Last Updated on 13/10/2021 by Steve Wanjie
Marketing in Kenya. How is marketing done in Kenya? Is it easy to market a product or service in the Kenyan market?
To become a success in life, you have to be a good marketer. In anything you want to achieve or acquire, you need to use marketing skills. You either have inborn or acquired marketing instincts. But, somehow, marketing is an essential skill.
Man and woman:
Have you ever wondered why men always tell women I’m this or that? “I am a great lover,” or “I’m good at pleasing a woman in bed?” I have this and that. When a man told a woman, “I’m a great lover,” he was marketing himself. That is pure marketing language, and it caught her imagination instantly. A good marketer arouses a prospect’s imagination.
Marketing in Kenya is the process of creating product awareness, lead generation, and convincing a potential customer to buy. That is my take on “what is marketing.” But what is the ideal definition of marketing according to marketing professionals? Let us look at three different views on what is marketing according to professionals in the industry.
a) According to Investopedia:
“Marketing refers to activities a company undertakes to promote the buying or selling of a product or service.”
b) The definition of marketing according to Marketing Insider Group:
“Marketing is the conversation that starts between two people who don’t know each other well. Great conversations lead to understanding needs.”
c) Dictionary definition of marketing
“The action or business of promoting or selling products or services, including marketing research and advertising.”
Marketing is many things. The aim of this article is to discuss these things for the benefit of small business operators. The goal is to help you improve your marketing strategies for better sales.
Marketing in Kenya Table of Contents
- What is marketing in Kenya?
- What is the purpose of marketing in Kenya?
- Types of marketing in Kenya
- How is marketing done in Kenya?
- Links to best online marketing resources
- Is it easy to market a product or service in the Kenyan market?
What is marketing in Kenya
American Marketing Association definition of marketing;
“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
In Kenya marketing equal to promotion. Most small businesses take or understand marketing as the process of advertising a product in order to generate sales. But there is more to marketing other than selling a product or service. In Kenya marketing has been left to the marketing department. The ideal situation is marketing belongs to all personnel working for the company. From the tea girl to the CEO, all should play a role in marketing.
David Parkard once said that, “Marketing is too important to be left to a single department.”
Oh my friend, this is true even today. And it shall always be. When you hire a new worker, see to it that they have some marketing attributes. Your employees should be involved in marketing, because all company personnel are an extension of your brand.
The reality about marketing:
The elephant standing between your product and the customer is called marketing.
What is the purpose of marketing?
You are a small business owner. My question to you is what is the purpose of marketing your product or service? Can you answer that question for me? My guess is that you would give at least one correct answer. And that would probably be, “to create brand awareness.”
The purpose of marketing in Kenya is;
- To create brand awareness
- Provide product education to potential customers
- To generate sales leads
- Sell your product
- Make profits
- To expand your business
- How to create brand awareness in Kenya
There are many methods you could use to create brand awareness in Kenya. I’m giving you three examples here. Find more ways to create brand awareness on your own. That will be fun.
- Work with celebrities or influencers
Eliud Kipchoge is the greatest marathoner of his generation. He is a Kenyan. And celebrity he is worldwide. Some businesses work with him because they use his influential status to create brand awareness. You too could find your own celebrity to build awareness for your product. Why not?
- Brand your stationery and packaging materials
All you communication stationery that come into contact with current and prospective customers should bear you company’s name and logo. The same goes for your packaging material. Branding helps create an emotional connection between a brand and its consumers. Don’t lose the opportunity to bond with customers. Use branded packaging. It is the cheapest way to create brand awareness in a competitive business world.
- Advertising with Google
Advertising is a great way to create brand awareness. But advertising with Google is a great method to reach the ideal prospective brand customer. Paid Google auto ads is a tool that helps reach the right audience for your business. Its targeted advertising. Its cost effective. And it sells.
- Provide product education to potential customers
What is customer education?
Customer education answers all the questions customers have or might ask. It’s your duty to anticipate and provide all the answers. Use brochures, newsletters, pamphlets, and F.A.Q on your website.
Make the customer understand the value of the product to them. Why they need the product? How the product will help them solve a problem for them? How to use the product? How much the product will cost them? What are the benefits of using the product? And what are the side effects of the product if any?
What is the importance of customer education?
- Helps create a need in the mind of a prospect
- Helps win new customers for the product
- Helps build trust between the brand and its customers
- Helps create customer satisfaction
- To generate sales leads
How do you generate sales leads in Kenya?
Here are some ways to generate sales leads:
- Know your target market
Who is your customer? You need to identify your target market. You can’t generate sales leads if you don’t have target audience. How do you identify your target audience? The answer should be found in your business marketing plan. If you haven’t drawn one it’s time to do it.
- Promote your product
There are many ways to promote your product. Advertising is one of them. Creating a business website is another one. Creating social media accounts is another product promotion avenue.
- Correct prospective client’s contacts
You need to create a sales funnel. This is only possible if you have a data base of customer contacts. Using your business website you can correct emails from prospects. Emails allow you to create a list of your customers. An email list makes you money because it consists of your brands ideal customer base.
- Email marketing – make use of auto responder
Email automation is the best tool to turn sales leads into actual sales. Using email automation you are able to create customer relationships with your potential clients.
- Converse with your clients on social media
Social media accounts allow you to connect, converse and transact business online. Thus, you need a Facebook page, twitter profile and a LinkedIn business page. Not forgetting a very important Pinterest account, and YouTube channel. Social media affords you the ability to meet, and engage current and potential customers. It is through engagement that sales leads are generated.
- Sell your product
How do you convert sales leads to actual sales?
- Ask them to buy
You need to ask for the sale. If you don’t, your competitor will. It’s that simple. Ask the prospect to buy now have come this far.
- Offer them an incentive if you detect hesitation
The oldest trick in the book. If the prospect needs a little nudge, offer an incentive. An incentive must be a free gift or a discount.
3. Types of marketing in Kenya
There are many types of marketing available to a small business owner. You need to figure out which one is most appropriate for your product or service.
- Advertising – a popular marketing type
There are two types of advertising, free and paid. Paid advertising is more effective than free advertising. But you should work with both.
Offline advertising is still essential though not as effective as it was before the year 1990. TVs, radio, newspaper, magazine, and billboard ads are still usable.
Online ads, known as digital advertising, have caught the imagination of marketing professionals because they are budget-friendly and highly effective.
Popular online advertising methods you should know are:
- Google ads
The most effective digital advertising channel on the planet is Google ads. Google has a deep reach worldwide due to its Search Engine and Google Maps. When you use Google ads to market your product or services, Google uses its search power and geo-targeting capabilities, to put your brand in front of millions of unique traffic online. Only qualified potential customers get to see your product or service ad. This improves the odds of generating sales leads significantly in your favour.
- Display ads
Uses a combination of text and images. It’s popular on blogs and websites. Display ads come in form of banners, landing pages and popups.
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization
This is free advertising. You don’t pay search engines to bring traffic to your business website. All you need is use SEO tactics to generate free organic traffic via search engines. The only cost you may incur is content development. You need a SEO expert to develop search engine friendly content. This is the best form of digital advertising because it is cheap and long-term.
- Social media advertising
You must have heard about Facebook ads, Twitter ads, Instagram ads, LinkedIn ads and Pinterest advertising. All of them are social media platforms. Advertising with them is effective and pocket friendly. You should be using social media to market your brand.
Their only con compared to Google ads is that their reach is restricted within the platform. Google ads reach everyone regardless whether they are in social platforms or wherever. Facebook ads reach people in Facebook only.
- Native ads
Suggested ads at the bottom of a page. It goes like this, “other people liked.” These are recommended ads otherwise known as native ads. Native ads are sponsored. They recommended further reading to page visitors.
- Video ads
Video advertising is big. That is the reason Youtube is so popular with advertisers. You need to ad video advertising into your marketing strategies.
- Paid classified ads
There are many online classified ad sites. They normally have free and paid ads. Don’t go for free because it impact is minimal. Paid classified is effective advertising and it’s cheap.
- Sponsored content
You pay a blogger to write and post content on their blog. This works well with blogs with high traffic (or readership.) If a blog as a daily readership of 100,000 or more, you could sponsor a blog post to drive traffic to your product or service.
- Corporate Social Responsibility Marketing
Tie your marketing with social responsibility. For each product your sell, a small percentage goes to support a community cause. In Kenya, we have Dettol’s school hygiene programme. The programme provides soap and teaches children how to wash their hands after toilet use. It teaches hygiene to school-going children. This is a very effective way of marketing a brand.
- Word of mouth marketing
This is the cheapest form of marketing. It cost nothing and yet the most effective way of marketing. Perception is created by word of mouth. If they like it, they will spread the good word. If they dislike it, they will talk about it. Word of mouth is a crucial marketing tool for any brand, product, or service. Mind your reputation in the marketplace. Word of mouth could build or destroy you.
- Affiliate marketing
Let independent sales representatives based online to market your product to earn a commission. Every sales lead they refer and make a sale, you pay a commission. If they refer zero sales leads, they earn nothing. It’s a good marketing strategy for small business owners.
- Digital marketing
Electronic marketing uses online assets to market products and services. Digital marketing makes use of emerging technologies to accelerate marketing processes. What does digital marketing encompass?
You need an online small business presence. A website is your online real estate. It acts as an online office and shop. You use your website to meet, engage, transact, and offer customer services. Without a business website you wouldn’t function online as you should be. Your functions would be severely limited.
A blog is your digital marketing tool. All your online marketing efforts are run from your blog. The function of a blog is to acquire, educate, pre-sell, and send potential customers to your blog.
SEO is like a street sign board that directs customers to your shop or office. SEO gives search engines directions to your online real estate, business website. Of course, search engines bring your customers to the website. The search engines don’t charge you for traffic brought to your online office. They do it for free. It’s you job to use recommended SEO tactics though.
- Content development
When search engines bring people to your website or blog, they expect you to serve quality content to the visitors. The visitors have to get what they came for, solutions to a problem bothering them. Therefore, your blog’s content must be on point. The content has to be useful, original and somehow entertaining or at least interesting.
- Email marketing
If your content is awesome, the visitor will want to subscribe to your email list. They will want to receive your weekly newsletter because the content on your site mesmerized them. When they give their contacts details to you, it means they approve of your work. They like what you are offering. It means you can send promotional material via email. You are a potential repeat customer.
- Social media Marketing
You need social media platforms to enhance engagement with current and prospective clients. Thus, it is wise to create accounts with leading social media websites. Among them should be Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
4. How is marketing done in Kenya
How do you do marketing?
Marketing is a process. There are at least eight steps to follow to complete a marketing process. These steps are:
Marketing research is the first step. You need to conduct research to identify, know, and understand your customers’ needs. You need to know where your customers are located, their age, income levels, and buying patterns. You can’t develop a marketing strategy without accurate marketing research data.
- Identify and document your target market
You cannot target everybody in your marketing campaigns. You need to have a specific target. Who is the ideal customer for your product or service? Your target market is a section of the society that needs your product or service. You need to know;
- Their geographical location
- Identify product uniqueness: why should customers buy your product
You need to know and understand your products unique selling proposition. The reason customers should buy from you and not from the competition. What differentiates your product or service from the competition? This is a big deal. It is the reason you are confident of grabbing a huge market share. Otherwise your marketing efforts bear no fruit.
- Work hard to connect with your market – brand awareness
Promote your brand. You need the market to identify with your brand. Once your brand becomes a part of the market’s psych the emotional connection is created. Thus brand awareness campaigns should be a regular part of your marketing strategy.
- Identify and develop many marketing channels
You need to have as many marketing avenues as possible. These must spread both off and online channels. Marketing channels may encompass print media adverting, TV, radio, magazine, events and bill boards. The online channels must include; website, blog, email, social media, digital advertising, content marketing, etc.
- Develop a marketing strategy
You need a well thought out marketing plan. You can always choose to hire a professional to draw up a marketing plan. Your marketing plan must have goals that you want to achieve.
- Create a marketing budget
Once you have a marketing strategy you need funds to run it. Thus you need a marketing budget for this purpose.
- Marketing is local first
Charity begins at home. Your marketing efforts should honor local customers first. This will develop loyalty from your home base. This is important because you need a stepping stone to grow. Excellent customer service must be offered and nurtured from the local market.
5. Is it easy to market a product or service in the Kenyan market?
Yes it is easy if you understand the Kenyan market dynamics. We have witnessed many foreign companies try their luck in the Kenyan market. Majority of them fail. Most of these companies didn’t have accurate marketing research data. Had they conducted marketing research well, they would have understood the dynamics that drive the Kenyan market.
6. Links to best online marketing resources
- Best online marketing tools
- Free online marketing tools for small business
- Best online sales lead tools
- Best online customer service tools
- Best online marketing courses
Marketing is having a conversation with a stranger who could become a valued client. Marketing is storytelling about a product or service. Marketing is not boring because it is an engagement with the unknown trying to make it known.
Marketing is the process of understanding your client. It is the process of building and sustaining a profitable relationship with the market. Having said that, marketing can be defined as a tool for everyday use by every one of us. After all, do we need help with something once in a while?
To get help or assistance you need to know how to ask for it. The ability to ask for something successfully is marketing. The better you are at asking (i.e. marketing) the more you succeed in life. Thus, marketing is life. Life is a story. Better stories attract more attention. Good stories raise curiosity and imagination. Market your product or service through brand storytelling.
That is marketing in Kenya for you.
Thanks for your visit
Steve Wanjie is a digital marketing specialist, SEO Expert, expert article writer, blogger, sex educationist, and businessman. He is the founder of Dijito Marketing and Laikipo.com. He works and lives in Nairobi Kenya.