Marketing After COVID-19

Marketing After COVID-19

The Future of SMEs in Mauritius
 

The coronavirus has caused nationwide suffering and life loss. Not only the humankind suffered, but the whole economy too. Both demand and supply across affected countries came to a halt, along with a significant change in consumer behavior. Many individuals feared and avoided shopping due to the risk of getting infected, irrespective of the safety measures taken by businesses who continued to operate during the crisis. Fortunately, in Mauritius we can say that we have survived this deadly disease and slowly everything is coming back to normal.

While many large chains survived this pandemic, many SMEs had to unfortunately shut down for good. Now, the priority for small and medium-sized businesses still on the market is to remain alive, reconstruct and emerge as winners of this situation.



We have interviewed Mr Michael Pompeia, Head of Strategy and Communication at SME Mauritius and collected his thoughts about how the pandemic had an impact on the small and medium entrepreneurs of our island. 


M. Pompeia states that “the SME sector is trying to get up courageously after the pandemic hit our island. The COVID-19 was an unexpected wave that caused a lot of insecurity. The main objective of the SMEs now is to start afresh and review their business model. 

At SME Mauritius, with the measures established by the authorities, sufficient aid had been provided to the small enterprises through the assistance scheme. M. Pompeia firmly believes in the courage, resilience and ability of our local entrepreneurs to reestablish their business and contribute to the development of the national economy. 

With the support means established by the authorities and put in place by SME Mauritius, this will help determined entrepreneurs with creative minds to re-launch their competitiveness in the market”.

M. Pompeia also points out a growing demand on the behalf of young individuals willing to set up their business. He believes this is a very positive point for the economy and the country in general as these young entrepreneurs bring modern and innovative ideas to the market.

According to M. Pompeia, those planning to start a business in the future need to take these three important points into consideration:

  1. They need to analyse if there is an actual opportunity of starting a business
  2. The market they are planning to invest in
  3. Profitability


These are the foundations of an entrepreneur’s success and not forgetting his unique skills that will allow the latter to provide his customers a good quality product.

It is also important to note that many of our SMEs still continued to operate during this pandemic. We have observed a rise in digital media consumption as the whole population was constrained at home. As such, many SMEs operated through social media such as Facebook and Instagram to advertise and sell their products or services. To facilitate the process, many also offered payment facilities such as payment via the Juice app of MCB as well as free delivery services. Additionally, many SMEs also used the sanitary lockdown as an opportunity to renovate their businesses.
 
Here are some ways online marketing can be beneficial to SMEs; ("Why Digital Marketing is Important for Small Business", 2020)

  • The ability to engage with customers and know exactly what are their demands.
  • The ability to cut costs and reach a wider range of customers than conventional marketing strategies.
  • The ability to track competitors and responses to one’s marketing efforts.
  • The potential to reach a global market.
  • The ability to create brand loyalty as the owner engages personally with the customer.
     

The impact of COVID-19 was surely felt on our island whereby many small businesses had to shut down for good. However, those who still continued to operate indicates that they had the proper business knowledge of how to survive during this pandemic. Digital marketing in times like these proved to be the best friend of many small and medium-sized entrepreneurs and many of them also believe that it is now more profitable to operate online. The SME sector in Mauritius is very promising as M. Pompeia pointed out but in order to survive, the entrepreneur should carefully plan his marketing strategy.

 

Author: Yashvinee Bowan,
Degree holder in BA Mass Communication at Curtin University