What’s the biggest change in the agency business since you started? How have you (and your agency) adapted?
The biggest change for agencies is the focus on data in all aspects of their work. This applies just as much to the creative process as it does to things we might traditionally think of as data-driven when it comes to marketing, like developing a solid media strategy or building advertising technology. At DCMN, we put data at the heart of everything we do. Since we founded DCMN, we have developed technology and tools that make it possible for marketers to be just as data-driven with offline media as they already are with digital. We provide concept testing so that they can be sure which creatives will work even before a campaign is launched. And we are now working on new data-driven solutions for all our creative, media and tech teams.
Digital ad spending is poised to surpass TV ad spending. Is this a problem for agencies or an opportunity?
We definitely see it as an opportunity. Time and time again, we see that TV still has enormous pulling power. The medium reaches nearly 90% of the population in a single day – and 95% in a month, according to the Broadcast Research Council (BRC). Yes, digital ad spend is rising, but when it comes to tapping into a mass audience, TV is not going anywhere anytime soon. This means there is a huge opportunity for companies like DCMN which helps digitally-focused businesses bridge the gap between their offline and online marketing. Offline media is not being replaced but optimised through new technologies. In fact, attribution technology like our DC Analytics product makes it possible to be just as measurable and ROI-driven with TV as with digital.
Based on your analysis of the markets and trends, how long do you think it will take Africa to fully embrace Digital Marketing?
Conceptually Africa has fully embraced digital media – what is holding it back is access to internet/data. The rise of online marketing in the country is closely tied to the number of internet users. And internet usage is climbing: it hit 21 million in 2017, representing about 38% of the population. The vast majority of these users are on mobile, rather than desktop, which represents an important opportunity for the marketing industry.
Do brands understand mobile? How big is mobile in Africa and what kind of opportunity does it present to big brands who want to reach mass audiences?
Mobile is huge in Africa and plays a massive role in the region’s development. This obviously provides a massive opportunity for big (and small) brands to reach their target audience. The beauty of mobile is also that it’s easily trackable and that placements are far more targeted. But at the end of the day, simple marketing strategies need to be applied so that the right target audience is reached.
How is technology changing the way brands buy media, and what does this mean for media agencies and for brands?
The most important development in media buying in recent years is programmatic, or the buying and selling of digital ads via software. This has drastically altered the way brands buy and sell media as programmatic has become ubiquitous in many markets. The technology allows for far more efficient and cost-effective ways to place media (and track campaigns) in real-time. Of course, programmatic is also plagued by some pretty big issues like brand safety, transparency and fraud. We believe this technology should supplement human decision making in the media buying space, not completely replace it. This will become even more important as programmatic progresses beyond digital advertising and is more and more used to buy media for offline channels like TV and radio.