Social media to transform marketing, Kirubi says

July 15, 2011
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, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 15 – The marketing fraternity has been challenged to adopt new technological innovations such as social media networks to push their products and services to grow their businesses.

Industrialist Chris Kirubi is advocating for the use of medium such as Facebook and Twitter not only to enable marketers to reach and attract more customers but also help firms to cut their marketing and advertising budgets.

“You must cut wastage. A lot of people advertise without knowing who they are talking to but today through the social media, the horizons have changed,” he stated.

Traditional ways of doing things are no longer tenable and businesses must evolve with the times if they are to survive the increasingly competitive market, the business mogul stressed.

Mr Kirubi who is the chairman of Capital Group cited his own initiative of streaming events as they happen through the Capital FM website and which he disclosed has helped to change the way news is consumed and how to engage consumers.

“We broadcast instantly to the world. We make an event that is happening in Kenya to be connected somewhere in Canada, Japan, USA or anywhere else and people can comment on whatever is going on there,” Mr Kirubi proudly said of his new ‘project’.

And to ensure the message was not lost to the guests attending the launch of a research tool dubbed ‘Engage’ by Consumer Options, the industrialist was quick to add that his new innovation was a demonstration of trying to better understand and meet the consumer needs.

“Any company that wants to succeed must engage with their consumers. You can only serve your consumers if you understand them,” he emphasised.

But while appreciating that majority of companies collect views on their customer needs by contracting research firms, he threw the challenge to these institutions telling them they also must strive to transform themselves to reflect the dynamic world.

Towards this end, he lauded Consumer Options for launching ‘Engage’ saying it was a step towards helping firms to better understand a customer’s needs and how well to cater for them in an efficient and effective manner.

Consumer Options Managing Director Jane Nzomo explained that the customised and packaged tool helps researchers to observe consumer habits in order to provide their clients with insights from real life settings.

This she explained translates into innovations, ideas and opportunities to grow business.

“It’s a different way of doing research and focuses more on observation. With this tool, we go to the consumer, follow them as they shop as they go about their activities at home or school or place of work,” she explained.

‘Then we record that, use the clips to analyse the data and give them (clients) insights about consumers and then we translate those insights into business opportunities,” the MD went on.

Ms Nzomo exuded confidence that this tool would help to revolutionalise the market which has for a long time been dominated by multinationals.

With the introduction of this innovative model however, she hoped that it would help Consumer Options – which has been in existence for eight years – to further make inroads into the market and encourage others to follow suit.

There is a huge potential in this industry if the seven multinationals that have come into the East African market is anything to go by, which means that players have to leverage on whatever their competitive edge is as well as remain innovative.

“We have made it through those years because we do understand the local market and the consumer insights better and we have also been able to identify the gaps that others have not,” a beaming Ms Nzomo said of the secrets of their trade that have enabled them to remain relevant and competitive in the market.



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