Too many marketing and media people wasting money

Too many marketing and media people wasting money

By Chris Moerdyk on Media Online

A few years ago I calculated that in South Africa, upwards of R5 billion is wasted every year on ill-conceived marketing strategies, nonsensical advertising campaigns that actually damaged rather than promoted brands, and irrational egoistic sponsorships.

Heaven knows what that figure is today. I am almost too terrified to do the maths. It’s a lot more. 

I was chatting to Stuart Lowe recently, one of the brains behind the BrandMapp survey. And the reason I was talking to him was that it seemed to me that South Africa’s pool of brand and media research data was emptying faster than a dam in then middle of the drought-stricken Great Karoo. 

We used to have, for example the All Media Products Survey (AMPS) but that was killed off. As were many other reliable sources of market intelligence. 

Media research is also a casualty with newspaper, TV and radio management bereft of independent data sources. Newspaper research has always been suspect, in my opinion and now it is even more so, with editors and management having to guess what their readers want. And they must be way off target because circulations are going down like homeless moles. 

But, back to Lowe; he said something that sent a shiver down my spine.      

“Many agencies and marketers are content to fly blind. There are billions of Rands invested in brand marketing where the strategy is unashamedly based on anecdotal insights or worse still, on updated AMPS 2015!”

It gets more terrifying. “A much celebrated media agency exec spending big budgets for many premium brands recently said, ‘We just work on a HUNCH and a bit of Google search’,” said Lowe. 

Frankly, I don’t really blame these agencies, media professionals and newspaper editors who are ‘flying blind’. To a large extent, the fault lies with their clients. The fact is that there is a huge number of brand managers who simply do not have the skills or experience to do their jobs. They have been promoted beyond their skill sets due to the large number of marketing professionals who have left the country. 

I believe that if their boards of directors stopped listening to excuses and marketing gobbledygook, they would be horrified at the wastage going on in their companies. My experience in having conducted any number of marketing audits over the past decade shows that the average wastage, in terms of corporate marketing budgets, is almost 30%. 

That’s the reason I contacted Lowe this week. I wanted to know whether I was just being hysterical; I have always relied on him to be a voice of reason. But, he agreed with me. 

To be honest, when I need research data on brands I only have one option and that is to beg Stuart to let me have insights into his BrandMapp data. 

I found this week that he has now launched BrandMapp 2020 

Said Stuart:   “BrandMapp 2020 is a unique, independent, landscape study of economically active South African adults with access to the internet. Built on seven years of annual online surveys the 2020 data offers our largest sample to date.” 

Every year since 2013 WhyFive Insights has produced BrandMapp, a definitive survey of the top 30% of South African’s by income. This group of 11.7 million adults make up more than 80% of all personal income and consumer spend in the country. BrandMapp offers marketers and agencies the ability to segment, profile and fully understand this crucial group with useful insights based on a massive sample of 28 862 respondents, and gives a sophisticated view of a sophisticated market using sophisticated methodology. 

Does this look like I am giving BrandMapp some free publicity? Damn right I am because the marketing and media industries in this country need to start bringing down those billions they are wasting every year. It’s so bad the industry should be dragged before the Zondo Commission for causing consumer prices to rise through bad brand management. 

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