Week in Review: SMEs are digital laggards, but with good reason

  • Struggling with digital marketing due to lack of help
  • What’s Next welcomes Fusionex as Supporting Sponsor 
Week in Review: SMEs are digital laggards, but with good reasonAS we see increasing signs of life around us going digital, it can be easy to get swept up in the belief that everyone will soon learn to ride the wave, if they are not on it already.

Yet clearly, one of the primary movers of any economy, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which typically make up 99% of all registered businesses in an economy and generate over 50% of employment, are digital laggards.
Not from the point of having a website. Most of them already do. I am talking about having a mobile-responsive site and being able to smartly run digital marketing campaigns.
We ran a number of stories about businesses, not just SMEs but even large enterprises, lagging in digital adoption over the past week, but the SME challenge is real and I even spoke about it on DNA’s fortnightly slot on Bloomberg TV Malaysia. You can watch that segment here.
The real pain point for SMEs in adopting digital is not that they don’t realise how important it is. They just cannot find the right people to manage their digital presence, be it on social media, their website, or most importantly, in marketing themselves to the right target audience.
When even startups whose founders and teams are digital natives are struggling to find growth hackers/ digital marketers/ performance marketers, what hope for the SME based in Jurong Industrial Park, Singapore or Selangor Hi-Tech Park in Malaysia?
This lack of real experts in digital marketing is a real pain point in the entire ecosystem. with one leading VC (venture capitalist) admitting that he was frustrated with how his own investee companies struggle with managing their digital marketing efforts.
SMEs, especially manufacturing focused ones, do not have the intense marketing needs of your startup. One marketplace startup I know actually has a data science team to manage and optimise its digital marketing campaigns.
But the SME owner still wants to see an ROI (return on investment) from the money invested in this busy and confusing online world.
What are the chances that they have a poor first experience, putting them off digital marketing completely? Will they try again, looking for better quality support to reach their target market they are being told is just ‘one click away’? Do they know where to get this support, beyond asking their peer group?
Finally, let me welcome big data and analytics expert Fusionex International Plc to What’s Next: The Business Impact of Disruptive Technology as Supporting Sponsor. And if you haven’t booked your seats yet, please do so at our microsite.
Have a restful weekend and productive week ahead.
Editor’s Picks:
SEA’s most valuable startup, Garena Interactive, joins What’s Next 2016
In SEA, e-commerce is largely going to be mobile: Criteo
With digital boom, Indonesia in greater risk than ever
Malaysians getting with the mobility programme, SMEs way behind
Grab and AXA answer one pain point: Insurance!
Malaysia needs to accept failure: Teradata CTO
Gamers dive into Uncharted waters - again
Previous Instalments:
Week in Review: Singapore welcomes a new telco
Week in Review: With new CEO, will MaGIC morph?
Week in Review: SEA ecosystem shrugs off MOL’s delisting
Week in Review: The Chinese are coming
Week in Review: Of GMV and e-commerce startups
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