In any discussion about digital marketing, its importance to micro, small, and medium enterprises always gets brought up. Digital marketing’s benefits have gotten highlighted to businesses worldwide, but it seems even more critical than ever in the pandemic era of rocked global economies.
All over the world, industries and economies have taken a colossal hit, not the least of which is the travel and leisure industries, along with the restaurant and entertainment industries. Even the economies of mighty first-world countries were turbulent during the first year of the pandemic. So, it’s expected that in third-world countries such as the Philippines, things were even worse.
In the Philippines’ case, it was much the same. There was no doubt that the total lockdowns, quarantines, and restrictions employed in the Philippines to curb the rapid spread of the pandemic have caused its economy harm.
From micro to large businesses, businesses of all sizes became crippled, and many were unable to continue operations. Airlines canceled hundreds of flights, the country’s biggest malls, shopping centers, dining establishments became deserted, and even casinos got suspended. Heavy losses appeared in virtually all sectors, and many establishments were left without option but to close, some permanently.
This is where digital marketing, with its importance and benefits, matters even more. Micro, small, and medium enterprises in the Philippines have been affected the most by the pandemic. But as the world at large moved towards the internet for their needs, it offered another valuable opportunity for MSMEs to recover: by shifting their marketing and operations into the online world.
The Powers of MSME in the Philippines
In the Philippine economy, the biggest and most significant types of companies are the MSMEs. They get considered by the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department as the “backbone” of the Philippine economy in its entirety. A staggering 99.5% of all businesses in the country are MSMEs.
What makes a business fall under the classification of MSME in the Philippines? Microbusinesses have 1-9 employees with assets of up to P3,000,000. Small businesses have 10-99 employees and have up to P15,000,000 in assets, while medium enterprises have up to 199 employees and have up to P100 million in assets.
According to the Department of Trade and Industry, MSMEs also contribute as much as 35.7% of the country’s total value-added and gross domestic product in 2018 alone. In terms of job creation, MSMEs also put up significant numbers, creating 5.5 million jobs, 62% of the total employment in 2018. The numbers have only increased since. These numbers prove that MSMEs are the backbone of the economy and that it’s even more critical that they maintain or recover their strength through these rough times with digital marketing.
The importance of digital marketing to these businesses is highlighted in how they will be able to shift their operations, engagement with customers, and promotions online, which keeps them in business and allows them to keep providing people with much-needed employment.
How Digital Marketing Benefits MSMEs and Helps the Country Thrive
One of the most significant ways that digital marketing benefits an MSME in the Philippines is to arm a business with all the tools it needs to bounce back in the year after the pandemic’s height.
In 2021, the global situation is becoming more under control, and various industries can begin the recovery process. The recovery period can’t start soon enough for MSMEs: they need to make crucial decisions for their business’ reopening, rebranding or return to form.
The DTI has encouraged MSMEs to adopt vital digital marketing strategies to remain competitive in the industries that are now starting to recover. According to Ginger Arboleda, the chief operating officer for Taxumo, digital marketing tools are now readily available online for MSMEs to take advantage of.
Google Analytics, social media ads, and other similar platforms can allow them to study their audiences and reach new ones through brand awareness. Furthermore, there are marketing services in the Philippines that are available online. 1.5 million freelancers and companies specializing in digital marketing are readily available to help small businesses promote themselves through various online platforms. With their help, entrepreneurs and even medium-sized business owners can begin recovery through digital marketing.
According to MJ Panganiban, the chairman of Fintech Philippine Association’s eCommerce Committee, the availability of digital marketing tools and specialists has also become cheaper because of cloud-based tools and services. This is another boon to an MSME in the Philippines since the budget wouldn’t have much budget to spare for marketing after taking a hit from the pandemic.
Now, through digital marketing, they will be able to use sophisticated analytics tools, spread brand awareness through numerous platforms, and improve their Google search rankings, all without breaking the bank.
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez further underscores the need for MSMEs to use digital marketing. The benefits of digital marketing won’t just make these companies competitive locally but also put the Philippines in competitive standing with the rest of the ASEAN.
The Philippines’ internet penetration (which rose from 46% in 2016 to 59% in 2020) is so substantial that Philippine MSMEs shifting towards online marketing could improve their contribution to the country’s GDP and international exports. Innovation can begin with MSMEs and lead towards overall growth in the country.
How Should an MSME in the Philippines Utilize Digital Marketing?
An MSME can begin adopting digital marketing by outlining the basics:
- Identify their buyer personas. Who do they believe will benefit most from their products? Who are the customers most likely to make a purchase or be interested in making a purchase?
- Set goals. What does a small business hope to achieve short term and long term?
- Analyze their current strategies. What has been working for them in marketing so far? What products and services are popular? What hasn’t given them adequate ROI?
- Set their budget. How much are they willing to spend? Is it worth it? Will they begin their digital marketing in-house, or will they approach specialists for the job?
- Social media: By far, this is the best starting ground for MSMEs looking to get into digital marketing. Benefits include boosting brand awareness to a large audience on Facebook, Instagram, and other major social media sites. Through valuable content, brands can discover and engage with their customers. Often, these platforms have ad systems, which allow an MSME to begin advertising to their target audiences and reach new demographics.
- Search Engine Optimization or SEO: If the business already has its website, it can direct traffic towards it by utilizing SEO to make it rank higher on the search results. Companies can carefully analyze keywords relevant to their business and keywords that their customers (according to their buyer personas) will likely be searching for on search engines like Google. Through correct keyword usage through their posts and websites, they can rank high on the result pages and catch the attention of qualified leads seeking them out.
- Video Marketing: Filipinos respond very well to visual posts. Using video marketing by adding interesting, informative, or entertaining videos on Facebook, YouTube, or even TikTok, brands can get their audience’s attention and showcase their products or services to them. Videos can be informative, answer customers’ problems, or even evoke emotion, which builds brand interest.
- Mobile Marketing: Mobile users have rapidly been growing in the country. Mobile internet penetration was at 46.35% back in 2016, but it increased to 70% in 2020. There are more smartphones in the Philippines than there are people. As a result, the mobile market is enormous, which businesses can tap into through digital marketing. The importance of the mobile world is marked by Filipinos’ increasing dependence on apps and mobile devices to do their everyday tasks. They can even make purchases and transfer money through apps. Using digital marketing to optimize a website and social media pages for mobile use, a company is directly addressing the mobile market and encouraging users to seek them out on this platform.
- Email Marketing: Digital marketing services in the Philippines offer email marketing because they convert to sales. With creative, exciting email marketing, particularly personalized to customers, businesses can convert leads to sales. Companies can gather customer information, use that data to personalize emails, offer promos that they are most likely to be interested in, and thus encourage them to take advantage of a discount or an item on sale. Furthermore, email stands as one of the cheapest means of marketing to customers and has the most significant ROI.
- Where to start: There are still many different types of digital marketing with benefits that are most effective depending on the MSME’s goals or industry. Careful analysis and goal setting is crucial when choosing strategies to employ and focus on first.
An MSME in the Philippines would be wise to seek out digital marketing. The benefits of digital marketing and its importance have a far-reaching impact not just on a single business sector but throughout the country’s economy. With MSMEs standing as the economy’s backbone, their recovery through the digital world could also mean the country’s economic recovery as a whole.
And because digital marketing is now so much more affordable and accessible, small businesses could not only bounce back from the damage that the pandemic has caused, but they can grow further, faster, and beyond their set goals. They can build a brand that engages with customers and earns their trust and loyalty, creating a better business for the future.
It’s more critical than ever for MSMEs to recover and grow beyond the turbulent economy. With the help of digital marketing, MSMEs have the opportunity to get right back on track. Contact us today to begin your business’ recovery and growth towards new opportunities.