25 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Analogue Days Are Numbered


IN this dynamic environment where the world is now at every marketer's doorstep, marketers need to adopt the characteristics of a chameleon that changes as the environment changes. The world is now going digital so marketers must go digital, they have to adopt the era of laptops, iPads and smartphones and leave the era of filing paperwork. The Toffler brothers in their New York Times publication stated that the societies are at hyper speed in terms of change so are the people that operate in them. Now marketers need to keep abreast and take advantage of the changing technological environment in the global arena.

This technological environment calls for innovative strategies that will delight the ever demanding customer to wow. Let's take a look at Econet Wireless and how it has inspired the world to open the doors of possibilities.

Econet were the pioneers of mobile broadband in Zimbabwe during 2009 and this opened the world of possibilities to Zimbabweans.

This made them one of the best in the ICT category. For sure if you follow them you will discover endless possibilities.

They did it again by introducing 3G to make Zimbabwe the second fastest growing nation in the world in terms of Internet penetration.

Today, more than two million Zimbabweans are on Facebook and Twitter making it possible for analogue marketers to shift their attention from the bond paper era to digital era where they advertise using social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Twoo, not just to focus on radio, television and newspapers.

Our fixed landline network operatorTelOne has laid fibre optic cables across the country's major towns so as to ensure that everyone is brought together. They also introduced the ADSL Internet service which uses your telephone without disrupting your calls. The service has also contributed to a high Internet penetration rate in Zimbabwe of about 72 percent. This is making consumers crazy about the Internet.

Going digital is not an expense to the marketer and the organisation, but it enhances customer satisfaction. The use of social media and websites provides enough information to the customer about a product or a brand.

Today, many companies do not update their websites and consumers are moving from websites to social media where they can interact with other consumers and gather as much information as they want about a brand.

Telecel is one of the companies that interact with consumers on social media like Facebook and Twitter. They also use these social media as a promotional vehicle like the Win a Phone promotion with Opera Mini web browser and the Win Big Promo. Consumers who liked the Telecel page on Facebook are told to share some of the Telecel links with others and this acts as a promotional tool.

Telecel are always engaged to their customers because their posts are frequent and enticing which makes consumers always want to read their page. Telecel also gets feedback from consumers by frequently asking them questions about what they really like about the brand.

I remember one day there was a question that read "What is best about Telecel . . . ?" This feedback can clear misconceptions that consumers have about a brand.

Analogue marketers, please develop a strong sense of purpose in your life and you will develop tremendous power, power that will be capable of transforming your dreams into reality.

Remember your purpose. Awaken your potential knowing that everything you need is within you. Change is about adventure, excitement and success. Embrace change and it will make you stronger and stronger.

If you cling to the past, you might be sacrificing the future, so be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become. The power of change is within you.

Gregory Gapare is a third-year marketing student at Midlands State University.

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