts of investments will pay off in real dollars in the long run, but if a company can do some of the small things well, the return on investment can be both well-deserved and highly profitable.
Today, we’ll take a look at three such efforts taken by search marketing leaders (Google and MSN) as well as the provider of the dominant medium for mobile ads (Apple via the iPhone). Let’s get going!
- Google is the master at sweating the small stuff in order to get the big payoff in the end. Just think about Google Maps. Sure, there are ads on the page but if you think that those ads paid for thousands of cars taking pictures of every street in America, you’re sorely mistaken. Google builds these sorts of products to increase loyalty to the Google brand and to build a positive rapport with the user. And it works! Recently, Google shared it’s search data to show their lighter side, depicting the winners and losers of Oscar night through their stats. As it turns out, the Hurt Locker didn’t just take home the most golden baldies, they also received quite the spike of searches. Thanks for sharing, Google; this stuff always fascinates me. [Google Blog via Mashable]
- Microsoft has been focusing on something that seems small to most of us but is really big news up in Seattle. For months, msn.com has redirected you straight to bing.com, showcasing Microsoft’s much ballyhooed “decision engine.” No longer! The redesign of msn.com is complete and you should go check it out when you get a chance. It may not look like much, but watch for customized content and other such bells and whistles. Personally, I think it looks a lot more like yahoo.com and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. Bing.com seemed to make quite the effort to copy Google’s minimalist approach; I guess Microsoft wanted to give users a choice between simple search and profound portal. Well, take your pick! [paidContent.org]
- Apple wants your iPhone to replace a lot of the various gadget in your life. Calendar? Check. Calculator? Check. Game Boy? Getting close! The list is long and only getting longer. One thing that I never expected to see was for my iPhone to replace my house keys. Yikes, Apple! I think you may be trying a little too hard to help me out. This borders on invasive. Also, I’m not sure that I want a key to my house that runs out of batteries every day, is dangerously susceptible to water damage and can be rendered useless if it falls out of my pocket. Why not just stick to the fundamentals, Apple? Black turtlenecks and brushed aluminum casing. Oh yeah, that’s your sweet spot! [Vallywag]
So, sometimes focusing on details that aren’t directly related to your core competancy are a good thing. Google is great at search marketing but it’s great to see them use their info for a fun blog article. Microsoft is great at desktop applications but it’s important that they are taking their commitment to search (both on bing.com and msn.com) seriously. Apple is great at user-friendly hardware but maybe it’s not so great that they are thinking so much about getting into your apartment! Just remember, when you’re sweating the small stuff, make sure that it’s stuff that your potential customers actually want you to sweat!
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