Lessons on Marketing in Tanzania
As I looked outside the bus window in Tanzania, my brain brushed over the scenery, the wealth of culture and the happiness of the people. The curse of being from a business school is that you observe good business models everywhere you go. Here are some marketing strategies that stood out to me:
• The business that has everyone as their target market:
The Coca Cola Company has defied most of the concept I learned in marketing. In marketing, you have to come up with a target market and then decide who your campaigns will be aimed at. The Coca Cola Company targets almost everyone, starting with children from as young as 8 to 80 year old adults who can still drink sugar. It was astounding that everywhere you went, there was a Coca Cola poster and at almost every event you go to, there are Coca Cola drinks. Coca Cola overcame social, economic and religious classes.
• The South African business that went East and made a fortune:
The Vodacom Company is South Africa and Tanzania’s leading mobile network. Initially started in South Africa, this company became a joint venture with Planetel Communications holding and Caspian Construction holding (Tanzanian companies) which gave it a better local perspective. The company used Swahili slang words and made its services more competitive than other telecommunications companies. The moral of the story is expand internationally but be a local.
• The business that used common skill and gave it meaning:
Shanga (Beads) is a business that employs differently disabled people (the deaf, blind and lame) to create paintings, beads and clothing. Art is abundant in Tanzania and you can buy from almost anywhere but this business model makes you realize that your investment is going to a unique business. In my marketing class, we would say that this business has an overt benefit.
I enjoyed Tanzania for more reasons than this but these business models stayed with me because they taught me a lesson. A good business idea is one that satisfies the market, feels local to consumers and has an overt benefit.