By: MILLICENT MWOLOLO
Earlier in the week, I got the opportunity to interact with some of the key players in the real estate industry in Kenya.
What struck me most was the fact that one of the companies has been in the market for only three years, and is really becoming a household name, beating established developers.
I engaged the chairman and it emerged that unlike before the business was listening to the market more. This has ultimately transformed their business model from land-buying to housing solutions provision.
A new development in the market that absorbed a great part of the discussion was that the turbulent economic times have steered business strategy innovation in most companies operating in Kenya.
Many businesses are engaging the market more, and re-aligning themselves to meet the emerging needs that their consumer segment is faced with.
Without choice, many small and medium enterprises in the market have thus transformed their businesses from the traditional product and services outfit structure, into ideal solutions providers.
The Kenyan market is ripe for solutions that speak to them directly and address the disconnect that exists between the consumers and key players; rather than a quagmire of products and services.
This new shift has seen local manufacturers, traders, financial sector, and such others value customer relationship much ever than before.
Companies seeking to position their businesses competitively in the market are commissioning market researches and consumer opinion polls on their target clientele. Local businesses are now taking note of their target markets purchasing power, passive incomes and their emerging needs.
This has gone a long way to inform their innovation and product development teams to not only integrate the data and pointers coming from the market, but to most importantly align the company’s vision to conform to the emerging challenges that the market is faced with.
WELL-INFORMED AND EXECUTED SOLUTIONS
This gives rise to well-informed and executed solutions that seek to mitigate inflation and high cost of living – hence enabling consumers to sustain their lifestyles.
Such knowledgeable market positioning enables companies to grow their business by targeting the masses with affordable solutions that provide for flexible repayment periods.
Listening to the market has recently increased its importance, such that businesses can only ignore it to their own peril. In fact, it has become the most ideal mass marketing strategy in Kenya to woe a middle-class consumer segment that is expanding by the day, yet, they are faced with the challenge of the rising cost of living.
The most common flexi-packages that have come with solutions provision have been affordable concepts, lengthy repayment periods and minimum deposits in asset acquisition.
By: providing information and research on the market, a business is able to package their product and services to conform to market demands.
This empowers a business to implement their solutions concepts successfully. As a result, the business gains more competitive edge in the market as it provides more intelligent solutions that give more economic value to their customers.
Although product knowledge is important, spending time listening to the market is where the real learning takes place, and the quicker a business becomes acclimated, the more value it adds.
This is because listening to the market gives businesses that opportunity to interact with not only their clients, but also potential clients and get to know what is holding them back. This way, a company is able to adopt a new strategy and tailor their solutions to suit what the potential market wants.
In his new book, UnMarketing, author Scott Stratten takes a hard look at traditional marketing tactics that are not working today. This include: cold calling and direct mail. He argues that companies must rethink the way they do business.
He says, “Ten years ago if we would have had a (legal) way to listen in on conversations our customers and potential customers were having about us, we would have probably invested big business.
This technology via Twitter is now free, yet many people, mainly marketers, are simply pushing out messages like ads. Brands that are guilty of this style of marketing are missing key opportunities to connect one-on-one with their customers.”
There you have it. Listening to the market needs that physical touch between marketing personnel and the niche clientele. It can be in the form of road shows, business events, concept pitches in churches, supermarkets, institutions and even within business premises.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION