To succeed in the current globalising environment the Malaysian SME will need to strive towards achieving greater competitiveness at a global level. There has to be a shift from knowledge based industries to more innovation centeredness. By leveraging on the core values of creativity, innovation and high skills, our SMEs will make great strides towards creating and building a unique and strong Brand Malaysia.

We need a competitive edge mindset

To survive in today’s increasingly competitiveness and challenging global economic environment, our SMEs need strong capabilities and competitive edge. They need to adapt to current trends and adopt the strategy of utilizing the latest technology, skills and know-how to develop differentiated products fast and good.

Innovation is the key

The leaders have been emphasising innovation as a main agenda in facing the current challenges and to seize open opportunities in the knowledge economy. The economic meltdown has created alarming conditions for R&D and innovation-led businesses where risk capital is scarce, which has placed R&D investments at lower priority.
A key task of the government is to assist our SMEs on their quest to go global. This is done through bilateral, regional and multilateral engagement. All government agencies are also engaged in endeavours to widen access of Malaysian companies into non-traditional markets and to promote trade diversification and investments in new growth areas.

Media & marketing – Marketing strategies to survive the downward trend

Recession generally refers to the reduction of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP). GDP represents total dollar of value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period. A recession causes declines of investment, corporate profits and eventually sales and marketing sales and profits.

Both government and businesses have taken a step ahead in overcoming the recession to spark the economic growth once again. Since the business cycle is unpredictable, business owners should prepare themselves to resist the outcome of the recession. To overcome the economic uncertainties in 2009, here are some marketing strategies to survive the downward trend besides strengthening your business.

First and foremost, business owners should list marketing as a daily routine to keep up with the trend. Marketing refers to the process of creating, delivering and communicating effectively with the target audience. Marketing is an important strategy in vying for more customers to increase the sales and satisfying the customers’ needs and desire in the long run. Communicating with customers by acknowledging them with your product is fairly important as this strategy enables you to remind them the existence of your product in the market for a longer shelf-life.

Neglecting marketing could risk losing potential sales and sooner or later, your loyal customers will switch to your competitors. However, in times of recession, you have to remember it is crucial to disseminate information to your target market by reminding them that your company offers valuable and affordable service. Regular marketing can boost your sales and may even bring more prospective customers to generate profits for your business.

Another method to boost your company’s sales is by releasing press release to your media whenever your company has some interesting event coming around the corner. This should be a part or your all-time integrated marketing strategy as it is an effective way to keep your name well-known in the public.

Nevertheless, Internet has become the fastest growing medium in today’s modern era. Start a blog to attract potential Internet savvy customers. Using your expertise, promote your products and services on the blog. Always invite your prospective customers to keep track of your latest entry regarding the latest promotions from your company. Blogging gives you more credibility as an expert besides keeping your company’s name in your customers’ mind. In fact, blog is one of the most practical marketing strategies to target more customers in order to boost your sales.

Brainstorm for valuable and innovative ideas by reading more business related books, attend marketing seminars, find out marketing websites and learn from it. Learn from your past mistakes and gather the marketing blunders from the available resources such as Internet and books.

Always reconsider your marketing strategy before using it on your specific target group. Re-evaluate what you are doing and be flexible as well as open-minded to receive criticism from others to improve on your strategy. Observe the response from the customers for certain print advertisement or billboard. If those do not generate encouraging response from your prospective customers, discuss the possible solution with other acquaintances. Do not be shy to ask for others opinion. More ideas may lead to a great and excellent solution. You can also use the feedback from the criticizers to improve on your strategy.

Brush up your Skills

Practice your expertise skills if possible by speaking to the media. Inform the media that you are available on behalf of your company to speak for your product. Start a bond with the media by offering them information such as background information, comments and quotes. The good bond between you and the media helps as the coverage by media will give you more business.

Find out the reason of customers reluctance to conduct business with you. Approach them and address their concern in a clear and simple way to improve your business. Customers are always right. Listen attentively and consider their criticism. To operate your business in a long-run, you have to satisfy customers’ needs and desires. To dominate the market, research on your prospective customers and take their opinion and suggestions into consideration.

Business card is an essential element in creating an effective bridge between you and potential customers to generate more business. With an attractive card, it will help to create an interest among the customers to make the first move in doing business with you. To impress your customers with your business card, create a professional looking card to show your attentiveness in doing business and also use font style that eases your eyes and easy to read. To ensure that your card stands out from the rest, print it on a high-quality paper and use a knockout slogan. Simple yet meaningful words say it all.

When you are brainstorming for more innovative marketing plans, take these into considerations; yellow pages advertising, exhibiting in trade shows, networking at local or regional professional conferences and business groups, Pay Per Click advertising on Yahoo and other Internet portals and sponsoring contests. Traditional media advertising such as print ads, radio, TV and newspaper are effective as well. Never underestimate the power of these traditional media. As you develop more strategies for your product, re-evaluate your previous strategies on the specific target audience. Then go ahead with the latest strategies that you have come up with based on your budget, theme and concept.

All in all, marketing strategies are important to retain and boost your business. Develop strategies accordingly to suit the current market needs. Boost your sales and profits in all possible ways.