Former Omnicom Exec Goldman Discusses New Book On The Google Marketing Machine

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Aaron GoldmanAaron Goldman is the founder and principal of Connectual, a digital marketing consulting firm. Goldman has written a new book called, "Everything I Know About Marketing I Learned From Google."

AdExchanger.com: Please share a little background on you and what inspired you to write this book.

AG: I've been in a digital marketing guy for over ten years. I started off as a sales guy with L90/MaxOnline -- one of the early online ad networks. Then I became a search guy after getting in early at Resolution Media. Then I turned into an agency guy after Omnicom bought Resolution before becoming a consulting guy when I started Connectual.

So I’ve been a lot of different guys but all of them loved to write. At first, I scratched the itch through elaborate (and way too long) emails and proposals. Then I started blogging and eventually got my tally up to some 15-odd blogs. Then I got a bi-weekly column in MediaPost Search Insider.

Writing a book was always on the bucket list but it wasn't until I started my own company that I had control over my schedule so I could days and weeks at a time to work on a manuscript.

As for why I chose this topic… well, Google sells books. And I knew a thing or two about the company, having spent hundreds of millions through Google for my clients over the years.

In the audience-buying world, is it possible to "keep it simple stupid" (a Google lesson) considering the opportunity to micro-target 100s if not 1000s of audience segments in a single ad campaign? What do you recommend?

I think K.I.S.S. comes into play more when it comes to messaging and positioning.

The lesson of Chapter 9 is track everything and Chapter 10 is let the data decide. So I fully advocate for leveraging all available targeting options to reach your audience.

But, when deciding what ad to serve with each impression, it's critical to have a message that’s easy to understand and provide an experience, whether on your website or in a social environment, that clearly articulates your brand positioning and unique value prop.

Where do demand-side platforms fit in the evolution of digital advertising? Will Google own the exchange and/or DSP space at some point in the near future?

You know that display advertising technology landscape slide that finds its way into every deck these days? Well, I created a version that replaces all those hundreds of logos with just one. Take a guess.

At some point, Google will have a play in every one of those "buckets" and it will be easy for advertisers to get all the benefits of each of those middlers with just one (giant) middleman.

That said, the big advertisers will still use agencies and/or DSPs to buy display because they don't want Google having access to all their data. But, as Google proved with search, there's plenty of money to be made along the tail. If Google can make display as easy to buy for mom and pops as search is (and as effective), it will be in a very good place.

What do you see as Google's strategy around consumer privacy? Will it be successful?

I think Google's privacy strategy is to get away with tracking as much as it can without breaking the law of pissing off too many consumer advocacy groups.

The truth is, the average Joe has no idea how much Google knows about him. And he doesn't care. He loves Google. So he doesn't ask questions.

In Chapter 16, I talk about how "Altruism Sells." With its "Don't be evil" mantra, Google has bought a ton of goodwill. And with the millions of dollars and man-hours donated through Google.org, the company has a halo that keeps consumers from questioning its motives.

So, yes, I think it will be successful. The only thing that could derail Google here would be government regulation or a huge snafu along the lines of AOL releasing search data a few years back.

What do you think of the agency trading desk strategy that many holding companies have started? Will it work in the "Age of Google"?

I think the approach makes a ton of sense for agencies. It's a smarter way to buy display. And it reclaims ownership of the data for the advertisers. Not to mention, it takes margin from all those middlemen.

As I said earlier, I don't think large advertisers would be willing to let Google be their "trading desk" so these agency groups will have a role going forward.

Full disclosure: I just finished a consulting gig for Omnicom Media Group's Trading Desk.

What about Facebook? Is Facebook's strategy a potential Google-killer and when do you release you book on Facebook and marketing? :)

From a search standpoint, Facebook has Google-killer potential. I love the idea of open graph search, which Facebook is slowly rolling out. Just last week, it starting ranking news articles in search results based on likes.

If you think about how the Google algorithm works, it's all about links. A link is a vote for a site's credibility. And Google counts all links and authority of linking domains (along with relevancy and a few hundred other factors but I'll K.I.S.S. here) when deciding what websites to rank in what order for each query.

With Facebook, it's all about likes. A like is a vote for a site's credibility. And Facebook can count all the likes and authority of the "liker" to rank websites in its index.

Who would you trust more to help you decide what website you'd want to visit, a bunch of webmasters or your friends?

Now can you see why Google is so desperate to create a meaningful social network?

What's next for you?

As it turns out, just today, I issued a press release announcing that I'm putting my business on hold and "declaring free agency."

I'm going to follow in Lebron's footsteps and make a move to an all-star team that will allow me to compete at a higher level. Connectual's been great but I think I can have a bigger impact on the space with a company that's already operating at scale with an innovative product and killer team.

I'll be announcing my decision on Monday at 10am CDT through a video interview on the Connectual blog, so tune in to find out where I'll be "taking my talents."

Follow Connectual (@connectual) and AdExchanger.com (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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2 Responses to “Former Omnicom Exec Goldman Discusses New Book On The Google Marketing Machine”


  1. Not a bad guess. Mediabank's new CEO, Bill Wise, is an old friend/manager from the L90/MaxOnline days and they're based in Chicago and doing big things. But I'm not telling. You'll have to tune in tomorrow to find out!

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