Don’t just stick to what you know
By Twama Nambili
Founder, Investor Network of Namibia. Chevening Scholar. MSc Corporate Governance and Business Ethics.
We can all appreciate being in a familiar space and enjoying a certain level of comfort. Very few of us like surprises, especially when our business or money is at stake. Trust me, I should know, I am entrepreneur.
There is a general saying I often hear in business, which has been around for generations: “we stick to what we know!”. I am also noticing this saying being reflected in the marketing strategy of many companies, especially big companies. To be fair, this way of thinking has worked for many businesses in the past and may continue to work for some. However, it’s crucial to keep up with the times—particularly when it comes to getting in front of your present customers or acquiring new ones.
We are now living in a digital era. Many people of varying ages spend a significant chunk of their time online—whether that be on social media or web browsing. Everything is rapidly moving online and believe it or not—many businesses and services are becoming obsolete as a result.
You should never want to be left behind by change. You want to invest into what can give you a competitive edge and even the playing field against your competitors. Create an online presence on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Youtube. You want to have a presence on at least 3 of these platforms. If you are selling a product, you absolutely need to have Facebook and Instagram. And I’m not saying create a profile and call it a day either! Engaging with your followers and customers is key to acquiring and retaining brand royalty. It is also the best way to gain significant sales through your online presence.
Looking at the fashion and beauty industry, there are so many indie brands that turned into multi-million to billion-dollar companies within 3 to7 years as a result of social media and digital marketing. Notable examples are Gymshark, Huda Beauty, Juvia’s Place, and Jeffreestar Cosmetics. Everywhere around the world, many companies are now recognizing the value of social media and influencer marketing.
Something that I consider to be a lot more effective than SEO or Social Media Ads is influencer marketing—when done right! In most industries, big companies/brands still focus on areas which they dominate—traditional media (e.g. TV Ads, Celebrity Endorsements, Radio, Magazines, Newspapers). This is still fine. However, we are moving towards a highly digitized world and most of these methods of advertising are becoming obsolete or less effective. Even newspapers and magazines are moving online to stay competitive.
We are faced with a new reality: while being featured on a TV show can get you in front of a few million passive viewers, a video by an influencer can be seen by 1 million highly loyal and highly engaged followers (who will do what the influencer says) within 1 to 2 hours. This is the power of the internet.
Focusing your marketing online will, of course, eventually depend on the amount of people using the internet where you are located and whether your target audience uses the internet or social media. In the case of Namibia and other African countries, for example, I ultimately understand that Print and Radio are still king. However, this is also changing and an increasing number of people are using the internet for various reasons. I have begun to notice a large number of Namibian businesses promoting on Instagram, YouTube, online newspapers, and other internet pages in general. Businesses in Namibian are starting to recognize the power of internet, social media, and influencer marketing.
Again, I am not saying businesses should completely stop using traditional media. I am simply saying that your business’ marketing strategy should be allocated to both traditional and digital media in order for your company to stay competitive in a changing world.