Nabbesh is an online skill-marketing base that seeks to connect experienced freelancers with businesspersons, who are seeking to hire individuals based on the demanded service. Founded in 2012, the company seeks to provide an online skills market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The company has grown tremendously since its formation. It has attracted a lot of interest in MENA and across the world.
It has been presenting an avenue through which businesses can hire and provide employment to thousands of jobless individuals in MENA. This paper presents the important marketing plan strategies that Nabbesh has used in its operations. Besides, it provides important recommendations that the company can use to attain success.
Background to Nabbesh
Nabbesh.com, which is commonly referred to as Nabbesh, is an online-based organization that seeks to connect businesses and individuals to freelance online talents for both short-term and long-term engagements (Nabbesh, 2014). The company, which was established in 2012, has attracted a lot of interest for its concept and success in the short duration that it has existed. The business, whose main platform is its website, attracts more than 100,000 unique visitors in a day. This observation is a clear indication of the interest that it has generated, especially in the Middle East and North Africa (Byat & Sultan, 2014).
The company seeks to fill the employment and talent gap that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is facing. Currently, the region has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, yet there is abundance of skills in technology such as web design, photography, graphic designs, and data entry among many other easily available skills (Byat & Sultan, 2014). On the other hand, employers prefer hiring based on demand to providing permanent jobs. Consequently, this business concept seeks to bring together the highly skilled freelancers and businesses that wish to employ people based on the available positions.
Analysis of the Venture
Nabbesh Marketing Mix Strategies
Marketing mix refers to the promotion decisions and options that a business has to take to ensure that its products can reach the market and/or meet the needs of potential customers (Booth & Van Ours, 2008). The marketing process considers four important aspects, which include the commodity, the cost, the position, and the promotion.
In other words, the marketing mix strategies that a business chooses relate to making important decisions concerning one, more, or all of the above aspects. The consideration of the four important aspects that relate to merchandise, place, cost, and promotion is well captured in the 4Ps marketing matrix, which will be considered for the marketing mix strategies that Nabbesh is using to penetrate its target market.
Firstly, the company has already set its product, which is a platform or website where freelancers and businesses can interact and make business deals on how to complete various tasks (Byat & Sultan, 2014). As such, Nabbesh has already ensured that it can provide a product, which the market has not been able to provide, especially in the Middle East and North Africa.
The main logic behind the platform is that numerous trained young people are not employed, yet they have the skills that employers need (Byat & Sultan, 2014). Consequently, by registering on the platform as either a business or a freelancer, the ground is set for the two groups to meet and sell or buy the skills as they apply to each of them.
Secondly, Nabbesh plans to set the prices of its product based on commission. Since the company provides a platform for freelancers to earn and businesses to hire, the company’s business model is based on charging a commission on all successful engagements that occur through the platform (Byat & Sultan, 2014). As such, the amount of commission will depend on the amount of work or money that is paid for a job, depending on the applicable option. Further, the company plans to charge a commission to businesses, which successfully hire freelancers through the website.
Thirdly, the marketing mix strategy that Nabbesh uses will use the internet as the place or platform through which it will base all its activities. The internet has provided new opportunities where businesses can interact with experts and professionals remotely. Nabbesh has taken advantage of this opportunity. Lastly, the company uses social media as its main promotional platform.
The company targets people who are mainly 35 years and below. They must be well informed technologically, unemployed, and looking for alternatives to the normal jobs. Such people should provide the skills that are needed by the business (Byat & Sultan, 2014). This group is majorly on social media and hence the reason why Nabbesh has focused on social media as its main promotional platform.
Nabbesh Marketing Strategies
Marketing strategies that a business applies can make or destroy its possibilities of making it in its area of operations (Booth & Van Ours, 2008). As such, Nabbesh, just like other ventures, has put in place important marketing strategies that have allowed it to be successful so far. The marketing strategies relate to four concepts, namely targeting, segmentation, positioning, and differentiation.
In terms of targeting, the concept relates to the market or customers that the business seeks to serve. Targeting requires the identification of a specific market niche or an existing market, which has not been served, or which is not being served well, thus leaving customers unsatisfied (Strauss, Frost & Ansary, 2009). Nabbesh targets businesses that seek to recruit on-demand and skilled freelancers who would like to sell their skills online instead of seeking the formal employment. This niche market area has not been served in the Middle East and North Africa and hence the reason why it presents a prime opportunity for Nabbesh to exploit.
The second important marketing strategy is segmentation. In this strategy, the focus is on determining the characteristics of customers and grouping clients who have the same needs and demands so that they can respond to specific marketing actions that the business undertakes (Hollensen, 2015). For Nabbesh, the market is segmented into two main customer groups, namely, freelancers and businesses. The marketing approach is based on the product concept. By providing a website platform where the two customers can transact via buying or selling skills, the company has a specific segment on which it focuses.
In the third approach, the marketing strategy focuses on positioning that is aimed at helping the company to create a specific image to which customers can relate. Such an image can help the company to create a market base for its products through customer loyalty (Cravens & Piercy, 2008). For Nabbesh, the company is positioning itself as a reliable online skills marketplace where businesses can hire highly qualified freelancers for their various tasks. The company is on the right track, owing to the fact that it is focusing on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), which is a market that is not served by such a concept that Nabbesh is pushing forward.
Lastly, the business’ marketing strategy also focuses on differentiation, which relates to the process of ensuring that its products and services are unique and different from those of its competitors (Kotler, Kartajaya & Setiawan, 2010). Currently, the company is targeting a market segment that is not served by other domestic or regional businesses. Its main competitors in this area are formal and conventional recruitment firms that match employees to employers. Consequently, since it focuses on online hiring of skills, the company has differentiated its products and services from the conventional business approaches that are currently used by businesses in MENA.
Constraints that Nabbesh Faces During Start-Up
Start-ups face many problems that if not addressed well can lead to their failure. These challenges in most cases relate to capital, marketing, and personnel. For Nabbesh, these challenges have been overcome through various strategies. Firstly, the capital challenges pose the greatest danger to the success of start-ups. According to Loulou Khazen Baz, who is among the founders, the venture used approximately USD$ 100,000 from personal savings to start the business (Byat & Sultan, 2014).
However, this capital was not adequate. After winning approximately USD$70, 000 in an entrepreneurial competition, the company used the publicity it had got from the competition to invite investors to fund the start-up to a tune of USD$100,000, a fete that was successful by the end of 2013 (Byat & Sultan, 2014). However, not all ventures attract such interest from investors, unless the idea is very viable as it was witnessed in the case of Nabbesh.
The second main challenge that Nabbesh faced was witnessed in its marketing approaches. As a start-up, advertising through the conventional modes of is very expensive and unviable due to the large geographical region that a business may intend to cover (Kotler, 2000). Consequently, the company focused on social media marketing, which is usually cheap and in most cases free as compared to the other forms of marketing. Through the social media, the company has established social media ambassadors who act as users who have interacted with the company’s model. Now, they are the ones who are currently recommending the freelance site to their online friends.
The last challenge that the company faces as a start-up business is on ensuring that it has the right personnel who can take it to the next level. It is worth noting that the kind of employees that start-up business employs can easily be the downfall or the competitive advantage in the business activities of the venture. As it stands, Nabbesh is still a small company where the main proprietors are still involved in the day-to-day activities, including the running of the business (Armstrong, Adam, Denize & Kotler, 2014). However, through a thorough scrutiny of potential employees, the company has managed to recruit a team of 10 people through the Nabbesh website.
Major Steps in New-Product Development Process
Developing a new product is an easy task that involves several stages and various considerations that guide an organization towards developing a product that is needed in the market (Kotler, 2000). Businesses follow seven steps in product development to establish new products. These steps are idea creation, selection, model development and testing, industry examination, commodity and marketing mix development, bazaar testing, and commercialization (Armstrong et al., 2014).
At Nabbesh, Baz, who is the founder of the venture, generated the idea of developing a freelance job website. She had many ideas, which after screening, in the second stage of product development, allowed her and her team to narrow down to freelance and online skills portal or website, as the best option. In terms of concept development and testing and business analysis, the company carried out a market research to determine the viability of the concepts and ideas in the market.
This stage led to the determination of whether its choice would be a viable and competitive business venture (Byat & Sultan, 2014). In terms of product and marketing mix development, Nabbesh determined the main approaches it would use to market and promote its services to its target customers in the MENA region. In the market testing stage, the company has already set an elaborate website, which has attracted more than 5,000 freelancers who are already getting and doing jobs for various customers mainly from the MENA region.
The commercialization step is the last one, although it is yet to be done (Byat & Sultan, 2014). In this step, the company seeks to introduce a commission system where customers and freelancers can be charged a small commission on any job that is successfully done and paid. This channel will be the main one through which the company will generate income.
Promotional Mix Strategies
Nabbesh has employed various promotional mix strategies to ensure that it promotes itself and its services to its target market successfully. The world of business is very competitive. It requires the right business ventures and the right promotional mix strategies to have a competitive advantage over its competitors (Kotler et al., 2010).
Nabbesh as an online business venture, which is yet to generate considerable income, has opted for the cheapest and easiest promotional mix strategies, although they are very effective in reaching its target customer base (Byat & Sultan, 2014). The company whose business targets young people has focused on social media as the advertising platform for its business. Through the social media, the company seeks to have as many freelance professional sign ups as possible on the site to ensure that it has strong public relations approaches that will give it the desired credibility, hence ensuring that businesses can hire through the site.
Once the company achieves a higher level of credibility, which will be aided by customer satisfaction, it will be easy to promote itself through return customers who will eventually lead to more customers and more freelancers, as the company gains popularity in its activities (Armstrong et al., 2014). Consequently, the current stage involves promotional activities, which will attract a good talent from freelancers who will serve the initial customers. After the phase is over, the company will spend very few resources, if any, in promoting its services.
In deciding the distribution channel strategies, it is important to put various considerations such as the packaging to ensure that customers can relate to the product to guarantee that the products or services are not easily substitutable (Cravens & Piercy, 2008). Nabbesh does not follow the conventional distribution channels because no direct goods are being sold. Rather, it focuses on serving as a marketplace for skills. The products here are the freelance skills that the freelancers register on the company’s site for it to them offer to customers.
As such, the main distribution channel strategy of the company is the internet through its website and social media. The company has created an elaborate website where customers and freelancers can register and buy or sell skills. In other words, the customers buy the skills that are offered by various freelancers, depending on the work that the customers to provide (Byat & Sultan, 2014). The second distribution channel strategy is the use of social media. Through the social media, the company is able to reach various potential customers and potential freelancers.
Indeed, the company’s focus on social media is very critical in attracting talented and highly qualified individuals who can work as freelancers to deal with various customer needs. Lastly, packaging is a very critical aspect in distribution channel strategies (Strauss et al., 2009). In this case, the company focuses on packaging itself as a highly reliable skills marketplace where freelancers can make a decent income as an alternative to formal employment, or as an alternative to unemployment. Further, the company packages itself as a reliable marketplace where businesses can hire skills based on the demanded service.
Sales Management, Promotional, and Viral Marketing Strategies
The backbone of any successful business is its ability to sell its products or services to achieve profitability. If a company can break into the marketplace, it has no chance of surviving. Hence, it is very important to put in place the right sales management, promotional, and viral marketing strategies that will ensure that it can turn its concepts and ideas into profit-making ventures (Strauss et al., 2009).
A company’s sales management is a very critical aspect of ensuring that it can achieve adequate sales of services to achieve reasonable revenues and profits. Sales management involves all activities that relate to the management of teams, pricing of products, and promotional and viral marketing strategies that will ensure that the company achieves its sales targets at all times (Hollensen, 2015).
Now, the company has focused on assembling a small team of only 10 people who are now in charge of the sales, promotional, and viral marketing strategies that are in place. So far, the company’s website receives approximately 100,000 unique visitors on a daily basis, which signifies that its viral marketing strategies are working.
From the above analysis and discussion on Nabbesh marketing plan, it is evident that the company has achieved great milestones to attain its status as the first online skills marketplace in the MENA region. However, the company has a long way to go to achieve its aspirations of becoming not only a major marketplace for skills, but also a chief avenue for its investors to make returns on investment. The following recommendations are important for the company is the long run:
- Firstly, it is important for the company put in place a strategy that can allow it to monetize its platform. In this case, the company needs to put an elaborate plan that will ensure that it can accurately and reliably obtain commissions for every transaction that is carried out successfully
- Secondly, the company needs to dedicate more resources towards convincing businesses on the viability of hiring online. Hiring talent online without physical interactions is currently a big challenge to businesses, which have to entrust strangers with private data. Consequently, there is a need to convince organizations that the concept is trustworthy and that freelancers can adequately serve their needs.
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