Rubeena Singh, CEO, iProspect
iProspect is a global, award winning marketing agency that drives digital performance for many of the world’s largest brands. A trusted partner with an in depth understanding of consumer behavior, iProspect reshapes brand strategies to meet the fast-paced demands of the convergent world with a focus on exceeding the client’s business objectives.
The Indian economy is one of the fastest-growing large economies in the world and the MSME sector (micro, small and medium enterprises) is an integral part of it. Currently, it accounts for 29 percent of the Indian GDP, and employs over 110 million people. Recognizing its importance, the Government of India has stated its target to improve the growth the MSME sector to 50 percent of the GDP, with an employment target of 150 m illion. O n t he credit markets side, as per a recent CRISIL report, MSME lending of over Rs 15 trillion, accounted for around 22% of corporate lending in India as of fiscal 2018.
The MSME sector, comprising of manufacturing, infrastructure, service industry, food processing, packaging, chemicals, and IT is the backbone of the Indian economy.
To support the MSME sector and to promote gender diversity, iProspect recently conducted a Female Foundry bootcamp under its Women@iProspect initiative with the stated objective of helping women entrepreneurs from across the country grow and scale up their businesses.
Female Foundry is essentially an accelerator program developed to mentor female founded startups that leverage technology to promote economic sustainability and help them in the nextphase of their business growth.
"MSME's need to carefully evaluate Digital Marketing as an important tool to help them scale up, as even a small but smart marketing investment backed by a sound digital strategy can create outsized business impact"
Key challenges faced by Indian MSME's are people, processes, funding, access to technology and a differentiated discovery platform that can help anyone to connect to MSME's. With these c onstraints, scaling-up businesses continue to be the key challenge faced by MSMEs. With limited marketing spends, reaching the right TG in a cost-effective manner and to scale up business is a big challenge.
Unlike traditional media which has a lot of inefficiency, digital marketing provides an opportunity to MSMEs to target potential customers in a granular manner and personalise user experience at scale, leading to higher interest and eventually higher sales. However, its’ easier said than done, as most MSMEs face knowledge/awareness challenges in choosing the right strategy for boosting their business as well as brand building.
We at iProspect look at this problem statement as one that can be addressed in five steps.
The first step is to have digital assets and a social media presence. Although most MSMEs have some form of digital presence, a lot needs to be done to bring them up the quality curve to meet the heightened user expectations of today for UI/UX. Focus needs to be on site speed, relevant content, and ease of navigation. It is important for MSMEs to have optimised digital assets as it brings them closer to potential clients as well as other potential stakeholders (such as investors) who are all part of the digital ecosystem today.
The second step is to optimize search (SEO - search engine optimization) which is critical to ensure that potential customers can find information on the MSME's business when they are looking for services/ products online. There are several possibilities ranging from technical fixes to a more advance content marketing, location-based optimization, and voice optimisation to name a few. SEO can help MSME's reach their customers who are looking for their products/services without significant marketing outlay or offline customer contact programmes. For any business, it is important to be on top of mind customer recall. And to do so, it needs to be on top of the algorithms that the search works on. For a business, it is important to ‘show-up’ on searches when the potential customer is signalling intent/ interest in the said product/service.
The third step is to consider and use one or more of the numerous paid media solutions available on the digital ecosystem to drive business performance. Sophisticated ad platforms exist which can help in acquiring customers and driving ROI if a brand has the right strategy in place. These platforms help in targeting customers that are most relevant and profitable to the business. A brand needs to keep the customer at the core and these platforms can help build and execute a strategy around it.
Content is the fourth area where MSMEs need to focus on. Content not only gives information to interested users in the business, but also helps acquire the right customers. Personalisation at scale is the key here and to tackle challenges, iProspect has created a proprietary tech-solution under a CXM (customer experience management) suite which has various tools to gather insights regarding customers and communicate with them at the right time with the right communication. A seamless interaction between brand communication and its customer is a necessity in today’s cluttered market.
The fifth step involves Measurement. One cannot have a marketing strategy without measuring the outcomes. ROI is what drives businesses and analytics help draw insights on how customers are responding to digital marketing efforts. The realtime data insights available enable better optimization of the various levers of an MSME's digital marketing strategy.
In short, MSME's need to carefully evaluate Digital Marketing as an important tool to help them scale up, as even a small but smart marketing investment backed by a sound digital strategy can create outsized business impact.