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  • Sandeep Juneja

Why are most Malaysian businesses completely worthless?



The few local businesses that do use digital solutions often use the cheapest ones with poor interfaces, weak data protection and minimal analytics.


Unless a business can be scaled for growth it has no value. Most business owners and many inexperienced investors fail to realise this. A key prerequisite of scaling is customer data. It’s the new oil. A treasure trove of insights pivotal for crafting bespoke marketing strategies and nurturing customer relationships. Yet, a glaring issue confronts many Malaysian businesses today: their profound lack of customer data, largely attributed to deficient digitisation efforts and a weak or even an absence of the marketing function. This oversight not only diminishes a business's intrinsic value but also poses a considerable risk to potential investors who can easily be misled by traditional financial metrics.

 

Understanding the Customer: The Bedrock of Scalability

At the heart of any scalable business model lies an intimate understanding of its customers. Questions like who they are, their brand preferences, purchasing triggers, and overall behaviour are foundational. Without this insight, creating a customer persona—an essential tool for targeted marketing and product development—remains elusive. The absence of such personas renders the task of scaling a business akin to navigating a ship without a compass. Thus, without a customer persona the business simply cannot be scaled.

 

Digitisation is a key enabler of Marketing

The vast majority of Malaysian businesses have no data whatsoever on their customers, this is largely due to a lack of digitisation and essentially means the business is practically worthless. Their digital deficit is not just a minor gap; it represents a critical vulnerability. This lacuna in customer data stems primarily from a hesitance or inability to embrace digital transformation. While traditional metrics like revenue and audits have their place, they offer a surface-level understanding that often masks deeper operational inefficiencies or, worse, opportunities for financial misrepresentation.

 

Investing in a business devoid of rich customer insights is fraught with peril. It's akin to buying a plot of land without knowing its fertility or potential for cultivation. The landscape of investment is littered with cautionary tales of ventures that looked promising on paper but faltered due to a lack of customer-centric foundations.


Marketing is not a mere accessory to business; it is a vital organ, powered by data and insights. The adage "marketing should always be evidence-based" underscores the perils of operating on intuition or untested hypotheses alone. Each misstep in marketing, taken without the guidance of solid data, incrementally risks the very survival of the business. Consider the developer who knows the workings of their construction costs but remains oblivious to the market's demand dynamics or the retailer unaware of their most lucrative product lines or customer habits. These gaps in knowledge signify missed opportunities for optimisation and growth.

 

Data-Driven Marketing a prerequisite for Growth

The path forward for Malaysian businesses is unequivocal: embrace digitisation for a customer centric outlook and foster a culture of marketing shaped by data-driven decision-making. Digitisation is not merely a trend but a fundamental enabler of targeted marketing, operational efficiency, and, ultimately, scalability.


The journey toward digital transformation is a strategic imperative that requires commitment across all levels of an organisation. By harnessing the power of customer data, businesses can unlock new avenues for growth, tailor their offerings to meet precise market needs, and build a sustainable competitive advantage.

 

The undervalued state of many Malaysian businesses is a clarion call for a digital awakening. The transition to a data-informed ecosystem is imperative for those seeking to realise their full market potential and secure their position in the competitive global arena. Let us not view digitisation as a daunting overhaul but as a beacon guiding Malaysian businesses towards a brighter, more profitable future.

 


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