“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” This is an 18th century philosophical question relating to observation and reality and the argument goes that sound is created by vibrations and captured by the ear, and if nobody’s around to sense it, then the sound did not happen. It is relevant in marketing because if your brand exists to do a thing and nobody knows about it, then does the brand truly exist?
David Ogilvy says it in another way, “Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.” It is standard practice is to spend 5% of your revenue on marketing in order to sustain or grow your market share and this investment is in jeopardy if there is no response from your target groups.
Every new form of media comes with its own nuances, and advertising and marketing strategies have to adapt to effectively leverage on them. When the internet began to grow in reach, it was primarily accessed through desktop computers and today 86% of internet users in Kenya access the internet through smartphones. That change of focus has altered the way people experience online media and the activities that they carry out as a result.
When I first tried to tie a bow tie, I intuitively consulted the instructions on the box that it came in to learn how to tie one and found that they were of no use. I next looked it up on YouTube and found numerous video demonstrations that were very useful. Google describes this as a show-me-how moment in their new opinion on mobile advertising.
The new approach called micro-moments, is around the need to know or to do something and the ability to get immediate information or take action on the internet through smartphones. Google has observed the changes in our behaviour brought about by mobile internet and how we are interacting with brands online and making decisions. For example, a few days ago I noticed that my daughter’s bicycle seat and handle bars needed to be raised. After fiddling with the bicycle for a little while I turned to Google for tips and realised that there was one essential tool missing that was required to complete the task. If the hardware shop in the mall nearby had an online store, I would have immediately ordered the item, but they don’t which meant that I had to make a trip there at some point. This is what we refer to as online search and offline purchase and in Kenya a recent study shows that the levels of online search greatly exceed offline purchase.
The number of web searches points to the increased potential for sales, and we believe that the ability to securely order and pay for the products on the internet will greatly increase sales. Google offers an example of a mother, Stacy, who buys a new family car in the US and tracks her journey from her intention to buy through to the final purchase. The entire process included 900 digital interactions, 71% of which occurred on mobile. Stacy searches online for the right kind of car for her family and watches online video reviews and reads comments about the available options from people living in her country. She then goes on the the manufacture websites to find out more before she visits the websites of the dealers near her. As a visit to the showroom is a major part of the process in vehicle sales, her final decision is made when she visits the dealers near her so that she can see and test the shortlisted cars.
In contrast, a car buyer in Kenya would have a greatly different experience. They will watch videos of car reviews done in foreign countries and foreign languages. They won’t be able to evaluate local dealer information online because they do not have adequate web presence.
So, the customer will search online to short list the vehicles they are interested in, and then they will walk around the corner to the nearest second hand car dealership to look at the latest Japanese imports! The new car dealerships miss a big opportunity to reach and interact with car buyers every day because of non-existent or mediocre online presence.
This is just one example of a sector that would greatly benefit from taking their business online. In the information age, our economy benefits with the establishment of systems that will leverage on the new technology and it is driven by three core actions which are, building an infrastructure to give everyone access to the internet, getting all businesses online, and finally giving more people a reason to access the world wide web.