The relevance of being Africa-specific has never been more important than in current times.
Booming economies, anticipated growth and investment strategies, including rapidly expanding urbanisation, globalisation and multinational companies are some of the factors that are heralding in a new Afro-centric mindset.
It also has never been more important for African marketers to come together, united on a platform that speaks specifically to marketing strategies that cross borders.
The Marketers Association of Zimbabwe in conjunction with the African Marketing Confederation will be hosting the inaugural Marketing Summit and exhibition under the theme “Cross-Border Markets in Africa: Challenges or Opportunities?” from October 15-18 in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
The other participating national bodies in this event include: Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana; National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria; Marketing Society of Kenya; Zambian Institute of Marketing; and the Institute of marketing Management South Africa.
Mr Gillian Rusike who doubles as the executive secretary of MAZ as well as the secretary general of the AMC believes that it is a great honour for Zimbabwe to be entrusted with hosting the first ever marketing summit at Continental level.
She believes “that Zimbabwe has huge potential to participate at global level through hosting of international events as we have managed to prove to the world our capabilities when we hosted the UNWTO”.
Mr Rusike further believes that there are huge benefits to organizations, should they embrace marketing as business is marketing and marketing is business hence the summit heralds the beginning of better things for Africa.
The 2014 AMC Summit and Exhibition is anticipated to attract up to 500 delegates from across the continent and beyond as top marketing practitioners and business people will be looking at the best ways to take advantage of the growing market giant of Africa.
Some of the high keynote speakers who have already confirmed presenting thought provoking topics include, Tanzanian born Dr Frannie Léautier, who was once the Vice President of the World Bank and Head of the World Bank Institute (2001-2007). She served as Chief of Staff to the President of the World Bank (2000-2001).
Dr Martyn Davies who is a global award winner with vast experience through researches across Africa and beyond and marketing guru Thebe Ikalafeng are some of the top speakers at the summit. Each AMC member country will also present one speaker to cover a broad range of relevant concepts.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi, will open proceedings.
With the various accolades of success in his tenure, Minister Mzembi has embraced and acknowledged the value of marketing both at national and global level, particularly within the tourism environment.
Minister Mzembi’s attendance proves just how serious Zimbabwe is, in ensuring that co-operation between sectors is crucial in a climate
where multi-nationals have a basket of business opportunities to choose from.
The exhibition will provide a stage for those interested to showcase products and services and is an excellent forum to reach not just African marketing bodies, but academia, chambers of commerce, CEO’s, marketing executives, and government officials.
President of the AMC, Ms Helen McIntee said: “We expect the Summit to motivate and improve industry standards and prove that African products and services need no longer to be marketed from a distance.
“Becoming Africa-specific is crucial to any investor and they must be guided by regional professionals who can help integrate their offerings into an African context.
“Africans themselves are demanding unprecedented levels of satisfaction. Sub-standard service delivery is imperative, and conglomerates that are expanding into, and onto, the continent need to ensure a consistent, and relevant, marketing strategy despite cultural, language, and operational barriers.
“Marketing templates used by multinationals on continents like Europe, Asia and America are just not going to cut it in Africa,” said Ms McIntee.
The AMC Summit is expected to be a catalyst in the way African marketers co-operate and collaborate. The AMC is driven to ensure that marketing is a major asset and one that ensures and supports development, growth and even guide new or expanding businesses.