• Saturday, May 25, 2024
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Dispelling myths surrounding SMEs and marketing in Nigeria

Stakeholders advocate SME inclusion in Nigeria’s sustainability reporting push

SMEs and start-ups in Nigeria are prone to focusing solely on execution-oriented operations, often at the expense of establishing suitable goals and plans. This may have an impact on the business’s growth and scalability, as well as its processes, in the future.

Marketing may assist SMEs and start-ups with discovery and awareness, as well as support a sales approach centred on education. When it makes sense, marketing becomes an integrated solution within an organization, encouraging and incentivizing repeat sales and securing long-term client connections.

Unfortunately, SMEs and start-ups often feel that because they are under resource constraints, hence, they can only focus on the aspects of marketing that they enjoy, can afford, or understand.

Take the time to map out a path for people to locate you, learn about what you have to offer, and use the resources you provide to help them decide whether or not to buy

Myth 1: Marketing exists solely for the purpose of execution. When I reach this or that goal, I can start thinking about planning.

Having to bootstrap a startup or manage a growing organization with less-than-ideal resource levels can be stressful. There is a desire to allocate fewer resources to marketing in favor of more resources to manufacturing, products, or operations. As a result, marketing is only employed for short-term production, such as content creation, advertising text, and maybe a media pitch or two. When viewed in pieces, it appears that marketing is ‘doing something.’ However, marketing in this manner will never provide the desired results, whether it is for brand awareness, support, or sales.

The Truth: Instead, take a step back and realize that it is better to get one good business outcome rather than a slew of mediocre results across multiple sectors. Take the time to create or implement a solid marketing strategy. Determine a key audience that, if converted into customers, will move the goalposts for the company. Determine which message and sales package are most effective for them. Marketing can then be used to test messaging, communicate with customers, and improve the sales process.

Choose a new audience once that one has converted, then rinse and repeat the procedure as needed.

Myth 2: Marketing is only and solely for awareness.

What if I simply employed social media advertising to appear in the newsfeeds of a large number of people? Wouldn’t some of them visit my website and purchase my products?

The Truth: Awareness is early-stage. Having a lot of visitors to your website or store doesn’t indicate they’re sold on your product or service.

Although seeing high traffic figures can be motivating, no one will invest in your business until you focus on content that gives information or educates visitors about the value of your product or service.

Take the time to map out a path for people to locate you, learn about what you have to offer, and use the resources you provide to help them decide whether or not to buy.

Myth 3: Customers will come if I make a good or decent product or service.

Truth: The foundation is to create a good product that provides value to the customer. It’s why you started your company in the first place: to realize your vision and goals. The customer, on the other hand, is under no obligation to buy or interact with your company.

Read also: The invisible hand and the power of MSMEs in Nigeria

Explaining and persuading customers about the value they will receive if they buy or interact with you is a part of the sales and engagement process. This necessitates providing context and ensuring that the prospect/customer understands your product or service.

This can be accomplished through an education-based approach that aims to educate and improve a customer’s grasp of your product/service before engaging with them on a more personal level. Perhaps through a sneak peek, a demonstration, or a test run.

Myth #4: I don’t have enough money for huge campaigns, so I shouldn’t bother.

Many SMEs believe that only large, well-known businesses have the financial resources to invest in large-scale sponsorship campaigns or high-frequency advertising. Because they must compete with large brands, SMEs may believe they lack the financial resources to do so. Instead, they use ‘guerrilla’ marketing techniques. This usually means they opt for low-cost, mass-market choices that appeal to a broad range of potential customers.

Truth: Of course, guerilla warfare, both in the field and in marketing, is all about extreme precision and pursuing only high-value targets. However, I believe that devoting time and resources to developing a marketing strategy, accurately identifying target audiences, and crafting messaging that demonstrates an understanding of their problems and how the product/service will solve them is critical to gaining their business.

The execution begins with determining how this can be accomplished. Unless there are a lot of high-value targets, budget isn’t the most important factor. Otherwise, if the SME is going after certain client profiles systematically, testing which approaches work best, and being real and upfront about the product/service, the increased budget utilization will be offset by an increase in product interest or purchase.