“Makola” Marketing”- A Case Study For The Marketing Practitioner

There are thousands of marketers in Ghana today. Some call themselves as such because they have obtained the requisite certifications to gain that title. There are another group of marketers who have practised marketing leading to direct sales over a long period of time such that marketing finds itself in their DNA.

For purposes of this paper, let us visit the “Makola” market in Accra to draw inferences and make very objective judgement on who they are. We will refer to them here as the “Makola” marketers, but are we professional marketers doing better than them?

In “Makola Marketing” the skill needed is what we term in practice P2P. In today’s marketing practice we sit in the comfort of our offices and send emails or at best write very good letters to convince clients afar to get interested in our products or services. There is no affection and so the disregard for such contacts are high. For the “Makola” marketer, for a client to visit his or her store is very special. In the corporate world, a client who rather walks to the service environment ends up spending more time than usual to be attended to. Customer wait expectations are completely disregarded. In other cases, the word that greets you from the receptionist is simple, “Do you have an appointment,” or Is he or she expecting you?

The Makola marketers first word is “sweetie”. You spend less time.

The “Makola” marketer believes that time is of great essence. These are persons who work for themselves yet as early as 6a.m the market is half filled with these marketers.

Let’s compare this “Makola” marketer who values time to the educated marketing professional. Each time, a meeting time is set, he or she calls about 10 to 15 minutes to time and informs that he will be running late. In other cases, the excuse is that something just popped up and had to leave, can we reschedule the meeting. The educated marketer goes on leave even when he or she is the middle of attending to a loyal client and hands over to his or her colleague without informing the client he or she is serving. When the client sends a mail, the immediate response is an automated message which reads, “….is on leave but in my absence please direct all enquiries to….”.

The “Makola marketer today collects the telephone numbers of their clients and calls them periodically and even informs them when new products that hits the market. On the other side of the educated marketer, when a new product is released, he or she waits till it is properly launched for his or her client to see and ask.

There is no prior information. The value placed on the client is when he or she is making use of the product or service. The “Makola” marketer gives away some little gifts to the buyer for onward delivery to kids or spouse. To the Educated marketer, the only one who matters is the person who buys and uses the product directly and not the influencer.

The “Makola” marketer, knows how to receive his or her client. Every client is his or her sweetheart. In the corporate world the educated marketer makes you feel he or she owes you nothing, he is only performing a professional service to you.

The only advantage most corporate marketers have is their brand appeal. The “Makola” marketer believes in creating emotional affection than all things. The “Makola” marketers brand is represented by the person delivering the service and not the structure. The corporate marketer believes that the brand is more than him and that he or she is only a part of the brand. There is nothing wrong when the corporate marketer fails because the brand is not him or her.

The question is, do human beings interact with structures or with people. Even in today’s internet world there is a chat room and a message section where people want to engage. The “Makola” market has two things: a strong personal appeal and an interactive platform which is fast and that is the telephone.

By William Yaw Ansah

The writer is the CEO of Origin8, an Advertising, Marketing, PR and Events company in Ghana.

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