With three major shopping centres going up in Soweto and the emergence of a consumer hungry South African middle class, suddenly business people are eyeing the townships as sources of future business growth. Expect a litany of clumsy and misguided attempts to reach into these areas, accompanied by an array of taxi ads that mean little to anybody.
Driving Sales Among Bottom Of The Pyramid Consumers
The decision to use mass or face-to-face communication?
Advertising has come a long way since the first paid for advertisement appeared in a French newspaper known as La Presse back in 1836. The motivation behind this move was simple, by including paid for advertising, the paper was able to not only lower the price of the paper, but also extend its readership and increase its profitability.
For many years, above-the-line advertising was considered to be the most effective means of reaching and targeting consumers. Synonymous with mass marketing, these campaigns are typically linked to brand awareness and mass marketing. However, recent KLA research conducted on behalf of Primedia Face 2 Face found that although above-the-line marketing may be considered effective when targeting higher LSMs, this is not necessarily the case amongst bottom-of-the-pyramid consumers particularly when complex messages are communicated.
For example Standard Bank made use of Primedia Face 2 Face Community Events Marketing (CEM) service to reach and educate their public. The campaign highlighted Standard Bank's E-Plan and the Mzanzi Blue Account and the benefits thereof. Primedia Face 2 Face provided all necessary information by incorporating visual aids for ease of understanding, in the form of a DVD, which was left with each person. This was then followed by a one-on-one enquiry session. The promoters encouraged community members to adopt an established banking system rather than opting for outdated and risky means of handling money which is still used in many communities. As a result, this direct consumer interaction with the product and the promoters ensured an immediate mindset change and ensured that the bank's offering was effectively communicated in a simple and effective way that would not have been as effective if mass communication had been used.
KLA research investigated the effectiveness of Primedia Face 2 Face's below-the-line Sta Soft Rinse Free "Impilo Elula" [easy life] promotion conducted in townships and rural areas throughout South Africa for Colgate-Palmolive. Research found that although above-the-line advertising, such as radio and TV, reaches the bottom-of-the-pyramid consumers in terms of awareness and product recognition, it does not necessarily impact on purchasing patterns. In fact, TV and radio raises curiosity more so than it entices purchase.
It is believed by Primedia Face 2 Face and supported by the research, that interaction with the product by the end user is more likely to secure or entice sale. The concept of "Seeing is Believing" for bottom-of-the-pyramid consumers is a powerful one as money is limited and a 'proven track record' is required when considering changing brands or buying a brand for the first time. For example, in terms of the Sta Soft Promobile Demonstrations, consumers were given an opportunity to see and experience the product first hand. This increased product appeal and relevance amongst consumers was driven by the ease of understanding facilitated by the demonstration. In fact, the post-trial product evaluation indicated that 90% of all respondents bought the product since the promotion.
In order to effectively reach bottom-of-the-pyramid consumers, Primedia Face 2 Face recognises the importance of striking a balance between above and below- the-line campaigns. Since its launch in 1981, Primedia Face 2 Face Distribution has been distributing and promoting brands nationally to consumers in both rural and urban areas. Primedia Face 2 Face also provides marketers with a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between above and below-the-line conventional media by providing the necessary mix between numeric distribution and face-to-face communication directly to the township markets. This allows their clients to entrench their brands in a previously unreachable market.
Thus, according to the above KLA research, bottom of the pyramid consumers are more likely to respond to marketing campaigns that involve the consumer so that they can experience the product for themselves and witness its efficacy.
On Behalf Of:
Primedia Face 2 Face
One can no longer ignore that market liberalisation is forcing executives and social activists to work together to develop new business models that will transform organisations and the lives of poor people everywhere. CK Prahalad's latest work suggests that many corporations have started to pay attention to customers at the bottom of the economic pyramid, and furthermore, companies and NGO's are trying to learn from and work with each other.
In the last two years, INFUSION (formerly Culture Cruizing) has conducted continuous research in 7 townships in order to better understand lifestyle trends and social dynamics in the townships.
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Townships are a marked South African phenomenon. People that reside in them are often seen as one indistinguishable mass with little consideration as to how lifestyles, areas, mindsets and perspectives differ.