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Beyond WhatsApp: 6 unusual ways to reach mass market

By GRANT LAPPING, Managing Director at DataCore Media

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As the digital marketing landscape has matured, we have seen brands consolidate more and more of their spending with a few selected social, search and programmatic platforms. The thinking is that they can reach the majority of their target audience by leveraging the few platforms that have come to dominate the time that people spend online.

However, marketers should keep an open mind in a space that evolves as fast as digital media. There are some emerging platforms and neglected channels that offer opportunities for powerful engagement with niche audiences or interesting ways to target or interact with the target consumer.

Here are a few examples of platforms that are good additions to the mainstream mass reaching channels, along with a discussion of some of the benefits they can offer.

Moya Messenger

Moya Messenger (https://www.datafree.co/) is a relatively new South African mobile messaging app that allows subscribers on the major local mobile networks to communicate without incurring data costs. The app’s users can text message each other without airtime or a data balance on their Android smartphone; however, they will incur data costs for rich media attachments such as photos, videos, and voice notes.

The platform enables partners to offer users access to their apps and websites without using their data. Users can also discover content and services such as games, videos, news, and jobs using the app. They can get data-free access to selected services such as news, soccer scores, Wikipedia, weather, and government services.  

Though it launched only a few months ago, Moya Messenger reports that it has 400 million user navigations per month on its platform. The opportunities for marketers are significant – they can run video ads, use the messaging API or conduct market research and surveys without any cost to the end-user. That’s a plus, given just how much South Africans treasure their mobile data.

Teads

Teads (https://www.teads.com/) is a mobile-first video platform and network that offers geotargeted access to high-quality publishers such as CNN, Washington Post, Forbes, Glamour, Reuters, Bloomberg, GQ and Disney. Teads delivers an impressive average 11.3 seconds view time across premium news channels (according to data from Moat, which independently verifies ad views). It also has advanced AI technology which helps marketers move beyond CPM and focus on outcomes.

Teads’ value proposition encompasses guaranteed media metrics including viewability, video competition, incremental reach versus TV, unique clicks and incremental visitors. Its inRead offering is available for video and display and provides a viewable, brand-safe, fraud-free ad experience.

Brands can use behavioural factors such as users’ interest in particular topics or their online behaviour to target users within safe, premium environments.

Snapchat

Most people have heard about Snapchat (https://www.snapchat.com/), but its media potential is often overlooked, and the channel is not as well understood as Facebook or Instagram. For example, many people are surprised to find out that two thirds of its local users are aged 18-34 and that only 21% fall into the 13-17 age group.

Snapchat defines itself as a “camera, where how you feel matters more than how you look”. Its users are not interested in curating perfect posts and pics, but in creating fast, sharable, in-the-moment content. The spontaneous, bite-sized, freewheeling nature of Snapchat offers brands some interesting engagement opportunities.

For example, marketers can leverage creative, interactive ad formats such as augmented reality to create novel  brand experiences. They can use a range of targeting and programmatic options — including custom audience lists and lookalikes of existing audiences – to reach their audience.

Over the past year, Snapchat has grown its user base in South Africa from 1.2 million to 1.9 million daily users. Around 78% of its local users are women. If a brand’s audience skews young and female, Snapchat is worth consideration, especially given just how much the people who use the platform seem to love it.

Vodacom On The Line

Vodacom’s On The Line media offering, which is sold via IMAMEDIA (http://www.imamedia.co.za/), allows marketers to leverage its data to reach Vodacom subscribers with highly targeted ads (at no cost to users).

Brands can insert videos and other messaging into ‘please call me’ messages, for users to watch and interact without incurring data charges. Brands can also target ads to missed call messages. Ads can be delivered along with a notification to the user’s mobile message application inbox.

To boost performance brands can reward users with data when they engage or even push vouchers to people when in store using location targeted deals. Vodacom also offers a site builder option where advertisers can generate leads, drive conversions or host brochures within subsidised landing pages.

Verizon Media

Remember AOL and Yahoo? These platforms and their media assets are still around, reaching around 7 million local users with more than 290 million page views each month. Verizon Media (https://www.verizonmedia.com/) is the programmatic platform one uses to access this audience.

The strength of this platform is its emphasis on native ad formats rather than on standard display formats. It also offers a wealth of audience data matched across devices, allowing for highly targeted third-party audience segments.

Geo-Location

Location-based platforms enable advertisers to target ads to people based on their movements, tracked through phone location settings. This enables retailers to, for example, push vouchers or discounts to people as they enter malls where they have stores or target people visiting competitor stores.

There are several companies offering location-based targeting in South Africa who all have their own unique benefits, but one of the better known platforms is Vicinity Media (https://www.vicinity-media.com/) because of the maturity of its offering and the depth of its portfolio. Among the platforms it represents in South Africa is Waze – which is enough to give Vicinity an edge.

A newer geo-location platform to the South African market is TAPTAP (https://www.taptapnetworks.com/), an adtech multinational which also offers an interesting solution with advanced audience profiling tools, activation options integrated with users’ smartphones and sophisticated attribution reporting.

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How panic-buying disrupts traditional supply chains

Panic buying has become commonplace during the COVID-19 crisis. PAULO DE MATOS, chief product officer at SYSPRO, outlines how good technology and ingenuity is panic-proof.

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Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the world cannot afford for manufacturing and distribution to grind to a halt. From food on our shelves, to medical necessities, these sectors are at the heart of our economy and must keep going at all costs. Although the global supply chain is usually a well-oiled machine consisting of a system of organizations, people, processes, information and resources, disruption of this well-oiled machine has become the new reality. According to a new survey released by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), 75% of companies worldwide have reported supply chain disruptions as a result of COVID-19.  Added to that is the increasingly unpredictable demand caused by panic buying and consumer stockpiling.  

Reinventing the supply chain to face the challenges of today 

In response to the pandemic, manufacturers and distributors have had to pivot in a new direction, to turn the supply chain challenge into a competitive advantage through ingenuity.  

The US recently invoked the Defense Production Act to allow American manufacturers to suspend their normal production schedules and begin manufacturing materials such as ventilators, which are needed in this time of crisis. The Act, which was originally passed in 1950, was a war mobilization effort. It allowed the government to direct efforts of manufacturers to focus production on the much-needed necessities in times of need, from medical supplies through to necessary disinfection products.  

Australia has applied a similar approach through the implementation of ‘wartime’ manufacturing. Due to a shortage of necessities like ventilators and hand sanitizers, the Australian government is offering financial packages that incentivize factories to manufacture critical supplies. For example, one of Australia’s biggest packaging companies, Pact Group, is converting production lines at three of its Sydney plants as it starts making hand sanitizer for the first time, instead of industrial cleaners.  

Within Canada and South Africa, distilleries have also committed to supplying alcohol, a key ingredient in hand sanitizer.  

Using technology to ensure long-term resilience 

Until recently, China has consistently supplied global manufacturers with the bulk of their required components, raw materials and or processed materials. Presently, 6 in 10 (62%) of the respondents of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) survey have reported that they have experienced increasing delays in receiving orders from China. This is of course just the tip of the iceberg, with the pandemic now impacting almost every country in the world; delays are going to begin affecting deliveries from every country, and the lateness of the delivery is expected to increase.  With the increasing shortages of parts, global manufacturers are now scrambling to identify alternative suppliers and supply chains to make up for the missed deliveries. 

Technology systems, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, can certainly improve the situation by giving manufacturers improved visibility of the reliable local suppliers and their supply chains. Through ERP integration, representatives from different supplier companies can interact on a single platform, improving the flow and availability of information and improving the reliability of delivery. For example, the SYSPRO Supply Chain Portal was originally launched with a Request for Quote capability, which enabled the formal invitation of suppliers to tender for the supply of goods and services. Not only can manufacturers identify local suppliers who can meet their orders in a time of scarcity, but manufacturers themselves could easily find alternative suppliers.  

ERP also has the added advantage of reducing document handling and other manual activities and facilitates cross functional collaboration by enabling an online process for engaging with customers and suppliers. What’s more, planned receiving and manufacturing process steps can be amended temporarily in your ERP system to include additional Quality Assurance.  For example, the wiping down of surfaces and spraying of goods with appropriate chemical or detergent cleansers and adding waiting times before issue or delivery. 

In times of unforeseen scarcity, as the world is currently experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that the supply chain is kept open and full.  The challenge that the company faces is to identify the cheapest and easiest way to accomplish this, using their own unique combination of technology and ingenuity.  If there is surplus stock in the supply chain, the surplus could easily be sold onto neighbouring organizations – after all, the function of a manufacturing organization is to fulfil whatever is identified as a shortage in the economy. 

Managing disruption in the long-term 

The World Economic Forum has suggested that moving forward after this pandemic, there will be a “new normal”, a need to manage disruption by developing predictive models for proactive scheduling, and dynamic planning of supply with careful consideration of the uncertainties and risks. This change will most likely usher in the next level of digital transformation, based on the collection and analysis of data from various disparate applications.  

Ultimately, having the right combination of technology and dynamic ingenuity will allow manufacturers to weather the storm and navigate the unknown, bringing with it the success of discovering “the new world.” 

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ASUS puts more screen into gaming

While others battle over the thinnest bezel for maximizing screen space, ASUS released a dual screen laptop that uses the space where one’s palms would usually rest, writes BRYAN TURNER

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When one imagines dual screen, it’s usually two screens side-by-side on a desk, providing a horizontally long desktop experience. There have been clunky dual screen laptops in the past, some that folded out horizontally, but these never really caught the attention of the consumer.  

Enter Asus with the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15. Like the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, the ROG Zephyrus Duo features two screens – the main screen on the top panel (as we’re all used to) and another screen just below that, where the top of the keyboard would usually be. The main difference is the secondary screen pops out at a 13-degree angle to bridge the gap between the two screens, and to give better viewing angles.  

That ZenBook Pro Duo is also a pretty good machine for gaming, because it features Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics, but it doesn’t have the latest graphics. With the new machine, Asus is one of the first manufacturers to release a laptop featuring Nvidia’s latest RTX 2080 Super Max Q GPU for mobile devices. This is a momentous feat, considering that not only are the external features  cutting edge, but also the internals. 

The main panel is configured to be either 4K 60Hz or 1080p 300Hz. The former is most likely going to be picked up by video editors and photoshop gurus, because it covers 100% of the Adobe RBG colour space, and the latter will appeal to gamers who want to see their high frame rates in action. Both panels are Pantone Colour Calibrated for high colour accuracy. 

The secondary panel features a 32:9 resolution, which is equal to putting two standard 16:9 widescreen panels together. The touchscreen panel outputs a 3840 x 1100 resolution at 60Hz.  

The combination of these panels will be ideal for portable gamers. The main game can be on the main panel, while Discord and game streaming software can be on the secondary panel, all at a glance. Not to mention the game developers that have support for two screens, where the second screen highlights stats and other components that had to be crammed into the main screen’s space.   

On the inside, the laptop features liquid metal cooling, which lowers the temperatures by 8°C and allows the computer to function with less fan noise. Asus has also slipped some very interesting cooling tech behind the secondary panel, when it pops open, to maximise airflow into the computer from both the bottom and the top of the device. 

The laptop features the biggest battery Asus has yet put in a computer, at 90Wh. This is incredibly close to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA’s) limit of 100Wh batteries being allowed on flights to the US. Fortunately, this computer can be taken around the world if necessary. 

These computers will come in two variants of 10th Generation Intel processors, namely the i9-10980HK or i7-10875H. They support up to 2 M.2 NVMe PCIE 3 slots for SSDs. 

The new ROG gaming range from Asus will be available later this year. The price of the computer has not yet been confirmed

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