The majority of Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are plagued by insufficient funds for marketing and branding (53%) and the high cost of brand communication (52%), a new survey has revealed.
The Malaysian SME Online Survey 2017, which was released today (Jan 24) by branding and marketing agency Bizsphere, was conducted to study how SMEs maximise their brand potential.
Responses were collected from more than 260 respondents over Oct 25 and Nov 22 last year.
While costs may run high for SMEs, according to Bizsphere, they can be more cost effective by selecting only the most relevant and effective media and programmes for their brands instead of simply following the herd.
In fact, these businesses often overestimate the cost of brand communication because they lack a strategic branding plan that is customised to their business needs.
“Most SMEs lack capability to find differentiation or strong value proposition for their brands,” said Bizsphere Managing Consultant Mr Yap Keng Teck in a statement.
They “are not learning and adapting fast enough to face the borderless digital economy especially the Industrial Revolution 4.0”.
In other words, it’s high time that these businesses start coming up with their own strategic branding plans.
And to do that, SMEs can start by attending branding and marketing programmes organised by government agencies and trade associations.
However, the survey found that only 8% of SMEs participate in these events while nearly half of them are unaware that they are being offered.
“I have met with many SMEs who know about the programmes but are reluctant to participate with the excuses of it being a time consuming and tedious process,” added Mr Yap.
Other key challenges for these SMEs include: intense price competition, differentiating products and services, increasing cost of operation, and accessing and expanding to new markets.
To solve these issues, Bizsphere says that SMEs should initiate and participate in more networking and sharing sessions among their peers, work closely with their agencies to propel a strategy that works best for their brand, and invest in strategic tools like market intelligence and developing a brand manual.