The SA digital market has long played second fiddle to its traditional counterparts, but that is all about to change.
Shaune Jordaan, CEO and co-founder of digital consultancy Hoorah Digital, says companies that are in denial about using digital marketing are in very real danger. Those that have embraced what Jordaan calls "aggressive" digital marketing are winning and leaving their competitors in the dust.
He gives four examples:
- King Price Insurance, he says, sprung up on a digital platform, has disrupted the insurance industry and been hugely successful. "Look at what King Price offers online and the virtues of digital advertising are evident, with everything you need to know about insurance well-packaged and with a policy at your fingertips."
- Travelstart has "disrupted the travel industry … At one glance, booking flights, cars, hotels all becomes as simple as pie, so why would anybody consider doing it any other way?"
- Leadhome offers a flat fee to sell your home, from evaluating a property to showing it. "With a comprehensive listing of properties and all you need to know when purchasing property, simply going online and using Leadhome revolutionises the way property is now sold." Its mantra is "Sell your home stress-free and at the best price", and it works, Jordaan says.
- We Buy Cars has "leapt to the fore of digital marketing, disrupting the traditional industry, and is unbeatable". Its catchline is "We come to you wherever you are. We buy cars in a heartbeat with immediate payment."
According to Jordaan, the amount of money spent on digital marketing tripled from R1.3bn to R3.95bn between 2013 and 2016. "That amount is set to keep growing, with some estimates suggesting that it’ll make up a quarter of the country’s adspend by 2020."
According to a Nielsen analysis that tracked the campaigns of 17 top brands over three years in SA, digital advertising’s return on investment leads the way at R2.30 per rand spent, compared with R1.30 for television, and is three times better than radio.
"SA corporates, faced with increasingly tight budgets, have to prove that the money they spend on marketing is worthwhile," he says.
"For the cost of a TV ad you can make six YouTube videos and target them at specific people, increasing engagement and, ultimately, sales revenue."
Jordaan also points out that the make-up of the average SA marketing department has changed in recent years.
"Where these departments were once staffed with traditional media advocates, they’re now filled with digital natives, keen to demonstrate its effectiveness."
The other compelling reason to go the digital marketing route is that with various tools, such as Google Analytics, a company can pinpoint exactly who its target audience is and track who just visits the site and who actually makes a purchase.
"With such a powerful cocktail, digital’s local explosion is unlikely to slow down anytime soon," says Jordaan.