If you’ve ever done a course in Marketing you would know the importance of the FOUR P’s-product, price, place (location) and promotion. Any marketer worth anything will tell you that if you do not focus on these four things-yuh product nah go sell. That might be true but it seems that these fancy-schmancy marketers may need to come take a course in Marketing at the University of Downtown Kingston, Jamaica, cause wi good bad enuh. You only have to spend a few minutes in the hustle and bustle of Downtown Kingston to really appreciate how good our people are at marketing-(note I did not say selling, because I truly believe that as Jamaicans we are such skilful marketers that we can even get an Eskimo to buy ice from us!!!).
What makes it even more interesting is that there is such a high concentration of vendors in Downtown Kingston, most of whom are selling the same/similar items that to survive, one MUST be different, and you MUST stand out from the rest. So you go Downtown and you hear “taste and buy guinep”, ‘taste and buy hag plum” but I bet you’ve never heard of “taste and buy rat poison”-oh yes-“rat poison”. You see this vendor decided that rat poison was such an obscure thing that he had to refine his sale technique. I bet you him neva have han fi sell.
Our vendors are also mindful of the developing market trends that they fashion their sales pitch to reflect popular songs in Jamaica. Some months ago, Spice released a song in which she spoke of her liaisons with her lover while her husband was at work –the popular name of the song is Jim Screechie. So here I am trying to get a blouse to go on a trip one day, when I hear “see di jim screechie panty dem yah”. Of course I am intrigued and lo and behold I looked around and there was a man grinning from ear to ear holing up a very interesting undergarment with all the elements necessary for you to “jim screechie” with ease without being caught.
There is one special group that I prefer to call the “opportunistic marketers” who label their products according to upcoming events. For example during Champs season you would hear “see di Champs bag juice dem yah”. A tell yuh-we no easy yuh know.
Some vendors are so insistent on plying their trade that the government has been forced to make concessions and allow them to operate in previously no vending areas. Anyhow yuh waan fi bling out fi a session jus check di hairdressa dem Downtown fi di latest hairstyle, nails and “boppers” (false eyelash). They have turned some streets into a “walk of fabulosity” an nuh badda tink seh a jus ghetto girl go to dem-caah nuff middle class women go there because their hair is impeccably done an it cheap.
Don’t believe for one moment that is ongle di street venda dem a baas pon marketing enuh caah trus mi di food place dem inna di mix to. Take Sufah for example, if you are Downtown an hungry a yuh waan hungry because any money yuh have yuh can still eat a food. At one time you could get a food fi even fifty dollars!!!!
Seems we have di ting lock. Our people are just truly creative, we know how fi survive. Maybe University students need to be sent Downtown for practical exercises in marketing-mi no know mi jus a seh, all dis book book book, mek dem go learn from the true masters of marketing.