1.1. BACKGROUND OF STUDY
In a very competitive business and unstable economic situation, many small businesses wind up due to many problems they face in their day-to-day business operations. This has raised a lot of controls, monitoring and forecasting measures as well as the need for businesses to re-orient their business model and operational strategies into a more adaptive model instead of a reactive model. As explained by Foster (2002) that, as the world must have been created by a planner, there was strategy for launching the planet earth of which people were required to respond to their environment as well as react to changing challenges they face. According to him, survival was the dominant motivation for most of the people most of the time, and this is applicable to the people in small business operation today. Marketing of convenience product is what small business operators intend to achieve at some point in time; these are often stated in competitive terms. To sustain a business goal is therefore the condition where a business consistently achieves what it set out to achieve so as to succeed and remain in business especially the marketing strategies involved. Typical marketing of convenience products for small businesses may include survival, growth, customer satisfaction, creating outstanding value for customers and other stake holders, developing new product lines and service offerings, profitability, reduced operating cost and developing a great company amongst others. In other words, these are typical aspirations for the present and the future whose outcome could well be difficult to achieve due to recurring economic challenges. Many small business operators agree that these challenges are by all means factors that impede businesses from achieving and sustaining their goals. We consider alternative choices of business operation for the coordination of business activities towards achieving the desired business goals through marketing strategies. The marketing strategies in small businesses are from service provider’s perspective as well as customer’s perspective. Marketing strategies are not one time process but a varied and unique action which is prominently necessary to revise year by year to attain predetermined objectives. Whether the turnover from marketing convenience product is huge or marginal, marketing strategies are applicable and advisable in case of every small, medium and large enterprise. Marketing strategies involved in small businesses are quite comparable and measurable in nature so affected by market fluctuations and trends of business cycle. Key change involving the transition to a new kind of economy is not only the concern of the scientific world. So many marketing strategies of convenience products are also formulated concomitantly with product life cycle to face fierce competition. Marketing mix in terms of product can be enhanced by increase convenience product line depth and width considerably according to market demand (Kotler and Keller, 2008). Small businesses operators are using a various marketing tactics; some of them are very creative. Price is the most effective constituent of marketing mix strategies because it is lonely responsible for a company’s profit, survival and growth pattern. Price is mainly affected by ten factors (Jobber. D, 1995) Adequate quantification of price is a difficult task in current holistic marketing phase because it is highly dependent on price elasticity of demand and demand & sales is heavily dependent on price (Kotler and Keller, 2008). Promotion is the very first meeting of marketer message to potential customers. Through promotional message, marketer attempts to inform, persuade and remind customers about the product in direct as well as indirect way. Promotion mix consists of six major methods of communication namely advertising, sales promotion, events and experience, public relation and publicity, direct marketing and personal selling. Place and distribution sometimes termed as synonym because via distribution channel the product reaches to its ultimate destination to customer. The distribution channel decision is also critical to make whether distribution should be via retailer, wholesaler or direct approach to customer. Marketing as a strategy is a relevant phenomenon in which 4P’s have been considered relevant factors to influence the performance of small enterprises (Romano et al., 1995). But in today’s contemporary turbulent environment many new and emerging concepts have been added among strategy group likewise relationship marketing, network marketing, innovative marketing, standardization vs. adaptation and clustering. With contingency factors we mean those background forces - firm, managerial, product, market and customer issues - that may influence firms´ decision to standardize or adapt their international marketing strategy (Jorma Larimo et al., 2008). Marketing through three dimensions namely marketing as a culture, marketing as a strategy, and marketing as tactics can be taken into account in respect of Small businesses. Only effective marketing could help Small busineses to gain competitive advantage via superior performance competitive marketing strategy and relationship marketing strategy (Yen and Chew, 2011). Marketing strategies, marketing mix and market Intelligence system in collaboration can benefit the small firms to a large extent while emphasizing on networking as an inherent tool of marketing (Gilmore et al., 2001). It is wholly compatible with Small business decision-making characteristics in relation to marketing activities.
Small businesses play a crucial role in economic development and survival, and are strong drivers of new innovation which is an impetus to job creation and economic rejuvenation. Several authors have often stressed the relevance of small businesses towards economic prosperity, economic growth and advancement. Beaver (2002) acknowledged that small firms and entrepreneurial ventures are important and have gained growing recognition due to their contribution to economic vitality, employment generation, innovation and business development. In fact, during the recent global economic downturn, we observed that small businesses form the nucleus of several nations‘economic survival and recovery policies. One of the major marketing problems facing small business enterprises in Nigeria is lack of understanding and the application of marketing concept. In a study conducted by Ogwo (1991), this was conspicuously exposed. Most Nigerian small business owners equate ‘marketing’ to ‘selling’ and this is reflected in their various dysfunctional business behaviour against customer satisfaction, good business and marking orientation. They lack the knowledge and skills of basic marketing ingredients – marketing research, market segmentation and marketing planning and control. The outcome of this is poor quality products, unawareness of competition, poor promotion, poor distribution, and poor pricing methods. They are not marketing oriented and market-focused as a marketer is defined as someone who understands and applies marketing in order to create, build, and maintain beneficial relationships with target markets Baker (1994) and Doyle (1985) identified lack of marketing orientation as the major factor for business failure.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine impact of small business operation in marketing convenience product in North West Nigeria. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant impact of small business operation in marketing convenience product
H1: There is a significant impact of small business operation in marketing convenience product
H0: There is no significant relationship between small business operation and marketing convenience product.
H1: There is a significant relationship between small business operation and marketing convenience product
This study will be of immense benefits to several millions of existing small business owners, and those who are nursing the ambition of operating small businesses of their own in Nigeria. Also business researchers, academics, and the government will find it very useful in their research, introduction and implementation of government policies. The study would also be of immense benefit to students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further studies on the subject matter.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to impact of small business operation in marketing convenience product in North West Nigeria
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Market: A market is an arrangement between a seller and a buyer in which:
• The seller agrees to supply the goods or the service.
• The buyer agrees to pay the price. Defined this way, the market is not necessarily a geographical location. Products and services are purchased over the phone, through mail and electronic mail, as well as online through the internet.
Marketing: is a term that is used in various contexts and a baseline understanding is essential. The term marketing is used to describe activities that create value through voluntary exchange between parties.
Product: People satisfy their needs and wants with products. A product is any offering that can satisfy a need or want, such as one of the 10 basic offerings of goods, services, experiences, events, persons, places, properties, organizations, information, and ideas.
OTHER SIMILAR SME/ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROJECTS AND MATERIALS