Google Wave and the Future of Targeted Marketing

With its potential for timely and ultra-targeted offers, Google Wave could alter the rules for email and social media marketing. 

GoogleWaveLogoI was excited to receive an “exclusive” invite for the Google Wave product.  My first look at this intriguing platform, combined with the recent work we’ve been doing with the Facebook API, has left me pondering the future of both.

While we can’t be sure what Google’s final product will look like, the currently available Wave application could potentially be an e-mail and/or social media killer.  On second thought, those two platforms will never go away, but they could be somewhat diminished.  After all TV didn’t kill radio and online marketing will not completely replace off-line channels, but in both cases, the existing models had to be rethought.

So maybe instead of “media killer”, Google Wave could become “media dominator” or at least “media augmenter”.  For sure, Google Wave has the potential to impact Facebook’s progress as a marketing tool.


Google Wave Demo Page - Click to Enlarge

On the social networking front, Google Wave seems to offer a fragmentation of the social networking scene.  It allows for the creation of personal mini-social networks, a targeted group of confidants.  The activity and frequency of these “waves” of discussion gives Google a powerful metric — more compelling and useful than a simple headcount of how many friends or connections you have in your personal network.

On the e-mail (and IM) front, Google Wave brings real-time communication and collaboration — knowledge management — to a whole new level.

The potential for targeted marketing based on whatever subject matter is being discussed goes beyond what we’ve seen in Gmail or Facebook. One can easily imagine the singular focus of a given “wave”, and the ability of Google to track who is contributing to the discussion and even what position each party has taken.  Kind of big-brotherish?  Sure, but it wouldn’t take much for Google to offer a well-timed offer based on user interest areas and opinions.

If you haven’t seen it (and you have some time to spare) Google’s own introductory video on Google Wave is a must see.

Also, if you want a critical review of the current pre-release candidate, check out Jason Perlow’s write-up on ZDNet.

Jeffrey Cohen is CIO/CTO of PM Digital.

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