Business lessons are to be learnt from the Ekitii Election.
It is imperative to know and understand the difference between need and want. There are also lessons to be learnt in overestimation of one’s strength and undermining the competitor’s strength.
Marketing is defined as the management process of identifying a business gap and filling that gap at a profit. The gap could come in the form of producing a product or service for the people to satisfy a want. In some cases, producers may even create the want.
In practice, it is not just a matter of creating a perfect product, but you must create a product the consumers want not the ones they need. A customer may need a product, but may not want the perfect one you have produced. If you produce what they need as against what they want, your goods will not leave the shelf. It will not fly.
Once, a mouse trap company made a very beautiful perfect trap to catch mice in the homes in America. The traps were cute and attractive and in performance, none was better. No rat passed it without it being caught. Women were buying the traps from the shelves and the trap maker was happy.
Then, something happened. The women were frightened to remove the mouse from the trap after it had trapped the mouse. So they had to wait for the man of the house to come from work and remove the mouse or she closed her eyes and threw both trap and mouse into the trash bin. To use effectively, it had to be one trap, one mouse.
Even to the Americans, this was a bit expensive. The consumers boycotted the beautiful perfect trap.
Ultimately, the firm had a problem with the perfect trap and it had to be withdrawn from the shelves.
The lesson is this: the trap maker made a perfect trap for the need of the women, but the women did not want the fascinating trap made for them.
In Ekiti, the people need development, but do not want it now. They need hospitals, they need good schools, they need good roads, they need solid infrastructure, they need ICT to keep with the rest of the world, but they do not want all these. Rather, what they want is immediate filling of their stomachs which some people call stomach infrastructure. They prefer to eat their tomorrow, today.
You may run a progressive government building roads, re-roofing schools, building health centre in each ward in the state, giving computers to SSS students, giving welfare stipends to the elderly and building resorts as Fayemi did at Ikogosi, the people may not want all of them and prefer sharing the allocation.
You may distribute needed Laptops to teachers and they may prefer to sell them for half the price to eat pounded yam and drink palm wine because they do not want your laptops.
This was what happened in Ekiti. Somehow, many analysts have equated political intelligence with academic intelligence of the Ekitis of which I am one. The Ekitis need development, but they do not want development.
That is lesson #1. You could make a perfect mouse trap and people may not beat a path to your house.
The second lesson is never to underestimate your competitor. You must counter all her moves.
When Guiness first came out with Satzenbrau, Chiel Odumegwu, then MD of Nigeria Breweries promised to match Guiness Naira for Naira in the field. He did just that and that beer could not match Guilder in its first appearance. Nigerian breweries countered every move Guiness made for Satzenbrau.
Ekiti APC refused to do that. When Obanikoro, the minister of state for defense brought those luggages into Ekiti through Akure, APC should have made it their business to find out what he was bringing in.
Perhaps they would have known, the bags contained mints and they would have devised a strategy to counter it. This is called “marketing espionage”
Again, Ekiti APC were overconfident up till the last minute. Even when their sympathizers warned them that the opponents had a game up their sleeves, they dismissed such advice with a wave of the hand, claiming everything was under wrap. They are now wiser.
You may run the best government which the people need, but they may not want it.
In business, you may make the best product for the need of people, they may still not buy if they do not want it. In addition, keep a close tab on your competitors. Never lose sight of him.