[Made in Océan Indien] Digital marketing in the Indian Ocean: a smooth membership for the islands!

by bold-lichterman

We live in an era resolutely driven by technology. Like a wave, this trend sweeps everything in its path, reshaping all the economic activities of a country. In tune, companies adapt their business strategies. Among the sectors that have seen significant changes in their operations is marketing. Indeed, technology has given birth to digital marketing, a strategy intended to give a better visibility to the company.

In the collective mind, traditional marketing is associated with door to door. However, over the years, with the arrival of technology, this sector has evolved to accommodate more and more connected consumers, to such an extent that today we are talking about digital marketing … Is it a simple adaptation of marketing to technological tools? We would be tempted to answer this question positively, however, it is more exactly a thorough and complete strategy for a target audience. In any event, the principle has remained the same: to attract customers likely to respond favorably to an offer.

Together, social networks form a technological tool with great impact, boosting marketing. From Facebook to Twitter via LinkedIn or even Instagram and Snapchat, they give significant visibility to any company that integrates them into their marketing strategy. A perfect illustration of this trend, the first thing a consumer will check is the appreciation (the “opinions”) of other consumers on the quality of your services.

The phenomenon is almost global, so we can legitimately ask ourselves what is happening with the islands of the Indian Ocean. Good news: the technological ecosystem in the Indian Ocean region is booming! Many initiatives are undertaken to give a big boost to this sector, which can bring big profits to the economic meter of a country.

Mauritius and Reunion Island are on track in this dynamic of digitalization of marketing. Admittedly, the two countries do not have the same resources and do not go at the same pace, but both show great motivation to want to change things.

Mauritius, lagging behind in digital marketing?

Mauritius is arguably one of the African countries with the greatest connectivity. There are many places on the island that have “WiFi spots.” Connectivity is probably not a problem for most Mauritians, however, the situation is different when it comes to the quality of the connection (quantity does not always rhyme with quality!). That being said, Mauritians show great interest in social networks… According to Global Stats Counter, from May 2017 to May 2018, 67.58% of the Mauritian population connected to Facebook.

A great use of social networks which demonstrated all its influence during the last Mauritian legislative elections in 2014. Indeed, during the electoral campaign, a video made the buzz on social networks a few days before the elections. A buzz which ended up paying off because it largely influenced the votes of Mauritians and allowed to overthrow the regime in power!

Moreover, this strong connectivity is definitely an asset for companies that accept to play the social media card in the name of their visibility. However, many still grope and favor traditional marketing, while being aware of the importance of a website or at least a presence on social networks!

The years to come will tell us, but it is very likely that digital marketing adapted to local specificities will prevail in Mauritius, creating value both for customers – consumers and for companies. One aspect which is beginning, it must be admitted, to be put in place little by little. The growing number of online service billboards on the island is an example that digital marketing is starting to take off.

On the e-commerce side, it’s a smooth start! If elsewhere in the world online stores are sprouting like mushrooms, in Mauritius, we are taking our time. However, this does not prevent Mauritian consumers from shopping on eBay, Amazon, Ali express to name a few.

This trend is probably starting to change, as demonstrated, for example, by the new online shopping portal Creativemauritius.mu. The e-commerce platform at the initiative of the MCCI (NDLR Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Mauritius), in collaboration with the Mauritius Post, wants to allow traders and craftsmen of SMEs on the island Maurice to advance digitally and innovate.

Reunion Island, an increasingly connected island!

The trend is for the current generation to be digitally oriented, moreover, this aspect is becoming more precise among the Reunionese. The French department is following suit, with however some differences compared to the neighboring islands. In the figures, this gives 500,000 registered Reunionese (out of 850,000 inhabitants) on Facebook. Without too much surprise, the blue social network is by far the number one in Reunion. All sections of the population are affected: from 13 years old to (much) older.

More trendy, Instagram goes back thoroughly in its use with 170,000 regular users. On the side of LinkedIn, with nearly 100,000 registered professionals on the island, the latter has definitely supplanted Viadéo (the French competitor in the sector which is unscrewing), as the number 1 professional social network.

Despite the lack of figures on the use of Snapchat in Réunion, it is clear that it is widely adopted by the youngest (13-25 years old). It offers a more dynamic and more private alternative to Facebook for this audience.

Finally, Twitter has always struggled to establish itself on the intense island, but remains well used in the technophile, journalistic or political spheres.

What about Reunion Island companies? Like their Mauritian counterparts, Reunion Island entrepreneurs have also had to review their marketing strategy and adapt to the digital wave.

A few years ago, the question was “should a business have a Facebook page?” “. Today, we wonder more “How to have an effective page? The Reunionese brands have fully understood the importance of being present on social networks. There is no shortage of examples, whether it is at the level of brands seeking notoriety or companies working to acquire qualified prospects.

Social networks are essential assets to propel sales and visibility of the company. Not to take advantage of such a virtual windfall is to sign your loss within the invisible mass.

The correspondent:

Made in ocean Indien What challenges for the organization of
Vincent Pollet is the co-founder ofICT.io, a media platform that promotes innovation, entrepreneurship, and focuses on start-ups in the Indian Ocean.