Picture: 123RF/viteethumb
Picture: 123RF/viteethumb

The Covid-19 pandemic has acted as the perfect storm to accelerate digital transformation. Those businesses that were digitally enabled before the pandemic have reaped the benefits of their investment and fared better than those that were not, given that business continuity has depended on digital enablement during this period.

As marketing departments face growing pressure to consistently deliver value, the current agency model is at risk of becoming inefficient and ineffective. A spray-and-pray approach is expensive and inefficient. Effective communications today require personalised content – and this can only be achieved by using data. 

This was the theme of a recent discussion between Tumi Rabanye, jury chairperson of the FM AdFocus Awards, and Alistair Mokoena, country director of Google in SA, about how the industry needs to adapt to ensure it is future fit.

The entire advertising and marketing ecosystem has been disrupted by digital and mobile, said Mokoena, adding that in order to be noticed, content must be relevant, useful and helpful.

For too long, he argued, marketing has used blunt instruments, falling back on the old adage that only 50% of adspend is effective, but nobody is sure which 50% that is. “That’s not funny anymore,” he said.

Technology has become an essential element of marketing communication today, helping marketers and advertisers to personalise messages in order to drive meaningful customer engagement across the sales funnel.

A mismatch arises between the agency and the client when there is asymmetry between technology, data fluency and understanding omnichannel marketing.

Success today is a combination of art and science. Mass personalisation is what differentiates winners and losers in the current environment – and it is technology that allows for successful mass personalisation.

Given the rapid rate of change, the five-year strategy plan is dead, he argued. “Being married to a particular business model can be like wearing blinkers.”

His advice to communication practitioners: begin with the end in mind and create experiences for your consumers that are relevant, meaningful and entertaining. The next step is to put the value chain in place that will ensure this happens. The true north of modern marketing is where data, strategy, creative, technology and experiences intersect. Communication practitioners need to care equally about all these areas. To be effective, creativity has to be supported by technology and data.

Given that digital is a new skill for many people in the industry, there needs to be a focus on upskilling and acquiring digital skills, requiring a cultural shift.

Regarding the case for awards, Mokoena said there is value in rewarding both the drivers and outcomes at different times.

To watch the FM AdFocus discussion, click here.

For further information on the FM AdFocus Awards process, contact Danette Capper at adfocus100@gmail.com or 082-494-4174. For advertising and sponsorship opportunities in the 2020 FM AdFocus publication, contact Cortney Hoyland at hoylandc@arena.africa or Kay Naidoo at naidooka@arena.africa

The big take-out: Effective communication requires relevant, entertaining and personalised content.


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