Creating a business venture is every entrepreneur’s dream. Once started, creating awareness of the business to potential clients setting in process a trigger, an interest to sample your services or products where an exchange takes place generating business sales for you. To be able to understand marketing and sales it is important to understand the theme of exchange which is necessary for revenue generation. The concept of exchange has five pillars a) there has to be a minimum of two parties b) freedom to deal or not c) something of value to exchange d) ability to communicate and deliver agreement e) appropriateness to deal with each other.
Two parties or more: Your business represented by you or the marketing executive on one side and the targeted potential customer or business is the other party. In some engagements you can have tripartite, quadripartite, penta-partite or more.
Freedom to deal: No party needs to be forced to deal. It must be from their own independent choice. People tend to deal with people they know, trust and can do business with from the strength of their presentation, believability, reputation or referral.
Something of value: There must be a need, a problem you are solving and the other party must have money, gold or silver either in hard currency or cheques to pay for the exchange.
Ability to communicate and deliver: You need to explain and make your potential client understand what you are selling. Are you solving a need? Are you taking away the pain? Do you deliver the service as promised and client payment as agreed?
Appropriateness to deal with each other: There is no deal between a minor and an adult. All parties must be of sane mind and the parties should not be under any intoxication. You can initiate contact over a drink or a meal and follow up the following day with a signed agreement.
There are many methods used to market, advertise a company’s product portfolio or array of services. To be able to create a successful marketing/promotion strategy or plan, the following need to be considered:
i) What is your core business? What do you want the potential customer to know about you? What is the purpose of the promotion effort?
ii) What attributes or characteristics of your service/products do you want to broadcast?
iii) Who are your target market and how do you reach them?
iv) How much do you want to spend on the marketing/advertisement?
v) What return on investment are you expecting?
Other factors to consider are which channels to use. Nowadays it is reported that about 74% of Kenyans have mobile telephone access. A good number gravitate towards use of smart phones, meaning the technological conscious potential clients with smart phones are increasing by the day. It is thus imperative to engage the potential clientele using social media platforms. The common channels used in marketing and advertisement are the print media which incudes magazines, newspapers, fliers, banners, billboards etc.; radio and TV.
Methods available for SMES’ promotion in Kenya:
- Proposal and company profiles print/soft
- Social media: Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, twitter, blogs, Google adverts, websites.
- Radio and TV (Classic FM, Ghetto radio, Citizen, WTV, KTN, NTV and KBC) have relevant programmes covering entrepreneurs. Being featured is free advertisement or publicity.
- Gift items such as branded caps, mugs, T-shirts, key holders and bags among others.
- Branded stationery: envelopes, letterheads, business cards, pens
- Branded uniforms: Shirts, polo T-shirts.
- Sampling: FMCG (fast moving consumer goods), tasters.
- Networking forums, business member organisations (BMO) e.g. KNCCI- Kenya national chamber of commerce and industry, KAM- Kenya association of manufacturers, MSEA (micro and small enterprises authority) forums.
- Local, regional and international exhibition and trade fairs.
For me as an entrepreneur, the marketing avenues I have used successfully are i) business cards- I always carry business cards with me. On the back side of my business card is an advertising board that shows the services that I offer. This makes it easy for the potential customer to remember and chose what they desire. ii) Word of mouth: I always talk about my core business. As an entrepreneur you are the official ambassador of your company. iii) Social media is powerful: Have a website, email address, telephone contact that makes it easy for customers to reach you. iv) Networking: This is another avenue where I get referrals. v) Service through a newsletter: This is a forum where I educate potential and current entrepreneurs on business and entrepreneurship. It is a powerful platform for authenticity.
Dear Mkazi-magazine readers in the next series of articles we will discuss what is a market, target market, positioning, value proposition, difference between service marketing and product marketing, different methods of promotion and lastly how to grow sales revenue. I hope your businesses will benefit from my experience in sales and marketing gained in the pharma industry and the academia.
Vincent Ogutu MSc, Ph.D. entrepreneurship (ongoing) is a Business Coach, Author, Trainer and Mentor, working with entrepreneurs to improve their businesses and helps potential entrepreneurs start their business right, grow and succeed. He is a director of Advance Business Consultants.
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