THE Zambian marketing environment seems to be growing at a fast pace over the recent years.
This, I conceive, should be attributed to the global and universal shifts affecting us all in the areas of communications technology.
Following these developments, we now have what is popularly referred to as the cyberspace.
The cyberspace is simply the link provided through the internet were organisations and businesses are allowed to promote their services or products to internet site visitors or browsers.
You will observe that every time you log onto the internet or use any search engine such as Google, you will immediately receive several on-line pop-up advertisements.
To a larger extent, you will even receive those unsolicited for banners as you visit some popular internet sites which host sports, business, education, entertainment, health and others.
The cyber web has come with it some new concepts such as on-line marketing, virtual marketing and e-commerce.
With this revolution, business and marketing barriers are now matters of the past.
For those marketers who may still be worrying about their products not selling beyond their borders, they seriously need to go back to their drawing tables.
This is the reason I emphasise the need for marketers to move with the modern times through the use of the modern facilities.
In today’s competitive environment holding a degree or diploma is not the only pre- requisite for securing a marketing job and effectively executing it.
Today’s marketers need to keep themselves up to the speed with technological changes and applications, especially those which are internet-based.
At the beginning of this year, I remember coming across a marketing job advertisement by a multi-national mobile communications company where among the critical skills and competencies highlighted were, internet marketing abilities, web analytics, web site development and management.
As we proceed in this deliberation, may I remind readers that the cyberspace and the internet are merely a media or platform through which individuals, organisations and businesses can promote, advertise and exchange ideas.
This, therefore, implies that clever businesses can carefully select their targeted markets and reach out to them through the internet’s many avenues.
Direct marketing can be effectively applied through the internet and mobile communications.
For those of us who are laymen to marketing terminology, direct marketing is part of the marketing communications; it involves delivering personalised promotional material directly to individual targeted customers.
This approach provides an interactive approach for businesses to reach their customers in the hope of getting them to take action, to buy.
Materials may be delivered via mail, catalogues,internet,e-mail, telephone, or direct-response advertising.
Having given a description of what direct marketing is all about let us then look at how marketers may employ this strategy through the internet and mobile communications.
For starters, it is important for us to observe that statistically about 70 per cent of the Zambian youth market have access to internet services and are on the social media.
On the other hand about 60 per cent of the youth populations have mobile phones.
Given this kind of a situation, it would only be wise for marketers wishing to market their goods, products and services to selectively target their potential customers and customers using their most popular communication platforms.
For example, a marketer offering trendy, fashionable and modern products can do well promoting and advertising such kind of products via the social media such as Facebook or Twitter
That, in my view, would constitute a ready and willing market, given the profile of the people that frequently interact on this media
Appealing to this this kind of market segment is a good direct marketing approach.
Using personal e-mails is also another good example of direct marketing. I have come to know one information technology consultancy firm, originally from South Africa, which has demonstrated proactivity in using individual e-mail addresses to promote its services to
I have personally received their mails on a number of occasions.
Marketers can establish a database from where a customer mailing list can be drawn.
The marketer equally has a viable direct marketing option in mobile communications such as smart phones and ipads which access the internet and cell phones through which SMS texts can be sent to individual subscribers.
Direct marketing has indeed been enhanced by internet and the mobile communications.
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(The author is a marketing, public relations and customer service consultant)