As part of its strategic positioning as a provider of top line marketing intelligence to its clients Primedia Lifestyle group marketing executive Busisiwe Mahlaba recently gave a fascinating presentation at a Township Marketing workshop.
A key focus of the presentation was the importance of advertisers knowing and appreciating the nuances of the township target market around a particular shopping centre. “This doesn’t just require a superficial analysis but rather a deeper understanding, resulting in qualitative insights such as needs, wants, challenges, worries, mindset etc.
“With the amount of time we spend researching our target markets in the field and the experience garnered from the many campaigns we’ve run over the years, we’re able to give our clients quality feedback on what will and won’t work for their promotions,” says Mahlaba.
During the workshop, she presented key insights drawn from recent Primedia Lifestyle campaigns to substantiate this view.
· Why win a car when you can win a cow! A festive season campaign Azidle ekahaya! (Come support your own) for client Philani Mall, located in Umlazi just south of Durban, used the insight that unemployment among many township communities is above 25%. For this community, winning a cow over the festive season allowed them to feed their family for more than just a day. For that reason, the main prize up for grabs was the opportunity to win one of three cows.
· What a difference a kilometre makes. In the campaign for Philani Mall the prize was a cow but just a few kilometers down the road at Umlazi Mega City the centre was abuzz with celebrities. Shoppers were surprised at various intervals during their shopping spree, when the service rendered within the mall would be by one of SA’s biggest celebrities from much loved SABC 1 soap opera Generations. These promotions are representative of the vast difference in demographic that can exist between two malls located just one or two kilometers apart. This is the level of segmentation required – one size does not fit all.
· Local is Ayoba. Clients need to understand involving local suppliers/talent who have a particular resonance with local audiences, is a critical step in connecting with your consumer. This, however, requires a lot more effort as it necessitates connections on the ground – a time-consuming, but often tedious process. “You’re not going to find all your township suppliers on Google but making the effort to find local MCs, DJs, caterers etc pays off tenfold,” says Mahlaba. Finding stars that have made it big but originate from that particular area is such a boost for the youth. Its important to do your homework and bring celebrities back to the roots where they came from.
· “Siyanamarena, kubo bohale”. In a recent campaign for the launch of Setsing Plaza located in Phuthaditjhaba, 60km’s outside of Harrismith in the Free State, Primedia Lifestyle utilised a very unusual but effective form of outdoor advertising namely a walking billboard specifically designed to fit around a horse (like a saddle) In this community, word of mouth is still key – what better way to advertise an upcoming event than to get the community’s own Umbongi (praise singer) to traverse the area, speaking of what is to come – exactly as was done in the old days. With the primary target market being Sotho speaking, the praise singer was dressed in a “siyanamarena” traditional Sotho blanket and hat – true representation of the heritage and culture of the area. None of these insights could have been gained without a clear understanding and immersion into the community and what they stand for.
· We’re better than that. There’s a tendency by clients to think that if they’re targeting a township market they need to downscale their product offering to suit the demographic. It is a known fact that people in townships are some of the most discerning shoppers in the country – retailers cannot condescend to this target market, based on location – this mistake will make the desired consumer go and look for the product that they want at a competitor mall, which means, their loyalty as well as that of their friends and family is lost.
· Keep it simple. To be really relevant it’s important to appreciate that often what means the most to a particular target market isn’t a glamorous prize but something they really need. For example, a very successful campaign that Primedia Lifestyle ran for client Bushbuck Ridge Shopping Centre motivated shoppers to spend R80 or more on schoolwear and stand a chance to win a pair of school shoes for themselves and their entire class. In a community where there is no tertiary institution and where the bulk of school children walk to school, most with no shoes – this was about fulfilling a huge need, while encouraging learners to love going to school. A win-win for all involved.
· Hola! Township lingo. It’s important to note that while English is the medium used on most communication – there is always an opportunity to speak to the community in their own language. Madiba once said that if you speak to a man in his mother tongue – you speak to his soul! So elements such as the name of a new mall or strap lines can have a venacular reference and thus massive community appeal.. This approach was used at the Kagiso Mall in Krugersdorp, where research led to the logo being designed to reflect the local greeting and the the strapoff line “ke mo dintshang teng” (it’s where it’s happening!)