Tag: marketing

Are you a victim of fake POPI news?

Since the Information Regulator South Africa – IRSA – came into office in December 2016, the pace has been picking up in the market for Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) products and services.

This has had a spill-over effect on the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA), which also forms part of the responsibilities of the IRSA.

Unfortunately not only has the pace picked up but there has been some confusion sown through what might best be described as questionable marketing practices and erroneous reporting. One contact of mine recently received an email which included the following statement “The Promulgation of POPI, (The Protection Of Personal Information Act) in the Gazette on 26 November 2013 now means you are required to update your PAIA Manual to incorporate the POPI.”

This is misleading, since the Government Gazette did not include the commencement of the POPI Act or even the commencement of the transition period. The same marketing email continued with the statement “ALL information users now must have strict chain-of-custody processes in place.” This is far from the case, as the POPI Act makes no reference to a “strict chain-of-custody”. In similar vein the email stated “Businesses or persons who use/hold/verify or even request your Personal Information MUST now conform to the Act.” Not true.

This will only be so under certain conditions once the POPIA transition period has ended and right now it has not even started.

The same email then offers to help with the appointment of a “Compliance Officer”. No such individual is mentioned or required in terms of either POPIA or PAIA. What is required is an Information Officer, possibly supported by one or more deputies depending on the needs of each organisation. In September the IRSA issued a set of draft regulations which included specific reference to the role and duties of the Information Officer, more about which is available at the IRSA web site.

Perhaps of greatest concern is the statement that “at (name withheld) we made it very easy for you to get compliant in a simple and completely tax deductible manner. It takes you about 10 minutes to complete this process on our website.” Given the duties outlined in the IRSA draft regulations this statement should at least be seen as misleading.

This and other marketing emails that I have seen also push organisations to create or update a manual to comply with PAIA. In truth there are numerous exemptions to that requirement. To check whether you need to publish a PAIA manual please refer to the notice that appeared in the Government Gazette on 11 December 2015, signed by the then Minister of Justice and Correctional Services. For a free copy of the notice visit www.gpwonline.co.za and search for edition 39504.

Not only commercial organisations are guilty of mis-stating the facts. The Star newspaper ran an article in the Saturday Star Personal Finance column during September 2017 which contained the statement “The 12-month grace period to comply with the PoPI Act has expired, and the legislation is being applied in the public and private sectors.” That is factually incorrect and I wrote to the author of the article twice in an attempt to have this incorrect statement corrected.

One of my letters (in part) appeared in the Personal Finance column on Saturday 30 September 2017 under the heading “Incorrect correction about PoPI Act”. The explanation of the true state of affairs was published along with an apology to me personally from the editor.

I repeat those contents below for completeness:
“On September 23 2017 on page 21 in the Personal Finance section an item appeared titled “Correction to article on PoPI Act”. Unfortunately the correction itself is incorrect. To state that the “12 month grace period for market compliance is now in force” is factually incorrect. The only sections of the PoPI Act that have commenced refer to the definitions of the Act and those provisions allowing the establishment of the Information Regulator South Africa (IRSA). These appeared in the Government Gazette in April 2014.”

In summary, be sure you are dealing with reputable sources when seeking advice on how and when to comply with new legislation in general and POPIA and PAIA in particular.

By Dr Peter Tobin

Seven ways you’re killing conversion

Words matter. People may not read everything, but they do scan. And they process information subconsciously at lightning speeds to determine if they’ll click or bounce within a few fractions of a second.
While some words (like “Submit” on your button) may seem innocent enough, they could be costing you dearly, turning away visitors in droves.

Here’s why, along with a few other conversion-sabotaging words you need to replace in your e-mails, ads, and landing pages ASAP.

‘Submit’
“Submit” is a derivation of submission. And therein lies the problem. There’s a negative connotation with yielding to someone or something superior. People, as a general rule, don’t like yielding.
This was proven definitively years and years ago by Dan Zarella and HubSpot. They took a look at the conversion rates of over 40 000 customer landing pages and quickly noticed a huge discrepancy.
When call to action (CTA) buttons included the word “submit,” conversion rates tended to drop immediately by a few percentage points.
Use words like “click here” or “go” instead.

‘Synergy’
What’s the fastest way to learn terrible copywriting? Get an MBA.
Because in just a few short weeks, you’ll find yourself spewing out “synergy,” “competencies,” and a host of other clichéd, meaningless words that have old professors nodding their heads in approval.
As evidence, go visit almost any B2B website outside of marketing and advertising. Your eyes will glaze over, your face will contort, and a sudden bout of narcolepsy might hit at any moment.
Many times, clients and bosses don’t notice anything wrong at first either. The problem with “best in class” and all other common business jargon (besides the fact that it also appears on every competitor’s Web site) is that customers can detect that the company is talking nonsense.
Research shows that people prefer things that are easy to think about to those that are hard. Generally, the level of reading comprehension is low. People aren’t focusing or reading online; they’re scanning and multitasking and browsing and tweeting while looking at your page.
Rewrite anything with the faintest resemblance to what you learned in school.

‘Spam’
Consumers are bombarded with hundreds of “greymail” e-mails each day. Trillions are being sent by marketers each year. So you’d think, logically speaking, that assuring visitors you won’t spam them would help conversions. Unfortunately that’s not the case. “Spam” is a huge stop word — or no no — that causes
people to become apprehensive and hesitate.
A test carried out by Michael Aargaard showed the surprising ramifications. He added the seemingly harmless line of “100% privacy — we will never spam you” in between the form fields and submission button.
Typically, these extra credibility indicators surrounding a CTA can help to give conversions a nice little boost. But not in this case, and it backfired by over 18%.
Try assurances like “Your information will not be shared.”
Avoid words with a negative connotation (as we saw with “submit”) in general, and use additional messaging to reinforce the positive aspects of what someone is about to get.

‘We’
“We” opens a door. It’s like the gateway drug of bad copywriting. One small hit, and you’re quickly off to dabbling with bigger, badder things.
While it might seem harmless at the time, “we” puts you on a path to jonesing for a fix of “synergy” and “best in class” in no time.
But keep in mind, that as a general rule, people don’t care about you. Instead, they want a “better version of themselves.”
This is especially so for all those visiting your site at the top of the funnel, who haven’t realized a need for your product or service yet. They’re Googling solutions for drilling a hole in their wall so they can hang a picture… they’re not looking for a drill (just yet).
That means the focus of messaging should be centered around a problem and solution, not a tool, product or service.
Instead of “we” begin with “you” or don’t use a pronoun at all (like a question or a command/call to action).

‘Your’
The copy on most web sites is written in the second person. And that’s a good thing! Copywriters are taught to use “you” instead of “they” when explaining the benefits derive from the latest product or service.
However, there are exceptions. When focusing on a CTA or specific conversion event, the “possessive determiner” should switch back to first person.
Another test from Michael Aagaard proves the point. Michael initially thought that “your” in the CTA button copy would work best. But he found an almost a 25% difference, just by switching a single word – from “your free trial” to “my free trial”.
Switching to “my” gives people ownership of the benefit they’re about to receive.

‘Free’
You’d think, on the surface, that “free” increases conversions. And it does in most cases. The last example a few seconds ago used a “free trial” to generate more interest (and clicks). But there are exceptions.
The first (albeit tiny) issue is that the word “free” can trip up spam filters in email messaging. The second, bigger problem though is a curious case of over-optimisation. The problem is that more conversions isn’t always better. A Totango study showed that 70% of the people who sign up for free trials are useless, with
only around 20% of those actively evaluating the product.
So while the word “free” can (and will) increase initial conversions, you should be optimising for sales and revenue — not vanity metrics like leads or impressive (but hollow) conversion rates.

‘Save time and money’
So far we’ve seen that vague, meaningless, overly generic phrases are bad for conversions. The culmination of them all — the cherry on top and the pièce de résistance — is “save time and money”.
This phrase breaks one of the very first rules of copywriting that says you should write to a particular audience.
Roll up your sleeves and dig a little deeper into who you’re speaking to, and what they value most.
The key is to ferret out those few ingredients that make your offering awesome & unique, which both audiences value. You want the stuff that overlaps, which will help you create a specific value proposition that reinforces your primary aim (of driving conversions), while avoiding the same generic message showing up on each of your competitor’s Web sites.

Souce: WordStream

A missed call is a popular way of communicating in many emerging markets, because the caller doesn’t have to spend money. Marketing companies, politicians and banks have found a way to use this practice to reach millions who have cell phones but otherwise limited means.

This method of communication has become particularly popular in India. Want to transfer funds from your account? Give your bank a missed call. Want to hear Bollywood music? Dial a number and hang up.

Here are five things you can do in India just by ringing a number and hanging up:

Bank
Some banks let customers check their bank balance or get a mini statement on their cell phones by giving a missed call on the bank’s number. The information comes via a text message.

Recently, south India’s Federal Bank went a step further, and introduced a facility for customers to transfer money to an account-holder in any Indian bank, via a missed call.

The client has to first register the recipient in Federal Bank’s system, by sending an SMS, including the mobile number of the recipient, and the amount to be transferred, said Babu K. Anthony, head of digital banking at the bank.

Connect with the Prime Minister
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi haspopularized the missed call as a way to connect to political leaders and parties.

Give a missed call on +91 8190 881 908, and you’ll get a call back on which you can hear a recording of Mr. Modi’s monthly radio talk with the public named “Mann ki Baat” (Matters of the Heart).

Modi’s political party, Bharatiya Janata Party, has also in the past used the missed call as a way recruit new members. The party launched a number on which individuals could give a missed call and become a member.

The strategy was so popular that it drew criticism from its rival Congress party, which said that the same people were giving missed calls from different mobile numbers and were being counted as new members. A Congress spokesman termed BJP a “missed call party”.

BJP spokesman Nalin Kohli has said that perhaps the Congress party was irate at the success of the BJP’s membership campaign. “They may feel anguish for having missed the bus,” says Kohli.

Find a job
People who don’t have Internet access can find jobs posted on listings Web site Quikr.com, by giving a missed call.

Individuals can call +91 1800 1033 331, and hang up. An employee of Quikr calls back, and asks for the caller’s personal information, education and experience, to prepare an on-the-spot resume. Within minutes, the caller gets a text message listing a few jobs available, including a number to call to apply for the position.

Enjoy Bollywood hits
A prime example of how companies use missed calls as a marketing tool is an on-demand music channel launched by consumer-goods company Hindustan Unilever.

Callers give a missed call on +91 1800 3000 0123, and they get a call back from the automated system, which plays an entertainment channel. Callers get to hear Bollywood songs and banter between anchors, but also several ads for soap and other products from Hindustan Unilever.

Vote
People can vote for their favorite contestants in Indian reality dance shows by giving a missed call. Shows like Dance India Dance aired on Zee TV, and Nach Baliye on the Star Plus, flash numbers associated with contestants on their shows. Viewers can give a missed call on the number associated with their favorite couple to vote for them.

By Shefali Anand for www.blogs.wsj.com

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E-mail subject lines tend to be prime real estate for marketers.

Because digital marketing is predicated on accruing e-mail subscribers – and subject lines play a big role in determining whether those subscribers open your e-mails – compelling people in just a few words poses a big challenge and responsibility for anyone creating e-mails.

Brands understand this – so much so that many subject lines tend to overpromise and underdeliver on content. Marketers think, “People will see the value once they open the e-mail. So let’s do whatever we can to influence opens.”

However, deceptive subject lines can break subscribers’ trust. Even if there is value within those e-mails, if your e-mail doesn’t close the loop on the promises of your subject line – without having to click through – you risk misleading subscribers.

Worse, deceptive subject lines violate spam laws and could significantly impact your sender reputation, a critical factor in how ESPs filter your messages.

These bad habits also have a significant impact on your team. If open rates are valued above trust and brand equity, opens will also be what are celebrated. Unfortunately, opens don’t necessarily suggest long-term benefits or organisational value, so as a result, your team winds up stuck in a cycle of meaningless growth, valuing and celebrating the wrong factors.

Instead, you need to craft e-mails that are so useful that their value is naturally reflected in the subject lines. No tricks, gimmicks, or “open at all costs” mentality.

To do so, focus on utility and curiosity.

It’s about people, not your brand

Subject lines should focus exclusively on the customer. People don’t care about what you’ve learned or discovered unless it impacts them. People don’t value products or services; they value what a product or service enables them to do.

People crave utility and tangibility, so you need to deliver both in every e-mail. Forget about first name personalisation. Personalise the subject matter, not the subject.

I joined the Dollar Shave Club last fall, and right before my first box shipped, I received an e-mail with the subject line “Your first box is about to ship. Toss more in.”

This was pretty pertinent information for me. Naturally, I opened it.

Inside were four product suggestions, including a shave butter I had never tried. I wouldn’t normally purchase shave butter, but at $4.99, I thought, “Why not? One less thing I have to remember at the store.”

Dollar Shave Club knows its users value convenience over features. Its razors don’t have eight blades, a battery, or other gimmicks. They’re just razors. But they’re delivered to customers’ doorsteps every month for less than they’d pay in the store: convenience over features.

This e-mail, from the subject line through the body copy, stayed consistent with this message. That’s personalisation. Dollar Shave Club doesn’t need to use my name anywhere in the e-mail. Instead, it knows why I buy and uses this to improve my experience and increase sales.

Opening a curiosity gap

One of the harsh truths of e-mail marketing is that the inbox is not a meritocracy. Great e-mails are ignored every day because of generic subject lines. While your e-mail might actually be packed with utility, if the subject line is uninspired, your subscribers are likely to follow suit.

While there are many methods of combating this problem, one of the most effective I’ve found is one of the oldest triggers of influence used in marketing and advertising: curiosity.

Curiosity is like an itch; once someone feels it, it’s hard to ignore. Instead of writing subject lines like “How to improve your meta description and boost search rankings,” you would use something like “This one line of copy could boost your search rankings.”

Which do you think would perform better?

This is actually a widespread tactic used to market a lot of things. Just look to your local 11 p.m. news for evidence. You might hear something like, “These five items in your medicine cabinet could be causing you cancer. Stay tuned at 11.”

Heavy stuff. But it just might get you to tune in.

Joanna Wiebe, founder of Copy Hackers, demonstrated the effectiveness of the curiosity gap in an e-mail subject line she worked on with Quick Sprout that saw super-high open rates. The subject line?

“Boom! This is how you get traffic…and convert it.”

This e-mail saw a 102% open rate. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

But here’s the most important part about opening curiosity gaps in e-mail subject lines: you must close them! This is critical. Don’t make readers open the e-mail, click through to your site, and follow several steps before getting around to closing that curiosity gap. This will adversely affect your overall engagement success.

Marketers with an “open at all costs” mentality will think otherwise, but you’re better than that. If you’re here reading this article, you feel some degree of responsibility to create a great experience for your subscribers.

Hang onto this. It’ll serve you and your subscribers well.

By John Bonini for www.performancein.com

Marketing to the next generation

You’d only need to look at your grandparents, your parents or your slightly annoying 13-year-old cousin to see that every generation has its differences. Marketers make use of these differences through generational marketing, and the newest set of consumers is “Generation Z”.

When segmenting markets, marketers often look at differentiating factors such as gender, race, income level, geographic location and level of education in order to figure out how to target a specific market. Generational marketing is one of these segmentation styles which looks at the target’s generation instead.

What is generational marketing?

According to Graeme Codrington, a future trends specialist from TomorrowToday Global, generational marketing is a version of marketing segmentation analysis that makes use of ‘Generational Theory’.

He says; “In addition to many other demographic and sociographic divides, like personality economics status education, Generational Theory looks at the era in which you were born, and this allows us to look at forces that shaped your values.”

Jason Levin, managing director at HDI Youth Marketeers, explains that they make use of generational marketing because their belief is that target market specialisations are more useful and more relevant than agency specialisation (such as above-the-line versus digital versus PR and so on).

Who is Generation Z?

We all know about Gen Y and Gen X, but the youngest generation of consumers are a new and complex market, and marketers will need to change their strategies to reach them.

“Gen Z are defined in different ways, but we define them as current teens (born after 2000),” says Levin. This generation is different to previous ones in that they are more influential over household decisions and purchases than their predecessors. Levin also says that they are tech-obsessed (having grown up with the Internet), entitled, open-minded, highly informed (again, thanks to the Internet) ambitious and fame-seeking.

The differences between generations can often be overstated, and there is not that big of a difference between Gen Z and Gen Y, says Codrington. But the small differences can be a game changer.

One such difference is that Gen Z show the least brand loyalty of any consumer generation. You only need to look at the top 500 YouTube channels, where less than 20 of them are of brands.

Marketing to Gen Z

To market to these consumers, it is essential to consider who they are and what they care about as they are critically conscious consumers. “Showing a deep concern for them as people and as consumers, for their communities and for their world,” is how marketers should target this generation, says Levin.

For Codrington, marketers have to “catch on to the people who are making an impact in their space and use them as brand ambassadors”. He says that to marketers, these people might not always be who they’d expect.

In fact, the top YouTube channel is that of PewDiePie, a young Swedish man who comments on Let’s Play games. “This might make no sense to a 35-year-old marketer or a 45-year-old advertising head, but that has caused a massive stir,” says Codrington.

“You have to use that as a route in. You might not even know that that route exists, but you’ve got to find some way to connect with the channels that they are in,” he adds.

Another way to appeal to Gen Z, according to an article in Entrepreneur by Christie Garton, is to give them a “cool” product, but to “focus on quality first”. Gen Z have the technology and the ability to use it, and they will do extensive research before buying something.

Although Codrington does believe that it might be a bit too early to define this market entirely, he does offer a last bit of advice: “Do what any good marketers had done before: Learn their language, go where they are and give them something that they want.”

By Kristy Hesom for www.mediaupdate.co.za

Packaging as part of the marketing mix

Anyone involved in marketing, and many who are not, will be familiar with the term “marketing mix”, a business tool often associated with the traditional “Four P’” formula – product, price, promotion and place – that is used to continually evaluate business activities and help marketers to ensure that brands are on track and achieving the maximum results possible.

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