23 May 2012

Kenya: Digital Audiences Are Really New Markets


This week I will be in school with some members of Kenya's marketing royalty. We will be talking digital media and looking at ways to get business on top of this new channels.

The more you look at digital media the more you realise that the line where media starts and business processes begins can be rather difficult to discern. Consumers have recreated the internet into a lifetsyle platform rather than a medium. They go to school on the net, they buy and sell on the net and they meet spouses and family there. In many instances they have changed governments and policy on these same platforms. To see these platforms as media without looking at their other abilities therefore limits our view of them.

Two recent descriptions of what is really going on actually allude to evolution. In one description, one observer says " A generation has evolved that does not consume books but interacts with screens for their information and other daily engagement with institutions. " Another describes this evolution by alluding that organsiations have to evolve all around these digital platforms to serve a new generation of consumers.

In both, one thing becomes clear, its not just about communication but wholesome business philosphies that understand how these new consumers think, and engage with companies and each other. A consumer who completes relationships from meeting to marriage on the internet must surely be frustrated at not being able to get simple engagement or complete simple transactions on the internet. They live in a borderless and fluid world where physical borders or access to people and companies is unfettered and unhindered.

This is where we must start when thinking a digital strategy. How shall we deliver our solutions to these consumers. This definately goes beyond hype and gimmicry or banner advertising. It is about consumercentrism and thought through business processes to work with a new market. The fact that the internet is borderless in many instances creates a new type of consumer segment. This segment is different in their expectations of products, their media interaction and their influences. They are influenced by each other more than they are influenced by brands, they have no geography and they have a diversity of age. Many companies are now realising that more than being a medium the internet is a new market. These businesses are therefore creating products and solutions to address these people as new markets with distinct needs . While a company like Coca-Cola has many distinct geographic markets, each with its own language and culture. The company's +20 million facebook followers from all over the world comprise a larger market than most countries the company markets its brands in. This means that the facebook followers of this company are actually a state or market by themselves.

Digital provides amazing opportunities to expand markets. Get online, learn and build a new market.

Frank is lead consultant at FMC and CEO at mobile agency Sponge

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