Taking a Flyer

Posted on October 13, 2011

Team Gikko have been making their way to the Victoria Falls today to participate in the third Marketers Convention being held by the Marketing Association of Zimbabwe.  At this point I had intended to add a weblink but it appears that the Marketers Association does not have a website!!!!..no comment)

This annual event is where marketing gurus from Zimbabwe and further afield get together for a ‘think tank”.  They search for new ways to communicate with consumers, creative ways to present products and services and ultimately learn how to make the sale by giving the customer what he wants!

Now that raises an interesting point.

How many companies in Zimbabwe actually give customers what they really want in terms of service, quality, fair price etc?  Perhaps we should ask our friends at TechZim to do some kind of survey for the ICT sector in this regard.

But I digress…back to the Marketing Gurus.

It seems to me that in Zimbabwe we are still caught up in a nineties time warp as far as advertising and promotions go.  The abject lack of creativity in the sector, given the wealth of creative talent we have in the country, is depressing to say the least.  Can it really be true that all you have to do to sell your products is put up a billboard and distribute flyers on the Borrowdale Road?

The plethora of new retail stores opening gives credence to the belief that there is a massive consumer market for expensive, imported goods but I wonder how many of the new stores will still be open twelve months from now.  Be it golf shops, clothing, shoes, toys it strikes me that these retailers are very good at building pretty (but old fashioned) retail spaces yet give little or no thought to what the consumers really want to experience.  And for me, ‘experience’ is a key word here.  Do we really just want to browse around a bunch of shelves looking at stock?  Would you not rather ‘experience’ the product, the service, the engagement process, the comparisons?  Would you not rather shop for goods in the context of how you will use them?  Don’t you want the sales staff to see you as a unique individual, make you feel special, give you more than you expect, dare I even say entertain you in the process?

C’mon people, this is the tech era, surely we can use that to our advantage.  As you know, Team Gikko (which is where we came in if I remember correctlyJ) are the experts in using retail till rolls as a unique promotional and data gathering device, yet would you believe one customer from a large FMCG producer actually told us that the power of the consumer data we were gathering was of no relevance or interest to them!

For the record, the kind of data we are referring to here is customer name, age, phone number, shopping preferences, product purchases, time of purchase, average spend, and much much more.  Alas my friends it seems we are ahead of our time!

That said, I am remaining positive and confident that The Gurus are smarter than that and will come away from the Vic Falls with renewed vigour and a better understanding of the value of data and just what technology can do for them.   Tell me I’m right… please!

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