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Can Google CEO Eric Schmidt make it in NYC?

New York, New York: If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere! Google, under the leadership of CEO Eric Schmidt, certainly believes its destiny calls it to make it the world over.
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor
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New York, New York: If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere! Google, under the leadership of CEO Eric Schmidt, certainly believes its destiny calls it to make it the world over. Wait a New York minute, however. 

Google is embarking on a multi-faceted strategic move into the “capital of the world,” as I recount in “Google to create Googleplex in NYC”:

"It’s a poorly kept secret that the company will soon open a huge new office and networking facility at 111 Eighth Avenue…

Google not only gains a giant space (300,000 square feet) for a new server farm that will most likely house thousands of Google machines, but also gets direct access to the building’s network-neutral meet-me room—literally, an area where telecommunications companies can physically hook up and exchange data cheaply and efficiently. Google would be able to expand its offerings of new Internet products and services such as Internet telephone service, video, and Web-based enterprise software—competing for business against the likes of Microsoft, Skype, and YouTube—much more efficiently and competitively."

Google’s latest NYC infrastructure play reinforces the NYC sales effort it has been aggressively undertaking out of its first NYC office in midtown Manhattan (see “Google’s new vertical, offline initiatives: NYC ad sales push”). Google has also been courting the NYC advertising and media community.

Schmidt addressed NYC publishing execs last June, as I discuss in “Google CEO on ad sales execs: Google ‘targeted ads’ better.” Schmidt extolled the virtues of its self-serve ad system over flesh and blood sales people:

As people see targeted advertising as a way of selling they shift sales dollars, not marketing dollars, into advertising. Literally, they would put advertising dollars into Google rather than hiring a sales person…

Eventually we would hope that a targeted ad would be better than a targeted sales person; The ad can serve 24 hours a day, the ad can serve anywhere, and the ad is cheaper. The ad doesn’t require a lot of management overhead and is much more cost effective to deploy.

There are a lot of products where traditional sales forces can be diminished.

How will Schmidt’s vision be received in perhaps the “capital of the world” for ad sales people”?

I put forth that Schmidt is spurring “Death of a Salesman” 2.0:

Google’s aim to displace today’s Willy Lomans of the world via the Google advertising machine is steadily being realized.

Google’s view that its self-service advertising machine will render sales people obsolete is not a universal one, as I discussed with Joanne Bradford, corporate vice president of global sales and marketing and chief media revenue officer at Microsoft, during her Advertising Week keynote in New York City last week.

In “Microsoft to Google: WE love ad sales people,” I recount my exchange with Bradford:

During the Q & A, I indicated to Bradford that her pro ad sales stance is a welcome one, especially in the “media capital of the world,” while pointing out that Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, put forth an opposite stance when he addressed media executives in NYC last June…

When I pointed out to Bradford that Schmidt does not share her belief in the importance of interactive advertising sales people, Bradford said that she has had discussions with Schmidt about his philosophy on how automated ad systems will displace sales people and said that she disagrees with him.

Contrary to Google’s desire for its self-serve advertising auction system to decrease the need for the sales teams of the world, Microsoft is empowering its sales teams to be even stronger advocates for its advertising clients.

Bradford indicated that the Microsoft sales philosophy differs from the Google sales philosophy on several fronts: pricing, service quality, targeted ad placement and personal relationships.

Bradford does not wish to emulate a Google self-serve, automated, low price-point ad buying and serving system. Bradford believes quality brands require high-touch, quality service. Bradford is confident the personal relationship sales model she endorses will serve Microsoft well because brands are not willing to cede their identities to automated systems.

In concluding her presentation, Bradford wished the audience continued success in interactive advertising and noted that while there may not be any ad sales positions at Google, Microsoft would be happy to hear from ad sales execs.

It is unlikely that NYC ad sales execs will be happy, however, when Google CEO Eric Schmidt calls on NYC firms with the message that a targeted ad is better than a targeted sales person because:

The ad can serve 24 hours a day, the ad can serve anywhere, and the ad is cheaper.

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