Cry our beloved SMEs…It’s time we play our part!

By: Lukhanyo Bushwana, Strategist at The MediaShop

In recent months there has been a lot of talk about our deteriorating economy and calls for President Ramaphosa to come up with strategies and policies to rectify the situation we are in.

Government has identified SMEs as one of the crucial sectors that can drive our economy and create jobs for our people. However, with less than 1% of our R42 billion in adspend going to black owned agencies, SMEs in SA continue to struggle. The marketing and advertising industry needs to be doing more.

The vast majority of SMEs in SA don’t survive beyond three years. These are some of the challenges they face every day:

To help SMEs deal with these challenges government, together with a number of big corporates including Vodacom, Sasol, Nedbank, Absa and Distell to name a few have formed a R1 billion SMEs Fund. The objective is to support SMEs financially and to equip them with the necessary skills to help them grow, develop mentorship programmes and provide them with access to markets and technology.

The Competition Amendment Bill aims to boost small and medium companies and open the economy to new investments and innovation, which has recently been signed into law by the President.

Now let’s bring it home!

The Nielsen 2018 Adex survey indicates that out of the total advertising spend in South Africa, which is sitting at ±R42bn, less than 1% is spent with black-owned agencies (SMEs).

This is a clear indication that there is a lack of transformation in the marketing and advertising industry and why the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) had to formally introduce the Marketing Advertising and Communication Charter (MAC Charter) in a bid to get the industry to transform. Some of the big brands in SA are leading this transformation by partnering with both big and small agencies to ensure that their budgets and marketing efforts are shared equally.

As channel strategists, planners and buyers, we have a big role to play because we deal directly with a large number of SME’s that are our media partners and owners. So how can an individual or a business play their part in supporting SMEs in our industry?

As brands and media agencies, let’s include them in our briefs and lucrative proposals, offer guidance where necessary as some of them are new to our industry, but consider and include them in client campaign budgets, lend an ear and listen to what they have to offer.

Remember, we as individuals and as corporates have as much of a role to play in the future of our country as the government does!