12 Marketing Secrets to Break into the African Market

There is only one thing Africans care about — price

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Cape Town, South Africa (source: Pixabay)

1. Sell Necessities

If you are going to sell luxury or non-necessities, start with a necessity. Except you have a ready market begging for your product, do not go and launch a non-necessity for starters.

2. Low Price, Not Discounts

The biggest mistake I believe companies make when they come to Africa is: discounts. The truth is, at the end of your discounts, everybody will leave. In Africa, customers move when price move. There is no customer allegiance.

3. Don’t Waste Money On Packaging

Unless you are selling absolute luxury, you don’t need fancy packaging. To a lot of Africans, fancy packaging means it is expensive. They will assume it is expensive without looking at the price. And you will miss a lot of customers by that look.

4. Compete Against Yourselves

Don’t wait for another company to compete with you based on price. Start competing with yourself from day one. And what this means is:

Make a cheaper version of what you sell

Don’t let another company come to drag your customers away at a lower price. This is because a lower price will drag your customers away. And this is very important if you have global competitors also eyeing the African market. Let’s consider an example:

5. Feed the Ego of the Proud

If you want to be expensive, go all out. There is no room to be partially expensive in Africa. There is no market for partially expensive. It is either a good bargain (on the basis of price) or it feeds the ego of the proud.

6. Never Offer a Cash-On-Delivery Option

Never ever try this. Do not attempt at all. Just trust me on this one. Let me tell you a story:

7. Do Not Offer Money-Back Guarantee

Don’t do this. It might look like a smart thing to do, but don’t be fooled. It certainly works in most parts of the world, but it doesn’t have the same effect in Africa. Money-Back Guarantee is just a way of telling people that they can eat their cake and have it. And trust me, people will try.

8. Involve Local Distributors

Piracy laws, IP protection, copyright laws are not so strong in most African countries. This is why if you make a product with such features, be ready to find counterfeits of your product. The best way to minimize the effect of this on your sales is to involve local distributors in your strategy.

9. Don’t Begin With TV Ads

TV ads are for businesses that have customers already, not those that are just starting out. Even if you have something important to say or a very compelling offer, you are better off going on the internet or even with a billboard.

10. Make One Necessity Irrelevant

This is another big secret of the African market. It is important to sell necessities. And there is a product right now that you have to beat in the market if you are already thinking in this direction. But instead of direct competition based on lower prices, there is something else you can do.

11. Free Delivery

This is bad and good depending on how you use it. In Africa, people love free. I know someone who is not poor by any standard who has over 40 emails created just because she wants to keep enjoying free trials indefinitely. If you are going to do anything for free, be sure you can sustain it and you can afford it. If you cannot afford free delivery for the long term, don’t start it.

12. Celebrity Endorsement

It works. This should not be mistaken for using famous Instagram personalities. That works too, but it doesn’t guarantee sales. The right celebrity endorsing your product can boost sales massively.

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Inspiring and educating people about money, entrepreneurship, investing, and mindset. | For writers → amazon.com/dp/B08P2F2BPH | Others → davidolarinoye.com

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