Google has an event marketing campaign in process called Donuts with Google. The events seem to vary in format with some requesting RSVPs and others just taking all comers. But, you can go to get some donuts and some people will win a free Google Home Mini. Over the weekend in Indianapolis, Redditor FuzedGutz24 said he showed up about 20 minutes prior to the opening at 10 am and was through the line by 10:30 am.
A number of Reddit commenters also confirmed they had won in Indianapolis or earlier in other cities such as Austin and Oklahoma City. Some others simply came away with Donuts, but they didn’t seem too concerned. The pop-up Google Home Mini Donut Shops have already taken place, in Austin, Brooklyn, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Oklahoma City, Toronto and Madison, Wisconsin. Three cities are upcoming. Chicago is happening today from 10 am to 6 pm. St. Louis is scheduled for this Thursday, November 9th from 12 noon to 8 pm. The donut shop tour will conclude this weekend in San Francisco in Proxy Park on November 11-12 starting both days at 10 am.
Chicago was also open yesterday and the lines were long. GadgetPrime has a great video that shows the Donut Shop, the long line and even points out how short the Apple iPhone X is in comparison. People like free stuff. This must be good for Google’s awareness of the Mini.
Mini is Essential to Google’s Smart Speaker Strategy
Google Home has been over just over one year now and the high-end Google Home Max will start shipping in December. However, the future of Google’s smart speaker strategy likely lies in the donut-sized Google Home Mini. Recent data along with comments by Jeff Bezos suggest that Amazon has sold about 20 million Echo smart speakers. Most estimates suggest about two-thirds of those shipments were for the sub $50 Echo Dot. Google Home Mini hits that same price point and should help Google drive up its own market share by enticing more value conscious buyers and making it more economical for consumers to place multiple devices throughout the home. Google’s flagship Google Home product retails for $129 and has the same voice assistant functionality, but a more robust speaker.
The pop-up shops are a good idea to drive more consumer awareness of the new Echo Dot alternative and help Google with some additional word-of-mouth promotion from the new Mini device owners. Research from VoiceLabs suggests that only about 11% of households will opt to have more than one smart speaker brand. They refer to this as not a “winner-take-all” market, but rather a “winner-take-entire-household” competition. That means these Google Home Mini winners are more likely to buy additional Google-compatible voice assistant products than commit to Amazon Echo. That would be a big win for Google. I hope you get lucky this week and score a free Google Home Mini in Chicago, St. Louis or San Francisco. If you do, send me a pic on Twitter @bretkinsella.