Politics

MSMEs should create ‘product dependency,’ start small — PTTC 

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PIXABAY

Knowing the right product to sell to the right market will help ensure the success of one’s business and products, according to a lecture presented at a July 13 training event organized by the Department of Trade and Industry’s Philippine Trade Training Center-Global MSME Academy (PTTC-GMEA).  

Talking to a group of microentrepreneurs, Gary B. Sta. Cruz, a PTTC-GMEA research and training design specialist, noted how food fads such as Heinz’s green ketchup failed to endure a few years after being introduced to the market, despite making an initial splash.  

It demonstrates that you need to know the right product to sell, he said, referring to the marketing mix of product, promotion, place, and price. 

“We want our customers to be loyal to our products — although for me, there’s one level higher than product loyalty, and that’s product dependency,” he added in the vernacular. “That’s our goal.”  

Online commerce has turned the old business model of creating a product then bringing it to market on its head. Today’s entrepreneurs should make products that satisfy the needs of the market.

“If they want soap, what type are they looking for? Do they want something for sensitive skin? Do they want something with bleaching properties? Create a product based on their need,” he said. 

While segmenting consumers into subgroups based on shared factors — age, geographic location, opinions — is an efficient way of marketing, a brand should take care to remain consistent in its messaging.  

“When you stay true to your positioning, customers… have a clear picture of who you are versus your competitors,” said Jem Perez-Chua, Century Pacific Foods, Inc. marketing manager.    

Aside from positioning, businesses have to consider pricing and location (both in the physical and digital sense).

Even if proximity remains an advantage, hybrid setups allow, say, an electronics shop in Divisoria, Manila, to serve customers through its Facebook page. “You don’t even need a huge storefront for this type of setup anymore,” said Mr. Sta. Cruz. “Bodega lang siya [Their place is just a storeroom].”  

Microbusinesses writing a marketing plan need to consider: 1) one’s business situation; 2) one’s target audience; 3) one’s objectives, budget, and timeline; 4) the implementation of the best suited marketing strategy; and 5) evaluation and adjustment of the same.  

If you’re offering a discount but realize your bottom line can’t cover this promo, recalibrate, Mr. Sta. Cruz said. If you’re offering free delivery but realize your customers have cars and prefer to pick up their orders, recalibrate. 

If you have a canteen and plan to scale it up into a restaurant in five years, be cognizant of the initiatives you need to take — investing in modern equipment, sampling new recipes, joining online platforms — to drive that growth, he added.  

Mr. Sta. Cruz shared the Indonesian proverb: “Sedikit-sedikit lama lama menjadi bukit,” which means small acts add up to big results. (Its rough literal translation is “little by little, with time, it becomes a hill.”) 

“Don’t be embarrassed to start small. All the training seminars you attend, all the orders you [negotiate with] your suppliers: these are all small steps that can yield big results,” he said. — Patricia B. Mirasol