Adoption of marketing concept and growth of savings and credit cooperative societies (saccos) in Kenya
The study sought to examine the relationship between adoption of marketing concept and growth of SACCOs in Kenya. The study was guided by the following research objective: To establish the relationship between adoption of marketing concept and growth of SACCOs in Kenya. The study employed a descriptive research design. The study targeted 108 respondents, but only 86 of them responded. The study used primary data which was collected using semi-structured questionnaire. The collected data was entered into the computer using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) where it was analyzed. Both quantitative and qualitative data was generated. Descriptive statistics was used to analyze quantitative data by using frequencies and percentages presented in tables, charts and graphs. Qualitative data from open ended questions was thematically presented in narrative form and tables. From the analysis, the following findings were made: most SACCOs use the regular communication to customers approach in satisfying the customers‟ orientation as compared to other strategies. Other key strategies used included regular identification of members‟/customers‟ needs, aggressively creating awareness about products/services offered, creating customer value and charging affordable interest rates on products and services. Analysis of exogenous factors that affected market orientation was indicated as being significantly used by the SACCOs in improving market orientation and this is complemented by regular monitoring of competitors action and prompt mitigation of their effects. It was also indicated that marketing concepts adopted by the respective SACCOs did influence their growth to some extent. From the findings the following conclusions were made: based on the SACCO‟s satisfaction of customer orientation, it may be concluded that different SACCOs have different ways of satisfying the needs of their customers. However, the key issues raised include identifying customers‟ needs regularly, aligning their functions to customers‟ needs, satisfying the needs of their customers and offering a wide range of products/services that meet members/customer's needs. With these marketing strategies, SACCOs have been able to improve their overall growth. However, this growth though meeting customer needs is affected by to lack of proper training of staff members on customer service, poor facilities and lack of automation among others. To improve the market orientation among SACCOS, there are key practices applied. These include monitoring of all actions of competitors and promptly mitigating their effects, doing scientific analysis of all exogenous factors that may influence their marketing practices. The study recommended the following from the findings of the study: To increase the growth of SACCOs through the marketing concept there is need for an improvement in the customer communication, automation of various functions and services, training of staff on customer service, improvement of Sacco facilities and relocation of offices, providing more product/service offerings meeting current and future member needs and rebranding current products/services, setting up a research and planning department and investing in thorough market research. This will greatly improve the marketing concept which will in turn contribute in the growth of the SACCOs.