Digital Fire is a division of the Spencer Boyd Associates New Media Group London.

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Digital Fire: why we like the recession

Ad waffle. Smoke and mirrors. Over-promise and under-delivery. Lack of market knowledge and dare I say it laziness. I see quite a bit of it in the South African advertising and marketing place. Don't be offended if you work in the industry, I also see some quality people, great ideas and forward-thinking concepts, but in my opinion I think it's fair to say that the recession is a good thing for marketing and advertising in this country.
What is this guy thinking, how can an advertising company MD like the recession? Well, the answer is I do, and my company does and here's why:
  1. It has forced marketers (those worth their salt) to look at their marketing strategy and focus on what works for them and what ROI they are generating from their efforts. ROI, not simply branding, is the order of the day, and as the business Digital Fire specialises in, opt-in e-mail marketing, is the most accountable and effective form of marketing targeting the high LSM, we have been seizing market share and spend by delivering quality solutions, which outperform traditional media.

  2. It cleans out the dead wood personnel in businesses, the uncommitted and the slack. When times are tough the tough get going. You'll have heard that truism, because it's exactly that, true. If you are not committed, passionate and effective you will lose business and position to those that are. The weak go under and the strong rise to the top and that's the way it should be. The good times don't test people and companies, the difficult ones do.
Now more than ever advertising and marketing must prove itself and so must those who work in this exciting industry.


If you are in charge of budgets or are a Marketing Director whose job it is to create high LSM targeting you should be looking closely at emerging marketing mediums especially the Internet and profiled e-mail database marketing. If you are trying to target the high LSM you should be looking at what is happening in the more advanced markets overseas and seeing if you can steal a march on your competition by moulding those ideas to the SA market. Throwing cash at old-school simple print is just a waste of money. Integration is the key, on- and offline working together.


Any company that simply slashes its advertising budget has made a grievous error. Quality advertising and marketing is an investment not a cost and drives sales and revenue - the lifeblood of a business. The recession has (or certainly should have) caused companies to look at their advertising budgets very closely and to see what works for them.


Where are you spending your money, what are your objectives on that medium and what are the results you are getting? are the questions that should be at the forefront of a junior planner buyer to a large corporate marketing director's mind.


Your database is one of the most valuable things you have. These people - and they are people, don't make the mistake just of seeing an e-mail as a jumble of letters - are customers whom you have already convinced to buy your product. You need to be talking to them to find out more about what they want and then working out how to give it to them. E-mail is a great customer retention tool and a great customer acquisition tool.

We offer specialist advice on how to grow, manage and drive maximum value from your data and from target data lists.

That we feel that Digital Fire is placed strongly in the market.

E-mail is a totally accountable medium and also the most effective form of direct marketing targeting the high LSM. While simple display marketing has plummeted recently e-mail marketing has risen 8% in the UK. Why? Because it delivers more ROI than print and display, it's that simple.


So if you are looking after the marketing and adverting budgets in-house or as an agency, be proud of what you do. Be proactive; know what the market is doing. Imagine it's your cash you are spending, put that level of passion into your work. Someone picks up the tab along the line.

To those of you out there who do this and are committed, all power to you, spread the word and lead from the front. To those of you who feel a little uneasy reading this. Good. As the great Vince Lombardi said. “People on a team should be fired with enthusiasm or they should be fired with enthusiasm.”

For me enthusiasm in business is excitement about doing a job to the very best of your ability and seeing results from your endeavours. 'Nuff said.

11 Sep 2009 12:52


About the author

Thomas Boyd is Managing Director of Digital Fire.

Tiffany Markman
Tiffany Markman
Too true.-
Thanks, Thomas. An insightful and very accurate piece (tho' you will get contention...). As a web copywriter specialising in e-mail marketing, I couldn't agree more with some of your points - and luckily, have the calibre of clients who take seriously the importance of online, direct marketing and new media. Regards, Tiffany
Posted on 11 Sep 2009 14:52

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