One might consider keeping up with all of the new products that Google develops a full time job, and for Brittany Bohnet, it is. As Google’s product marketer, Brittany leads the charge in marketing Google’s impressive – and long – list of products. Even with all this on her plate, Brittany was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about her busy life at Google and marketing in a social world. You can also follow her on Twitter at @brit.
RaceTalk: What are some of the challenges in marketing products that are already so widely known and used (like Google Maps)?
Brittany Bohnet: While some may think that our products are “widely known”, we actually have several competitors on the market. For instance, Google Maps has only overtaken Mapquest in market share (in the United States) as of this year. And globally, we have dozens of other competitors. So, there is in fact a marketing challenge in terms of trying to persuade users to switch over to Google products.
For our users who are loyal Google fans, the marketing challenge is to teach them how to use all of the new product features we are constantly launching — things like draggable driving directions, My Maps, and Street View are all terrific product features, but many do not know they exist and/or do not know how to use them.
RaceTalk: Even since you joined Google, the Web has continued to evolve and we have seen social networks such as Twitter become mainstream and extremely influential. How have social networks affected changed the way marketers must think and strategize?
BB: Social networks have only deepened our relationships with consumers. Now, we can interface with them across several channels on the web. Marketers must understand how to build communities and have conversations on these channels. If you can do that, you’re likely to have thousands of evangelists that will continue to spread your message and effectively market your product for you.
RaceTalk: It seems like there are so many cool features to Google Maps that most people don’t even know exist. What’s your favorite feature that everyone should know about, but probably don’t?
BB: My first favorite feature is Street View, but I’m under the impression that it’s fairly widely known. So in that case, I’ll have to choose My Maps, a feature that allows users to create and share customized maps. We recently launched a campaign called Favorite Places, where we asked notable local experts and thought leaders to create a My Map of their favorite places around town. The hope is that our users will follow suit and create their own map of favorite places. You can check out my custom map of San Francisco here.
RaceTalk: What’s one Google product that you just can’t live without, and why?
BB: Search is a given, so I’ll choose iGoogle because it helps me maximize my efficiency on the web. I’ve set up my homepage with utility apps (Gmail, stock, weather), my favorite news and blogs (New York Times, Seth Godin’s blog, the Official Google Blog, Huffington Post), and of course, Facebook and Twitter.
RaceTalk: When we got a preview of Google Wave a few months ago it looked pretty amazing. Have you had a chance to play around with it at all, and if so, what do you think of it so far?
BB: Yes, I have access to the Google Wave sandbox. It’s a very exciting product and I think it has huge potential to change the way people communicate online.
RaceTalk: Do you have anything else to add about life as Google’s product marketer?
BB: Nothing great happens without a team of smart people surrounding you. Google is a company full of some of the best and brightest minds that I know, all of whom want nothing more than to make the web a more informative and resourceful place for our users. That alone is reason enough to make me love what I do.