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IAB Insight Series: Benchmarking for success

As open source becomes more prolific, benchmarking will become more important...
Panellists at the IAB Insight Series, Episode 9: Benchmarking Digital Excellence - Work that Wins in Digital (L to r) Jarred Cinman, CEO VMLYR; Paula Hulley, IAB South Africa CEO; Ricky Hendricks, digital marketing manager Tencent Africa; Emma Carpenter, group design director Fjord (Accenture); Siyabonga Africa, South Africa Media Innovation Programme and Nomacala Mpeta, head of learning Digify.

Leading the panel at the IAB Insight Series, Episode 9: Benchmarking Digital Excellence - Work that Wins in Digital that took place at Multichoice City, hosted by DStv Media, Paula Hulley, IAB South Africa, CEO, said she sees 2020 as a year of great innovation and benchmarking.

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Kicking off the discussion, the panellists explained what benchmarking means to them and their businesses. South Africans play games on their mobiles five times a day, with 66% playing every day. Ricky Hendricks, digital marketing manager Tencent Africa, explains that innovation in gaming includes benchmarking.

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“In an industry where there is not a lot of information, we need measures in place to benchmark ourselves. By recording what you want to achieve with mobile gaming, you will ensure a benchmark that is a measure of success agreed upon.”

Nomacala Mpeta, head of learning Digify, says benchmarking is important for Digify as it allows them to understand whether a person is fit for upskilling, while Siyabonga Africa, South Africa Media Innovation Programme, says benchmarking allows them to measure the point from where their grantees start to the point where they are sustainable.

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Addressing work that wins digital in relation to benchmarking Cinman, who kicked off the event with a presentation “The truth about winning awards” says: “While benchmarking is a broad and serious topic, awards are only a thin sliver of what it means to do something good.

However, awards are a big thing in the advertising industry and there are numerous award shows. “Pick which award shows you enter carefully. Awards matter, but only if they are credible. An awards show should have categories that have been meticulously crafted and are super clear. New technology should be considered as well as past entry volumes. Bear in mind some shows create profit,” he says. Also, look at the jury that will judge the work. “They should be recognised experts.”

Cinman made the point that while winning awards can be good for your business, it is not the purpose of your business.
It is okay to win awards but if you want to build a business, focus on what makes your clients money. That is all everyone really cares about.
Further commenting on work that wins in digital, fellow panellist, Emma Carpenter, group design director Fjord (Accenture), advises fish where the fish are. “Do work on existing platforms such as WhatsApp and Instagram. There is no point in producing work on a platform only 12 people are on.”

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Hendricks adds to her comment. “Use a platform to solve an issue. That is the best way to do UX is to purpose build. How a website should look will only take you to a point.” Africa is excited that the industry is starting to appreciate the analytics. “I am keen to see where the next generation of data analytics will take us.”

In conclusion, Cinman says: “Great work will surface. There is no perfect metric; great work just stands out.”

If you'd like more information on these events, visit the IAB SA website. You can also register here or email Paula at or Debbie at . Free for IAB SA members. Standard tickets cost R500.
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About Danette Breitenbach

Danette Breitenbach was the editor and publisher of Advantage, the publication that served the marketing, media and advertising industry in southern Africa. Before her editorship, she was deputy-editor as well as freelancing for over a year on the publication before that. She has worked extensively in print media, mainly B2B, in the fields of marketing, mining, disability marketing, advertising and media.
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