Google, not known for using conventional marketing to promote its wares, has nonetheless found that such an approach is effective for its enterprise products and will roll out internationally a campaign it launched in the US in August.
The "Gone Google" campaign is aimed at IT and business executives who influence IT purchasing decisions, and is designed to sell them on the benefits of using products like Google Apps and the Search Appliance enterprise search device.
The campaign, which is also being extended in the US, will involve billboards and signs in airports and train stations, as well as ads in major online and print publications in the UK, France, Canada, Japan, Australia and Singapore.
The campaign focuses mainly on Google Apps, the company's web hosted suite of collaboration and communication applications, whose "cloud" software-as-a-service (SaaS) architecture Google maintains is a superior alternative to managing on-premises software.
The company is intent on convincing businesses of all sizes, but in particular large enterprises, that Google Apps is less costly, easier to implement and maintain, and makes possible better workplace collaboration than on-premise options such as those sold by Microsoft and IBM's Lotus division.
"The idea behind 'Going Google' is that companies switch to Google Apps and it's a real transformational change," said Tom Oliveri, Google's enterprise marketing director.
Of course, Google isn't alone in the SaaS market for collaboration and communication software, where Zoho and Yahoo's Zimbra also compete. Meanwhile, IBM and Microsoft are busy re-tooling their on-premise software to work on the cloud as well.
Google, like other SaaS vendors, also faces skepticism over the security, privacy and reliability of web hosted applications, which reside, along with their data, at external data centres beyond the control of an enterprise's IT managers.
Currently, Google Apps is in use at more than 2 million businesses by more than 20 million end users, although the company doesn't break out how many of those deployments are of Premier, the paid version of the suite.
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