New technology has changed local marketing landscape
Published On January 14, 2014 » 2943 Views» By Hildah Lumba » Business, Columns
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Focus Marketing Logo-Dennis NdhlovuAS we embark on this weekly column which will focus on marketing, its functions and its impact on other various fields, we are hoping it will be a platform which will benefit many readers.

Today’s global economy is indisputably driven by market forces and marketing is the function that enables businesses to understand how to deal with the market dynamics.

In recent years we have witnessed tremendous improvements and innovations in communications technology.

This has significantly revolutionised the way businesses are conducted and how products as well as services are marketed.

In this column we will try to look at how the marketing function, vis-à-vis activities, have been greatly impacted by the application of modern technology, particularly in communications, service and product delivery.

To be more precise, we will be reviewing marketing functions relating to customer service, sales and sales promotions, advertising, distribution, business development and research.

Modern technology has made the task of marketing and many other business activities much more efficient and effective, for example the task of selling and promoting products and services which previously only depended on physical and personal contact, can now be done online or through internet marketing.

Technology has transformed the marketing function in many ways to an extent where we now, as marketers, need to sophisticate ourselves with modern technical skills to enable us carry out marketing activities with less stress, a concept known as “Smart Marketing”.

Gone are the days when the selling task of marketing was characterised with briefcase carrying men moving from one place to another in search of business. The marketing manual era is over.

Today’s organisations demand that their marketing people should be computer literate and conversant with several other computer applications like web development and online marketing.

With modern communications technology, sales people are now able to liaise with their potential customers via social media, like facebook, twitter, skype and even mobile communication.

Mobile phones have become useful tools in conducting business where even payments can be done through the mobile phones.

Given the environment where there is stiff competition for most businesses, it is only those companies that invest in technology and employ marketers that are able to take advantage of the technology at their disposal that will succeed.

Do you recall how, not so long ago, we used to queue up in banks just to open accounts; make withdrawals and check for balances in our accounts?

The banks that innovated by introducing Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) suddenly took over the market and had all the customers flocking to them.

Almost all the banks are installing the ATMs to reduce customer’s inconvenience.

The banking sector has been in the forefront pioneering the development in the use of modern technology in providing effective customer service, promoting new products, services, as well as in providing customer feedback and information.

Besides the introduction of ATMs, the banking sector has over the recent past started using mobile phones as a means of interfacing with customers.

Customers are now able to check their account balances through their mobile apps provided by their respective banks.

On the other hand, some water utility companies and the country’s leading electricity supply company Zesco, have also recently embraced mobile communications technology to engage their customers.

Using their mobile phones, customers are able to make payment transactions through their mobile phones. The companies have also been able to utilise this platform to post notices and other important information to their customers.

Another area of marketing that has witnessed some positive development is advertising.

In one of the subsequent articles we will reflect on how this marketing activity has been enhanced through the various forms of new communications technology namely; company websites, internet sites, digital advertising bill boards, mobile communications and the social media.

Having given a snip description of what this column will focus on, may I point out that being a third world and developing country, much still remains to be exploited in the application of new communication technology.

For instance, we have not yet fully used mobile communications as a means of making payments in business transactions. However, I believe that we are making strides to get there soon.

For comments call: 0954536875 or e-mail: ndhlovu75@yahoo.com. (The author is Marketing, Public Relations and Customer Service Consultant).

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