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Monday, May 9, 2011

Google Supporting Michigan’s Minority-Owned Businesses

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Google is very proud to be a sponsor of the Michigan Minority Supplier Diversity Council’s Annual Procurement Conference this week.  The Council has been a critical advocate for the interests of MBEs in the state.  Through Accelerate With Google we are excited to play a role in helping MBEs in Michigan grow their businesses online.

In 2010 Google released a study showing that in 2009 Google had a $54 Billion economic impact on its customers and nonprofits through our AdWords advertising platform

In Michigan, that impact included over $905 Million of profit from 39,600 paying customers and 140 nonprofits taking advantage of our free Google Grants advertising program

While we are proud of those numbers, my team’s job is to ensure that MBEs are taking advantage their share of the online revenue pie.  

When I first met Council President Louis Green along with Chamber of Commerce President Ken Harris, they spoke of a “digital divide” between our Michigan MBEs and majority businesses.  As part of Google’s business development team I work with businesses small to large across the country, and have learned over time that the real gap is shared by minority and majority businesses alike.  In 2011 it is still true that the large majority of America’s businesses have yet to fully grasp the potential to reach a larger customer base on the internet than they can by using traditional methods.  
Over the course of the past year or so that my team at Google (spanning marketing, sales and support for our suite of business products) has been meeting Council businesses, we have become passionate about ensuring that minority-owned businesses specifically are participating in digital marketing.

Of course, some MBEs are already killing it online, and we’ve been working with them and documenting how Google products have helped transform their businesses. 

 Ideal Shield, part of Frank Venegas’ Ideal Group in Detroit is an example of an MBE we’ve been working with who has had great success with AdWords, and uses YouTube and other Googler products.   
By 1) having great website landing pages that describe their product,
2) finding the right “keywords,” or search terms, to describe their product,
3) taking advantage of online measurement and targeting capabilities, and 
4) only spending money on campaigns that bring profitable customer leads
Ideal Shield has been getting a phenomenal $18 return for every $1 invested with AdWords.  Marketing Director Linzie Venegas does just about the best job I’ve seen running B2B online marketing campaigns.  She uses data and metrics to drive sales, and isn’t afraid to learn and try new things.

Still, others are at the beginning stages of having a strong online presence.  Our training session during the Education Immersion Day at the conference on May 11 will speak to this and share resources for getting your business online. 
 Additionally, Google has made a gift to the Council of $175,000, which will go towards programs in Michigan and nationally to get MBEs online profitably, and to help them grow their businesses ability to generate revenues online

 If you want to learn more about what we’re up to, follow me on Twitter: @chrisgenteel, or get in touch with us at googleaccelerate@google.com.

Chris Genteel is Business Development Manager of Google’s Global Diversity Programs, and is based in Google’s Ann Arbor office.  For more information goto google.com/ads/accelerate, or email googleaccelerate@google.com.

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