Content marketing puts the world in your hands
Use content marketing to your advantage when you are see your customers as human beings and not just dollar signs for your bottom line. Content marketing requires that we listen to our customers and respond to their needs in real time. When we provide solutions to our customers pain points via our content marketing drive we are mobilising our business and gaining a foothold in the thriving online and social media marketplace.
What is content marketing? Content marketing is the creation, publication, and distribution of articles, press releases, images, and video to attract and acquire a target audience.
Every business needs marketing, whether it is a start-up IT company or a tyre manufacturing business. Most of us are already using marketing strategies in some form or another through distribution of our marketing materials, our sales pitch, website and application of a database.
South Africa, having already embraced this relatively new trend, is experiencing a steep learning curve that is supported by an increasing understanding and uptake of its benefits. However, there is still a lot of confusion around what PMB is exactly. One such misconception is that programmatic marketing is only about real time online bidding.
Programmatic is a term that includes everything from behavioural and intent-based targeting to real-time bidding and exchange-based buying of media inventory. More specifically, it provides a brand manager with the ability to take a specific ad or campaign, set parameters on where, when, how, and who will see it. It measures impressions online and sets the pricing for what the buyer is prepared to pay to an online publisher or SSP (Sales Side Platform) to market the product.
With access to many digital publishers, such as Google, a Demand Side Platform (DSP) uses computer algorithms to maximise access to the different publishers’ space inventory to provide the best pricing, and most accurate audience optimisation for the brand.
Using a variety of data partners, the SSP identifies and buys a custom exchange for the brand, and so Real Time Bidding (RTB) begins. The bidding takes place in milliseconds for every digital ad space on the page, based on the product’s previously set parameters and price limits. The winning bid serves their impression. The important differentiator here is that the brand is ultimately targeting people and not properties. Each impression retains a value.
Digital media management agencies, such as Atmosphere Orange, track and control a campaigns performance through weightings, placement, dynamic creative and positioning in order to get higher impressions, click through or conversion rates. This means that campaigns can be optimised and spend adjusted following consistent, accurate feedback from granular targeting tools.
Craig Utermark, CEO of Atmosphere Orange explains further: “We micro-manage the outcome of a campaign based on the data that we collect on a daily basis. Digital media’s dramatically shortened response time allows us more transparency and the flexibility to quantify campaign successes, or identify what is causing a campaign to fail and rectify the issue within a very short period of time. Working with such organic data the client is given a meaningful view into their target market which then triggers further creative adjustment and refinement. Digital media advertising is accelerating in South Africa, especially with CEO’s and CFO’s demanding more accountability for spend from their CMO’s.”
It is necessary that South African brand managers wanting to stay ahead of their game, start taking advantage of PMB’s efficiencies, targeted reach and accuracy of data across all media channels.
Guidelines for brand managers eager to get on board will require a shift from the traditional negotiation skills of a media buying professional towards more analytical and technical skills, which is where digital agencies like Atmosphere Orange come in. Their industry knowhow ensures that via reporting, brand managers pay attention to quality by constantly refining, targeting and optimising advertising media. In this way brand managers are assured of not making a poor purchase or paying for un-viewable advertisements.
Atmosphere Orange offers an induction process where brand marketers are given a customised insight into the power of programmatic marketing for their brand, which includes training, strategy, reporting and delivery of dedicated digital buyers.
The technological advancements, control, and cost efficiency gained through programmatic marketing is shaping the future of digital marketing. Use of programmatic advertising has grown 20% in the last six months and as much as 65% of global publishers now sell their ad space through networks, with the rest coming online fast.
For those still resisting the age of digital disruption, there is always the comfort of the bottom line to refer back to, with brands such as Kellogg’s, experiencing digital media ROIs of as much as six times. It’s clear why South African media strategists are making calculated decisions and embracing the shift to digital media advertising.
In South Africa, digital advertising on smartphones and computers will generate 52% of the total increase in ad spending during the next five years, with over half of South Africa’s internet traffic on mobile phones, making it the greatest opportunity for growth in the immediate future, according to digital media buying agency Atmosphere Orange’s Media Director, Chanel MacKay.
She points out that, ”Ninety-five percent of South Africa’s major brands use Twitter and 92% use Facebook to advertise. With 53% more YouTube users and 65% more Instagram users over the past year alone, marketers are increasing their social media budgets as they grasp the potential for market share growth on their doorstep”. According to the Chief Marketing Officer Council digital ad spending across the Middle East and Africa is ripe for expansion and will skyrocket to $1.35 billion in 2015, more than four times the global average.
The Pro Shop is just one example of South African businesses forging ahead. Says Marketing Manager, Trevor Rebello: “Online spend now makes up about 8% of our total budget and we realise that even this is a low figure. We were very clearly shown that for less money we can target more golfers across all age groups. Our budget spend has to continue to increase in this direction. We are also putting more focus on our social media profiles and all have grown as a result, in just one year. We realise digital is the way forward, we definitely see the results.”
Media is consumed over tablets, mobile smart phones and desktop with the average South African spending five hours online. Digital advertising is bought and sold on automated and superior targeting tactics with as many as 80 differentiating measures, including age, geography, and gender, far more than traditional advertising. This allows advertisers to sharply focus their campaigns and reach and communicate on a one-to-one basis with their market wherever they are and at whatever time of day they are online.
PwC South Africa entertainment and media industries leader, Vicki Myburgh says, “By embracing digital as the engine of their business‚ companies can position themselves to meet consumers’ changing demands through any channel and format – and more effectively and more profitably than ever before.”
Atmosphere Orange identifies three major trends. MacKay says, “media consumption is moving to mobile, outbound marketing has shifted to inbound and content marketing, and there is an increasing understanding of the advantages of programmatic media buying’ and with that comes remarketing and cross-device targeting.”
Clear advantages are gained with the automation of the media buying process. Not only does it streamline the inventory process on the buy and sell side, it can compose new audiences on the fly, across different content properties. Marketers can access millions of data points as to who saw their campaign, who engaged with it, what message they were attracted to, and how they converted.
A host of new insights about their consumers offers the best value for marketers, says MacKay, improving a campaign’s effectiveness and answering strategic questions . “Psychographic, behavioural and lifestyle data adds dimension to marketing communications. For example, a retailer may see that while they are getting a high click-through rate, their sales remains low. We can understand why. Looking at criteria such as geographical areas and specific times of day we might find consumers are visiting the site while at work but waiting to get home to order the product or service; or that there is high demand for the product but no retail site within reach of that location. Using this information the brand can then decide on where to build a bricks and mortar store within reach of new markets; or plan for a digital retail store to reach and service the geographic area.
“Brandwatch highlighted Hyundai integration of digital into their traditional marketing campaign by changing their website for five minutes whenever one of their TV ads was aired. They built a new landing page related to the model advertised on screen at the time, with a call to action. Testing was done by alternating the old site with the new site whenever the ad was run. Conversion rates for a brochure download or to book a test drive went from 0.7%of visitors to the regular site, to 3.3% on the new site, showing a 480% increase.
“Brands must now be super agile and ultra-relevant across all digital mediums and on a minute-by-minute basis,” advises MacKay. “Digital has put the marketing channel on an upward trajectory. Its influence is everywhere and it is creating and cementing relationships with the core focus of any marketer, their customers.”
Digital advertising maximises the return on investment for brands, by giving brands greater control with reduced display advertising costs. The advantages of programmatic marketing’s fine-grain tactics, dynamic creative and optimisation, also allows the consumer to benefit as they are less likely to be served ads that are not relevant to them. With increased relevancy comes an upsurge in quality conversions for the advertiser.
“Programmatic digital advertising requires less budget as there are lower costs per ad and wider, more targeted reach. Using the campaign’s key performance indicators (KPIs) the campaign might start off small and grow according to which channels deliver the most high-quality leads. Working 24/7, data is analysed, optimised and reported on regarding traffic, pricing, impressions, clicks, conversations and the time between every action, allowing the brand to react dynamically to market changes and keeping the brand marketer front and centre of the campaign’s performance,” MacKay said.
A quick look at the pros and cons of entering the online retail market
Online shopping in South Africa has continued to hit record highs, especially during last year’s holiday season when online spending increased between 30-40% compared to previous years. The country’s internet economy has been projected to double to R103bn by 2016 from the R51billion recorded in 2011.
Recent studies reveal that the internet economy contributes 2% to South Africa’s GDP and this contribution is rising by about 0.1% every year, resulting in 2.5% increases by 2016.
What does this mean for South African’s retailers?
An increase in online shopping is driving structural changes in the retail sector, according to a recent report issued by PwC.
Online users in South Africa tend to fall within the medium to high-income sector of the population. “This group appears to have a strong pent-up demand for online services,” says John Wilkinson, PwC Retail and Consumer Leader in South Africa.
However, Wilkinson says that South Africa’s online retail market is still relatively small and niche with a strong focus on consumer products such as books, music and DVDs. “This is unlike many of the developed markets, such as Asia and Australia, where there has been an explosive growth of online retailers. Suffice to say there is huge online potential that has yet to be discovered and tapped in South Africa.”
Having already set up an important channel for their long-term future are Edcon’s CNA division, Walton’s with their e-store and Mr Price which are all already operating in the online retail market.
So how easy is it to tap into this market? Let’s consider the pro’s and con’s:
There’s no loss to theft
You have access to 24 hour sales
You have national and international reach
Less employees are required
You can collect more data and get better visibility of your customers buying behaviour online, from age and location demographics, initial search terms, related items they are interested in and much more, easily collected via a simple analytics program.
You look bigger than you actually are
You van stock more items. A retail storefront will perform better for a business that sells a select amount of products, while an online store may work better for a business that carries an extensive selection.
Environmental factors such as position, weather, traffic, parking or increased petrol prices don’t affect you.
No bottlenecks or customer queues
Your customers can easily promote your products via sharing on social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest at the click of a button. (Word of mouth marketing is very powerful and it is much easier for you to encourage this via an online store.)
There is more competition online – the web is where people go to get bargains and consequently competition is fierce. Margins in online retail tend of be lower than on the high street and so retailers need to compensate by selling more.
There is more admin required
There is less customer contact
There is no touch or feel of quality for customers and returns are time-consuming
There are lower margins. It has been found that consumers pay significantly more for products they can view in person and for the ‘experience’ within a retail store.
Postage and shipping costs can be expensive
There is no passing foot traffic
There is less impulse buying
There is a dependency on hardware
There is less trust of the brand or product.
The solution? To have both of course.
What you will need:
An online payment system such as Paypal for example.
You will need to pay for web hosting and technical support
You will pay for shipping and accepting online payments.
You will pay for your desired domain name and for someone to develop your website and e-commerce platform.
You will need to handle fulfillment and shipping
You will need to maintain it.
Building a customer base is one of the most-essential components of starting a successful retail business, online or offline. With a retail store, the potential customer base is limited to the surrounding area. Online, the customer base is limitless.
Belinda Taylor, Media Mind at Cape Town based agency Tag 8 discusses their business alignment with digital media buying agency Atmosphere Orange and their programmatic campaign successes to date.
How has working with Atmosphere Orange boosted your business?
“We currently partner with Atmosphere Orange on the digital aspect for two of our clients. We have seen a real boost in business for both our clients. Personally, I enjoy working with programmatic marketing in the digital space. It has reach and offers such a defined target market across a variety of sites. It’s affordable and it’s trackable. It delivers on a brand’s campaign objectives.
For the one campaign we wanted to drive consumers to their website and heighten the amount of conversions. Using visual media and real time bidding (RTB) through MediaMath we got the highest conversions they had had throughout the campaign, and those conversions originated right out of the RTB aspect.
When a client has clearly defined objectives and KPIs they need to meet, we always motivate for RTB if it aligns with the campaigns goals. Our biggest challenge is communicating to our clients what RTB is and how it works; this is central to them understanding its effectiveness. In order to do so, we provide presentations and use case studies to show its relevancy, how it meets those KPIs and how exactly RTB can achieve that.
Were there any surprises in the process or in the results?
With our one client we had a surprise. It was a long campaign and we found there was a drop in click through rates, which was a result of banner fatigue. We went back to creative to reassess before going live again with the next burst.
Weekly reporting is helpful and we always do an end of phase report inclusive of insights, and we always brief creative on the results we get back from the data.
Using data metrics, we can then redefine a route to optimise the campaign. With the client, we decided to rework the banners and change the call to action. Atmosphere Orange also suggested we use AB split testing with two different calls to action to see which worked best and then further optimisation from there.
Has it changed the way you think about either clients, branding, advertising or your business?
Working with Atmosphere Orange has definitely changed our digital strategy. We started noticing it was more important to communicate its effectiveness to the client in order to understand RTB’s importance.
Most brands see digital as an add-on, but we see it as an ‘always on’ aspect to the campaign. It has the ability to achieve other objectives and it should be integrated within the overall media plan, it makes for a more holistic campaign. We get it, but it helps to remember where the client is coming from.
Digital is second nature to us but the forever changing online environment makes it hard for everyone to understand why it is so important. It’s still a traditional marketplace.
We aim to educate that digital is in fact the closest channel to their target market since it’s part of their habitual everyday life. Its the current trend and all brands should use it to connect with their consumers.”
Young, hip and driven, today’s trendsetting Millennials would never dream of comparing themselves to the ‘retirement generation’, those Baby Boomers aged 55 years and up. But, backed by big data metrics, astute marketers have found the link between two seemingly diverse markets. Using algorithms to produce competitive marketing strategies they have found a new language to speak to and convert both sets of demographics at the same time, slicing budgets in half and saving brand conversion time.
How are marketers bridging the generational gap between Senior Joe and younger Joe Junior? “They understand the individual motivations,” says Chanel MacKay, Media Director at Atmosphere Orange. “Using data for programmatic profiling, fine-grain metrics are telling us that they display similar habits and share common values. But you have to use accurate metrics if you want your online advertising campaigns to work,” counters MacKay. “This is a large market we are talking about here and using programmatic market analysis you need a well-strategised system that drills down to the hard facts when working out a campaign that targets their particular needs. Using data-driven metrics, brands are now designing campaigns for both demographics which offer a single brand experience, one that embraces both their similarities and their differences.”
What are some of their similarities? Traditionally Boomers claimed the highest level of disposable income with 4 out of 5 retailers attributing 50% of sales to this age group. Tough economies however, have seen them tightening their purse strings and searching online for bargains, sales and coupons. This has coincided with the growth in the size of Millennial numbers, with the Millennial market overtaking Boomers in size and potential spending power.
Both Millennials and Baby Boomers want quality of lifestyle, which includes conscientious behaviours, and a focus on health. Being community driven, they are always switched on and engaged with researching, purchasing, donating, volunteering, or supporting environmentally friendly or non-profit organisations. As much as 70% of Millennials will look at a firm’s commitment to community as a factor in their employment decision. And they care just as much about their own families, 63% of Millennials will consider, or already do consider themselves responsible for caring for an elderly parent.
With mom and dad connecting more online, Millennials will be feeling the competition when it comes to device sharing and usage in the home as parents highjack time for themselves online. And both demographics display similar habits in that journey. Recent research by both the Pew Research Center and Forrester Research reveals Millennials spend 59% of their time on smartphones, 35% on tablets and 70% on laptops, often multi-tasking over multiple screens while either on the go or at home watching TV. Baby boomers – that’s parents and young grandparents – display similar habits, MediaCom statistics see 79% of Baby Boomers using the internet with 65% using Facebook and more than half engaged with their community through video or supporting causes online, booking travel or searching for health conscious options to improve their lifestyle.
As part of their journey online both Millennials (82%) and Boomers (52%) rely on word of mouth marketing. They are listening socially to their friends and family when choosing a product. “Recessions and the economic downturn have distressed the Boomer buyer and like Millennials they need to make planned purchases. They are online with their respective communities searching and listening for recommendations, reviews and the best deals,” says MacKay, “ This makes digital strategies that use both traditional marketing techniques and native, multi-screen tactics able to grow trust over both generations.
“It’s a new language for brands,” says MacKay. “Blatant selling strategies aren’t going to work for this focus group. There is a migration towards native advertising from both Millennials and Boomers, they want to feel connected, they want authenticity, they want to be inspired by people and make a social impact. And they want to be informed through story.
“But both are easily distracted by other things online. You’ve got ten seconds to catch their attention,” says MacKay. “Then you need to search, find and retarget them, at the same time working with intuitive creative to keep it inspiring and with the right message formats to meet them on the right channel and platform. While Twitter has successful brand engagement for Millennials, Boomers won’t follow a brand via social media.”
“By targeting both 20-somethings and Boomers who have been around the block, it creates new opportunity for creative storytelling and optimisation of the same message across all channels that can include 2nd screen syncing. As long as you are establishing trust and offering value and making it easy for the customer to communicate with you, consumers both young and old will not only transact, but then use word of mouth to refer your brand on,” says MacKay.