Digital marketing wave has struck the world and it has become a need for businesses to revolutionize their systems to cope up with the changing trends. The reason why many small scale businesses remain in their niche is because many of them tend to avoid the changing trends. Keeping this perspective in mind I met Mr.Ghulam Nabi, the owner of one of the Artisan shops in Sarai Alamgir to inquire him about his views on the role of digital marketing, the popularity of his products and the history and art of his business.
To begin with let me tell you that Sarai Alamgir is located on the eastern bank of river Jehlum in Gujrat district. Sarai as the name suggests ‘rest area’ was founded by Mughal Emperor Alamgir because of its strategic location on the Grand Trunk Road. Over time, Sarai Alamgir has developed into a central town for adjoining village populations. It has always been my fascinating point on GT road since my childhood because of the alluring Artisan wooden products including Decoration pieces, Vases, Toys and other exciting list of domestic stuff.
My interviewee, Mr.Ghulam Nabi does not have any qualification but he is into his family business which he claims to be established by his forefathers almost 4 generations back roughly 72 years ago. He seems to be satisfied with all his work and deals customers with great enthusiasm. He keeps himself updated with the technological trends in a personal capacity like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter but in business capacity its role is only limited to text messages to the wholesalers for the timely delivery of some handicrafts. The reason why he is reluctant to opt digital marketing is the lack of knowledge and awareness. This is why he seems to be really conservative about his branding and does not feel the need to have a proper shop name. To my surprise, he claims to earn more than Rs.100k monthly with his products through which he easily manages a reasonable saving after deducting all the expenses. Although his business is taken for granted but he is really passionate about it and increasing the product line gradually. Initially ‘Morrhay’(Seaters), ‘Chik’ and ‘Vases’ of his shop were famous but with the tendency to do more now he manages to offer more products like wooden toys, decoration pieces and other domestic products. The main customers are the tourists but locals also buy their domestic products which means they are not dependent upon one niche. He is good in what he has but seriously considering to establish a proper setup in the future. For this he is supporting his brother in education who is doing BA from Allama Iqbal Open University to take an initiative.
The interview made me realize that there is a big difference between selling and marketing. The people like Mr.Ghulam Nabi wants to remain in their comfort zone and wants to sell. The reason could be the lack of education and inherited mindset that discourages him to explore his potential and the market. The tourism sector of Pakistan is growing and there is a big tendency for such small scale businesses to grow. Proper education and training, if given in this regard, can help market their unique products on big scale and flourish their businesses.
Written by Abdullah