The use of marketing strategies by small, medium and micro enterprises in rural KwaZulu-Natal
Lekhanya, Lawrence Mpele
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Many researchers undertook research about small, medium and micro enterprise in South Africa. Although there are numerous articles and a lot of previous research surveys about SMMEs in South Africa, USA, UK, Taiwan, China, Australia and many other countries, no research has been done in South Africa with regard to the use of marketing strategies by SMMEs in rural areas with specific reference to KwaZulu-Natal rural areas. Therefore, the assumptions and the confusion that surrounds rural owners‘/managers‘ awareness, perceptions and the use of marketing strategies in their areas highlight the need and create interest for marketers to conduct more research on this particular area. There were number of other important reasons such as the failure rate of SMMEs, high rate of unemployment and the large numbers of people moving from South African rural to urban areas due to unemployment and poverty. The study was conducted within the rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal province, using both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The sample for the study consisted of 374 respondents of owners/managers of SMMEs. The respondents were selected using quota sampling. Respondents were required to complete a 10 page questionnaire with an interviewer present to assist. The overall aim of the study was to investigate and describe the use of marketing by SMMEs, in order to identify factors influencing the possible insufficient use of marketing, so as to improve rural SMME marketing, and thus reduce SMME failure. The results of the research revealed that there was a lack of marketing knowledge and expertise and limited use of marketing strategies by the owners/managers of the rural SMMEs. There were also some external and internal factors contributing to the use of marketing strategies by the rural SMMEs. This means that marketers in South Africa cannot simply apply the marketing strategies and marketing theories in this situation. It is also important for marketers to conduct more specific research studies to determine the suitable marketing strategies for the rural businesses, as the rural situation is different from the urban situation.