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Google articulates trends leading SMBs growth in APAC

Small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) are increasingly playing a role in not just opening up new areas of growth for the overall business landscape but also an added revenue stream for media players. Google has invested time and efforts in working with such businesses to advise on how technology can be used to help these businesses grow.

In an event focused on bringing together some of the success stories and outlining Google’s own experience in working with the SMBs, Ghislain Le Chatelier, Director of SMB, Google Southeast Asia and China outlined five trends that can be leveraged for any business to grow.

#1 Go online
As obvious as that may sound, there are still many SMBs that need to be convinced to form an online presence. “At times SMBs have to be educated that there are great advantages in going online. Consumers today are online and businesses that are not are already losing some of their share to their competitors who are online. The obvious way of exploring the connected world is a website. But today mobile apps has also become an important way to connect. Putting yourself on things like Google Maps and so on also makes a difference,” Mr Le Chatelier explained.

#2 Relevant content
If ensuring apt web presence is the first step, the second is to ensure that there is relevant content to then attract and engage consumers. “Any business needs to have a pulse on the industry trends, on what consumers are searching for, what they talking about and where are these conversations taking place,” Mr Le Chatelier said. For SMBs, platforms such as Google Trends may be one avenue where consumer data is analysed to understand emerging trends. The bigger challenge however is to then create the right content, either themselves or through partners, to be relevant.

#3 Right medium
Multiscreen was the keyword here. Essentially that brought the conversation back to mobile. Mr Le Chatelier reminded that specifically in a market like Southeast Asia, where Singapore was already speaking of an 85 per cent smartphone penetration, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam were showing high growth numbers, the region itself was becoming mobile first. For a good business, a mobile optimised website, understanding the mechanism and consumer behaviour on mobile were essential steps now.

#4 Think big
Once the basic steps and the business in the market of origin had found its place, the next step was is about finding more people and thinking about potential customers “The connected world has created a level playing field and businesses can compete at the same level. Gauging size of market opportunity combined with some good business decisions will help small businesses become big,” he stated.

#5 Measure everything
In conversations that look at how SMBs in Southeast Asia can make more of technology, one of the most important factor is engaging in the right advertising. Industry experts have argued that advertising must be seen more as an investment than expense. If that however should be case, the return on this investment is an equally important area of focus. At present the industry offers various mechanisms including the likes of Google Analytics to fill in the measurement gap. Being able to measure investments and their own web presence have allowed various SMBs to make the right decisions on their next steps.

Noor Fathima Warsia

A veteran journalist in the Indian marketing, media and advertising fraternity, Noor Fathima Warsia took on the role of Group Editor -– APAC for Digital Market Asia in May 2013. Noor has focussed on tracking trends and developments in the Indian media industry.