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How entrepreneurs can leverage digital marketing for growth on a shoestring budget

By Franz Lewin Embudo Published Feb 20, 2023 4:50 am

Mastering efficient and cost-effective digital marketing strategies is a must in today's highly-digitized world, and one that can be learned.

This was what The Philippine Star’s Nakakalocal Eduserye: KaTOOLong Online Workshop and Forum held on Jan. 25 was all about: to empower local SMEs with new skills and offer business and marketing techniques to help them navigate the industry.

Carlo Calimon, founder of StartUp Village, shared tips and tricks on how to use digital marketing on a limited budget, especially for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“[D]igital has allowed us to become more mobile,” Calimon said, adding that the e-commerce platform, during the past three years of the pandemic, has created a lifestyle for customers where most purchases are conducted online.

Calimon noted that “spoiling” the market through ease of transactions provided by technology is a “good thing”. It allows businesses to better serve their customers using customized products and services in a more efficient manner.

“It's a good thing because it challenges you to deliver better and faster to your customers. So nagle-level up ka in terms of your delivery time and the experience,” he said. “We need to change the way we do things and adapt to what's happening around us.”

“It serves as a reminder that no matter how big [and] successful you are today, if you do not evolve, you will perish. Maybe another way to think about it, it's now time to adapt and overcome- adapt to the changing world and overcome the new challenges and the new behaviors that our customers are experiencing,” he added.

The entrepreneurs’ mindset, Calimon said, should be “the world is your market.” One can achieve this by maximizing available digital space to promote products and services across locations and areas that were previously inaccessible.

Business forum

Maisie Littaua, the head of growth for Canva Philippines, a free online visual communication and collaboration platform, said business owners can use Canva in creating marketing materials, especially those on a shoestring budget.

“As a company, we aim to empower the world through designs,” Littaua said. “That means making creativity and design accessible to everybody. Even if you are still finding your way around the platform and you are still not sure if this is what your business needs, all of these resources are made available for free.”

Meanwhile, Ginger Arboleda, the COO of Taxumo, a digital platform that helps self-employed individuals, professionals and freelancers with their collections and tax compliance, said their web application made taxation very easy for everyone.

“Right now, in our app, all you need to do is enter your income and expenses and the system automatically computes your tax dues for you and you can also file and pay online,” Arboleda said.

She also shared how the online app can help with government transactions, as well as loan and visa applications. 

Ayra Nepacina, the Growth lead of Peddlr, a free point of sale (POS) and bookkeeping app for MSMEs in the country, shared how they built the digital infrastructure for micro- and small businesses in Southeast Asia, starting with the sari-sari stores in the Philippines.

According to Nepacina, Peddlr is designed to manage simple bookkeeping and inventory management for MSMEs. “We believe that every business, whether big or small, should have an easy and better way of managing their business using technology.”

Through the Peddlr app, it is now easy for entrepreneurs to see how much they earn in a day, in a week, or in a month.

BeamAndGo CEO Albert Christian Go, meanwhile, said it is now possible for members of Filipino families to participate in financial decisions despite the distance, more so Filipino overseas workers, by giving them control over how their remittances are spent using the BeamAndGo e-commerce marketplace.

“BeamAndGo is a social impact e-commerce marketplace and financial ecosystem. We also have an enterprise solution for large enterprises that need the services that we have,” Go said.

This seamless cross-border e-commerce platform allows OFWs to make purchases for their families in the Philippines instead of sending cash, Go added.

This ensures that the OFW’s hard-earned money goes to where it is intended, solving the problem of spending abuse.