Technology does not sell

Seth Godin did a talk at Google campus in Februari last year. I recently stumbled upon this video of his talk, in which he explains to the Google people why Google sells.

He is very clear in explaining to technology people that technology does not sell. It’s technology that gives you a shot at marketing, nothing more. He makes some very good points which I’ll try to summarize, because the video takes 48 minutes to watch 🙂

  • People don’t care about cool technology, they care about their problem being solved.
  • When buying a product, people actually are buying a feeling or experience. Apple and Google are good examples of “solve the problem” products, which gives more “feeling” than “product”.
  • People who buy “feeling” and are happy with that, will market the product for you. You just plant a seed, and if the product is good enough for the right people, it will sel itself
  • You can only sell answers to people who have questions. The classic “tv show interruption commercial” is way less efficient than the Add-Sense commercials which presents relevant products to people who are searching.

When reading back this list, I think it is clear that Seth should speak to you, and not me ;-). My summary is lousy compared to the talk, maybe you’re better of watching it. But the main conclusion for me still is that technology does not sell, nor does a product. It’s the (happy) feeling people get from buying the product, making them want to tell other people about it.

He brings up a nice example still true today: If you wanted to search for something on the web, and go to Yahoo!, you’ll see a page with 100 links, and somewhere on the page (you have to look for it) is a search query entry field and a search button. When you go too Google, it’s very clear that you can search there. Almost no links, and the search functionality is in the middle of the page and everybody knows how to use it. This will make you come back at that page, and even better: If your friends wanted to search for something, you’d send them to Google, because you know they will know how to use that page, and not come bother you with questions about it.

Google’s page is becomming slightly more cluttered with links, I just hope they paid attention to Seth and will remove some soon. 🙂

Edit: This is also a nice addition of Seth. Only 10 minutes, about stuff that’s “broken”. I whish people would not only watch it and laugh, but actually use it while designing/building/doing things! You can also visit his website on Stuff that’s broken.


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