Despite huge investments in marketing and distribution, promoters of the Dangote brand are taking it up a notch through innovative relationship strategies with consumers of their brands. Raheem Akingbolu reports
The last stage of recession is always a reward moment for consumers. It is a period when all the media become sensational and the Nigerian consumers of products are sucked into the frenzies of reward programmes and promotional offers by producers of goods and services in the country. Brand owners use sales promotion to generate higher sales, increased profitability and greater market share. Globally, sales promotion is regarded as an important component of organisation’s overall marketing strategies alongside advertising, public relations, and personal selling.
In Nigeria, embarking on Market activation initiatives by brand owners, especially players in the manufacturing and Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sectors, is not new. But with competition and deregulation of the market, coupled with decline in advertising spending, more brands seem to have identified activation and promotion as the easiest way to reach their target.
However, the approaches are different, depending on the demography the concern brand is targeting. In the Cement industry, Dangote group has increasingly bonded with the end users and its distributors.
In a move designed to transform the lives of the average citizen and consumer of goods, the recently unveiled Dangote Cement Promo has helped to put smiles on the faces of some Nigerians, who bought cement products to emerge lucky winners in the exercise.
In the sleepy town of Obio-Akpor Local Government Area in the metropolis of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Mr. Emmanuel Okoro, a middle-aged man woke up one morning, dejected and at loss on how to fulfil his dream of having a roof over his head.
Okoro, like every other hardworking young man in the community, had saved enough money and bought a plot of land with the hope of building a home for himself and his family.
Rather than save for the construction of his dream home, Okoro saw himself as saving to pay lawyers in order to win a court case against land grabbers, who were determined to snatch his plot of land.
On that fateful day, fortune smiled on Okoro when his promo ticket won him N1,000,000 in the last Dangote Cement Promo tagged ‘Mega Million Dash’.
While recounting the event that made him a millionaire, the excited Okoro enthused: “In fact, the last cement promo was God-sent. I had a contract to supervise a construction project. The contract enabled me to supply three trailer-loads of Dangote Cement for the project. I was lucky that my ticket won one million naira.”
Okoro said he was on the verge of losing his land to land-grabbers due to his inability to commence work at the site. “The money actually came at the time I needed it the most. I was already on the verge of losing my plot of land when I won one million naira in the Dangote Promo. As soon as I won the money, I started the foundation of my building and I am now at the roofing level. There is no way I would have been able to start the construction of my house if I had not won the N1million. I want to use this opportunity to thank Dangote Cement for doing the promo at the time I needed money most.”
For Suleiman Oluwasola from Kwara State, the N1 million was the right tonic his faltering poultry farm needed to bounce back to life. “My poultry business was going through serious financial challenges before I won the promo. Immediately the money came, I quickly channelled it into my business”, he added.
Oluwasola disclosed that he used the money to acquire 5,000 birds, which had since multiplied and doubled the company’s profitability. According to him, the acquisition of additional 5,000 birds for his poultry business has moved the company from struggling to a strong financial position, while the business has since expanded its operations.
A third Dangote Cement promo winner, Mr. Saheed Olamilekan Shokeyo from Lagos State, said his N1million win was invested into his cement distribution business and a business of his wife.
He said: “I invested the money into my cement distribution business to expand our reach. I also invested in my wife’s business. The money came at the right time and we have been able to use it judiciously. My business and that of my wife are doing very well.”
The last promo, which ran for three months, had prize money in excess of N300 million. Dangote Cement’s focus was to touch the lives of people by increasing the affordability of their basic needs.
The company has consistently sought to improve the quality of cement in the country. It is constantly adopting measures to make sure that the cement product gets to the door of its teeming customers.
Having recorded great success in the last cement promo, the company’s latest promo tagged “Bags of Goodies,” which is designed to produce 21 million winners across the country, has within two weeks produced three Star prize car winners.
First grand winner
As the company continue to encourage consumers to patronize Dangote Cement, Mr Benjamin Igherighe, a Dangote Cement retailer in Abraka, Delta State, recently emerged as the first grand prize winner of a saloon car in the ongoing Dangote Cement Bag of Goodies scratch and win promo.
The car was presented to him at a grand ceremony held in Warri, Delta State recently.
Giving an insight on how he became a winner, Igherighe narrated with excitement how he bought a trailer load of cement from a distributor, Fibo Ventures and in the process of transferring the bags to his store, the off loaders damaged three bags within which he found the winning card.
He encouraged other Nigerians to take the promo seriously as he just won a prize for the first time ever.
Few days after Igherighe receive car as the first prize winner, Mrs. Godwin Chimezie Success, a house wife, also emerged a Star Winner of Dangote Cement ‘Bag of Goodies’ National Consumer Promotion in the South West Zone and she received her winning prize, a brand new GAC Salon Car in Ibadan, Oyo State.
The car was presented to Success in the presence of major distributors and retailers as well as some officials of oyo state government including the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Rauf Olaniyan, who represented by his Principal Private secretary, Mr. Laide Raji.
Explaining how she picked the winning prize, Chimezie Success explained that she bought 15 bags of Dangote Cement somewhere in Ibadan out of which she had discovered the winning scratch card from one of the bags.
The young housewife and her husband, had resolved to use the cement for the purpose of constructing a demarcating fence as security round a plot of land they just acquired somewhere in Ejioku village in Ibadan, not knowing that the winning scratch card was divinely tucked inside one of the bags to transform the life of the family.
She enjoined the populace to continue to take Dangote Cement by their words in all its ramifications. “They said it and we found it to be so, this is quite surprising, a car in a bag of Dangote cement, quite unbelievable.”
The latest winner, Mujahid Shiabu, who just returned from Borno state two weeks ago, went home with a saloon car amid ecstasy by his colleagues and friend who were on ground to share in his joy.
Conditions for winning
The promo, which runs between July and September in which prizes worth billions of Naira would be won, will produce winners of 43 cars, 24 tricycles, 24 motorcycles, 550 refrigerators, 400 television sets, 300,000 Dangote Foods goodies’ packs and recharge cards for all networks worth N200,000,000.00.
The Group Managing Director of Dangote Cement Plc, Engr. Joseph Makoju, said the company decided to run the biggest promo ever in Nigeria as a way of contributing to the economic wellbeing of the consumers of its products; given the prevailing economic situation.
He said: “The promo is to reward valued consumers for their unflinching partnership in ensuring that our range of cement products remains today the first choice for construction purposes across the country. The consumer promotion gives opportunities for existing and new consumers to overcome their struggle for economic emancipation by winning any of the give-away items, which has economic value.
“We have made it so transparent that you don’t have to go through any raffle or draw associated with many other promotions in the country. You win instantly because what is revealed in the scratch card is what you win”, he stated.
Explaining the rationale behind such a humongous promo, he explained that Dangote Cement is the largest cement manufacturer in Africa with the largest production capacity, and therefore the company decided to reward consumers in the biggest way ever experienced in the country.
Dangote Cement Marketing Director, Mrs. Funmi Sanni noted that “Consumers are at the heart of what we do; without them there is no business. Consumers are important and a fundamental factor of production, without which production process is incomplete and our ability to remain in business becomes impossible.
“To grow our business, we must constantly create value in terms of quality product and service, competitive pricing and depositing in consumers’ emotional bank accounts in order to become their preferred choice of brand at the point of purchase.”
The Marketing Director said as a business, the management of Dangote Cement recognises the importance of every member of its value chain, distributors; wholesalers; and retailers, “and as such we have invested in growing their businesses through various empowerment schemes.”
According to her, the new Dangote cement promo bags have been shipped to all distributors and sellers nationwide and therefore there is no fear of scarcity of the new cement product.
She added that “every promo bag of cement contains a scratch card carrying winning items carefully inserted in each bag. Consumers need to be educated to scratch gently so as not invalidate their wining card.” She disclosed that the promo cuts across all Dangote Cement’s brands, which include 3X, Falcon and BlocMaster.
Sanni explained that the consumer promo was in line with the mission of the company, which is to touch the lives of the people by providing their basic needs.
She pointed out that the consumer promotion is another huge investment to help the customers improve their rate of sales and make more profit while at the same time improve the consumers’ quality of life. “We are doing this for the sake of our consumers who have not really benefitted much from our previous promo.”
The promo has been endorsed by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission. The Deputy Director and Coordinator of the Lagos Liaison Office of the NLRC, Mrs. Nkiru Onuzulu said the promo had been approved and registered with the Commission and can assure that it would be transparent, free and fair all through the processes.
“I can assure you that what you win is what you will get because we are monitoring and regulating the promo, and given the calibre of the company running this promo which is Dangote Cement, there won’t be any undercut.”
Also attesting to the inherent transparency in the promo, President of Blockmakers Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Rasidi Adebowale said Dangote has done a lot of promos that benefited the block-makers in the past where there was no issue. He said this cannot be an exception.