We are today experiencing a rapid growth in the economy of unsurpassed nature. This has been brought about by, amongst other things, the relaxation of foreign exchange policies and macroeconomic policies geared towards attracting foreign investors into the country. The fiscal and monetary policies of the government geared towards maintaining growth with social justice have largely contributed towards this, evidenced by our economy averaging a growth rate of 7% since 1990 -- very high by international standards.
The current drive and emphasis by the government on diversification of the industrial base away from the minerals sector presents an opportunity for Aero Technologies to make a valuable contribution towards achieving this goal. This will result in implementation of modern Information Technology services and techniques, and transfer of knowledge.
Aware of the fact that we will be operating in a predominantly infant market we intend to ensure that our marketing strategies are considerate of the importance of the fit between our services capabilities and benefits, and the target market, so as to develop a strong sustainable competitive position in the market. As a result we intend to implement a niche marketing strategy, focusing on certain target markets.
It should be appreciated that entering such a market is not a bed of roses, particularly considering its infancy and hence the intention will be to implement an aggressive marketing strategy, well supported by the other business functions. The above prognosis influenced our decision to enter the IT business communication service provision/consultancy industry.
We will be focusing on proactive, market seeking organizations, who want to sell into markets in the region and overseas. These are mostly larger companies, and occasionally medium-sized companies.
Our most important group of potential customers are business executives in large, medium and small corporations. These are marketing managers, general managers, sales managers, sometimes charged with international focus and sometimes charged with market or even specific channel focus. They do not want to waste their time or money looking for bargain information or questionable expertise. As they go into markets looking at new opportunities, they are very sensitive to risking their company's name and reputation. Hence the need to professionally market our services and business as a whole, offering impeccable expertise. Our intention will be to offer an attractive development alternative to the company that is management constrained and unable to address opportunities in new markets and new market segments due to technological shortfalls.
Our marketing strategy will be based mainly on making the right service(s) available to the right target customer. We will ensure that our services' prices take into consideration organizations'/peoples' budgets, and that these people appreciate the service and know that it exists, including where to find it. The marketing will convey the sense of quality in every picture, every promotion, and every publication. Our intention will be to target those innovative or proactive companies contemplating transferring a part of their marketing activities on the Internet, in order to benefit from the advantages offered by this unique system of communication. We realize the need to focus our marketing message and our service offerings. We need to develop our message, communicate it, and make good on it.
Aero Technologies intends to provide customers with the necessary systems and services to provide cutting-edge customer service, by essentially offering a certain spectrum of communications solutions, primarily the interaction applications.
We understand that our target markets need more than just continuous communication and information from their various stakeholders, but communication and information that will enable them to make more informed decisions and transactions at the earliest opportunity. We don't just intend to provide a service(s), but to provide one of unparalleled nature relative to the market. Our target market are not businesses that want to make decisions solely on the basis of price, but instead are mainly concerned with having reliable providers of expertise and a good communications network in place.
Today we are passing through a technological discontinuity of epic proportions. The growth of the Internet shows no signs of abating and has profound implications for businesses not only in Africa, but also throughout the world. Though e-commerce is largely developed country-led, with the Americas and Europe in the forefront, this is slowly changing with more and more servers being set up in Asian and African countries, Botswana being no exception. As e-commerce knows no boundaries the intention of Aero Technologies will be to assist clients in undertaking communication and transactions with ease, initially on a regional level, but also at the global level. This has resulted in the significant trend toward greater international sales and communication between organizations throughout the world. Another important trend is the one toward greater use of specialized and focused consultants, instead of in-house resources. Companies are increasingly looking for more out-sourcing and, in general, a preference for variable costs instead of fixed costs. This shall have important implications on the acceptance of our services on the market.
In summary, the range and volume of products sold online are likely to increase vastly in the future, expanding the size and value of the electronic market. However, encouragement may be obtained from the fact that in its pursuit of diversification the Government of Botswana would very much encourage an additional player in the e-commerce market, provided they are of the right caliber and beneficial to the economy as a whole.
A general market study about the benefits of wireless technology undertaken by Ovum Research, an international research company, was conducted on the use of cellular data communications and other conferencing facilities. The study notes that with the provision of wireless technology to various sub-Saharan countries, telecommunications systems could be profitably established.
The art of m-commerce relies on the convergence of Internet technologies, mobile devices, cellular phones, band-width and a whole lot of companies champing at the bit of m-commerce. M-commerce is about being able to transact business through any portable intelligent device and some of the greatest growth in the m-commerce arena is coming from the development of the cellular phone. The one wireless standard uniting and gaining momentum in the use of personal digital assistants (PDA) is the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP). This protocol uses wireless means to connect any mobile device to specific Internet information. The computing device has to be WAP enabling and only a few Internet sites have been set up to cope with WAP transactions.
It is an obvious fact that the wireless revolution will have a positive impact on the economic and social development of Africa. Africa's critical requirement is to build infrastructure. Wireless technology overcomes infrastructure costs of setting up fixed lines. International research has projected that wireless portals will become a US$42 billion revenue opportunity by 2005 as mobile users, including those in Africa, increasingly shift their businesses and other transactions from PCs to their handsets. Banking, email, surfing the Web, and even shopping will now be done anywhere and at any time.
There is a significant demand for WAP, with the prime candidate being small businesses, sales forces, and field support engineers as well as growing numbers of mobile managers equipped with PCs and cellular phones. In this way WAP is an important step toward third-generation mobile networks.
New WAP enabling phones provide the user with email, personal organizer and the ability to check bank accounts, time schedules, restaurant menus and more. All these online interactive services are especially written and formatted to be accessed on cellular phones. The growing popularity of WAP phones (currently 25,000 in South Africa alone) has meant that a number of companies are developing Internet sites with the content to service the WAP devices on the market.
The above analysis indicates how the wireless technology will revolutionize African business and particularly the small businesses run by individuals that may not be able to afford the luxury of a PC but will always need a phone and acquire the same services offered by the PC through their mobile phones. It should also be noted that the IT industry is an environment where small niche players and developers can compete with the larger groups and corporations. An individual can have the vision or development skills to deliver a meaningful concept, product or service, but the weak links in this process are the focus to end-user requirements, financial support in the development stages and the effective channels to market for the finished product or service.
The key element in purchase or subscription decisions made at the company's client level is trust in the professional reputation and reliability of the firm. The most important factor in this market will be the quality of the service. This is particularly so considering the potential impact e-commerce will have on organizations meeting their bottom lines. The very nature of our services dictates that occasionally the pricing of our projects and billing rates will be variable, as different clients require different needs to be fulfilled in variable industry environments.
In our line of business clients rarely compare service providers directly, looking for two, or more, possible providers of a proposed project or job. Usually they follow word-of-mouth recommendations and either go for the job or not, rather than selecting from a menu of possible providers.
The most important element of general competition, by far, is what it takes to keep clients for repeat business. It is worth making concessions in any single service to maintain a client relationship that brings the client back for future services -- realizing customer-lifetime value.
In identifying competition in this new concept market, we find few companies currently offering services similar to ours. There are numerous providers of the older established ancillary services including traditional call centres. Hence there will be a need to strongly differentiate ourselves from these other businesses and market the benefit of utilizing our service(s). However on a broader scale our competition comes in several forms:
Service provision and consulting will be sold and purchased mainly on a word-of-mouth basis, with relationships and previous experience being, by far, the most important factor. In this regard we intend to provide a service that exceeds customer expectations so as to ensure they refer us to potential clients through word-of-mouth. New business shall be developed through industry associations, business associations, and in some cases, social associations such as country clubs.
As our services are relatively new on both the Botswana and regional markets we intend to host breakfast seminars and workshops primarily for senior managers and decision-makers, who may benefit from our services. This function will involve a considerable amount of networking on our part, as these individuals often do not have a lot of spare time.