There have been some good cause related marketing strategies that I have seen in my time. Like the one by Tom’s shoes were they encouraged customers to help them give 30000 shoes to children in Ethiopia. The lucky children could now at dusk take off their shoes, feel grateful for their pair, reminiscing in the day’s journey and resting through the night for the next day’s new journey at dawn. That campaign touched my soul. Pampers and UNICEF have, since 2006, protected mothers and their babies against maternal and neonatal tetanus. In doing this they have preserved the cradles of life and have given our future stars, leaders, presidents, brothers and sisters a chance. When I have a child I shall buy he or she Pampers and nothing else because I will be killing two birds with one stone by caring for and loving my child and helping the less fortunate at the same time. So, why are cause related marketing strategies not popular in Zimbabwe? I am sure that there are firms that are practicing this but maybe they are not marketing in a way that we can see the campaigns in various media? I don’t know.
I don’t know maybe I am wrong. If I am I stand corrected. I asked my friend Google to tell me whether or not I was right or wrong in my assertion because growing up I did not come across many campaigns where I could buy something and in turn help someone who is in need. Here is what Google showed me:
There is nothing to do with cause related marketing there as far as I can see. I then consulted Uncle Google once more and did the same for South Africa, this is what I found:
I got some hits on the first page. I was about to make a conclusion when I remembered that Child Line in Zimbabwe had partnered with one of the local dairy companies before. I only remembered that because they used to advertise on ice cream lolly sticks. The fact that I was addicted to the sweet and cool ice cream meant I was exposed to a lot of that advertising. So I decided to check out their website and on their cover photo I managed to pick out a few companies namely Dendairy, Irvines and SPAR who had their banners displayed at one of the Child Line events. This was probably them conducting cause related marketing There are more I am sure but if it is so hard to come up with examples then cause related marketing strategies are not popular in Zimbabwe.
I think that one of the reasons why it is not popular is because firms do not see the benefits of engaging in such an exercise. I love music so I have attended a few music shows. I went to the Popcaan show, Zimbabweans threw beer cans at him, Beenie Man came through, Zimbabweans through beer cans at him, Akon came to sing for us, Zimbabweans booed him and local superstars walk in the street yet no one takes heed of their presence. It shows you one important thing, that it is hard to gain control of Zimbabweans on a psychological level. This is why the chances of there being an uprising of any sort in Zimbabwe are minimal as people just can’t be bothered. The major benefit of engaging in cause marketing is to increase profits by getting a hold of people’s imagination and emotions which will lead to them buying from you as they feel responsible and they feel like your partner in helping the needy, that sort of thing. This has not really worked in this country so far. But there is hope, if you do it right 🙂
In these parts people like to mind their own business.
Did you know 77% of Americans look at the corporate citizenship of a company before deciding whether they want to work there? And 72% of those who already hold jobs want their employers to show commitment to social causes. Plus, a whopping 85% of job holders say they’d leave their jobs if their company had negative social responsibility practices. (Source: Cone Cause Evolution and Environmental Study). In Zimbabwe I am not sure if this applies. A lot of my friends from university are still unemployed 5 years after we all left university. A friend of mine even told me that if they could they would go and play soccer kicking the ball around for ZPC Kariba if they could because they just cannot find a job. It is painful to see all this top talent go to waste as most of that talent is on the streets handing out their CV’s to anyone who will give them a chance. My point is companies do not need to attract the top talent in Zimbabwe by engaging in cause related marketing because many people are desperate for a job already.
Last week there was a blackout in the whole country so I went to get some take outs. So I got to the first outlet and I was told that there was no food left even though the sweet aroma of the leftovers was teasing my tummy. The young lady did not even seem bothered that a customer was about to walk away. She just gave me a cold hard stare which seemed to say ‘walk away mate’. I then got into my car and headed over to their direct competitor. There I got the chicken but the service was quite terrible if you ask me. The place was crowded as if that was the last outlet on Earth. This showed me one thing, that there was a lack of competition in the fast food industry. So why engage in cause related marketing when one of the benefits of it is to fight off the competition, which competition? However, the fact that there is no competition represents a gap in industry that you can fill. A gap that those in industry already can also close with the right marketing strategies if they want to secure their financial future.
Do you feel like there is a company in Zimbabwe that loves you as a customer? Like love you like in the picture below?
Does any company in Zimbabwe make you feel like you are the only one for them? Mother Theresa said that ‘love is a fruit, in season at all times and within the reach of every hand. Anyone may gather it and no limit is set.’ If I was to give you a list of let’s say 10 popular companies in Zimbabwe would the words of the kind Mother Theresa said resonate with you? If they don’t that means that there is a gap that can be filled. I remember when I went to the Beitbridge Express Hotel on business. Everything there was ‘Yes Sir’, ‘Good day Sir’, this and that Sir. The employees all had smiles on their faces and I really felt important. That was the last time I felt like that though, in 2013, sad. Since then I have closed one or two accounts on the basis of bad service. One of the major aims of cause related marketing is to create a bond with customers so that they identify with the values of a company. This leads to them buying more. For some reason Zimbabwean firms are not very interested in creating bonds akin to love with their customers and as a result cause related marketing is not high up on their list of priorities. I will tell you right now, you can use this to your advantage by doing the exact opposite of what most firms are doing, love your customers!
I am trying to think of 10 companies in Zimbabwe who care about their image and have demonstrated it consistently over time. Recently I wanted to pay my rent and a few other bills so I logged on to my bank’s internet banking portal. The portal was down and so I called in to make a complaint. The lady at the other end of the line did not greet me, did not state her name and did not even apologise for the inconvenience. She told me that the portal would be up after 30 minutes. That did not happen and two days later I had to visit the bank to make a deposit in order to avoid getting kicked out of my flat. When the internet banking portal started working I realised that they had changed the format and I could not figure out how to make a transaction. I tried to call in but all the lines were not being picked up. If this bank cared about its image all these things would not have happened. In my eyes they are bullies like the girl who is kicking that poor girl.
Companies who pursue cause related marketing do it so as to boost their image. I do not see many firms that are interested in maintaining their image and evidence is seen in the many ways in which they let us down on a daily basis. Maybe this is why the practice is not popular in Zimbabwe. I can tell you with certainty that pursuing such marketing strategies will go a long way in boosting your revenue especially if you get the right people to implement those marketing strategies for you.
So, what do you think of my views? Are companies wrong not to pursue cause related marketing or they are right? Speak your mind in the comments section below.