Where Best To Find Them 2013 Advertising Rates

Unless you’re an established marketer and have a full  service advertising agency working on your advertising account, obtaining advertising rates (and making sense of them) can be a time-consuming, frustrating, daunting and often difficult process.

As someone who runs a small advertising agency in Johannesburg, I sense this on a daily basis as I’m often fielding calls or receiving emails from businesses requesting rates to advertise on television, radio, billboards, newspapers and magazines.

Unfortunately, many of these requests for rates are not easy to see to, for the simple reason that there are so many variables at play. With combination rates on offer and discounted advertising packages for first time advertisers, it’s no simple matter providing the information required in a way that would be understood by someone new to, or unfamiliar with, marketing.

Generalist requests for “the cost to advertise on television” or “the cost to advertise on radio for a six month period” are akin to asking “the price of a car”. What type of car? A new car? A second hand car? What model? Clearly the price of a 2013 Mercedes Benz would be different to that of a 2007 Toyota Corolla.

And so it is with advertising. There are just so many variables at play and so many considerations to take into account.

Take TV or radio advertising, where a fifteen second commercial on Soweto TV would cost far less to flight at six in the morning than a thirty second commercial would cost to flight on MNet during evening prime time, and a radio spot aired during morning or afternoon drive time on Highveld will be more expensive than one aired mid-morning or mid-afternoon on Kaya FM.

In newspaper or magazine advertising, a quarter page black and white advertisement hidden on page 23 in a Caxton newspaper will be much cheaper to flight than a full page full colour ad with a product sachet affixed to it in a glossy magazine like FHM.

And in outdoor advertising, where a small billboard in the back of beyond would cost a fraction of the price of a large billboard occupying pride of place on Johannesburg’s M1 motorway.

I’m stating the obvious of course but the point is that advertising rates vary enormously and that potential advertisers should be cognisant of this. What’s also important is to be as clear as possible in one’s request for information. A request for “Rates to advertise during etv’s 19h00 news bulletin on a Tuesday or Thursday evening” would be much easier to provide than “rates to advertise on TV”.

But who should you approach for advertising rates? Whilst there is nothing wrong with approaching a media owner directly (be it SABC, MNet, DSTV, etv, Soweto TV, Primedia, You or Huisgenoot magazines, Clear Channel, Highveld, 702, 5FM, Jacaranda, Metro FM or Kaya FM as examples) you will likely only be sent a rate card or a number of rate cards for you to make sense of. And unless you’re a seasoned marketer, you may find it difficult deciding which advertising package, radio station or TV time slot will be best to take advantage of so as to deliver the most bang for your buck.

Also, the media owner wants your advertising business so any notion of objectivity goes out the window. My advice to anyone interested in advertising a product or service would be to ask your marketing consultant (if you have one) to put you in touch with an experienced media buying and planning agency.

Because these agencies are independent and work with pretty much every media owner in the country, they’re objective and besides providing you with rates to advertise, can advise as to which advertising mediums will work best for you within the parameters of your marketing budget.

And because they earn their commissions irrespective of the advertising media booked, they will do their best for your brand regardless of whether TV advertising, radio advertising, outdoor advertising, cinema advertising, print advertising, online advertising – or any other form of advertising is put to you on a media schedule.

Best of all is that so long as they get to place your advertising, their services and expertise typically come to you at no cost.

The Costs Of Not Advertising.

Having written before on the costs of advertising, here’s a write-up on the costs of not advertising – although these are self-explanatory and should be obvious to most. In no particular order, the costs of not advertising one’s business are:

* stagnating sales
* the potential downsizing of your business
* laying off of personnel
* paying of retrenchment packagesd
* the possible closing of your doors

There are others, but suffice to say that they make gloomy reading. The reality is that in a recession (or economic slowdown as it’s often called) all businesses need to be advertising in some form or another. Unless you can survive by way of monthly cash injections by some kind benefactor, assistance from outside investors, help from understanding bankers or people spreading awareness of your company through word of mouth, advertising your products and services has become as important as paying your monthly rental or electricity bills.

With tough economic conditions prevailing and with no real end in sight, small businesses are battling. (Medium sized and large businesses too but they likely have more ability to survive).

The sad reality is that smaller businesses are caught between a rock and a hard place : Advertise, and put even more pressure on already-strained cashflows – or don’t advertise, and face a long and uphill battle ahead. It’s a difficult one but I honestly don’t believe business owners have a choice.

Whilst advertising is expensive, it’s imperative. One just has to work within one’s means and cut out the frills. Mandatory is a website. (It never ceases to amaze me how many companies out there still don’t have a web presence and justify this with the assertion that, in their particular industry, people don’t look at websites…..what also amazes me is the number of sub-standard websites out there).

Having a decent and correctly-built  website is critically important, this is just the beginning however. It then needs to be optimised for search engines and marketed online with the objective of attracting traffic. An unvisited site is about as useful as no site at all. Driving traffic to one’s website is achieved through the likes of  Google Adwords, blogging and social media and these tools are invaluable in this day and age. Social media in particular has become hugely important. It’s no longer a nice-to-have and a case of setting up Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. There needs to be an on-line strategy in place and there are some very good people out there who can help you in this regard.

Of course, before embarking on-line, a corporate identity must be developed – but this can be kept to the basics if money is tight. A decent logo, business card, email signature, letterhead and perhaps a corporate profile and you’re done.

Advertising on street pole posters and billboards, advertising on radio, cinema advertising, TV advertising and advertising in newspapers and magazines can be pencilled in as a “phase 2” and wait  until business has either stabilised or grown to a point where they become affordable.

Advertising is costly and as much as you’d like to have your target market exposed to your brand at every turn, the struggling business needs to work within its means. A professionally-optimised website marketed correctly on-line and through social media, and all else can follow.

Advertising Is Much Like Fishing, Here’s Why

 

Having just returned from a fishing expedition where whilst good to be away from the advertising industry for a while couldn’t quite get out of work mode, I was struck by  the similarities between advertising and fishing as pursuits. There are three areas in which this is so:

The more you cast, the more you’re in the game.

If your  hook is not in the water, you have zero chance of yielding results. So if you’re going to fish, fish. It’s all about being out there, being active and being consistent. Too many advertisers today (especially smaller advertisers) are reluctant to commit to marketing and prefer to rather experiment by putting their toe in the water to see if their efforts yield bites. Invariably they are disappointed, advertising is not a short-term thing. If you want results, advertise consistently and commit to the long-term. Get your hook in the water and leave it there.

Equip yourself with the right tools.

Don’t use a lure where a fly would work better, suss out the landscape and see what’s working and what’s not. If you’ve advertised on billboards for years and the phones are not ringing, try another tack. Try advertising in magazines or advertise on TV if your budget allows. Maybe advertise on street pole posters, as with fishing, circumstances change. It is imperative that you keep your pulse on what’s happening out in the market. As a marketer, you need to keep trying new angles. The angler will attest to this. What might work one day may not work another day. Nothing should be cast in stone, be innovative and open to new ideas and technologies.

Fish where the fish are.

This is an old adage, but it’s a truism. Why fish in waters where are no fish? It’s all about positioning yourself correctly. Be in the right place and research the consumption habits of your target markets. If your research shows that they listen to the radio, advertise on radio. If they’re rural, get your brand onto billboards, on taxis and maybe buses. If they use the internet, market your brand online. Whilst advertising is not an exact science, there are tools than can steer you in the right direction. Gut feel is also important. Fish where the fish are, not where you’d like them to be.

At the end of the day, an effective marketer needs to be like a seasoned fisherman – committed, patient, persistent and open to trying new things. If you use the right tools, have your hook in the water and fish where the fish are, you will have a much better chance of moving product and getting your brand awareness to where you’d like it to be.

Advertising Costs And Budgets

I don’t know what it is, but as a Johannesburg advertising agency, it seems that every second enquiry  I  receive these days is from companies with advertising budgets exceeding no more than R40 000 or   R50 000 per month. Maybe this is due to my positioning of this country’s smallest ad agency where  I’m perceived to focus on smallish marketing budgets: I don’t actually – a number of my clients have much larger marketing budgets to work with.

Whilst a marketing budget of R40 000 or R50 000 per month is not to be sneezed at, it certainly makes us advertising-types don our thinking caps as these are fairly restrictive marketing budgets given the cost of advertising in South Africa these days.

Typically, the questions I’m asked are: Will an advertising budget of R40 000 per month allow me to advertise on TV? (The answer is no – not effectively). Will an advertising budget of R40 000 per month allow me to advertise nationally? (The answer is no). Will an advertising budget of R40 000 per month be sufficient to advertise on radio? (The answer is, maybe, possibly). And will an advertising budget of R40 000 per month allow me to advertise on billboards around Johannesburg? (The answer is, not in a way that would make sense).

Today, advertising budgets are unquestionably under strain. Gone are the days when as an ad agency, you had the latitude to be experimental. Now, the marketing budget needs to perform the best it can within the parameters set. And this puts enormous pressure on advertising and communications agencies as well as marketers of brands.

We now need to critically analyse all media types and negotiate harder with media owners. We now need to be more imaginative – and think out-the-box where we can. But clients need to be realistic too.

If the SABC charges R140 000 excluding VAT for one thirty second flighting of a TV commercial on a program like Generations, then a R40 000 monthly advertising budget is simply not going to allow for advertising on Generations – as much as the client’s daughter might think it the best program ever and insist that her dad has his ad aired during it.

Advertising is costly and being so, advertising agencies have a responsibility to advise their clients correctly. Personally, I hate to see clients wasting money. Just yesterday, I met with a prospective new client who wanted to “test the waters” by running a small ad-once-off – in a newspaper or magazine. I’ve talked them out of it because I honestly do not think it’s the right thing to do.

My advice to clients is: either commit yourself to marketing over the medium or long-term, and invest the necessary funds required, or don’t advertise. “Testing the waters” by placing a small ad here or there in the hope that it will get the phone to ring will in all likelihood not work.

And to clients who cannot afford to spend more than R40 000 or R50 000 per month on advertising, I say: First, invest in a decent website and get it professionally optimised by search engines. The emphasis being on “professionally” because search engine optimisation is an art in itself and should be given to someone who specialises in the field, not to someone who “thinks” he can do SEO. Once the website is built correctly (I recommend WordPress) populated with the right content, and the right amount of content, and made live, a Goggle Adwords campaign should be set up – and managed on a monthly basis. The next step is to blog – and blog regularly.

Of course, social media is also important. But it’s of little use just setting up Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. You need to assign someone to manage them and get them to work for you. There are some very good people out there who would be happy to take on this role.

Then there’s YouTube: get a professional to shoot a video and upload it for you.

Once your website is live and optimised for search engines, your Google Adwords campaigns are being managed, your social media strategy is in place, you’re blogging frequently and you can be found on Youtube, give thought as to what to do with your remaining marketing budget. Depending on the nature of the business, the nature of the product, and who it is aimed at, as a client you may want to look at advertising on street pole posters or on radio or on cinema. You may want to advertise strategically in trade publications or advertise by way of advertorials. A decent advertising agency should advise you in this regard.

But on a limited budget, your priority must be to have a good and professional online presence.
This is the most cost-effective way to advertise and your website has to work for you and deliver results.

Could Smart Media’s Home Page Pays Be The Next Facebook?

Home Page Pays might not mean much to many people yet, but the way it’s gaining momentum – not just in South Africa, but around the world – it will soon. Especially when its Version 2 launches globally in the next few months.

So what exactly is Home Page Pays? A product of Smart Media in the US, it’s essentially a website home page on which you’ll find practically every search engine and everything you could ever wish to find on the internet.

But what makes it different is that, as a user, you can earn points for every single thing you do on the internet – points that can be accumulated towards buying something you’ve always wanted – be it a laptop, ipod, camera or ipad.

And “every single thing” means just that, everything. From surfing the internet to studying on the internet to purchasing on the internet to playing games on the internet to banking on the internet.

So a loyalty program of some sort? Yes. But, again with a difference. With your normal loyalty program, you have to buy something to earn points. Not here. You get rewarded for whatever it is that you normally do on the internet without it costing a cent extra.

All people have to do is make Home Page Pays their home page. Right now, they may have Google, Yahoo or Moneyweb as their home page. Whichever it is, there’s no incentive to having it. With Home Page Pays, there is.

And once you’ve made it your home page, you’ll tell their friends,who will tell their friends, who will tell their friends – with the result that Home Page Pays will go viral around the world. Especially with the launch of Version 2 which will dramatically advance the features of the current version. After having already invested more than US25 million into the system, the CEO of Smart Media will clearly not stop at Version 2. Much like Facebook, version 2 will make way for versions 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Now, from a marketing point of view, what’s on offer is potentially exciting. You’ll now be able to brand your home page – and then give away countless Home Page Pays for free, taking your brand and any specials you may want to promote to free users around the world. Each time they go onto the internet, your ad will be on their browser. So a regular user of the internet may see your ad ten, twenty or thirty times a day, powerful stuff.

And the more free users you give the system to, and they give to their friends, the more people will see your advertising every time they use the internet. There’s just one caveat ; only those who register as representatives of Home Page Pays are allowed to advertise (Packages range from around R1000 to R3200, which are once-off costs). This is small change though when you consider what’s on offer.

The proof of this is that many people around the world have already signed up as representatives, and after attending a workshop hosted by Mark Shuttleworth’s brother, Grant, in Johannesburg a few weeks ago, I’m one of them. Besides allowing me to market my advertising agency through a system that will go viral, I’m now able to share in the advertising expenditure on the internet – and there’s tons of it, it’s exciting stuff. After all, when was the last time Google or Yahoo paid you to surf the internet? And when was the last time you were rewarded on Facebook?

Down the line, Smart Media’s Home Page Pays will be known around the world. And whilst it might take years to rival Facebook, (the system will have its own smartchat and smartchirp functionality with version 2), advertisers will be following its path with interest. See www.gerardkavonic.smartmediatechnologies.com for more.

Nandos Xenophobic TV Ad Hits The Newspapers

Nandos and its advertising agency, Black River FC, have always been quick off the mark, looking for ways to capitalise on matters making the news and getting the brand talked about, and with their latest Bio-diversity TV commercial, have done it again. Not being happy having their ad banned from the airwaves by the SABC, MNet, DSTV and eTV for being too xenophobic, they decided to gain publicity by “airing” the offending ad in the newspaper. Clever.

The full page full colour ad in this week’s Sunday Times entitled “The pro-diversity ad broadcasters don’t want you to see” with the TV script “You know what’s wrong with South Africa? All you foreigners. You must all go back to where you came from. You Cameroonians, Congolese, Pakistanis, Somalis, Ghanaians and Kenyans. And of course you Nigerians and you Europeans. Let’s not forget all you Indians and Chinese. Even you Afrikaners. And it’s back to Swaziland for you Swatis, Lesotho for you Sothos, Tswanas, Vendas, Zulus, everybody…” has certainly had people sitting up and taking notice.

The commercial ends with the voice over saying “Real South Africans love diversity. That’s why we’ve introduced two more items to our menu: delicious peri-crusted wings for R19.90..and mouthwatering Trichado and chips for R24.90”

[youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_R7vu9SuxaQ” title=”Nando%27s%20Xenophobic%20Ad”]

And just in case you haven’t been following the issue, the copy at the bottom of the newspaper ad explains that “SABC, M-Net and etv have banned this ad. They’ve made the decision for you. That’s why we’re giving you the option of seeing it here. Unlike our broadcasters, we’re giving you the right to choose”

Earlier this month, TV stations SABC, DSTV, MNet and eTV chose not to flight the ad, arguing that it promoted xenophobia, had xenophobic connotations and could incite attacks on foreigners. Commenting further, a spokesperson for the SABC said “Nando’s may say that it is trying to promote diversity but what we are concerned about is that the public might interpret it differently”

The print ad also had a YouTube address, showing where the commercial could be viewed. (Which, at the time of writing, had been viewed nearly four hundred thousand times. Bet your bottom dollar that it will be viewed by a heck of a lot more than this as word spreads)

Whilst I think the ad is great, my only question is why no mention of Zimbabweans? With an estimated three to four million Zimbabweans living in South Africa (and with the TV ad showing some of them coming through the fence on the Beitbridge border), one would have thought that our northern brethren would have been the focus – but maybe a bit too close to home, I suggest? And maybe because Nandos were stung by the reaction of Mugabe’s Zanu PF and threats against Nandos Zimbabwe by Mugabe’s Chipangano militia when its “dictator” commercial flighted a few months back?

I shudder (and laugh) to think what the SABC and other TV stations must feel when advised of a new Nandos commercial? With the company’s reputation for producing edgy and provocative work, they must quake in their boots…

But hats off to Nandos for their courageous advertising. With this latest commercial, they have certainly caught the attention. It can’t be easy for TV stations to turn away advertising, especially in this economy. Although I see their point. Running the risk of promoting xenophobia in South Africa is something far more serious and important than allowing a franchise to sell fast food.

Should We Still Advertise In Magazines?

With every second person in the marketing industry punting online marketing and social media, and every third person (OK, make it every fourth) pointing to the demise of conventional advertising, who would even think about advertising in magazines?

Well, let’s think. Er, how about marketing managers? Brand managers? Product managers? Sales managers? Media planners? Advertising execs? Business owners?

The reason? Because people still read magazines. And lots of them. Take Huisgenoot: As of 2011, 313 581 copies were sold a week, with around two million people reading a copy. Take its English-variant, You magazine: with 195 821 copies sold per week.

Of course, these are just two examples. There are countless others: Fair Lady, Bona, Cosmopolitan, Drum, Home and Garden , Home and Leisure, Destiny, O, Stuff, Heat, FHM, Golf Digest, Top Billing, Getaway, Men’s Health, the list goes on and on. And then there are the business magazines, like BBQ (Black Business Quarterly), Entrepreneur, Financial Mail and Finance Week. And trade magazines like Engineering News, The Project Manager, Mining Weekly, Advantage Magazine etc.

It’s an undeniable fact: people are fond of their magazines and have a bond with them. Tell your wife to stop buying her weekly Huisgenoot (incidentally, the magazine with the highest readership in the country) and to rather read it online – were it is available online – and you’ll likely go without dinner for a week. Due to the loyalty shown towards magazines, readers in many ways become dependent on them. As with your morning cup of coffee: go without it for a day and you’ll barely survive.

Closer to home – well at home actually: if my wife picks up that her weekly You magazine has not been delivered, she’ll be pretty annoyed. Much like her husband in fact if I see that my daily copy of The Times is not in the post box or that my Saturday Star or Sunday Times are not under the front gate on the weekend.

People like to cozy up to their magazines. Something they can’t exactly do with their laptops (although admittedly a lot of them are taken to bed). And it is this relationship that people have with their mags that marketers tap into. Knowing that if they place an advertisement in someone’s favourite magazine, it will be read – and hopefully acted upon.

It’s similar with business magazines and trade magazines, although it’s not a love affair that people have with them but more a feeling of dependence. As a businessman (I’m a small ad agency), I like to keep abreast of developments and for this reason am an avid reader of newspapers and the Financial Mail. As a mining engineer, or systems analyst, you’ll want to know what’s happening in your industry, and will likely snap up the Engineering News or your favourite IT magazine as soon as it hits the shelf or does the rounds around the office.

Whilst it is common knowledge that we can get all the news we want from the internet and via our smart phones (fantastic that this is so), we still like our magazines and newspapers. And likely always will.
For this reason, print advertising will remain on advertising media schedules. (Despite the fact that readership and circulation figures are largely down from where they were prior to the start of the global recession).

The challenge for advertisers or marketers is of course (as it has always been) to decide which magazines or newspapers to advertise in. There’s scarcely an industry that doesn’t have at least two or three publications targeting readers.

And this is where you need to work with an advertising agency or media planning facility who have the tools to tell you which publications perform better and were you should advertise to best reach your target markets. Brief them correctly and they’ll take the guesswork out of the conundrum: where best to advertise?

Advertising in magazines works. But clearly, it’s just one medium and should always be viewed as part of a communications package. So be sure to supplement it with other forms of advertising: Street pole advertising. Billboard advertising. Radio advertising. Cinema advertising. And, budget permitting, TV advertising. As examples.

And whatever you do: don’t forget online marketing. If you don’t have a decent website that is professionally optimised, run Google Adwords campaigns and partake in social media, you seriously ought to. In fact, advertising in magazines or newspapers should only be done once you’re satisfied that your online marketing is the best it can be.

Need advice? I’m Gerard Kavonic of This country’s smallest ad agency. Take a look at my website www.kavonichone.co.za or call me any time on 083 444 9888. If I can point you in the right direction, I’d be happy to.

The Streisand Effect – The Goodman Gallery and That Painting

Named after the inimitable Barbra Streisand, the Streisand Effect is taking centre stage in South Africa at the moment what with the hullabaloo surrounding “that painting” currently hanging in Johannesburg’s Goodman gallery (although for how much longer no-one can be sure).

Without getting into the debate of whether the artist is in the right or wrong, whether the Goodman Gallery is in the right or wrong or whether the ruling ANC is in the right or wrong, feathers are certainly being ruffled, tempers are flaring, the media are having a field day and a couple of lawyers are set to make a killing.
The question needs to be asked whether, by shouting foul (and shouting is not too strong a word for it) the ANC haven’t had this whole saga paint them negatively. Instead of quietly requesting the artist and the Goodman gallery to take down the offending painting so as to avoid the issue reaching the public domain, they have come out spitting fire and threatening all and sundry.

The result is that the artist had had publicity he would never have dreamed of, the Goodman Gallery has attracted more visitors that it could ever have wished for, and eyebrows are being raised over the ANC’s militant posturing and general conduct over the affair.

And the latest news of two people walking into the Goodman gallery with red and black paint and defacing the painting of President Zuma has just added fuel to the fire. The fact that the black chap was headbutted while the white guy was largely left alone was certainly noticed, and raised a whole bunch of other questions).

[youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JZqDqQDpU8″]

A crying shame all round. Whilst the vandals were being praised by the Zuma-supporters outside the gallery, cries were being made for the Gallery to be shut down. Of course, this is not just about a painting that offended the ruling party. It’s about freedom of expression, racism, intolerance and at the end of the day, about the polarity and divisions in South African society. Not a nice picture.

The world will look at South Africa and shake its collective head knowing that the peace and tranquility and goodwill that everyone would like to see in this country is actually paper-thin, and that things can go awry here at any time.

An over-exaggeration? I think not. South Africans are generally gatvol. Witness the coming together of people across the colour line against the e-tolls. Witness the displeasure surrounding the “paid parking” saga in Parkhurst and other suburban centres. Witness the frustration and anger around corrupt politicians and metro police who bribe motorists like there is no tomorrow. There are growing signs that the South African public is starting to draw a line in the sand. The frustration is palpable.
On the other side of the fence are those who support the ANC through thick and thin. Those who toyi-toyi outside the Goodman gallery demanding that the artist of the Zuma painting be punished and the art gallery be closed down.

And all because of a painting. Albeit disgusting, albeit crude, albeit insensitive –but a painting nevertheless.

A court case beckons. And you can be sure that the eyes and ears of the world will be on that court case. Whatever the judges’ verdict, the loser will be South Africa. A country with so much potential, with so many good people and yet with so little tolerance for each other’s views and standpoints.

The Streisand Effect is all about the unintended consequences of trying to block something or have it censored. Only to have it come back and bite you. There’s a lesson to be learned here.

How Important is Social Media in B2B Marketing?

This is a question often asked, and in an effort to get a definitive answer (for myself mostly, but also for my clients – many of whom are businesses targeting business from other businesses), I’ve been following with interest a recent post on LinkedIn: “Social media in B2B marketing – does it work? Convince me…and let me get my web person off my back!” I’d like your opinion on social media in B2B. I run a successful marketing & design agency in central Scotland – providing services to businesses, large & small – but here’s the thing. My web person is bugging me to better u§tilise Social Media and I’m not convinced it is the best approach for B2B. Is there anyone out there who can convince me otherwise – so I can put this issue to bed – once and for all!

As a post, it has generated an interesting debate from both sides of the Atlantic . The thread continues to this day, with all sorts of people entering the fray. I have taken a few excerpts from a selection of responses for the purposes of this article:

“I think social media marketing will eventually be proven to be scientifically effective. How much one wants to bet on an unquantifiable channel is up to one’s individual risk tolerance. To me Social Media Marketing investment is like, religion heaven and hell, you should behave like it works/exists in case it actually does, but not to an extreme”. Posted by Mark Sullivan

“My company began investing in social media in early 2011. In around 8 months we began getting calls and e-mails from potential clients (all B2B), who specifically told me that they had found us online and been impressed by what we do in social media. Currently approximately 4 out of 5 qualified leads come from online sources (and the 1 out of 5 mostly from recommendations by existing clients). The volume, value and scope of tenders has increased significantly over the past year. I’m not saying that this will work exactly the same way for every B2B company. But it’s still real-life proof that social media DOES work in a B2B setting”. Posted by Kaisa Hernberg

“Wow, Janice, dozens of comments, so I’ll keep mine brief. We’re also a marketing services agency, 100% b2b focused. We’ve won business through social media, and so have our clients. So yes, it can and does work. But it has to be done well and for the right reasons, and of course it shouldn’t be done instead of other communications, but alongside them in a fully integrated campaign.” Posted by Zoe Wilkins

“I have a number of clients who swear by Social media, and they are all businesses targeting other businesses. So it can, and does work. But to work well, there must a strategy in place….”

“Social Media has all the ingredients for successful business-to-business marketing, and can only get more important over time, but for us, there are still too many question marks. So we will be in the social media space so as to “watch this space”…whilst continuing with the more traditional media types for the present”

“The original topic was whether social media works in b2b. I have seen in practice that it can indeed work and provide value as part of a well-thought-out marketing mix. But I’m not saying that it will be the be-all and end-all solution for all b2b companies on the planet.” Posted by Mark Sullivan

After following this thread for some time, I then sought the opinions of a number of local social media gurus. What seems to be the general consensus is that for social media to work for B2B, there has to be a well thought out strategy in place. This requires, amongst other things:

  • Characterising and determining your target audience(s)
  • Communicating the marketing message: the key to marketing success being providing high quality informative content , and by so doing, establishing thought-leadership.
  • Analysing your strategy regularly

My advice to businesses which have not yet dipped a toe into social media waters?

  • Firstly agree and develop a social media strategy with a social media strategist, and once done:
  • Set up and populate a Facebook page (which you should update regularly)
  • Complete a LinkedIn profile (ensuring that it is married to your business goals)
  • Join “Groups” on LinkedIn (and become a regular contributor)
  • Produce a video (or series of videos) which should be uploaded to YouTube
  • Blog regularly from your website
  • Embrace Twitter (by tweeting what you think will add value to those following you)
  • Consider advertising on LinkedIn (for a pre-determined period)
  • Consider advertising on Facebook (for a pre-determined period)

If you do these, you’ll have taken your company into the world of social media and positioned yourself for the future – knowing that the social platform can only evolve and develop to be more embracing of business generally.

I would also recommend the professional search engine optimisation of your website and the implementing of Google Adwords campaigns, for as much as the Facebooks, LinkedIns, Twitters and YouTubes of the world are important, Google is still king and home to most online searches.

At the end of the day, whilst social media is important in B2B marketing (and poised to become even more so), it is at present just one marketing platform and needs to work in conjunction with conventional advertising media ie outdoor advertising, magazine advertising, online marketing etc.

So, as a business reliant on business from other businesses, it’s advisable to continue advertising on traditional platforms – but just to add social media to the mix. That’s if you don’t want to get left behind, that is. Whilst your phones may not ring immediately, you’ll increase your awareness in the digital space and increase the chances of them ringing in the future.

Why a Company Watch as a Corporate Gift?

Whilst giving corporate watches or company watches (they’re really one and the same) as gifts to clients or staff members is not a new idea, it’s one that seems to have gained traction over the years. And maybe because traditional corporate gifts, like bottles of wine, have just lost their sparkle.

As an advertising agency, I am from time to time asked to source corporate gifts with a difference – and very rarely do I find anything to get excited about. Paging through corporate gift brochures and catalogues is an exercise in frustration. There are so many of them and what you see in one, you invariably see in all the others.

Even promotional gift companies who promise to source you something “exciting and different” disappoint. Maybe I’m just too demanding, but African wired products, carvings or biltong cutters elicit the same response as bottled wine – a large sustained yawn.

This probably explains why my wife is kept so busy. She bakes what she calls “corporate cupcakes” (essentially cupcakes with a logo on) and judging by the interest she gets from promotional companies, event management companies, corporates, hotels, guest lodges, ad agencies and the like, she’s clearly onto something.

What this tells me is that many companies are looking for gift ideas that are different from the norm, and to me, corporate watches (and my wife’s nicely-packaged cupcakes of course) seem to fit the bill.
In fact, just this morning I asked for a collection of company watches to show my clients, which I now have in my possession. The consultant who dropped them off told me that demand for branded watches has increased substantially over the last year or so, and they are starting to get repeat orders from companies in all sorts of sectors – although South African vehicle manufacturers seem to be the biggest purchasers.

It seems that car manufacturers are either giving watches to purchasers of vehicles as a token of appreciation, or selling them in dealerships or on online stores to generate additional income.
Brands like Landrover and BMW seem to really like the idea of corporate branded watches, judging from the number of samples in my possession, which are nicely designed and convey real quality.

Branded watches don’t come cheap however. Which is why you wouldn’t typically hand them out to your secretarial staff on Secretary’s Day, or to your workers on Worker’s Day (unless you’re overly generous). A decent corporate wristwatch these days will set you back a good R450, but they’re quality timepieces – most times, Seiko or Citizen – that come with a three year warranty.

What companies may like about these watches is that they can be designed to their requirements – with a face and strap of their choice. Want a green leather strap with a logo in the centre of the watch face and the hands in metallic green? No problem it appears. On request, an in-house designer will supply up to six different designs for your consideration, and only after seeing to any required changes you may have (and presumably the payment of a deposit), will they commence production. There’s a minimum quantity order (fifty at the time of writing) and an eight week turnaround from approval of artwork.

Company watches can be given to loyal customers, long-serving employees, members of the board, members of clubs or organisations, as anniversary gifts, Christmas gifts and at product launches, performance awards, fundraising events, exhibition and trade shows, seminars..you name it.

At R450 a pop (and upwards), branded timepieces should be of interest to you if you’re looking for something different, and have the budget available. Call them what you will – branded watches, corporate watches, company watches, watches with your logo on – they’re sure to be appreciated more than the commonplace corporate gifts out there.