Marketing on the street, also known as street marketing, provides incredible insights into how goods and services are provided to customers in public settings. The marketing strategies from these local geniuses are creative, practical and straightforward. 

This is the story of a recovering ‘Moi Moi addict’. This addict realised after a year of reflection that the friendly neighbourhood Moi Moi (boiled bean pudding) seller, Iya Barakat used the simplest marketing tricks to turn her into a Moi Moi addict. It all started one fateful afternoon. I was on my way back from the mosque, with my mouth ‘dry’, trudging along slowly and carefully till it hit me! A whiff of goodness swirling in the air with no control. As I stopped to inhale the smell, a voice said from nowhere, ‘Moi Moi wa o’ (Yoruba for boiled bean pudding is available). I stopped to buy a meal’s worth; Okay! Okay! Maybe it was two meals. That was how an addictive relationship started.

Now that I am out of the community, I cannot help but reflect on the brilliant use of street marketing by this experienced road seller. I will highlight a few:

Let us start with the superior product quality: Iya Barakat’s Moi Moi had a consistency that was truly admirable. Her pudding always tasted great and even better, the same way. The aroma was so inviting that all the discipline in the world could not help you ignore it. Then the consistency with time! Iya Barakat’s special delicacy was always ready on Friday afternoon, specifically after Friday prayers. With the aid of tested and trusted coolers, the Moi Moi remained hot till evening, when the next set of victims stopped by.

There was brilliant customer service laced with reminders. She and her staff NEVER forgot to greet me on my way back from the mosque. They sweetly reminded me to place an order, then coincidentally wrapped the bean pudding simultaneously. A visual reminder in case it did not ‘click’. If I now missed all the signs, Iya Barakat would switch to prayer mode as I headed back. This happened just when the smell had escaped from the pot, and the Moi Moi was sizzling. At this point, my tummy (being the snitch) would have lost all home training. It would rumble in protest, alerting my brain that only my heart and soul were fed at the mosque. Emotional marketing, no?

If all of these failed, Iya Barakat would brandish her last card. She would report to my flatmate about how I deprived her of delicious bean pudding. Then sweetly add ‘e pele o, remember that Moi Moi is in high demand’. Fear of missing out, no?

If this does not convince you that Iya Barakat should give a masterclass in street marketing, I don’t know what will.