The need for a well-designed action plan and resource support by institutions for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to step into higher level of engagement in the use of digital and social media tools for marketing, was highlighted on 08 June 2018 during the presentation of key findings on a survey conducted by the Policy Research Group at the Mauritius Research Council (MRC) in Ebène.
Professionals from the SME and IT sector as well as entrepreneurs attended the session during which various aspects of Digitalisation and Social Media Marketing (DSMM) for the growth of SMEs were discussed.
In his opening remarks the Executive Director of the MRC, Dr A. Suddhoo, underpinned the significance of the four P's of marketing namely Price, Product, Promotion and Place which help SMEs plan for a successful marketing.
Nonetheless, he underlined, with the advent of digitalisation and social media, SMEs across the world are shifting from the use of traditional marketing tools to adopt digital marketing strategies. He further highlighted that virtual presence of SMEs have become equally important over time especially with the emergence of E-commerce in Mauritius.
The survey was conducted among 151 registered SMEs across the country with a view to determine whether there is an active and efficient use of digital and social media for marketing purposes. It revealed that 64% of the SMEs do not have any DSMM strategy and most of them are lagging behind in their appropriation of digital and social media tools.
The top three marketing tools identified during the survey are namely Facebook, word of mouth and flyers. The key finding also demonstrated that entrepreneurs are using digital and social media mostly for personal use rather than for business and that some of them do not even have a company website.
The barriers to using DSMM that were outlined are: lack of time, technical knowledge and know-how, financial resources as well as strategies. Moreover, the survey also highlighted that 98% of SMEs are not aware of any facilities and schemes provided by SME support institutions with regards to implementing DSMM.
The proposed recommendations comprise: the implementation of SME Grant for Web Design and Development; institutional support for training and technical assistance; and execution of Flash Diagnosis of State of Use of DSMM in SMEs by SME Mauritius Ltd.
The study also calls for SMEs to come up with more tailored content for DSMM and to adopt specific tactics as well as strategies so as to benefit from effective marketing.