Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Kgaugelo Maphai is the newly appointed MD of the MediaShop Sandton. His keen interest in what influences consumers’ behaviour, how to communicate with them in their own environments and the diverse consumer base in SA has made him an ideal candidate to steer the MediaShop’s Johannesburg business.

Media trends, says Maphai, are headed in a digital direction, with digital platforms gaining increased recognition from clients. They are now habitually including them in their media budgets and allocating significant spend to digital; in some cases this surpasses print and radio in platform size. In addition, the use of data in advertising is growing, he says, and media is becoming more accountable for sales when clients take the recommendations of media agencies into account.

In the midst of one of the direst political situations SA has faced in recent years, Maphai predicts that while we may not feel the effects immediately, the country is in for a tough year. “It remains to be seen whether marketing budgets will be cut in the financial year. Of course, at times like these it always important for marketers to push harder to maintain their market share, as opposed to cutting budgets,” he says.

Because the climate is uncertain, he believes agencies and marketers need to know everything there is to know about consumers, and here the use of consumer insights is key. It’s important to note that consumers respond differently in different parts of SA, depending on their circumstances, and that they make purchasing decisions based on their liquidity.

Brands should be immersing themselves in the lifestyles of their consumers across the country, and understanding their cultural nuances if they are to grab their attention. This means taking careful note of their movement, preferences, interests and activities, Maphai says. “Only once they have done this can brands make informed decisions about how to communicate with consumers and target them effectively so that there is adequate return on spend.” He says this can be achieved only with out-of-the-box thinking, using all channels available and trying out different combinations of media.

A challenging economic climate does not mean a lack of opportunity, he insists, suggesting that when times are tough, collaborations and partnerships with like-minded brands become important. “It’s about becoming ‘streetwise’ and clever in terms of how you engage with consumers. The use of influencers and media personalities presents an additional area of opportunity – these are people who can engage with fans at the click of a button, using the live capabilities of Facebook and Instagram to promote immediate engagement.”

The big take-out: Newly appointed MD of the MediaShop’s Sandton office believes tough conditions are set to hit consumers hard, which will have a knock-on effect on marketing budgets. Marketers will need to try harder than ever to understand the nuances of their target markets for effective engagement.

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