With the changing times, marketing strategies of SMEs too have undergone major switches. Marketing at large has always been a bit of a challenge for them in their bid to identify the best ways of selling their products and services.
The marketing strategy for SMEs was a brooding point of discussion at BW Businessworld’s Growth Leadership Conclave & Awards where a panel of experts deliberated on how to ensure smarter marketing strategies for SMEs on everything from the PR activities, to exhibitions to the value of technology especially blockchain and social media.
They spoke on the most effective marketing structures to reach out to new customers and the approach that SMEs can use to fathom the customer behaviour. Also, how businesses can use the marketing tools to help acquire new customers and reinstate the old ones.
Traditionally, marketing has been done through newspapers, magazines etc. the whole space has evolved hugely in terms of how companies market themselves these days and how they measure the results.
Speaking about identifying the target audience and leveraging the social media to reach out to the potential customers, Ashwin Mocherla, Co-Founder, The Thickshake Factory, “Word of mouth way of marketing is our mainstay and our strongest yet. Yes, marketing has changed a lot from its traditional form but with changing times, we have focussed all the more on our word of mouth promotion and tried to perfect our product. Our main focus is customer satisfaction. We are also focussing big time on social media marketing, for which one must know their business model and have a clarity on the target customers.”
Elaborating on the same point, Rahul Paith, COO, DocOnline said, “When we started our venture, we wanted to reach out to masses for healthcare as we wanted to cater our services to as many people as we can. For startups in the healthcare sector, it is important to spend one’s money judiciously as for this market there is no sure shot way of ascertaining what all marketing strategies will work. There are different marketing models for different segments of customers as healthcare is a need-based sector, hence we have an integrated marketing approach. We want to inculcate a belief amongst our customers, thus, we focus heavily on tie-ups and alliances as well as sources from where mass information gets generated. Focus, belief and attacking the source are the three strategies for us.”
Speaking about the digital marketing, Kamini Saraf, Chairperson, FICCI FLO, Hyderabad and Entrepreneur & Partner, Angasutra said, “The Indian fashion industry has become global and marketing strategies in this industry are different than other sectors. Fashion is becoming more and more digitized and social media platforms like Instagram, facebook and Pinterest form a big part of marketing. Fashion has become visual today and has become the norm of the day. While digital marketing is helping us, it has become challenging too in a lot ways too. Also, fashion designers depend a lot on celebrity endorsements and the hashtag culture has taken on in a big way. Recently a lot of campus endorsements have become the main focus of brands as youth is a big market to tap on.”
Talking about the marketing in the education sector, Vamsi Chalagulla, Founder, ThirdLeap Inc. affirmed, “The idea is to reach out to as many customers as we can and learning the value of our products. You have to spend initially and come to a conclusion as to what works. The product pricing is very important especially in the education sector, people want to buy if the price of your product is not high as they believe in pricing. Hence, the key is to do a lot of research as to what marketing strategies work.”
Bharat Verma, Plutoexchange said, “Cryptocurrency is all theory based, hence, I need to be more expressive about my product, thus, I do not avoid any process of using Facebook, newspapers, television, and instagram etc. Being expressive is the most important part of my promotional activities, because I need to convey to people about what Cryptocurrency is.”
Charan Lakkaraju, Founder, Stumagz too stated, “People overdo a lot of stuff while marketing their products. Digital marketing is something people talk a lot about but it is always about bullseye framework. So, the influence of marketing is something you need to identify. The other area is offline events and awards, which are a validation factor for brands and entrepreneurs. Then, piggybacking on the existing players helps a lot. Lastly, unconventional PR works where you brand with a bigger company and they take care of your budget.”
In addition to the traditional marketing strategies, the process has become a lot more scientific where the identification of your target customers is critical.