Ngba Digital Time

Experts hail digital marketing as profitability tool

Experts hail digital marketing as profitability tool

In this modern world of constantly evolving technology, increased digitization imposes ever-changing demands on businesses, both large and small. Hence, there is a greater need more than ever, for organizations to build a winning presence in digital media- social, search, mobile, video, and web content- whilst combining them in a perfect mix for a brand’s digital conversation in their various ecosystems.

This was the focal point of learning at the recently concluded “B.L.A.S.T. (Business Leadership and Strategy Training)-Business Growth Opportunity and Access to Finance for SMEs” workshop series organised by the Nigerian-German Business Association (NGBA) for SMEs at the NGBA Secretariat in Lagos.

According to the speakers who were drawn from the
​ ​​information and ​communications ​​technology (ICT)​ and ​o​nline marketing spheres in Nigeria, any SME that wants to interact with the larger online audience and gain likely business prospects must properly make use of the online media- most especially, social media. This is especially so with the recent changes and trends in marketing communications and the emergence and development of digitization globally, with its attendant impacts holistically seen across the country.

Head, Ringier Digital Marketing, Mr. Mark Slade, during a presentation mentioned that SMEs must ensure they understand the dynamics of social media and also reach out to their target audience and inform them of their offerings via mobile app
​lications (apps)​, noting that mobile gadgets can be influential in connecting with customers.

He further stated that the intensifying presence of mobile devices would continue to be on the rise and this could be a soft playing field for entrepreneurs to vie for new businesses while expanding their frontiers.

“We are going to see a lot more of advance in terms of technology, things getting quicker, things getting more efficient, more apps, a lot more of mobile use. I think already the trend is that a lot of people are using their mobile devices rather than desktops, specifically in Nigeria because of the convenience and speed of access. So, it’s very important for SMEs to understand how social media operates,” Slade remarked.

Also speaking at the workshop, the Head of Innovation, Computer Warehouse Group, Mr. Tayo Oduwole, in his presentation entitled; “Growing SME business with Technology”, said most SMEs who operate from their physical store and complain about low business patronage have failed to understand the enormous potentials of conducting business online.

He said; “One of the things I realised is that people keep talking about not having access to market their goods, offers, and services but how many people know about the kind of business or service that they run? How many of them know about the potentials of selling online?”

To change this perception, Oduwole said SMEs must be encouraged to accept this new phenomenon as the infusion of technology into their business growth strategies would help take their business to the next level.

During an interactive session, a veteran member of the NGBA and Chairman, Kingslader Engineering Limited, Engr. Emmanuel Akinlotan, advised SMEs seeking partnerships with foreign investors to consult with the relevant bilateral trade associations or chambers of commerce to avoid being swindled by fraudsters.

According to Akinlotan; “If you want to look for partnership, go through the association, let them vet who you are paying to, let them vet who is supplying the equipment to you and they can maintain check and balances on your fund. Let us be very conscious of whom we call our associate.”

Ms. Jennifer Anoyika, Director General of NGBA, was on ground for the conclusion of the workshop series which she tagged as “very fruitful.” Visibly pleased with the turnout and success of the four part workshop series, Ms. Anoyika praised the various facilitators for their excellent presentations and thanked the participants for their presence and active participation during the length of the workshop series. She also urged the participants to devise a clear road map based on information gleaned from the workshop, for the growth and profitability of their businesses.

“My advice to everyone is to go
​back to the drawing board​ and ​apply ​what you have learn​ed​, put your business together, structure your business. Access to finance is available as you have learned, but you need your business to be properly structured and the facilitators gave us a step-by-step on how to achieve that.

“More workshops, learning and networking opportunities are in the works as we always strive to add value to businesses regardless of size,” she said.

The NGBA B.L.A.S.T., a quarterly businearii2ss workshop series, commenced with its inaugural edition targeted at SMEs. The event which began on August 13 with the 1st module speaking to the Nigerian legal and business environment as it relates to SMEs, continued on August 20 with a module focusing on the SME business. The 3rd module which held on August 27 centered on access to finance for SMEs which led to a crescendo on September 3, with the final module highlighting the surfacing trends in digital marketing.

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