Marketing to OFWs
My sister is an OFW. Right now, she is here in the country on a five-month vacation and using the break from work to become a licensed real estate agent. When she goes back to work in January, she is hoping to sell properties to her fellow OFWs. Not a day wasted for our hard-working workers based abroad. Many entrepreneur nowadays is in deep thought on how to market to OFWs. A Philippine Daily Inquirer special report shows that this Christmas season alone, dollar remittances have fueled new affluence among Filipinos. (Click here to read X'mas spending evolving toward 'more important' purchases and here for Dollar remittances fuel new affluence among Filipinos). How do you market to someone you cannot see, you cannot visit, you cannot call through your landline? That’s definitely a challenge, but finding the solution will definitely bring in exciting results. The real estate industry has already done this. It is raking in the money and from the looks of it, despite the subprime mortgage issue, will continue to do so in 2008. Most OFWs are not yet well-versed on various investment options in the market so houses and real properties are good options that are tangible and easy to understand. But that’s not to say other industries have not benefited. Malls like SM have observed that even high-end shops have reported increased sales. Since Filipinos cannot finish a shopping day without eating at a restaurant or fast food place, the food business is also steeped in OFW money. The tourism industry is trying hard to get a corner of the market, but things are a little bit more difficult for them. Perhaps in the coming year when most have already bought their iPods and flat-screen televisions, people will be starting to crave for travel and vacations. Apart from these industries, other businesses that need to think about getting a slice of the OFW market are banks (remittances), IT companies (whether as suppliers of banks or those dealing in gadgets like laptops etc), media organizations, financial services, investment professionals, courier services, travel and tours, services industries, education and others. Sometimes, all it takes is a little creativity, packaging, and foresight. OFWs have been taken for granted long enough. It’s time people consider them as a formidable market.
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