We went, we saw, we Googled. This past week, Local Search Masters was invited to the Google Partners All Stars summit at Google HQ in Mountain View, California. Aside from ensuring that we made the pilgrimage to In-N-Out Burger and visiting the Google campus gift shop to stock up on Christmas gifts, we were treated to a tour of the beautiful campus and a full day of keynote presentations by Google’s elite. Topics spanned from the more advanced Adwords dynamic remarketing discussions to developing cultures of innovation, so needless to say, there was a lot to learn!


Here are just 7 of our main take-aways from the trip:


1. It’s Time To Innovate

Innovation isn’t just for CEOs, Chief Innovation Officers, and Innovation teams anymore. Everyone is called to innovate. Yes, that means you. Yes, you. If your business is not innovating, you’re missing out on opportunity. Every major industry is reinventing itself  with technology. Google driverless cars are real, and in a few, very short years, they will become a practical part of the mass marketplace, all because of Google’s culture of innovation. Even with highly-regulated industries like public transportation, ride-sharing companies (like Uber and Lyft) are not just offering a new service, but disrupting an ecosystem that’s been stable for decades. This is what we should all be doing – taking the risk to disrupt the environment in which we have become complacent. The innovators will win, and those who do not innovate will die. Google encourages its employees to think 10x. Meaning, when they think of an idea for a product or service, it’s not to improve a process by 10%, 25%, or even 50% – that’s incremental. 10x shifts the paradigm of thinking into accomplishing a previously impossible feat.

2. There’s Still Opportunity To Reach Untapped Markets

51% of businesses still don’t use the Internet to market their business. This means that the mom & pop shop down the street from you is not reaching its full audience, whether it be via pay-per-click Google Adwords search advertising, or maybe even creating a Facebook page. A good portion of your locale is yours for the taking!

3. We Are All Brand Builders

As the gig-economy takes off more and more, a company’s story takes front and center. The great, multinational conglomerates of our parent’s time are dwindling. It’s stories like the way Steve Jobs created Apple Computer in a garage that resonate with people and cultivate that positive brand perception, and the word of mouth engagement is what will drive sales. Jeff Rozic (Brand Product Strategist, Google Brand Labs) explains it like this… “Reach/impressions are easy to get; engagement is valuable, and the currency is ‘time spent.’’ Long gone are the days of purchasing 50,000 Twitter followers just for public perception – anyone can see through that now. The only thing that matters is that your true fans and brand ambassadors are talking about you and sharing their positive associations within their personal spheres of influence.

4. Create Micro-Moments

Your day is filled with micro-moments, or small decisions that we make without too much thought. Google categorizes three types of micro-moments:

“I Want to Know” (115% increase year over year in shopping searches)

“I Want To Go” (34x increases in “near me” searches since 2011)

“I Want To Buy” (Google’s litmus test is a 90-second checkout experience, EVEN on mobile)

At the crux of all three types of moments, people want information, and they want that information fast. With this in mind, user experience needs to be a main focus for businesses. Optimize your website, provide reliable information about your product/service, and make it so easy to check-out and purchase that your grandma could do it. Pablo Slough framed it like this: 1) Identify your audience’s micro-moments; 2) Deliver on your audience’s needs in the moment; and 3) Measure/quantify every moment that matters.

5. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile

The time for mobile is now. It’s not the future; it’s here. And, the majority of the time, the micro-moments mentioned above happen on a mobile device. Why? Mobile is intensely more personal than desktop;  our phones are an extension of our person these days. It’s the source of our knowledge, and we think twice before surrendering that source. It’s personal, and as marketers, we need to remember this as we develop marketing campaigns tailored specifically towards mobile users.

6. Buzzword Of The Year: Programmatic

Long story short here: while programmatic is very important to think about, don’t give in to the hype of what programmatic could be. At its core, programmatic is the notion that a marketer can use audience data to automate the buying and selling of ads, reaching the right person at the right time. Data is getting smarter, so use it to your advantage and make your marketing easier.

7. Digital First

Marketers who lead on the internet surpass those who do not, especially from an advertising standpoint. Look at successful startup companies like Dollar Shave Club, AirBNB, and Warby Parker. You know their team made a dedicated and conscious decision to focus on digital first, and then scale up using more traditional mediums like radio and TV. The perfect 30-second TV spot is not the answer anymore – shorter, snackable content that captures attention is the key to success now. There doesn’t need to be a grand voice-over or a perfectly-lit set; Jeff Rozic explained that the keys to success and your job as marketers are to educate, entertain, and inspire.