Top Trends In Global Marketing.

Digital Marketing

The extraordinary emergence of globalization has challenged global enterprises. It has, in turn, encouraged some enterprises to expand worldwide to meet the evolving markets internationally. Trends have arisen in global marketing aimed at producing better marketing efforts. The talent pool has been considerably enhanced, with 63 percent of college-educated persons working online internationally. It helps marketers in firms as there are a skilled number of persons who can construct the creative engine. Marketer’s today attempt to collect the most nuanced information about their consumers to tie brand messaging to specific events in their everyday life. Similarly, there is an increased demand for marketers to bring these insights back into the business to aid in shaping everything from purpose to customer data strategy. Therefore, the pool that is available online with persons knowledgeable in marketing intelligence has launched brands into wider scopes.

The internet is a massive collection of resources and information used for marketing purposes. On numerous websites, visitors must agree to cookies that gather data about them. This data is then utilized to plainly and purposefully market valuable goods and services to the user. This tendency, however, has made customers lose confidence, and some even find it unsettling to have their devices listening to them. Transparency and humanity are crucial in trusting and creating data experiences. According to Deloitte’s insights, Customers are 2.5 times more inclined to contribute personal information that enriches the product when organizations display transparency and empathy, and they are 1.7 times more likely to believe they have received more value than anticipated.

Seventy-one percent of CEOs have declared that they are willing to invest in hybrid marketing in the next 12 years. Hybrid Marketing is a blend of digital and physical marketing that has increased with prominent firms. It’s ideal to start by putting the human at the forefront of these experiences to meet the desire for updating them; marketing can benefit from key ideas of human-centered design. Brands can develop physical and digital experiences as fluid and flexible as customers have evolved to want by putting human needs first, picking a few individuals to be co-creators of the experience, and then immediately experimenting.  A careful implementation of the global marketing strategies by Digital marketers will not only put the company at a vantage point but also give it a competitive edge, which in turn, will tremendously increase the company’s customer turnover and market share.

Economic Ramifications Caused By Political Campaigns.

Kenya is a country that has been hard hit by a history of post-election violence most notably in 1992, 1997, and post-2007. This trend has caused a lot of investors to shun investing in the country during the electioneering seasons. The message of peace is being spread all over but one question still stands, what next after August 9th? A study conducted on the country’s economic data shows a trend in hyperinflation during elections. During such times, economic growth dwindles affecting the livelihoods of millions. Evidence of this observation is the inflation rates in the following pre-election times; 2012 inflation was at 9.38%, 2016 at 6.32%, 2021 at 6.11%, and currently the inflation rate is at 7.21%. 

The heated political season is typically accompanied by a rapid slowdown in economic activities. Sectors that have traditionally suffered the most damage are those that heavily rely on government patronage. Agriculture, infrastructure, and the manufacturing industry are top in this list. On the other hand, the sectors that benefit the most are the sectors that are not highly dependent on political goodwill such as the service sector with an exception of banking. Kenya’s current high voltage politics has disrupted commercial activities leading to a reduction in revenues for many businesses. Additionally, with politicians pushing for water-tight regulations and higher taxes, it becomes harder for companies to operate legally and effectively. In some cases, this can lead to widespread corruption and dishonesty within business circles and criminal activity such as money laundering.

Political campaigns in Kenya are run on heavy financial budgets leading to the circulation of money from politicians to fund political activities. For instance, in the financial year 2014-2015, The National Alliance (TNA) Party received USD$866,679, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party USD$848,239, and the United Republican Party (URP) USD$273,688 based on their numbers in parliament. The presidential candidates can use up to 5 billion Kenyan shillings in political campaigns and in addition, they are not restricted from holding fundraisers to get more cash for the campaigns. This usually comes in at a time when there is an increased level of inflation and in my opinion, some of this money could be re-invested in creating job opportunities for the youth and unemployed. Nonetheless, one way to mitigate the effects of a heated political season is to diversify investments into sectors that are less polarized by politics.

Save Like A Rich Man In Babylon

A strong saving culture and financial responsibility are key to a better tomorrow. Most people know these words by heart but have scanty knowledge on how to go about building their wealth and attaining the ultimate financial freedom. Wealth is defined not just as the riches that one has but the amount that can be able to sustain you after your job is lost or income stops flowing. As much as savings is a topic that is becoming a cliché, I would like to bring it into a new light. Research has shown that countries with a high savings rate can withstand financial shocks and channel more funds toward the critical sectors of the economy. 

Georges Clason’s book, the richest man in Babylon, he states a law of wealth that I find very relevant today that he who does not spend all his money but keeps a certain amount of it gold comes more easily to him unlike he who spends all his income does gold avoid. Similarly, Warren Buffet says “always pay yourself first.” The percentage of savings is a variable but it should not be less than 10% of all your income. In my opinion, saving is an intentional discipline. Information on hidden rules about the social classes’ notes that the poor people think that money is to be spent, the middle class thinks money is to be managed and the rich think that money should be invested. Human wants are insatiable, we can discipline ourselves to utilize the 90% to meet our needs effectively once we have developed this culture it will no longer be a strain and we will not lack anything we used to have before we started saving. 

Budgeting for your finances helps you find loopholes where your money is leaking. Budget for all your expenses and strictly stick to it as it will help you control your expenditures and be more financially responsible. Savings should not be buried underground rather they ought to be multiplied. You can choose to save in financial institutions such as banks and SACCOs. When saving, remember that you save where your principal amount is safe, reclaimable, and earning a good interest for you. Finally, only take advice from people who are experienced in handling money, do not experiment with your treasure. I believe a man’s wealth is not in the purse he carries think about that.

Is Your Business Online?

Digital migration of businesses into the online space is now a survival tactic that must be embraced by every entrepreneur who wants to keep going. You need to market, display goods, order or showcase services and get paid via digital platforms. Online presence does not necessarily imply that one closes their shop, but that you tap into the traffic of users on the streets of digital media to get new customers and business partners. With presence online, entrepreneurs have been able to reach a larger audience and get more customers and with effective digital marketing strategies, most of them have seen the sales of their products go high.

As an entrepreneur, having social media pages for your business is not enough. It is necessary to set the priorities and objectives of your business right so that you can be aware of what you want to achieve. The advantages that come with having your business online include; selling your products, finding new customers and retainingng the existing ones. How then can you create an online presence?

List your business on a local directory. It is possible to list your business for free on Facebook, Bing or Google my business. This will help your business in a way that when people search for your business it will show up. Building a website can also be beneficial as it can have more information on the business such as opening hours, the products sold, the location of the business. The website can also include a call to action like “buy now” to encourage the customers to purchase your products. It’s also necessary to know how your customers feel about the products they bought from you so getting a review page where they can rate on the website can help you market your business. Setting up social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These platforms are usually effective in connecting to customers. Social media platforms can also be very good in offering customers special deals. Finally, always use analytics to track down what you are doing and ensure if it is a marketing strategy then it is an effective one. The disadvantage that may result from having your business online is that in case your site crashes no one can access your products and sometimes customers can be impatient when the shipping of the product is delayed.

In conclusion, I believe it is the responsibility of every business to use online tools to serve the existing customers and connect to new ones while remaining relevant in the online space.

Have You Gotten The Jab?

The economic viability of the COVID-19 vaccination program

The emergence of COVID-19 has posed an unprecedented challenge to the world’s economy and the healthcare delivery system. There has been an emphasis on the use of non-pharmaceutical measures such as physical distancing, hand washing, and wearing of masks to reduce the spread, but efforts have been made to produce vaccines that will play a role in reducing transmission.

At the peak of the pandemic, most countries worldwide resolved to a suspension of their economic activities, popularly known as “lockdown” with the aim of stopping the spread of Covid19. This led to severe economic losses as governments in sub-Saharan Africa were cut off from revenue due to freezes in economic activities and tax relief measures to enable businesses to survive. IMF data available up to December 2020 revealed that the pandemic caused a median 15% drop in the monthly tax revenues compared to the previous years.

What is the economic viability of the COVID-19 vaccination program? Currently, the statistics of the reported COVID-19 cases in Kenya are at 385000, with a death toll of 5621 since the onset of the pandemic. There has been an unequal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. Wealthier countries have paid trillions in stimulus to prop up faltering economies. Now is the time to ensure vaccine doses are quickly distributed, all barriers to increasing vaccine manufacturing removed, and financial support is secured so that vaccines can be distributed equitably and a truly global economic recovery can occur. The government of Kenya has set up a strategy that aims at vaccinating the entire adult population by mid-2022. One of the drawbacks of this initiative is that the vaccines available are multi-dose vaccines that require a cold chain storage system to be viable by the time they get to the individuals. We are faced with the challenge of inadequate storage facilities.

Nevertheless, the government of Kenya has made efforts to ensure that vaccines are available to all. It is a good move as it will reduce the overall number of people who succumb to the infection. The economic benefit it will have is that there will be no lockdown because we have noted a decrease in the reported number of new cases since the start of the vaccination program. One fact remains: when we get the vaccine, we will still have to use non-pharmaceutical measures to protect ourselves until we all acquire herd immunity. A healthy nation is a wealthy nation.

Is fuliza beneficial to Kenyans?

There has been a remarkable increase in the number of Kenyans utilizing the Safaricom overdraft facility service of fuliza. It was introduced in the year 2019 to aid the customers who required urgent cash that is below 2000 and it has gained popularity among the Kenyans as they can complete their transaction and buy what they need as much as they may be having less cash in their account.

The rate of borrowing from this facility has increased greatly by 1.34 billion daily in the last six months. The number of Kenyans signing up daily for fuliza is 700,000 making the total number of active fuliza users be 1.7million. Fuliza has brought stiff competition to other mobile loan lending facilities such as the KCB M-PESA of the Kenya Commercial Bank and M Shwari of the NCBA bank. They have had a decline in the number of customers utilizing their loan facilities as opposed to when fuliza had not been introduced yet. I think it is a win-win situation for them as these two loan lending facilities have a share in the Safaricom fuliza overdraft service. It is also an advantage to them as fuliza always has a 99% rate of repayment because immediately the debtor receives cash in their mpesa account the loan they had of fuliza is immediately repaid.

Is this Fuliza helping us? I think that it is only providing short-term aid to us but in the long run, we are training ourselves to be a country and citizens that live in debt. Fuliza loan is very addictive. We have been carried away by this easy way of acquiring cash such that some people have gone to the extent of getting several sim cards which are signed up for fuliza and are actively using the services in all these sim cards, at the end, when they work and get paid, all the money goes back to the credit lending facility.

The culture of saving and investing is slowly being chocked by fuliza. A high number of Fuliza users are Kenyans who live below the poverty line. He who feeds you controls you and no doubt Kenyans are being controlled by fuliza. It’s a wake-up call to Kenyans that we need to find something extra to do so that our cash flow may be increased if we keep on borrowing in this overdraft facility we are getting ourselves into a rat race that we may never be able to exit.

Dilemma On Proposed Review Of NHIF Contributions Biannually

The National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) is a scheme that was established under the NHIF Act of 1998 to provide health insurance to Kenyans. The eligibility criteria for enrolment are any ordinary citizen in Kenya who has attained the age of 18 and is either inactive employment or self-employment. Members of Parliament passed the NHIF bill on September 29th, 2021, stating that every adult in Kenya over the age of 18 is required to purchase NHIF coverage. There is a provision for the informal household to sign up for the NHIF and pay 6,000 Kenyan shillings annually. It is helpful as it will help in achieving universal health coverage.

Recently, a proposal was brought up in parliament to review the monthly contributions that the members of NHIF pay every two years. This amendment bill has been set for debate this month. The choice is attributed to the increased cases of chronic illnesses in the country, which make the pool of funds gathered by NHIF unable to meet the health needs of all Kenyans. According to the statistics compiled by Ampath, in western Kenya alone, 60,000 people are living with diabetes. This does not include other citizens with chronic illnesses like hypertension and cancer that require regular medical attention. 

For this case, it’s a two-way situation because, on the side of NHIF, the disease burden is on the rise, and the only way to keep the services functional, is to increase the financial flow to the pooled funds so that they can assist in achieving the sustainable development goal of health for all. In 2015, the World Bank reported 36.1% of Kenyans were living below the poverty line, and to date, nothing has changed much. Recently, there has been a remarkable increase in the prices of basic commodities such as cooking oil and sugar. This has affected many Kenyans because of the little income they get per day. This situation has caused trouble among Kenyans because most of the citizens live from hand to mouth. With the rise in the economy, will Kenyans be able to pay for the doubled contribution of the NHIF? It’s a good initiative on the part of NHIF, but there is more than meets the eye. Through research should be conducted prior to passing the bill so that local Kenyans are not inconvenienced and the NHIF’s pool of funds is not taxed.

Is fuliza beneficial to Kenyans?

There has been a remarkable increase in the number of Kenyans utilizing the Safaricom overdraft facility service of fuliza. It was introduced in the year 2019 to aid the customers who required urgent cash that is below 2000 and it has gained popularity among the Kenyans as they can complete their transaction and buy what they need as much as they may be having less cash in their account.

The rate of borrowing from this facility has increased greatly by 1.34 billion daily in the last six months. The number of Kenyans signing up daily for fuliza is 700,000 making the total number of active fuliza users be 1.7million. Fuliza has brought stiff competition to other mobile loan lending facilities such as the KCB M-PESA of the Kenya Commercial Bank and M Shwari of the NCBA bank. They have had a decline in the number of customers utilizing their loan facilities as opposed to when fuliza had not been introduced yet. I think it is a win-win situation for them as these two loan lending facilities have a share in the Safaricom fuliza overdraft service. It is also an advantage to them as fuliza always has a 99% rate of repayment because immediately the debtor receives cash in their mpesa account the loan they had of fuliza is immediately repaid.

Is this Fuliza helping us? I think that it is only providing short-term aid to us but in the long run, we are training ourselves to be a country and citizens that live in debt. Fuliza loan is very addictive. We have been carried away by this easy way of acquiring cash such that some people have gone to the extent of getting several sim cards which are signed up for fuliza and are actively using the services in all these sim cards, at the end, when they work and get paid, all the money goes back to the credit lending facility.

The culture of saving and investing is slowly being chocked by fuliza. A high number of Fuliza users are Kenyans who live below the poverty line. He who feeds you controls you and no doubt Kenyans are being controlled by fuliza. It’s a wake-up call to Kenyans that we need to find something extra to do so that our cash flow may be increased if we keep on borrowing in this overdraft facility we are getting ourselves into a rat race that we may never be able to exit.

Time For Kenya To Go Big On Exports

Export trade begins when a country has produced more goods and services than its domestic demand. It is penetration into new markets away from home. This does not come without challenges as many trade agreements need to be entered before goods and money is allowed to flow from source to a foreign market. It is therefore a game of industrial development, building of trade relationships with other countries and creation of sound policies to regulate cross – border trade. The starting point is production of goods and services at surplus amounts. At the production stage, a country needs to tap into areas of strength in order to maximize output. Since international trade is competitive, focus in producing goods for exports should be on industries that give the country a competitive advantage over its competitors. In this column, I hold the view that Kenya is performing below average in producing goods for export.

Kenya’s prominence in the community of nations is ever rising with outstanding performances in sports and regional influence. The country also boosts of rich cultures, phenomenal wildlife, epic scenes of the rift valley, great lakes and sandy beaches along the Indian Ocean which attract tourists in significantly large numbers. This prominence can be utilized in promoting “Made in Kenya” brands if they existed. Sadly enough, so little in supermarket and retail shop shelves is made in Kenya. Today Kenya imports almost everything including sugar, maize, chicken, eggs, fish and pineapples. For decades, Kenya has enjoyed balance of trade surplus with its leading trading partners in the region except for the recent increase in imports from Uganda and Tanzania without reciprocating the same in exports.

According to world integrated trade solution (WITS) website, Kenya’s imports are majorly consumer goods at 63.43% of total imports whereas capital goods and raw materials only account for 5.47% and 19.60% of total imports respectively. Kenya holds potential in exporting already processed agricultural produce, refined minerals and services including education, health and financial services. With the ongoing efforts to set-up a manufacturing factory for Covid-19 vaccines, Kenya opens another chapter of producing pharmaceutical drugs for local and export markets. The country’s strategic location in the Eastern Africa region can be tapped in increasing export sales. This will be facilitated by the ongoing infrastructural developments such as LAPSSET linking Kenya with its neighbors. Kenya needs to draw lessons from Dubai which has successfully diversified its export revenue and has now mobilized the world to trade with her.

Inflation Is The Remedy For Unemployment

Jimnah Mbaru, a renowned investment banker working with Dyer and Blair provoked a discussion this month on twitter when he tweeted, “The Central Bank of Kenya should reduce the current cash ratio from 4.5% to 0%.” He argued that this measure will result into increased liquidity within banks with a reduced cost of credit. In Jimnah Mbaru’s view, banks would increase lending to private sector at lower interest rates. The investment banker is of the opinion that the existent threat of inflation with such a fiscal policy is not a concern at the moment.

I find Jimnah Mbaru’s opinion to be good for a country that is grappling with a high rate of unemployment. When the mission is to fix unemployment of both people and resources, inflation becomes of less concern. The Philips Curve in economics proves this by displaying inflation and unemployment as indirectly proportional variables when placed on the Cartesian plane. However, the educated opinion of Jimnah Mbaru received sufficient criticism from other scholars and public intellectuals in Kenya. Of top concern is whether commercial banks will utilize available cash to lend to the private sector. This question is raised in the backdrop of a trend where commercial banks in Kenya lend largely to the government of Kenya. To lend to the national government would not be inappropriate if government utilized the funds in capital resources other than repayment of external debts that have fallen due.

Dr. David Ndii in response to Jimnah Mbaru’s opinion posed a rhetoric, “a monetary stimulus over and above an 8% of GDP budget deficit or a stimulus running for close to a decade?” While Jimnah Mbaru applies theory of the Philip’s Curve in economics to solve the unemployment question, it remains a paradox how structural productivity problems, external shocks related to Covid-19, crowding out, debt overhang and political uncertainty will be solved by increasing supply of money in the economy through lowering central bank’s current ratio from 4.5% to 0%. A balance between inflation and unemployment needs to be sought where measures taken to reduce unemployment do not adversely affect inflation. The buck stops with the Central Bank Governor, Dr. Patrick Njoroge who also chairs the Monetary Policy Committee.

Rick Okinda                                          

The writer is a Certified Accountant working with small business owners to deliver business plans that serve their management and financial needs. | rickokinda@gmail.com