How Etuokwu-Oludumila uses marketing research to strengthen SMEs

Julian Etuokwu-Oludumila is an unconventional entrepreneur and marketing coach. She is an advocate of ‘Do Marketing Right.’ Her passion to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Africa to maximise their potential is infectious.

She believes that research is critical for MSMEs as decisions are better taken when they are data-driven.

“Most of what I do today are very unconventional and are drawn from 100 percent practical applications of what I gleaned from books and on the internet,” she says.

“I took this thing called ‘marketing’ as a personal project. I read and dug up loads of information and the outcome of that was the discovery of the power of market research for business success. Immediately, I began testing the efficacy of marketing research on my own business ideas,” she further says.

The entrepreneur notes that she has learnt to test the viability of any idea, which many MSMEs are yet to come to terms with.

She explains that research involves gathering information from potential customers or clients using survey, telephone interview or just observation to better understand what they need, stressing that it should be done before launching out full force. She says this has been her focus for years now.

“My first market research showed that respondents wanted to learn how to market their products and services both online and offline. They had issues with attracting customers, email marketing, branding etc and they wanted to learn via WhatsApp,” she recalls.

“This birthed the Grow Your Business (GYB) WhatsApp marketing, social media and branding sessions I hold regularly with my protégées. What I do is, I share tips and resources around these key issues.”

The marketing research expert says her virtual mentoring group has grown from 37 to 256 members in a few months and has a combined online learning community of over 15,000 entrepreneurs.

Etuokwu-Oludumila says that she has continued to use polls and surveys in the group to learn more of the challenges facing business owners and exactly what they want to learn from her.

Describing how market research works and how beneficial it has been, she says: “Marketing research helped me a great deal in the heat of the pandemic. While videos and Covid-19 chats and messages were flying from phone to phone, I made a commitment to become a #PositiveVoice to entrepreneurs in my community.

“I started hosting what I called 10 Free Marketing Classes based on the frequently asked questions in my community. I broke down key business, marketing and social media fundamentals, and the essentials a business owner will need. It is a simple roadmap, a step-by-step guide or a checklist,” she says.

Explaining her landmark achievements, Etuokwu-Oludumila says between March and November this year, she has taught over 12,500 MSMEs the foundational elements they need to make product marketing effortless. This, she says, was done across her social media platforms and other online communities where she was a resource person.

However, she says the video version gave her the opportunity to house the links to 10 classes in one post.

“It removed the worry of losing WhatsApp chats. It gives room for one to watch the replay. The video version brought another level of ease. The ability to share my screen, thanks to StreamYard, one of the tools I discovered during the pandemic, was important.”

To demonstrate her desire to give back and help small business owners reduce their marketing frustrations, the marketing expert created marketing courses on key topics such as How To Find Your Customers, Profitable Business Model Canvas, Effective Marketing Strategies and Plans, among others.

Concluding, Etuokwu-Oludumila has this to say: “Market research has given me many benefits—from rich and useful data for content marketing and clarity to direction of where to go and where not to go. It gives me answers to the preferred channels and mode of communication, and enhances my ability to create exactly what the community needs and are willing to pay for.”

“I will like to say to coaches, consultants, entrepreneurs, network marketers, if you truly want to solve problems, if you desire to standout in business, if you want to create value-driven products and services that will make competition irrelevant, start with market research.”

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