Marketers in the country have been challenged to embrace digital marketing or stand and watch their companies and organisations die a natural death.
The challenge was made in Mangochi, on Friday during the 2016 Chartered Institute of Marketers (CIM) Malawi annual conference.
Digital marketing is the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the internet, display advertising, and any other digital medium.
Speaking during a panel discussion on ‘Digital Marketing: Is Malawi Ready?”, National Bank of Malawi Head of Strategy, Wilkins Mijiga, observed that with technological advancement in the global village, embracing digital marketing is no longer optional.
Mijiga said many consumers of products and services are spending most of their time online, therefore the need to find them where they are.
“I think Malawi is ready for digital marketing and we as marketers need to put our houses in order to make sure that we start transacting on the digital platforms,” said Mijiga.
His observation was seconded by NBS Bank Head of Personal and Business Banking, Mercus Chigoga, who noted that the market appears to be ready for digital marketing, adding that it is up to the firms to make sure that they put in place the necessary structures to start doing business online.
“If we look at the market, it is obviously ready. So the ball is in the court of us as marketers to make sure that we start doing business on the digital platforms,” said Chigoga.
During the meeting there were observations that lack of properly named streets and frequent network outages pose a threat to the development of digital marketing in the country.
But Head of Telecommunications at the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra), Lloyd Momba, said his organisation has embarked on a pilot programme of street naming and coding in Blantyre which will facilitate an easy way of doing business.
Momba added that Macra is also working hand in hand with telecommunication companies to ensure that there is stability as well as speed of network.
Head of Legal Services at the Malawi Telecommunications Limited, Chris Chibwana, bemoaned the high levels of vandalism of telecommunication infrastructure in the country which affects the quality of network.
“It is unfortunate that Malawians continue to vandalise telecommunications equipment which take us so many steps back. You will find that because of vandalism, companies are losing billions of kwacha which would have been invested in other important areas,” said Chibwana.
During the conference, CIM Malawi ushered in a new executive committee which will be led by Stansfield Motors General Manager, Michael Khomani.
Khomani withstood stiff competition from FDH Bank Head of Marketing, Sobhuza Ngwenya, NBS Bank Marketing Manager, Timothy Ngwira, and Francis Moto to ascend to the helm of CIM Malawi.
He will be deputised by Ngwenya, who came second in the polls.
Khomani promised to take CIM Malawi to another level in the next two years, by among other things, growing membership of the professional body.