The study uses data and information from Safaricom Limited, a mobile telecommunications company listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange as a case study to shed light on the marketing strategies that can work in Africa, a continent considered risky for potential investors. Given Africa’s abundance of natural resources, good climate and large tourism potential and sustained high growth rates over the last one and a half decades, the continent offers strong potential for both domestic and foreign investment. But the marketing of the potential of the continent has not been successful, calling for increased attention to this area. The traditional marketing approaches used in the developed world may not apply on continent with a myriad of bottlenecks including weak poor infrastructure, civil strife, etc. Innovative approaches and marketing support services are required in order to tap into this potential. The paper argues that consistent application of strategic marketing approaches impacts profits and sustainability positively. Safaricom has built a strong brand that is based on high quality services and customer satisfaction. Controlling over 65% of Kenya’s mobile telephone market, Safaricom has mastered its market through the use of differentiation, sustained investment in innovation and better understanding of its customers, and the brand reverberates across the country. The M-PESA mobile money payments and transfer platform, is one of such innovation by Safaricom that is transforming banking in the country, and supporting financial inclusion. Safaricom is a responsible corporate citizen that invests in communities and staff to advance livelihoods. Companies seeking to invest in Africa need to note that the continent is not one homogeneous basket of failure – there are successes in different parts of the continent and large potential to be reaped. The potential for good returns on investment exists in the services sector and others such as agriculture, etc., well beyond the natural resources sector. Sustained engagement in the market and clear understanding of clients’ needs, segmenting the market and reaching out to the clients are important for success.
Key words: Brand, competitive advantage, differentiation, marketing strategy, sustainability.
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