South Africa is an ethically diverse country and was under the colonial rule for decades. It has been noted that its Black African ancestry in the whole population consisted of 79.3% while the white population was 9.1%, the colored 9% and the Indian/Asian of 2.6 %. The country’s new constitution which came into effect on 4th February, 1997, has recognized 11 official languages and has further given them all an equal status.
Its colonial history was one of subjugation by the white colonial masters and therefore the native African and colored population nursed a growing sense of resentment, doubt and a feeling of revenge for the wrong doings meted out to them by the colonial rulers. The nation that became liberalized by emerging out of the past again realized that the colonial spell of subjugation was not fully over as yet as they still have to remove the feeling of inferiority over the English language left out by the foreign rulers.
Thus, conscientious efforts were on by the new government to save the country’s various linguistic cultures. By accepting linguistic globalization, which has adapted the use of English, mother tongue equally need to be used and also developed (Moyo, 2009). In this context and the resulting confusion of attaining a cultural identity the book sales in South Africa saw a significant increase including those of English books.
South African Customers
The South African Customer for market purpose in consumer products covers a whole range of people from all cultural and linguistic angles. Yet from the point of view of the book publishing the range is limited and this is further narrowed down given to reason that the English reading population is limited only to the white people and the educated lot of the Black African and colored population.
Now taking into consideration the market of English fiction of the Janet Evanovich line of books the market gets further segregated according to age. However, it is seen that fiction in general is the easiest genre to sell in the overseas market (O’Reilly, 2010). This is more so keeping in view of the South African government’s recent bilingual education policy where English language is an important official language. Although South Africa has a significantly different political, social and cultural landscape than that of US, it provides an excellent example of bilingual education policy (England, 2009).
In spite of the above it is seen that there is some amount of resistance from the culturally distinct group who would like their own mother tongue as their main language. According to the author Mzamane Mbulelo Vizikhungo liberating the African mind from the stronghold of Western cultural imperialism is the unfinished business of the liberation struggle (2009).
This shows the nature of resistance which still exists in the Black African and colored population which may take some time to completely erase out. As Vorster states that after a long period of inequalities in the society a new dispensation cannot be effectively established without a deep-rooted transformation process that must redress the imbalance cause by the previous dispensation (2005).
Yet this may slowly subside as the whole world moves towards globalization and there will be changes in the attitudes of the consumers. An understanding of the psychological process by which attitudes are changed should provide insight into when and how attitudes guide consumer behavior (Bagozzi, Gurham-Cauli and Priester, 2002). This is true for any fiction and the publishers ought to be aware of this in order to project the book as tailored for the customers.
Today’s approach is to accept that there are different demands in the market place and the product needs to be tailored specifically to meet the differing demand if it is stand the best chance of success (Proctor, 2000). In case of Janet Evanovich writing which is incidentally a fast moving, suspense filled, romantic version of contemporary life in America, and the South African public can see reason as to why they too may not change likewise. Customers are more discerning than they used to be in the past where they purchased simply on their whims and impulse (Griffin, 2002). The same could hold true for the modernizing South Africa who might rather than reject accept the fast fiction version of the American life.
Defining the Changing South African Market
With the advent of globalization it is not possible for any nation to remain cocooned in one’s own narrow beliefs and cultural pretense. Although by and large the global society would undoubtedly become a multicultural and multi-lingual one there is enough evidence that heterogeneity would remain distinctively rooted within a larger homogeneity in existence everywhere. This homogeneity would be defined as the assimilation of all positive sides of human endeavors and linguistic aspects.
Therefore, for projecting the Janet Evanovich’s line of books the publishers need to emphasize the point through website and other media that the book is meant for the public simply as a form of entertainment and not to transgress on their cultures and at the same time to inform them of the life style in contemporary America.
Marketing is about meeting customer’s needs and developing their trust and loyalty (Doyle, 2000). In order to achieve these publishers would have to wean themselves away from the biasness of their own home country and look at book sale as a specific objective. Many marketers now distinguish a goal as a specific objective, a refinement of an objective and make it desirable (Rogers, 2001).
In order to remove whatever friction that may cause by the introduction of the books the publishers may undertake promotions in an appealing way with due consideration given to the cultural aspects of each group. Not only can a celebrity endorsement campaign fit with the launch of Janet Evanovich’s line of books by local artists, but the author can sign a few dozens of the initial published copies.
This can make the public more intimate with her style of writing and wouldn’t try to uncover any seemingly hidden motives. Utilizing a charitable outlet for a portion of the profits can enhance the sensitivity of the company’s representation in the community (Hosier, 2010). Further, a special low pricing could be offered so as to entice the potential customers who are usually in the age group within 16 to 60.
Or a special discount could be offered for the first hundred copies or the whole of the first published lot in South Africa only. Prices, reflect values, the value seller believes their product possesses and which the buyer too perceives (Bradley, 2003). An intimate relationship is thus established between the consumers and with those who are very sentimental when their cultural values is seen under threat.
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