Qatar’s small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector must leverage the use of technology not only to expand customer base but to drive growth in their businesses, according to an industry expert.
“Digital marketing strategy is crucial to most businesses in Qatar; Internet marketing can be a big driver of growth online for SMEs,” said New Waves Qatar founder & CEO Ahmed M Hassan, who delivered a workshop titled ‘Digital Marketing Plans’ for the Ministry of Transport and Communications’ (MoTC) ‘Digital Transformation of SMEs’ programme.
As small business owners in Qatar, Hassan said entrepreneurs want to make sure that they are in the best position to attract new customers.
“All online marketing plans are created with the objective of growing one’s business, improving customer loyalty, and enhancing brand awareness. With the right strategy, entrepreneurs should have the ability to expand their audience and generate more leads which can then convert those leads into sales,” Hassan told Gulf Times.
The Qatar ICT Landscape Report 2015 disclosed that only 39% of businesses in Qatar are web-enabled and only 12% are transacting businesses through e-commerce, while only 3% are using cloud technology.
In 2018, HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti launched ‘Digital Transformation of SMEs’ programme, which was designed to enable SMEs in Qatar to apply digital technology in developing their companies.
During the launching ceremony, al-Sulaiti announced that by the end of 2019, the MoTC is expecting more than 5,000 SMEs to benefit from the programme. He also encouraged Qatari SMEs and entrepreneurs to join the programme, which, he stressed was basically designed to bring SMEs at the forefront of developing ICTs in Qatar.
As the MoTC’s strategic partner for the ‘Digital Transformation of SMEs’ programme, Hassan said New Waves Qatar is assisting the ministry in encouraging the use of information technology (IT) among SMEs, and enhancing awareness on the benefits of using modern technology in the business sector.
Hassan stressed that the MoTC, through the programme, helped “enable digital partnerships with technology and funding enablers and government.”
He noted that the programme focuses mainly on three specific areas. The first is web presence to enable SMEs promote their products and services in the domestic market through online and social media tools.
The second, according to Hassan, is e-commerce to enable SMEs to sell products and services anytime locally and across the globe, while the third is cloud services to enable them to operate their business more efficiently with cloud computing solutions.