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Tap digital to boost business growth in a mobile-first Philippine market, Google official tells Cebu SMEs

Small business with a strong online presence grow 4 times faster than competitors who are not on digital, said Google Philippines country manager Kenneth Lingan. With 65 million Filipinos now…

Small business with a strong online presence grow 4 times faster than competitors who are not on digital, said Google Philippines country manager Kenneth Lingan.

With 65 million Filipinos now online, going digital should no longer be a question, Lingan said during the Digitize Cebu conference held in Cebu last Wednesday and organized by AdSpark, Globe myBusiness, and Department of Trade and Industry Cebu Province.

“For every single month, half a million Filipinos are going online. That’s really massive. You think about that – in a year, you are adding the population of Singapore online into the Philippines,” he said. “That’s the kind of market potential that we are dealing with here.”

Digitize Cebu Google Philippines country manager Kenneth Lingan

GROWING, MOBILE-FIRST. Most new Filipino users access the internet through mobile devices, said Google Philippines country manager Kenneth Lingan during Wednesday’s Digitize Cebu conference.

Filipinos are mobile-first consumers

But what defines the Filipino internet consumer, he said, “is the fact that we are mobile-first.”

Most new Filipino users access the internet via mobile phones. “In fact that’s really where they spent much of their time,” he said. Filipinos look at their phones 150 times in a day, studies said. People are very engaged on their phones and “it is affecting every aspect of our lives,” he said.

People today do not go online, he said, they “live online” and mostly through their phones.

That can be seen in findings like Filipinos’ growing dependence on services like Waze. While the global usage average is 17 minutes, in Manila Waze is used at an average of 70 minutes per session, he said.

In a world going digital, “small will be the new big,” Lingan said. The internet “could work for big business as much as it could work for small ones.”

He said small businesses are the “backbone of the country,” employing about 60% of the population.

“If you want to drive growth in the Philippines, the only way to really drive that is through empowering small business,” he said. A key driver for this is digitization, Lingan told attendees of the conference.

Digital levels business playing field

In the past, he said business was all about “having big resources.” Digital levels that playing field, Lingan said. With digital tools, business can reach the right customers and at massive scale.

“In the past if you’re a small business, your target market will only be your community. But with the internet, your definition of what your target market is goes beyond your borders,” Lingan said.

With digital advertising, businesses are then able to leverage measurements and tools to make sure their ad spending are getting “the right return of investments.”

He also spoke about the opportunities offered by the emergence of commerce in the country.

Digitize Cebu

DEPENDENT. People are increasingly becoming dependent on their phones to do most tasks.

Opportunities for e-commerce

“I know it’s still small in the Philippines, in fact, it’s just $500 million in terms of value but what we foresee is that the next 10 years this will grow 20X to $10 billion by 2025. And it’s changing consumer habits,” he said.

Among these habits is the practice of researching online via mobile phones even while inside a physical store.

He said people continually engage with phones to find information and these “micro-moments” will become the new battleground for brands.

Lingan said there are 4 types of micro-moments: I want to know, I want to do, I want to go, and I want to buy.

“The path to purchase is changing and evolving. A lot of people now, through that path of purchase, are consulting their smartphones to know more about their services and really making sure that they are better informed and would make the right decisions,” he said.

Influence path to purchase

Lingan said it is important for brands to have a strong digital presence because when Filipinos start researching on purchases, “82% are not absolutely certain of brand choice.”

“It is an opportunity for businesses to influence that decision by making sure that your presence online is strong,” he said. “People would go to their smartphones 6 to 7 times before they make their decisions.”

The role of phones is emphasized by findings that 78% of Filipinos have used a locator or maps app to find a store’s location and 80% have consulted their smartphones while buying in a physical store.

Lingan said the key to influencing the path to purchase and winning in a mobile-first world is to: be seen, be fast, and be smart.

Digitize Cebu

PHYSICAL STORE, ONLINE RESEARCH. Consumer behavior has changed, chief among them is the practive of researching online through mobile phones while buying in a physical store.

Be seen

“If you are not present online, you are saying no to all these people who are online. You are making it impossible for a lot of customers to find you,” he said.

“If I am a foreigner visiting Cebu and if you are not on Google Maps it’s impossible for me to find you,” he said, pointing out how easy it was for businesses to be listed on Google Maps for free.

He also emphasized the importance of online videos, especially on YouTube, in influencing purchase decisions and improving brand perception.

He said “50% of shoppers will more likely seek advice from online videos relating to their purchases.”

Lingan also said that more than 80% say online video “helps convince shoppers to think more positively about a brand.”

“If you have videos, I would encourage you to create a YouTube channel for your business. Every business has a story and videos would be able to tell your story in a much more enriching way,” he said.

Be fast

Demands of customers have changed, they now want things “as fast as possible.”

In a mobile-first world, Lingan said, 53% of users would abandon your website if it loads slower than 3 seconds.

“The important thing about mobile is to be really obsessed about the user experience,” he said.

He cited tools from Google that will help businesses assess their website speed on mobile and offer suggestions to improve this.

Digitize Cebu

BE SMART. Opinions aren’t as important today as data-driven decisions based on analytics.

Be smart

With today’s tools, opinions don’t matter as much as data-driven decisions.

“You now have opportunity for analytics for data. We need more data-driven decisions so that it could tell you what kind of investments have given you ROI,” he said.

He also emphasized the need for businesses to be willing to experiment on digital and use analytics to see if these work.

Online learning resources

Lingan also asked those present to take advantage of online resources to learn about entrepreneurship and tapping digital marketing to boost their businesses.

He cited the following resources as helpful to businesses:

1) YouTube channels for educational videos. He told people to subscribe to Google Small Business and Google for Entrepreneurs.

2) Think With Google website for industry trends and practices.

3) Google Primer, which offers marketing lessons by Google.

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Innovation, not digitization, is key: Mayor Tomas Osmeña

Capitalizing on innovation as the key to digitization, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is eyeing an alternative to renewing business permits in the city. Osmeña spoke before an audience at…

Capitalizing on innovation as the key to digitization, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is eyeing an alternative to renewing business permits in the city.

Osmeña spoke before an audience at Digitize Cebu held Wednesday at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel.

“It takes two weeks to renew business permit. I gathered a team of experts to study how to renew business permit. Then they told me now it will be 20 minutes. How? They (business owner) don’t need to fill out form. All they have to do is just confirm the information. But what happened since that time? You run around the city to get all the clearances. This must be solved,” said Osmeña.

Problem with government

He admitted having problems with the government because “we are not allowed to innovate”.

“There’s one missing pillar and that’s innovation. Politics has developed a culture of status quo,” said Osmeña. “Digitization is not necessary. The keyword here is innovation.”

Digitize Cebu Mayor Tomas Osmeña

INNOVATION. Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said they are tapping innovation to improve services at City Hall. He said the challenge with working in government is that “we are not allowed to innovate.”

The mayor shared a story of a logistics company that uses index cards for their operations.

“No computer, just index cards. If you have a question, you write at the index card. The company will write its answer at the back of the index card. And if more than one index card, the company thinks you’re talking so much. You see it’s not computerization but again innovation,” said Osmeña.

Pay taxes

Osmeña pointed out that the City Government will run after businesses not paying taxes.

He further said the role of the Treasurer’s Office is to bring in money. “We can’t bring in money because the sari-sari store cannot secure an SSS clearance.”

Saying that Cebu is trying to innovate, Osmeña said they are looking at issuing certificate that shows the business owner paid taxes.

“If you pay tax, we will do beautiful things for Cebu,” he added.

Digitize Cebu was presented by AdSpark, a Globe-owned digital advertising company, in collaboration with Globe myBusiness and the Department of Trade and Industry-Cebu.

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Globe myBusiness Academy brings top industry experts to DTI’s Negosyo Fair

To support the growing number of Filipino entrepreneurs, Globe myBusiness recently joined the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Negosyo Fair through Globe myBusiness Academy, a free learning session that…

To support the growing number of Filipino entrepreneurs, Globe myBusiness recently joined the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Negosyo Fair through Globe myBusiness Academy, a free learning session that educates independent business owners on marketing trends, increasing revenues, and discovering new solutions to stay competitive in the digital age.

“Filipinos are naturally enterprising, so it comes to no surprise that many are opting to open their own business instead of working in an office. Globe myBusiness Academy aims to guide them in creating a plan for success and to turn their passion into profits,” said Senior Advisor for Globe myBusiness Derrick Heng.

Globe MyBusiness

BUSINESS TIPS. Globe myBusiness teams up with “My Puhunan” host Karen Davila (right) to discuss business tips for entrepreneurs with (from left) Globe myBusiness Head of Managed Service Grace Anduiza; DTI Assistant Regional Director Teresita De Lima; Ricca Del Rosario of Half the Price; Globe myBusiness Ambassador and owner of Mercato Centrale RJ Ledesma; and Blade Auto Center President Robertson Sy-Tan.

The Negosyo Fair featured different business opportunities entrepreneurs can explore. It also featured talks, business ventures with low capital requirements, franchising opportunities, and tested products and business technologies that are ready for commercialization.

The learning session covered topics fit for aspiring business owners including operational efficiency, customer service, and expanding market reach from industry experts namely VJ Africa, CEO of Product IO, a startup that aims to enable Micro SMEs in the Philippines and the region to “Survive and Thrive” in this digital-dependent society; Joselito Miguel B. Favis, Account Manager for the Public Sector of Mynt, a FinTech startup wholly-owned by Globe Telecom; and Mejcris Lavarias, Associate Director of AdSpark Local, a Globe subsidiary providing digital and mobile marketing services; and Globe myBusiness Head of Managed Service Grace Anduiza.

Globe myBusiness

Product IO CEO VJ Africa, sharing his thoughts on how to operate businesses more efficiently.

Globe myBusiness also held a panel discussion led by Filipino journalist and “My Puhunan” TV Host Karen Davila, together with Globe myBusiness Ambassador RJ Ledesma of Mercato; DTI Assistant Regional Director Teresita De Lima; Ricca Del Rosario of Half the Price; and Blade Autocenter’s Robertson Sy-Tan, where they discussed tips for small – medium business owners, such as starting businesses with minimal capital, and turning simple everyday problems into big opportunities.

Attendees were also introduced to a wide suite of innovative apps that make business easier:

Globe myBusiness

Mynt Account Manager for the Public Sector Miguel B. Favis sharing with the attendees the various ways Mynt can provide financial resources to entrepreneurs.

For operational efficiency, Globe introduced myBusiness Tracker, which allows owners to keep an eye on deliveries and vehicles in real-time; myShopkeeper, which lets owners monitor sales and inventory in real-time; myBusiness Security Bundle for a CCTV package; GSuite and OS365 for easy business and Microsoft Office tools; GCash Powerpay, an automated salary disbursement program; and Fuse, a loan program for business expansions.

For customer service, guests were introduced to digital solutions such as Auto Appointment Reminder, Queuing Solution, and Canvas, which turns paperwork into digital forms. Meanwhile, for market reach, guests learned about Adblast and Auto SMS Blast solution, which lets them reach more customers through SMS; and myWebsite, a website-building tool. Globe myBusiness also offered exclusive mobile, broadband, and bundled packages for event participants.

To learn more about Globe myBusiness, visit the website at mybusiness.globe.com.ph, call the hotline at 730-1010, or visit any Globe store. (Press release)

Globe myBusiness

AdSpark Local Associate Director Mejcris Lavarias talks about the importance of digital marketing and shares her tips given the current Philippine digital landscape.

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