Predictions for 2017

Predictions for 2017

By Benjamin Juru

The turn of a new year presents us with opportunities to reflect, evaluate and review the preceding year and thus arm us with insights to improve the coming year. As a digital enthusiast, I would like to provide a candid prognosis of the year 2017 as far as digital marketing and the digital economy in general is concerned. My assessment and predictions are within the context of the Zimbabwean economy and projected state of affairs over the next couple of months. Zimbabwe has a quite unique economic environment and there’s the inescapable fact our economy is in shambles and our grow outlook is very bleak. Our politics have destroyed our economy and everything around us. Here’s the first point


No money no party!

The digital economy is all about access and as long as it’s limited there’s no growth! Unfortunately this is the sad reality that we face as players in the digital world. As long as our people are worried about getting $50 or 50 bond note every day from the banks, then it is difficult to expect them to contribute to the growth of the digital economy. In access, we have conversations about the cost of internet access, the speed of the internet and most importantly the hardware (phone or tablet). The recent proclamations by Potraz trying to justify the exorbitant data charges will only limit the growth of the digital economy in Zimbabwe.

If the consumer cannot afford a decent device to get online, download an app and afford the data charges then our growth remains curtailed. The bottom-line effects of an economy struggling with basics makes increasingly difficult for the mass adoption of digital products.


Change in culture


The issues above are standing in the way of a culture change from among our peoples. A change in culture to a more digital inclined way of doing things is needed to trigger growth in the digital economy. The change in culture is also needed from our businesses, service providers etc who need to digitalize their business and thus offer convenience to customers. As long as consumers don’t adopt a culture of convenience, of avoiding brick and mortar and always look to online sources for information then our growth is limited. At the moment we have very low search traffic for key industries which in developed economies produces high search volumes. For example if Nandos cannot provide a solution for customers to order, pay online and get the food delivered to their doorstep then it becomes increasingly difficult to experience a culture change. As long as we continue to queue in banks to transfer funds, queue in council offices to pay refuse then any chances for us to change our behaviour patterns remain non-existent. Our businesses, our government etc need to be at the forefront of any digital revolution by providing us with convenient solutions that make our lives easier.


That being said, the growth of the digital economy largely depends on the economic prospects of the country, as long as we are bogged down by accessing our money from the banks, lack of political will and capacity to solve challenges then sadly we can only dream. The growth and culture change is underpinned by the developments taking place at a macroeconomic level. Nonetheless, the onus is on businesses, companies, governments and regulators to enforce entities to digitalize and provide convenience to customers. 2017 can still be a great year for innovators who will take advantage of the lack of digitalization in our economy and provide lasting solutions that bring convenience and a piece of mind.