Thursday, July 7, 2011

SMEs and IT marketing

In my ICT class last week, Prof. Alampay noted the many challenges in the design and implementation of an IT system in a small-medium enterprise (SME) including lack of resources and employee/management resistance. But in sum, the presentation concluded that IT integration is critical in the sustainability of SMEs by expanding market reach and making operations more efficient.

I can attest to this insight. Before I entered law school I had a job as a Director of Sales and Marketing of a medium-sized hotel-resort. While not prestigious or financially lucrative, it was an enjoyable job. When I came into the organization, its marketing and operation was done manually, i.e. without the aid of computers. (As I can recall, there was one computer shared by the accountant and account execs). They did not have a website. The only marketing or publicity initiative used was to be featured on TV in a noontime show which admittedly had a tremendous effect in increasing sales but with such modes of advertising, it was brief and had no lasting effect. To make matters worse, the property's remote location - not exactly where you'd expect a hotel-resort to be found - did not bode well for its success or at the least, its survival.

Thus, the first thing I did was propose the design of a website. However, the owners were not exactly abreast with technology and were very apprehensive. Having had some experience in website design/maintenance, I undertook the project myself. It took some six months to complete. When it was done, I told them: watch the reservations come pouring in. Well, it didn't happen. Months went by without any appreciable increase in sales. I was perplexed. It turns out that from a survey we conducted other modes of marketing/advertising tools were very much still most effective. People hadn't taken to the internet. (This was about 7 years ago). While the e-commerce bubble had already burst almost a decade ago from that time, we haven't even began to blow our local bubble.

Well, it wasn't too long before websites, e-commerce, blogs, google, and Facebook became a fixture in our daily lives. (This is not to say that we've reached a particularly high level of IT maturity, only that we have made some headway). The investment and speculation I made in that job paid off eventually. Today, much of that enterprise's business comes from online sources capitalizing on IT marketing strategy that includes a search engine optimized website, affiliated sites, blogs, google ads, facebook ads, e-newsletter, etc.

Ferdinand Manebo Entry #3

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