Google's 'Mobile Playbook' Brochure Won't Get You Out of Little League
Google's head of mobile advertising has put together a little show-and-tell project, The Busy Executive's Guide to Winning With Mobile, which looks at strategies for success in the mobile space. The thing is, if you don't already know what the content is, you really shouldn't be running a company. Or have access to firearms. Or heavy machinery. Or livestock.

Look Who We Know!

The first chunk of the Mobile Playbook site, or the easier-to-navigate-and-read 38-page PDF file, is largely just a nod to all Google's good pals in the industry who have put their heads together and come up with the right, or at least sounds-right, solutions to their mobile problems.

While it is nice to know what Volvo or ESPN and others are doing right about mobile marketing, advertising and in other areas, is that really going to be relevant to you? Similarly, if you don't already know that "tablet usage spikes in the evening," then go for a long stroll and take up basket weaving or something.

If they'd called it "Mobile Playbook for Dummies," I'd be more sympathetic, but any busy executive, or their secretary or their pet cat should be aware of the advice it contains. For example, almost ruining the elegant use of white space throughout the document is the odd tip or action item, which offer some generic advice, often involving a Google product that your typical busy executive might not know exists.

There could actually be some value here, but being told to "search for your brand on a tablet as a consumer would" is the kind of advice that makes any solid professional want to smack their head against the wall with its staggering obviousness. I mean, surely executives pay good money for Forrester reports for that kind of stuff.

The Golden 'Value Proposition'

That's a dangerous phrase to wave at an executive you're basically saying doesn't know Jack. The guide does however, ask some serious questions, trying to get executives to think about how their organization is (dys)functioning when it come to mobile, such as:

  • How does mobile change our value proposition?
  • How does mobile impact our digital destinations?
  • How is our organization adapting to mobile?
  • How should our marketing adapt to mobile?
  • How can we connect with our tablet audience?

But the answer, often accompanied by a smattering of banging-the-mobile-drum statistics, is really nothing to get excited about, unless this happens to be your first day on the job selling mobile solutions at Crazy Joe's Mobility Barn. Even at the end of the document, the Action Item Checklist offers little more than sweeping generalities.

If this had been written three or four years ago, it would have been useful, insightful and a valuable tool for an industry still wrapped in mystery to many. Now, any web agency, marketing department or smart teenager could tell you this lot -- without even looking up from the iPad over morning coffee. I'm also sure the authors are wicked-smart and incisive folks. If they ran a marketing agency, I'd sign up, but this feels like a rather diluted offering.