Leader.co.za - Management, Training and Career Advice for Business Leaders

22 AUGUST 2017
Increase your digital marketing effectiveness
The customer is at the forefront of the digital experience and marketing is certainly no different. Given the impact digital trends, data-driven marketing and marketing automation are having on the profession, Leaderex is putting digital marketing under the spotlight on 5 September 2017 at the Sandton Convention Centre.

A key masterclass will be The Future of the CMO panel discussion, featuring Howard Fox, Commercial Director at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), and digital thought leader, Musa Kalenga. Fox says without hesitation that: “Any chief marketing officer (CMO) not thinking digital-first, best join grandad in the old age home.”

This is particularly true of Africa. “African markets, given their relatively recent economic resurgence, have come to the fore post the ‘digital revolution’,” says Fox. “Significant cellphone penetration and increasing smart phone penetration in Africa, combined with the geographic and linguistic complexities of communication across the continent, means ‘digital’ defines any credible marketing communication plan for the region.”

Fox believes we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of the customer experience potential. “Digital marketing as in communicating to consumers via (largely customisable), digital media and platforms, is only the thin edge of the value-wedge,” he believes. “Real value accrues to companies and their customers alike when they provide substantial data regarding their services, directly to consumers. The difference between a boring taxi and Uber is the data regarding time to pick up, cost prior to agreeing to the ride, name and photo of the driver, etc. The ability to release such value across Africa, given mobile phone penetration, is substantial.”

This impact is redefining the role of the CMO, as Fox explains: “At GIBS, the realisation that a large portion of the customer experience journey takes place in the digital realm has resulted in the business school reorganising, with the CIO reporting into the Marketing Director.” This speaks closely to Retroviral co-founder Mike Sharman’s presentation Defining your Digital Marketing Strategy, and the Increasing your Digital Marketing Effectiveness panel discussion, featuring IAB SA’s CEO Josephine Buys; Jerry Mpufane, chairman of the M&C Saatchi JHB Group; Claire Cobbledick, Gumtree South Africa’s Head of Marketing; and Mpho Maseko, head of the IAB Brand Council.

Practical case studies and first-hand experiences litter the digital marketing agenda at Leaderex, featuring previous winners of the IAB SA Bookmark Awards and ensuring that insights are backed up by real-world examples.

Cobbledick, an IAB Bookmarks Awards judge, hopes delegates will walk away with a very clear idea of what distinguishes digital marketing from other channels. “Through testing, measurement and optimisation, digital marketing is an extremely powerful lever in delivering specific outcomes,” she says. But it does require a new mind-set that appreciates how campaigns are ever evolving. Improvements can always be made, notes Cobbledick, calling this “extremely liberating”.

Her advice to companies new to the digital space is don’t let the medium intimidate you. “The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time: don’t let the data be intimidating, jump in, start small and learn,” says Cobbledick, pointing out that the Bookmark Awards are filled with great lessons in world-class execution. She highlights free public WiFi initiative Project Isizwe’s video content campaign as “a brilliant example of how marketing, when it adds value, becomes so much more than just sharing a message”. You can hear Dudu Mkhuwanazi from Project Isizwe discuss best practice in video during their case study presentation.

Digital marketing can play an influential role across all touch points of the user journey, stresses Cobbledick, but she notes that: “It is important to understand what role it can and should play at each of these touchpoints. And that the measures of success should be defined according to these objectives. Certainly there cannot be a one-size fits all metric applied across the user journey.”

This leads into the final presentations of the day: Marketing Automation: Programmatic Advertising by Paula Raubenheimer, MD of SouthernX, and Why Your Media Plans are Outdated and Measure the Wrong Metrics by Greg Mason, Regional Lead for Effective Measure. As a general rule of thumb, says Mason: “An effective campaign should always increase sales. If the campaign is purely about brand awareness then again brands can measure how many people are talking about their brand before and after a specific campaign.”

But digital marketing allows for this with more pin-point precision and, believes Mason, there are two core tipping points to take notice of. “The first is brands and online advertisers are moving more to an audience-targeted media buying strategy from a site-centric media buying strategy. This is brought about by the rapid growth of programmatic advertising which has predominantly been fuelled by Google and Facebook. These two advertising giants have made it so easy and convenient for online advertisers to reach highly targeted audiences at scale, and almost at the click of a button.”

The second tipping point is that brands have become a lot more detailed in measuring their return on investment on digital advertising. “This has meant that more focus has been put on efficiencies in the buying process and, in particular, pushing for transparency of costing from their media buying agencies.”
Useful resources:

Join South Africa's largest gathering of executives, professionals and entrepreneurs on 5 September 2017 at Sandton Convention Centre. A day to network, challenge conventional thinking and learn from the country's top CEOs and thought leaders. Visit our website.

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