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Why Google's enterprise pitch is a confusing mess

Matt Kapko | Aug. 3, 2015
Google has allowed a branding and marketing mess to fester around its enterprise business for far too long. The company needs a unifying message that can explain Google for Work to prospective customers in a more cohesive fashion.


Can you explain to your business colleagues what Google for Work is? If so, you're miles ahead of Google. The company's foray into the enterprise has been little more than a hodgepodge of silos, delineated by products and their respective teams. The company is doing a poor job marketing the entirety of Google for Work because the initiative overlaps with individual product sales and leads to operational confusion.

Google for Work (formerly Google Enterprise) is the company's business product offering, but it's more of a vehicle for marketing and sales than it is the family of apps sold as Google Apps for Work (formerly Google Apps for Business).

Confused yet?

Google might have some moonshots in development on the periphery at its Google X lab, but the myopic thinking among employees working on the company's most popular products has broken Google into fiefdoms marred by self-rule. Google for Work is an opportunity to highlight Google's total value to business customers, but that sense of greater purpose is lacking.

Google now has a handful of killer products with more than 1 billion users each Android, Search, Chrome, YouTube and Maps. The problem is that most IT departments and business decision-makers aren't searching for single solutions these days.

When it comes to what Google can help enterprise customers achieve, the company should be pitching its brand and letting its products shine within the framework of a single platform that powers a suite of applications. Google could learn a thing or two from Microsoft about how it's managed the development and expansion of Office 365, a cloud-based integrated platform that knows exactly what it is.

Google for Work should be that platform, but Google just can't seem to help itself when it comes to naming its products and empowering those brands to rise on their own. Placing any of its products higher than any other only further muddies the waters of what Google for Work is and what the platform represents for the 5 million businesses that Google report use it today.

Google's branding for the enterprise: Follow if you can

Let's try to follow Google's logic here, but be patient because first you need to get through a series of familiar Google product names with "for Work" simply added to them. Confusion sets in almost immediately on the Google for Work homepage where solutions such as Google Apps for Work, Google Cloud Platform, Chrome for Work, Google Maps for Work and Google Search for Work are all listed prominently.

Each of those services is sold and marketed to business customers separately, and Google Apps for Work is the only one with public-facing pricing. Regardless of what Google calls it, Google for Work appears to be a basic platform the company uses to upsell a host of services to prospective clients.


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