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Is Facebook vs. Google+ Similar to Microsoft vs. Apple?

The radical impact Google is making within the social space has reminded me a bit of the early days with Microsoft vs. Apple. Today it’s Facebook vs Google Plus. Much like Microsoft, Facebook captured the bulk of the market early on and rapidly grew on a worldwide basis. And even though Facebook, much like Microsoft has been somewhat discombobulated, they both fulfilled an untapped need. Microsoft redefined productivity in the business world. Facebook revolutionized the way we communicate with each other. Both achieved what needed to be done on a functional level.

Apple on the other hand offered equal functionality yet with simplicity and clean sleek design. I admit I am biased as I have always been an Apple person, but as I have played around with Google Plus, I am feeling the same differentiating factors. Google+ is simple  and smoother in design. Good friend, Ayesha Mathews-Wadhwa, recently shared a comment referring to the Aspen Ideas Festival:

Design is changing the way we talk to each other.

So true! And I believe Facebook is about to find that out. Facebook is functional and meets a need. But by incorporating thoughtful and logical design, Google+ takes the social experience to a different level.

So who wins? The consumer. I doubt Facebook is going away, but much like Microsoft, they are no longer the only ones playing and will have to step it up. Good competition means choices and ultimately better products for consumers. Google has been trying to get into the social space for quite awhile with little success. But with Google+, I think they have finally created not only something to compete with Facebook (and yes, Twitter,) but something that might even cause a switch.

For example, take a look at Chris Brogan’s (social media extraordinaire) new profile picture on Facebook. I was a bit amused, but I’m guessing Mark Zuckerberg did not feel the same.

What does all of this have to do with marketing to women? Everything. Women want to share, connect and build relationships. And Facebook has met that need. But they also want simple, clean and sleek. And it appears that Google+ has been listening.

As marketers, you need to know social is not a fad or a trend. It is now a way of life and will simply continue to be improved upon – attracting even more women!

Are you prepared to connect with the female market?


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Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email


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What Did Google Learn That Male Marketers Need to Know? It’s Not Just About The Numbers.

Watching the progression of Google’s newest social attempt with Google+  (also referred to as Google Plus), I have noticed a strong similarity with male marketers attempting to get on board with marketing to women.

There are two main stages that both must go through to be successful. Acceptance and understanding.

STEP I: ACCEPTANCE
Google had to first accept that “social” was going to ultimately dictate “search.” The best assessment I have read about this can be found in one of Jay Baer’s recent posts titled: Why Google Has the Hammer to Make Businesses Use Google Plus. It is a must read.

Google has always been about page rankings and algorithms. Hence, they devised their PageRank formula using the number, type, and reputation of other Pages that link to your own as a major ranking factor. This has worked quite well for years and boosted Google to be recognized as the dominant leader of all search engines. But as social moved in, Google resisted change and by the time they recognized social as a necessary component of search (some might say “the” component of search,) they were already way behind.

Meanwhile, both Twitter and Facebook have dramatically encroached Google’s “search” domain with a deeply rooted understanding of “social.”

Male marketers and CEOs continuing to resist the staggering power of the female consumer may too find themselves way behind as fresh, up and coming competitors recognize the vast opportunities that exist in targeting the female market. And with a majority of new businesses being started by women, it’s not difficult to see who might have the edge in this arena.

The reason? Stage two – understanding. Facebook and Twitter understand social and women understand women. Google and men are sometimes much too focused on numbers.

STEP II: UNDERSTANDING
Once male marketers and CEOs accept that women are the market, the real work begins. But some men are not willing to actually get to “know her” and sincerely “understand her” to build relationships and connect effectively. Likewise, although Google saw the writing on the wall with the undeniable impact of “social,” they continued to attempt to control people’s social paths to fit into their algorithms. They could not veer from the numbers long enough to allow users to be authentically social and their several failed social attempts reveal just that.

As Jay Baer put it in the article mentioned earlier, “Google has tried to invent a source of social signals to give it the scoring information it needs to stay on top of the relevancy heap in an ever-expanding Web. Orkut. Google Buzz. To some extent Google Wave. Picasa. None of them got even Twitter-level traction, much less Facebook.

But Google Plus just might be different. After being out only a week, a study conducted by The Next Web reveals that 66% of those who have tried Google+ are ready to abandon Facebook. Why? Because Google decided to listen to what people wanted out of social. Actually, they pretty much copied the good of both Twitter and Facebook, but the point is they now get it. It’s not just about the numbers.

Google finally accepted that “social” is the future of search. But just as important, they finally chose to abandon forced paths for the numbers and are offering a genuine “social” experience. Which ironically, has led to higher numbers – certainly in terms of consumer buy-in. You know they must be doing something right when Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook is the most popular person on Google+.

Questions for male marketers: Have you accepted the power and influence of the female consumer? And more importantly, are you willing to listen to and understand her? My advice would be to not wait. Few can afford the expensive cost of a comeback like Google.


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Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email