Google is clear that it wants to make itself attractive to the kind of organizations that in previous years would have fallen through the cracks -- small businesses like neighborhood dry cleaners to a local footwear manufacturer or garment dealer on the high street -- whose owners have neither the time to learn technology nor the money to pay consultants to run the same for them.
With more than 50 million SMBs, India holds an enviable position and data from Zinnov claims that more than one-third of India’s GDP is attributed to the SMB sector. “Transforming itself from the traditional ‘pen & paper’ business culture, SMBs today are increasingly adopting technology for the betterment of their business. Modern SMBs are investing heavily on tools like PCs, internet and website to market themselves and compete in global /domestic markets,” cites the Zinnov report. That explains why Rajan Anandan, MD & Vice President, Sales & Operations, Google India is going after SMBs. Today, more than 4 million companies rely on Google Apps across the globe and 5000 more are adopting the service every day. “We have seen our small and mid-level enterprise business has shown phenomenal growth in India, making us the fastest growing SMB market for Google globally,” admits Anandan. Google India has launched a premier SME partner programme in the country where these partners will develop, launch and manage digital campaigns for small and medium businesses. Besides, they will also offer end-to-end marketing solutions like search engine marketing, localised marketing solutions across Google properties, like AdWords.
Just about 4 million SMBs in the country are using PCs which is expected to grow at 30 per cent from 2011 to 2015, resulting in doubling the base of SMBs with PC, reveals Zinnov. Todd Rowe, Managing Director – Google SMB Global Sales says, “For the SME Partner programme, which is part of a global initiative, Google India has at present 7 partners and we intend to take this network to about 30 partners within the next 18 months.” This in turn means, Google Partners will add about 10,000 sales people selling Google products across 1000 cities in India.
AdWords, a form of paid online marketing, generates bulk of Google's revenue but is also complex to use. The whole ‘search engine marketing’ industry has emerged just to help customers make the right choices on which keywords to buy and how much to bid. “We also added a lite version of AdWords called ‘AdWords Express’ that's easier to understand and is especially useful for SMB clients,” Rowe explains. This service is now available in about 70 countries around the world.
Zinnov data also reveals that at present, just about five lakh SMBs in India have websites and two million SMBs access the internet. To address this gap, Google has added mobile site builder to help businesses create simple, mobile-friendly websites. The company is also running 'India Get Your Business Online' - a nationwide initiative that helps SMBs with a free website, personalized domain and hosting. Google's goal is to help 500,000 SMBs in India to get online in next three years through this program. “Look up any industry report, and you will realise that almost all consumers now go online to research products or services in their local area. Not being online today is the equivalent in earlier eras of not having a storefront or a Yellow Pages listing. A website makes it possible for potential customers to find you,” says Anandan. The business sense here being Google needs the Indian SMBs to advertise online using its Adwords programme and by offering them a free site or a hosting service works favorably for the company. Rowe emphasises that with India being the fastest growing SMB market for Google globally from digital advertising standpoint, it now has a dedicated team in India to manage its local partners and the team size has been tripled. “We will keep investing in hiring more people in India to strengthen our lead position,” he says. India’s total digital advertising market is estimated to be $ 500 million and the SMB segment contributes about 20 per cent.
Anandan underlines that with dedicated initiatives for the SMBs, it would be able to bring more businesses to the cloud and thereby encourage adoption of Google apps, grow the width of the SMB market with its partners & services and lastly, educate and promote the idea of digital advertising among the Indian business website owners.