Study describes Google Fiber marketing strategy success

A new study from media and technology marketing consultancy Ideas & Solutions! Inc. suggests that while Google’s brand recognition played a large role in the initial success of Google Fiber, the company’s marketing campaign also helped get its Kansas City fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) project off to a good start.

A new study from media and technology marketing consultancy Ideas & Solutions! Inc. suggests that while Google’s brand recognition played a large role in the initial success of Google Fiber, the company’s marketing campaign also helped get its Kansas City fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) project off to a good start.

The Ideas & Solutions! “Google Fiber Matters: Consumer Demand Study” is based on 1,303 interviews about the Google Fiber project. The company conducted 532 online interviews among Kansas City “fiberhoods” with adults 18-74 years of age from October 19 to November 4, 2012, a few weeks just prior to Google Fiber’s initial customer installations. The remaining interviews were conducted during roughly the same timeframe from among 18- to 74-year old adults nationwide for benchmarking purposes. The study measured respondents’ perceptions of Google, its competition, and the Google Fiber project itself.

In addition to those Google successfully pre-registered for the Google Fiber – about 30% of the target market – another 30% of survey respondents expressed interest in the FTTH services.

“Google Fiber has conducted a remarkable marketing campaign,” said Glen Friedman, president of Ideas & Solutions! “Historically, pay-TV ‘overbuilders’ penetrate about one-third of their marketplace over time. This level of interest in the beginning is unprecedented. For Google Fiber, the challenge moving forward is to do an equally good job on the fulfillment.”

Google’s marketing campaign took advantage not only of the abundant news coverage Google was able to inspire as well as its own considerable online advertising resources, but of elements other FTTH providers might emulate. The company successfully leveraged social media and hosted local promotional events planned by neighborhood organizers. The opening of a Google Fiber store, use of a Google ice cream truck, and yard signs also spread the word.

The marketing efforts proved extremely successful – helped, perhaps, by dissatisfaction with the existing providers. Of the 11 measures the study used to compare the perception of Google versus incumbent pay-TV providers, the search engine giant swept the board. For example, the survey indicates that 88% of respondents selected Google as the preferred supplier for support of IP-based TV applications on devices. And 90% named Google best for cloud-based applications. Even in areas where Google has stubbed its toes – such as privacy protection – it still outscored its competition.

The news wasn’t entirely bad for the incumbents. One area where Google was perceived to be weak in some minds was in programming. Concern that they wouldn’t receive all their favorite channels was one key reason some respondents chose not to take Google’s services, the study revealed. In fact, of the respondent who paid the pre-registration fee, 40% percent intended to sign up only for Google Fiber broadband services.

Of course, even positive perceptions can change in a hurry. “The downside to such high expectations is living up to them,” advised Friedman. “It’s not easy to deliver and maintain a high standard of customer service and customer experience. Although Google Fiber ranks higher than the incumbents in 11 areas of branding, the company is unproven in its ability to deliver and fulfill a complex Internet and video service offering.”

For more information on FTTx equipment and services, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

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