Addressing the shortage of CA(SA) skills in South Africa.
One of the key strategic marketing objectives of SAICA for 2009 has been to increase the number of first year students presenting themselves at university to study BCom Accountancy with a view to becoming prospective CAs(SA).
The business challenge inherent in achieving this objective relates to the fact that today’s so-called generation “Y” were not prepared to invest seven years to get a return on their study time investment, and were communicating in the so-called “new media”, and only people with maths demonstrated the logical ability necessary to succeed at becoming a CA(SA).
Innovative solution – “Escape the Job from Hell”.
The SAICA marketing division, in conjunction with the SAICA advertising agency, came up with the idea of creating a game that would identify a database of eligible learners that are proficient with mathematics (not maths literacy), which would attract the learners with a catchy promotion rather than the usual exposure of a ‘career in chartered accountancy’ in the usual media.
The answer – segment the learners’ market between grades 10 to 12 and attract them with the idea to “Escape the Job from Hell”.
The promotion therefore focused on youth media aimed at grade 10s – “Choose maths” and grade 11s and 12s “Choose leadership” by attracting learners to play the simulation game, where the game required participants to answer four levels of a mathematics quiz, comply with the Ogre’s bosses request, (like feeding a goldfish) and doing various computer based simulation tasks.
Success at this would result in a better virtual remuneration, allowing the participants to improve their workspace, car, clothes and, yes, even their own looks.
The mathematics quiz had a special connotation in that learners that are good at mathematics are better suited to a career as CAs(SA), and so the process of building a database of learners with mathematics commenced.
The campaign used print media such as Saltwater girl, Nag (if you do not know these you are no longer at school!), online youth websites, education TV, and MIXIT (a cellphone based communication medium) to reach the learners using the so-called new media.
The campaign was scheduled for three distinct promotional periods during school holidays, namely April/May, July and September/October to remind learners of the career choice they need to make during the year.
The outcome: To date 7000 prospective new entrants to the CA(SA) pipeline.
To date (July 2009) the game database statistics indicate that we have identified over 7000 names of learners that participated in the game, and who will be prompted to ask for a CA(SA) career brochure in October.
As you read this, we still have the September/October portion of the promotion to run, but we are confident that many learners will be choosing mathematics in grade ten, as that gives them a career choice later on and, also, many grade 12 learners with mathematics will be choosing leadership as a career by choosing positively to consider CA(SA) as a career simply because they dared to play the innovative simulation game called “Escape the Job from Hell”.
To view the game, go to
www.saica.co.za/escape (note: as this is a simulation game using high resolution graphics and game controls, the game takes time to load, especially on slow internet connections or limited dial-up capacity).
Willi Coates, is Senior Executive: Marketing, SAICA.