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The Eye Level Experience: Enver Buys

Innovative company uses experiential marketing to get face-to-face with consumers

Juliet Pitman

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Enver Buys of The Eye Level

Smart people are aware that there is business to be done in the second economy, but few people know how to effectively access this highly specific market. Enver Buys, founder and CEO of The Eye Level Experience, is one of the few who does and he’s made it his business to get corporates and their products in touch with people on the ground in this informal economy.

Buys started his working life in education but found his niche in business consulting. The idea for The Eye Level Experience, a division of Chaza Strategic Management, came about when Buys was consulting on BEE deals.
“I saw first hand how contracts could fail simply because one group didn’t understand the other. Watching people talking past each other made me realise that there is a huge need in the country to bring corporates and the second economy together,” he explains.
Buys adds that while a great deal is assumed about the second economy, much of the “information” out there is not backed by any concrete research.
“Companies are trying to market their products to the second economy without really understanding it,” he says. “Traditional marketing is less effective within second economy markets and brand owners need to engage with their consumers in a more direct, personal and immediate fashion that is true to the cultural expressions of these communities.
To a large extent, this move towards embracing below-the-line marketing in general, and face-to-face communications in particular, has been driven by the increasing growth of disposable cash in the second economy and a complexity of products and services.” This new marketing climate means companies need to build a more tangible and interactive experience between their consumers and their brand.
The Eye Level Experience offers corporates the chance to get face-to-face with the second economy market they are trying to break into. An excellent example of how effective it can be is a recent contract to sell medical aid products to this market.
“Using focused, on-the-ground marketing we target a specific audience and, in this case, have used informal traders to promote the product. They speak the language, understand who has money to spend and have access to the market in a way that a corporate just doesn’t,” explains Buys.
What Buys’s company aims to achieve is true experiential marketing, something far more powerful than traditional avenues of customer contact. “It allows marketers to step into consumers’ lives and is effective because consumers can usually choose whether or not to take part,” says Buys.
“That gives it an advantage over traditional advertising like television commercials, which many consumers consider intrusive or interruptive. It creates a powerful platform for physical engagement that makes a greater, deeper and more memorable impact.
The effect is more immediate and measurable in terms of brand connection, propensity to purchase, word of mouth and brand personal advocacy.” These are things every brand manager wants to achieve. But while it’s true that the amount of disposable income in the second economy is growing rapidly, if you want a piece of it Buys believes you need to get up close and personal with your customer.

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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