Half an hour with Werner Lindemann
Mediamark’s new MD, Werner Lindemann is enthusiastic about his latest role as he prepares to lead the company’s strategic direction, drawing from his extensive commercial and business development expertise. Having been back in media for just three years after an eleven-year stint in IT, Lindemann spoke to Redzone about some of the obvious - and less obvious - changes he’s encountered so far.
On the surface of things, he says digital trends and technological developments are dramatically transforming the industry. He adds that while South Africa is known to have issues around broadband, the true picture - according to a report recently issued by Arthur Goldstuck – is that more than half of all South Africans do have access to the Internet.
Quoting statistics from research company ‘We are Social’, Lindemann says that 90 percent of South Africans from LSM 6 upwards own smartphones, and use them to access the Internet. In addition, while they spend on average two hours and 20 minutes watching television and approximately four hours and 20 minutes listening to the radio, South Africans spend more than three hours consuming content on their mobile phones and five hours on their PC or tablet per day.
South Africa, he says, is a country of ‘social media gluttons’, rated the third highest country in the world when it comes to consuming digital media content.
Lindemann maintains that there is a massive shift taking place in the media industry – all attributable to Internet access. The burning question now is how to take content created for a traditional media environment and successfully link it to digital platforms and offline activations.
The answer to this question provides the key to creating additional revenue, driving commerce marketing and allowing for the retargeting of campaigns based on consumer data. Ultimately, without a digital element, agencies cannot begin to meet the ROI demanded by clients, he believes.
Adding even more weight to digital and mobile campaigns is the fact that in South Africa, 65 percent of the population were born after 1990. Known as Generation Y and Generation Z, these are what he calls ‘digital first’ consumers. The best way to target this significant portion of the market, he says, is via digital channels.
It’s an environment fraught with challenges, but also, Lindemann argues, alive with opportunity. While advertisers have become more demanding than ever in terms of ROI, and the tough economy has created unpredictable buying patterns in the market, companies such as Mediamark have created opportunities for new revenue models and data driven multichannel solutions.
Lindemann says solutions such as content marketing, viral campaigns, gamification and Quick Response (QR) codes are all new ways to drive audience engagement and understand the consumer within the digital environment.
He adds that brands within this landscape need to stand out from the clutter and can only do so with relevant content and targeted engagement. Mobile, he concludes, has a major role to play. “Having a good digital strategy wins you the first innings in the game, but mobile is what will win the whole game.”
The big take-out: New CEO at Mediamark, Werner Lindemann talks about the importance of driving engagement through digital channels and says mobile strategies will place brands ahead of the pack.