Marketing is important for every business because it helps in making your business grow or more simply, in making sales. Marketing helps business people or entrepreneurs identify and anticipate needs/problems of their target market or customers and provide solutions to their needs/problems, profitably.
Now, one major problem small business people have in Nigeria is that they have problems identifying and anticipating their customers needs and then provide solutions to those needs. One way to do that is by conducting a marketing research or simply put, ask them questions relating to the business you want to start. The answers you get would assist you in providing solutions to their problems. Most Nigerian small business owners venture into businesses they have no skills in and all because they heard that the business concerned makes huge returns. When competition comes and their customers stop coming around these businesses fold up.
For small businesses to survive the onslaught of new competitors, there are two unique ways to win your customers and make them continue doing business with you. This two marketing techniques are cause-related marketing and civic marketing.
Cause-related marketing is a type of marketing technique were a business or company joins forces with a charity or non-governmental organization to support a cause. The cause might be one that supports sickle cell anemia, breast cancer, kidney failure, orphans, homeless people, the blind etc. You see that these causes have to do with issues that affect people. It could be on health issues or societal problems but they help in providing money or funds to help tackle or provide solutions to the problem. The company uses a product that sells well in the market to pursue this cause. They take a small percentage of their profit to support the cause. Let’s take Bobo milk drink or indomie noodles for example. Both are cherished by children, and they can support a cause that is related to children like, supporting children that are out of school, open heart surgery for children etc. Beauty products for women can also support causes related to problems women have, like violence against women or breast cancer. I have not seen this happen in Nigeria. Most Nigerians would buy a product because they need it to meet a particular need. I’m yet to see a nigerian that would buy a product to support a cause, unless it is sophisticated nigerian consumers.
Civic marketing is one that would work well for small business owners especially when they want to launch their business. This type of marketing idea can make your target market customers like you immediately because they would view you and your business or company as one that isn’t just concerned with their money, but one that is interested in their well being and welfare. This is always community based. You can find a major problem that affects the people living in your community and provide solutions to that problem. Take for example, pot holes on your roads. You can use your money to fill that pot hole. You can donate bore holes to your community to assist them in tackling water problems. Is it the issue of unemployment or poverty? You can teach the youths and women in your community how you started your small business and how they can start theirs too. Are you a doctor who has a small health center or clinic? You can have a small seminar event were you teach people about how to take care of their health and offer free services like free HBP test, blood sugar test etc. Do you have a small law firm, you can have a law seminar were you inform your attendees about their rights and attend to their legal problems. The important thing is to create a platform were you would interact with your target market customers and get to introduce yourself and the products and services you offer to them. It would also assist you in knowing one or two things about your customers. You also need to record the event and take down their contact details. This is the information age and you need such data or information in sending messages everyday by bulk text messages, emails and so on to them.
Now that you know the major difference between cause-related and civic marketing, it is time you create a simple plan for your business. If you can’t do so, find an affordable marketing consultant who would assist you in doing so. I can assist you in doing so for an affordable fee.
Happy marketing of your products and services. See you at the top.
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