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All posts by Jonathan Houston

Jonathan Houston
Jonathan Houston is passionate about digital marketing and digital strategy. During the day, Jonathan is the Head of Digital Marketing for HKLM. Jonathan's work at HKLM includes strategy conceptualization, focusing on the alignment of digital marketing to business strategy as well as assisting HKLM's clients on fulfilling their digital objectives. Jonathan is also the author of Internet Marketing for Entrepreneurs, a 50 000 word body of work which touched on the subtleties of digital marketing which are often overlooked.
  • Digital culture must precede digital transformation

    Digital culture is not quite what it looks like at face value. Digital culture is not defined as one where everyone lives on a digital platform 24/7. Sure there are certainly large pieces of activity that can be devoted to being on a digital platform, but this is not what makes for a digital culture. The first definition might define a consumers digital culture. One filled with selfies; the near-constant voyeurism of social media and an opinion on everything. But this is not the definition of a digital culture within your business. When we look at the conundrum that is digital...

  • The omni-channel experience and its true definition

    The omni-channel experience is a relatively new marketing term that quickly reached buzzword status. Already in that first sentence there are a number of problems that make omni-channel something quite difficult for brands to get right; which is quite troubling as the core of the omni-channel experience is not a new concept. The omni-channel experience has been around since we first started promoting goods and services; but for some reason the race to digital migration has confused the issue. What is the omni-channel experience? At its very core, the omni-channel experience is about ensuring that no matter where a customer or prospect...

  • Data analytics and its impact on your business

    We live in a world where there is more information captured on a minute-by-minute basis about our daily lives than ever before. Practically everything we do leaves a trail. With IoT becoming more of a reality each day with almost every home appliance potentially getting an IP address. Data analytics is the art of recognising the patterns in this melange of data and extracting meaningful behaviour altering insights from it. The career of a data scientist is relatively new. As a degree (yip; you can get a degree in data science now) is one of the fastest growing disciples in varsities today. The...

  • The essence of integration in 2018

    The essence of integration in 2018 is probably not what you think it is. It is not just about digital transformation. It is not just about ensuring that systems are all able to speak to each other in order to deliver exponential value. Granted, system integration is a major part of the essence of integration, but it is not what lies at its core. This is a mistake that is made over and over. Technology does not lie at the core of integration. Technology enables it; technology makes it possible. But technology is merely a supporting act, not the star...

  • Digital transformation: we need better business strategies, not digital strategies

    Digital transformation is certainly the buzzword of the decade. It has made Buzzword Bingo winners the world over as it has punctuated every digital, tech, futurist, and marketing conference in recent memory. This article it not meant to question the viability of digital transformation, but rather challenge its focus. Traditionally every digital transformation project is IT led, which means that it is incredibly technology-centric. The problem with this is that technology does not directly give value to a business; nor has it ever (with the exception of technology in products). The value in technology and indeed with digital transformation, is in...

  • The Digital Age: impacting thinking, buying and creating interactive content

    Context rich and relevant information when and where your customer wants it: that is the new battleground. Google calls this the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT). The construct is not a new one; it is now just one which has become aggressively relevant. Think about the last time you wanted to know something. The last time you wanted to get some guidance or advice. I am willing to bet that you reached for your phone and did a search. The search would either have led you to a Google SERP or to a friend’s social feed. Either way you were...

  • Programmatic buying: the answer for small players who can’t afford big media fees?

    This is a bit of a refresher of an article I wrote around two years ago on real-time bidding (RTB). Admittedly that was centred around RTB and video ads; but RTB is a very large part of programmatic buying. So what on earth is programmatic buying? Programmatic buying is super useful for advertisers as it essentially automates all of the processes that used to nauseate them. With RTB, buyers can set parameters like bid price and network reach. A programmatic buy will layer these parameters with behavioural or audience data all within the same platform. At its core, this means that...

  • Ventureburn presents: the beginner’s guide to growth hacking

    The term growth hacking has been thrown around for a while now. Well, pretty much since 2010 when it was coined by Sean Ellis at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference. Despite having been around for five years now though, it seems that there is still a lot of confusion around exactly what a growth hacker is. Simply put, a growth hacker is an individual whose sole focus is around growth. Growth at all costs. Every action and every strategic or tactical decision is centred on growth. Growth hackers are not necessarily marketers; nor are they better than marketers (as I have...

  • 6 marketing hacks all entrepreneurs should have in their pockets

    Marketing -- and more to the point -- digital marketing budgets still frighten a lot of people. Especially entrepreneurs who are grappling with how to translate from their personal brand through to a business brand. Here are six digital marketing hacks that I find exceptionally useful when trying to understand where to focus my attention when planning digital marketing campaigns. 1. Blog – And Then Blog Some More Content has become the lifeblood of any marketing campaign! Without truly great content you can have the best SEO team in the world tweaking the structure of your site until the cows come home...

  • 7 red flags that should tell you it’s time to change agencies

    Marketing agencies have been having a tough time of late. Specifically the traditional agencies who are having to get to grips with new business models and new ways of delivering value to their clients. Digital marketing is arguably the biggest ongoing disruption to the marketing industry since the advent of; well; since the advent of something else that was particularly disrupting. If your marketing agency ever utters any of the following seven things; it might be time to drop it for one which is riding the digital disruption wave better than Filipe Toledo (arb surfing reference). 'We don’t use inbound marketing;...

  • Stellagy: using crowdfunding to bridge Africa’s educational gap

    Around the world, governments and businesses are facing an ever complicating conundrum: high levels of youth unemployment and a shortage of job seekers with relevant critical skills. Many countries especially in the developing world still consider affordability to be the primary inhibitor to education. Improving the quality of education by making it more relevant to users, as well as finding creative means of addressing the affordability challenge, is highlighted as the primary keys to successfully addressing this challenge. Read more on Ventureburn.var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • The QR code is dead, long live the QR code

    We have all heard the famous quote, or indeed misquote attributed to Mark Twain, “reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated!” Well if QR Codes could speak they would be pretty much feeling the same way at the moment. Whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, the humble QR code simply refuses to drift into obscurity. Granted, they are quirky by design and oft times difficult to register; they have been used in some seriously innovative ways! I wrote about a few examples of this innovation back in 2011 that highlights how Southern Koreans are exposed to QR codes...

  • Here’s why the addition of chat and video to Snapchat really matters

    Millennials of the world united in an outpouring of joy and excitement when Snapchat started rolling out its Chat and Video functionality earlier this month. Now, although video chat is nothing really new (Skype Video has been around for an age already) Chat is cool for other reasons. The reason why this is something special and worth noting is because of one very important fact. Snapchat is allowing video to be uploaded in real-time. Think of it as sharing your camera as opposed to uploading a video. Let me say that again -- it is more like sharing your camera...

  • Popcorn Time: what the ‘Netflix you always wanted’ taught us about ourselves

    I think it is pretty safe to say that we have all done it. We have succumbed to the peer pressure of the masses and we have buckled. We have tasted freedom and we liked it. We liked it so much that we want more; now; and forever! I am of course talking about torrenting movies and series -- either illegally; legally or vicariously through a friend-of-a-friend. But we have all done it and we are going to keep on doing it! I find it rather poetic that my PC wants to correct the word “torrented” to “tormented” as that...

  • Is IAB’s Rising Star ad format another nail in banner advertising’s coffin?

    There's been a lot of talk around the death march of the lowly banner ad, especially as click-through rates and user interaction continue to dwindle. With the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Rising Stars ad format becoming more and more popular; will it finally bring the traditional banner ad to a peaceful end? Right; so first let’s all make sure we are on the same page with what the IAB Rising Stars Ad format is. In essence you can think of it as a “mini website within a website”. That may be an over simplification of the format; but I think it...