Pictures from Senegal

Tuesday, July 13


The theme of July seems to be marketing. In continuing with a series of train-the-trainer classes I’ve begun teaching, July’s topic is- you guessed it- marketing. So I’ve read the French 101 version, learning all the new vocabulary for concepts I’d long ago committed to memory. After that I ran around town trying to think of ways to make the class interesting. Start with the 4 Ps, right? To spice it up we’ll talk about all the different ways to buy a coke (with examples) …and then two hours later I’m facing just under 2 days of remaining class time to nail the concept home.

Realizing that promotion is the most important of the Ps as far as Mboro is concerned, I plan to dedicate the rest of our time to just that… with a few tips on selling. In the afternoon of the first day, we’ll split into teams and do a “treasure hunt” or tour of Mboro to pick out the best, worst, most effective, most attractive, useless, and other types of promotion or marketing that exist. Most collective group wins? What they win is TBD… so if you have any ideas speak up. My hope is to spark a conversation about what’s going on in Mboro and Senegal in general. What works and what doesn’t? What is over done? What are the under played gems? What catches your eye?

Day 2 will kick off with a real world example. A local women’s group is having problems selling their product. Perhaps no one knows about it, perhaps the price isn’t right… whatever it is I figure this 3rd party group of students will be perfect test subjects. I’ve invited a few women from the organization talk about their product (and let’s face it: learn something too). Then we’ll dive in- create a marketing plan uniquely tailored for this exact product in our town. I figure practice makes perfect and if we all do a marketing plan together the group will remember that and be able to recreate the model in their respective villages or their friend’s boutiques.

The last afternoon should be dedicated to being a good salesperson. How do you treat the customer? We have this handy game, that for whatever reason is titled “The Best Game,” that is useful for demonstrating hypothetical market places. We’ve played this game with the group before, demonstrating the need to produce a quality product or to properly account for your money, but I suppose this time I’ll need to find a way to demonstrate being a good seller.

But it doesn’t just end with this 2 day class. Because in case you didn’t catch it, I’ve made contact with the local women’s groups (operating like small scale minority businesses in the States) that are having problems selling their product. I’m afraid if I explain the their predicament now I’ll get bogged down in a rant on the problems with development work in general- a topic best saved for another day. In any case, I’m working on a general marketing strategy with the group which includes a tasting/ open house event a week from Friday. Miraculously, this wasn’t my idea. But I am generating ideas for the event such as creating a guest book for visitors that can be contacted later with promotional ideas we haven’t yet thought of, conducting a product survey so we can consider what updates should be made to the product, and working up promotional materials on each product to provide visual aids to the event. After said event, we’ll have to dive into more marketing strategies like finding unique product names, creating logos, revamping packaging, generating a slogan …and the list goes on.

One final bit of work is the marketing- or rather advertising- we’ll be doing for the girls summer camp my fellow volunteers and I are hosting this coming September. We’re very close to raising all the money… but can’t officially kick anything off until we have every last cent. So if any of you know someone looking for a feel-good donation project please point them in my direction. If you thought I was joking when I said this month was all about marketing, I’m not. To pour salt directly in the wound, I started watching Mad Med from season 1.

Marketing is coming at me from all sides. What is it they say, "when it rains, it pours?" It's probably my fault for getting excited about something and doing everything I can to help that project take off. I guess we already knew I was the kind of person that always has work on the mind, and that doesn’t seem to change just because my location does. Even in Senegal, I work up until dinner and through the weekends. I think about things in the shower, and talk about them when I'm with friends, like I don't have an 'off' button. But that's ok, I'm hoping it continues.

1 comment:

  1. Marketing obsessed, I love it! This kind of stuff really gets me geeked up :-)