Walking up the sidewalk to Southern New Hampshire University’s dining hall — where Google is launching a year-long Get Your Business Online campaign in New Hampshire — you get the distinct sensation that Google… has a really good marketing department. At the entrance to the building, there’s one of those red tear-drop markers you see on Google Maps — only it’s as tall as a building. Before you enter the building, you pass five entirely decorative, yet functional, bicycles, all painted with Google’s colors. And that’s just the start of it.
Jamie Hill, an energetic Google spokesperson, explained to me that for Google, the purpose of the event is two-fold. Every time somebody in New Hampshire Googles “plumber” and can’t find one, there are local plumbers who are missing out on business opportunities. But at the same time, that guy who wants to find a plumber is using Google’s product — its search engine — and ending up dissatisfied. So, Hill says, Get Your Business Online is both a community service and a marketing campaign. How Googley is that.
This event is one of many taking place across the country. Google is teaming up with a national web services business called Intuit. Together, Google and Intuit are offering businesses in the country free websites and consulting for one year (then, businesses will have to pay Intuit for their services). The campaign is launching with a separate high-profile event in each state. Stay tuned for more on Google’s GYBO campaign.