Cite this page as follows:
Michael O. J. (2018). Integrating vocational business skills and marketing techniques: The prime of entrepreneurship success. Retrieved from http://admissionsandutme.com/2018/03/10/integrating-vocational-business-skills-and-marketing-techniques-the-prime-of-entrepreneurship-success/
In vocational business education, one of our major theory/concern is that jobs are scarce or in some extreme conditions, non-existent. Therefore, a student must learn and understand the concept of doing responsible and successful business which will enable him to survive where job-seeking fails. This belief has necessitated the introduction of Entrepreneurial studies in Universities to be made a General course. This is to ensure that students understand and practice business after school where there are no viable jobs. Despite being taught entrepreneurship studies in the Universities, more and more graduates still do not like, engage or succeed in their various startup businesses. Even those who engaged in business could not succeed because of inadequate managerial and marketing techniques. This is because marketing is the livewire of a business. No matter how poorly skilled a manager is, when the marketers are good, business just goes on and on. However, because vocational business education students lack modern skills and practices in marketing, they were unable to thrive on the traditional marketing terrain. It is against this backdrop that the author decides to introduce modern and non-formal practices into vocational business education especially in area of entrepreneurial studies. This is to enable gradates succeed in their various businesses.
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In this work, the major idea is the dichotomy between the formal and informal marketing techniques and how they have affected graduates so far. The idea in this work is to see how best modern marketing practices can be utilized in teaching business education and entrepreneurship students for the sole purpose of fast tracking their success when they are out there alone after their studies. At this point, it is believed you already have the vocational, entrepreneurship and business education training, what is of concern here now is how such training can be marketed to rake in massive profit for the bearer. It is alarming the number of businesses that collapse after setup. These startups may have used all their life savings and even borrowed from banks to established such businesses. Some of these businesses in my opinion fold up, not because of poor management practices, but because their target audience were not reached. You see? One should not think of opening a business just because others are selling. Opening a business should be a conceptualization by the self. If it is not done in this way, you may involuntarily stymie the progress of the business. This is because a business done in imitation will be bereft of ideas and may begin to liquidate.
Over the years, I have come across innumerable materials in marketing. The contents therein are still limited to the traditional marketing skills taught years back. Also, the contents of the current curriculum are still limited to this traditional marketing approach of doing business. To set the record straight, I am of the view that the teaching of marketing is of two approaches: the traditional/conventional approach and the modern approach. You can also classify it as the formal and the informal sectors in marketing. What are these sectors and approaches all about? The traditional/conventional or formal approach refers to the university or school setting in marketing studies. This approach focus more on the norm -the 4 Ps in marketing, communication, consumer behaviour, distribution, competition, etc. The list could go on and on. Meanwhile, the modern or informal approach focus more on sales. It cared less for the formal system of theoretical approach where you are loaded with lectures that will be of no help to you. In the informal sector of marketing, the focus is on practical. No need or room for theories. Although little theories are used to explain needed areas, it is an all-round practical sector.
The problem now is that we in the formal marketing sector, i.e. the academicians, think that we know better, but unfortunately, it is those in the informal sector that are eating from marketing. I know what I am saying. I am currently part of both sides, so, I am in the position to say it. The informal marketers reap more because they are modern and have better marketing techniques in marketing. Take for instance, you will hardly see Facebook marketing in any university curriculum and this Facebook marketing approach and some other related marketing channels are the hot cakes in the modern market right now. While we in the academic field think we know too well, those in the informal field are busing making millions from the same field. Which one do we belong to now? Those that knows and have degrees or those that are highly skills and are making money from the field? Their approach maybe non-formal and unrecognized but they are doing well more than any university graduates. What was the original purpose of learning a business skill? Was it not to be self-reliant? From my point of view, it is time to integrate informal marketing knowledge into the current curriculum so that the University marketing content can have a spice of modern outlook.
The Notion of Modern/Informal Marketing Practice
Today, if your business does not have internet presence, just be aware that you are doing yourself a great harm and that your prospective clients cannot find you. Some months ago, I wanted to buy a blue native attire. I searched in the capital city of Bayelsa state, Nigeria – Yenagoa, to locate a boutique that have a stock of my precise specification. Unfortunately, after spending about a thousand naira in transportation for checking all the boutiques along the road, stopping at each boutique I saw, I could not find my specification. I then posted one related sample I saw on Facebook and added my color specification. That whoever have such product should inbox me for immediate purchase. Till date, I did not see any seller. What is my point here you may ask? The point is that there are boutiques that have this attire but are not on Facebook. If they were on Facebook, I would not even spend time and transportation moving from place to pace, I would just make an order online, then pay for purchase and delivery. So you see? If your business is not having an internet presence, one major thing will happen – your prospective client cannot meet you.
Take for another instance, I am currently saving some shoe samples from Undandy page on Facebook (Undandy is the name of a Portuguese shoe company with a Facebook page where I am a member). Even though I haven’t made any purchase till date, I remain their prospective because I already saw what I wanted. This is the main purpose of internet marketing/business internet presence. Your business presence should be felt even without purchasing. By being in the internet, people who will later be your customers (prospects) now get to know of you and formulate idea about your products even before they made the first purchase. By doing this, you not only make purchase easy for them, you also make more money for your business.
Modern internet business practice has to do with how to reach customers that would otherwise be impossible to reach. A medium through which there can be continuous persuasion until a purchase is established. Unlike the traditional and formal television, radio, newspapers, bills, etc. adverts, where you can only do adverts once and it is very costly, modern internet marketing gives your business the ample opportunity to stay with your clients, feed them with unending information about your business, persuade them, guide them about best products even if they are going elsewhere to buy. I am not just saying what I have not done. I am the Lead Researcher at MJE Resources, an academic research institute, and the Head of Admins., NDU Admissions and UTME, which deals on Post UTME, admissions, transition from secondary school to the university. In this business, I also double as a career counsellor, where I give guidance on choice of course, change of course, what to do if your university changed your course of study, are you going to reject the new course or accept it? Now, I have competitors in the office who are in the same line of business but are not good in internet business practice. While I have restricted myself from getting clients who on their own comes to the office for services, I get my clients from internet contacts. Prospectives whom I have been giving information about admission processes in the Niger Delta University and later became customers and of course, comes to the office to do business with me live. So, of me that get my clients from online, and my colleagues that get inorganic customers, who may have even lost their way and find theirselves in the office, who get clients more? Your bet is as good as mine. There is no way persons who comes to the office to do work on their own will be more than those whom you get from online where we have millions of people viewing your page.
The fact is that you are limited in scope to your locality only if you depend on customers who comes to you alone. Further, even if you do television adverts, how many people will see it? Did you say what of newspapers? Do anyone still read newspapers aside from motorcyclists? Are these your clients? Oh radio! But their audience is still very much limited. In fact, many people hate sounds. They see it as noise. But who is not on Facebook today? Even neophytes will soon start creating accounts on Facebook.
The Monster Internet Business: Facebook as a case study
If you have a business or an idea but is not sold out on the internet, you are like a beautiful lady who live in an island all by herself where prospective suitors cannot reach her. This is self-killing. So many persons do not know the value of what you have. In line with this reasoning, there is an absolute need to make noise of what you do or have. This noise is the adverts you do. In Facebook, the team wants you to do business with your account. This is why Facebook gives you $10 to do adverts once you create a business page. This $10 is believed to enable you do adverts that will make Facebook present your page to more audience who will make purchase from you, and when business is flowing well, you pay to continue the adverts.The fact is that Facebook have the audience to make your business work.As of the fourth quarter of 2017, Facebook had 2.2 billion monthly active users (Statistica, 2018). So, imagine presenting your business to an audience like this. Although, you will select an audience, like country, state, interest, etc., the fact remains that with internet marketing like Facebook and through websites, your business will surely be successful. Some ignoramus may even call you a fraudster, thinking you are using some sort of magic to attract customers.
What Kind of Vocational Business can be Done Online?
Entrepreneurs can do virtually any type of business online.Is it a school business that you do? Accounting firm? Are you a carpenter? Bricklayer? Mechanic? Hair stylist? What do you do? The fact is that anything at all can be sold in the internet. All you need to understand is that let your product fill a void. That is, satisfy a need. Then, you will start havingprospectives.
What about if it is an idea? Can it sell? Yes it can. In that case, you put the idea in a written e-book (electronic book, i.e. pdf file) form and sell it to your clients. For example, some of you out there have idea about native medicine that cures bedwetting within days or weeks. Meanwhile, a parent elsewhere is dying to pay any fee to get their kids out of bedwetting. Now, you have ignorantly sat on top your wealth, and you complain that there is no job, meanwhile, we use our Facebook page which will bring money to criticize bad governments, insult others and lambast politicians, while our prospective buyers know nothing about what we do.
How can the Internet be Used for Business?
To use the internet for business, you must have an existing business first, or at least, have an idea or services to sell. This material focused more on Facebook as the mother of all advertising channels. This is because it is more simple, cheap and more user-friendly. Hence, newcomers can easily meet up from using Facebook before transiting into other advertising channels.
If you already have a business, services or an idea, then, create a Facebook page in the name of the business. Let the name alone tell people what the page is all about. Your initial idea should not be to sell, but to give people information about your products and the benefits that accrue. You will start talking about sales when adverts issues sets in. Your main focus should be to benefit your clients using what you know. People should know how your product will benefit them. A product that will make good sales is one that sells even without an advertisement. For example, having a knowledge on bedwetting cure and sharing information that you are good in curing bedwetting can ordinarily make some parents contact your page for purchase. However, an advert may be needed for further persuasion and more sales. Once a client wants your product, immediately you receive payment, you send your products to their email. Where it is an actual product, you arrange for delivery. Of course, delivery should not be the problem. You select the best and cheapest means to deliver. Although there are other payment and delivery methods, I will discuss all such in my next volume. Also, the use of a website will be involved in the next volume. The reason for this restriction is that by the time we start talking about niches, landing pages, sales page or sales copy and so on, some persons will be thrown out of their fit. So, we are ending it here and in the next volume, we shall be looking at more complex ways of collecting your money online.
Monetizing your Facebook account
Most of us complain that business is bad, but we hardly tell the social world what we do. We may be online criticizing others, wasting megabytes on things that matters less, but just to tell people what you do, it is the most difficult thing to do. If perhaps, you are ashamed of your job, don’t you have to quit it? Of course you should. Something you are not proud of cannot fetch you money.So quit it and look for something you can tell people that you are engaged in.Your personal Facebook page should be your business identity also.Share what you posted on your business page with your personal account so that your friend list can see your posts. There are those who needs your services, but because they are not aware that you are engaged in such a business, they have not made a purchase from you. They therefore, take your wealth to others. By monetizing your Facebook page, all your friendships become aware that you do a particular type of business or sell a particular product that will make them to patronize you.
The Need to Integrate Modern Internet Marketing Techniques into Vocational Business Education/Entrepreneurship studies
The market is highly competitive. Startups are closing again at an alarming rate. Therefore, to succeed, our graduates must have all necessary skills needed for survival in the business world. Should our graduates be left to go with the conventional knowledge of marketing, how many persons will buy from them if they give discounts? How many still buys if you reduce price? How many persons will come from the radio, television and newspaper advertisements? There is need for a paradigm shift, else, our future entrepreneurs may find it hard standing on their feet in the business world after graduation. In my previous release, I made it clear that our educators must see beyond this current time and reflect what they see in the future in the curriculum. When this is done, our products (graduates) are able to transit from the system with the desired skills to survive. In vocational business education, the main idea is that there is no more job anywhere. Where they exist, they are too infinitesimal to satisfy the teeming job seekers. Hence, graduates must do business to support the economy. Now that they are doing business, they must also need the necessary skills to keep them in business. If they do not have these skills, liquidation will be inevitable.
A reader should not think that having all the important and necessary skills brings in the desired result in internet marketing. The fact is that your time and energy is needed to make it work. In fact, no matter how good your product is, people will start seeing you as a fraudster once payment is involved unless it is absolutely free. So, in internet marketing, we usually use the free product technique to make the client settle with us, then, before we bring in monetary involvement. By then, they have tested a free product and seen the effectiveness. Their trust is already built on what you do online. To them, trust should not be a depriving factor from not buying. This is because you trusted them first by giving them free product and of course, they have used it and can now attest that it is good. Now, it is their turn to trust you. At this juncture, anything you put forward, they will surely buy.
However, not all business can give out free products. People who engage in services or idea selling business can easily do free stuff. But if you are selling actual products, even though it is hard especially for startups to engage in the bonus sales, there can be some sort of free stuff attached to a product. People just like free gifts and may be moved to buy once they hear about free gift. So, to make it work, invest more time, make the name known, let people benefit from your page, then, they will start looking towards your direction. In my life all through, I have a policy that guides me – contribute to society, and when society is fine, it will need your services. This is where you make much money from society. Remember, give value!
Since it is very difficult to adjust the curriculum, owing to the process involved, it is recommended that where readjustment of the curriculum is difficult, lecturers should make it possible to teach beyond the boundaries by teaching how social media can be used in marketing. This is what is mainly called the societal curriculum or the social curricula (Wilson, 2006). Lecturers over the years may have learnt many new information in their professional fields and use these in teaching the students. Since the failure of the curriculum is determined at the implementation stage, teachers should endeavor to play their parts in ensuring that our graduates excel.
Statistica, (2018). Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 4th quarter 2017 (in millions). Retrieved March 10th, 2018 from https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/
Wilson, L. O. (2006). Types of curriculum. Retrieved March 10th, 2018 from https://thesecondprinciple.com/instructional-design/types-of-curriculum/