While SMEs have demonstrated the true spirit of Indian entrepreneurship in the past, the lack of marketing support has started to hurt the sector as a whole. With global companies now venturing into India to take advantage of the huge Indian domestic market and get their share of growth revenues from the Indian market, Indians are facing the heat since they are unable to match the marketing campaigns of their global peers and rivals. Here is a look at five major marketing challenges being faced by Indian SMEs across the spectrum and how things can be changed for the better in the near future.
Lack of Buyer Behavior Understanding: Marketing is all about understanding the consumer behavior and anticipating the change before it arrives. Indians have been notoriously slow in the past and do not spend adequate finances and time on understanding the changing behavior patterns of their customers at large.
A majority of Indian entrepreneurs for example still do not have a web presence where just by having a simple web presence with a website or listing in business directories could make their business market itself to a large number of prospective new clients from all over the globe.
While global companies entering India are using innovative Octopus advertising campaigns to ensure effective and powerful campaigns for introducing global brands in the country, Indians are yet to wake up on the advantage of having a dedicated and focused marketing program. Indian entrepreneurs have been slow in building brands for their products while competing with well known global brands making them loose their market share with each passing day.
Limited HR Network: India has a young workforce with fresh graduates in all streams being churned out every year. But the SMEs in the country have been unable to take advantage of this workforce and are never heard employing fresh marketing graduates from business schools. A large number of MBAs and other marketing graduates are either absorbed by multinational companies or they start up their own ventures.
They thereby misses a trick by employing the services of fresh marketing graduates to help sustain an effective marketing program for their company. They should start looking at employing a team of marketing professionals from reputed institutions to help them weave their dedicated marketing plan rather than having the top management dictate the marketing campaigns.
Over reliance of Traditional Marketing Strategies: It is said that old habits die hard and Indian entrepreneurs are the best example to understand the significance of the statement. While the world has moved on from traditional marketing techniques like print and television to digital and mobile marketing, Indian entrepreneurs on an average still rely on age old methods of marketing. What was right a decade ago may not necessarily be the right thing today. Indians have failed to look ahead in terms of adopting new age marketing techniques. One of the major reasons for such behavior is the lack of finances available for marketing programs.
They find it difficult to raise money for day to day operations like working capital and technology up gradation, leave alone marketing and branding. Indian banks and financial institutions need to come up with a financial plan aimed at promoting marketing facilities of SMEs to raise funds for marketing and brand building exercises.
Non Compliance of Latest Technology: Most Indian entrepreneurs are technology backward when it comes to manufacturing; they are also equally stiff in adopting new technology tools for marketing. The world has moved on to digital and mobile marketing with cloud based marketing plans through various SAAS being the future. Indian SMEs are not only reluctant to adopt new technology for marketing but are also unaware of how new marketing prospects can help them increase the overall worth of their business.
Not Employing Professionals and Marketing Consultants: SMEs generally do not employ professionals and marketing consultants. When it comes to marketing programs, it is usually the entrepreneurs that take a call depending on their budget and what they perceive might work for the enterprises. The lack of professional approach not only hurts the marketing plan but also leaves the finances in disarray if gone wrong. Entrepreneurs need to at best keep a bird eye view on all departments and always let the professionals handle the work rather than owners doing everything from production to marketing to packaging, sales and customer support.