By Sadique Uddin
As a rising economy, Bangladesh has grasped the concept of innovation rather quickly. The entrance of the telecom sector, mobile commerce and the approach of web-based applications outlined by businesses and upheld by our tech-friendly government has facilitated the development story that is going to unfold in the e-space of Bangladesh.
As per The Daily Independent Report and Hotel Industry Report, 2013 by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the nation’s hospitality industry has seen a consistent growth of more than 7.5% for every year since 2008. This has been fueled by the development of our local middle class and a high GDP growth rate.
Internet users are increasing day by day. According to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) more than 130 million people, out of Bangladesh’s population of 160 million, use mobile phones while around 60 million people access the internet. Over 30 million people are using Facebook.
Marketing has been a component of our everyday landscape for quite some time now. However, the introduction of digital marketing has drastically changed the playing field, particularly for companies marketing in the Food and Beverages (F&B) industry. Traditional marketing culture has transformed into a remarkable new creature, as F&B companies draw from an extending toolkit of advanced online and social marketing strategies. Today, active and engaging promotions are flawlessly incorporated into people’s social connections and moment-by-moment associations.
Bangladesh’s development pattern has significantly affected the way individuals experience their lives, communicate with each other. It has also altered their consumption patterns and behaviors, making it one of the most vital success features for particular industries like F&B, other FMCGs, Telco, Apparel, Footwear as well as Consumer Durables.
The direct contribution of the hospitality industry to the country’s GDP is likely to rise by 8% in 2016, which was Tk 260 billion in 2015, according to industry experts. The F&B industry is a standout among the fast growing sectors in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has a massive consumer market consisting of almost 160 million consumers. Thus, as the economy progresses, consumer spending, disposable income, and personal savings are also experiencing positive shifts.
This consumer base is being driven by catalytic factors like:
• Age and gender distribution (60% of the population being between 15-64 years old)
• Increasing urban population (growing at a rate of 30%+/year)
• Growing labor force (increasing purchasing power of the mass)
• Improving literacy rate (primary education enrollment is 95%+)
• Expanding middle class, growing white-collar culture, and globalization (youth influenced and linked with the globe via IT and social media)
With the rising income levels of the middle and upper-class populations in Bangladesh, the F&B industry has started to grow quite remarkably. Eating out has turned into an integral part in the lives of affluent Bangladeshis, and this phenomenon is contributing to the development of eateries, hotels and amusement facilities across the country.
Besides this, social media has become the best approach to get new audiences for emerging businesses or services. Basically, it can help businesses grow at a faster rate. Social media provides numerous benefits for the F&B industry. Thus, people who run hospitality businesses must consider the impact of its power.
These days, people are more inclined to listen to digital media reviews, comments, likes, shares, etc. than honest suggestions from friends.
Even when looking for a place to have lunch, people simply look up social media sites for reviews, promotional packages and campaigns. Eventually, they find the best match on their own without asking for suggestions.
People and businesses more accustomed to the traditional methods of marketing and advertising need to evaluate whether their business is suitable for the digital and social media trend. Even if they decide that they can do without it, this new “wind of change” in the marketing area has considerable power which should not be ignored.
According to UCWeb Inc., 70% people are heavy social media users and over 39% people spend 1-3 hours on social networking sites every day. Also, 75.6% people consider social networking sites to be good for their social life. Digital marketing has gladly taken this effect and amplified it accordingly. As the most vibrant and productive member of digital marketing family, social media is now used to rate and review different restaurants, and the trend has caught on.
In this regard, Tarik Siddiki, Chief Marketing Officer, MetaConnect commented, “Technology is reclassifying how the F&B industry recognizes growth opportunities and supervise risk factors. The industries which understand and utilize these mediums most sufficiently are arranged to benefit by upgrading business conditions.”
By spotting opportunities and engagement, digital marketing services have the power to bring about growth. With alterable tastes, patterns, and inclinations, customers keep tabs on the food business with an insatiable longing for change. Social media allows restaurants and food brands to spot mushrooming trends and change proactively, responding with strategies to maximize their benefit.
In this variable industry, it is essential for F&B service providers to stay up with the consumer interest and opinion to react and adapt quickly.
A significant number of the top eateries and food names in Bangladesh are dynamic on online networking platforms. Many of the top brands have active pages which are communicating with their consumers, embracing feedback and suggestions and implementing them on a daily basis to give their customers more of what they want. Many adverts on television or radio within the industry now incorporate social media links as domains like Facebook are ideal platforms to entertain, engage and educate their audiences along with offering promotions and competitions. Business within the hospitality industry can promptly draw in consumers and update their products or services for quick improvements. These changes have enormous payoffs in the long haul.
Like other business entities, the F&B industry also needs to have a holistic digital marketing strategy, and there are plenty of options available in the marketplace. Thanks to rapidly evolving technology, the digital marketing for the F&B sector is continuously advancing.
Social media marketing helps owners to improve a better customer relationship management.
There is a good number of Digital Marketing agencies in Bangladesh providing excellent services to its clients. MetaConnect based in Dhaka is an emerging full-fledged digital marketing agency that has specialized its expertise in F&B’s digital marketing sector. MetaConnect aims to assist F&B firms with timely blog posts, social media communications, personalized email campaigns, and various other marketing initiatives. MetaConnect has already helped launch some renowned F&B brands into the market both in Dhaka and Chittagong. Some of their major clients include Oriental Lounge, Picasso Restaurant, Nordic Hotels and Regalo. Furthermore, MetaConnect also provides integrated and eye-catching design, website & App development, photography, videography and digital content development services. From logo concepts to brand guides, they can help companies establish and strengthen their brand through its visuals and communications in the market.