The who, what and wow of the South African digital communications arena, from a key player's point of view
The digital marketing communications arena has seen phenomenal growth for South African email and mobile marketing company, GraphicMail. With businesses like, Mediclinic and Harveys Travel, to name a few, their client base reflects a broad and distinguished set of people who understand the need for a consolidated approach to marketing. The South African online marketing environment has also seen sustainable growth, with more and more marketers realising the value of an integrated approach in order to improve their return on investment.
A 2012 survey by Marketingprofs on consumer channel habits and preferences, found that 77% of the respondents preferred to receive permission-based promotions via email; 6% preferred such messages via social media. A similar survey by global information services company Experian, of UK consumers found 69% with a preference for email as the channel for brand communications.
In GraphicMail's quarterly customer survey, South African digital marketers have been identified as early adopters when it comes to new technologies, which is clear when looking at the amount of start-up businesses realising the necessity for an email service provider. Being able to touch base with a well-informed, skilled support team instead of relying on online help makes GraphicMail the 'go to guy', as the majority of marketers have indicated they prefer speaking to someone who can guide them on their way.
Says Andre Strauss, national sales and support manager: "I believe that businesses are realising that if they don't speak directly to their customers, someone else will," when asked what he thinks the driving force behind email and mobile marketing in South Africa is.
The challenge for new email marketers, however, is that they don't always know how to personalise their email marketing material, like newsletters and promotional material. This is especially important when you take into account the importance of brand consistency and identity in today's business climate. GraphicMail offers more than 400 email newsletter templates, making it fun and easy to pick the best design for a specific demographic. Besides this, being able to use multiple designs for various client segments allows a business to reach out to a much larger base, a feature that inevitably sets some apart from others, as seen in the GraphicMail survey.
The majority of local businesses using GraphicMail's email and mobile marketing solutions are attracted to the ease of use, the wide range of email, social and mobile features offered as well as the personalised business solutions. Keeping clients up to date with new developments and sending out promotional offers remains the largest draw for online marketers using an email service provider in South Africa, but mobile marketing is on the uptake.
An overwhelming amount of users have shown interest in mobile marketing solutions, realising the potential it has to further extend their reach and in doing so engage with an entirely new kind of consumer. GraphicMail's mobile marketing packages allow businesses to create their own mobile sites for free, with specialised support to guide them through the process.
Mobile marketing is both a challenge and an exciting prospect for businesses. According to Google's Consumer Barometer, more than 31% of South Africans under the age of 40 access the internet via their mobile phones only, the highest of any other country surveyed internationally. While the majority of email marketing users in South Africa are between the ages of 31 and 54 years old, mobile options allow engagement with a much younger slice of the populous.
In 2013 we will see mobile becoming a major player in marketing. Whereas people used to be happy with merely multi-tasking, soon we will be hyper-tasking and mobile devices are becoming the conduits for devouring vast digital meals in short spaces of time. Consumers will be looking to their mobile devices to maximise absolutely every moment.
South Africa and the world have experienced a boom in email and mobile marketing. With ever-shrinking budgets and even more tech savvy consumers, email service providers such as GraphicMail have stepped in and taken marketing to a new level.
Breaching the digital divide has never been easier.
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