Get your business online or perish
By Graham Kajilwa | September 29th 2021
When you walk into the offices of Peak and Dale Solutions Limited that are located on the fifth floor of Mitsumi Business Park in Westlands, you might think a new company has just moved in.
The ‘deserted’ look of the offices is intentional, as their job as a digital agency is to get your business online. It’s paperless and the furniture minimal.
The firm is twelve years old and won the digital agency of the year award at the recently held Kenya E-Commerce Awards. It focuses on digital solutions like e-commerce websites, website designs, content management systems, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and domain registration.
Enterprise spoke to Ms Brenda Mwirichia about the growth of her company and the industry at large.
Having been in the market for 12 years, what are some of the trends you have witnessed in the digital space for businesses?
A lot has changed over the years. First, when I started Peak and Dale, there were only a few women in the tech industry. The numbers have since multiplied.
Technologies that were found difficult to adapt are now being adopted. Initially, if you told someone the importance of a domain so that they can have personalised email or websites they wouldn’t understand.
A few years ago, when you told someone about teleconferencing, they would be hesitant. But Google Meet, Microsoft Teams are now entrenched. We are currently Microsoft and Google Workspace partners.
There are many other companies that provide digital solutions, how do you make yourself stand out?
From the beginning, we have positioned ourselves as a digital agency. In the past, there have been a lot of marketing agencies. But they position themselves as creative and marketing agencies.
Over the years we have become masters in our trade and we have certifications to prove that. We are masters in pay per click marketing. We are able to offer our solutions in a way a traditional marketing agency may not have approached it.
Businesses were used to traditional marketing firms, how hard was it convincing old and new businesses that they need a digital agency?
Initially, it was a bit difficult because people believed the only way to be seen is through television, radio, billboards or other traditional media. It was quite hard convincing people that there’s a new area that is very powerful but largely ignored.
The beauty of digital marketing is that I can tailor my audience to the exact audience I need. For example, if I am a mother and I am selling diapers, I can tailor my audience to mothers of a certain age or who live in a certain area. Hence, the return on investment is much higher.
I am not discrediting other media, but what we are doing as a company is to let other companies know the power of digital marketing.
How would you describe the uptake of technology solutions when you compare new companies and those that have been in existence for a longer period?
I have seen a lot of old companies that have been in existence and are starting to go online now. It is like they are rediscovering themselves. We have had a lot of clients who have come on board. We have actually changed the whole face of their organisation.
We've partnered with many influencers to help us in digital marketing on social media platforms and we also did a lot of pay per click marketing.
Is there a difference in terms of the digital solutions that old and new businesses seek?
Yes, and no. No in the sense that we all want to achieve the same things; have a website, emails and all that. But larger corporates are more demanding in the kind of space they want to occupy on the digital front. They want a company that understands their needs, that is able to process what exactly they want to achieve and walk with them in order to create value for them.
You mentioned an increase in e-commerce websites, which has been observed during the pandemic...
When everyone was told to stay at home to help contain the virus, things still needed to run and people had to look for a different way of working. The coronavirus pandemic has helped in terms of this particular industry as there has been that sudden growth. A lot of people are looking at how can to market digitally as opposed to traditional marketing such as newspapers or broadcast media.
Does that mean Covid-19 has been a blessing in disguise to companies like yours?
It has. As other companies were going out of business, we were busy. I had a team that was not sleeping because people wanted to now go online and we were able to provide those services. For us there was that cushion, the pandemic was sort of good.
How do companies approach your services? Do they come with a fixed mind on what they want and how do you navigate through such demands?
Most clients do not know what they want. We have a process of working and one of them is the planning phase whereby we sit with the client and just put down what they want to achieve.
In the end, we have a document with a digital strategy that shows what we want to achieve in the next year.
What excuses do companies yet to embrace the digital space give?
The reasons and questions are varied. For instance, firms ask: How sure are we that we will make sales? How will we get a return on the investment? There could be a myriad of reasons. For those types of businesses, we tell them to try. We know once you put your foot in, it is very difficult to put it out because you will definitely see results.
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