An empirical investigation of the marketing strategies applied by micro and small enterprises (MSEs in Masai market, Nairobi, Kenya.
Micro and Small Enterprises play an important economic role in Kenya. Despite the significant role played by Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) in Kenya’s national development, the sector has over the years experienced many binding constraints to the realization of its full potential. This fact is acknowledged by the Government in Sessional Paper no. 2 of 1996, Industrial Transformation to the year 2020. Among the key constraining factors, is the lack of markets for MSE products and services. The study sought to determine the importance of marketing strategy to Micro and Small Enterprises as well as establish the marketing strategies applied by entrepreneurs at the Masai Market, Nairobi, Kenya. These marketing strategies seem to change according to whether the business is owner-managed or employee-managed, membership in business associations and the type of products an entrepreneur traded in. The study employed convenience sampling to collect data from 120 Micro and Small Enterprise traders at the Masai Market using interviews and questionnaires. The data was analyzed descriptively and presented through tables and percentages. The findings indicate that MSEs apply eleven marketing strategies categorized under each of the four P’s of marketing, that is, product strategies-variety, new designs and quality control; pricing strategies- flexible pricing and discounts; promotion strategiespersonal selling, trade fairs, membership in associations and customer service; place strategy used is location at a convenient place for customers and finally probe strategy applied was seeking for market information. The study found out that MSEs consider the following factors in selecting marketing strategies; customer needs, available resources, seasonal factors, flexibility to market changes and competitor strategies. Although this research established that MSEs are applying marketing strategies, knowledge-based training is required to ensure application of more strategies such as quality control, use of competition to supply in bulk, use of brand names, and use of internet promotion. The research concluded that business success is a consequence of embracing a mix of marketing strategies. Indeed marketing strategy is important for MSEs to face up to the challenges posed by the business environment though there is still room for improvement by MSEs, the government and other stakeholders.
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