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digital marketing rondup

Last Week In Digital Marketing

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Welcome to our weekly roundup of major developments in the digital space (for the week ending 6th July, 2019.

Google Ads retires portfolio bid strategies

Responding to marketers’ consistent demands for simpler bidding, Google has announced the retirement of Enhanced CPC as a portfolio bid strategy.

In addition, Google also announced the retirement of the target spend setting as an option for Maximize Clicks portfolios. In other words, if you’re using Maximize Clicks as a portfolio bid strategy, you’ll no longer have the option to set a single target spend level across the campaigns within that portfolio.

Visit Wordstreamblog to read these developments in detail.

Google Maps Launches Place Topics

Another interesting development in the week was the launch of Place Topics by Google. Place topics use data based on reviews to provide concise information on what customers highlight about your business. In short, it summarizes the reviews left by your customers into tags.

Visit SEORoundtable to read more

Right Product Is Essential To Market Success In Nigeria

Having The Right Product Is Essential To Market Success In Nigeria

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No amount of marketing can sell a product no one wants
—unknown.

In my second year in the university, my Marketing instructor threw this question to the class — ”Assume you are the marketing manager for a particular product. You have done everything— segmentation, targeting, positioning, promotion, in short everything yet, your product is not selling. What do you do?”
The class gave varied and seemingly smart answers that were wrong nonetheless.

So what is the correct answer? Simple — Look at your product. A bad product cannot sell. Without a good product, no marketing, no matter how brilliant, will work. As Bill Bernbach says “The magic is in the product,” not in the marketer’s genius. Or as he put it another way, “marketing doesn’t create a product advantage. It can only convey it … No matter how skillful you are, you can’t invent a product advantage that doesn’t exist.

Businesses make real money only on repeat sales. While good marketing can make a prospect hopeful enough to try a product, it can’t make that customer delighted enough to buy it again. Only you and your product can do that.
What this means is that it’s your mission to come up with a product/service so inherently superior that, as soon as it’s effectively explained, demonstrated, or sampled, your prospects have no conclusion to draw except “I want it!”
Create “Wow!” products like this, add great customer service, and something magical happens. Your customers become your auxiliary sales force – a large, unpaid, ever-growing army of raving fans who extol your product to others, causing your market and profits to grow far more effectively than any marketing guru can.

This is where real marketing magic is born – in the product itself.

Making The Best Use Of Your Time Online

Making The Best Use Of Your Time Online

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Have you been feeling overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of information you have to read every day (online). Well, you are not alone. As far back as April 2008, Betsy Schiffman wrote in Wired magazine:
“now that the first burst of enthusiasm for social networking has died, people are now realizing that web 2.0 is actually a huge time sink. Facebook, twitter, flickr and plaxo may have helped foster community and communication, but they ‘ve also added immensely to the flow of often—interruptive messages that their users receive, leading to information overload and possibly a nasty internet addiction”

And even if before now you have not seriously considered scaling back on the amount of time you spend on the net, you should for the following reasons:
There are too many information on the net and you just can’t have the time to read them all.
The brain has limited capacity. Try to read for twelve hours nonstop. At a certain point, the law of diminishing returns sets in and your rate of assimilation starts going down. After a while, you just realize your assimilation is zero.
More informed is not necessarily synonymous with better informed.

On a personal level, I realised a couple of years ago that I was spending too much time feeding on everything on the internet & like a thirsty man in the desert who suddenly found an oasis, I was gorging myself to stupor. I read all kinds of blogs, participated in social media (general and niche), subscribed to newsletters too numerous to count and, just before I know it, I was devoting more than five hours a day to devouring information.

But after a while, I came to the realization that I had to adopt a proactive approach to my internet activities if I was to remain productive and maintain my sanity. The following are some of the tips that helped me.

Determine what is important
This is about knowing the difference between need to know and like to know
Need to know: These are the information that are vital to our functioning effectively in our professional, social and economic lives. As an internet marketing practitioner, for instance, I need to be abreast of any change in ranking factors on search engines; new business application on social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn; and …..Likewise, a medical doctor obviously need to be up to date on advancements in his area of expertise.
Like to know: two of my favorite websites used to be Forbes magazine and Guinness records websites. The information I get from these sites are nice to know but add little or nothing to my professional and personal development—they are a kind of like to know. Like to know information and activities include things like checking status updates on Facebook; checking the hottest video on YouTube; reading the latest celebrity gossip…..
The point is that you should identify those sources that provide you with need to know information and the ones that provide you like to know. You determine the selection criteria but, be absolutely honest with yourself.
My suggestion is that you should eliminate or at least significantly reduce (to less than ten percent) the time you spent on like to know activities. This leaves us with the need to know.

Because all your need to know activities are not created equal and also because of time constraint, you should scale them base on your perception of their relative value. For example, after a personal audit, I decided to read only 6 blogs a day out of the about fifty I used to read before. My daily blog list now looks like this:
1. SEOmoz for internet marketing
2. Branding Strategy Insider for offline marketing
3. Copyblogger for internet copywriting
4. BNET for general business information
5. Jeremiah Owyang for social media marketing
6. Seth Godin for motivation
7. I also devote 3 hours every Saturday to numerous other blogs

Allot time to different activities
You should allocate specific time to your online activities. If you stay in a city with heavy traffic like Lagos (like me) for example, you‘ll probably spend hours in traffic every day. You can make good use of this time by using the time spent commuting to work for your need to know. The time spent commuting back can be spent on less demanding activities like social media.
This makes sense. Most people assimilate better in the morning. Thus, by visiting blogs and other quality information sources in the morning, you get optimum result from your reading.

Things you should avoid
Configure Twitter not to interrupt you at work
Don’t check email too often. Only check emails at predetermined schedules
Stay off instant messaging or at least disable sound alert in your instant messaging during office hour

News in Search social media and marketing 1

News in Search and Social Media

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It’s been a non-eventful week on Social Media filled with the crackdown and aftereffect of Twitter shutting down fake accounts. However, on the Search side of Digitial things, things have been happening. Here are a couple of those things:

FAQs to appear in Google Search Results
Google has been testing for the past several months a new form of search results snippets: the way the search results appear to searchers. These new search snippets are in the form of FAQs or frequently asked questions, Q&A (questions & answers) and How-Tos.

Broad core algorithm
Google has released a “broad core algorithm update” this week. Google will release several algorithm updates per year that it may confirm, while many others are not confirmed or recognized by Google.

Snapchat now uses speech recognition to animate your face
The new lenses use speech recognition instead of facial recognition to identify when to trigger an animation. You can ask Alexa for something using single-word triggers to animate the augmented reality mask.

WhatsApp video calls supporting up to four people are now rolling out
To start a group call, just start a usual one-on-one video call, and tap the “add participant” button in the top right of the screen to add more contacts to the call. As you might have hoped, these group video calls are encrypted with WhatsApps usual end-to-end encryption, ensuring that your communications are always secure.

News in Search social media and marketing

Last Week Recap of Social Media, Search and Digital Marketing News

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Did you read our last recap notes? If you didn’t a lot has already happened within a week or two! Here are a few of the important things that happened last week that we think you should take note of.

Starting August 16th Twitter is limiting what third-party apps can do
Twitter is rolling out new policy changes on August 16th, which will limit what third-party Twitter apps are capable of doing.
This means that:
Third-party apps will no longer be able to stream tweets in real-time.
Push notifications will be either delayed or prevented altogether.

You can now add notes on AdWords
Google announced earlier that notes were coming to the new AdWords interface and now it has arrived.
Available at the account, campaign and ad group levels, notes in AdWords can be added by clicking on a point in the performance chart. Click on a point in the chart, and then click on “Add Note”

Instagram lets users re-share posts in stories
Instagram recently rolled out the ability for users to re-share posts from other accounts in their Instagram Stories.
This feature has been in testing since earlier this year, and it is now available to everyone.

AdWords integrates with Optimize
Google’s addition to AdWords experience is integration with Optimize, the company’s visual editor for landing pages.
Optimize gives marketers an easy way to change and test the landing pages related to their AdWords ads. Marketers can create different versions of the same landing page which are then ‘optimized’ according to what the individual user has searched for.
Optimize natively integrates with Analytics, so you can use the Analytics integrations with Google products like AdWords, BigQuery, DoubleClick for Publishers, DoubleClick Ad Exchange, and Firebase to deeply analyze the metrics that matter.

Bing Ads announced the availability of in-market audiences in the US on Tuesday.
In-market audiences are groups of users determined to be active in the market for a particular product or service category. With In-market Audiences, you can find curated lists of users that have been found to be in-market for a certain purchase category. Bing Ads takes into account user purchase intent signals from Bing, MSN and other Microsoft properties.
Bing says brands piloting the technology have seen up to 28% higher click-through rates and up to 48% higher conversion rates.

Marketing Myopia

Marketing Myopia – The Number One Corporate Strategy/Business Failure Factor In Nigeria

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It has been more than two years since I last wrote a marketing strategy post – Nigeria-telecoms-companies-and-marketing. The post generated a lot of reviews and was even a subject of a senior level strategy revamp in a major telecoms company in Nigeria. In this post, I will be making a case for a paradigm shift in the way we approach business/marketing strategy formulation.
First, a bit of background. The concept of marketing myopia was first postulated by Theodore Levitt of Harvard in his landmark 1960 HBR article titled Marketing Myopia. In the article, Levitt asked the now famous question, “What business are you really in?” According to Levitt, failure to answer this question correctly always leads to business failure. And he gave the example of the American railroad:
“The railroads did not stop growing because the need for passenger and freight transportation declined. That grew. The railroads are in trouble today not because that need was filled by others (cars, trucks, airplanes, and even telephones) but because it was not filled by the railroads themselves. They let others take customers away from them because they assumed themselves to be in the railroad business rather than in the transportation business. The reason they defined their industry incorrectly was that they were railroad oriented instead of transportation oriented; they were product oriented instead of customer oriented”
That is the main thrust of Levitt’s argument: businesses will do better in the end if they concentrate on meeting customers’ needs rather than on selling products.
All industries are dynamic. The truth is, every industry was once a growth industry and the ones that are currently riding a wave of growth enthusiasm are likely already in the shadow of growth decline or will soon be.
Let us look at the practical implication of this paradigm shift in selected Nigeria industries:

Telecommunication
On the surface, MTN, Etisalat, Airtel, Globacom are all in the telephone business. But in reality, nothing could be more erroneous than this. If these companies are to properly answer the question “what business are we in?”, they will agree that they are in the business of enabling communication between people. The success of any of these companies depends on realizing this. Five years ago, SMS used to cost 15 Naira. Today, the average cost of SMS is 4 Naira. But the real issue is not even in the declining revenue accruing to telecoms companies from SMS, the real issue is that in the next couple of years, SMS revenue will be zero! The reason for this is not farfetched, why should I pay for SMS when I can send the same message (and actually a lot more with multimedia) via Whatsapp, Snapchat, Facebook chat etc.
Even the traditional cash cow for these companies, voice, is not insulated. Skype and Whatsapp calls are free. In fact, I now make more calls on Skype and Whatsapp than on the traditional phone. While it is true that I am not currently a representation of an average Nigerian, it will not be naive to project that as smartphones and data become cheaper, more people will embrace internet calls; with the implication that average spend by the subscriber will keep falling.

NIPOST
A classic example of a company that fails to properly define its business is Nigeria Postal Service, NIPOST. NIPOST apparently thinks it’s in the letter distribution business. Wrong. (Of course, the problems of NIPOST are a legion: package disappearance, undertrained and unmotivated employees, analog operation etc). The single most significant factor responsible for NIPOST’s withering is its failure to correctly define its business.
Were NIPOST management more strategic, they would have understood that they are in the logistics business. This simple paradigm shift would have changed the story of NIPOST. Okay, what do I mean?
While it is true that the advent of email and texting have eroded the volume of the physical letter, the overlooked fact is that the same internet has dramatically increased the number of package deliveries, ala Jumia, Konga, Rytedeals, and co. The extensive postal infrastructure NIPOST has all over Nigeria gives it a huge competitive advantage in package delivery. Thus putting cost and geographic spread into consideration, it would have made a lot more business sense for these e-commerce companies to work with NIPOST (every other thing being equal of course).

***This post was first published a couple of years ago. With the content still very relevant and poignant today in Nigeria, we decided to bring it up again.

News in Search social media and marketing

Last Week in Social Media, Search and Digital Marketing

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A lot has been happening in the Digital Marketing space, from the GDPR taking effect on the 25th to Google implementing a couple of AI/Machine Learning intelligence. Here are a few of the important things that happened last week that we think you should take note of.

Google AdWords new search ads can show 3 headlines
Set up one ad with multiple headlines and a variety of descriptions, and Google will test combinations to show the best version that goes with the Advertiser’s goal.

Google will mark HTTP sites as “not secure”
Starting in September 2018, Google will be removing the “Secure” wording and HTTPS scheme in Chrome version 69. Plus, in July 2018 in Chrome version 68, Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure”.
“Previously, HTTP usage was too high to mark all HTTP pages with a strong red warning, but in October 2018 (Chrome 70), we’ll start showing the red “not secure” warning when users enter data on HTTP pages.”

AI-powered Google News
With the launch of the new AI-powered Google News last night, Google has pulled support for two webmaster and SEO features for Google News publishers.
“As part of the new Google News, we have ended support for Editors’ Picks feeds & the standout meta tag. We’ll have more to share on other ways publishers can optimize visibility in the near future.” Google announced on Twitter
The reimagined Google News uses a new set of AI techniques to take a constant flow of information as it hits the web, analyze it in real time and organize it into storylines. This approach means Google News understands the people, places and things involved in a story as it evolves, and connects how they relate to one another.

Facebook updates Ads Reporting & introduces new ‘creative reporting’
Creative reporting will let advertisers compare which ad creative elements deliver the best results across campaigns.
“This new Ads Reporting experience will enable you to analyze dimensions such as age, gender, placement and more to better understand how your ad performed,” says Facebook.

Twitter is changing how conversations happen based on user behavior and conduct
The company says it will use thousands of behavioral signals to filter search, replies and algorithmic recommendations.
The site will now use thousands of behavior signals when filtering search, replies and algorithmic recommendations, pushing tweets from offending users farther down the timeline, reports BuzzFeed.

Business and Investment Opportunities in Naija Blog Graphic

Exploring Business & Investment Opportunities In Nigeria

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Nigeria is a fertile ground for businesses but ironically, it is one of the least exploited markets for investment by foreign investors. This is probably due largely to its penchant for attracting negative reports in the international media. I will admit most of these reports are accurate to some extent. But the reports do not tell the full gist about the country. They generally fail to mention the huge business opportunities in Nigeria. In the last ten years, there has been a series of transformation in the Nigeria economy that has made it especially attractive to foreign investors. The country’s economy is more open (relatively), bigger, diversified and generally business-friendly. Also, for no fathomable reason to me, Nigerians generally prefer to do business with foreigners than with fellow countrymen.

That Nigeria is an attractive investment haven for a foreigner is unquestionable. There is no greater proof of this than the hundreds (maybe thousands) of Chinese and Indian businesses that have sprung up in Nigeria in the last few years. Almost all of which have been recording superlative successes. Nigeria is probably one of the best places for a foreign company/individual to set up in.
However, exploiting business opportunities in Nigeria as a foreigner has its own peculiar requirements. Failure to take cognizance of these will negatively impact your activities in Nigeria. Here we go:

Researching the Nigerian market
Internet: you should start your research on the Internet to have a general feel of the country. You will probably find very few relevant information and even this will not be up to date. The reason for this is not far fetched—Nigeria is yet to evolve to WEB 2.0. Most Nigerian sites especially the government ones (where they exist) are static with rare update of information. The following are some of the few sites with useful and reliable information:
Lagos State Chambers of Commerce and Industry
Nigerian Export Promotion Council
World Bank
Central Bank of Nigeria
Top newspapers like, Punch, Thisday, Guardian etc.
You can Google them but please, don’t base your decision solely on information gathered from the net. Researching the Nigerian market also requires offline activities
Your embassy in Nigeria: Contact the commercial section of your embassy in Nigeria. Any information you get from them will be reliable
Work with us: This might seem like self-promotion. However, it is included because while I cannot speak about others with certainty, I am absolutely sure of the competence and integrity of my company. Researching the Nigerian market will be easier with our help.

Attractive sectors
– The best sector for a foreign investment in Nigeria is service. (1) It is the biggest sector (relatively) (2) it is easy to enter (3) it requires little capital (4) it is the most attractive in view of the poor infrastructural base of the country
Specific sectors that are particularly juicy include:
– Web-related fields. It is still largely underdeveloped with enormous growth prospect
– Mobile telecommunication
– Construction
– Retailing of high-value items
– Education.
– All kinds of consulting
This list is in no way exhaustive.

Peculiar characteristics of the Nigerian Market
Cash-based: transactions in Nigeria are still largely cash-based
The concentration of business: business activities are concentrated in three main cities of Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Abuja. With Lagos accounting for over 40% of all business activities
Young population: the population is so young that more than 40% are under the age of fourteen
Poor social infrastructure: especially power supply
Poor security in some parts of the country. However, the main commercial city of Lagos and Abuja, the federal capital territory are absolutely safe.
Well educated workforce: on second thought, maybe not so well educated because of the outdated school curriculum. But you can count on their loyalty, hard work and adaptability.
Money speaks: I probably shouldn’t put this but because I wish to be truthful, it is included. In Nigeria, money answereth all things. This simply means with money, almost anything can be obtained
Extreme religiosity: Nigerians are a very religious lot (godly?).
Heterogeneity: Nigeria is a heterogeneous society with more than 250 distinct ethnic groups and languages. The south is liberal while most of the north is conservative

Insulating yourself from risks of doing business in Nigeria
Research properly before you venture into any business in Nigeria. If you are thinking of manufacturing, then you have to do a more thorough research.
If a business proposition looks too mouth-watering, beware! It’s probably a scheme by Nigerian boisterous scam artists to defraud you.
Before making financial dealing (that involves up to two thousand US dollars) with anyone in Nigeria, verify the authenticity of the party. You can contact Economic and Financial Crimes Commision, EFCC for assistance. Please endeavor to state that your purpose is precautionary.
It is advisable to set up in Lagos and/or Abuja, at least initially.

For further help, you can contact our company.

 

Market Segmentation & targeting in Nigeria

Market Segmentation & Targeting In Nigeria (II)

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In my last post, I wrote about the need for marketers to segment the market and focus their effort on the ones (segments) they can serve most effectively. A lot of people disagreed with me and accused me of expounding textbook theories that have no relevance in the Nigeria business environment.
To these marketing experts, the best strategy in an undeveloped and data poor market like Nigeria is to market to the mass market. They cited examples to buttress this point. They also pointed out the absence of real-life example in my write up.
This post is my response to them. And it’s not a theory.
One of the most truly competitive markets in Nigeria is the FM radio industry. The competition is particularly stiff in Lagos. This was the market Brilla FM entered a few years ago. Within a year the station became the toast of listeners and advertisers. Why this instant success? The answer is simple: Brilla FM is not just another radio station; it is a sports station targeted at sports enthusiasts!
This naturally differentiates Brilla FM from other stations and provides it with a potent USP. The implication? Well, if I am a marketer of men’s targeted product, where do you think I will advertise?

Also, into this same very saturated FM market came WAZOBIA FM two years ago and their success is even more profound than that of Brilla FM. The reason is also not farfetched. Half of Lagosians just don’t understand your Queen’s English but most, if not all speak pidgin. And the good WAZOBI FM people (God bless them) understood this. They established a pidgin-only radio station.
The result? – WAZOBIA FM is arguably the most-listened-to radio station in Lagos.

Anybody still in doubt about the importance of segmentation and targeting for effective marketing in Nigeria?

Market and Segmentation

Market Segmentation & Targeting In Nigeria

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Segmentation is a very key component that people often ignore. Last April, I was at a British Council Management Express event where a marketing expert was brought to Lagos from the UK to speak on “how to thrive in an increasingly competitive business landscape”. After his lecture, the audience was given the opportunity to ask questions on any [marketing] challenge they were facing. There was this question by a lady who said she was in the business of selling packaged powdered milk. She said her problem was that despite the fact that her milk offered greater value than those of the established brands, people still don’t buy her milk.
A lot of suggestions were given to her, both by the guest speaker and the members of the audience. She was advised to:
Price cheaper.
Package better.
Employ direct marketing.
Advertise more.
Personally, I believe the prescriptions (even though given with good intentions) were all wrong. Why? Because they all ignored a fundamental requirement for marketing success—segmentation and targeting. She just can’t compete with the big brand in an undifferentiated way. The big brands have more marketing resources and they can easily out-price, out-advertise and out-package her.

Does that mean she cannot successfully market powder milk in Nigeria?
No. But her marketing success will not come by marketing to the mass market – it will only come by her targeting and focusing on a segment of the market. For instance, she can focus on selling health milk to people with a weight problem. By doing this she would have carved a niche for herself and capture a valuable position in the market.
The point is that you cannot connect with all customers in large, broad, or diverse markets (except your marketing budget is limitless). But you can divide such markets into groups of consumers or segments with distinct needs and wants. And experience has demonstrated that firms that specialize in meeting the needs of one group of consumers over another tend to be more profitable.

Segmentation and targeting are a two-stage process.
You first (1) determine which kinds of customers exist, then (2) select which ones you can serve effectively.
Suppose you are into selling music. You could sell hip-hop, Yoruba, classical, gospel or Islamic music. But you have a higher chance of market success if you focus only on say, Christian music. And the reason for this is not farfetched; it simply makes your marketing more efficient and effective. Everything, from message design to medium of delivery, and even actual customer interaction will be greatly enhanced by effective segmentation and targeting.
As Drayton Bird wrote in his book Commonsense Direct Marketing, even the worst message sent to the right people will do better than the most brilliant message sent to the wrong people. And Gary Halbert put it even more succinctly when he said the most important advantage in marketing if you were running a hamburger joint was to have a starving crowd.