(Sample digital ad shown above running on the Mashable Website)
The talk about Kenya’s growth and contribution to the IT world has increased the country’s reputation as one of Africa’s leaders in the technology sector. This is true as far as ICT innovations and the tech-world is concerned, but what about the impact on SMEs and corporates? How effectively are businesses in the region using the digital space to market their services and provide product information? Lets first understand what this is all about. According to Wikipedia; “Digital marketing is the practice of promoting products and services using the interactive digital distribution channels to reach consumers in a timely, relevant, personal and cost effective manner.”
Despite the increase in Internet connectivity and speeds, digital online marketing is still relatively adopted in the country and few people fully understand the possibilities it presents. Google Africa, the (government backed) ICT board, Strathmore University, the iHub and Pamoja Media, among other institutions and IT firms, have taken the initiative to increase awareness about the available online opportunities for businesses. This is through holding events with the business community to highlight on how they can take advantage of Internet advertising and marketing to boost their sales numbers and online presence. So, how soon do we expect to see our Internet browsing experience flooded by ads about regular Kenyan products and services that are common during prime-time television? I say NOT too long. There is no doubt the biggest spenders on advertising and marketing in Kenya are the telecommunications industry guys. Safaricom, Zain and Orange already have some online footprint on the digital advertising world (thanks to the infamous mobile price wars).
And true to the traditional corporate trends, many companies will begin to follow suit and seek to find out more information with regards to online marketing. In essence, the telecommunications companies helped the Kenyan online marketer to overcome one of the biggest hindrance yet: proving that digital marketing is safe, targeted, cost effective, within reach and very do-able. I believe in a few months we will start seeing the local neighborhood hair salon running a highly targeted advertisement online. Yes, I know it does sound a bit far-fetched, but its really not. We already have numerous businesses, signing up on online business directories, setting up pages on Facebook and even running Google Adwords.
As a country, Kenya has invested in the technology sector to promote innovation and infrastructure. Now the next step is for the business and government to use the digital space created to reach more clients, increase sales and provide a better service to the population. This, definitely, is the next frontier in the Kenyan marketing and advertising. The pace in which companies and agencies are adopting online digital marketing is amazing and the momentum is set to be maintained as the solutions and advantages presented by digital marketing become more apparent.