Zimbabwe will be hosting the African Marketing Confederation (AMC) for their Inaugural Marketing Conference this year. Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (MAZ) will be hosting the delegates of the AMC.  The main aim of this conference is for marketers to exchange ideas and explore various business opportunities.

The African Marketers Confederation (AMC) is the ground-breaking pan-African body of marketing professionals spearheading the ongoing development of the highest possible standards of marketing across Africa. Founded in 2011, the AMC is a collaboration between various national marketing bodies and associations to exchange expertise and information, as well as to promote the marketing profession as a whole.

The AMC Marketing Conference will take place from the 19th – 22nd of October 2022 at Elephant Hills Hotel, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, under the theme: The Astute Marketer: Reshaping the Future of Business in Africa and is meant to provide a platform for professional development, exchange ideas and networking for various marketing professionals across Africa. The conference is expected to have over 500 delegates, with the bulk attending physically, whilst others will participate virtually, with the organising committee working behind the scenes to prepare for this event.

The Executive Secretary of MAZ Mr Gillian Rusike who addressed media personnel at the Marketing Hub is confident that this continental gathering will market brand Zimbabwe.

 He said this gathering is an important development in the history of Zimbabwe and he encouraged all stakeholders to ensure their marketing personnel are part of this conference.

“We are looking forward to this inaugural event, we believe it is going to put marketing as a profession on the map. We also want to invite members of the fourth Estate herein gathered, to take advantage of such platforms to showcase the beauty and capabilities of Zimbabwe, clearly demonstrating the mantra that, indeed Zimbabwe is open for Business,” he said.

The Honourable Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services and MAZ Patron, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa who was represented by Director Media Services in the Ministry Mr George Chisoko, challenged all citizens to promote brand Zimbabwe.  

He encouraged all corporate and governmental departments to support the initiative.

“Let us all come and participate at the Inaugural Marketing Conference and share knowledge and expertise,” added Mr Chisoko

Mr Godfrey Koti who was representing the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority was very pleased with this prestigious event and as ZTA they are happy to be a part of this event.

“We expect more of such initiatives to keep coming for us to be able to bring the region together,” he said

For more information on the AMC conference you can send an email on events@mazim.co.zw/ or call Monica on 0784625812

Marketers Association of Zimbabwe hosted the Annual Charity Golf and this year the winner veteran golfer Christobel Washaya, the Senior sales executive for the Financial Gazette

Washaya, a seasoned golfer has supported the tournament since its inception and shrugged off competition to land the coveted Agrippa Mugwagwa floating Trophy.

This year’s Annual Charity Golf was held under the theme ‘Rescue a teen from drug and substance abuse’ on the 29th of July at the ZRP Golf Club.

The Charity Golf day is organised by the MAZ Charity Foundation, an arm of Marketers Association of Zimbabwe.

The tournament Charity Golf day attracted golf players from various corporates and also individual golf players who came through to support the cause.

Various corporates who sponsored the Charity mounted their banners and gazebos at the Club.

MAZ Executive Secretary Gillian Rusike in his speech thanked all sponsors that came through to support the Charity golf tournament.

Mr Rusike also extended sincere gratitude to the MAZ corporate members Lafarge and PPC for sponsoring bags of cement that are going to be used to build the fowl – run for the teenagers.

“… allow me to appreciate Teen rescue mission for coming through with this initiative and I hope that this partnership will last longer,”

“As an Association we have decided to join the national fight against drug and substance abuse. This is a real scourge that requires a collective effort from all citizens and corporates at large,” said Mr Rusike.

He said MAZ this year partnered The Teen Rescue Mission Trust, a non- profit community based organisation which focuses on teens and youths in areas of drug and substance abuse, premature sex and teen crime both in urban and rural areas, with help of different organisations and sponsors.

“ We have hosted this event so that we raise funds for this cause  the target is to raise USD10 000 which will go towards the construction and facilitation of income generating projects on a piece land the Trust acquired in the Seke area,” said Mr. Rusike.

He said the Association believes in corporate social responsibility programs thus they have made it a mandate to keep on helping those in need.

Teen Rescue Mission Director, Mr. Abraham Matuka highlighted that his organization was grateful for the partnership with MAZ.

“We are working towards constructing structures for income generating projects at our stand in Seke and we would also want to start a chicken project which will be run by the youths thereby keeping them busy as well as giving them a source of income. It is mostly unemployment and idleness which drives them to drugs,” said Mr. Matuka.

“As an organization which is fighting against the rise of the drug abuse pandemic, we are happy to have MAZ coming on board to empower these youths through projects to be set on the organization stand.

He said the projects will go a long way in empowering the youths and community as well.

Other winners were Y Mubaiwa, S Bhechani, L Muroyiwa, T Majo, and Blessing Gandawa. N Sibanda and G Tembo.

For the ladies T Murare won the prize for the nearest to the pin along with Y Mubaiwa, for the men F Muwani won the nearest to pin together with K Nyoni.

N Makuyana won the long drive hole 06 altogether with S. Bhechani hole 18 for the men. For the ladies longest drive prize was won by Y Mubaiwa whole 04 and hole 13.

Teen rescue mission had a small presentation that they presented as the teenagers showcased their dancing skills to the marketers and golfers who came through.

MAZ has over the years  been involved in different corporate social responsibility initiatives through the MAZ Charity Golf Tournament that include the ‘donate  a shoe campaign’ which saw the Association handing over school shoes to Chokera Primary School in Masvingo  in 2018 and donated school shoes to Mathew Rusike in Epworth in 2019 as well.

In 2020, proceeds from the Charity Golf Tournament were used to buy sunscreen lotions which were donated to the Zimbabwe Albino Association.

In the same year, the MAZ Charity Foundation responded to the Covid 19 pandemic by donating food baskets and other basic commodities at the Methodist church in Epworth.  

The Charity Foundation also donated stationery to Dambudzo Primary School in the Midlands province. The school had its roof blown away by heavy rains and a lot of infrastructure and learning material was destroyed.

This year, the Charity Foundation handed over food, basic commodities and toiletries to the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) in Chinhoyi.

The donation was made possible through proceedings from the 2021 Charity Golf Tournament held under the theme ‘Prison Campaign’ as well as groceries donated by National Foods.

MAZ corporate and individual members participated in the annual tournament but it was a Charity tournament open to everyone who is interested in playing golf.

Marketers Association of Zimbabwe has joined the national fight against drug and substance abuse by youths in the country through its Annual Charity Golf.

Drug and substance abuse is a national scourge that is destroying the youths and future leaders of Zimbabwe. Any nation is founded on hope of a bright future and, that bright future is premised on today’s youth, who are entrusted with the responsibility of carrying the country economically, politically, socially, and culturally.

According to a research carried out by the Health Professionals Empowerment Trust in Zimbabwe, 50 percent of admissions to mental institutions have been attributed to substance-induced disorders. The research went on to single out youths as the most affected group of individuals in the country.

The MAZ Charity Foundation, an arm of Marketers Association of Zimbabwe has embarked on a fundraising whose objective is to facilitate income generating projects under the theme ‘Rescue-A-Teen from Substance Abuse’, targeted at teens in the areas of drug and substance abuse in partnership with Teen Rescue Mission Trust.

MAZ Executive Secretary Mr Gillian Rusike said this year, the MAZ Charity Foundation which spearheads the MAZ corporate social responsibility initiatives decided to partner the Teen Rescue Mission Trust in the fight against drug abuse in the country.

“As an Association we have decided to join the national fight against drug and substance abuse. This is a real scourge that requires a collective effort from all citizens and corporates at large,” said Mr Rusike.

He said MAZ this year partnered The Teen Rescue Mission Trust, a non- profit community based organisation which focuses on teens and youths in areas of drug and substance abuse, premature sex and teen crime both in urban and rural areas, with help of different organisations and sponsors.

Mr Rusike said  the Charity Golf Tournament will be held on the 29th of July at the ZRP Golf Club and the target is to raise USD10 000 which will go towards the construction and facilitation of income generating projects on a piece land the Trust acquired in the Seke area.

He said then Association believes in corporate social responsibility programs thus they have made it a mandate to keep on helping those in need.

He appealed to corporates and all golf players to be part of the Charity Golf Tournament.

“We are encouraging both individuals and corporates to come through and tee-off for Charity on Friday.

Partnerships and sponsorships are also welcome,” said Mr Rusike.

Teen Rescue Mission Director, Mr Abraham Matuka highlighted that his organization was grateful for the partnership with MAZ.

“As an organisation which is fighting against the rise of the drug abuse pandemic, we are happy to have MAZ coming on board to empower these youths through projects to be set on the organisation stand.

“We are working towards constructing structures for income generating projects at our stand in Seke and we would also want to start a chicken project which will be run by the youths thereby keeping them busy as well as giving them a source of income. It is mostly unemployment and idleness which drives them to drugs,” said Mr Matuka.

He said the projects will go a long way in empowering the youths and community as well.

MAZ has over the years  been involved in different corporate social responsibility initiatives through the MAZ Charity Golf Tournament that include the ‘donate  a shoe campaign’ which saw the Association handing over school shoes to Chokera Primary School in Masvingo  in 2018 and donated school shoes to Mathew Rusike in Epworth in 2019 as well.

In 2020, proceeds from the Charity Golf Tournament were used to buy sunscreen lotions which were donated to the Zimbabwe Albino Association.

In the same year, the MAZ Charity Foundation responded to the Covid 19 pandemic by donating food baskets and other basic commodities at the Methodist church in Epworth.  

The Charity Foundation also donated stationery to Dambudzo Primary School in the Midlands province. The school had its roof blown away by heavy rains and a lot of infrastructure and learning material was destroyed.

This year, the Charity Foundation handed over food, basic commodities and toiletries to the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) in Chinhoyi.

The donation was made possible through proceedings from the 2021 Charity Golf Tournament held under the theme ‘Prison Campaign’ as well as groceries donated by National Foods.

MAZ corporate and individual members participate in the annual tournament but it is a Charity tournament open to everyone who is interested in playing golf.

To partner MAZ on this noble cause please contact Monica on 0784 625 812 or email events@mazim.co.zw

Tatenda Marongwe was adjudged at the Marketer of the Year at the 2021 Exceptional Marketing Awards held in Inyanga last October.

She is the Group Marketing Executive for Insurance firm ZIMNAT.

She chronicles her journey to the top with us:

1. May you briefly tell us about yourself? Whom is Tatenda family schools attended etc?

Tatenda, a firstborn in a family of four is married to Kudzai Marongwe and we are currently blessed with two lovely flowers; Watidaishe and Watipaishe.

Career wise, Tatenda is a proficient marketer with over 12 years’ extensive experience spanning across various sectors which include Telecommunications, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and Insurance. Insurance is her “happy place” having occupied various Marketing positions within the insurance industry from a Marketing Specialist at First Mutual Holdings Limited, to a Marketing Executive at Old Mutual Life Assurance Company and now the Group Marketing Executive for Zimnat Group, a diversified, innovative and game changing insurance giant in Zimbabwe.

She is an advocate of creativity, innovation and delivery of results through leading diverse teams. She has developed a proficiency in providing innovative strategic insights not only in marketing but also in positioning businesses for growth.

Tatenda holds a Master of Business Administration degree, B. Com Honours Degree in Business (MSU) and a certificate in Digital Marketing through the University of Stellenbosch South Africa amongst other certificates in Project Management and Events Planning and Management.

Outside work, Tatenda loves baking, event management, adventure and creating a positive impact to people and communities surrounding her.

  1. Briefly share your professional career background.

I started off my career as an attachee at a telecoms company, Powertel Communications many years back (chuckle). I then moved into advertising as an Account Executive briefly before I was taken on a management Trainee program at Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, where I underwent rigorous training which I give much of the credit to for turning me into a professional that I am today. The program was thorough. I then transitioned into insurance starting off as a Marketing Officer at First Mutual Holdings Limited. I then had a short stint in the FMCG industry employed by National Foods as a Senior Brand manager but in no time I bounced back into the insurance sector as a Marketing Executive at Old Mutual. Today I am making life better for our customers with the Zimnat team as the Group Marketing Executive.

Marketing chose me. I must confess, growing up, I had never dreamt of being in the marketing space….being this soft soul that I am. There were also so many stereotypes about who could become a marketer and definitely, I didn’t fit the space,  but like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie put it across, “The problem with stereotypes is not that they aren’t true, but they are incomplete” and I am a testimony to it.

My passion had been in business management, running a profitable business. I followed my heart to a greater stage, but I then learnt that the heart of business is in marketing as it is the bridge between business and the consumer .I then specialised in Marketing  and guess what, here we are today.

Doing the unthinkable. Breaking the internet. Causing chaos in the city (hiding my face and laughing emojis) and out brand trending on Twitter. I am referring to Zimnat’s Security plan and Assessment centre launch executions which caused havoc on the respective days of campaign executions. We placed a mysterious object, heavily guarded and covered in a white cloth at Joina City for security plan launch. As you would have experienced, there were unimaginable conspiracy theories around it so much that some high offices had to pay a visit to the activation site. Luckily, we had done our homework (winking emoji)

It means a lot to me. It means life and affirmation that the world is full of endless possibilities. This award made me realise that we live in a world of endless possibilities- only if one believes, is focused, determined and fearless or shall I say courageous. With increased access to information in this global village, there is no sky to limit anymore. It also means a lot to the Zimnat team. It shows that all our sweat, teamwork and hardwork has been recognised. Moreso, our brand is becoming a household name.

Simple. Away from the box thinking which we like to call Box 3 thinking. Which is about creating material fit for the future. In the period under review, we were deliberate about doing things differently as a team. Before rolling out any campaign, we would ask ourselves if anyone else could replicate it. If the answer was yes then we would immediately drop the idea. We would brainstorm until we got to an idea that we felt could not be replicated THEN YES WE KNEW THAT WOULD BE US. Our desire is to make life better and make Zimnat a household name. The world has become so competitive that extraordinary stuff is not good enough. Remarkable is the new normal as one of my mentors would say.

The desire to make a mental mark and learn. After all we never stop learning. I have had the privilege of meeting, working and interacting with many people from different backgrounds and levels of exposure. In all of them, I have found something worth carrying with me. From the village boy in the rural place to some industry captains I have had the privilege of sitting on a table with. People are amazing. I have therefore made a deliberate decision to learn from any interaction, emulate the good things and better still make a mental mark. Ultimately I am motivated by the desire to make the world a better place. Day by day, little by little, step by step.

Customer obsession. Putting the customer at the centre and front of everything that we do. Our purpose is to make life better and there is no better motivation for us than seeing people, our customers and stakeholders at large in better places. At Zimnat we also like memorable experiences right from how we introduce a service or product right to using or enjoying the product. Remember at Zimnat we seek to make life better.

Just watch the space. It is in our DNA to bring new and exciting products to the market. Obviously we will do it in a remarkable way. By the way have you heard about our latest offering?

Dare to dream, to be different. “The illiterate of the 21st century are not people who can’t read or write but people who can’t unlearn, learn and relearn.

  1. How have you managed to break-through in the Insurance industry during these harsh economic times?

It has not been easy with the pandemic. Like many industries we faced our fair share of difficulties. We had to quickly adjust and get used to dancing in the storm. As an individual I had to leave the comfort zone together with my team to bring out the best ideas that could take the business forward in such an environment.

  1. Do you have one thing that people don’t know about Tatenda?  

I love speed, racing, fast cars and the adrenaline that comes with it. I went to the extent of visiting Ferrari World for the thrill but mmm the Ferrari Rossa in Abu Dhabi is the only thing that almost brought me to a breaking point …..Man, that roller coaster is fast (chuckle). The experience is too exhilarating.

  1. The secret to success?

Team work, perseverance and hard work. In life nothing comes easy. At Zimnat we work as a team. I owe it to my team and the support from our executive management level at the various SBUs of the business- Zimnat Life, Zimnat General Insurance, Zimnat Asset Management and Zimnat Financial Services.

  1. You received a standing ovation when you were announced winner at the Exceptional Marketing Awards. How did you feel and what was going on in your mind?

I felt blank, I didn’t know what to do. It was only after a few seconds that I processed.  I then read it as sign of affirmation from my industry colleagues. I felt proud of our brand, my team and myself.

  1. Any additional information would be greatly appreciated.

Success at organisational level is not defined by efforts of single person but by collective efforts of solid support structures. To succeed one needs to build a functional team. Exciting results will follow. As they say if you want to go fast go alone. But to go further go together. Nothing can be further from the truth than this statement when it comes to corporate success.

Women are trailblazing, making names for themselves in organizations all over the world- taking their career goals to the next level and claiming positions they have worked very hard for.

Despite this, many top positions within organizations are still held by men.

In recent decades, there have been calls for greater gender equality while enhancing the need to close the gender wage gap, and although tremendous strides have been made in this aspect, there is still a fundamental lack of women in leadership roles.

Statistically speaking, many women leaders are missing out.

Women outnumber men at almost every educational level and are about half the workforce in most countries, but: less than 20 percent are in senior management roles and progress has been slow and stagnant in the percentages of women reaching senior, top, and director-level positions in all countries in which benchmarking studies have been conducted, Zimbabwe included.

Besides shattering the mold, some women are still struggling to truly thrive- between work-life balance and office politics, there are numerous challenges women can face in the workplace.

Studies have outlined that companies with greater gender diversity, not just within their workforce but directly among senior leaders, are significantly more profitable than those without.

How then do we get more women in influential leadership roles?

Women must advocate for themselves if they want to move up the career ladder, but to succeed, they cannot go it alone.

All successful leaders need a network of champions-mentors and sponsors!

As noted in the book, Kick Some Glass: 10 Ways Women Succeed at Work on Their Own Terms, the people around you have the ability to either support or hinder your growth towards becoming the best leader you can be.

Almost every career woman has a mentor and in some instances one may have more than two mentors depending on the skills they are horning. But what is the essence of being over mentored without garnering influential leadership roles?

By the time they reach mid-career, most leaders can name a handful of advisers — bosses, coaches, colleagues, and friends — who helped them build confidence and develop needed skills. These advisers may be mentors and/or sponsors.

Both mentors and sponsors are critical to helping aspiring women leaders gain the perspective and connections they need to take on larger roles and advance their careers.

While both mentors and sponsors guide professional development, the Centre for Creative Leadership outlines the difference between a mentor and a sponsor and their relevance to advancing women’s careers.

MentorSponsor
RoleExperienced person at any levelSenior leader in the organization
GoalProvide guidance for career choices and decisionsUse influence to help employee obtain high-visibility assignments
Who drives the relationship?Both mentee and mentor; requires mentor to be responsive to the needs of the “mentee”The sponsor, who chooses to advocate for “sponsoree,” including behind closed doors with other leaders
ActionsHelps mentee determine paths to meet specific career goalsAdvocates for sponsoree’s advancement; champions her potential

Mentors provide guidance and support, whether around a specific need or for ongoing development. They listen to their mentees’ experiences and give constructive, direct, and honest feedback. CCL research established that people who are mentored: are better prepared for promotions and have higher success rates; Stay with their organizations longer; Feel more satisfied with their jobs and careers; and Rate higher on performance measures.

Mentees have greater impact in their organizations, are perceived as being more innovative and creative, show higher resilience to setbacks, and have stronger networks.

A mentor may also be a sponsor — but not necessarily. A sponsor is a specific type of mentor who goes above and beyond giving advice.

Sponsors are advocates who actively work to advance the career of their “sponsoree,” touting their accomplishments and potential, connecting them to others in their network, and recommending them for bigger roles. A sponsor pushes their “sponsoree” to take on challenging assignments and actively advances their career progression — including in off-the-record or closed-door meetings with other leaders.

Since the people who can advocate and create opportunities for others have some level of authority in an organization, they are likely upper-level leaders — people in power. And as the statistics above noted, in most organizations, that pool of influencers is still primarily male.

So while sponsors are important for men, they are critical for women. Yet men are more likely than women to have sponsors.

Mentoring at all career stages is important, but without sponsors who take that next step to advocate on their behalf, women — are at a disadvantage.

Borrowing from the CCL eagle’s eye view of the imbalance between men and women in terms of sponsorship, there are several reasons why women are under-promoted.

Like attracts like.

Since people naturally tend to gravitate to other people who are like them, male leaders may unconsciously be inclined to mentor and champion other men.

Similarly, women may not feel comfortable asking somebody several levels up — especially someone who doesn’t look like them — for advice or sponsorship. So even with no other factors at play, more men than women are sponsored, and leadership power structures remain largely unchanged.

Unconscious bias also plays a role.

Historically, images and ideals of leadership have been associated with stereotypically masculine qualities, and so women are less likely to be perceived as “leadership material,” as compared to men.

Research shows that women face a double-bind of being seen as either competent or likable-but not both.

Research has also found that women receive fewer stretch assignments and more vague, personal, and unhelpful feedback than men-preventing them from clear information about their performance that would push them to learn, grow, and improve.

Assumptions are problematic.

Often, women have the right qualifications and personal readiness but still aren’t considered for a promotion or critical assignments. More senior leaders simply make assumptions about women’s capabilities and interests, and then make decisions for them:

These assumptions may not be conscious or spoken, but they cause women to be overlooked for roles they would be great at.

“Queen Bee Syndrome” contributes, too.

The few women who have broken through the glass ceiling often still find themselves feeling stuck because of gender bias. While many women do sponsor, promote, or support the career advancement of other women, those who do not are sometimes called “queen bees” and are considered unsupportive of other women.

The research by CCL found that when women executives advocate for diversity and to promote other women, they receive lower competency and performance ratings. Men who sponsor or promote women are not similarly penalized — and may even be rewardedfor supporting diversity.

To mitigate power and bias, both men and women in positions of power should mentor and sponsor talent — regardless of gender. With awareness of the reality of power and bias in everyday actions, leaders should check their thinking, adjust as needed, and call out bias whenever they see it.

Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists is not enough, action is needed to level the playing field.

Yes! Gender equity in the workplace should not be pegged as merely a “women’s issue” and be left to women to address. Men in leadership roles are ideally positioned to strengthen the leadership pipeline in their organizations by helping to retain and advance talented women.

Some men think they wouldn’t be good at mentoring someone who’s different from them. Others have said they’re wary of perceptions or misinterpretation of their work relationships with women.

Together, we can help create a network of champions for talented women…because when more women lead, individuals thrive — and organizations are better able to embrace the challenges of the future.

Shamiso Yikoniko is a Strategic Communications Specialist currently working for the Zimbabwe Association of Church Related Hospitals as the Technical Advocacy and Communications.

The COVID 19 pandemic’s onslaught and the virus’s negative impact on interpersonal communication prompted a slew of innovations. Gone were the days of getting into your car to get to work to sit at a desk and manage calls and emails to and from clients for hours on end. Working from home and automation became the order of the day and the importance of having sound customer retention was further amplified by the call to get as many sales to avoid financial turmoil for big and small businesses alike. As a result, people began to place a greater emphasis on lead generation and sales.

To improve sales for small businesses it is imperative to understand the link between good customer relationships and acquiring leads. The relationship between a customer and a brand is known as customer engagement. This can be done in person or by other means such as email, phone, and social media. Post-pandemic customer engagement initiatives can be implemented in a variety of ways. Conversational marketing is the most common and it employs automated customer engagement methods like live chats and chatbots.

What is Conversational Marketing?

Have you ever had a chance to interact with a corporation or organization? You’ve probably come across conversational marketing. It’s a technique of having a tailored, two-way discussion with clients in order to better understand and service their needs. Businesses utilize conversational marketing as a method to engage in real-time dialogues with their prospects and customers.

Businesses may say “hello” to prospects and have a dialogue with them right in the live chat by deploying automated chat software, commonly known as chatbots. Conversational marketing via social media and on websites provides numerous advantages, including improved lead generation and conversion rate optimization (CRO). Social media conversational marketing is also popular, with apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp leading the way.

Conversational marketing is carried out in two ways:

Businesses may use these customer engagement solutions to achieve speedier, automated customer service with minimum cost. Companies who wish to deliver scalable customer support solutions without breaking the bank will find automated chat appealing. Live chats can be more expensive, but the main benefit is that clients can speak with a real person rather than a machine.

Conversational marketing is vital since today’s customers expect immediate responses to their questions. They don’t have the time or patience to wait on the phone or for an email response any more. Companies may deliver real-time service to their clients via a marketing automation chatbot.

Conversational marketing also aims to meet clients where they spend the majority of their time. That’s why, using messaging software like Facebook Messenger or Slack, many firms have integrated conversational marketing into their social network platforms. Conversational marketing allows you to provide fast personalized customer service, which improves the customer experience while also supporting your lead generation and conversion rate optimization initiatives.

Conversational marketing’s goals are to:

Given the numerous advantages of conversational marketing, it’s only natural for a small firm to include it in its digital marketing efforts. Customers feel more happy and cared for when they may contact you at any time and at their own pace. It allows you to produce more sales from a business standpoint. Customers are hesitant to press the “Buy” button because they have reservations and implementation of conversational tools as discussed will allow them to ease their fears after getting instant responses to any queries they have about the product or service..

How small businesses can take advantage of

Conversational Marketing in Zimbabwe

With their Whatsapp-integrated bots, prominent banks and financial organizations like BancABC and Steward Bank have been using chatbots and AI to manage consumer concerns. Smaller businesses, on the other hand, should not feel left out, as a small investment can go a long way towards providing your company with the lead-generating, sales-boosting and customer-retaining chatbot it requires to improve productivity.

A recommendation for a startup or small business can be provided based on research of over 30 chatbot builders. The premise behind this list is that unless you’re a large corporation with a lot of cash on hand, it’s difficult to justify investing hundreds of thousands each month on a chatbot solution.

There are many chatbot builders on the market that cost less than $100 per month and come with a slew of useful features right out of the box, such as personalized styling and analytics. According to Moser, these are the top eight choices.

  1. ManyChat
  2. Chatfuel
  3. WotNot
  4. MobileMonkey
  5. Tidio
  6. SnatchBot
  7. SendPulse
  8. Pandorabots

The primary distinctions in which one is best for you will be determined by your budget, level of technical expertise, what you want to achieve with the bot (functionality) and the number of channels you want to integrate. Always check in with your strategic plan to see how far you can utilize conversational marketing to uplift your customer relationship management.

Brian Chikonzo is a a passionate brand analyst and holds qualifications in International Business and Management Studies specializing in Entrepreneurship and Retail Management . He is an SME Brand Design and Developer , Feb94 Enterprise Solutions

The events of the past 2 years since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic have shown us just how important empathetic marketing is for businesses both large and small. The world has changed and businesses need to adapt to the new needs of their customers if they want to grow. The best way to do that is through empathy.

What is empathy marketing?

Empathy is the ability to see events and situations from another’s perspective, in other words to put yourself in their shoes. For brands, empathetic marketing is about seeing the world through the user’s point of view. It helps you place the customer at the center of your marketing strategy and work outwards. But it is important to remember that being empathetic also means being genuine.  Empathy is believable when it creates authentic connections between brands and users. You have to build trust and organic relationships throughout the customer journey.

Why is empathy important in marketing?

There are numerous reasons why empathy is important, especially in 2022 and beyond.

Emotion and connection are more necessary now than ever before. The way we live and work has changed in ways we couldn’t have imagined. “Business as usual” is a thing of the past, because a lot of emotion is being generated about the future and these emotions impact how consumers react to marketing campaigns.

The range of human emotion is massive, from positive emotions like joy, interest, and amazement, to the more negative, such as fear, anger, or sadness. Campaigns need to be geared towards evoking and connecting with these real emotions.

While brands still want to sell products and services and bring in revenue, the way they move users through the funnel has to change. And this approach needs to be from the ground up. Adapt your content marketing, re-examine the customer journey, and educate your employees about the benefits of evoking emotion across marketing channels.

How to use empathy in marketing

When the pandemic hit, brands instantly switched their gear and went from promoting their products to sharing helpful resources and motivational messages. In other words, they became more empathetic than ever before.

Many companies are successfully utilising the power of empathy to push their brands to the next level. Here 3 of the many ways to switch to an empathetic marketing mindset.

1. Understand your audience’s pain points

I earlier on mentioned the importance of walking in your audience’s shoes to get a feel for what they need right now. This is the time to update your buyer personas to reflect the new realities your customers are experiencing.

How can you do this? By understanding that customer empathy works in two ways:

•        What are the customer pain points in the real world?

•        What are the customer pain points regarding your business?

In the real world customers are facing a lot of issues including the effects of the pandemic, although it has eased off a bit. That means your audience is still dealing with uncertainty, health and other social challenges. If your brand can step in to help with these feelings, such as offering virtual classes or providing entertainment, you’ll be able to make a powerful connection with your audience. Some local brands have done a good job of understanding customers’ current pain points and created videos addressing those issues. For example online fitness classes, comedy skits, financial literacy classes and much more.

When it comes to customers’ pain points with regards to your brand, you need to do a bit more digging. Analyze your traffic and conversions each week and note the biggest movers, up and down. This is a great way to find out what aspects of your brand are attracting customers.

2. Adapt to audience needs

When you know what your audience needs from the world and from your brand, you need to adapt your business model. With so many individuals and businesses struggling due to the effects of the pandemic, you can consider scaling back your service fees, make some services free, and offer more support to customers.

Take smaller steps, like adapting how front-facing employees handle customers and remind teams how to display empathetic behavior towards customers. It’s also worth looking into your current customer service process to ensure your wording and tone are more empathetic. 

3. Support an Important Cause

Another way to empathise with your audience is by showing your support for a cause they care about. Researchers found that organisations that care about having a social impact resonate more with buyers than those that don’t.

For starters, environmental consciousness is a big thing right now as people start to gain more awareness about the current state of our planet. So its high time brands start making choices and changes that are sustainable and eco-conscious. From your packaging to your production process, look for areas where you can improve with the planet in mind.

Conclusion

Empathetic marketing is now a top priority for businesses. It isn’t enough to talk about your product or the benefits of buying from your brand anymore. Brands now need to connect with customers on a deeper, more empathetic level. Show your audience that you understand their needs and are ready to adapt to them.

Including empathy in marketing campaigns is more of a mindset than a technique. And to instill that way of thinking in marketing teams, you need to follow these steps:

•        Understand your audience’s current pain points

•        Adapt to their needs

•        Take an educational approach in your marketing

•        Capture everyday life in campaigns

•        Add interactive elements

•        Utilize user-generated content

Each step is vital because the changes we are seeing now will have long-lasting effects. Taking an empathetic approach can take a bit of time to get used to, but it isn’t impossible.

Patricia is a qualified ZimChartered Marketer and a member of the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe. She is the Customer Experience manager for NicozDiamond Insurance and an insurance associate with over 15 years of experience from the insurance industry.

MAZ hosts 2022 Winter School
Marketers Association of Zimbabwe will be hosting its annual the
Annual Continuous Professional Development Master Class (Winter
School) offering different career development classes to members.
The Winter School is for continuous professional development for
marketing and related professionals.
This year’s Winter School will run from June 22 to 25, 2022 at the
Hwange Safari Lodge and will be facilitated by local, regional and
international business executives.
The three day Winter School will see participants attending three
classes running concurrently.
Class A is for the Marketing Practitioner Status.
The target audience for this class is qualified marketing personnel,
Public Relations Executives, Customer service personnel and Digital
Marketers. Among the topics to be covered in this class are;
Advanced Marketing Strategy in the Digital Era,the CEO opinion:
Getting the marketer into the C Suite; preparation of Digitally
integrated Marketing Plan and the Role Of Marketing In Sustainable
Product Development And Innovation
Class B is the newly introduced Sales Practitioner Status whose
target audience is sales personnel, Business development, Sales
managers and key account executives. The Sales person has not
been spared the demands of a changing landscape. Topics to be
covered include ; high Impact sales strategy in Digital World; the CEO
opinion: Getting the marketer into the C Suite, Sales Techniques to
foster lead generation and conversion in digital era and managing
Complex Decision making units in B2B Markets
Class C the Continuous Professional Development Master Class
targeted at among others senior managers, marketing managers,

Digital Managers , existing marketing practitioners, public relations
personnel, customer service personnel, product development and
research personnel, among others. Topics for this class include ;
Culture Management to foster customer centricity; the CEO opinion:
Getting the marketer into the C Suite; budgeting Techniques and
Pricing in a volatile environment; leveraging customer experience
and Customer Analytics, the Role Of Marketing In Sustainable
Product Development And Innovation, marketing automation and
Artificial Intelligence in Marketing, brand Management Across omni-
channels in the new normal; managing Digital Campaigns and
maximising customer experience through e-commerce.

Some of the confirmed speakers for r the Winter School are;
Lawrence Kupika divisional director, Retail Banking at POSB, Mr
Nkosivile Madinga head of Section-Marketing at University of Cape
Town, Mr Lawrence Kutinyu- Group Marketing Executive at National
Foods, Mr Admire-Ndumo General Manager Hyundai, Delta
marketing director-Mr Irimayi Muzorewa; Nkosana Mapuma-
General Manager Sales and Marketing PPC Zimbabwe, Emmagness
Ruzvidzo-Head of Brand & Marketing · Global Payments Inc.
Registration for the program is ongoing.
For registration contact Rose on training@mazim.co.zw or 0774 361
163

Marketers Association of Zimbabwe unveiled the Top 200 brands at a Breakfast meeting held under the theme ‘Brand Relevance and Dominance in the Age of the New Customer’.

The Breakfast meeting attended by over 100 marketers, brand managers and senior executives was held at the Monomotapa Hotel on Friday 13 May 2022.

The unveiling of the top 200 brands, is an annual event which culminates to the Superbrand Awards held at the end of the year.

In his welcome remarks at the Breakfast meeting, MAZ president, Professor Zororo Muranda thanked all participating brands that have partnered MAZ for the last 12 years.

“We would like to thank you all for your support and participation that has seen the Superbrand being recognised in this country as a key indicator for brand supremacy,” said Prof Muranda.

He also appreciated the Superbrand Adjudicating committee for its hard work that has ensured that the Superbrand keeps going.

“Thank you very much team, your commitment and efforts are recognised,” said Prof Muranda.

He highlighted that the past three years had seen a paradigm shift from the normal way of doing business and the brands were not spared from the rapid changes that have taken place.

“But, let me take this opportunity to congratulate you brand custodians who have stood forth and ensured that your brands pass this litmus test that began in 2010,” he said.

Guest Speaker at the event, Mr Gilbert Tsongorera, the Chief Commercial Officer for Ecocash Holdings said in the new normal, the customer had become had become ‘king’.

“There has really been a shift in the way we do marketing, and that shift will come through because initially companies used to control the narrative .We never gave the customer a chance and now we have customers now controlling the narrative, “said Mr Tsongorera.

He said the consumer has become a determinant factor in the success and growth of brands.

 “As marketers we have been forced to co-create with customers in mind which really speaks to the value that the customer brings to us. The question is how relevant is your brand as far as the customer is concerned,” he said.

Mr Tsongorera said it was important for brands to strive for success but also to be willing to fail.

“With the advent of Covid 19 there is now less bricks and more of clicks, it’s important that we also follow the trends and embrace technology,” he said.

He added that it was compelling to have a strategy as you build your brand and have a corporate vision.

Superbrand Adjudication Committee chairperson, Mr Arza Khan highlighted that it was important for brands to be associated with Superbrand.

“It is important for Zimbabwean brands to be associated with the Superbrand process because, it has been designed to specific way that is adjudicated in a way that has not been done with most awards.

Our Superbrand process is right up there with some of the best in determining whether a brand is recognisable in the market. Being recognised is something that’s quite important and relevant and important specifically for this particular program,” said Khan.

He highlighted that the consumer remains the determinant factor in the Superbrand process.

Mr Khan led the unveiling of the Top 200 brands at the Superbrand Meeting.

MAZ Head Marketing and Operations, Mrs Enia Zimunya thanked all sponsors and partners that made the Superbrand Breakfast Meeting a success.

In closing remarks , MAZ Business Development Executive-Superbrand and Research , Mr Wesley Kasambira urged participating brands to pay research fees to ensure a flawless Superbrand countrywide research process.

The Superbrand Business Breakfast Meeting marks the first phase of the Superbrand process. As usual, before the unveiling of the shortlisted brands, the Adjudication Committee was given a chance to verify and endorse these 2022 sectorial brands in Zimbabwe.

After the unveiling of the participating brands, the next step is to take these brands back to the consumers for rating and ranking through a representative and nationwide consumer research. The survey is conducted among Zimbabwean adults aged between 15 years and 65 years. This is a quantitative research in which personal face to face interviews are conducted with the selected respondents.

Birthed in 2010, the awards celebrate brands that break new ground and go beyond excellence in service delivery and brands that are always on the mind of the consumer.

Proton was adjudged as Zimbabwe’s Superbrand for the year 2021.

Marketers Association of Zimbabwe is set to unveil the 2022 top 200 Zimbabwean brands at a Breakfast meeting on Friday 13 May 2022 at the Monomotapa Hotel.

The unveiling of the top 200 brands, is an annual event that culminates to the Superbrand Awards held at the end of the year.

MAZ Executive Secretary, Mr Gillian Rusike said this year’s Superbrand Breakfast Meeting is being held under the theme ‘Brand Relevance and Dominance in the Age of the New Customer’ which is relevant to the times ever-changing business environment and customer.

“I think the times that we are operating are also putting a huge demand on the brands in order for them to transform to be able to speak to the aspirations of the customer, in order for them to speak to the expectations and to speak to the trust of the customers.

We are in a volatile environment where everything and anything is just coming by and changes are taking place therefore for brands to be sustainable they need to be part and parcel  of the customers’ life journey , they need to be solution providers,” said Mr Rusike.

He emphasised that there was really need to look at branding from a different perspective if they are to be relevant to the growth of the economy as well as impact they are making to customers.

“We need brands that are speaking to the aspirations of the customers, they need to look into the future. It’s no longer business as usual but they need to connect intricately, emotionally with the expectations of the customers,” he said.

He added: “We are in an environment where there is a lot of mistrust people are no longer trusting the person that is next to them and so is the same with the products that they are interfacing with and so we really need that transformation to take place in order for brands to be relevant to the economy”.

Mr Rusike said Mr Gilbert Tsongorera, the Chief Commercial Officer for Ecocash Holdings would be the Guest speaker at this year’s Superbrand Breakfast Meeting.

The Superbrand Business Breakfast Meeting marks the first phase of the Superbrand process. As usual, before the unveiling of the shortlisted brands, the Adjudication Committee was given a chance to verify and endorse these 2022 sectorial brands in Zimbabwe.

After the unveiling of the participating brands, the next step is to take these brands back to the consumers for rating and ranking through a representative and nationwide consumer research. The survey is conducted among Zimbabwean adults aged between 15 years and 65 years. This is a quantitative research in which personal face to face interviews are conducted with the selected respondents.

Birthed in 2010, the awards celebrate brands that break new ground and go beyond excellence in service delivery and brands that are always on the mind of the consumer. Proton was adjudged as Zimbabwe’s Superbrand for the year 2021