Are you having difficulties marketing and or selling to an African audience? Perhaps you should reevaluate your marketing techniques.
Prior to relocating to Ghana, my way of marketing and working was mainly digital and via online platforms. After relocating, I realized that while these methods were very effective abroad, they were not as effective in reaching a large audience in Ghana. This is probably the case in most African countries. Digital and online marketing, commonly known as Above The Line (ATL) marketing, is a great way to target the urban youth and the global audience.
However, if you want to reach adults and local residents living in rural areas, your best bet is to use effective Below The Line (BTL) marketing techniques, such as, on-the-ground activations and promotions.
In Ghana, ATL marketing is effective because most people are almost always tuned into their local radio or television stations. The use of the internet has only increased recently because of the rising use of mobile technology. As a marketer, you have to know how to adapt to this environment.
The solution is not to give up on the old tactics you know or are familiar with but instead, effectively incorporate new strategies to help you become a well-rounded marketer.
So what characteristics do you need to be a great marketer in the African context? What marketing strategies are effective for engaging the African market? Well, I discuss them below.
Characteristics of a great African marketer
I’ve always considered myself lucky to have the skills of a marketer. At times, I wonder if one is born a marketer or can learn to become a marketer. I believe effective marketers are born with certain traits and also learn as they go. The world is always changing so we must be able to change with the times. Here are 10 characteristics that are time tested to be true of an great African marketer:
- Have a genuine passion for people
- Honest, personable and approachable
- Possess networking skills
- Embrace and drive change
- Stay connected to an African audience
- Communicate effectively
- Innovative and thinks outside the box
- Take chances
- Wholehearted belief in the product they are selling
Motherland Mogul Tip:Remember, good marketers can market and sell any product, but great marketers choose the products they want to market and sell.
They are persistent and do not understand the word “no”. Good marketers are led by passion and the need to connect the right people to the right product. They understand their target demographic and will go to great lengths to connect them to that product. Next, we discuss strategies for marking effectively in the African context.
Strategies for marketing effectively in the African market
Now, with these characteristics, you must be willing to do some things differently to gain traction in the African market. Let’s discuss a few strategies below.
1. Establish strong genuine relationships
Often many of us like to take the conventional networking approach. I’ve been guilty of this in the past. We attend an event, meet someone and have a two-minute conversation then request for a business card.
Effective marketers actually take the time to follow up and establish rapport with potential clients, sponsors, partners, and their audience. In Ghana, it is all about who you know. Therefore, establishing relationships is crucial to your success in almost any field.
2. Sustain relationships
One of the most important lessons I have learned is that it is not enough to establish relationships with people. Sustaining those relationships plays a crucial role in the success of your marketing strategies. It is one thing to establish relationships but what are you doing to sustain them?
Sustaining relationships are one of the hardest and most challenging things to do because it requires time. It is none the less a great investment. An occasional phone call, email, or visit helps you to stay connected.
3. Form strategic alliances/partnerships
It is a fact that we all need someone and cannot get to where we are going alone. Form strategic partnerships that are mutually beneficial. Align yourself with people who have a similar mission and your best interest at heart. They will help you sell or market your product.
In Ghana, having notable sponsors and partners as part of your event validates your event somehow. Rarely do you see fliers or posters without sponsors. However, you want to be strategic in forming these alliances and not overdo it.
Word-of-mouth continues to be the #1 effective way of marketing. As a marketer, it is your responsibility to go out and network constantly. Whether your goal is to increase your clientele or fan base, go out there and meet the right people who will help get you to your goal.
True marketers understand that time is of the essence. There is no need speaking with everyone in the room, just key people who you share commonalities and a similar vision.
5. Communicate effectively and believe in the product
As a marketer your verbal and written communication must be up to par. You have to believe in what you are selling in order for people to believe in it as well.
Therefore, your way of communicating must be clear, concise, convincing, and easily understood.
6. Think marketing
True marketers are always thinking about marketing. They apply marketing to almost any and everything around them.
To conclude, marketing in Africa is very different from marketing in the States or elsewhere outside of the continent. Sitting behind your PC expecting to reach a large number of consumers is not ideal. Bottom Line Marketing is king! You must be willing to go out and connect with people.