Saturday, October 24, 2015

We Can't Sell Because We Can't Market

I am still perturbed and this time it’s about me and trying to shake off this notion that I am a Justin Bieber groupie.

Just in case you don’t know who Bieber is, he’s some young American lad whose music is a big hit with Teen Girl. I don’t know any of his songs and neither do I follow his career so why would I dream that I was fighting Teen Girl for the sweat shirt he threw into the crowd after a concert? More embarrassingly, I also had him as my phone screen saver.

However, the one thing I do know about him, is that he knows how to market himself and his music to a tune of 47 million Twitter followers and 20 million on Instagram.     

Here in Uganda, we are clueless marketers. While I am no expert at it, I do know it has something to do with: “the action or business of promoting and selling products or services...”

Now and again, I look up web sites such as Knight Frank, Lamudi, OLX, Zoopla, Cheki and others to see what houses, plots of land and cars that are on the market. There is plenty for sale but where we go wrong, is we have no idea of how to properly market our wares.

I was looking at a house in Munyonyo and all the necessary information - cost, plot size, number of bedrooms and so forth was detailed along with 24 pictures of the property.

The first picture was the view of Lake Victoria from the house. The second, third and fourth pictures were of what looked like Female House-ee standing by the gate. There was also a close up picture of the water tank. Others were of the chandelier in the living and dining room, a close up of a sink, one of a rather bemused painter standing by a set of ladders while the rest are close-ups of the perimeter walls.

Twenty-four pictures of a house for sale but none of them able to give a prospective buyer an insight as to what the house actually looks like.

Another house in Bukoto also had all the information and three pictures. The first was a picture of the gate from the outside. The second was of the perimeter wall and the third – from the inside, was the view of a block of flats under construction.

People selling cars fair no better. On OLX, there is a picture of a Toyota Mark X except, the picture is not of the car, but the bonnet, bumper and number plate. Another is of a Mercedes M-class. The write up says it’s an M-class and I am sure it is, because in the one picture that was posted, laid out on the back seat was an M-class drivers manual. Meanwhile the pictures of the Land Cruiser VX were out of focus and too dark and not worth straining the eyes on. 

The winner though, is of Young Man who looked like a Butcherman mulebeesi and who is selling what I think is a Toyota Caldina. You’ll find twelve pictures of him decked out in mob bling and so dark shades as he sits inside the ride but, none that actually show or market the ride.

How do people expect to get buyers if the pictures are fuzzy, out of focus, too dark, partly obscured by thumbs, fingers or have House-ee in the forefront? Worse, after up-loading, they sit back - all content while smirking at people who pay to go and listen to marketing experts like Caleb Owino, Marion Muyobo and Susan Nsibirwa at Marketers Night Out.

It doesn’t end there. Try pointing out the errors and they’ll froth and spit back: “TB tumbavu - are you the one selling the house!?”


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