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Internal Marketing in Sudan

Internal Marketing in Sudan podcast

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So we talked about marketing, digital marketing and content marketing. But what about internal marketing? We are at episode five of Jabana with Sudan Digital and another stellar name in the marketing landscape. Shirin Hasan’s presence on social media is huge, far-reaching and impactful. As a marketing and business development specialist, Shirin Hasan holds professional experience that spans over many years and countries including Qatar (started in 2009) and Sudan. She started working in Sudan in 2014 with DAL Group as a sales engineer. Then Joined Oxford College of Marketing and obtained a level 6 CIM Certificate.

We had a lovely chat with Shirin over Jabana about so many topics centred around internal marketing. From her experience, doing business in Sudan is different from the rest of the world. There is a noticeable confusion about sales and marketing as many professionals see these two disciplines as somewhat independent from each other.

On the contrary marketing and sales go together. The real role of the marketer is to facilitate the sales process by understanding the market, understanding the competitive advantage of your product or service and by knowing the gap and how you will reach your target customer.   

This level of understanding is largely affected by the size of the business entity as well. In her words: “Working as a consultant for small startups and SMEs allowed me to see the results of my work within a shorter period. With large organizations, the process tends to be more rigid and slower.” As it takes time to see the fruition of your achievements in large structures.

CIM

Then Shirin briefly talked about CIM certification and the false impression that CIM-based knowledge is not applicable in Sudan. Short for the “ Chartered Institute of Marketing” CIM is a professional body that provides qualifications for chartered marketers. CIM certification applicants need to satisfy a set of criteria that includes qualifications, proven experience, and a commitment to Continuing Professional Development (CPD). CIM mandates chartered marketers to provide the data and information about their organization first, and then CIM will provide the appropriate matrix of theories, metrics and methodologies for the company’s business model.

It is not that frameworks offered by the CIM do not apply to Sudan. Sudan has a unique context of internal and external affairs in addition to economic and political conditions that require an appropriate application. 

Internal Marketing

Moving to our central topic we asked Shirin what is internal marketing. Simply put: internal marketing is to market your product or service inside an organization before you go out and reach your customers. In other words: Internal marketing is when you work to deliver the message of your product or service by ensuring that all the departments within your organization are working together towards a single objective, starting from the receptionist at the front gate of your company.

Employees who do not believe in the product or service of the organization will not present it well in their professional conduct. Employees need to be fully aware of their own products and services before sending them out to customers; especially when it comes to customer service.

Customer service is one of the central elements when it comes to internal marketing. A customer service manager needs to be fully aware of the provided service or product and have a well-trained staff on customer service best practice. This resonates with the previous talk we had with Malik Melamu on how Sudanese values are an ideal basis for excellent customer service. It has been cited that corporations can increase their sales by 40% from customer service alone.

On the other hand, one of the negative attitudes of large businesses here in Sudan is minimal attention to customer gain and loss. For many owners, business growth is eclipsed by ongoing profit.

This might be explained due to the lack of proper competition in the local market. However, when international competitors enter the scene things might become different. Kareem, the car booking service, is a telling example as it swept out local apps once it entered the Sudanese market. The superb quality of their service and well-trained staff and captains managed to capture a huge market share. That is why large business corporations need to pay more attention to customer service and customer growth.

Not only this but as the use of social media is becoming more pervasive, brands reputation is greatly affected by public opinion. But the good news is that Sudanese people are very ethnocentric and will wholeheartedly support local Sudanese brands. 

Internal communication is one of the central elements of internal marketing. Marketing is central to any organization strategy and connects all of its departments including operations, human resources, productions, etc. This is facilitated and actualized by good management. As effective management resolves conflicts and unifies departments towards organization objectives. 

A large part of marketing is a science that integrates knowledge from all departments. If you ignore the science you are missing so many opportunities. 

As new generations are coming into management and taking over their family business and learning its intricacies they are transforming the Sudanese business landscape including marketing practice. 

“Companies need to show appreciation and employees deserve to be recognized for their good work. Even small things like employee of the month make a difference. That is the type of business transformation that I would like to see in Sudan ” And with a piece of sentiment from Shirin we ran out of Jabana and concluded our podcast with our lovely guest.  

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