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AMC MARKETING CONFERENCE

Gathering hears of the importance of culture in modern marketing

By our News Team | 2022

Developing the right corporate culture is a key driver of marketing and overall business success, conference delegates are told.

‘Culture as the New Marketing Currency’ came under the spotlight as the first session of the African Marketing Confederation’s 2022 Conference got underway at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, 19 October).

Dr Matongo Matamwandi, Vice Chancellor of Kenneth Kaunda Metropolitan University in Lusaka and a Past President of the Zambia Institute of Marketing, presented a hard-hitting overview of the importance of culture and its significance in driving marketing and overall business success.

AMC Marketing Conference

Photo by Dominika Roseclay from Pexels

He begun by explaining how regional and national cultures need to be understood by marketers when developing their strategies. Giving one example of a failure to do so, Dr Matamwandi told delegates how fast-food chain McDonald’s – buoyed by the huge success of its new beef burger offering in Europe and North America – launched an expensive campaign to do the same in India.

The result, however, was abject failure. McDonald’s marketers had failed to realise that most Indians are Hindu and do not eat meat. Furthermore, cows are regarded as sacred in the Hindu religion.

Dr Matamwandi then turned his attention to company culture, emphasising that a good organisational culture was more important to long-term business success than an understanding of regional or national cultures. 

Impossible to recover from a cultural mistake

“If you make a strategic business mistake, you may recover. If you make an [organisational] cultural mistake, you cannot recover,” he explained, adding that it was possible to have an over-emphasis on customers and too little emphasis on company culture.

According to Dr Matamwandi, corporate culture comprises a company’s shared values, beliefs and goals. Among other things, the right company culture can be a huge draw for talented people, who are vital to achieving excellence and success within the business. 

“Company culture can also become a marketing tool; customers don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,” he said.

He quoted a survey by global executive search firm Egon Zehnder, which found that 95 percent of business leaders questioned believed that a company’s culture affects customer decisions. Sixty percent said they thought their business culture supported their company’s brand.

Dr Matamwandi ended his presentation with a ‘Moment of Truth’ challenge to the African business community to bring about a cultural change in the way business is done on the continent. This was necessary to be more globally competitive, he emphasised.

Collective power and marketing wisdom

In opening remarks preceding Dr Matamwandi’s presentation, Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (MAZ) President, Professor Zororo Muranda, welcomed delegates from eight African countries to the Victoria Falls conference. He hailed the collective power and marketing wisdom present at the gathering and said the sharing of experiences would help to grow the profession on the continent.

Helen McIntee, President of the African Marketing Confederation, added her welcome. She said this inaugural conference was a milestone for the AMC, which had grown from a small spark of an idea in 2009 to a continent-wide organisation with 10 member countries.

The conference is being hosted by the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe and continues until 22 October at Elephant Hills Hotel. For further information, visit the dedicated conference website: https://amcmarketingconference22.com/

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