One of my clients got an email from Google about helping his manufacturing business use all the search and data tools in Google’s platform to help him scale and there was NO cost. The client was already doing a good job with digital, social, and was in the middle of a paid keyword campaign, but the idea of free advice from Google was compelling.
The client joined the Google program, did a couple of calls and confirmed some things the client already knew while hearing some new ideas aligned with his current approach. All and all it was worth a few hours to be sure his current direction was strategically sound.
In this case bigger wasn’t better but it was good.
Fast forward and as the CEO of The Revenue Game, I get an email very similar to my clients. In place of the reference to manufacturing mine said: “The Brand Accelerator Program is to help scale those in the professional services industry.”
Like my client, I was doing digital, social and was in my third version of paid keyword advertising with varying degrees of success.
Based on my client’s experience with what seemed to be a similar Google offer I decided to see what I might learn from a great company, the company that developed the search technology supporting the process.
The writer of my email said they select a few companies each quarter based on their potential for growth and then offer complimentary strategy support, Google insights and the development of custom campaigns, etc. etc.
My email closed with “I am available Monday at 1 pm or Tuesday at 2 pm.
At 6:56 on the morning of our call I received an email with seven questions and the following note: “I’m looking forward to giving you an introduction to my team. If you could please take a few minutes to address the topics below, that will add to the quality of our next conversation.”
So, to be ready for my call with the company, I assumed to be the best in the world, I worked on the seven questions.
After reviewing the questions so I would be ready for “our next conversation” the hour for our first call arrived. I called into the conference number two minutes early to be respectful to the organization who is willing to invest in me and waited.
The time for the call came and went. Now it is five minutes after the time for the call and I am still alone for our twenty-five-minute call. Just then my host arrived and started by pitching me from a script that had no opening line about sorry for being late or any need for me to do anything other than listen to the script delivered at high speed (maybe to make up for the six minutes late opening). For ten straight minutes, the script came fast and with no need for me to do anything. There were two places where I was asked about providing data for our next conversation.
In both of those places where I was asked I used nine words to ask if data was a reference to the seven questions (the ones I had prepared) and both times, the pitch continued as if I had said nothing.
At the sixteen-minute mark (six minutes late and a ten-minute pitch interrupted by two nine-word questions) the pitch had a close point to confirm the next conversation (the first one wasn’t a conversation, so I didn’t understand the “next” one). In part of the close, I was asked if I would have the data ready for a different Google team member conversation.
I had no idea what was going on or if I wanted a next conversation if it was another purposeless pitch. So, I did the only thing I could. I asked the same nine-word question “is the data the seven questions answered”?
The phone went dead at the other end. I held on assuming something was technically wrong. Soon a recorded message informed me the host for the call had left and the call would end in five minutes.
Our call was scheduled for twenty-five minutes and was made up of
- 6 minutes late
- 10 minutes fast paced pitch interrupted by two 7-word questions – not answered
- 1-minute close
- 7-word question
- 5 minutes dead air
- Platform hang-up
Our “conversation” used a total of 22 minutes (including 11 minutes of dead air) from the 25 scheduled and left me “dazed and confused.”
In my case bigger wasn’t better, it was all about bigger with no effort for anything that would resemble a partner relationship.
It was never clear why bigger wanted to do this pitch to a little guy. No one had an opportunity to “get better,” to “make more money,” to “save money,” or “create value” for anyone in the equation.
The only purpose and opportunity for value that came to mind was for me to write a blog about the experience.
A Brand results from the experience of organizations interacting. If this single experience defines Google’s brand the brand promise and engagement model might look like:
- A selfish internally focused BIG vendor brand who makes money from their customers, with no transparency and a rude staff.
- The engagement model would be a BIG monopoly vendor to the buyers who must follow the vendor rules.
- The relationship would be the vendor’s way or the highway.
- Conversations would be one frame of reference, one way in direction and quantity. In other words, the vendor talks and the market listens.
- Value would come from products with a low price that just meet minimum specs.
Maybe none of those things are true. Hopefully, they are not true but in today’s transparent world the truth is seen as what a person or company does, not what they say.
The fact Google reached out to freely support some little guys sounds nice, but the truth based on behavior and outcomes is they aren’t trustworthy, they care about themselves, they are big, and we are small, and bigger is not better – based on my experience it is not even OK!
All organizations are transparent, and value comes from helping clients make money and conversations help the most when they respectfully go two ways in equal parts.
Being better has nothing to do with being bigger and everything about adding value to everyone in the game.
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