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Going for growth in 2020: Have you looked towards uncomfortable places?

Growth predictions for South Africa in the next two years are worrying. In a report released at the end of 2019, the World Bank revised down our country's growth prospects. Africa's economic outlook is similarly bleak; forecasts are that the growth rate is only expected to rise to 1.0% this year (Source: Fin24). These predictions, combined with other micro and macro pressures, have created a sense of uncertainty for the year ahead.
Ashish Williams
The choice facing businesses in 2020 is, therefore, a simple but challenging one: Will you stay in survival mode or go for growth?

Appreciate or depreciate

A favourite quote of mine about change is by Israelmore Ayivor: “Leaders are lovers of change. Without change, growth is static. To lead, you have to appreciate change; otherwise, change will depreciate you.”

If your answer to the above question is that despite daunting circumstances, you believe that business growth is possible, then get ready and buckle up for change. And I’m not referring to ‘comfort zone change’.

Many African-based businesses make the mistake of looking towards global best practices when faced with an onslaught of uncertainty. Although international inspiration is important, we often get blind-sighted by the fact that these businesses operate in a very different reality to ours. This is why many global companies have burned their fingers when implementing cookie-cut strategies in Africa.

Simply put: There’s no-one-size-fits all for Africa.

Change is constant, especially on our continent

For marketing and media industries, there’s an even bigger barrier that stands between agencies and growth: the ever-changing consumer.

Consumers are constantly changing their consumption behaviour. In Africa, as infrastructure expands, new technologies are adopted, and globalisation’s waves hit our shores, the change is even more persistent. There is why there an ever-increasing standard for brands to communicate to globally aware African consumers as their expectations rise.

Online and technology innovations are also making media and marketing industries more competitive than ever before. The mistake local brands and agencies make is forgetting to always remain relevant to the consumer.

Making a course-correction

In a fast-paced continent like Africa, slow-paced growth will very likely mean that one of your competitors will overtake you – and that it will be too late when you notice them running over the finish line.

If businesses are looking for growth that supersedes standard, organic growth – which also leapfrogs the economic limits we face – we must not only look at new ways of growing, but also in new ways. Some of which will be in uncomfortable places.

Disruption is a term that often gets used in marketing and media boardrooms, but it’s time to start applying it to ourselves. The truly disruptive brands of the world didn’t adapt the way the industry did things; they created a new way. And it’s time we as media and marketing professionals did as well.

Plotting a path to growth will not lead to success if you’re always walking the same route. If consumers aren’t reacting to your communication, change how you communicate. If your agency structure limits your ability to innovate, change the way you operate. If the media moments you’re creating isn’t unlocking growth, discard old media models, and try new ones. If your ingrained marketing philosophy isn’t delivering results, rewire your business by adopting an innovative one.

In essence, if your destination is growth but your starting point is survival, let change be your compass and make a course-correction – especially if it is out of your comfort-zone.

About the author

MediaCom's press office

MediaCom MediaCom's new way of thinking has brought about a new way of operating. We're the leading initiators of change when it comes to planning and buying placement across media channels.
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