Marketers should test the waters with Wave

College Marketing with Google WaveRemember the nightmare of “group projects” in college? You would all get together after class and talk about the assignment, divide up tasks and go work in a silo until the next meeting? Remember that load who usually did nothing and came up with lame excuses for not contributing or showing up to your group meetings? Well, those days should be over on college campuses. Google Wave was launched in September and has positioned itself to change the way we all collaborate. Some say it will redefine email as we know it; others call it the next generation of live web. It’s too early to tell what it will do, but it’s threaded, real-time conversation is creating endless possibilities for higher education and youth marketers.

When I think about “the wave,” I picture a packed baseball stadium of people standing and cheering one section at a time until it makes a full circle. It’s a group effort triggered in one area that spreads from person to person. Google Wave does that with conversations and ideas and supports it all with links, photos, videos and more being shared at once through group chat, email and search. It essentially replaces the clunky aspects of managing a project through email and provides more user tools through their education apps. No lost notes, no color-coded email threads and no meeting after class! Nothing gets lost in translation. Professors and students could use it for project management, quiz and survey tools and classroom collaboration. Wave is still in its infancy and will take some time to gain traction, but its timing couldn’t be better as more colleges start migrating to Google for campus email and other applications.

As a youth marketer, it’s my job to ask if there is a place for brands within Wave. The jury is still out on this, and not a whole lot of “ad” opportunities seem to exist aside from a much more granular inventory for AdWords. I believe Wave will change the future of social marketing and just might put a marketing hat on every department in a company.  R&D departments will be able to work directly with passionate brand evangelists globally to create or refine goods and services. Sales promotions teams will finally be able to get real feedback on their new student discount programs. Businesses big and small might be able to improve customer service and the shopping experience without first being decimated on The Consumerist. Essentially, Wave presents yet another opportunity to do what so many of us choose not to do…rub off the corporate polish and actually talk to our customers to get a sense of what they want.

Click here for a closer look at Wave.

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About Jason Bakker

Jason Bakker is a native Minnesotan and has been working in the area of youth marketing for nearly a decade. He currently works with Minneapolis based Campus Media Group as the Director of Marketing and is responsible for following trends in the ever-changing landscape of youth culture and media usage, and for consulting advertising agency and national brand professionals on how to develop integrated marketing programs that reach college youth.