As the evening unfolded, attendees were treated to a symphony of invaluable insights shared by the distinguished guest speaker, Arthur Marara, whose words resonated deeply, illuminating the path to financial empowerment with his wisdom and experience.

Addressing the eager audience, Arthur Marara set the tone for the evening with a poignant reflection on the importance of informal settings in fostering meaningful conversations. “My deals are actually outside my office. They’re only formalized in my office,” Marara remarked, emphasizing the pivotal role of informal gatherings in cultivating fruitful relationships and business opportunities. In a world where formalities often overshadow authenticity, Marara’s words served as a timely reminder of the power of genuine connections forged in relaxed settings.

Throughout his discourse, Marara challenged the prevailing narrative of neglecting self-development among men, particularly in the face of initiatives geared towards the advancement of women. With unwavering conviction, he urged men to take proactive steps towards their own growth and well-being. “As men, we need to be proactive when it comes to our own agenda, self-development agenda,” Marara asserted, igniting a spark of determination within each attendee to seize opportunities for personal and professional advancement.

Central to Marara’s message was the imperative of wealth creation and financial literacy. With eloquence and clarity, he demystified the complexities of business, presenting it as the art of “taking money from people without people knowing it.” Through anecdotes and practical examples, he elucidated the intricacies of value creation and market dynamics, urging attendees to explore diverse avenues for income generation. “Money amplifies your voice,” Marara proclaimed, underscoring the transformative power of wealth creation in shaping one’s destiny.

In a world where success is often equated with financial prosperity, Marara’s insights struck a chord with attendees, inspiring them to re-evaluate their approach to wealth accumulation. With a blend of pragmatism and optimism, he outlined the three pillars of wealth creation: production, investment, and social capital. Drawing from his own experiences, he emphasized the importance of diversification and risk management in building a robust financial portfolio. “Wealth creation is not a sprint, but a marathon,” Marara remarked, urging attendees to adopt a long-term perspective in their pursuit of financial freedom.

Acknowledging the role of social capital in business success, Marara underscored the significance of building trust and fostering meaningful relationships. He encouraged attendees to leverage their personal networks and connections, emphasizing that people are more inclined to support those they like and trust. “In business, it’s not just about what you know, but who you know,” Marara affirmed, highlighting the importance of cultivating strong interpersonal relationships in the pursuit of success.

Furthermore, Marara emphasized the importance of taking calculated risks and embracing organic growth. Drawing from his own experiences, he shared anecdotes of resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity, inspiring attendees to overcome their fears and pursue their dreams with conviction. “Organic growth is ultimately more sustainable and aligns with the journey of development and patience,” Marara affirmed, urging attendees to trust in the power of incremental progress.

As the evening progressed, attendees were captivated by Marara’s impassioned call to action and practical advice for achieving financial independence. The event was made possible through the generous support of Delta Corporation, whose sponsorship of Chibuku added to the convivial atmosphere. In his closing remarks, Mr. Felix Mambondiani, MAZBI Training Manager, expressed gratitude to the attendees for their participation and engagement. Testimonies shared by men in attendance underscored the transformative impact of the Pachoto event, reaffirming its role as a catalyst for personal and professional growth.

In conclusion, the Pachoto event served as a beacon of hope and empowerment, equipping men with the knowledge and tools to navigate the complex terrain of retirement planning and wealth building. As attendees departed, they carried with them not only valuable insights but also a renewed sense of purpose and determination to achieve financial fitness in their lives. The seeds of change had been sown, and as they embarked on their respective journeys, they did so with a newfound sense of confidence and optimism, ready to conquer the challenges that lay ahead.

“AI is already transforming the way we market. It’s helping us to better understand our customers, create more relevant content and deliver more personalized experiences.” David Ogilvy, Founder of Ogilvy & Mather, ‘The father of modern advertising.’

Artificial Intelligence (AI), is a term that was coined by an American mathematician and computer scientist, John McCarthy in 1955. It refers to the ability of computer-based operating systems to mimic and or duplicate meticulous human-like activities such as recognizing speech, making decisions, and identifying patterns. AI in business has become more mainstream as businesses try to save time, cut costs and improve proficiencies. Did you know that AI is predicted to be worth over $500 billion by 2024?   

Artificial Intelligence marketing (AI marketing) is defined by the Forbes Agency Council as a method of leveraging technology to improve the customer journey by anticipating their next move with no additional effort from the marketer. AI marketing uses machine learning, big data analytics and other processes to get a deeper understanding of the targeted audience since much of the guesswork involved in customer exchanges is eliminated thus leading to more effective customer touchpoints. This results in the boost of a marketing campaign’s Return on Investment (ROI). AI marketing is being used by the agile Chief Marketing officer (CMO) to complement marketing teams or to implement more strategic activities that require less human tact. A recent survey conducted by PwC shows that 72% of business leaders rely on AI marketing to grow their businesses. Jump on the bandwagon, do not be left behind!   

AI marketing will collect data, learn the behaviour of the customers, for example, liking a Facebook post or clicking a button, and then it will analyse the information. According to the HubSpot blog, the top three reported uses for AI marketing are content personalisation, predictive analytics to gain valuable insights and targeting decisions. Other uses include media buying, automated email campaigns, sales forecasting and search engine optimisation (SEO) since AI algorithms analyse traffic to a website, identify key words and track competitor activities.

AI Marketing in Practice Chatbots

One use of AI marketing that has been around for years is chatbots. Chatbots solve quick glitches for customers, answer frequently asked questions and much more. A chatbot personalises the customer journey. According to techcabal, Zivai is a chatbot that offers Zimbabweans an alternative to ChatGPT. Techpress says that Talktoai.co.zw is a chatbot that lets you interact with ChatGPT. Apple’s popular Siri, is a chatbot that uses voice-recognition software. Chatbots transform marketing operations. Chatbots are game-changers!

Netflix

Previous viewing history is used to determine the artwork for recommended movies or TV shows. If one tends to watch Danai Gurira movies or shows, for example, The Walking Dead, Netflix will most likely recommend other movies or shows, she has acted in, for example, Black Panther. Amazon

Only those that leave under rocks, don’t know that Amazon has an incredible customer experience! It was one of the first companies to build their business around AI and machine learning. Amazon is obsessed with customer experience. An article by Bernard Marr, a world-renowned futurist, influencer and thought leader in the fields of business and technology, says that Amazon’s entire organization is constantly humming with artificial intelligence and that founder Jeff Bezos mandated that data is shared across the organization, not hoarded in one department or process. Did you know that Amazon is so confident about its AI that it will ship things to you before you even think about buying them? They are using continuous AI to understand the context and intent behind customer enquiries, so that they know why people are searching for specific products.

Why should a Zimbabwean business invest in AI Marketing?

AI marketing is a transformative force that will give a business a cutting edge. Adobe Business says that personalized marketing experiences drive sales increases of up to 80 percent and that the development of AI marketing offers the potential for double-digit improvements in outcomes: 41 percent of marketers say that AI leads to higher revenue generation from email campaigns, as well as a 13 percent improvement in click-through rates. According to an Oracle report, 34 percent of marketing leaders believe AI will lead to the biggest improvement in customer experience because it enables hyper-personalized content. With AI, there is a more precise measurement of marketing campaigns, for example, AI marketing tools will pick out which hashtag or hook generates a high volume of leads. AI marketing enables marketers to make quick, informed and cost-effective decisions.

AI Marketing Drawbacks

Most people don’t really know what AI marketing is and what it can or can’t do. This, in itself, is a setback. No one will invest in what they don’t understand or don’t trust. This obviously leads to ethical, legal, safety and other such concerns. The first step would therefore be to understand AI Marketing, its benefits and its limitations. At the same time, no system is perfect. Whatever concerns one might have, there will be ways to mitigate them. After all, the benefits of using AI marketing, far outweigh the drawbacks. AI marketing works best when a company invests in technological advancements, incessant fine-tuning, monitoring and robust feedback to minimise concerns because there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.

AI marketing is without a doubt a transformative force that will change roles and expertise requirements for most companies. It will be a very big differentiator in the near future. Businesses that want to survive and conquer should not ignore, the transformative force that is AI marketing…A force to reckon with. Finding a technology partner to walk with through the AI marketing journey, is highly recommended. Predict and lead industry changes!

Author Mini Bio

Rujeko Adlyne Bara is a Maz member and a Maz Trainer. She is an avid Business Strategist, a Brand Champion and an Author who contributes regularly to The ZimMarketer Magazine. Contact: rujekoadlynebara@gmail.com      

In the fast-paced world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Marketing Technology (MarTech), where digital advancements drive marketing strategies, the significance of health and wellness often takes a backseat. However, the symbiotic relationship between professional success and personal well-being cannot be overstated. In this edition, we delve into the realm of Health and Wellness, exploring how AI and MarTech intersect with the crucial aspects of physical and mental well-being for marketers and PR professionals.

As AI streamlines processes and MarTech enhances efficiency, the boundary between work and personal life can blur. Achieving a harmonious balance is essential for long-term success and sustained well-being. Professionals should leverage AI tools for optimal productivity without compromising their health. Setting clear boundaries, scheduling breaks, and embracing technology to enhance work-life balance are vital practices in the AI and MarTech landscape.

The constant evolution of technology can lead to information overload and heightened stress levels. Marketers and PR professionals often navigate high-pressure environments where staying connected is paramount. Incorporating mindfulness practices, unplugging from devices during non-working hours, and using AI-driven tools for stress management can contribute to mental well-being. Recognizing the signs of burnout and proactively addressing them is crucial in the era of relentless digital connectivity.

While technology can contribute to sedentary lifestyles, AI and MarTech also offer innovative solutions for personalized health and fitness. Wearable devices, AI-driven fitness apps, and virtual wellness programs empower professionals to prioritize physical health. Integrating these tools into daily routines can transform the sedentary nature of desk-bound roles into opportunities for maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle.

Beyond personal health, AI has revolutionized the healthcare industry, impacting the overall wellness of individuals. AI-driven diagnostics, telemedicine, and personalized health recommendations are changing the way individuals approach healthcare. Marketers and PR professionals can benefit from these advancements by proactively engaging with health-related technologies to ensure regular check-ups and preventive care.

Marketing Technology extends beyond campaign management; it plays a role in reducing stress through streamlined processes. Automated workflows, AI-powered analytics, and data-driven insights enable professionals to work more efficiently, alleviating the pressure associated with manual tasks. Embracing MarTech not only enhances productivity but also contributes to stress reduction in the fast-paced marketing landscape.

Incorporating health and wellness into the workplace culture is a shared responsibility. Employers can utilize AI for employee well-being programs, while professionals can advocate for initiatives that prioritize health. Open communication, flexible schedules, and supportive workplace environments contribute to a holistic approach to well-being in the AI and MarTech-driven workplace.

In conclusion, achieving success in the dynamic landscape of AI and MarTech requires a holistic approach that encompasses both professional prowess and personal well-being. By embracing the potential of technology to enhance health and wellness, marketers and PR professionals can navigate the digital wave with resilience, ensuring a prosperous and balanced future.

  1. In order to ensure a sale, the prospective customer/client must:
  2. need the product/service; or
  3. want the product/service; or
  4. both need and want the product/service.

It is important to note that a prospective customer may take action on a want which is currently affordable, rather than a more important need which he cannot afford and which he considers postponable. In other words, current wants can be stronger than long-term needs.

  1. A good presentation should make the prospective customer not only see the advantages of acquiring the product or using the service that is being offered, but also the cost of not doing so. Because most people try to avoid ‘unnecessary expenditure,’ if the prospective customer decides that the current situation is something he can live with, they are not likely to make the proposed purchase. It is therefore the responsibility of the marketer/salesperson to make a compelling case for the product or service. Additionally, if the prospective customer decides that the value of the product or service is less than what he is being asked to pay, the sale is unlikely to occur.
  1. Advances in technology mean that prospective customers can now do most of their research on products/services they are interested in online or even from other sources. This means that the marketer/salesperson ‘s role has now shifted from that of being a provider of detailed information about their products/services. His main responsibility is to uncover the prospective customer’s specific needs or actionable wants through effective questioning and listening, and to show how the product/service can solve the problems, challenges and other pain points faced by the prospective customer. Remember that the relevance of the product/service is directly related to its capacity to do this. No matter how good or valuable the product/service appears to you, in most cases it cannot sell itself. Your input is thus the major determinant of the success of your product/service, and ultimately your own success.
  1. The multiple-touch strategy recognizes that it may take at least five attempts to get through to a prospective customer or to set up a meeting, but persistence on your part may pay off. When you eventually get to meet the prospective customer, do not guilt-trip them, because this will only show how amateurish you are. It is much better to express your appreciation for the meeting, and get on with the business on hand.
  1. The power of a marketing communication refers to its ability to evoke or elicit a response from  the recipient. The sender hopes that the recipient will respond favourably to the message, and act on it either immediately or in the near future. Most marketers will naturally look forward to a quick, favourable reaction, although  this is an unrealistic expectation because the preferred outcome i.e. a sale, will only occur if certain conditions are present e.g.an urgent need, a strong want, affordability etc. In the absence of an immediate decision on the part of the recipient, a key quality of an effective marketing message is its residual value i.e. whether it has sufficient impact to be stored internally or externally by the recipient to be used in the future. This is normally related to the message’s perceived value from the recipient’s viewpoint.
  2. Expertise and time, not resources, are the biggest assets in the hands of a

successful marketer or salesperson. The true value of anybody working in these    areas is measured by what he spends most of his time doing. His toolkit should include both hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are the ’technical’ or ‘scientific’ skills which every professional should have in order to practise in any field. Soft skills are complimentary attributes which in many cases can mean the difference between success and failure, since they highlight differences between excellence and mediocrity.

P

CREATING CUSTOMER VALUE THROUGH PROACTIVE MARKETING  AND SELLING             by Patrick M. Paradza

  1. In order to ensure a sale, the prospective customer/client must:
  2. need the product/service; or
  3. want the product/service; or
  4. both need and want the product/service.

It is important to note that a prospective customer may take action on a want which is currently affordable, rather than a more important need which he cannot afford and which he considers postponable. In other words, current wants can be stronger than long-term needs.

  1. A good presentation should make the prospective customer not only see the advantages of acquiring the product or using the service that is being offered, but also the cost of not doing so. Because most people try to avoid ‘unnecessary expenditure,’ if the prospective customer decides that the current situation is something he can live with, they are not likely to make the proposed purchase. It is therefore the responsibility of the marketer/salesperson to make a compelling case for the product or service. Additionally, if the prospective customer decides that the value of the product or service is less than what he is being asked to pay, the sale is unlikely to occur.
  1. Advances in technology mean that prospective customers can now do most of their research on products/services they are interested in online or even from other sources. This means that the marketer/salesperson ‘s role has now shifted from that of being a provider of detailed information about their products/services. His main responsibility is to uncover the prospective customer’s specific needs or actionable wants through effective questioning and listening, and to show how the product/service can solve the problems, challenges and other pain points faced by the prospective customer. Remember that the relevance of the product/service is directly related to its capacity to do this. No matter how good or valuable the product/service appears to you, in most cases it cannot sell itself. Your input is thus the major determinant of the success of your product/service, and ultimately your own success.
  1. The multiple-touch strategy recognizes that it may take at least five attempts to get through to a prospective customer or to set up a meeting, but persistence on your part may pay off. When you eventually get to meet the prospective customer, do not guilt-trip them, because this will only show how amateurish you are. It is much better to express your appreciation for the meeting, and get on with the business on hand.
  1. The power of a marketing communication refers to its ability to evoke or elicit a response from  the recipient. The sender hopes that the recipient will respond favourably to the message, and act on it either immediately or in the near future. Most marketers will naturally look forward to a quick, favourable reaction, although  this is an unrealistic expectation because the preferred outcome i.e. a sale, will only occur if certain conditions are present e.g.an urgent need, a strong want, affordability etc. In the absence of an immediate decision on the part of the recipient, a key quality of an effective marketing message is its residual value i.e. whether it has sufficient impact to be stored internally or externally by the recipient to be used in the future. This is normally related to the message’s perceived value from the recipient’s viewpoint.
  2. Expertise and time, not resources, are the biggest assets in the hands of a

successful marketer or salesperson. The true value of anybody working in these    areas is measured by what he spends most of his time doing. His toolkit should include both hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are the ’technical’ or ‘scientific’ skills which every professional should have in order to practise in any field. Soft skills are complimentary attributes which in many cases can mean the difference between success and failure, since they highlight differences between excellence and mediocrity.

Patrick M. Paradza is a member of the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe. He is a marketing strategist and sales trainer. He can be contacted at 0780-248 095 or patrick.paradza@mrzconsult.co.zw       

Patrick M. Paradza is a member of the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe. He is a marketing strategist and sales trainer. He can be contacted at 0780-248 095 or patrick.paradza@mrzconsult.co.zw       

We are living in an age where organisations have mastered the art of branding and presenting the brand in a glorious way to customers. This incorporates both the product and services industries. The creativity across the board is very impressive and the advertising campaigns have done well to tick all the key boxes which incorporate the following elements:

Most campaigns have done well to create tangible visibility and presence in the market. Alongside this has been the respect that has been built for such brands. Advertising brands also tend to win the automatic trust of customers and they are viewed as the authentic brands due to the fact that they can afford to advertise. Those organisations that are not big on advertising are treated with suspicion and often trusted after they have proved themselves.

Delivering on promises made through advertising is a crucial aspect of building a brand’s equity. Advertising serves as a bridge between businesses and consumers, fostering a symbiotic relationship that brings about numerous advantages to the latter. Here are some benefits of delivering on promises made through advertising:

Matching the promises made by an organization through advertising and actual delivery to the customer is crucial for building trust and loyalty with customers. When a company makes a promise to its customers, it sets an expectation that the customer will receive a certain level of service or product quality. If the company fails to deliver on that promise, it can lead to a loss of trust and loyalty from the customer. After coming across some brilliant radio and press adverts for a specific local bank in Zimbabwe, I decided to visit one of the branches to open an account since the adverts promised that one could open an account instantly within minutes. Upon arrival at the bank, I was amazed to discover that the staff in the branch were unaware of the campaign and to cut a long story short it took 3weeks to open the account.

Companies may make false claims in advertising to attract customers and increase sales such as in the case of the bank mentioned above. However, this practice can lead to negative consequences such as a damaged reputation. I became a strong opinion leader in discouraging people from opening accounts with that bank and there were many people who would indicate an interest to open an account but as soon as I shared my experience with them they would look for other options.

Many companies have been caught out for peddling mediocre products, using wild claims like “scientifically proven” with “guaranteed results.” For companies that cross such lines, it can cost millions and lead to a damaged reputation. An example is the Ambi skin products which were skin lighteners that contained a chemical called hydroquinone which after a period of use would damage the skin. Keeping promises to customers should underlie everything that a company does. It should be at the core of customer service excellence. Customers understand that there would be service lapses and problems. They can be forgiving if they know a company tried its best and would do anything to make amends. Clients must perceive effort and commitment from the company in keeping its promises to them. Breaking promises to customers is a sure way of driving them away, and ensuring that they never come back.

False advertising is used to increase the number of customers to the company or business with the intention to increase profits. Some types of false advertising are more noticeable to consumers than other advertising schemes. Companies whose only goal is to rack up as many profits as possible tend to use advertisements that may conceal important facts, or use misleading images in a bid to get customers to buy a service or product. The proof of the pudding is always in the eating, such companies are usually found wanting at the point of delivery.

When a brand follows through on its promises, it results in a loyal and happy customer base, ready to advocate for the business and help it grow. This results in increased word of mouth referrals and these tend to be more effective as customers tend to believe those who have an experience with the product or service. On the other hand, when a brand breaks its promise, it shatters customer trust, leading to a damaged brand. Breaking the promises made to the customers leads to negative reviews and as a result reduced revenue.

Promises made through advertising that are not fulfilled can have severe consequences for both consumers and businesses. False promises can deceive consumers into making uninformed decisions about products or services. This can lead to dissatisfaction, loss of trust. Unfulfilled promises can erode consumer trust in a business, making it difficult for the business to attract new customers and retain existing ones.

In conclusion, matching promises made by an organization through advertising and actual delivery to the customer is essential for building trust and loyalty with customers. Companies should set clear expectations when beginning an association with a new customer, ensure that sales staff do not overpromise or narrate half-truths when making their sales pitch to customers, keep customers informed in case of inadvertent delays, and promise only as much as they can deliver. It is important for businesses to be truthful in their advertising practices so as to uphold the brand’s equity.

By Juliet Ziswa

*In this article I will use the words brand and business interchangeably*.

I will start with a few questions in order to give a bit of perspective:

These are pertinent questions to help unpack the purpose-led business model & conversation.  I have noted that a lot of businesses donate and support good causes during the Festive Season.  That’s really great, but my challenge to the brands and businesses is how to make ‘doing good in society’ a sustainable pillar in the brand and business strategy.    My intention in this article is to provoke, spark & inspire good conversations with Business Leaders & Marketers.  

We currently live in a world with socio-economic & environmental challenges.   Unemployment is high, health issues, power issues, economic issues, drought, pollution, you name it!  Is this something businesses and brands should worry about and meaningfully take a strategic view?   For a business to do well and succeed, the question to ask is ‘what bigger problem are we solving for as a business/brand’.   Global exposure is pushing people to increasingly want to buy & engage with brands serving the greater good of the society.  Our own children now look at the difference they can make to the world as their biggest motivation in life.  This therefore means that being a purpose led business is no longer an option. Brands that ignore purpose are becoming irrelevant.                   

Brand purpose is one of the most hotly debated business principles in the last 10+ years.    It is a topic very dear to my heart as I have been privileged enough to work with brands that were probably pioneers of a purpose led business model.  I have not encountered many African brands that have clearly articulated their #purpose even though I am pretty certain that their purposes are hidden in the vision or mission & possibly values too. 

It is very important for a brand or business to ‘call out’ its purpose internally and externally.    Writers like  Jim Stengel  have presented brand purpose/brand ideal  as a key driver of commercial success.  A brand ideal is a higher purpose of a brand or organization, which goes beyond the product or service they sell.  Jim explains it this way: “The ideal is the brand’s inspirational reason for being. It explains why the brand exists and the impact it seeks to make in the world.    The New Engine for Business Growth Millward Brown outlines the background principles for more deeper reading..

A good example that brings to life  the purpose led business model is the  2019  #Netpreneur Prize winner  Ms Temie Giwa-Tubosan  who founded LifeBank LINK.    The company believes that ‘No African should die from a shortage of essential medical products at the Hospital level’.   Now that’s a #Purpose-Led business.      

My simplistic definition of purpose-led brands is ‘how brands contribute to making the world a better place at a profit’.  

Sometimes brand purpose is mistaken for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Donations & Sponsorships, it is NOT.  CSR sometimes tends to be ‘knee jerk’ with no ‘deeper and bigger reason’ of why that particular CSR plan.  If the demonstrations of brand purpose are intermittent, consumers will perceive such initiatives, regardless of their true authenticity, as “goodwashing”, greenwashing   or “purpose washing.  This is an important point to remember as knee jerk executions can damage the brand into the future.

6 Reasons Why Brands should be #Purpose-Led

1.Purpose drives GROWTH & PROFIT – Brands with a high positive impact on people’s lives grow faster than those with a low perceived impact. Kantar’s Purpose 2020 LINK  study shows that  brands considered by consumers to have a positive impact grow at 2x the rate of other brands.

2. Purpose galvanizes Leadership Team – I can personally testify that a business purpose galvanizes the Leadership Team.   Leadership is fully unified when they have a shared intention.   It is known that high performing teams have clarity of purpose.  As Peter Drucker observed, ‘The most successful company is NOT the one with the most brains, BUT the most brains acting in concert’.

3. Purpose attracts & inspires good Talent – People like to be associated with brands perceived to be making a meaningful difference in society.  ‘Purpose makes people 3 times more likely to stay in an organization.    It also creates 75% more customer retention.  This is all because purposeful organizations value their people’ Digitalist Magazine: LINK

4. Purpose drives Brand Relevance, Engagement, Competitiveness & Distinctiveness – Purpose-driven brands are able to create more emotional & profound bonds with consumers.   They are not perceived as a standard commodity, rather, they are seen as a business serving a bigger movement towards a better world.  Purpose opens the business beyond ordinary product pitch, it forms the basis for a deeper consumer – brand relationship: a connection built on shared values.  Purpose paves the way for increased brand relevance and distinctiveness as reflected in the Lifebuoy case here

5. Purpose drives INNOVATION – Purpose opens the way to innovation that does more for the greater good of the world.   Innovation will come through not only from a product functionality perspective but will include service innovation, market execution innovation and innovation from a creative & marketing communication perspective.

6. Purpose makes the World a Better Place: With a purpose, brands become a force for good in the communities they operate in.  The society itself will go the extra mile to support purposeful brands, which makes the whole execution sustainable.  That way, businesses make the world a better place!

Afterthought 

1.Purpose inspires Creative Agencies to develop game-changing campaigns

2.Purpose attracts the right Partners to scale up businesses.

3.Purpose Led Personal Brand:  We all ought to craft our personal purposes.  Try it & let me know how it goes. 

More Examples for your reading pleasure & conversation!  What are your views and thoughts on ‘purpose-led’ brands and businesses? 

This is an example is a #Social Enterprise with a clear purpose.

One Acre Fund Purpose LINK.  I like the way they talk about: ‘….  making more farmers more prosperous’.

This article would not be complete without mentioning my all time favourite brand which I was privileged to work on.  Lifebuoy has a purpose and Social Mission to bring safety, security and health to people through the active promotion of hand washing with soap.   This has consistently been supported across countries and has seen the brand engaging with people in the most relevant way. LINK

Zimbabwe, a country known for its vibrant culture and resilient people, is now embracing the digital revolution with the introduction of chatbots in its business landscape. As the nation strives to grow digitally and improve payment options for products and services, chatbots have emerged as a potential solution, promising improved customer service and streamlined transactions. But are these chatbots really worth the hype? Let’s delve into the intricacies and assess their viability in the Zimbabwean market.

Let’s begin with a definition. Chatbots are intelligent software applications designed to engage with users through Messenger apps. They provide prompt responses to customer inquiries by employing advanced algorithms to recognize keywords and deliver preprogrammed replies. Nowadays we have chatbots enabled by artificial intelligence but that’s a topic for another day.

In the global race of chatbot technology, China is yards ahead of the rest with its super-app, WeChat, which is the “digital life blood ” of 90% of the Chinese population. WeChat encompasses a wide range of activities, from booking flights and hotels to purchasing goods from supermarkets and street vendors. It is the dominant method of payment and money transfer in China. All the major social media platforms want to do the same thing, including Elon Musk who openly shared that his intentions are to make  x.com an “everything app”. Simply put, he wants to develop the former Twitter to become a super app.

Why do we need to consider all of this? It’s because this is one of the key reasons why  Zimbabwean businesses need to invest in chatbots right now. The world is fast adopting digital innovations and collaborating to create new business models.  The pandemic itself  has taught us that it only takes a crisis to change the business landscape. Early adopters to technology trends often destroy their competition or take them by surprise at the very least.

Banks and Fintech companies around the world have already adopted open and shared systems to make payment integrations seamless and prepare the world for a cashless society.

This has been foundational for new payment gateways such as Google Pay and Facebook Pay.

When it comes to payments in Zimbabwe, the options are rather limited (for now). Banks, insurance companies, MNOs, humanitarian agencies and companies both small and great are using this. Banks have integrated services such as VISA card enquiries via WhatsApp chatbots. However, because our banking systems are not open and shared, the chatbot is limited to the bank that owns it, meaning I need two chatbots if I have two banks that I use. Mobile money services have become the go-to choice for digital transactions as they are easier to integrate with chatbots. The process is not without its hurdles.

To begin with, signing up for these new payment gateways can be quite a task. Some platforms require users to navigate through a series of steps before they can even begin the registration process. Limited compatibility with a select number of banks adds another layer of complexity. Users are often redirected to external websites and prompted to log in, making the process cumbersome and time-consuming. It’s no wonder that many Zimbabweans prefer the simplicity of mobile money transactions.

There really is one messenger app that Zimbabweans would care to use with chatbots, and that’s WhatsApp. Mobile money is the perfect place to start with when including transactional functionality in a WhatsApp chatbot. While banks have also come on board with chatbot technology, the average user would rather use mobile apps to transact because they can easily send money to different banks without having to leave the mobile app.

The fact that banks are working to improve systems and embrace technology is a great move for Zimbabwe. This means there is progress and we are learning and improving our understanding of how chatbots work and making them better.

However, the adoption of chatbots for Zimbabweans is not without its challenges. Trust remains a significant concern among users, given the prevalence of fraudulent activities in the digital space, the culture of mobile money, banking apps and USSD that are now a way of life. Building trust will require transparent communication, robust security measures, and a strong emphasis on data protection. Providers must prioritize these aspects to instill confidence in users and encourage widespread adoption of chatbot-based payment gateways.

Successful implementation of chatbots in Zimbabwe necessitates careful consideration of various factors. Custom flow design is crucial, ensuring that the chatbot’s conversation with users is intuitive and seamless. System design and architecture plays a vital role in mapping out the development process, ensuring that every stage is executed efficiently. The development of the chatbot software itself requires expertise in systems development, and third-party integration (APIs) can be a cost-effective way to incorporate additional features into the chatbot’s functionality. Rigorous testing is essential to guarantee the chatbot’s reliability and effectiveness, and finally, a great user experience.

All this will not be enough without an effective  go-to-market strategy. How do we get enough users? How do we educate the users so they use all the key features we’ve provided for them? How do we keep them active? The strategy must answer these questions practically. Are we going to use a referral program? What advertising channels are most effective? Will we partner with other companies? Will we run promotions? This is where marketing makes or breaks the success of a WhatsApp chatbot.

The ROI of WhatsApp chatbots can be measured through various metrics. For instance, businesses can track the reduction in customer support costs as chatbots handle a significant portion of inquiries, freeing up human agents to focus on more complex tasks. Additionally, increased customer satisfaction and engagement can lead to higher conversion rates and repeat business, contributing to revenue growth.

Furthermore, chatbots can gather valuable customer data and insights. By analyzing user interactions and preferences, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of customer needs, enabling them to refine marketing strategies, personalize offerings, and improve overall customer experiences. This data-driven approach enhances decision-making and can result in more targeted and effective marketing campaigns.

It’s important to note that the ROI of WhatsApp chatbots may vary depending on factors such as the complexity of implementation, the extent of automation, and the specific business objectives. However, when implemented thoughtfully and aligned with business goals, WhatsApp chatbots have the potential to deliver significant returns by enhancing customer service, optimizing operational efficiency, and driving business growth.

In conclusion, chatbots have the potential to revolutionize the payment gateway landscape in Zimbabwe, addressing the current limitations and  providing enhanced customer service. However, their success relies on overcoming challenges such as accessibility, trust issues, and lack of systemic initiatives that capacitate transformation. The integration of chatbots into the Zimbabwean market requires careful planning, collaborative efforts, and a customer-centric approach. If executed correctly, chatbots could indeed be the answer to Zimbabwe’s quest for a seamless and efficient payment ecosystem.

Sustainable development is the development which meets the needs of the present without compromising future generations to meet their own needs. According to the Brundtland Commission, Our Common future will hinge on sustainable choices that we make today. Failure to do that will result in dire consequences for humanity. Many organisations have started to embrace sustainability in their business operations and this has resulted in the growth of their brands.

Customers no longer want to be associated with products which are unsustainable. Polluting processes and energy intensive processes have been identified as negative vices that can cause negative perception towards an organisation. Whenever a major oil spillage happens at sea, pressure and civic groups are amongst the first to arrive. In this digital age, social media continues to either promote or destroy brands based on their environmental and social endeavours.

Implementing sustainability means that brands are environmentally friendly, socially just and economically viable. In other words, it means brands are protecting the People-Planet-Profit (3Ps) agenda. The relevance of sustainability varies from company to company depending on the nature of environmental and social issues.

There are many business benefits of implementing sustainability. Firstly, the brand will be more acceptable to customers. Modern customers do not want to be associated with organisations that are insensitive to the toxicology of hazardous substances.

Secondly, there is a potential to save costs on (energy, water, chemicals and waste). Many organisations pay more for energy, water and chemicals. This can unnecessarily increase the bill of these utilities which can be counter-productive to the financial viability of the organisation.

Thirdly, organisations that implement sustainability within communities, such as through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can be viewed as good corporate citizens who have the ability to assist society. On the other hand, there are organisations which do not support local socio-economic development. These fail to garner support from stakeholders. Getting a license to operate from communities, is the only way to attain long term viability as an entity.

Non-compliance with environmental and social requirements, may result in your brand tainted as an irresponsible organisation, which does not care for the future. There are some bad examples of organisations which have been involved in oil spillages, disposing wastewater at night, abuse of workers, child labour as well as poor health and safety practices. Having workers die in the production process of an organisation can result in the organisation being associated with blood and death. This underlines the need for organisations to invest in Occupational Safety and Health (OSH).

Brand loyalty and brand awareness is shaped by the actions that we do as an organisation and what people know our company for.  Some of these aspects are shaped by perceived or real beliefs towards a company. The ripple effect of this is shaping the public opinion and thereby polluting the clean status of the brand.

In order to buttress brand awareness and sustainable development within organisations, there is a need for a strategy to be development. It is very common to see successful corporations developing sustainability strategies or mainstreaming sustainability into existing company strategies.

The world is currently reeling from the effects of climate change and natural disasters. Most of these events occur as a result of human induced anthropogenic activities. The push towards renewable energy and electric mobility is gaining traction each and every hour. Brands that embrace clean energy sources are seen in good light by society and can gain more customers.

Environmental misdemeanours may result in corporates getting sued or being made to pay compensation. Legal cases associated with environmental sustainability are on the increase. Being on the headline each and every day, may make people detest a company’s brand. Once that attitude builds up, it may become difficult to sell goods and services.

Financiers have also started to include sustainability as a criterion for granting funding. Due to the potential effects of financing unsustainable operations, banks are undertaking due diligence exercises. Therefore, brands that abuse social trust and those which are unfriendly to nature, will find it difficult to be accepted by financiers and investors. Accessing capital through capital markets and other financial havens is becoming difficult without sustainability. As we progress towards a sustainable future, corporate sustainability shall be at the centre of development.

Author

Tawanda Collins Muzamwese is an international consultant in Sustainability who has experience in training, auditing and consultancy in more than 30 countries across the world. He is the founder of Toxiconsol Consultancy and the Green Business Gazette. He holds an MSc in Environmental and Energy Management from University of Twente, Netherlands as well as a BSc in Applied Environmental Science from University of Zimbabwe.

Welcome to the awe-inspiring world where technological innovation meets the art of persuasion. In this era of unprecedented digital transformation, where boundaries blur and possibilities expand, the dynamic duo of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Marketing Technology (MarTech) has emerged as a force to be reckoned with. These cutting-edge tools have revolutionised the landscape of marketing and public relations (PR), reshaping the way brands captivate audiences, forge connections, and leave an indelible mark in consumers’ hearts and minds.

Gone are the days when marketers relied solely on traditional methods to reach their target audience. Today, the relentless march of AI and MarTech has paved the way for a new era of hyper-personalisation, data-driven insights, and unparalleled efficiency. With AI’s ability to swiftly analyse vast volumes of information and MarTech’s arsenal of advanced marketing tools, professionals in the field have been gifted with a trove of opportunities to unlock the true potential of their campaigns.

Imagine a world where every interaction between a brand and its audience is meticulously tailored to individual preferences, delivering a seamless, personalised experience at every touchpoint. AI algorithms, fuelled by copious amounts of data, allow marketers to gain profound insights into consumer behaviours, interests, and desires. Armed with this knowledge, they can create hyper-targeted campaigns that resonate deeply with their intended audience, fostering an emotional connection that transcends mere transactional interactions.

Moreover, AI-powered chatbots have become the unsung heroes of customer service in the digital age. Local companies have not been left out in this bandwagon with Nyaradzo Funeral Assurance having Sahwi, Batsi from Steward Bank, Fuel bot by Inteli Africa Solutions, Chommie from Telone, Thembie from Ecocash, to mention but these few. These virtual assistants, armed with natural language processing capabilities and machine learning algorithms, can engage in real-time conversations, answer queries, and provide assistance round the clock. By effortlessly handling routine tasks, they free up marketers’ time to focus on strategic initiatives, elevating the customer experience to new heights while increasing operational efficiency.

While AI’s impact on marketing cannot be overstated, the synergy it shares with MarTech amplifies its transformative potential. MarTech platforms have bestowed marketers with an impressive array of tools, from marketing automation systems to customer relationship management software, enabling them to streamline workflows, optimise resource allocation, and create compelling, multi-channel campaigns with ease.

The convergence of AI and MarTech has opened doors to uncharted territories, propelling marketers into a future where predictive analytics, machine learning algorithms, and automated decision-making become the norm. By harnessing the power of these technologies, marketers and PR professionals gain the ability to accurately anticipate consumer needs, optimise ad targeting, measure campaign performance in real-time, and adapt strategies on the fly. This agility allows them to stay ahead of the competition, continuously refine their approach, and deliver exceptional results in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

In this article, l elucidate into the remarkable impact of AI and MarTech on marketing and PR. I explore the transformative capabilities of these technologies, from personalised content creation and intelligent ad targeting to sentiment analysis and reputation management. The article unravels the secrets behind leveraging AI and MarTech to captivate audiences, build brand loyalty, and shape the future of marketing and PR.

Artificial Intelligence and Marketing Technology have brought about significant benefits to the fields of marketing and Public Relations:

Data-driven insights

AI and MarTech enable marketers and PR professionals to collect and analyse vast amounts of data from various sources, such as social media, customer interactions, and market trends. By leveraging advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms, they can gain valuable insights into consumer behaviour, preferences, and sentiment. This data-driven approach allows for more informed decision-making and targeted marketing campaigns. To increase its revenues, profitability, and the number of customers it serves online, Jeff Bezos founded e-commerce giant Amazon takes data-driven business decisions. They base their recommendations for consumers’ next actions on the products that customers rank and review after purchasing, the most popular things, click-through rates, and opt-out rates, therefore improving the entire Amazon purchasing process. Following the data insights and putting your trust in them to guide you towards a more successful sales plan has helped Amazon increase sales and maintain its position as the top online retailer in the globe.

Sentiment analysis and Reputation management

PR professionals can leverage AI and MarTech to monitor and analyse online conversations and sentiment around their brand, products, or industry. By using sentiment analysis algorithms, they can quickly identify positive or negative mentions, detect emerging issues, and respond in a timely manner. This proactive approach allows for effective reputation management and helps build stronger relationships with stakeholders.

Customer segmentation and personalisation

AI-powered tools can analyse customer data to create detailed customer profiles and segments. This enables marketers to deliver highly personalised experiences and targeted messaging to specific customer groups. By understanding individual preferences, needs, and purchase history, marketers can tailor their content, offers, and recommendations, resulting in improved customer satisfaction and higher conversion rates. Based on each user’s viewing history, Netflix uses customer data to provide personalised recommendations for films and TV episodes. Additionally, they provide unique material in accordance with certain client categories’ viewing preferences.

Automation and efficiency

AI and MarTech solutions automate repetitive and time-consuming marketing tasks, freeing up valuable time for marketers and PR professionals. For example, AI-powered chatbots can handle customer inquiries and provide instant responses, reducing the need for manual customer support. Automated email marketing campaigns can be optimised and personalised based on user behaviour, leading to more effective communication. Overall, automation streamlines processes, enhances efficiency, and allows teams to focus on strategic initiatives.

Content creation and curation

AI technologies can assist in content creation and curation. Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms can generate written content, such as blog posts, social media updates, and even news articles. AI-powered tools can also curate relevant content from various sources based on predefined criteria, helping marketers stay updated with industry trends and share valuable information with their audience.

Enhanced targeting and advertising

AI algorithms can analyse vast amounts of data to identify patterns and predict customer behaviour. This helps marketers optimise their advertising efforts by identifying the most relevant channels, audiences, and messaging. AI-powered programmatic advertising platforms can automatically target and optimise ad placements, resulting in higher ad relevance, improved ROI, and reduced ad spend wastage. Nike employed AI to develop the “Never done evolving” advertising campaign, which featured Serena Williams. They constructed an AI generated match between Serena’s younger self, specifically her maiden Grand Slam in 1999 and a more recent version of herself from the 2017 Australian Open. This 8-minute, award-winning video advertisement celebrated Nike’s 50th anniversary.

Predictive analytics and forecasting

AI algorithms can analyse historical data and identify patterns to make predictions and forecasts for marketing and PR campaigns. This helps marketers allocate budgets, set realistic goals, and make data-driven decisions. Predictive analytics can also assist in identifying potential influencers, predicting customer churn, and optimising marketing spend.

In a nutshell, AI and MarTech empower marketers and PR professionals with advanced data analytics, automation, personalisation, and predictive capabilities. By harnessing these technologies, organisations can deliver more targeted and effective marketing campaigns, build stronger brand relationships, and drive business growth.

FELEX CHIVAVE is the Business Development Manager for Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZINGSA). He writes in his personal capacity. He is a MAZ member and an Exceptional Marketing Awards adjudicator. Felex is a holder of an MBA, B.Comm Marketing (MSU), Post-Grad Dip Mkting (IMM-RSA), Cert Dig Mkting (UCT-RSA), Cert Dig Mkting (MAZ), Cert WordPress (Treehouse-USA).

Email: felexchivave@gmail.com.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of Marketing and Public Relations (PR), where Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Marketing Technology (MarTech) are reshaping the industry, the significance of professional etiquette remains unwavering. As marketers and PR professionals embrace cutting-edge technologies and engage in high-stakes meetings, the fusion of traditional etiquette principles with modern practices becomes paramount.

In the age of AI and MarTech, where algorithms analyze data and automate processes, the human touch remains irreplaceable. Etiquette in this realm involves striking a harmonious balance. It means understanding the capabilities of these technologies while ensuring they enhance, not overshadow, the personal touch in marketing and PR endeavors. Cultivating a respectful approach towards technology fosters collaboration and ensures that AI and MarTech become powerful allies rather than distant forces.

Meeting Etiquette in the Virtual Realm

Virtual meetings have become a cornerstone of contemporary business interactions. Effective meeting etiquette goes beyond punctuality and polite discourse; it involves leveraging AI tools for seamless virtual collaboration. Ensure a professional backdrop, use AI-driven scheduling tools for optimal time management, and embrace video conferencing features judiciously. A combination of technical proficiency and traditional meeting decorum contributes to a seamless and productive virtual meeting experience.

Dressing for Success in the Digital Era

The digital realm hasn’t diminished the importance of dressing professionally. In the era of virtual engagements, dressing appropriately for online meetings is a form of respect for colleagues and clients. AI-powered video conferencing may have automated backgrounds, but the attention to personal presentation remains crucial. Dressing professionally, even in the digital space, communicates a commitment to excellence and enhances the overall perception of your brand.

Networking Etiquette in AI and MarTech Events

Navigating industry events centered around AI and MarTech requires a refined approach to networking etiquette. Be genuine in your interactions, acknowledging the role of technology while valuing the human connections that drive the industry forward. AI and MarTech events provide unique opportunities to forge alliances, exchange ideas, and build relationships. Respectful and insightful networking, both online and offline, contributes to a positive professional reputation and long-term success.

The Etiquette of Adapting to Changing Trends

In a field as dynamic as marketing and PR, staying abreast of evolving trends is crucial. Etiquette extends to embracing change gracefully, adapting strategies to incorporate emerging technologies, and acknowledging the transformative power of AI and MarTech. A mindset that values continuous learning and embraces innovation contributes to professional growth and positions individuals as leaders in the ever-evolving landscape.

In conclusion, professional etiquette in the realm of AI, MarTech, meetings, and dressing is not an afterthought but an integral part of success in modern marketing and PR. As technology continues to advance, those who seamlessly integrate etiquette with innovation will stand out as true leaders in the industry. Embrace etiquette, empower innovation, and excel in the digital age.

Brian Ngona is the Corporate Communications Manager for Marketers Association of Zimbabwe. Brian is a holder of BSc Hons International Marketing (CUT), Cert Dig Mkting (MAZ), Certified Marketing Practitioner (MAZ, IMM Graduate School).

Email: brianngona@gmail.com.