A narrative of growth: The importance of digital marketing for African SMEs
Written by Anna Ferenczy and Achieng Butler, founders of Digital Odyssey, on the importance of digital marketing and transformation in Africa.
We don't think it's an exaggeration to say that it's an exciting time to be African.”
The continent is expanding and growing in unprecedented ways. The Africa of today is being seen by the world as a source of technical and digital innovation. There are so many stories that prove this is true, including:
- William Kamkwamba, the “windmill boy” of Malawi who taught himself to build a homemade wind turbine to power his family’s village (and became a worldwide symbol of raw ingenuity).
- Roy Allela of Kenya, a young man who has developed “smart” gloves that convert sign language movements into audio speech.
- Beth Koigi, also of Kenya, whose Majik Water device draws moisture from the air to provide drinking water to impoverished communities.
There are other examples of grassroots innovation from individuals and SMEs around the continent. In fact, small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up 90 percent of firms in rural and urban Africa and are major providers of employment. It should be evident that the continued growth of SMEs across Africa is key.
When we set out to create Digital Odyssey, we knew we wanted to contribute to the narrative of growth in Africa’s SME sector. To use our collective experience the best way possible, we set up an accessible digital marketing agency focused on African SMEs. We would be a world-class digital marketing service providing robust technical expertise giving African SMEs an even footing on which to compete and to grow their businesses. And we’re well on our way – the journey has truly begun!
But the journey would be incomplete if we did not take into account the youth.
Africa’s youth population is one of the largest in the world; by 2035, the continent is projected to have a larger workforce than the rest of the world combined. The vast majority of these people will be “digital natives” and the internet will have always been their playground. The world’s economy will be there, online, waiting for them.
The need to engage with the youth population in a language they understand and in a place they relate to—that is, online—is imperative. As above-the-line (ATL) and direct marketing costs become more prohibitive, African SMEs need effective solutions to continue the conversation with their target markets—and, in particular, Africa’s youth. That’s our focus.
Digital Odyssey's expertise in growth marketing and our deep understanding of the African market not only improves customer engagement on our clients' websites and digital campaigns, it also results in measurable ROI.”
Digital Odyssey helps African businesses speak to African consumers and customers in the best voice possible—their own.
Africa's unfolding narrative of innovation is complex, fascinating, and inspiring. We don't want to simply observe the narrative—we want to help write it.”