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PRESENTATION: Marketing in a multi screen World [Millward -Brown]




REPORT: Social, Digital & Mobile Around The World (January 2014)

This report presents key statistics, data and behavioural indicators for social, digital and mobile channels around the world. Alongside regional statistics, it also presents in-depth analyses for 24 of the world’s largest economies: Argentina, Australia, Brazile, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Thailand, the UAE, the UK, and the USA. This report has been prepared by ‘We Are Social’ a consultancy.


2014: Five marketing tips to prepare for the year ahead

It was in 1964 when science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, author of over 500 books, visited the World Fair. Impressed by General Electric’s “Futurama” stand, showcasing electrical appliances from the previous four decades, he wrote an article in the New York Times predicting what life would be like 50 years later, in 2014. Not all his predictions have come to

World Fair -Isaac Asimov's predictions.

1964 World Fair Ticket. Predictions from 50 years ago.

fruition, certainly my house doesn’t have “walls that glow softly, and in a variety of colours that will change at the touch of a push button”. But his guesses – ranging from frozen meals and coffee machines to satellite phones and Skype to 3D TV – seem pretty Nostradamus-like. He concluded that humans will be relegated to “machine tenders” because computers will be able to do work better than humans, creating a society of “enforced leisure”. (Note to self – tell the boss!) This would predictably result in mankind suffering badly from the disease of boredom, “a disease spreading more widely each year and growing in intensity”. Of course what Mr Asimov failed to predict was Sir Tim Berners-Lee unleashing the internet onto the world and creating the ultimate cure for boredom, whether work induced or not. It brought with it possibly the greatest change to how humans interact with each other and their environment. But, while the way in which we interact has changed dramatically as a result, humans have evolved very little over the last 50 years, which helps somewhat when offering marketing advice for the year ahead.

1.     Marketing is getting harder. That is good

Oh, for the old days – when you just put an ad in the Sunday Times and another on TV (on one of the three available channels) and the entire market had to watch. It made for easy marketing if you were a big spender. Small companies with more modest budgets struggled to be seen in the concentrated but overcrowded media marketplace. Now, however, marketers have an almost infinite number of options. As a result, contemporary customers expect a tailored, personalised approach when you communicate with them. This has levelled the playing field somewhat for small marketers who can now trade intellectual firepower against the bigger advertiser’s financial firepower. You can personalise and offer specific messaging. A whole raft of media agencies well versed in the niceties of sweating smaller media have appeared as a result.

2.     The social honeymoon is over

No one is impressed with your social media activities any more. No really, they aren’t. It’s just a ticket to do business these days. Just another channel you have to manage but not get excited about. In fact, the traditional social media channels are showing signs of having peaked; Facebook is struggling to keep younger members, Twitter is losing celebrities with millions of followers due to the sheer volume of communication required at significant time and cost. And the supposed value of social media, namely the fact that the communication is a two-way conversation giving real people power to influence, has started to show its darker side. Troll tweeters raise the risk of using this channel.

Social Media - the honeymoon is over.

Social Media – the honeymoon is over.

Many marketers, whether celebrities in their own right, or on behalf of brands, moved from traditional paid-for media to social channels which were hailed as being “free”. But, as my mother always used to say, you get what you pay for. The relative costs have started to equalise. It now costs virtually as much in time, effort and money – given the risk of negative response – to communicate on social media as it does on any other media. That is how the world works.

3.     Less is more Attention spans have shortened. Your market is used to Facebook with short written status updates, 140 characters in a tweet, photos on Instagram and Snapchat where a photo is automatically deleted after 10 seconds. It’s an instant gratification thing. Consumers also receive information in huge volumes, most of which isn’t commercial. This means your marketing message has to add value and get the message across instantly to compete. A picture is worth a thousand words. And the expectation is that you will add value to recipients’ lives, be it a joke, a stunning photo, deep relevant discount or interesting infographics. As social media channels grow paid-for advertising, expect resentment to grow. This can only be countered by adding (instant) value greater than the inconvenience imposed. Don’t think “advertising”; think “offering valuable (visual) content”. Those who give shall receive.

4.     Traditional is still lekker

Media consumption has certainly shifted, but that doesn’t mean traditional marketing Afrikaans albumsolutions no longer work. In an era in which multi-screening has become the norm –  watching TV, browsing the web on a tablet and checking social media on a smartphone, all at the same time – traditional media suddenly looks attractive again. Drive-time radio still gets your market’s full attention while they are trapped in traffic. “Out of home” billboards and other in-situ opportunities still offer the benefit of being able to associate your message with a specific context, medical aids in gyms for example. Specialist print publications, well-entrenched within your target market, still offer good value as ad rates face pressure from the proliferation of media types. En ander tale werk ook baie goed.

5.     Smartphones are smart marketing Your customers and their smartphones are inseparable. This adds location and context to your ability to communicate with them. It also means that large numbers of consumers are now connected 24/7. The impact on marketing is profound. Marketers are only limited by the bounds of smartphone user’s acceptable privacy limits. That said, in South Africa, most websites aren’t even optimised for phone-sized screens, and most marketers overlook location-based search optimisation. Consumer connectivity means your customers can compare prices online while viewing merchandise in store. It also means they can rate you on Google+, affecting your search rankings. Or trash your reputation on a recommendation site or social media platform. Or, embarrassingly, circulate that one spelling mistake in your advert (it only takes one!) If there is one marketing mantra for 2014 it is “only dummies underestimate the power of smartphones”.

This article was first published in Your Business magazine.


In spite of all our differences, are we all virtually the same?

Meet Lacy Muircastle – long flowing dark hair, piercing blue eyes, curvaceous, virtual journalist and Miss Costa Rica Sims 2011 finalist. See photo:

A fundamental question in marketing is: how different and / or similar are consumers in different markets? Consumers have hugely different cultures, religions, mores and norms, experiences, economic circumstances and access to information. In spite of this, there are I believe, a number of core human and market traits, which are virtually universal.

To test this theory I interviewed (via instant messaging- subsequently edited) Lacy Muircastle an avatar on Second Life™. Second Life (“SL™”) is a virtual community of over 2 million avatars (read consumers to us marketers), who live and work in a completely virtual world.

It makes a great case study because in this virtual world, you can be anyone you want to be, so cultural mores and all the other influences are presumably suppressed.

MF: Are all Second Life avatars as attractive as you?
LM: No. Everyone has a different perception of what they think is attractive and here in SL you can be anything you like.
MF: So not all avatars are in human form?
LM: No, you also get “tinies” which are mainly small animals such as little dragons, and “furries” mostly dogs and wolves, you get the picture…
MF: But behind every avatar, there is a real human somewhere in the world?
LM: Absolutely!.
MF: I write a marketing column, as you may know. I’d like to ask about marketing on SL – what sort of marketing takes place?
LM: There are magazines (in world publications which are usually free) distributed through ‘kiosks” at venues and stores around the high traffic areas. Direct marketing through “note cards” to avatars, is big – this is done via groups e.g. press groups or general information groups. Billboards have been reduced significantly because they were cluttering up the landscape and subsequently moved to “advertising farms”.
MF And radio and TV?
LM: There are radio stations on SL just like the “real world” and they have adverts like everywhere else. “TV” is also present but they don’t run conventional ads yet – undoubtedly and area worth exploring though.
MF: Dare I ask – is there social networking for avatars?
LM: LOL, undoubtedly, what a question, several actually dedicated to SL avatars specifically and a big presence on Facebook, twitter, flickr and the other mainstream social networking sites.

The fundamental point here is that just like any market, the first hurdle is finding a communication medium, which is actually consumed by the target market. In the virtual SL world, while it might theoretically be easier to create a new medium at relatively low cost, it still needs to gain significant support from the market for it to be a viable marketing channel. And media fragmentation seems to be an issue here as in all markets. Some things never change.

MF: I’d like to understand SL consumer behaviour. What sort of products gets marketed to avatars?
LM: The SL fashion industry is huge and it’s the most prolific and visible market that is advertised, followed by real estate and housing/interior decorating (furniture etc.)
MF: So it’s important to keep up with the virtual Jones?
LM: That depends on the circles you move in. But generally speaking even though avatars may be a fantasy depiction of the person controlling them the same human truths prevail. Egos are just as big in SL as in the real world. Avatars are competitive and seek power and influence within the community just as you would expect in RL (real life). They want the latest fashions and a nice virtual living space.

So the fundamental point is that while different markets all have their own idiosyncrasies, of which we as marketers should take careful cognisance, there are also more fundamental drivers of human and consumer behaviour. These fundamentals are powerful because they impact everyone at their human core. The original Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs is instructive, because it is easy to get distracted by the uniqueness within a market and forget that we all still need love; affection and a sense of belonging (for instance) no matter which “market” marketers might believe we fall within.

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