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Monday, October 26, 2009

This Forrester study (How Marketers Can Transform Their Business With Online Marketing) commissioned by Omniture emphasizes that strategy skills are the most important skills for an organisation to consider when interacting with clients or prospects online. "What’s clear from this study is that online marketers must go beyond their traditional role as the owner of the online presence and content to focusing on customer behaviour and insight generation. This requires marketing organizations to bolster their current skills portfolio to include strategists and analytically-focused talent that can understand consumer behaviour and generate insights to support changes to go-to-market strategies and create operational efficiencies that impact the top and bottom line."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Business networking Internet is still in its infancy as a business discipline. It is starting, however to create formal inroads in many large and small business strategies, processes and procedures. South Africa is also starting to use the Internet to keep in touch with likeminded professionals and unify businesses with common challenges. It’s used as a platform to network effectively to efficiently gain impetus to lobby to the government and other organisations. Internet Communication Professionals Africa is a very new example of a professional network that intends to grow into a representative voice for business. A shining example of this a global professional network is It is a professional networking tool that is free and has 45M users (August 12, 2009), has had 331M page views (June 2009) and is valued at $1B (2008), it has been profitable for 2 years. It has been noted as a site with a younger, more affluent, more influential and harder-to-find audience than the leading business sites; Wall street journal, Forbes and Business Week.



There are 337,360 South African professionals on LinkedIn. A large number of these are marketers and human resources. There are 11,697 results for ZA, Marketing and Advertising, Market Research professionals and 6,675 in Human Resources. The ability to filter and communicate with specific segments of this community makes it a powerful lead sourcing and research tool.


There are 337,360 South African professionals on LinkedIn. A large number of these are marketers and human resources. There are 11,697 results for ZA, Marketing and Advertising, Market Research professionals and 6,675 in Human Resources. The ability to filter and communicate with specific segments of this community makes it a powerful lead sourcing and research tool.


I recently incorporated LinkedIn into an Internet Strategy for a client. The research conducted into the benefits and opportunities was astounding. Further, the global business network is embracing LinkedIn and business networking lie never before. South Africa has an opportunity to expand their information horizons way beyond what we could ever have imagined. All it takes is a little focus and willingness to learn and cautiously test the waters. Soon South African business could be leading the developing world riding the in vortex of the global business information wave.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What drives online?

In the two years that ( has been around, I haven't found a good answer to the question. Until today that is, I found an article by Stafford Masie, ex Google South Africa head entitled "What happens offline drives online".

Stafford says in the article: "Understanding that offline events drive online search, and being able to either predict or react quickly to offline events, is one of the key skills required to boost the results of your online search marketing efforts and capture new market share at astounding rates."

Cheapest channel to world’s most valuable commodity

Information is the world's most valuable commodity. The Internet is free and funded by advertising rather than levies and taxes. It's the cheapest channel to the world’s most valuable commodity. I dream of South African business using Internet like US and UK businesses, to save money.

The British government have changed their entire service delivery model. Service delivery is often extremely information intensive. It is also quite costly when inefficient. Think about the process of getting a driver's licence; before you start these are the questions: where, how, when, how much, what and why. Each of these things requires an individual touch point, an employee of the state. Ask any UK resident about engaging with a government department. Their answer will be, "it's all done online, it’s great, no standing in line or swine flu". Traditionalists may say, "what about personal engagement?” well, I have never woken up saying, "great I'm going to engage with a home affairs official face-to-face today, fantastic!" Excuse my bad attitude towards our government but I'm sure many people share my frustration. Getting things done at a government office is generally slow and onerous. Much of the time I stand in line simply to be told I haven't followed the correct procedure. This means that, not only have I've wasted my own time, but I'll be costing the taxpayer twice what it should have cost. Someone has to be employed to serve me and the inefficiencies of the system. Have a look at these sites:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Social Networks and the Conversation

Trends shows that Facebook is still the most searched for network. It may well be that Twitter users know to go directly to the URL without searching through Google. ranks (globally); Facebook 2nd, Youtube 4th, MySpace 11th and Twitter 13th. The current search rankings below are therefore quite accurate it seems.

Social Networking technology enables business to speak to and hear from their customers. The word "conversation" is less intimidating than "marketing" or "sales". As the author correctly mentions; business speaks to clients and prospects with the objective of converting them to paying customers or retaining them as paying customers. Any prospect that has conversations with a business should know this in 2009. Marketing is evolving into a more honest and communicative discipline where people want to hear business speak. We all make purchases on a daily basis if not individually, on behalf of a company. It makes sense in that case, for advertisers and marketers to be more direct and frank about their offering. As a buyer, want to be converted by the best product and service offerings in the world. I want to be a client of Apple although I am not yet. I want them to convince me that my money is being wisely spent, they haven't succeeded yet. I don't own an apple but I'm quite certain I will because they have already converted me through the strength of their brand. I'm just waiting for the conversation to happen.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Another step for eBooks

E-book sales make up about 1%of the $25 billion US book publishing market. It is significantly lower across the rest of the globe. The 25% annual growth rate will probably increase significantly as a result of this move however.

One has to wonder why Amazon's share price increased by $1 on the same day that the B&N eBooks announcement was made. Was it simply that Amazon's E-Book strategy had been galvanized finally by B&N's move?

Yesterday Barnes & Noble announced that they have expanded their eBook store to 700,000 titles, Amazon has 300,000. 500,000 of these are free public domain books. Barnes & Noble's eBooks are compatible with the iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows and Mac. Amazon's eBooks are only compatible with Kindle.

When looking at the total number of books available globally, this is still just a glimmer of light compared to the total number of books published each year (UNESCO monitors both the number and type of books published per country per year). There are roughly 1,2 million book titles published each year. In order to reach the intended audience, each publication requires a surplus that will never be read.

An argument for E-Books
A large percentage of all paper books that are published are returned to the publisher. It's estimated that 2.8 million trees are cut down for books that nobody reads. This may be an exaggeration on the author's part but, let's face it, we are a race of skilled wasters. At least 5 million acres of forests are consumed by the paper industry in the Southern US. These figures are hard to find; During the period 1990–2005 deforestation took place place at a pace of about 13 million hectares (an area the size of Greece) per year globally. The forestry industry probably employs about 12 million people globally. It is a massive industry, worth much more than the book publishing and music industries together. It would be too hazardous to guess the global value of the industry today but employment in forestry declined globally by about 10% from 1990 to 2000 due to increased mechanisation. We therefore have an industry where a million people are losing their jobs every year and small countries worth of foliage are disappearing. Please let this be clear, E-Books is not the solution to global warming. eBooks will likely not make a material difference to the amount of paper produced in the next year. The point, however, is that the wheels are in motion and that electronic communication is not heading for the rocks.

The effects of the Internet on our lives
Studies have shown both the good and bad effects that online has on our lives. Interestingly, however, studies have shown that in terms of time displacement, television viewing is the most displaced medium (Kayany and Yelsma (2000) examined the effect of online media on other household
media and on family communication). In terms of information use, the Internet is increasingly displacing other forms of media.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cannes Advertising Awards Cyber Lion winner

The Cannes Advertising Awards Cyber Lion winner campaign achieved 99% ROI, 7 million visits in 56 days using mainly online recruitment sites and free web application service providers to promote the campaign. The campaign is now over and the actual position of "island caretaker" has been filled.

The cornerstone of this brilliant Grand Prix winner idea was to use natural search results to drive traffic to the site. "A search for "best job in the world island" achieves about 52,500,000 listings, 231,355 blogs and 43,60 news stories."

The only South African entry I could find was from DraftFCB "STAR IN THE LEMON LIGHT" for Distell Savanna so well done to them.

Gold Cannes Cyber Lions Agencies included:
OGILVY & MATHER Düsseldorf
Many from BBH London

The The Young Creatives Cyber Competition was launched in 1999. The International Advertising Film Festival began in 1954. The lion of Piazza San Marcos in Venice was the inspiration for the Lion trophy. The second Festival was held in Monte Carlo and then in Cannes in 1956.

Inspired by the International Film Festival, which had been staged in Cannes since the late 1940s, a group of worldwide cinema screen advertising contractors (SAWA) felt that the makers of advertising films should receive similar recognition as their colleagues in the feature film industry.

In order to promote the cinema medium, SAWA established the International Advertising Film Festival. The first Festival took place in Venice in September 1954 with 187 film entries from 14 countries competing. The lion of Piazza San Marcos in Venice was the inspiration for the Lion trophy. The second Festival was held in Monte Carlo and then in Cannes in 1956.

After that, the Festival took place alternatively between Venice and Cannes. The films in the competition where split into two categories: TV and Cinema. They were judged according to technical crafts. There were, for example, categories for commercials of different lengths, live action and animation.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Internet Companies and Ad Agencies in Competition?

The conversation between ad agencies and internet companies has been a strained one. In ad agency strategy sessions I have been received as a villain and a hero. In reality I am neither, but I would appreciate being treated as a business person. Many of us were subjected to Bear Stearns' ridiculous valuations. We believed that a our business could be worth a billion after two years of operation, and so did our investors. We believed we would change the way the internet worked. Those days are gone, and we've grown into business people that know one thing in today's economy: Your offering has to show tangible financial benefits to your client. The days of speculation are over, the recent economic recession has taught us this. So, when I see articles from the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival "Internet Companies and Ad Agencies Go From Old Enemies to New Friends", I am heartened. This has happened before when Omnicom Group invested in, LiveTechnology and Razorfish at the turn of this century. Interestingly, nine years later, (WPP and Omnicom Group are arch rivals) WPP is now rumoured to be acquiring Razorfish from Microsoft. The difference in 2009, is that we have learned a lot more about the true value of the internet.