The focus of marketing communication efforts of smes within south Africa

Open access


Marketing communication is seen as a vital activity for the survival and success of SMEs. Traditionally tools such as pamphlets, local newspapers, posters and business cards were primarily used to promote SMEs. Today, however, the communication landscape has evolved due to technological advancements. As a result, there are many more communication tools that can be used by SMEs to conduct marketing communication activities of the business. The focus of this study is thus to determine the usage of traditional and technology-enabled marketing communication tools employed by SMEs in South Africa. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data from SMEs in South Africa. The results of this study indicate that most SMEs make use of e-media such as websites and e-mails as marketing communication tools. This article provides insight into the marketing communication tools that are being used by SMEs in South Africa which will contribute to the understanding of SMEs marketing practices. Studies suggest that there are many similarities regarding the challenges faced by SMEs globally and as such the findings of this study can be applied universally.

American Marketing Association. (2013), “Definition of marketing communication” Available at: (accessed June 27, 2016).

Ahmed, B. and Husain, S.T. (2014), “E-marketing - A paradigm shift in the 21st century”, in Patil, D.B, Bhakkad, D.D. (eds). (2014), Redefining Management practices and marketing in modern age, Atharva publications.

Amirkhanpour, M., Vrontis, D. and Thrassou. A. (2014), “Mobile marketing: a contemporary strategic perspective”, International Journal of Technology Marketing, Vol 9, No 3, pp. 252-269. (2016), “What are blogs?” Available at: (accessed 30 June, 2016). (2016), “Website” Available at: (accessed 30 June).

Cacciolatti. L.A. and Fearne, A. (2013), “Marketing intelligence in SMEs: implications for the industry and policy makers”, Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 31, No. 1, pp. 4-26.

Cant, M.C. and Wiid, J.A. (2016), “The use of traditional marketing tools by SMEs in an emerging economy: a South African perspective”, Problems and perspective Management, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 64-70.

Eid, R. and El-Gohary, H. (2013), “The impact of E-marketing use on small business enterprises’ marketing success”, The Service Industries Journal, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 31-50.

Fact Sheet on the European Union. (2016), “Small and Medium-sized enterprises”, Available at: (accessed December 14, 2016).

Feinberg, F.M., Kinner, T.C. and Taylor,R.J. (2013), Modern Marketing Research. 2nd ed. Ohio: Cengage Learning.

Franco, M., Santos, M.F., Ramalho, I. and Nunes, C. (2014), “An exploratory study of entrepreneurial marketing in SMEs”, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 265-283.

Hair, J.F., Anderson, R.E., Tatham, R.L. and Black, W.C. (1998), Multivariate data analysis, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Hassan, S., Nadzim, S.Z.A. and Shiratuddin, N. (2015), “Strategic Use of Social Media for Small Business Based on the AIDA Model”, Procedia - Social and Behavioural Sciences, Vol. 172, No. 27, pp. 262- 269.

Hendricks, B., Hendricks, G., Johnson, R., Manuel, A., Martiz, R., Theron, L. and Bruwer, J.P. (2015), “The Influence of “Sin Tax” on the Economic Sustainability of Small, Medium and Micro Liquor Store Enterprises in the Northern Suburbs of the Cape Metropolis, South Africa”, Journal of Economics, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 87-101.

Hammis, E. (2016), “How To Use A Blog As A Successful Marketing Tool”, Available at: (accessed June 30, 2016).

Kim, C.M. (2016), Social media campaigns: Strategies for public relations and marketing, New York, NY: Routledge.

Mavimbela, R. and Dube, E. (2016) “Can an internet adoption framework be developed for SMEs in South Africa?”, Journal of entrepreneurship and innovation in emerging economies, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 1-16.

Mpofu, T. and Chigwende, S. (2013) “Factors influencing marketing planning and implementation in Zimbabwean SMEs”, International Journal of Science: Basic and Applied Research, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 82-92. (2016), “Your website”, Available at: (accessed June 30, 2016).

National Small Business Act. (1996), “Chapter 1”, Available at: (accessed, June 27 2016).

Nobre, H. and Silva, D. (2014), “Social network marketing strategy and SME strategy benefits”, Journal of Transnational Management, Vol. 19, pp. 138-151.

Patil, D.B. and Bhakkad, D.D. (2014), Redefining Management Practices and Marketing in Modern Age, Dhule: Athrav.

Popescu, I.C., Dumitru, I., Veghes, C. and Kailani, C. (2013), “Marketing communication as a vector of the Romanian small businesses sustainable development”, Amfiteatru Economic, Vol. 15, No. 7, pp. 671-686.

Pride, W.M., Hughes, R.J. and Kapoor, J.R. (2015), Foundations of business, Boston, MA, Cengage Learning.

Resnick, S.M., Cheng, R., Simpson, M. and Lourenco, F. (2016), “Marketing in SMEs: a “4Ps” self-branding model”, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 155-17.

Salehi, M., Mirzaei, H., Aghaei. M. and Abyari, M. (2012), “Dissimilarity of e-marketing vs traditional marketing”, International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Science, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 510-515.

Seyyedamiri, N. and Faghih, N. (2015), “Studying entrepreneurial marketing for information technology SMEs based on the classic grounded theory”, QScience Connect, Vol. 1, No. 9, pp. 1-13.

Smit, Y. and Watkins, J.A. (2012), “A literature review of small and medium enterprises (SME) risk management practices in South Africa”, African Journal of Business Management, Vol. 6 No. 21, pp. 6324-633.

Taiminen, H.M.T. and Karjaluoto, H. (2015), “The usage of digital marketing channels in SMEs”, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 22, No. 4, pp. 633-651.

The Banking Association of South Africa. (2016), “SME Enterprise”, Available at: (accessed June 27, 2016).

Van Scheers, L. (2011), “SMEs’ marketing skills challenges in South Africa, African”, Journal of Business Management, Vol. 5, No. 13, pp. 5048-5056.

World Bank, (2015), “Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) finance”, Available at: (accessed June 27, 2016).

Journal Information

CiteScore 2017: 0.45

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.169
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.436


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 429 429 22
PDF Downloads 185 185 9