What Does the World Think of Marketing? Lessons from Google Suggestions

Do people think that marketing is "dead"? Or do they think that it is "everything"? Or perhaps they have a perfectly neutral opinion?

We wondered this question ourselves. 

But outside of surveying people from every country in the world, we had no real way to figure this out.

This is where Google came in handy.

How We Gathered Our Data

Google's search suggestions for each country are essentially an aggregation of that country's sentiments and opinions about a topic. The topmost suggestion for a keyword are what the majority in the country think of, and thus, search for.

We used this Google suggest data to figure out what the world thinks of marketing.

We used the phrase "Marketing is" in all of Google's search engines around the world. The first suggested word/phrase was, for this study, the country's consensus on marketing - at least under this study.

We gathered these words/phrases for each country. Then we scored them on the basis of their sentiment - were the phrases positive, negative or neutral?

Here's what we discovered:

On this scale, a country where the topmost suggested result was "Marketing is deadwas scored as highly negative. A country where the topmost suggestion was "Marketing is Kingwas scored as positive.

Surprisingly, most results were neutral with people largely searching for an explanation of marketing. The most common suggestion was "Marketing is the process of...".

Most Google Suggest results were neutral with people searching for an explanation of marketing.

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Here are the most common suggestions:

One of the problems we encountered was the lack of data. Outside of western nations and countries with large internet populations, Google simply doesn't have enough unique data for most countries to offer suggestions. This was a particular problem for African countries and some parts of Asia.

Let's look at an interactive map of the whole world, then the major regions below:

The World

Globally, most suggestions were positive. The only largely negative countries were in Northern Africa. Europe was largely positive while the US itself was neutral in terms of Google's suggestions.

What Does the World Think of Marketing? (2) Placeholder
What Does the World Think of Marketing? (2)

The Americas

The Americas have a mostly positive opinion of marketing, though the top suggestion for the US itself is neutral ("the process of"). Central America is only marginally negative in the sense that most countries compare marketing to advertising. 

Here's the full map:

Marketing Is...Americas Placeholder
Marketing Is...Americas


We had a lot  more data to work with when it comes to Europe. For the most part, European countries had a positive opinion of marketing, save a few countries (Italy and Denmark, most notably).

Here's the full map:

Marketing Is...Europe Placeholder
Marketing Is...Europe


The lack of data affected the kind of results we could get for Asian countries. For instance, there is no freely accessible data from China. Nor does Google have a presence in Iran. 

For the most part, however, the sentiment towards marketing in Asia was positive, as can be seen below:

Marketing Is...Asia Placeholder
Marketing Is...Asia


Africa, especially North Africa, did not have significantly positive suggestions for marketing. Southern Africa was more positive but the lack of data impacted results in Central Africa.

Marketing Is...Africa Placeholder
Marketing Is...Africa


Oceania, which includes Australia and New Zealand, has sparse population and thus, sparse data. Here's the map for this region:

Marketing Is...Oceania Placeholder
Marketing Is...Oceania

There is nothing truly conclusive from these results, of course. It's not going to affect your marketing, but it does shed some light on how marketing is perceived. 

For us, this was mostly an exercise in curiosity (and our map making skills). 

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