by MarkLives (@marklives) What are the expectations of South Africa’s marketing and advertising leaders for the industry in 2017? We emailed a panel of key industry executives for their take on the macro environment, budgets, changes in messaging, movement in the industry and consumer and any communication trends they’ll be looking out for. Last up is Bridgette Ramuluvhana of

Bridgette Ramuluvhana

Bridget RamuluvhanaWith over 16 years of experience in product, brand and retail marketing in ATL and BTL advertising, internal and external communication and social media, Bridgette Ramuluvhana’s expertise has afforded her the opportunity to work as the marketing manager for South Africa’s most-successful low-cost airline,, as well as British Airways (operated by Comair). As one of the masterminds behind the brand’s clever marketing campaigns, she may be found on a flight or signing off some really funny ads. She has a BBA degree from the IMM Graduate School of Marketing and, before joining, she gained valuable experience at Revlon and Nike South Africa.

It may have been a rollercoaster ride for marketing in 2016, but there are some game-changing opportunities and exciting developments looming in 2017 for those marketers who would like to take their marketing plans to the next level. It might not all be new trends on the marketing horizon but marketing practices that are here to stay in the coming year. So, without further ado, here are my marketing points for the year 2017.

  1. The world is one

Due to the power of technology, borders will gradually disappear and marketers who carry on picking up and supporting global trends such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday stand to gain financially. With most consumers watching their pockets, organisations which embrace these global activations will automatically be known for being consumer champions.

  1. “Always on”

The 2017 marketing year will carry-on deploying an “always-on” marketing strategy. This simply means communicating through various channels at the same time and never switching these off — be it ATL, BTL and TTL. However, the best place of deploying this strategy is through digital because it is much cheaper and easier to turnaround, compared to the traditional channels.

  1. How good is your story?

To be a great marketer in 2017, you will need to be an even greater storyteller and recognise that a real story should be able to live in any channel. Without great content and integration, organisations will be making a lot of noise but not sweet marketing music. Most of us aren’t interested in noise makers, but excellent disrupters. In today’s consumer driven world, people have lower tolerance levels for boring content and their attention needs to be grabbed by bold storytelling.

  1. Me, myself and I

We live in a world dominated by consumerisation, and all that mostly matter to consumers is predominantly a “me, myself and I” approach. I believe we will see more customers only wanting to pay for what they need and nothing more. Due to this, organisations will need to reinvent themselves to stay relevant, and failure on the part of the organisation to move on with the times will result in lost market share.

  1. Disruption 101

Traditional selling models will be even more under pressure, because of disruptors such as Airbnb and Uber. With new-age models such as these, everyone wants to own a piece of the action and power will shift even more from traditional suppliers to anyone who may come up with disruptive models — which cut out the go-between and make the consumer royalty.

  1. No “I” in TEAM

Expect marketing teams to work less in silos and more holistically. In some company structures, you might still get the older marketing structure of two teams working as traditional marketing and digital. In order to serve the customer as well as possible, the customer must be at the centre of an integrated marketing and communications plan. Successful teams will arrange themselves around a task and forget about owing parts of the customer’s communication process

  1. Channel vs process

Digital marketing shouldn’t be seen as a marketing process but rather as a channel which forms part of the entire marketing process. Yes, it’s true that digital marketing is more measurable than traditional marketing, but that doesn’t mean it can exist in isolation. If you think about it, radio or print don’t exist on their own but are rather a means to an end. The best marketing and communications strategies are those where ATL advertising attracts people to get to the shop and then the digital creative becomes the different aisles within the shop. Therefore, companies which wish to do well in their marketing should aim to integrate their channels of communication and not treat them as two different processes.

  1. Mr Big Data

While data is making it easier to target consumers, I expect organisations to continue mining all forms of data, analyse it, and derive insights and, thereafter, use it to enhance its customer experience with the brand. Big data will definitely be used to make the marketing decisions of the future.

  1. Be mobile and multiply

The more flexible and mobile an organisation is, the happier are its customers. Responsive apps and websites will continue to grow and brands which haven’t jumped on this band wagon will miss a chunk of the mobile-savvy customer pool, which could have a negative effect on the bottom-line.

On another front, multi screens will continue to dominate lives, and organisations need to ensure they are active on multiple platforms and that their campaigns translate to different platforms.

  1. Business needs vs nice-to-haves

Advertising agencies will need to know their clients’ business needs vs doing nice-to-have creative executions. Content will still be kingpin and, at the end of the day, both the client and the agency need to ask the central question: Did we effectively solve the problem at hand and did it attend to the business need while still grabbing the customer’s attention effectively?

Accountability through post-campaign reports is not dying either — investors need to know how effective your integrated campaign was.

Futuristic marketing = system integration + data analysis + great customer service + story about your customer + mobile compatibility — silos


MarkLives logoLaunched in 2016, “The Big Q” is a regular column on MarkLives in which we ask key industry execs for their thoughts on relevant issues facing the ad industry. If you’d like to be part of our pool of potential panellists, please contact editor Herman Manson via email (2mark at marklives dot com) or Twitter (@marklives). Suggestions for questions are also welcomed.

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