Communication is the lifeline for any business as discovered in our various operations. Hence, it should be well-managed to strike a balance so as not to under/over communicate. Here we go further in our relook from simple encoding and decoding of a message(s) to talk marketing for real business growth and sustainability.
Through marketing communications, we will achieve more including market share dominance, lasting positive relationships with customers, repeat businesses, ongoing referrals by current customers to potential ones and ultimately increased profitability. Our entrepreneurs have tried and tested many tools for the same achievement though they sometimes fail to achieve the anticipated mileage.
Therefore, a smart decision has to be made here for a successful connection with markets and stakeholders. Through this edition, we then remind each other on the significance of marketing communication in entrepreneurial businesses. It is evident that entrepreneurship practices and marketing are a perfect dovetail to each other as a recipe for business success.
First to note is that marketing communication helps in differentiating our business from others who are in the same space/line of production/processing with us. As we engage in this drive using our self-crafted tools, a unique tone and shout is created in our targeted markets.
Customers will know and recall us in their memories from what we have communicated differently from the rest. For the same reason why the Bible in Ephesians 4:29 said “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Talks through marketing communication tools that we adopt have the power to break/make profitable relationships with our customers, in the sense that tone developed feeds into an internal culture of the business that will talk a certain message about us to the markets. If done well and protected, then it will be difficult to be copied/influenced/muddled by any other.
In fact, marketing communication of an entrepreneurial business can manifest to be the way we do business. That is the same reason why most of our traditional and contemporary businesses have been known and grew to be popular from the well-crafted jingles playing in the mind of most customers even now like Nyore nyore Zimbabwe furniture, its’ bho ne Chibuku taglines and inhapitapi chete neSun Jam to mention just a few. That’s what defines these businesses on a broader market perspective and we can do the same. That voice of a business develops into a play which ignites a purchase whenever it reaches the targeted customers.
There is also a critical aspect in the marketing of our entrepreneurial sphere, which is the desire to develop and maintain a higher brand equity. As part of the composite cogs of the aspect is positive brand awareness of the business and its offerings. This is only achievable through effective marketing communication. It is imperative to note that the value and investment of any business is measured/reflected in not only being popular but having a wider positive brand awareness.
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Think of what social media has done and can also do for you in this age of awareness. Even if it is said that there is no bad publicity. In this perspective we take a step up in our strategic stance to really understand the numbers/habits/preferences of those customers who have been part of our journey towards real growth. That is the same reason why database management has become a critical cog of a well-integrated customer relationship management.
Marketing communication will then be done on a specific targeted group rather than being everything for everyone which is highly costly in doing business. Brand image as a result of promoting a lived promise(s) should be part of an effective marketing communication strategy by our entrepreneurs. Positive image takes time to build but is quick to destroy. It is hard to revamp the image of a business and its brand especially when it has been muddled by our own teams and competitors thus we have to come up with effective tools to safeguard, monitor and improve publicity as guided by our initial vision.
Some of our businesses are service oriented which brings about marketing complexities in promoting and selling invisible/intangible offerings. Here the marketing communication tools should go beyond our orientation to add on to what the customers cannot touch or see. Marketing technologies through aural and visual support can go a long way in making the markets understand and even touch what they cannot evaluate physically. Here there are no specific tools to refer to but we have to evaluate the best that suits our offerings/orientation.
Lastly, marketing communication gives us a leverage also in providing accurate information about our product/service in the form of market feedback. It is a two way in doing business such that if we miss what the customers are saying then we will produce for ourselves. Most of our customers are also frustrated due to information adequacy about what we really offer against their expectations.
Where they are psychologically insecure as they are not sure if the product/service consumed will totally meet/satisfy their current needs/wants. As we know that information is power, let us empower our customers through giving them even more information/demonstrations than they expect before, during and after consumption. Shockingly, most of our SMEs are busy competing with their customers when it should be a shared drive towards exchanging value in doing business.
*Farai Chigora is a businessman and academic. He is the head of management and entrepreneurship at the Africa University’s College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance. His doctoral research focused on business administration (destination marketing and branding major, Ukzn, SA). He is into agribusiness and consults for many companies in Zimbabwe and Africa. He writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted for feedback and business at [email protected], www.fachip.co.zw, WhatsApp mobile: +263772886871.