Wikipedia defines digital marketing as “an umbrella term for the targeted, measurable, and interactive marketing of products or services using digital technologies to reach and convert leads into customers and retain them”. To keep it simple for the purpose of this post, digital marketing is the use of non-traditional, internet-based tools to promote and market your business.
Africa currently lags other continents when it comes to the use and penetration of the internet, and the mere mention of digital marketing might seem counter intuitive at first. I beg to differ. First, mass media is becoming more and more competitive (and expensive) in major markets in Africa as there is a growing number of local companies coming to the market place, and more and more multinationals are also expanding in the continent. In Lagos, Abidjan Dakar or other growing cities, new entrepreneurs will find it beyond their means to invest in a meaningful way into advertising campaigns through newspapers or TV to build their brands and take their business to the next level.On the other hand, at least compared to the West or Asia, only a very small percentage of companies have a digital marketing strategy in place, such as running ad campaigns on Google Adwords or Facebook. I have a first hand experience on running campaigns on markets such as Tanzania, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and the like where Cost Per Click or Cost Per Mile metrics are just a fraction of similar ads in North America or even Asia.
Certainly the “quality” of visitors will not be comparable to other markets, but my opinion is that with basic training and skills a positive ROI is far from being a difficult goal to achieve. There are more and more Africans getting online, especially the younger population living in cities, and there is no better way, as a startup, to build your audience and promote your products or services than doing it online.
I will share in some future posts more data on specific campaigns I have run to give a better picture on my personal experience. I am certain more and more firms are getting involved as well in this marketplace and this is one of the fields where the first move advantage will have a huge impact on defining who will be at the top of their industries tomorrow.