Marketers Association of Zimbabwe hosted its first Marketers Business Review Conference on February 24 and it was a success as it brought together marketers in one room to discuss a variety of business and economic matters.

As per tradition MAZ hosts a Business luncheon at the beginning of the year but this year they decided to make it bigger with a focus on business marketing trends, economic activities and national programs of note that might have an impact on business as well as decision-making.

The Business Conference held was under the theme, ‘Setting the tone for Business in 2023: Emerge! Realign! Win’.

In her opening remarks, MAZ President, Ms Lillian Mbayiwa highlighted that the idea behind the Marketers Business Review Conference was to bring together the marketing industry and have them converge under one roof so as to equip and challenge them to get ready for what’s coming in 2023.

First speaker of the day was Professor Gift Mugano who presented on the 2023 Economic Outlook, Professor Gift Mugano anticipated a 3,8 percent economic growth.

“There will be inflation spikes averaging 400%, drive towards 100%, anticipated 3, 8% economic growth, exchange rate hitting $1 500/$1,” he said.

He pointed out that the election environment will determine how the economy will grow after August. Prof Mugano encouraged business operators to reach out to the black market which he said ‘is where the dollar is”.

Prof Mugano highlighted the challenges in the economy and proffered some solutions which he thinks could help boost the economy.

He recommended, internal devaluation which involves massive cost cutting and cost rationalisation, building foreign currency reserves and undertaking defence strategies among others.

Mr Kenias Mafukidze, the Chief Executive officer of Alpha Media Holdings said marketers should always have long term plans.

Mafukidze said it is important for business to re-align in line with the
global changes.

“As a business you must re-align, you must notice the digital transition, the demographic changes and growing global changes. Notice fast and furious business revolution: It’s not Incremental, its Disruptive (ZERO-ONE),” he said.

He added that business is two functions: innovation and marketing, the rest are costs.

“As Marketers you must solve a problem. What problem are you solving. Innovation demands that you go beyond different to being unique.

Seek to Monopolies your market in some way. Its best way of marketing and take advantage of technology to process things faster and identify customer trends,” he said.

Zimpapers Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Pikirai Deketeke presented on the changing media landscape.

In his presentation, he highlighted that there had been a major shift in the media landscape from the 80s to date mainly attributed to technological changes.

“So, when you take into account that the likes of Facebook and YouTube are now taking a big chunk of the advertising, it is now a cut-throat business”.

He said the media landscape is changing and a number of television stations were emerging.

“We must change ourselves to see where the money. We used to make money from circulation now we are giving away newspapers so that engagement gets much stronger.

The competition for eyeballs has become stiff. Yet the advertising cake has not been growing at the rate that the media is expanding. If anything, it seems to be getting smaller. Of course, this is attributable to the slow growth of our economy and the many challenges besetting it, “said Deketeke

He added that media sustainability has become a big issue not just in Zimbabwe but globally.

“What all this means is that media companies have had to rethink their business models and the kind of journalism they practice. Sustainable journalism is now the buzz-phrase,” highlighted Deketeke.

He added: “A Disruptive advertising is now the in-thing. Back then we never used to imagine an advert in the middle of a page. We have to adapt to the new trends”.

A panel discussion pitting PPC General Manager Sales and Marketing, Nkosana Mapuma, Sapi Bachi, Managing Director TBWA and Mr Deketeke discussed the 2023 Advertising landscape.

“Gen Z these days are looking forward to 4Fs in advertising; feeling, fun, fiction and freedoms to choose what content to look at. We have wide range of advertising platforms said Mapuma.

Another panel discussion on the Events landscape featuring Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Company deputy chief executive officer, Stella Nkomo, Stanbic Head of Brand and Marketing, Palmer Mugavha and Tendai Maguwu, Content Editor at BEZ.

Mugavha highlighted that the importance of sponsorship partnerships aligning with business and marketing objectives.

“If the audience is not your target audience do not sponsor that event. You need to consider the generation targeted by event organisers before you sponsor an event,” said Mugavha.

He added that it was important to have KPIs to measure the sponsorship activity.

“People need to leave with something memorable when they leave an event you have sponsored. Let’s appeal to the people’s heart,” said Mugavha.

Nkomo highlighted the importance of curating hybrid experiences merging the unique face to face advantage of events with disruptive technologies to up brand reach.

“The nature of event and target audience are key considerations,” she said.

MAZ Head Marketing and Operations Enia Zimunya shared the 2023 event calendar and gave the closing remarks which signalled the end of the inaugural business conference which was indeed a success.