SAN FRANCISCO -- At GCP Next 2016, Google's cloud user conference, selling the sizzle and selling the steak are the same thing.
Marketing pioneer Elmer Wheeler coined the marketing cliche "Don't Sell the Steak -- Sell the Sizzle!" more than 75 years ago. He explained, "The sizzle has sold more steaks than the cow ever has, although the cow is, of course, mighty important."
How does that translate to tech conferences? At tech conferences, the steak is explaining the features of products and services, and training attendees in their use. The sizzle is the beautiful venue, delicious food and expensive entertainment.
But Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has a special problem. It's trying to drive into the center of the enterprise market, after more than a decade of nibbling around the edges. And for all its vast resources as one of the most capitalized companies in the world, Google is at a disadvantage. Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) is by far the market leader here, with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) running a distant second and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) lagging far behind Microsoft.
Hiring VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) co-founder Diane Greene to head up the cloud business was a good step in the direction of the heart of the enterprise. Greene knows the enterprise business intimately. The GCP NEXT conference is another step -- a comparatively small step, but another step. (See Google: 'Dead Serious' About Enterprise Cloud.)
Google is countering its enterprise disadvantage with a simple message: When you run enterprise on Google, you're buying Google's scale, innovation and technical expertise for your own self. The serious parts of GDC programming hammered home that message. And the venue and entertainment did the same, reminding users that Google has more capital than Scrooge McDuck and Santa Claus, and it's as smart as Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne. And all of that can go to work for you, if you just run your business on Google Cloud, says Google.
And that's where the venue and entertainment for GDC comes in. The prime San Francisco real estate couldn't have been cheap, nor could the food -- seriously, best eats I've ever had at a conference. The musical act for Tuesday night's reception was provided by Spotify, a leader in the booming streaming music market that's, oh, by the way, powered by Google Cloud. Even most of the toys in the so-called "playground" area of the trade show floor illustrated the application of Google cloud technology. (See Spotify Presses Play on Google Cloud.)
It was grand, spectacular and all Google.
— Mitch Wagner, , West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading.