marketing Archives - Maverick Mind

Online Marketing and Your Business

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What does marketing mean to you and your business?
Every business needs to have a marketing strategy, whether it is the traditional model of marketing or online marketing, you can’t push it aside like an ugly baby or your mother in-law, fact is you should be making it a priority as it can determine the success or failure of your business. But I would put my money on online marketing and here’s why.
Traditional marketing is a model that worked and to a certain extent still works but it is expensive and though it is not dead yet, people aren’t exactly rushing out in numbers to check out traditional marketing campaigns, but instead they are consuming information digitally, as they interact with friends and family on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and studies show that the time people spend online influences their spending decisions, as they also take the time to research products, businesses and services. So doing your marketing online, means you get to offer a personalised service to your clients as it is the most direct way of building relationships with your clients and establishing trust.
Now as a businessman, isn’t it time you took your business to the people? Considering that there is the potential to grow the reach of your business beyond the borders, at a fraction of the cost?
How do you execute your online marketing strategy?

My first advice would be for you to get a professional to handle all your marketing, because they are experts in the field and will know what works and what doesn’t, thus giving you all the time to focus on other aspects of the business.
• Getting a website domain for your business would be the number one step, e.g. www.hotchips.co.za or any name that is easy to remember and represents your business. Many people assume it is expensive to have a website and then choose to overlook it as an unnecessary luxury, but it is more of a necessity than a luxury, because having a website makes it easy for people to search and find your business online. Your website is your online brand identity and that is where you get the opportunity to tell your brand story.
• Social media integration – the aim of online marketing is to advertise your business online so why not start with your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and share with them as you slowly build your business online presence. Using social media is inexpensive and can have a wider reach than the traditional model of marketing. Using social media can help you target your specific clientele in a precise way.
• E-mail marketing – with email marketing you are able to save on cost, as it is affordable as compared to the traditional model, it also is the most direct way to guarantee sales conversions. So if your email marketing campaign is properly executed, you can guarantee success, you do this by ensuring that in your email communication you give your clients useful information that will be to their benefit. One of the good things about email marketing is if your clients are impressed with your campaign, they can forward it to their friends or share it on their social media pages, that is why you have to pull out all the stops with it.

Crowdsourcing Political Ideology And The Impact Of Technology In African Politics

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Crowdsourcing is not a new concept in Digital marketing circles, it is however getting a new lease on life in the world of politics, especially in Africa.

The Kenyan based crowdsourcing platform, Ushahidi did a great job of informing the ordinary Kenyan citizen on violent hotspots after the 2007 Kenyan elections. The platform has since extended its functionality and has been used for other purposes like disaster area monitoring and information dissemination. Ushahidi originally sent notifications via SMS, but now also includes email notifications.

That’s a smart move considering that most mobile users have access to email. Kenyan politicians are also fervently using the social media mill to chart out their agenda, more so than in previous elections in 2007. You only have to search for the hash tag #kedebate2013 to see how they have employed twitter to clarify their ideology.

We have seen many instances where technology has been used to monitor elections and solicit feedback from citizens in countries like Ghana and Kenya, and few can deny the Twitter influence of the sometimes trigger happy South African and Western Cape premier, Helen Zille. African politicians have embraced Twitter in earnest, but what else are they doing?

Most interestingly there is a new breed of politicians who are not only content with being a commentator on social media platforms, but also want to use technology to influence politics and social reform. Obama did it well, email and social media played critical roles in the process of moving his political agenda throughout the 2008 campaign. Not only did he tweet up a storm, he built relationships with his constituency, donors and voters by sending email campaigns that had one underlying message, “Yes we can!”.

Obama used email to engage the younger generation of Americans. No other presidential candidate in history raised as much funds as he did, and all this was underpinned by a unified digital communications strategy. It’s political participation 2.0 style.

Now back to Africa, a very interesting case study is unravelling in South African politics. Enter Agang – and no, it’s not “a gang” – it means “to build” in Pedi, an indigenous South African language. Agang has been described by its founder and political activist Mamphela Ramphele as a political plaftform with a view to create a political party. The function of Agang at this stage is to crowdsource ideas from ordinary citizens on how to better manage the country, government and its resources.

Agang has taken to the internet to raise resources for the soon to be established political party. Ordinary citizens can donate their time or money on the Agang website.

What is of real interest in this case is not that the political platform has a site, but how they are using their website, Facebook page and Twitter to enable citizens to determine the kind of government that they want.

How effective this form of crowdsourcing will be, only time to tell. One thing has become very clear though; technology is influencing all spheres of our lives in Africa and will continue to do so in ways we can’t even imagine yet.