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Thought Leaders

  • Brand safety: it’s about more than fake news

    All around the globe, brands have come under increasing scrutiny for (inadvertently) funding fake news. While it’s an issue that has deservedly received a lot of attention, brands also need to know that there are other websites that their ads shouldn’t be appearing on, and how they can stop it from happening. While fake news has dominated the conversation when it comes to ads for big name brands appearing in the wrong places, it shouldn’t be the only cause for concern. Would a high-profile investment firm, for example, want their ads appearing on a Russian dating site? Or that of a...

  • Bad data is harming your email marketing efforts: here’s how to fix it

    Anyone who’s spent any time around the marketing space knows how valuable data is. It’s no accident that the value of data is frequently compared to that of oil. Like oil, data’s real value lies in the way you use it. And just like the wrong kind of oil can damage your car’s engine, bad data can seriously harm your marketing efforts. This is especially true for email marketing, which is a vital part of the toolkit that enables organisations to speak directly to their customers. Bad data can impact everything -- from how many people see the messaging you send...

  • How to make your chatbot clever

    Given the incredible advances in natural language understanding (NLU), one would be forgiven for thinking that this is what artificial intelligence is all about. Try asking Alexa or Siri for an Indian restaurant near you, and you will most likely be given the right answer. Or try having a text-driven conversation with one of the many amazing Facebook Messenger powered chatbots, and you will be amazed at how it seems to ‘understand you’. I tried recently with my bank’s virtual assistant, and loved the way it could respond so accurately to my request for my latest balance, or for help to...

  • Transformation is not enough: why you need to be ‘business ready’

    While transformation is undoubtedly a key priority for every South African business leader today, focusing on it is not enough to achieve robust and sustainable growth. Particularly given the tough local market conditions, with South Africa having now entered a technical recession, you have to be business ready to succeed in both the short and long term. Indeed, there are multiple factors now at play, in addition to the transformation agenda, which savvy business leaders must take into account. There is the constant pressure of digital disruption, the steady slew of new competitors entering every industry, and an exceedingly pressurized macro economic...

  • Chatbots are the future, but safety and security has to be a priority

    Customer communication is evolving faster than ever. Where paper-based communications sent through the mail were once the norm, almost everything is now done electronically across a range of channels. Two technologies that are set to have a particularly big impact going forward are chatbots and machine learning. That makes a great deal of sense. Both of these technologies allow for communications that are far more immediate and personalised, at a much lower cost than many of the current alternatives. As with all forms of customer communication, however, it’s vital that both the organisation and customers can use these technologies safely. Evolving chatbots Chatbots are,...

  • How top-funnel inefficiencies are ruining your lead generation results

    There is no doubt that lead generation is not without its share of challenges. B2B campaigns especially need to align marketing and sales goals in a way that reduces friction points throughout the funnel, in order to bring leads home, hopefully, to convert. What happens when there are issues at any point along the journey, though? And, what happens where there are inefficiencies and issues right at the very top of the funnel? Problems at the top of the funnel can end up causing far more damage than you may realise, affecting not only your entire funnel but also your...

  • The biggest ecommerce trends to watch in the near future

    A 2018 report from Statista estimates that global ecommerce sales are set to rise 246.15% by 2021, from 1.3-trillion in 2014 to 4.5-trillion in 2021. As more brick and mortar shops close their doors and the rise of online shopping continues to change the way that customers and stores interact, there is no doubt that the global ecommerce industry is not going to be slowing down anytime soon. Each year, technology continues to evolve in leaps and bounds, creating more of an experience for shoppers and more opportunity for etailers. This year alone has given rise to a number of...

  • The ‘end’ of the shopkeeper (and other retail trends coming soon)

    Self-service retail is swooping across the globe; from online shopping to self-checkout, there’s a growing trend in retail environments that focuses on driving efficient and seamless processes to enhance service and CX. It’s a fascinating period of transformation that encourages brands to experiment. However, companies must, as always, bear in mind that customer responses and preferences are the dominant focus, even in times of change. 'Smart' vs 'simple' assistants The past few years have seen many international brands improving the way they approach customer interactions, but this hasn’t always translated to brand success. For instance, smart, AI-powered and natural language processing (NLP) reliant...

  • This is why it’s important to get personal with your data

    With more than 230 000 new instances of malicious software produced daily, companies are under pressure to ensure the security of their data. Adding to the complexity of the challenge is the evolving legislative environment with the likes of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the local Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) putting the focus on maintaining the integrity of personal customer data. Research has found that the global average cost of a data breach is more than R56-million and the average cost for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and confidential information is more than R2000. The...

  • 5 ways to enhance your marketing images on social media

    Humans are visual creatures. Half of the human brain is designed to process visuals, more than the other senses such as touch and hearing. The brain is able to identify images in as fast as 13 milliseconds, and humans are able to remember more than 2000 pictures with at least 90% accuracy. So if someone sees a beautiful or a haunting image, they'll won't likely forget it. In the age of social media, a picture is truly worth a thousand words. If you want to stand out, you must have really compelling visuals in your arsenal. Online consumers are said...

  • How your competitors can help you improve your digital marketing

    Death and taxes are two big guarantees in life, and if you're running a business, then sturdy competition is another one of these certainties. Managing your brand is a constant balance between being the best possible version of yourself (or your business) while also ensuring you keep up to date on what the businesses around you are getting up to. The last thing you want is to fall behind on how they're promoting their products and services and appealing to customers. After all, competition is the fourth biggest cause of business failure for businesses. Beating out the competition these days is about...

  • Telecommunications companies are primed for digital reinvention

    While no industry is immune to digital transformation, telecommunications has long been viewed as a sector that would, and will continue to, experience massive disruption. After the initial decades of dizzying growth and exponential profits, network operators and downstream providers must reinvent their core business to capture a larger slice of today’s digital consumer lifestyle. In the African context, the situation is especially fluid, with new players and technologies threatening the old order. For both disruptive upstarts and established network operators, staying competitive in this environment means taking a digital-first approach. Underlining the importance of this approach is a Gartner prediction that digital...

  • How machine learning will revive radio in South Africa and beyond

    Over the past decade, the dazzling rise of digitally-driven technologies has had a profound effect on almost every industry. Within the broad sphere of media and advertising, new technology has been hailed as both hero and villain. Print media, for example, has faced a catastrophic decline in readership as audiences turn to online platforms. Similarly, broadcast media has been challenged to find growth in advertising revenue as digital platforms become more widely used. One of the oldest and most beloved of media platforms -- radio -- has also been under threat. Yet in the case of radio, and more specifically, radio...

  • Unsure where to start with digital transformation? Follow your customers’ lead

    Most organisations today recognise that digital transformation has become a business imperative. Indeed, Gartner predicts that digital business will represent 36% of a business’s overall revenue by 2020. And with businesses that are digitally transformed being 26% more profitable than those that aren’t, there are serious implications to being left behind. Unfortunately, many organisations simply aren’t sure where to start when it comes to kicking off their digital transformation efforts. That’s understandable. If you’ve been doing business a certain way for decades, someone coming in and telling you to change everything can be pretty scary. Even if the senior leadership inside the...

  • Dear South African politicians: Please think before you tweet

    Twitter is well known as an effective tool in political campaigns. Research indicates that “politically interested individuals and groups can no longer ignore the opportunities presented by Twitter to engage in political discourse and to influence the outcome of campaigns and legislation". US politicians Donald Trump and Barack Obama both used Twitter as a marketing tool in the election campaigns that resulted in their presidencies. But using the platform thoughtlessly can also be damaging. South Africa has more than 7.7-million Twitter users. In a country where racial and political sensitivities continue to run high, posting faux pas is bound to land you in...