Wednesday October 23 2013

Honest marketing does not hurt

By Abdulaziizi K. Tumusiime

Allow me to start with a disclaimer: I am not a marketer, nor have I attended a class in marketing. So, this observation is based on experience.

It is common knowledge that the desire to earn a living is the root of work. The gentleman in an air-conditioned office, on a swivel chair, has a similar goal as his counterpart, a KCCA enforcement officer, who is chasing after hawkers in Kampala’s central business district. It is money. And, we all want to rake into our pockets as much of it as is enough or as we can. To do so, we lay down different strategies. It is here that marketing comes in. For restaurants, some advertise the discounts that they offer off their meals.

For professionals, some build websites where they advertise their services, assuring their prospective clients that employing them is a decision they will not regret.

The advent of social media has offered an affordable platform for different people to market their products and skills. Facebook alone, has a sizeable number of pages where products ranging from electronics to clothes are advertised.

My ordeal could be explained by the fact that I am either naive or used to honest adverts.

This is what happened. After the “death” of my laptop, I set out to buy a new one. For convenience’s sake, I preferred opening the numerous pages on Facebook that run adverts of laptops on sale, to visiting the shops. I scrutinised the offers and, opted to pay keen attention to the three which suited my budget. I called the number that was appended on one of the three. I learnt that the voice on the receiving end was Isma.

Duped by online offers
I discussed with Isma, the details of the transaction (like the price and warranty) and reached an understanding. Then he gave me directions to his shop. In the evening, I arrived, armed with cash, ready to surrender it for a new computer. Isma claimed that he was glad to see me, but he looked guilty. Then, he informed me that he did not have the particular laptop that I wanted, but he was going to get me a better one. Fortunately, the sane me came to my rescue by suggesting that I walk away before I create a scene. Angry but still hopeful, I called the number that was attached to the second laptop. The person on the other end identified himself as Newton. When I reached his shop, Newton was not there despite having confirmed to me otherwise. I deduced that Newton was neither an owner nor employee in the shop. He must have been a broker. Worse still, they did not have the laptop that Newton claimed they had. I am using my new laptop to write this piece. To cut the story short, I did not buy it from the deceptive folk that are advertising on Facebook pages.

I bought it from one of the “conventional” Indian owned computer selling shops along Kampala Road. I’ll never call Isma or Newton again. And I’ll never seek a product from Liquidation Uganda page. They set out to attract a customer but because of their dishonest laden marketing strategy, they lost one and are bound to lose more. When you are honest, you give a customer reason to return.