The author is presenting the issues in this article from the lenses of marketing. He seeks to promote marketing principles and the importance of marketing strategies in the political discourse of this country.
In this article, both Dr Bawumia and Professor Naana Opoku Agyemang are classified as downstream products that are going to support the upstream products (His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo and Former President John Dramani Mahama).
There are different types of consumer products in marketing. In this article, the author limits himself to four types; Convenience, Shopping, Specialty and Unsought products.
A convenience product is a product that takes little thought, it is routine, purchased often, appeals to a large target market and which consumer purchases with little planning.
Shopping product is a type of product that requires consumer research and comparison of brands. Speciality products are products with which consumers are concerned with its brand image and the quality of their purchases.
With unsought products, the consumer has little knowledge about or does not normally think of buying, and the purchase of such arises due to lack of desire. Later in this article, the pros and cons of both Bawumia and Naana Opoku Agyemang will be likened to various types of products.
The main product of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) going into the 2020 elections is Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo, the sitting President, with Dr Bawumia as the supporting product.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has John Mahama as their main product with Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang as their supporting product. Both parties are campaigning to win Ghanaian customers (Voters).
The customers (voters) are classified into seven (7) groups in this article. They are:
1. Lookers. These are customers (voters) who are “just-looking”. They’re not after anything in particular. It is likened to people who go window shopping; they chance on something interesting and they may buy it or will continue to enjoy their stroll, looking around at various products. Even if they do not buy anything, they are effective in recommending products (candidates) to friends and family who might be serious buyers (voters).
2. Bargain Hunters. These are customers (voters) who have heard what the company’s (candidates) are promising. They want to see who can promise and deliver to this vis-a-vis what they see as the best bargain deal.
3. Buyers. These are customers (voters) who are out there with a mission. They know exactly what they want, and they are out to get it through their votes.
4. Researchers. These are customers (voters) researching. They have a general idea of what they’re after, but they want to compare options. They include but are not limited to civil society organizations, the media, academics etc.
5. New customers. These are customers (voters) that are relatively new. They have not voted before. Majority of them are those who have just turned 18years. They want to find out more about what the candidates have for them.
6. Dissatisfied customers. These are customers (voters) who were once with a party but for some reasons, they are dissatisfied and do not intend to vote for their party. They want their grievances heard and assured of a better outcome if they stick to the same party or are looking at some other party persuading them to vote for them.
7. Loyal customers. These are customers (voters) who are the parties best. They are with the party came rain or shine and they will vote for the party.
The objective of this article (part 1) is to look at the track record of Bawumia and Naana Opoku Agyemang in both their political and non-political life. Their pros and cons as (complimentary tickets) supporting main products (Nana Addo and John Mahama), their influence on the main ticket in the upcoming elections.
Part 2 of this article will be looking at how the supporting products (Bawumia and Naana Opoku Agyemang) compliment with their main tickets to maximize returns (votes) for their parties. It will also look into how Bawumia and Naana Opoku Agyemang can be marketed to various customers (voters). Finally, the male and the female factor will be addressed
Dr Bawumia’s track record in both private political work
Bawumia was a Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana until he was nominated the vice-presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2008, together with presidential candidate Nana Akuffo-Addo. From 1988 to 1990, Bawumia worked as a lecturer in Monetary Economics, and International Finance at the Emile Woolf College of Accountancy in London, England. He also served as an economist at the Research Department of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Washington DC, USA. He is now the sitting Vice President. From Bawumia track record, the following Pros and Cons have been deduced.
Pros of Bawumia
1. He has changed the political discourse of this country to issue-based discourse through his series of town hall lectures, particularly on the economy. This can be likened to specialty product in the sense that it appears to a large target market (voters) in Ghana especially those voters who can read and understand.
2. He is the current Vice –President and therefore has gained much experience at that level. This can be likened to a convenient product which is known to customers
3. Firm grip of the economy. This can be likened to a natural product which is a gift from nature e.g. fish, oil etc. Bawumia can handle Ghana’s economic situation.
4. He is a Muslim and his pair with Nana Addo who is a Christian is an advantage. This can be likened to a complementary product.
5. He is fluent in English and in addition speaks about two or three more Ghanaian languages.
1. His inability to stabilize the cedi and dollar as he promised Ghanaians that he will arrest the dollar and give the keys to the IGP. This can be likened to a defect in a specialty product
Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang’s track record in private and political work
Professor Opoku-Agyemang taught and worked at the University of Cape Coast. Starting in 1986 She has held various academic positions at the University including Head of the Department of English, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Warden of Adehye Hall and Valco Trust Fund Post-Graduate Hostel, and Dean of School of Research and Graduate Studies.
From 1997, she held the position of Academic Director of the School for International Training in the History and Cultures of the African Diaspora. From 2008 to 2012 she was the University’s, Vice-Chancellor.
In March 2007, she was one of five scholars selected to deliver presentations during the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
In October 2009, she was elected Ghana’s representative to the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Ahead of the 2012 general elections, Jane Opoku Agyemang moderated the Presidential debate with Kojo Oppong Nkrumah.
Between February 2013 and January 2017 she served as the Education Minister of Ghana.
Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang Pros
1. Academician. This can be likened to a convenience product because she appeals to a section of voters especially the academia and some women. By extension this would be a specialty product
2. Well experienced in academic (convenience product)
3. Unblemished character
4. She appeals to women because of her mother figure. This point can be likened to convenience product
1. Does not have grasp with figures and the economy. This point can be likened to a defect in specialty goods
2. Under her leadership as Education Minister, Nursing and Teacher Training Allowance were
3. Under her leadership as Education Minister, Tertiary Students were made to pay utility bills. This point can also be likened to a defect in an unsought product. Section of voters (Training Teachers and Nurses) are afraid she might come back to cancel their allowance.
4. She opposed the Free Senior High school policy by the NPP. (Likened to defect in an unsought product a because section of Ghanaian voters think she might influence the cancellation of the free SHS policy because of her earlier opposition.
5. She was instrumental in the signing of the petition to free the Montie three
6. She is older compared to Bawumia. This is likened to a shopping product. Voters will compare her as an aged woman to a young man, Bawumia.
7. She is a Christian and John Mahama too is a Christian. Might not appeal to most Muslims.
8. She is a female. This is likened to a defect in a shopping product. Voters will compare her as a woman to a young man Bawumia and make informed decisions.
Having likened the pros and cons of both Bawumia and Jane Naana Opoku to different types of consumer and defect products, the question is, how do we turn the bad products into a good product, what do we do to these products or what type of customers (voters) do we market the products to or do we milk out the product or do we brand or reposition it?
1. Since Bawumia appeals to the greater number of voters, he should be appearing more on the media space to do what he does best with his town hall meetings or media engagements, explaining issues on the economy to the voters. This will make them feel good and vote for his party.
2. Again, with his experience as a sitting Vice President, he should target part of the country that needs the governments to help in whatever form and try to use his influence to extend help to those voters, irrespective of their political affiliation. Through that intervention, he can win them for his party.
3. What is more, with his God-given gift on the management of the economy, he should do his best to manage the economy well to justify the confidence voters repose in him.
5. He is a Muslim and his pair with Nana Addo, a Christian, is an advantage. This can be likened to a complementary product. Again, he should identify himself very well with Muslims as well as the Zongo community, he is one of their own and they retaining him will inure to their benefit because he understands them better. He should convince them what his party has done for Muslims and the Zongo community and what they will do for them when they vote to retain his party.
6. He should use his multi-lingual ability to reach those voters whom he can speak their language and communicate the policies and plans of his party to them, in their dialect they will be convinced.
7. Finally, he should hammer on the innovations that he, through his party has brought to Ghanaian voters. Notable among them is: The Mobile Money Payment Interoperability, Digitalization of the economy etc. so voters who don’t believe in him and his party and explain the benefits of these innovations to them. By this, many voters will be convinced to give his party another term.
1. He should admit to the general voters he couldn’t arrest the dollar as promised and give reasons why he could not and tell voters what he and his party have done about the dollar. By this admission, those who doubt him will see him as an honest person. Going into the elections they will believe him and his party.
Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang
1. Her excellence in the academia must be brought to bear by explaining and championing the education policies of her party to those in the tertiary, first and second cycle as well as the teacher training colleges. She appeals to these categories of voters so she should do her best to influence these voters through her party’s policies on education
3. She is highly respected because she has distinguished herself in all the positions she has occupied and therefore she must campaign on that to win more votes especially to the floating voters.
4. She appeals to women because of her mother figure. She should capitalized on this and identify the various women groups and win them to her party.
1. Does not have grasp with figures and the economy. She should allow those with that expertise to handle that
2. Under her leadership as Education Minister Nursing and Teacher Training Allowance were
cancelled. She should explain and convince voters why there was the need to cancel that.
3. She opposed the Free Senior High School Policy of the NPP. She should come clear on this issue as a former Education Minister about her party’s position on whether his party will continue or cancel the Free SHS.
4. Signing of the petition to free the Montie three etc. Again, she should explain why she signed that petition. Maybe she was misunderstood; her explanation will clarify matters.
5. She is older compared to Bawumia. She should convince voters why she is the preferred option despite her age.
6. She is a Christian and John Mahama too is Christian. Might not appeal to most Muslims. She should convince the Muslim community why they should vote for her party even though the duo, the main candidates, are Christians. She should demonstrate to the Muslims how their needs will be catered for.
7. She is a female. The two big parties in Ghana have not had a female as a running mate before. She should capitalize on the opportunity and convince voters why she should be given the nod as a woman.
From the discussions above and looking at it from a marketing perspective, both Bawumia and Naana Opoku Agyemang are well-grounded supporting products that could generate more revenue (votes) for the main or up tickets (Nana Addo and John Mahama) if marketed well on their pros.
But the unique selling proposition (USP) of Bawumia as a supporting product is his firm grips of the economy and the fact that he is a sitting Vice President, young and energetic whiles Naana Opoku Agyemang’s USP, as a supporting product, is her rich background in academia and the fact that she is a competently qualified female.
Each must be marketed on their USP to win votes for their party. The part 2 of this same article will address the issues like how they complement their up tickets as a joint ticket, how each of them, Bawumia and Naana Opoku Agyemang, should be marketed differently to the different target customers and finally the issue of gender and its pros and cons in the 2020 elections.
The Author, Dr Alfred Owusu is the Dean School of Business at Kumasi Technical University (0248830854)