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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

No Respect (Part Deux)

Multinational companies dont pay the Caribbean consumer any respect. How do I know ? Look at the advertising. What usually happens is that local distributors are given the marketing budget and in the main misuse it. Coca Cola are lucky that Pepsi has missed a trick through most of the Caribbean. Why ? Coca cola are only the market leader through external marketing imagery and the continued presence of product on the ground, WITHOUT a credible competitor. Even if Pepsi were to export product to our small islands and 'can' the advertising they'd clean up.

When you consider that Caribbean people punch way over their weight its actually insulting. There is no way Digicel could have become a giant anywhere else in the world that quickly. What it has shown is that if you target the Caribbean consumer specifically that you can gain dominant market position regionally. Of course the telecoms market is different. The ARPU (avg revenue per user) position is not really an overrriding concern for Digicel. Just a dominant numbers position is being sought early on. Potential buyers will have the mental work of how to turn those numbers into a revenue positive position across the board. But Digicel has shown the way in terms of actually deploying a model targetted at the Caribbean consumer, no matter what the real morality is underlying that effort. After all it is business.

But seeing that advertising mirrors marketing or at least tries to play it up, it shows you that imported chicken isnt the only substandard product which finds our shores. I would love to see some multinational, be it LG or Pepsi or Starbucks or someone credible actually show Digicel type interest in dominating a product or service in this region. They'd be surprised by both the related kickback into their ethnic market perceptions (and revenue) in first world markets and also the kind of revenue they can make from intelligent delivery of quality to Caribbean people. It can work.


Anonymous said...

Why fix it if it aint broke? Is what the LGs and Cokes of this world will respond to this.

They don't have to market like digicel does in the Caribbean b/c they that one time marketing through NA cable tv and they are fixed. Digicel does not have that vehicle/medium.

Remember when tv was not so available? Coke did a little marketing you know. They used to have bottle top trivia games, every so often in Dominica. I imagine it was much bigger in islands like Trinidad, J/ca and Bim. But maybe you are too young to remember that :D.

I also think these companies are focused on countries like India and others with millions and millions of people. Our 6 million eh worth the extra effort for them.

I will admit that I know little about formal marketing etc. I just use my common sense approach about it, so i may be way off base too.


KG said...

Very true.

But...very shortsighted. Our diaspora is more connected with the Caribbean than these marketers realise.

A shift in purchasing pattern in the Caribbean means a shift in how remittances from the US and UK is being spent, and if there is a connection with the brand regionally, it can go all the way into usage from our people in those markets.

I will pretend to not remember the bottle top stuff. I am young. :-)