At Street Fight Summit West earlier this month, Google business development executive Jon Sofield broke down the search giant’s strategy for identifying small business technology partners and maximizing the impact of co-op market development funds.
Google’s slate of partnerships has skyrocketed in recent years, reaching a total of 170 in eight verticals. When searching for partners, Google looks for a company that has strong connections to local businesses, is focused on developing a digital strategy, and offers a product that works well with Google’s advertising, Sofield said.
Google’s aim in collaborating with SMBs has shifted over the years as all businesses further integrate technology into their practices. While Google once concentrated on assisting businesses “convert from the print to the online world,” most businesses now have websites, rendering that conversion unnecessary.
However, few businesses do everything they can with their websites from an advertising perspective, and that’s where Google can still make an impact. The company collaborates with SMBs to bolster their digital advertising efforts and strengthen their mobile strategies.
An abundance of resources awaits to be turned toward this goal, Sofield said. Though brands allocate $55 billion to co-op spending, only 50 percent of those funds are used, and only about 13 percent of the funds that are distributed go toward digital ends.
“We’ve got to figure out how we can service better the end SMB that is looking to leverage these dollars,” Sofield said, adding that Google would like to see 90 percent of MDF go to digital.
In order to reach that goal, the company will coordinate with industries that present large digital spending opportunities, such as B2B high-tech, an industry that spends 50 percent of its budget on digital but only puts 1 percent of MDF spending toward that area.