by Brenda Khumalo. Budget-planning plays a massive role within any business, as it determines whether brands can afford to spend more money on advertising or not; it can even affect the marketing industry as a whole. With the economic downturn continuing to hit South Africa, the market is likely to continue facing the threat of decreasing budgets, resulting in brands advertising less, finding new ways to seek out more share of voice, or introducing more meaningful ways to connect and engage with their audience.

Alternative strategies

Philip Kotler, the “father of modern marketing”, states the following: “By creating early warning systems, the marketers will be able to alter the marketing strategies to meet new challenges and opportunities in the environment.” With these alternative marketing strategies, the industry can move into a space where it can work around budgetary constraints and find a gap to market clients’ brands in a more-affordable way.

But what are these alternative marketing strategies?

A re-emphasis on ROI

The traditional form of advertising may be seen as pretty expensive and the results aren’t always tangible. Yes, the advertisement might be beautifully crafted and generate a ton of publicity and awareness but, unless it results in an increase in sales, companies may experience a negative ROI for the business.

The obsession with ROI in boardrooms during recessionary phases will see a shift towards more-measurable investments as brands seek to justify the cost of media vs leads and sales conversions.

All about personalisation

Some brands are adopting the personalisation space as a solution. Consumers are no longer concerned about what brands’ generic offerings are but what they can get out of them. This is why it’s important for the industry to understand who it is speaking to and how it is speaking to the consumer.

Messaging needs to become more-personal, -targeted and -centered on the consumer. With the rapid increase of online content, marketing can become more customer-focused with information such as demographics, online behaviour and engagement levels — allowing brands to create more-targeted consumer messages.

An approach like this makes messaging more personal using minimal tools. Digital is, therefore, a good fit. Messaging is also not limited to singular media executions, as digital platforms lend themselves to storytelling executions that are personal and speaks directly to the consumer insight. Simply putting a sales-focused message in the digital sphere isn’t likely to attract consumers’ interest; it’s about giving value beyond a mere marketing message, talking to them at the right moment (using mobile content), without being intrusive, and being relevant and talking about things that are top of mind at that moment.

Out with the old, in with the new

Finding more-efficient ways to pair up traditional and digital media will help brands promote their products without cutting down on advertising, which will assist brands to become more personal. Brands need to face that SA is in an economic downturn but, instead of decreasing advertising, they should identify more-innovative solutions.

A constant dialogue with your customers is always important, as is keeping a positive brand image — whether there’s a recession or not.

This is why it’s time to relook old ways of marketing to customers and move into a mindset of ‘getting bang for your buck’; it’s all about having more-effective marketing measures, better consumer insights, and personal and meaningful engagements.

See also


MarkLives logo What are the industry expectations for the marketing and advertising industry in 2019? Kicking off our “Big Q” column for the year, a panel of key agency and marketing executives discusses the macro environment, budgets, changes in messaging, movement in the industry and any consumer and communication trends they’ll be looking out for in the year ahead.

Brenda Khumalo is managing director at Collective ID. She enjoys being part of building something beautiful and meaningful and is passionate about transforming brands, transforming lives and transforming the industry.

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