The 4 minute guide to SME marketing: Everything na packaging


This article in the on-going series was largely borne out of a personal experience. Did I mention that I am testing the entrepreneurship waters myself? To digress a little, I think there is a side-gigging bug making the rounds, especially in the city of Lagos. Let’s do a quick poll if you currently work a 9-5 job but still want to take charge of your working life, do what you love and not be dictated to by corporate rule, say Aye!

Well, my business partner and I had a mini-debate about how products should be packaged for potential customers. My stance was a very practical and cost minimizing one seeing as ‘affordable’ was at the core of our proposition to customers. But she, on the other hand, believed in making an impression because from her perspective and quite truly, packaging can make all the difference!

Let me quickly explain why this is so. Remember that saying about dressing how you want to be addressed? The same can be said of product packaging. Humans are largely visual beings and can form lasting impressions based solely on what they see.  Also, seeing as we live in a cluttered world, you want to be able to, with your packaging, get people’s attention and inspire them to take action.

Now I am not going to over-flog the “Packaging Matters” discourse because I am almost certain that as a (potential) business owner this is something you are definitely aware of. But while you do the needful, there are 2 things I think you should keep in mind:

What’s your business model?

As a new business, especially, one playing in an already saturated field, one way to win would be through your pricing model. You should actually aspire to deliver the lowest cost to your customers in the form of lower prices. This can guarantee you a spot on customers’ purchase considerations. I mean who doesn’t want to pay the lowest price for the best quality, right?

If your promise is the lowest cost, perhaps you shouldn’t spend so much on the packaging of your product seeing as every cost you incur would have to be taken care of in your selling price. Of course, you should consider this if you intend to make a profit and remain in business.

Going minimalist (please do not read this as tacky!) with your product packaging shouldn’t bother you at all if your proposition to customers clearly explains why that is necessary. So for example, ever noticed the difference in packaging when you shop via Jumia or Konga (proposition: lowest price guaranteed) as against shopping at a Montaigne Place (proposition: luxury at its best)?

Packaging versus Product Quality

I am sure we’ve all had this experience before. You go to a fancy restaurant with the most fantastic ambience and the food turns out absolute crap. Mind you, this is after much pomp and pageantry. Or you pick a pack of biscuit off the supermarket shelf because of a package design too catchy to ignore and discover that it tastes like sawdust.

In both aforementioned instances, you’d have to be a masochist to want to relive that experience.

The learning, therefore, is this: you can inspire an action (purchase) with package design but if the product/service experience does not meet expectations, there would likely be no repeat purchase. More important than the package design is the product/service quality because that’s what ultimately delivers value.

There is the need to fully understand how your desired customers define value and give them that, else any other thing you do would be counter intuitive. So you start a hair salon business, what would your ideal customer appreciate more; gold-plated mirrors from Dubai or gifted and experienced hair stylists on your payroll?

This is the ideal process:

  1. Know your intended customers.
  2. Understand their needs.
  3. Create a product/service that fully satisfies those needs.
  4. Then properly package that product or service.

Do not attempt to prioritize no. 4 over no. 3. There’s so much more we can say about packaging but this is still the most important thing:

“Packaging is a substantive aspect of your marketing strategy that you should pay keen attention to ”.



About Jennifer Melah

I absolutely love conversations!

So, If you ever want to talk Jesus, Life, Business, Advertising, Start-up and SME marketing, Art, Literature, Technology, Design, Food and well, everything else in between, reach out to me via

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