Original article was published on Times of Malta
If your international business has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, you might qualify for financial assistance from TradeMalta’s Export Response Scheme.
Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, we had the luxury of time to think about our business growth strategy – we now have to be increasingly more proactive. Companies who mapped a digital strategy for one to three years’ time soon realised they needed to scale up initiatives in a matter of weeks and months. This pushed organisations and individuals further up the digital adoption curve than planned.
In Malta, businesses needed to change and go through a digital transformation very quickly. Over the past few months, we saw businesses embracing further digital banking services and providing more online shopping experiences and delivery. On top of this, we have witnessed the launch of a number of food delivery apps (last I counted there were seven).
It is fantastic to see Malta going through this digital transformation. Though now is the time to also think about how to grow outside of Malta too. Malta shouldn’t be a boundary – no distance should be too far in this digital age. Yes, competition will grow, but your customer base will grow much more.
On June 22, TradeMalta, a public-private partnership between the government of Malta and the Malta Chamber, launched the COVID-19 Export Response Scheme, dedicated to helping Malta-based businesses go international. The scheme helps beneficiaries: invest in digital marketing channels to promote their products and services internationally; train staff in digital marketing tools through eLearning courses; and recover funds lost in eligible expenses related to trade exhibitions cancelled due to the pandemic.
There is no one-size-fits-all digital approach
It can finance up to 50 per cent of eligible digital marketing expenses; 50 per cent of eligible digital marketing training costs (both with a capping of €10,000); and 80 per cent of unrecoverable funds lost due to event cancellation with a capping of €25,000. To see if your business can benefit, it is recommended to refer to the scheme guidelines to see if your business sector is eligible for funding.
It is great to see this fund exists. It is not only highlighting the importance and value of digital marketing, but it also demonstrates just how imperative it is for businesses aiming to grow internationally. Receiving funding for some of your media costs is a great help, but it is also important to consider how you will be using these funds.
If you are planning on expanding your business outside of Malta, a digital marketing audit followed by a marketing strategy would help you get more value from this scheme. A digital audit is needed to gain insights on how your marketing channels are performing, as well as those of your competitors. These findings would then be used to build a digital strategy to help you penetrate the new market. It would help to identify what is working for you and what the gaps are, choose the right channels, and build your target audience personas.
This scheme will be of tremendous help to fund your media costs. There is no one-size-fits-all digital approach, which is why you would need a strategy tailored to your company to ensure you reach the right audience at the right time.
All marketing efforts should have a strategy – this is the essential first step before implementation. It will dictate what your marketing tactics should be, help to set your company goals and be used to calculate your return on investment.
For more information on TradeMalta’s scheme, visit https://www.trademalta.org/export-response-scheme/.
Ninia Azzopardi recently moved to Malta after working for global clients such as Warner Bros, McDonalds and PepsiCo. She is now a digital strategy consultant who helps businesses grow their client base. For a free one-hour consultation, send an e-mail at email@example.com.
Digital Strategy Consultant | Malta | Online Marketing Services