Ms Leu, you have been providing Swiss SMEs with online marketing training for some time now. How long have you been doing this, and how many SMEs have you already given training to?
I have been with Google Switzerland as an education specialist for three and a half years, and am responsible for all training programs on digital tools from Google in Switzerland and Austria. And my primary focus in this role is the provision of digital know-how to SMEs and startups. Over the past 12 months, well over 10,000 people have taken part in my training sessions, and a significant number of these were from Swiss SMEs.
Do you think Swiss SMEs have internalized the fact that know-how in relation to these digital tools can help to generate new business?
In Switzerland, there is continuous high demand for our free training offers, which are always very well visited in all regions throughout Switzerland. We are very happy about this significant interest, and the feedback is quite positive. It is however also an indicator for us that digital know-how is lacking in many companies. Some Swiss SMEs are already in a very good position. In these companies, digital tools represent an integral part of the operating processes and strategy. In general, however, it is apparent that there is insufficient digital know-how in Swiss SMEs.
Where is there a particular need to catch up?
In many companies, basic aspects like a website, a Google Maps business entry or a user-friendly mobile website are causing difficulties. This can result in interested parties at home and abroad not finding the offers, which in turn leads to potential customers being lost.
A website and a basic understanding of digital tools are essential nowadays - for companies of all sizes. The subject of online marketing is also often insufficiently attended to, due to a lack of know-how. With regard to the rest of Europe, this is where I see the biggest need for catching up over the medium term, in order to ensure new customers can be gained internationally.
What are the biggest chances with regard to e-commerce and online marketing?
Online marketing and online sales channels offer much larger reach in comparison with traditional sales approaches. A regional company can now gain new customers around the world, instead of just within the direct vicinity, by using the Internet and online marketing. There is potential for immense international growth here for many Swiss companies, including many global leaders in specific niche segments.
What are the first steps that an SME should take in online marketing?
Basic digital know-how is needed, which every company should have in order to be able to reach potential customers. These generally look online for a product or a service, and often also purchase them via this channel. Knowledge about these digital channels, as well as an understanding of consumer trends, are becoming increasingly essential for companies. It is therefore important this knowledge is built up internally, or professional help - such as via an agency - can also be used. With this know-how, every SME will be equipped and ready for the future.
Impulses: Export Digital Training with S-GE and Google
Make sure you reserve one of the final places for the event: Export Digital with Evelyn Leu on 06.09.2016 in Basel
Further information on the subject of digitization: