Companies in the marketing, advertising and design industries were urged to work on a collective approach to bring about change as brands in discussions of trends in the sector at Madex.
Use your company’s budget to find a project you could help, said Sarah-Jane Boden, founder and executive creative director of marketing and advertising agency SoulProviders. Boden was one of the speakers at Madex, the two-day marketing, advertising and design industries conference.
It took place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on 7 and 8 June and was the first Madex expo held in collaboration with Markex, the promotional products expo. This was the 30th year of Markex; products exhibited included bags and luggage, branded pens and pencils, lanyards, notebooks, drinkware, USB drives and branded clothing and caps.
On the first day, there were 4,000 attendees. It was also the day Boden gave her talk, “#Trends2017: The big rethink — seismic trends in marketing”.
“We’re seeing our unemployment rate in the country is on the rise. The worst thing that we can do as marketers is pretend that it is not happening,” Boden said. “We need to think how we can shift things a bit — shift people’s lives and make a change.”
She urged brands to build the next future and fix things. “Brands should think where they can work and create change.” Outsurance was used as an example. The short-term insurer sponsored pointsmen who eased traffic congestion when needed, such as guiding motorists when traffic lights were not working.
Boden also spoke about the Spar Group, which worked with the Dutch government in rural areas of South Africa. They had set up vegetable hubs where beneficiaries could grow and sell vegetables.
Trends in marketing, advertising
Speaking about trends in the marketing, design and advertising industries, she said agencies were changing. There was a rise in:
– Women owning and leading agencies, as well as a rise in diversity;
– Independent and small agencies, with “a lot of new guys coming from the ground up”; and
– Black-founded agencies such as Avatar Agency, Blueprint, The Communications Firm and Nyala Communications.
A global trend, Boden said, was cities starting to govern themselves away from the national government. It led her to pose the question: how would brands bring value to the citizens of South Africa’s sprawling cities?
Brands should get their hands dirty. “We are saying to brands ‘how are you going to get involved?'”
In addition, lower-income consumers were the majority in the country, she said. “We need to change the way we see the lower-income consumers. Respect them.”
Influencing the influencers
Jolene Roelofse, founder of marketing company Bludoor Market, and Arye Kellman, Touch HD presenter, spoke on the topic “Influencing the influencers: Top trends and best practices for B2B marketers”.
Roelofse said certain people were identified as having influence and partnerships with these influencers were crucial. “[This works well] especially if the person you have a partnership with has an influence within your target market.”
One should measure the internal investment of the influencer, she said, by asking specific questions about the work of the influencer:
– What will success look like for you? Meaning, what do you want out of it?
– After identifying the influencer, check what brands are aligned to them. Brand association needs to be examined.
– What is the influencer’s reach?
– Look at Google Analytics to see where the traffic on your site comes from – how did the traffic come to you?
Types of influencers
There were five types of influencers, Roelofse said: they were employee advocates, brand advocates, media, industry analysts and thought leaders.
Employee advocates were a hugely overlooked pool. “Within their networks, they are influencers. Also, they already know the company’s objectives and where the business is going.”
Brand advocates were people who were already buying your product or service. You could send an individual email to each of these influencers. “You can also ask your brand advocates to like your Facebook page or start following you on Twitter and then sharing your information.”
It is important to make your influencers feel special, she said.
Roelofse also advised building a personal relationship with a media person in your industry. “Prior to a press release, send out an email to them to tell them about it.
“Remember, the media are always searching for news. Some radio stations have particular shows that are business-related. Speak to the producers and provide them with news.”
Regarding industry analysts, there were always new reports being published, she explained. “The industry analysts are the ones who are asked for quotes. Your company could be mentioned as a good example while the industry analyst explains something.”
Thought leaders were people who wrote for newspapers or online publications on a variety of topics. “Each of them has specific industries they focus on. Start engaging with them. Look at their social media platforms such as Linkedin.
“They normally publish their work there too.”
People tweeted their thoughts about Madex:
“Be funny. Tell a good brand story that resonates with consumers. Give consumers something in return.” – Monique Claasen #Madex2017
— Amantle Mokubung (@Amantle_) June 7, 2017
— Spitfire Inbound (@SpitfireInbound) June 7, 2017
— Nkululeko Ngubane (@Nkulie14) June 7, 2017
— Arc Interactive (@ArcDigitalCo) June 7, 2017
— Samantha Steele (@steelesm) June 8, 2017
— Samantha Steele (@steelesm) June 8, 2017