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MSMEs urged to use non-traditional marketing

Published:Monday | October 17, 2016 | 10:00 AM
Head of Research and Project Management at Jamaica Business Development Corporation, Lisa Taylor Stone.

The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) is encouraging Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to take advantage of non-traditional platforms to market their products and services.

This is in light of research conducted by the JBDC that shows the majority of MSMEs polled lacked adequate marketing, which is affecting their earnings.

The research was conducted between March 2014 and November 2015 with 1,500 MSMEs that were randomly selected from the database of the Companies Office of Jamaica. Head of Research and Project Management at JBDC, Lisa Taylor Stone told JIS News that more than 81 per cent of the group that participated in the research did not have a marketing plan.

"We found that over 89 per cent of those who reported the greatest need in marketing assistance and marketing strategy and research were more likely to earn less than $5 million per annum," she noted. "This really underscores the importance of marketing opportunities for revenue growth and development of the MSME sector." Noting that a number of entities were constrained by access to capital, Taylor Stone said they could utilise different and cost-effective methods such as umbrella marketing and the cluster approach.

 

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"With the cluster approach, companies come together and resources are pooled. With the pooling of resources they are able to align themselves to an established umbrella brand ... and in doing so, their products get to markets and they improve their revenue," she explained. Taylor Stone said they should also take advantage of niche marketing, and utilise social media and free online resources.

Taylor Stone said that MSMEs can learn more about the support being offered by JBDC at the upcoming FOROMIC, which is the international forum on micro finance and financial innovation, to be held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James from October 24 to 26. To be highlighted are the entity's business monitoring programme and its MSME Research Development Initiative. The programme is geared towards the growth of MSMEs and operates on a tiered basis.

"The first step is where a diagnostic test is done and the health of the organisation is diagnosed. There is an action plan that is developed to move the companies forward in terms of capacity building, whether it is product development, development of the business and the entrepreneurs," she outlined. Meanwhile the development initiative is aimed at strengthening the capacity of small businesses to conduct research.