Google honchos flog web ad merits to Laval Chamber of Commerce
If there is something deeper underlying the message that representatives of Google’s Quebec division are taking to corporate audiences as the world’s biggest web service provider tries to drum up business in this province, it’s that some of you “old” media types better watch out – Google could end up eating your lunch.
In a noontime presentation to the Laval Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Le Palace on Le Corbusier on Jan. 31, Kathleen Jean-Pierre, Google’s general manager for business sales and solutions in Quebec, made a pitch to the assembled business crowd that was very similar to what Google Quebec head Nicolas Darveau-Garneau (who was the originally-scheduled guest) told the mainstream media before.
That Monday having been a dangerously windy one as some may recall, Darveau-Garneau was unable to get a flight back to Google Quebec HQ in Montreal in time for the C of C luncheon. So Jean-Pierre did a first-rate job of getting across a spontaneously-delivered albeit carefully-crafted message from her employer.
The essence of that, as Darveau-Garneau told La Presse in an interview last fall, is that Google is dying to take a big bite from the advertising pie in Quebec, since hardly a dent has yet been made here in the market for advertising over the Internet. A short list of some of the biggest current corporate successes on the web includes eBay, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (which was an independent upstart now owned by Google).
Winners and losers
Contrast this with a short list of failed or failing and mostly U.S.-based “old” media companies, including Kodak, the former Borders book retail chain, the bankrupt Tower Records music retail chain, the equally-bankrupt Blockbuster Video rental chain, and the bankrupt and salvaged MGM film and TV production corporation. Another unmistakable sign, Jean-Pierre noted with a graph whose peaks and valleys sketched a consistently downward trend, is that print advertising is tanking, even if the online equivalent isn’t exactly shooting skyward.
One of the many points Jean-Pierre and Google make is that things happen much more quickly in the age of web connectedness than they did in the days when the old mainstream media delivered their product in hard copy or over the radio and television waves. While it took decades for broadcast television to build up a viewership of 50 million, for each new medium the length grows exponentially shorter, until the Internet enables a video posted on YouTube to garner that many hits and become “viral” in just a few days.
Web ‘crisis’ in Quebec
As Jean-Pierre and her boss both noted separately, fewer than half of the two million companies registered in Quebec today have a web presence. As well, only a comparably low number of the province’s businesses have bothered up to now to explore the possibilities of advertising over the Internet. One of the upshots of that, according to Jean-Pierre, is that web advertising in Quebec remains low in cost relative to other regions. The province’s lateness to jump onto the web in this respect is regarded as a bit of a “crisis,” she suggested, although there’s still lots of time to jump aboard and Google would be willing to provide assistance for that purpose.