As Internet penetration remains low in Malawi, companies are taking advantage of the mass availability of mobile phones, especially smartphones to market their businesses.
Online or digital marketing is still new in the country even though some companies have started embracing the system.
Digital marketing or online marketing can be defined as the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium.
Digital marketing has evolved between 1990 and 2000 changing the way brands and businesses use technology for marketing their products.
As digital platforms are increasingly incorporated into marketing plans and everyday life, and as people use digital devices instead of visiting physical shops, digital marketing campaigns are becoming more prevalent and efficient.
In 2000, a survey in the United Kingdom found that most retailers had not registered their own domain address.
Digital media growth is estimated at 4.5 trillion online adverts served annually with digital media spend at 48 percent growth in 2010.
Locally, BizMalawi is one of the companies championing online marketing and, so far, it is making strides as private companies are showing interest in advertising using their online platform.
The company’s Managing Director, Tarang Makecha, said the advertising market has potential space for growth in every sector. He said it is open to both outdoor or digital marketing.
He said companies have the potential to continuously expose their products within Malawi as the digital market is huge.
“We offer business owners opportunities to gain online presences whether it is on Facebook, Instagram or other prominent social media platforms, alternatively customers are able to market products using our online database, which of course is the largest in the market. That said consumers are able to bear witness to what Malawian companies have to offer on a competitive edge,” Makecha said.
He said customers should trust and build on the company’s credibility.
“We have never given our clients a reason to doubt our services and because of that, they should feel more than confident to subscribe to our services. We continue to deliver to clients who have become our loyal customers with our constant effort to deliver value for money services.
“BizMalawi aspires to work with key market holders across and within the country to become key drivers within our segment,” he said.
Makecha explained that BizMalawi’s online presence aims at providing customer with cost effective and long term services to accommodate both small and medium entrepreneurs and large corporations of their products and services giving them the ability to showcase their offerings.
“The online e-market has a lot to offer and contribute to e-commerce and employment on both national and international scale. Online marketing has the opportunity to contribute a lot to the market if received well by it consumers within Malawi; making it easy for Malawians to be informed of products and services offered within the country,” he said.
Makecha said the business community is now embracing online marketing, which is a positive development.
“Digital marketing offers several advantages that include increasing ones sales while reducing communication costs, generate new business contacts, create brand awareness, retain customers and provide targeted traffic to one’s site.
“We entered the market in 2015 with a customer base of about 5,000, but now we have more than tripled our customer base and this motivates us to come up with more products and services that will help companies market themselves,” he said, adding that previously, Biz Malawi had to chase around customers to do business with them, but now it’s the other way round, customers are coming to us,” he said.
Makecha said internationally, Malawi is doing well in terms of growth in online marketing.
“We are doing well; customers are getting to understand the importance of advertising using digital market. Our service has reached many customers and has been embraced within a short time. We have known businesses that have failed to penetrate through the market, but ours has managed to grow with ease,” he said.