Chasing big numbers in digital marketing campaigns means nothing, if conversions are not achieved. After all, the end game of marketing is to sell something.
In the age of social media, advertisers are chasing the big numbers. But are they getting any conversions, ie people actually purchasing their products or services, from these numbers?
This was one of the themes explored at the inaugural Marketing Fridays session, an intimate gathering held at Randlords in central Johannesburg this past Friday.
The guest speaker was Jean-Dimitri van Dyk, who is a senior manager for MTN Group Marketing. He took attendees through his marketing career journey and the lessons he’s learnt along the way.
“I’ve got two loves: analytics and creating. Branding puts my two passions in one,” Van Dyk explained. He first joined Johnson & Johnson on a graduate marketing programme and his main takeaway from his time there was, “You don’t have to be the consumer to understand the consumer. I was selling baby products to moms without having a child myself.”
He then moved to Viacom, looking after their MTV and MTV Base offerings, before moving to his current cellular provider employer.
Van Dyk’s two bugbears with marketing are: Firstly, “It’s bad enough being a marketer, but being a digital marketer is even worse.” Having to justify spend, measurability and return on investment for clients is challenging.
Secondly, “Brand marketers can build or break a platform, as consumers listen to them.” But mass is not always best. Smaller audiences can have more engaged consumers, with personalised, targeted messages and opt-in marketing rather than the ‘spray and pray’ approach.
His delivered some insightful advice. “Brands are not built overnight. You have to keep justifying your existence. You have to keep working on it and you have to spend money to get marketing growth,” he says.
Then, “Start by looking at the numbers and do your research, numbers don’t lie. What do you want your advertising to achieve? Choose a marketing medium based on your objective and the consumers you want to reach, as each medium has consumers with different characteristics.”
He adds that brands need to create conversations with their consumers and get influencers to talk about their products and/or offerings. “Ask yourself as a brand, ‘who are we targeting, how do we want to convert them and how are we going to go about doing it’.”
Thirdly, “It comes down to what you want to achieve, who you want to reach, and where they are … You need an outlet to sell your product or service. Marketing won’t physically sell your offerings for you. Branding or marketing can’t fix problems with a commercial model.”
Van Dyk ended with a strong message: “I’m pro conversion. Trending and engagements and impressions are vanity features. What matters is conversion, people actually buying your product or service!”
More about Marketing Fridays
Marketing Fridays is the brainchild of two young media professionals, Nyiko Chauke (who works in sales and marketing) and Hlulani Salane (who is a copywriter).
The aim of the once-a-month sessions, according to Chauke, is to “create a platform to share ideas and insights and network between marketing professionals, so they can connect with one another”.
|As he says, “I felt that if you are practising marketing or you want to practice marketing, then it should be an easy thing to network and connect with other marketers, whether it is to network or discuss topics that are prevalent in the industry.”
After a session, attendees will be able to question themselves on whether they are doing the right things, whether there are better ways they can be doing things, and know what their peers in the industry are doing.
Here are some pics from the inaugural Marketing Fridays session:
Keep your eyes peeled for news about the next Marketing Fridays session, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Michael Bratt is a multimedia journalist at Wag the Dog, publishers of The Media Online and The Media. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelBratt8