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About This Show
Behind the scenes secrets of successful businesses helping you the entrepreneur improve and take your business to the next level.
Most Recent Episode
MBA 049: Marketing to the Informal Economy of Africa with GG ALCOCK
2 days ago
Elevator Pitch: Who is GG Alcock?
When people hear of GG who is an expert in the black or mass market they tend to expect a black woman and is instead met by a white man. GG grew up in a Zulu village and spent his life working in a township environment. This puts him in a unique position to understand the mass market.
GG’s parents were political activists and he grew up in a mud hut with no running water or electricity. He says he grew up as a Zulu child and from there the great understanding of the Zulu culture, language and black informal sectors in general. From there he moved into a township space. His business always sought opportunities within that space and he recognised a huge growth in the informal sector. He calls these sectors invisible to many, yet they make up a large part of the economy.
He didn’t study marketing, instead his skill to communicate to that market comes from his deep understanding thereof. His value lies in being able to communicate and explain that environment to corporates. GG describes himself as an avid reader, especially of the business and news sectors. He also enjoys TEDtalks. GG spends a lot of time doing research, talking to traders in the market to better understand what makes them tick. Oftentimes people are retrospective in terms of research – they believe what happened in the past is a prediction of what is to happen in the future. GG tries to look for certain indicators of future trends.
Predicting Trends in the African Market
In South Africa, like with many other developing economies, the informality and individualisation of businesses is growing extensively. The informal sector allows retailers to supply different products that suit people in different parts of the country, which is the ultimate personalisation. The large retailers are not in such an adaptable position. About 100 000 foreign traders have moved into local informal spaza stores and research shows that that sector is now worth around R200 billion. They are growing at a rate of around 7-8% while the formal sector is at a much slower 2-3%. A retailer may need to adapt a product to different segments of the market.
Making Mistakes and Learning from Them
One assumes that your clients are visionary; that they are able to see the opportunities. In GG’s case nobody took notice when they tried to explain to them the potential of th