Data driven sales are crucial to any business these days, and the role of marketing services is becoming even more prominent as the media landscape becomes ever more competitive.
Therefore creating a brand identity is crucial, and giving maximum information to people about your brand is vital. This is where marketing services teams step in, providing the data and insights to the sales teams, and arming them with the knowledge needed to truly understand the consumer, the environment and the brand.
As the winner of this year’s inaugural Marketing Services Award at the MOST Awards, Mediamark is in the perfect position to explain how it works, and what to watch out for.
Mediamark’s head of marketing, Charlie Wannell, and head of media and market intelligence, Itumeleng Lethoko stress that marketing services needs to operate closely with trade marketing.
“The one thing we’ve done really well is the amalgamation of trade and insights. How we use trade to make insights look sexy and relevant,” says Lethoko.
Wannell explains that Mediamark doesn’t do group sales; each channel they sell across has their own marketing services and trade marketing plan. Customisation and differentiation is key for clients. The people working in these two divisions also have to be multi-skilled, with multi-platform knowledge, as they cover all media types, whereas sales have dedicated teams for each one.
Mediamark recently started providing television and radio planning options for agencies, offering a turnkey solution and thus minimising their required efforts. Convenience is another crucial element, as is knowing the market and its nuances, and understanding the needs of clients.
“We have a very stretched market. They are over-communicated to, over-traded to, so making it as easy as possible for them is key,” says Wannell.
The role of marketing services
Marketing services is important for closing sales, through data insights and strategic thinking.
“If you do not use data or insights to position yourself, or stand out from your competitors, then you become just another media entity. It’s about the advertisers understanding the value of being with your media offering … If you’re not investing in data and tools to position yourself in the market, then you’re going to come last,” explains Lethoko.
He adds that marketing services need to evolve constantly and people working within the space need to always challenge their thinking.
The importance of trade marketing
Trade marketing is at the other end of the sale, providing opportunities for sales to be opened.
“We track return on investment very closely, and the minute we stop marketing to the trade, our sales go down,” explains Wannell.
“We’re going through a really rough, recessionary patch, so it’s about changing tack and saying ‘the trade is very low on energy’; so it’s about taking activations into agencies that lift energy, and break through the clutter in a different way.
“We don’t believe in trinkets and trash. We’ve come a long way in terms of what we do with trade marketing,” she adds.
The state of marketing services in South Africa
Wannell sees marketing services becoming more competitive and important in future as people begin to realise that it works. Lethoko points out that the shift to a reliance on marketing services has been phenomenal, with it becoming on par in terms of importance as sales.
“The industry has got a long way to go, and I don’t think they realise how much resources you have to put behind it, and education it takes even from a brand perspective… The thing that keeps me awake at night, is how to convince the trade to respect what the market does,” says Wannell.
She also identifies poaching of talent as a big challenge.