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Thought Leaders

  • Rethinking the relevance of Big Data in the age of social media

    In the customer service environment, businesses have access to a wealth of operational and systems data in the contact centre. With the correct measurement and optimisation (dashboards and reporting; staff scheduling; training; processes; workflows; systems etc.) all this data can be used to improve efficiency, productivity, cost savings, and enhanced CX. However, while it takes skill and knowledge to identify and remedy some of the day-to-day challenges in this environment, the quantitative nature of most of this data means that outcomes are easy to measure and the results can be clearly shown as objective. When it comes to analysing and understanding...

  • Woolworths, Ubuntu Baba saga contains digital lessons for brands of all sizes

    This week, South African social media has been in an uproar following allegations that Woolworths had stolen the design of a baby carrier made by a local entrepreneur. On the face of it, this a typical David vs Goliath story (with David having an army of social media backers). While that may be true, the saga contains digital lessons for brands of all sizes. In a widely-read blog, Ubuntu Baba founder Shannon McLaughlin accused Woolworths of copying the “exact pattern” of her baby carrier. Launched four years ago, the product has become a must-have among a certain set of...

  • How AI is solving marketing’s biggest problems

    Artificial intelligence. Once a fixture of science fiction movies, AI has finally shed its unapproachable demeanor and now lives inside your refrigerator. And washing machine. And coffee maker. You get the drift. While AI may be good at booking your next appointment at the dentist, how far do you think it goes in helping businesses make smarter decisions? How does US$358-million sound? That was the size of the enterprise AI market two years ago; it’s expected to hit US$31.2-billion by 2025. From engineering and design, to manufacturing and quality control, to marketing and sales, AI has firmly entrenched itself as the...

  • Hey C-Suite: use data-based marketing, just don’t be creepy

    Today's business landscape is challenging and complex. So with the promise that ‘data’ is the answer, and swayed by the promise of ROI that data can bring, CFOs are increasingly signing off on moving marketing budgets over to consultancies like Deloitte and Accenture. Consultancies like this understand how to install big enterprise-grade software and thus data, and typically their ‘client’ is naturally the IT Department. That means they can sometimes take a too-clinical approach and actually alienate customers. By way of example: Brand X thinks its cool to send a mailer telling someone how much of their personal data it has been...

  • 3 ways your mobile ecommerce efforts are failing

    Whether you call it mobile ecommerce or m-commerce, there is no denying that mobile and ecommerce are a match made in shopper heaven. As ecommerce marketing continues to adapt and the mobile space continues to grow, it’s only natural that these two channels would merge, offering customers a convenient way to shop from just about anywhere. With that said, there are still a few hiccups that have made it hard for some etailers to integrate their mobile shopping strategies. To understand how to get more from your mobile ecommerce efforts, it can be very useful to first understand where you are going...

  • Everything you should include in your data breach response plan

    Even with all the defences in the world at its disposal, no organisation can guarantee that it won’t fall victim to a data breach. With new threats emerging all the time, it’s simply not possible to say you are 100% safe. It’s therefore imperative that your organisation has a solid data breach response plan. Not only does a well-practised and executed response plan minimise the fallout from a breach in terms of your organisation’s reputation, it also drastically reduces the eventual cost of the breach. According to data from IBM and the Ponemon Institute the average cost of a breach in...

  • 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...