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SL paper 2, section C, sample F

SL 8. With reference to one organization that you have studied, discuss the importance of
innovation and of ethics in marketing.
My chosen organisation is Safaricom, a Kenyan mobile network operator. Safaricom has clearly been
innovative in its marketing approach since its initial launch in the Kenyan market. However, its marketing
campaigns have also had its fair share of ethical issues. This essay will examine the importance of
innovation in the marketing of Safaricoms products and will also look at the ethical concerns that arise
from its marketing.
Marketing is the process of researching into identifying consumer needs and employing appropriate
price, product, place and promotion strategies in order to satisfy these needs profitably. Innovation on
the other hand refers to the development of new products, processes and services by firms, so as to
meet the demands of consumers. Ethics refers to the practices that are acceptable and have no harm to
different societies around the world.
In order to remain competitive Safaricom has come up with a number of innovative practices that has
made it gain a competitive advantage over other mobile providers in the country. One such product is
the M-Pesa or also known as the mobile money. M-Pesa has made it very easy for Kenyan consumers
to send and receive money from any corner of the country. Therefore, in addition to being able to
communicate via mobile phone, this product enables one to make financial transactions without needing
to have a bank account. Since one of the requirements is that you need to have an account with T-com
this has enabled the company to reach out to a vast majority of the Kenyan people and therefore expand
their customer base. This was both a product development and diversification strategy in reference to
the Ansoff matrix. Firstly, because it was introducing a new product to the existing market (product
development) and secondly it introduced a new product to new customers (diversification).
However, regarding ethics this innovative product had a number of concerns. Many financial institutions
have raised concerns regarding its ease of transferability and argued that it could be an avenue to send
fake money because of its less tight checks of verifying the moneys authenticity as well as its recipients.
On the other hand, many small scale producers have welcomed this idea and said that it has eased the
way business is done and has led to increased business profitability and growth.
Safaricom has also come up with a number of ways of ensuring that their products reach their
customers. One such way is by using language that appeals to the youth known as Sheng (which is a
combination of English and Swahili language). For example, bamba 50 (airtime worth 50 shillings).
However, some conservative consumers have felt that this is not an appropriate way to market ones
product because of their association with Sheng speakers and the type of cultural context they
Safaricom has also been known to use some bait and switch approaches that seem a bit too good to be
true. For example, offering prices of some products that are quite low for a limited period of time and
when a customer gets to the shop to buy them in some cases you are told that the stock they had just
got finished. This therefore makes one to buy the other more expensive offers on stock. So the question
is, was there really an offer as Safaricom suggested?
To continue its innovative approach, Safaricom has a very good training program for its employees and
has allocated a large budget for its sales and marketing department to ensure this happens. In addition
to this Safaricom has been able to reach many parts of Kenya due to its Corporate Social Responsibility
(CSR) programme. In this effort it has championed the initiative of integrating the use of mobile phones
in learning through its e-learning project in many parts of rural Kenya. However, since this programme
makes extensive use of the internet in its applicability, issues regarding authenticity do arise in its
In conclusion, Safaricom has undoubtedly been innovative in its approach to reaching its target market
and provided a much needed product to the Kenyan consumer. However, ethically they have had some
issues in their attempt to market their products. Clearly, they are doing something about this and
currently as it stands their innovative practices have provided more good than harm to the Kenyan

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