MAZ spearheads SMEs training in conjunction with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development

Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (MAZ) in conjunction with Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development held a training for over 350 Small to Medium Enterprises at the University of Zimbabwe on the 4th of July. One of the major mandates of the Association is to ensure that marketing is learned and implemented to the highest level, for the benefit of organisations and the economy at large. MAZ has seen it fit to promote the profession amongst SMEs as they are increasingly contributing to the growth of the economy.

The training was therefore focused on the role of marketing in an organisation, fundamentals of the marketing mix and developing competitive strategies. It is said that SMEs constitute about 70% of local businesses and they constitute a major source of employment for those who are failing to find jobs in the “conventional industry” set ups. People have been forced to become innovative and seek self-employment opportunities. As a result the pool of attendants at the training was diverse from across different industries which include FMCGs, manufacturing, retail, textiles, fuels, digital communication, health and energy.

Guest of Honour for the event, as well as Director of the Small to Medium Enterprises in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development, David Nyakonda commended MAZ for their efforts in the development of SMEs. He expressed concern that although Zimbabwe has over 90% literacy rate, the skills rate stands at 34%, meaning that the country is lowly ranked in terms of skills. He therefore encouraged entrepreneurs to be innovative.

“Be conscious about standards and set new rules in the marketing arena. Position yourself as the hub of new ideas and new direction,” said Nyakonda.

Executive Secretary of MAZ, Gillian Rusike gave a presentation where he spoke about the importance of marketing.

“Marketing helps illuminate businesses, as well as grow the clientele for the business. Without marketing our businesses will be lifeless”, said Rusike.

He emphasised that the consumer is the most important aspect in marketing and that businesses can only grow if they meet the needs of the consumer.

“Let’s identify the needs and wants of the consumer and then offer value to them. Remember, people are buying a promise that the product is delivering,” said Rusike.

Another point he highlighted was the “people factor” where he spoke on the importance of hiring employees who will represent the business well. He touched on personal branding. He also said that entrepreneurs need to be the top marketers of their organisations and aim to be presentable so that they are taken seriously, as people generally do business with people they are attracted to. Digital Marketing is a topic that could not be excluded and Rusike encouraged entrepreneurs to embrace digital media as it has the power to make or break your business.

The Marketing Manager of MAZ, Enia Zimunya also presented on marketing strategies for SMEs.

“All businesses including SMEs should have well informed marketing strategies for the sake of planning. A good marketing strategy helps to guide your vision, mission and business goals,” said Zimunya.

She also spoke about the 4Ps of marketing which are Product, Pricing, Place and Promotion and the different strategies that entrepreneurs can implement in order to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

This event would not have success without the support of companies who sponsored the event who include, Schweppes Zimbabwe Limited, ZB Bank, DHL Zimbabwe and Standards Association of Zimbabwe. MAZ has also partnered with tertiary institutions such as University of Zimbabwe for the success of this initiative.

These training sessions will be done in all provinces of the country and dates will be broadcast.