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Data versus the economy

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Economists are warning local business owners about tough times ahead. This usually leads to cuts in marketing and advertising, but ANDRE HUGO, CEO of M4JAM says that companies need to use data more effectively to target their customers.

At the moment, it is difficult to do business in South Africa. Following the Rand’s crash and predictions of a recession, economists warn business owners to brace themselves for tough times.

As businesses work hard to keep their doors open in these conditions, costs will be cut – and the first casualties are usually research and marketing. However, now more than ever these businesses need to understand and target their customers effectively so that they stand out from the rest.

Using data to improve business strategies

That’s where data comes in. It’s become an essential ingredient in business success whether you’re a Fortune 100 company or a nimble startup. In fact, 81% of marketers consider data to be a vital part of their marketing efforts, according to a global survey by the Global Alliance of Data-driven Marketing Associations (GDMA). The reason is that effective use of data is the key to improving and refining business strategies that result in campaign success and a higher ROI.

The real value of real-time data

The good news is that getting hold of this data doesn’t need to break the bank. Integrated advertising agency, Ogilvy & Mather, has harnessed real-time insights to inform some of its campaigns and pitches by making use of M4JAM’s JAMFACTORY. The JAMFACTORY allows businesses to create, manage and run their own research campaigns and source quality data and insights in real time, for a fraction of the cost of traditional research.

According to Managing Director of Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town, Luca Gallarelli, “Research is an invaluable tool for substantive marketing, but it has been a cumbersome and expensive business with long timelines and usually one shot only. With JAMFACTORY we can gain particular kinds of market intelligence off very short leads and get the results pretty much instantly, and do it so economically that we can go round again if we need further refinement in the data.”

The case for holding on to the marketing budget

This is a great example of a business that is exploring new, cost-effective strategies to drive business value and show its clients exactly why they should continue to include marketing in their budgets when the going gets tough. Adopting a data-driven marketing approach has allowed them to take functions of marketing that have previously not been quantifiable and develop a factual base on which marketing decisions can be made. They are using insights from customers and prospects to deliver targeted messages and content that will more effectively deliver greater results.

At the end of the day, these results translate into more money for the business. Effectively using data to gain customer insights means money well spent on better targeted campaigns. In fact, McKinsey has reported that organisations that place data at the centre of their marketing decisions see a 15-20% increase on marketing return on investment on average.

Data-driven business here to stay

Talking about data might be nothing new. However, as businesses brace themselves for the year ahead, it’s never been more important to find cost-effective ways to get hold of that data and turn it into an asset by making use of the real-time insights it offers and taking the right action as a result thereof.

There is no alternative for proper, detailed research – now more than ever, data trumps opinion.

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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

Use the page links below to read about Tan’s vision of Soldiers and Health in 2099.

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entries via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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