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Adopting an Omnichannel Strategy to Reach the African Consumer with Terragon’s Elo Umeh

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Every corner of the world is different, and that means the way consumers buy and absorb media  is different as well. In the U.S., email is a massive channel for brands to reach customers. But what about on continents such as Africa? With a population of more than 1.2 billion individuals, what drives the African consumer? What channels are businesses using to reach them, and where are some of the biggest differences between them and the western consumer?

“Over the last five years, the start-up ecosystem has taken off aggressively. People are now building services, products, and services on top of the networks and on top of what the telcos have been able to achieve. The possibilities of what can happen with that sort of infrastructure has taken off. However, the depth of innovation we have seen is really five years-old, and the financial technological system has taken a lead there.”

Elo Umeh is the Founder and CEO of Terragon Group, a predictive MarcTech service that is helping African companies connect and reach customers more thoughtfully and effectively. On this episode of Marketing Trends, Elo explains some key differences between the African and American consumer, why email marketing is not a big driver for his customers, and how Terragon is using data and analytics across all channels to help its customers effectively reach its desired audience.
Main Takeaways

  • It’s a Mobile World: Over the last five years, the startup ecosystem has grown significantly. With more developers building software that incorporates into a tech stack, there is now more of an opportunity for those companies to utilize data and analytics like never before to effectively reach their customers.
  • Massive Reach: On a continent of more than 1.2 billion people, combined with a landmass greater than other continents, reaching the customer is one of the biggest challenges for African companies. Companies that want to reach their audiences must have an effective data and analytics strategy that is designed to meet their consumers on the go. This means hype-targeting content to mobile devices and social platforms.
  • Different Strokes for Different Folks: Just because a strategy works in the US does not mean that it will be effective for other consumers. In the U.S., email is an effective marketing strategy. But in Africa, you have to account for both web and non-web channels one thing remains true: your messaging must not only be relevant, but it has to solve a unique problem for the customer

Key Quotes:

“There’s 500 million unique connections on the continent [of Africa]. If we take a hundred million of those, that is 20% of the connections. Of these people, 60-70% of them are very young people of that population or that number. We need to be in a position where we are the one-stop bar, and the premier choice to anybody who’s trying to connect to mobile.”

“Over the last five years, the start-up ecosystem has taken off aggressively. People are now building services, products, and services on top of the networks and on top of what the telcos have been able to achieve. The possibilities of what can happen with that sort of infrastructure has taken off. However, the depth of innovation we have seen is really five years old, and the financial technological system has taken a lead there.”

“Technology is not flat. We are doing data analytics, and several companies do analytics. So the problem that is relevant today is solving for the speed of these technologies.”

“When you look at the products that are coming externally into the market, digital transformation over the last five years has been driven significantly by mobile. That’s the same across the world. From a MarTech perspective, and also the way people interact with their phones and talk to their phones on the internet and also SMS, I don’t think you can build up a MarTech solution on the continent if you do not take into consideration web channels and non-web channels.”

“What we are seeing is that as schools get smarter, the mobile channel becomes more interactive. It makes me more intelligent. What are the things that could have used the mobile channel to do before the move on? Mobile phones have got to become a smart phone, essentially supporting those things today.”

“What we rely a lot on is analytics insights and how that can improve that creative process.”

​​”Over the last five to six years, banks in Africa have digitally transformed their processes. They’ve moved away from largely physical interactions with customers to mobile first interactions with customers, and dipping into this mobile office to reach and support them from a MarTech perspective to help them scale that effort and to help them do three things; increase average revenue per user, and help them improve customer lifetime value, and drive down the cost of customer acquisition. If we’re able to bundle these three things effectively for clients to plan, we are very confident we’ll be the dominant player across the verticals.”

Bio

Elo Umeh is an entrepreneur who has worked in mobile and digital media on the Africa continent for more than 15 years. He has gained valuable experience in different countries – Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. He was part of the founding team that grew a mobile technology start up and took it public in Nigeria. Elo has consulted widely for various organizations in the telecommunications and banking sectors, including the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on development of rural telephony initiatives, Mobile Payments in West Africa and the deployment of new products.

Through his passion and drive, he founded Africa’s leading data and marketing technology business – Terragon Group. The business serves various multinational and local brands. With offices in the leading commercial cities across Africa – Nairobi, Accra, Johannesburg and headquartered in Lagos. Terragon also has its research and development team in Bangalore, India.

Elo is passionate about leveraging the unique ways Africans use the mobile device to intelligently connect brands to their customers. He holds a Global Executive MBA from IESE Business School, where he graduated as the best Student of his class and made the IESE Business School 40 under 40 entrepreneurs list in 2017. He has been in founding and leadership roles with the Mobile Marketing Association, Nigeria and the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) West Africa.

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Episode 237