An Interview With Google’s Kaushik: See. Think. Do.

Avinash Kaushik, digital marketing evangelist at Google, rolls his eyes, looks up to the heavens, and then thumps the desk in front of him. No, this is not a moment of anger, this is the typical mixture of passion and sheer frustration he demonstrates when discussing his favorite topic.

He and I go a back a long way in the industry. And as a colleague and a friend I always look forward to our catch-up conversations. In advance of the launch of our new digital marketing conference ClickZ Live in New York next week, I dropped by Google global headquarters in Mountain View, California, to get some of his state-of-the-art views and opinions. On this occasion, knowing it would be a fairly lengthy chat, I decided to casually record it with my video camera. And I’m so glad I did. In a moment I’ll invite you to be a “fly on the wall” and have a listen in to part of the conversation.

After some casual chat about the new conference and the content, I put a question to him that I frequently get asked myself: “Where do I best spend my digital marketing dollar?”

And Avinash being Avinash, before he answered the question, veered off into a description of a new framework he recently developed for digital marketers. This actually made perfect sense in advance of tackling the immediate question.

Virtually dismissing the conventional wisdom of the consumer buying cycle based on awareness, familiarity, consideration, purchase, and loyalty, he summed up his new framework in three words: See. Think. Do.

He describes this three-stage process by beginning with the largest addressable audience (qualified audience, that is) as being in the “see” stage (kind of a discovery stage). Those in the “think” stage are that part of the addressable audience who are in the decision-making process (this could take minutes or months). And the “do” segment of the addressable audience are those at the conversion stage and ready to purchase.

Using L’Oreal as a brand with a more expansive approach than just attempting to hit up the “do” segment of the audience, he describes how they have a “three-button” approach on their website offering an experience well beyond the “jump into bed with me now” experience, as he calls the “buy” button.

The Beauty of Digital

His frustration at how much harder we have to try in the world of digital marketing to convince the C-suite, and major advertising and marketing agencies about the distinct benefits of digital is quite apparent. In his familiar manner, he suggests that the digital marketing community “still sucks” when it comes to demonstrating to the entire marketing universe the beauty of being able to target consumers by intent based on behavior. Citing marketers who are still using psychographics and demographics as a targeting method, he describes how little that can tell you about intent. “Imagine that using these methods for broadcasting to a 98-year-old lady,” he says. “Of course you know she’s in the demographic group. But you have no idea whether she wants to purchase an iPad or a wheelchair!”

Given the demographics, he says, you’ll likely target her with the wheelchair. But imagine if you could capture her online behavior, he continues. If you could see she had been surfing around consumer electronics content, you wouldn’t even consider the wheelchair option.

I literally propped my camera up at the end of a table in a meeting room at Google so that I could refer back to it and write it up. But I think you’ll get a lot more out of listening to Avinash explain in his own words than me just copying them down here.

Enjoy part one of this personal chat and I’ll be back with the second part next week.

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Overhead view of a row of four business people interviewing a young male applicant.