Small businesses are the backbone of Sri Lanka like in any other country. Thus it is very important that small businesses must do the businesses efficiently in order prosper. However, the statistics indicate that 80% of the small businesses in Sri Lanka and around the world suffer due to lack of proper small business marketing. Out of the total of 1,019,681 identified businesses, there are approximately 71,126 small businesses registered in Sri Lanka based on article published in sme.lk.
On the contrary, Forbes report that 80% of the small businesses fail in their first five years from launch or get stagnated in the same position. Lack of proper communication and marketing are two of the most commonly found reasons for this failure.
When looked deeply enough, most of these entrepreneurs who started their business passionately. They had the skills and knowledge in the respective business area. However, it is was their lack of continued communication for customer retention and customer acquisition caused them to lose customers and business over a period of time. Hence, it is important for small business to understand that proper ‘Marketing’ is key to a sustainable success.
Most large businesses today were once a small business. To name a few from global and local context,
- Apple – started as small scaled computer chip manufacturer in the garage
- GSK – started as apothecry shop in london in 1715
- Body Shop – started as cosmetic shop in UK to cater local customers
- Delmege – started as trading shop in down south in Sri Lanka
- Hameedias – started as clothing tailor in the late 1940s
And the list can go on and on. The point is; most of these businesses wouldn’t have grown to where they are now without proper marketing. At least at one point they understood the importance of proper marketing for continuous growth and sustainability. If not, they wouldn’t have an entire team of professional marketers running their marketing function right now.
So what is Marketing?
It is not uncommon that when we say Marketing, many assume that it is either ‘Advertising’ or ‘Sales’. There is nothing wrong in that, it’s just that Marketing means a lot more than ‘Advertising’ or ‘Sales’. A typical definition for Marketing would be like ‘A management process to understand and satisfy customers’. Don’t worry about it too much about it. The definition keeps changing from period to period. That’s the nature of marketing! What is understood as marketing today may change tomorrow. However, the fundamental ideology of marketing will remain the same. That is, Marketing is about Identifying, Understanding, Communicating and Satisfying Customer wants. To put it simple, when you have a great product/service, you must do the following to acquire and retain customers which in other words called ‘Marketing’.
- Identify the right customers from the millions of people out there – This is very crucial, because if you haven’t identified your customers correctly, you may end up wasting your valuable resources including both time and money.
- Understanding the identified customers thoroughly – Once you identified, you need to understand them deeply enough to get insights from their likes and dislikes to where and how would they shop similar products/services
- Communicating to them consistently – As human beings we tend to forget something, if we haven’t heard about them for a long. Thus it is very important that you keep your communication consistently even after they purchase. Advertising falls here as small part of the whole process of communication.
- Satisfying the customers so much to make them loyal customers – Irrespective of how best the product/service you would offer, they will not become a loyal customers if the service is horrible. After sales communication and ensuring that they are satisfied is critical for customer loyalty.
These are four critical steps in marketing.
So why Marketing is important?
Unlike a hundred years ago, the competition is very intense in today’s world. Growth of population, urbanization, globalization and increase in internet and communications are making businesses harder to acquire and retain customers. A shop owner from some village in China is now has the ability to compete with a grocery owner down our street, a small scale electronic manufacturer in India can compete with an electronic retail shop in town. This is how the world is changing and kicking out a lot business. Being physically present there with decent number of existing customers doesn’t necessarily ensure business anymore.
“What is the point in having an excellent product, if you can’t communicate the same effectively to your customers?”
That is why it is so important for small businesses to take marketing seriously. Because, the way technology and other aspects changing the world, even a large company would struggle to continue. However, the good thing is, if you have identified the right customers, if you have understood them deeply, if you communicate to them continuously and if you keep them delighted with your products and service you will not only retain them but also make them talk about your brand and create word of mouth. This will help you acquire more customers and grow business.
How can we help you in this?
The Marketing Department is marketing consultancy firm that is created to help small businesses in Sri Lanka. We are a team of professional marketers. Individually we have wealth of knowledge and experience in marketing. Unlike most other agencies who would propose you only the digital marketing, we focus on the entire 360 degree marketing. We have created a model that makes small businesses in Sri Lanka to have a marketing department for an affordable price. Contact us and get a free consultation on how you could do better in your overall marketing.