The roll out of affordable data products by service providers in Zimbabwe and the increasing number of people using internet-ready devices has created a massive online audience that brands should take advantage of in order to cost-effectively build awareness of their products or services and grow their market share as well.
However, it is important for marketers and decision makers to understand that digital marketing is a completely different universe from what most marketers are used to by reflex. It is a specialized space with its own peculiar frameworks that borrow heavily from multidisciplinary sources and schools of thought. Take for instance the field of growth hacking that provides strategies and tactics for creating strong start ups. Growth hacking represents the convergence of marketing, engineering, analytics and psychology. It’s so out-of the box oriented that its stars are rebels against conventional marketing assumptions and processes.
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Brands, of necessity, should incorporate digital marketing in their media mix as it offers the benefits of low budget requirements, higher return on investment (ROI), accurate campaign performance measurement, proximity and personalization.
However, this does not mean that the companies should neglect traditional marketing at all. I am of the opinion that brands should launch digital campaigns at the saturation point of their offline ones. The saturation point is that period where an advertisement is no longer producing any further advantage to the company and its value has deteriorated.
Ironically, research by marketing intelligence companies has shown that, despite producing a higher ROI per campaign as compared to traditional marketing, digital marketing still receives a comparatively smaller fraction of the budget. This has to change and the question is how to manage the transition to digital. As I mentioned before, digital marketing requires a unique skills-set and the reengineering of the marketing processes and mind set.
What then is the best way of introducing digital media to the mix?
Companies like Coca Cola and Google have handled their migration to digital in a clever way. They adopted the 70-20-10 model. Daniel Blinman unpacks this concept properly. The Coca Cola content plan is broken down as follows, they plan on 70% of their content to be low risk. By this they mean content that has consistently worked well and achieved results in the past. It doesn’t mean boring and definitely doesn’t mean low quality.
Then 20% of the content that they produce will spin off from what has worked in the past. It basically means a more detailed, in depth and quality version of the content created for the 70%.
The final 10% of content will be extremely high risk. Completely new ideas and concepts that will often end up being one of two things: Something that worked tremendously well and something that failed terrifically.
This rather cautious approach has helped both Coca Cola and Google to achieve their marketing targets whilst at the same time testing and utilizing newer digital best practices and products. I am sure this model can be leveraged by Zimbabwean brands too introduce digital marketing to their operations.
The call for marketers to include digital marketing to their overall marketing plans is not based on a vain need to adopt novel technologies for their own sake. Consumers now spend a lot of their time online socializing, read news or watching videos on various digital platforms like Yookos and Youtube. It is critical that brands go to where their clients are hanging out in large numbers and then guide them on the path to purchase.
The modern consumers look for information about a service or product first before they make a purchasing decision. This is called the zero moment of truth. It is a very good time for brands to capture the consciousness of the prospect as he is already a pre-qualified hot lead that can be converted into a paying customer. The best way to do this is to build extensive brand awareness across a digital touch points. Consequently this leads to enhanced ad recall.
The ready availability of accurate and specific metrics reports in real time makes digital marketing an exact science and also commonsensical addition to the marketers’ tool kit. We are also living in a time when big data is a buzz word that is more than a cool cliché as marketing intelligence is a key driver of success. It enables campaign managers to comprehensively understand the demographics, geographic location, interests, lifestyle, income levels and spending patterns of their prospective target market.
Marketers are thus equipped by these metrics to create laser like focused campaigns that push the needle of the ROI.
It is in this context that I also appreciate the move by Econet Wireless to make access to platforms like Yookos free for their subscribers. This move has enabled many local Zimbabweans to connect with their friends and enjoy digital content at zero data cost to them. The tenets of the attention economy also dictate that brands should make strategic moves to be visible to this captive audience.
The advantage that Zimbabwean marketers have is that most of them are highly qualified and still possess a hunger to up skill themselves. This means than training institutions must offer training courses and boot camps to build their capacity in the field of digital marketing.
Joseph Neusu is a digital marketing specialist with Yookos, an emerging social networking site headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is an avid researcher of digital media trends and best practices with special focus on the African markets. Joseph is a social media marketing trainer, consultant and writer and helps brands to build awareness, enhance their market penetration, promote the brand-client relationship and customer service. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more on digital and social media marketing, join Techzim and SocialMe at #GetSocial 2014 training and seminar. The training and seminar will be held on the 3rd and 4th of April 2014 at Miekles Hotel. You can order your tickets at www.GetSocial.co.zw.