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Enterprise

Man on mission to change face of online marketing

Jerry Jariwalla
Jerry Jariwalla, serial entrepreneur. PHOTO | COURTESY 

Nearly everybody, everywhere is trying to sell something, either online or offline. And many of the targeted customers are getting angry for being bombarded at ever turn by ads; they just want to be left alone.

But Jerry Jariwalla, who has spent the last 15 years building multi-million dollar businesses in UK and Africa, has finally found the secret of selling without becoming a bother.

His first visit to Kenya started on a bad note. He suffered stroke while in Mombasa in 2009. But that has not stopped him from setting base in Kenya and starting a digital marketing firm, Moo Marketing.

With many businesses bleeding customers because of poor strategy of selling online, he saw an opportunity. He now advises businesses on online marketing using a tool called sales funnel.

“I got my first client within three days and helped generate an additional $5,000 sales within three weeks. All we needed was to fix the way of online marketing,” says Mr Jariwalla who also worked with betting firm, Sportpesa in marketing.

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His idea is to make marketing department become an outsourced function. He goes into businesses as a “tactical mind”, turns around the selling part and then exits.

“The whole idea is that don’t chase sales too quick by bombarding people with offers. Build relationships first and get to know what customers want,” he says.

“It is about following a process so that you sell by not selling. You have to attract a customer, engage them, capture and nurture them, then convert into sales.”

This, he notes, then ensures that potential customers keep such businesses on top of their minds, then only buys when need arises.

He discovered that this was the missing link for many businesses that are trying to ride on the internet wave to catch the attention of users.

Currently, many businesses are grappling with selling through platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp as targeted customers raise privacy concerns.

Others in fields such as insurance and banking face similar challenge when selling their products through agents. It is an industry he is setting his eyes on at a time insurance penetration has dipped to 15-year low.

“The reality is that only three percent of the people you attract online will buy instantly. The other 97 percent need to be engaged and a relationship build so that they buy when they are ready,” says Mr Jariwalla.

He runs a program that reminds him which clients to contact back and when, based on the needs raised during the engagement period. Some sales take months to happen.

Mr Jariwalla has also helped his children start Love Africa, a business that buys products in the continent and sells locally using the same model.

Entrepreneurship runs in his blood. He once worked for Jaguar Cars and Ernst & Young but quit to join Lockaid, a UK-based locksmithing firm founded by his father to help people who lose door keys access their houses.

“I decided to increase visibility of the business by advertising in Yellow pages at a monthly budget of up to Sh5.2 million (£ 40,000),” says Mr Jariwalla.

Jerry, as he prefers to be called, says he realised at an early age that he was not cut out for the corporate world. He literally forced his father, an immigrant from Tanzania, to let him explore entrepreneurial world in 2003.

“He didn’t want me to join him (in business). He wanted me to stay in the corporate world in England since it was prestigious. But when he had an accident, I joined his business,” says Mr Jariwalla.

Five years later, the firm had over 90 staff, generating growth in annual turnover of at least five percent. But higher costs and theft was hurting the bottom-line.

In 2009, he left England for Tanzania, the first time he was setting foot in East Africa. Then went down to Fort Jesus in Mombasa. He was 29 years.

But the unfortunate happened. He suffered stroke, which saw him lose his speech for 10 months. He had to travel back to UK for treatment.

Two years later, he started Avant Guard London, a business for selling high-end doors. This grew to Sh100 million ($1 million) annual turnover business within three years. But East Africa was still in his mind.

“England was going through recession and so I decided to come to East Africa one more time,” says Mr Jariwalla.

He founded Safety and Security Centre Management Ltd in Tanzania in 2013. The inspiration was to provide safety in construction sector, having seen somebody fall off a building.

The firm became an agent of key construction material supply firms from markets such as South Africa, Turkey and Germany. He handed the business to the family.

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