Anthony Bushu is a mobile technology writer who specializes in financial services, specifically mobile payments, and marketing strategy for market entry into emerging markets.

What brand or company wouldn’t want a target market with over a billion people, where 62% of the market is under the age of 25, is tech savvy, and brand conscious? (World Bank Report, 2014) Or a continent where 7 of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world are located? (World Economic Forum Report, 2015). Well a market like this exists, and it’s called Africa, and even with all of this potential it has been the nut that western companies have not cracked.

African market

How do you crack the African Market?

These African consumers are brand conscious, but price sensitive. If you have to choose between a luxury item or your next meal, sorry, the luxury item loses. A large percentage of these customers, close to 48%, live on less than $1 per day according to the World Bank. But even with these limitations African consumers still demand quality and want to be part of the global economy.

Inside the Box marketing need not apply

Luckily I was directly involved with a marketing campaign that found a successful formula for marketing to this challenging demographic. A client of ours, an Israeli Video On Demand provider, had decided they wanted to become the Netflix of Africa. They would offer quality western content that could be streamed on mobile devices, a service not available to African consumers. One challenge though: Price! The Video on Demand (VOD) provider wanted $5 for each pay per view title (PPV) and $10 a month for a 30-day subscription. How could we attract price-sensitive customers with our current pricing model?

We decided to run a promotional contest where our customers could share their creativity and showcase their enthusiasm for Hollywood films. Using our client’s social media channels, specifically Facebook and Instagram, customers could send 15-second videos of themselves reenacting scenes from their favorite Hollywood movies. The scenes with the most shares and comments per week would be the weekly winner. At the conclusion of the contest, which took place over 6 weeks, we would hold a grand prize contest of all the weekly winners. The grand prize winner would receive a free one-year subscription to our client’s video on demand service, and would also win a cash prize of $3,000.

Thinking Outside the Box = Winning!

The campaign was a success! We had over 5,000 video submissions, we increased traffic to our client’s social media pages by over 300%, and we witnessed 10,000 downloads of our client’s app with over 7,500 transactions. The grand prize event was held at a local club with over 300 attendees, three celebrity guest judges, and was covered in three of the local newspapers. Our grand prize winner, with two of his friends, reenacted their favorite scene from Avengers: Age of Ultron, and walked away $3,000 richer.

marketing plan

There’s a lot of buzzwords to keep in mind when marketing a product.

Marketing to low-cost customers is challenging, but not impossible. Allow yourself to think outside of the box, know your audience (especially their needs and desires) and most of all be flexible and creative. Taking this approach will give you a better chance for success and allow your next campaign to be a winner.

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Photo Credits: Carsten Ten Brink