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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.

Google Apps for Work, which includes products like Gmail, Drive, Hangouts and Docs, is the suite of apps that most businesses are interested in licensing when they approach Google. Where they fit into Google for Work or vice versa is unclear, though.

Google Apps for Work deserves top billing

The fact it has separate product pages for Gmail for Work, Hangouts for Work and Drive for Work suggest that Google has let product managers and marketers get away from the message it should be conveying to the enterprise. Gmail may be the gateway drug (as some CIOs have described it) that hooks organizations into Google's email app before employees get pushed into Google Docs, but Google shouldn't be packaging its enterprise products in such a meaningless fashion if it truly hopes to be an enterprise-ready alternative to Microsoft Office.

Gmail and Drive for Work aren't sold on an individual basis, but you wouldn't know that based on all the "for Work" landing pages for these apps that just redirect prospective customers to the Google Apps for Work pricing page. The strategy raises more questions than it answers: Why does Google create extra steps and layers of confusion? Why does it have to call everything "for Work" when the products and features pertinent to business customers are already included in the Google Apps for Work package?

Apps that help users communicate (Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar, Google+), collaborate (Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides, Sites), manage (Admin, Vault) and store files (Drive) are all included in Google Apps for Work package. Pricing is simple enough, but good luck finding it...and then then understanding everything that's included with Google's $5 or $10 monthly plans.

Unless Google conveys a more holistic message for the enterprise, prospective business customers will make uninformed determinations about Google for Work. Considering Google's terrible branding decisions so far, no one could be blamed for thinking that Gmail for Work and Drive for Work are two separate products with different pricing. They would be wrong, but only Google is to blame for the false impression.


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