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Season’s Greetings From Modern Marketing

Season’s Greetings From Modern Marketing

Modern Marketing wishes all its readers a joyous festive season and a prosperous New Year. Thank you for your support throughout the year! 


Industry Interview: Boniswa Pezisa On Communicating Activism Through Creativity

Industry Interview: Boniswa Pezisa On Communicating Activism Through Creativity
Boniswa Pezisa, Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Net#work BBDO.

In our exclusive Modern Marketing Industry Interview series, Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Net#work BBDO, Boniswa Pezisa, discusses how she has always been an activist and communicated that through her creativity, her contribution to the advertising industry and having an opportunity to help channel people with raw talent.

Getting into the industry

Pezisa studied marketing at Rapid Results College. She was introduced to advertising when she got into acting, and was ‘sold’. ‘I love creativity – the work that I do is a form of art that appealed to me then and it still does now.

Career highlights

Pezisa has not worked at many companies. ‘I find a place that I truly love and then I stay and get inspired,’ she said. She started in an integrated marketing/below-the-line advertising environment. ‘It was amazing and we solved every problem – if you are open to learning and growing, you could do so in anything. I am a perpetual student and so I learned quite a lot as I was there for eight years.’

Pezisa was then headhunted by the agency now known as TBWA, after which she joined Nedbank, heading up communications there. ‘I learnt a lot and I got to work with extremely smart people. When you had to present to them, you really needed to know your story.’ She was at Nedbank for two years and then moved to Net#work BBDO.

What have you enjoyed most about working in this industry? 

‘There are amazing moments in advertising where you get to work with people who want to drive change and you get an opportunity to work on a brief that is going to inspire society as a whole and that is going to transform people’s lives. At Net#work, we did the very first Brand South Africa campaign, which was about re-instilling pride in who we are as a nation. It’s an iconic moment and the most amazing moment of my life.’

The agency also had an opportunity to work with child welfare to highlight the plight of young women who fall pregnant. ‘We were just thrilled to have this campaign, which was about getting under the skin of that and educating society about those kinds of challenges.’

‘Those iconic moments where you get to truly transform a mindset and contribute to change are what I live for, as well as moments where, as a sector, we sit together and ask: how are we going to tackle transformation? Because we are a creative bunch, we are going to do it right. In the early ’90s, we came up with this concept of ‘Abakhethwa’ where an advert was placed in the newspaper that stated ‘if you are a photographer, you think you can write or you think you can draw, call this number’.’

Pezisa said they were not looking for qualified people. ‘The feeling and belief that we had, and that I still have, is that Africa is the springboard for creativity and it is innate in all of us. All we need to do is to channel people accordingly. And so we launched this year-long programme where we trained people on the ground. They were basically placed in various agencies and it was phenomenal.’

Loeries 2020 Hall of Fame inductee

The Loeries Hall of Fame was introduced in 2007 to recognise a lifetime of achievement and support of the creative industry. Pezisa was inducted this year into the prestigious hall of fame. ‘Peer recognition is the biggest accolade. This is my peers in the sector saying, ‘We see you and we notice your contribution. We acknowledge the role you play in helping us move forward and move the needle’.’

Pezisa said that this needle still needs to be pushed and we all need to keep playing that contribution role. ‘That for me is service, hence I call it a ‘Service Award’, because I believe I have been acknowledged for serving my peers.’

Key components of leadership

‘You have got to be a good listener, you need to have empathy, as well as be compassionate. But you should also not suffer fools gladly. So you need to thread in all of those things.’

Pezisa said the biggest part of true leadership is absolute presence. ‘You can be quietly present: you notice, you are conscious, you are aware of what is going on around you and you are listening actively. Active listening is critical. Deep insights are also important. So, while are you listening, listen in for those insights, because the insights are what will help add to your leadership and your leadership style, and your mobilisation skills as a leader.’

She added that a leader must be able to lead diverse people in the creative space. ‘I always find it strange that we champion diversity, and then when we get these diverse people, we want to cut them down to the pulp of the same thing. We should not compromise the richness in diversity, it is what makes the whole organisation or the team strong.’

Watch the rest of of the interview below, where Pezisa discusses her hobbies and interests and industry-related changes


One of Pezisa’s favourite campaigns is the Mercedes Benz #EveryTerrain, which features the late Hugh Masekela. ‘What is memorable for me is when Masekela said, ‘You know. In past South Africa, these lands were not accessible to me.’ That is such an emotive thing.’ added Pezisa.



Modern Marketing Industry Interviews 2020 Recap

Our exclusive Modern Marketing Industry Interview series features industry legends such as: Preetesh Sewraj, Ipelegeng Thibedi, Mpume Ngobese, Steph van Niekerk, Fran Luckin, Tseliso Rangaka, Lerato Songelwa, Michael Gullan, Suhana Gordhan and Boniswa Pezisa, who took us through their career journeys.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos on advertising, branding and marketing trends and topics. Here is a recap of the interviews: 

Loeries CEO on using creativity to create change in advertising


Ipelegeng Thibedi on purpose-driven marketing and the possibilities of integration


Mpume Ngobese on her journey to heading a digital specialist agency

Steph van Niekerk on presenting and packaging ideas that engage people

Loeries Chairperson on using virtual platforms to get more reach

Tseliso Rangaka On Telling Unique South African Stories Through Advertising

Lerato Songelwa on the satisfaction of achieving brand purpose through PR


Michael Gullan on growing up with an extreme love of advertising

Suhana Gordhan on insights-based creativity

Boniswa Pezisa on communicating activism through creativity


VMLY&R South Africa Wins Vodacom Account And Aims To Focus On Brand Based Fresh Insights

VMLY&R South Africa Wins Vodacom Account And Aims To Focus On Brand Based Fresh Insights

VMLY&R South Africa won the full Vodacom advertising account. The agency will forge a strong partnership with the brand based on fresh insights, collaborative business and creative efforts as well as a local understanding of consumer needs and behaviours.

Partners to VMLY&R in this pitch included consultancy DY/DX, black and female-owned Think Creative Africa as well as the Oxford Nelson, a part of the Demographica group to handle B2B skills. Moreover, VMLY&R global telco experts will be working as part of the retained team. The remit includes through-the-line advertising for all business units within the telecoms giant as well as the master brand.

Jarred Cinman, VMLY&R CEO said, ‘The word ‘monumental’ isn’t one I use lightly but this win certainly fits the bill. Not only is this a very large account but Vodacom has the unique ability to improve people’s lives and reshape our country and continent. These are the foundations on which VMLY&R was founded and is mirrored in all of our offices around the world.’

VMLY&R Global CEO, Jon Cook said, ‘We are thrilled to start our journey with Vodacom. We share a passion for creating a connected society and believe that strong brands are at the centre of making that a reality. We are committed to driving digital transformation and delivering upon business outcomes for Vodacom in our partnership starting today.’



MetropolitanRepublic Acquires A Majority Share In 8909 Digital Agency

MetropolitanRepublic Acquires A Majority Share In 8909 Digital Agency
MetropolitanRepublic and 8909 team members.

According to MetropolitanRepublic CEO, Alison Deeb, the acquisition of 8909 Digital was finalised at the end of November after the agencies had proven a ‘right fit’ for each other. A successful ‘try-before-you-buy’ relationship resulted in MetropolitanRepublic – a full-service brand agency – acquiring a majority share in 8909. 

Deeb said, ‘8909 – a young, dynamic, data-driven digital agency led by Ciarán McKivergan – was the first potential partner we identified during a recent strategy session aligned to the continuous innovation we apply to our communications. This had further shaped our thinking around synergising with partners to provide seamlessly integrated solutions stretching from defining brand purpose, strategy, creative, tech, digital and even entertainment-related business solutions for our clients.’

‘Impressed by McKivergan’s proposition of Quantified Creativity, we asked if he would be willing to explore a partnership according to the try-before-you-buy’ approach, which MetropolitanRepublic has found is the best way to test compatibility. This sees us spending considerable time working together on projects and campaigns for brands within the MetropolitanRepublic stable before signing a deal. Obviously, we both passed the test, and we are delighted to have found McKivergan and his team,’ she said.

During the ‘try-before-you-buy’ period insisted on by MetropolitanRepublic, the partnership experience exceeded all expectations of both agencies. They pitched for and won the marketing integration account for one of South Africa’s heritage brands, Eskort. They won a New Generation Award in the Best Community Engagement category for their work for Flora, and they were awarded the digital strategy and rollout for household name medical brand, Grand-Pa.

With a decade of digital experience, and a degree in both Psychology and Media Studies, McKivergan has won multiple Loerie, Bookmark and Next Generation Awards and has worked on some of Africa’s biggest brands, including The Coca Cola Company, MTN, Jaguar/Land Rover and Amstel.

‘At 8909, we remove the uncertainty, allowing our clients to focus on their growth while we focus on uncovering the most important behavioural insights to drive hot creative and effective media buying to help grow brand ROI growth,’ said McKivergan.


Communication Trends That Brands Should Be Cognisant Of

Communication Trends That Brands Should Be Cognisant Of
Steve Powell, Founding Partner and CEO of Eclipse Communications.

2020 has seen its fair share of trials and tribulations, shaping a business environment that opposes conventional practices. It has forced many to embrace the power of the pivot, and adapt or sink in the endless communications making the rounds. Founding Partner and CEO of Eclipse Communications, Steve Powell, highlights the changing consumer mindset that has been shaped by the pandemic as well as communication trends that brands should be cognisant of.

Ernst & Young’s Future Consumer Index Report highlights the changing consumer mindset shaped by Covid-19. It suggests that consumers are craving a sense of normality, with 40% ready to get back to normal and more than half (53%) claiming that the past few months drastically altered their values.

The new consumer

With new consumer makeup, the report identifies the following emerging trends:

1. Personal and societal well-being

26% of consumers prefer brands they trust to be safe and that minimise unnecessary risks.
● 57% indicated they now pay closer attention to a product’s health benefits.
16% believe that everyone should work together for the greater good.
73% are prepared to change their behaviour to benefit society.

2. Affordability, the environment and human connection

17% would change their purchase and pay a premium for high-quality, ethically sourced and sustainable goods.
● 59% indicated an intent to shop locally in the future.

3. Data-driven insights

53% are happy to share personal data if it helps to track infection clusters. This calls for increased transparency between a brand and its consumers, with the data expected to be used responsibly.

4. Experience at the fore

Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are helping consumers test drive their purchases before committing to them. Examples include eyewear company Warby Parker’s virtual try-on feature on its app, and IKEA’s new AR-driven app that allows consumers to virtualise furniture and kitchen designs in their home. 

Change to the right channels

PwC’s Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2020 – 2024 predicts a -6.30% compound annual growth rate in newspaper and consumer magazine consumption in South Africa – a trend many have predicted as increasingly more people opt to consume information digitally. 

The report also predicts an influx of technology-driven media channels that brands should be cognisant of in their marketing endeavours. While advertising across all segments saw a decline owing to a lack of advertiser confidence, internet advertising remains the best choice at a 5.65% compound annual growth rate as opposed to non-digital avenues. 

Brands should place increased emphasis on the digital suite by converting messages to reach digitally-driven consumers on their platforms of choice. It is important to remember that the new age consumer now chooses quality over quantity. 

The changing face of social

Covid-19 thrust consumers into the digital era and apart from memetic media, nostalgia marketing and the need to gain consumer trust on the back of digital disinformation, brands must be cognisant of:

The continued rise of e-commerce

E-commerce across social platforms has increased. Insights from Hootsuite claim that six out of 10 consumers indicate that a quarter of their online shopping is influenced by social media. As consumers spend more time online, the opportunities to influence their purchasing decisions will increase. 

Short-form videos

Easy to make and easy to watch, short form-videos have been bolstered by the rise of TikTok and Instagram’s Reels feature. There is now a need to get information across quickly and many brands have jumped on the bandwagon, offering consumers bite-sized content that is easily digested.

Gaming platform advertising opportunities

The gaming industry is expected to be worth $180 billion in 2021. While this was previously a tough industry to infiltrate, social media gaming is predicted to rise even further, presenting brands with an opportunity to advertise through gaming networks.

Conversational marketing

Consumers are looking at brands that are engaged in social issues – having honest and meaningful conversations through chatbots, social messaging, calls and more.

New face of creative

Apart from muted colour pallets, classic serif fonts and the influx of geometric shapes in 2021, here are the key trends to take note of:

Simple data visualisations

In an era of boundless data, it is imperative that relevant information is presented via graphs and infographics, with the aim of making it easily digestible.

Social media slide decks

Popular on LinkedIn and Instagram, social media slide decks present a visual way to convey a great deal of information with a single interactive post. The algorithms on Instagram and LinkedIn boost a slide deck post more than a single image.

Moving text in the video

Shooting on location is not always a viable option. Infusing videos with text communicate a brand’s message in an easier and cheaper yet effective way.

Engaging animations

The prevalence of social media means that engaging animations are the way to go when creating a more dynamic user experience.

All about authenticity

Consumers crave authenticity and are attracted to brands they feel they can trust. Graphics that are too ‘salesy’ or gimmicky will drive away consumers.

The future of events

The suddenness and scale of disruption in the event space led to brands quickly re-evaluating events and as 2021 emerges, much of what has been done in the past will continue to be crucial for success, including:

Virtual and hybrid events are here to stay

PCMA reports reveal that 76% of planners indicated a shift to virtual for years to come. The potential for the increase in attendance and reach will be around in the foreseeable future.

Experiences that require less physical touch

Touchless interactions allow for technology to take centre stage, with registration and communication being relayed via apps and online channels.

New paradigms for business interaction and networking

These can be managed via the use of a web portal, app, or social media groups to heighten engagement and participation. 

Continued social distancing measures

Events will see health screening areas, face masks and dividers being used, with social distancing in sessions and breakouts becoming a norm.

Smaller and more personalised

With fewer consumers willing to travel and be in crowded spaces, events in 2021 will likely be personalised and smaller.

2020 has shown that brands need to be agile, and that brand advocacy and building trust amongst consumers are imperative for survival. As the new year approaches, some countries are still dealing with the effects of the pandemic, meaning that much of what was learnt in 2020 will continue to shape the communications landscape in 2021 and beyond.


Modern Marketing Digital TrendCamp Recap

This year, Modern Marketing called on different agencies to take part in our Digital TrendCamp video series. 

Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos on advertising, branding and marketing trends and topics. Here is a recap of the TrendCamp videos received this year: 

E-commerce – brands selling online

Social media usage during SA lockdown

Representation of African languages in advertising

Brand differentiation vs brand distinctiveness

Creating change in the creative industry during Covid-19

Brands generating non-Covid-19 related content

Coronavirus pandemic presents technology and methods to inspire customers

Where does your brand feature when it comes to all things online?

Embracing creativity during the lockdown

The power of automation

Determining your brand through social media data

What customers want brands to do during lockdown

Recession-proofing your brand

Communication and content across the digital marketing landscape in the new normal

Tips for building an in-house agency

Re-imagining retail and creating a personalised shopping experience

Positioning your website for success through SEO

Diversity in the branding and advertising industry


Making Basic Sense Of Data And Automation Strategy

Owning Customer Data Can Be A Liability
JD Engelbrecht, MD at Everlytic.

JD Engelbrecht, MD at Everlytic, says the reality is that most of us are struggling to access data, make basic sense of it and activate it efficiently. As businesses and consumers, we are accumulating data faster than ever before.

Today, we have progressed far beyond the human ability to act on the firehose of data that flows through all organisations. Fortunately, sophisticated technology creates insight from chaos – and presents the potential to establish, maintain and grow individual and unique concurrent relationships with millions of consumers that simulate human intelligence. This is the dream. The promise. The possibility. For marketers and business leaders struggling for growth, it hints at utopia. 

Yet this dream has been sold (often oversold) at marketing tech conferences for years by people with ‘evangelist’ or ‘ninja’ in their titles, and we have been bombarded with jargon, buzzwords and complicated systems that seem to unnecessarily complicate a complicated matter.

Admittedly, we make it harder than it needs to be. Most often we get in our own way. Generally, the executive mandate isn’t wide or deep enough to enable those who have the ability to execute – and top brass does not kick down enough doors to enable execution teams to achieve what they need to.

Often, we buy tech (most frequently from the vendors who oversell the dream) that need consultants to operate and multi-year implementation schedules. The time to value is generally too long and the capital expenditure to get the ‘solution’ up and running is most frequently simply too much. High cost plus slow deployment equals frustrated and annoyed execs. This is particularly amplified when implementation runs across project sponsors’ tenures and new people inherit the programme.

So, where to from here? We need to reframe and understand where the challenge – and the solution – really lies. I am a firm believer in starting with the end in mind, but you can’t skip the things in between. There are foundations to build, lessons to learn, and there are corporate legacies to navigate. Your strategy needs to be primed and groundwork needs to be done.

Internal coordination and resource alignment

Primarily, we make the common mistake of believing that a data and automation strategy is a tech problem to solve. It is not. It is an organisational coordination and resourcing challenge.

So, if you think you are going to buy tech to solve this challenge, you are going to have a bad time and you are going to hate life for a solid stretch. Technology is absolutely the ultimate enabler – you cannot do this without it, but you cannot lead with it. In short, do not buy or build tech until you know exactly what you have and have mapped exactly what you want to achieve.

Tech can never fix a broken strategy, crumbling foundations or lack of experience. What it does do really well is make mistakes really expensive (and high profile). Importantly, once we get going, it becomes evident (but not always noticed) that we did not give the people we hold accountable for the outcome a strong enough mandate to get things done. Often we do not give the task to a strong-enough person, because you need some gravitas, guts, stamina and a thick skin to get this done in a large organisation.

Finally, you need to know what you aim to achieve. What are your organisational goals here? Goals disaggregate to objectives that are achieved through value workflows and conversations across the organisation. For example: do you want a customer to buy something? Map your sales conversation and funnel and fire it off at the right time, in context, personalised and relevant to a prospect. Now do this on an individual basis, at millions-scale.

Is your business model what you think it is? 

To effectively define your objectives and goals for a data strategy, you need to interrogate your business model, and its core purpose. So, what is your core business? This is a trick question. Yes, you might sell goods or services, but you are also a data, attention and trust business.

In the data – rather, insight, attention, and trust market – we all compete for a limited supply of these valuable consumer resources, and we compete against a near-infinite demand from businesses that overwhelm our consumers. With this in mind, we must responsibly leverage the data at our disposal, grab attention from anything that takes focus away from our solutions – and build a bank of trust that facilitates our relationship with consumers around our core business. Data, trust and attention are inherently linked – and form the combined platform to execute your marketing automation strategy from.

Building the foundations

With this said, we must start building some foundations to compete in this insight, trust, and attention economy.

Whilst the execution through automation is sexier, getting your data footing in place will determine your success. Let us take a quick look at the types of data at your disposal:

  • Descriptive: these are things you could probably determine if you looked at a user in person (gender, location, age, etc.)
  • Transactional: these are things you log as a result of transactional engagement (products bought, basket size, the timing of transactions, etc.)
  • Contextual: these are things you observe based on users’ engagement with your platform (position in the conversion funnel, device patterns, engagement patterns, etc.)
  • Inferred: these are produced as the results of running data through augmentation models to provide advanced insights (conversion probability, engagement scoring, predictive modelling, preferences, clustering, etc.)

You will find that 80% of your success comes from insights that are quite easy to obtain. In other words, you do not need expensive data science teams to unlock your first significant tranche of value.

That said, the challenge that we face is that we have created irrational system complexity with hundreds of federated solutions holding its data hostage in different formats, on different schemas and where only functional and practical integration exists to execute an operational task. Once we have made this data accessible, we can get to execution, right? But getting this data timeously, accurately and consistently is so very often where organisations fall short.

Creating a universal, accessible, data pool

At this stage, we must surface this data and create a universal data pool that is consistent, understandable, accurate and easily accessible via an integration layer that will expose the holistic data (which can be augmented first of course) to other systems for operational efficiencies – and to develop insight using various techniques from simple reporting, to advanced analytics, to data science and machine learning.

Importantly, you can surface the data and provide it for use without having to overhaul your entire technology platform. There is so much inertia in large organisations’ tech clusters that skipping the queue by integrating at a data layer will get you to value significantly quicker and with less pain.

This is a tough feat in itself, but until this task has been completed, you cannot truly unlock the value you need. That said, keep in mind that perfection is the enemy of progress and that you need only have the base data available to start creating value. But your end game requires a holistic view of a customer and the data that describes them, and their relationship with you and your products.

Getting your team in place and on board 

Cross-divisional participation can work if the overarching execs are closely aligned, and there is no conflict in their KPIs and incentive schemes. However, it adds another layer of complexity and drag to something that will produce enough pain without us adding more.

I mentioned that we do not give a wide, deep and strong enough mandate to a strong enough candidates to get things done. You need to appoint a strong person who has matrix competence that can own and add value to the entire data value chain. If you are serious about being successful, you must realise that this is a meaty thing that needs full-time resources allocated to it, whether they sit across your existing divisions or are concentrated into a centre of excellence. 

You will have an unusual, composite team that includes one or more integration developers, data developers, data scientists, data analysts and marketing tech specialists – and if you are serious about conversion optimisation and agility in terms of creating collateral, you need access to a designer and copywriter too. 

Then, the head of this band of misfits needs to be a good story-teller; be able to hold conversations with and contribute meaningfully to each dimension of their team; understand the strategic and commercial realities of each division of the organisation to bring them value; have a thick skin, and be fully assimilated into the organisation. 

Once you have your internal resources and team in place, make sure to take care of your unicorn and be tolerant of failure, as long as the overall trajectory is upwards. You will need to accept the fact that there will be failure and it is important to create a safe environment for failure and throw-away work. You cannot have rapid deployment of complicated functions and strategy without risk. Here, it is useful to create guardrails to reduce the consequences of risk. These will look different for each business and team. 

Sidebar: managing your data intelligently

Get to value quicker by empowering a strong person with an overarching mandate that includes oversight of the following elements of the data lifecycle: 

Collection: make sure you get what you need by doing it yourself in close cooperation with your product and development department. This includes: 

Data pipelines.

Augmentation: transform the data you collect, and bake in context and intelligence to create actionable data, by doing the following: 


Activation: actionable data needs to be prepared and provisioned to work for you. Make sure you include:


Execution: once provisioned and primed, marketers and the mar-tech they operate take over to reach out to your customers. Elements to consider here:

Manual vs automation.
Optimisation and testing.

Feedback: consistent feedback of engagement statistics feeds your models and triangulates your customers’ positions in the various conversion funnels – which serve as triggers for your journeys. These include: 

Event-level activity.

That is a mouthful. Let us stop here for now. In the next instalment, we will discuss how to develop a clear route to value for your data strategy. This will include how to offset your liability and risk with the potential benefits, and what these benefits look like. 


Expanding Digital Footprint Creates Greater Need For Customer Behaviour Analysis

Expanding Digital Footprint Creates Greater Need For Customer Behaviour Analysis
Sizwe Dlamini, Head of Commercial at Idea Hive.

According to Sizwe Dlamini, Head of Commercial at Idea Hive, South Africa’s digital footprint is expanding at breakneck speed, creating a greater need for marketers to put their best foot forward through analyses of their customer behaviour.

Data has played a crucial role in the emergence and evolution of digital marketing. It is the fuel that drives the engine of digital marketing. However, the quality of data you have and what you infer out of it determines the success of your digital marketing efforts.

For many years, companies have been collecting data for digital marketing. However, as digital technology evolves and grows at a colossal rate, data analytics too have had to adjust to innovate the brand marketing approach that is being embraced by some of the most prominent brands in the industry today.

Gone are those days when you could develop a product and then look for buyers. Digital marketing analytics has given rise to a superpower that data holds, that can help a brand gain access to who (will buy), what (will it serve) and where (will it sell) in your potential market. These three critical inputs will assist you to strategically place your product or service into an ideal market and you can avoid shooting in the dark – mitigating unnecessary risk.

Understanding consumer behaviour is at the forefront of any marketing intervention. However, data has brought in much-needed precision to be present at the right place at the right time, for the right person. In the past, some marketing efforts have relied on guesswork as there was no ready-to-consume analytics.

Organisations today are looking to connect with their customers and gain their loyalty to strengthen their presence. Although their products and services do play a crucial role here, it depends on how you make your customers feel valued and showcase that you have solutions to their problems. Personalised communication therefore becomes critical, where a brand can showcase that they know their customers and what they are looking for.

Data has enabled us to segment customers and build user personas who will be apt for a particular product and then target them on their desired touch-point, thus building a long-lasting bond. While you have built that connect and targeted the right people through your campaigns, it is equally important to gauge ROI based on the performance of your campaign. Digital marketing analytics not only allows you to measure all those efforts that have worked for you, but also those that did not.

It is possible to track the user journey, organic and campaign level efforts. Using real-time insights, we can take actions on campaigns to improve conversions and also monitor the overall health of the intervention. There is a need to extract the relevant data and make sense out of it in order to determine the correct strategy moving forward. Big data analysis is not just a way of understanding your numbers, but a way of telling your brand story and placing customers at the heart of that.

Brand storytelling is essentially communicating. It is something we do every day, whether we are conscious of it or not. From an email to a body posture, we are constantly communicating to those around us and every moment is an opportunity to tell our story. This is an innate human need, something we do via reflex, rather than consciously. So why should brands behave differently when communicating? To reach a consumer in a way that is non-interruptive and enriching is a goal all brands should strive for.

Today’s decision-makers don’t want a sales pitch. They want to hear your story and how it aligns with their own. When you tell a story soundly, it gets audiences deeply invested, increasing the value of a product or service substantially. When identity, values and experiences are core brand differentiators, storytelling becomes essential. Vital to this is data, that helps marketers understand customers and makes stories more meaningful. The way we think about marketing transformation is changing with the rise of content marketing and thought leadership – data and storytelling are important additional layers to enable your marketing to be more innovative and strategic.

Brand storytelling should be emotive and engaging. It needs to grab the attention of consumers while informing them about your product or service. Emotive and engaging might not be words normally associated with data. However, the information we can gain from data analysis is extremely personal and can give us insights into the wants, needs and desires of our consumers.

Through assessing how your consumers think, feel, and interact with your brand, you can tap into something and forge an emotive connection that will carry your brand to the front of mind in the consideration process, making your brand memorable for all the right reasons. Data should be used to understand how to personalise a customer’s shopping experience and it is able to identify flaws in your strategy and point out weaknesses, to enable you to adjust to a more customer-centric focus.

Brand storytelling can use data analytics to improve a company’s marketing experimentation process. Using data provides a feedback loop, allowing digital marketers to easily transition from one marketing approach to another until they find one that yields better customer response and product interaction.

Analysis can provide newer insights into marketable approaches that were never available before. Translating and defining data to obtain new marketing views that will make your brand more responsive to the demands of your market is key.

It is up to brands to use this data and combine it with human empathy and understanding to create compelling stories. The more we learn to communicate our insights effectively, the more we will be able to reap the benefits that data has to offer. As people increasingly use data analysis as part of their strategies, minds will be enlightened to new possibilities never before seen in their brand’s story.


Think Digital Marketing First

Think Digital Marketing First

According to Valiant, formerly known as BrandTruth, now more than ever, brands need to be brave, nimble and defiant in digital. Modern marketing professionals need to flip their thinking upside down – and think digital first.

As events all but disappeared, media consumption patterns flew out the window and Out-of Home advertising became redundant, but courageous digital innovation thrived. In 2020, the world has experienced what is set to be the largest phase of digital disruption, as in just a few short months, every brand has had to rapidly enhance their online presence and offerings.

Now is the time to grab your audience’s attention – from motoring to financial services, FMCG to health services, tech companies to apparel. Here are five tips to be valiant in your digital marketing and unlock your online strategy’s full potential: 

1. Talk data to me

Data is at the key of a great, workable online plan and marketers and agencies should be au fait with glocal insights, data tools and updates such as the Global Web Index, which collates and delivers the latest insights on developing trends, market reports and research. Affiliation with premium local and international industry bodies gives you access to insights and knowledge-sharing that take a strategy from ordinary to extraordinary for effective creative.

2. Agile from the get-go

Being brave means knowing that immediate change is sometimes necessary and the only consistent element of a digital strategy. Do not be Blackberry. Be fast, focused and flexible when it comes to tech. 

No strategy is set in stone – trends and flavours change overnight or in a matter of days. Breaking news changes the national agenda instantly. An online plan must be made of moveable, workable parts that can be easily adapted to suit the current external environment. 

3. Meet the geek

Any strategy is only as good as its weakest creative, and for a brand that wants to be unapologetically valiant, an up to speed team is central. All team members must have a clear an understanding of how to create content and work within platform parameters. Teams must understand how to use relevant platforms. These refined skills and understanding levels are used to develop a no-mess, no fuss strategy. 

4. Content you inspire

Brands need concepts, campaigns and creative content that your audience can’t ignore, but everyone needs time for this. Change how you advertise online with software that automates high-volume content generation, freeing up your resources for creative that matters. Creating content that can be repurposed is like a product that can be recycled, it frees up time and reduces wastage. Both the world and your creative team will thank you for being valiant in efforts to create a digital strategy that is brave enough to step up to stand out. 

5. Collabs are key

Compelling marketing campaigns need to be integrated to reiterate your message. But, to be digital-first, is to understand that parts of a strategy must work in tandem to upscale productivity and improve delivery. As the online platform evolves at such a rapid pace, creatives need to constantly understand platform and product changes.

Working closely with other online partners including social platforms like Instagram and Tik Tok, allow synced synergies over shared expertise. Be it through a collaborative workshop or exploring beta versions, the second set of eyes only ensures a valiant effort in the overall strategy.  

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