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Strike Media: Russel Stromin

Mobile media guru leads the new marketing sector with a string of successful campaigns.

Juliet Pitman



Russel Stromin

The cellphone is the most ubiquitous communication device on the continent and yet some South African companies are still slow to embrace the power of mobile marketing. If they’re looking for examples of how effective – not to mention cheap – mobile marketing can be at getting consumers to answer the call of their brand, they need look no further than the work being done by Strike Media, a Cape Town-based mobile media marketing company. The company’s short code SMS and mobile internet campaigns are getting noticed for their high hit-rate, powerful messaging and ability to gather customer information.

Hitting the sweet spot

A recent campaign for a well-known cider brand is just one example. It generated 680 000 SMSs, which equated to an equivalent number of bottles sold, and 89 000 unique cell numbers. CEO, Russel Stromin, talks about what made the campaign so successful: “The brand wanted us to help them increase sales and build a database of their customers so that they could market directly to them in future. We ran a competition where the prize was a luxury cruise and people had to SMS a unique number under the bottle cap to enter. The prize they won improved the more SMSs they sent – for example if they sent one SMS they would go on a cruise and stay in a basic berth, but if for example they sent four SMSs and they won, they’d get to take four friends and stay in the best suite onboard.”
The idea worked wonders and gave the brand the opportunity to get permission from customers for future communication. This is particularly useful at a time when the alcoholic beverage industry is anticipating legislation that will restrict their marketing in a similar way to the tobacco industry years ago. “Mobile marketing provides them with a chance to change the way they reach customers and harness the power of direct, opt-in, one-to-one messaging,” says Stromin.

Getting customers to call you

Strike Media has also been very successful in getting delinquent debtors to pay up. The Association of Debt Recovery Agents (Adra) turned their outbound call centre into an inbound call centre, thanks to the work that Strike Media’s SMS campaign did in getting debtors to call their debt collectors, instead of the other way around. “We enabled them to send long SMSs with lots of information with details of what they owed and who to call if they didn’t want to be blacklisted. The instant nature of SMS, and the fact that it’s a medium that’s not typically ignored, means the debtors would phone in to arrange payment, or use the info in the SMS to pay on their own,” says Stromin. Research shows that 90% of SMSs are read within 15 seconds of being sent, unlike emails and letters. Adra president, Arnold Olivier, describes SMS as “the perfect tool” enabling debt collectors to contact hundreds of people in a reliable and cost-effective way.

Beyond SMS

But while SMS is highly effective, Stromin is quick to point out that it’s only one medium in the mobile marketers toolbox. “What we’re really excited about is the work we are doing in the mobile internet space.  Almost everyone in this country has a mobile phone and this has given millions of people, who don’t have a computer, access to the internet,” he says. Research shows there are more people browsing the internet on cellphones than there are on PCs. As broadband access becomes cheaper and handsets become more sophisticated, this group will continue to grow. “The new consumer has their phone with them all the time, which means they can access your mobisite wherever they are. So if you’re running an SMS campaign and you don’t have a link in the SMS to your mobisite, you’re really missing a trick,” says Stromin. With mobile as the seventh media fast becoming a mainstream marketing channel, companies that don’t capitalise on mobile technologies to interact with their customers will quickly get left behind.
Stromin sees it as Strike Media’s job to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Strike Media
Players Russel Stromin
Est 2003
+27 21 685 0577

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.


25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton



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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

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Colin Timmis Says ‘Position Yourself For Success By Starting With The Numbers’

People pay first who they feel pressure from, so people will pay you when they feel pressure from you.






Entrepreneur Colin Timmis founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice in 2011, Real Time Accounting. Then, a few years after being appointed as South Africa’s first Xero partner Colin became Xero Country Manager South Africa. Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services.

Related: Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps

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Two 20 Year Olds Reshape Entrepreneur Landscape With New Social Investment Platform

The Merge vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

Merge Connect




Vital Stats

It’s no secret that finding the right investor for your venture is a challenge that most entrepreneurs face. The current process of finding investment is one that is outdated, and limits entrepreneurs due to a lack of time, and network that is needed to find the right investor. But, this doesn’t have to be the case in today’s digital society, says Zander Matthee and Brandon Bate, co-founders of Merge.

“By making the Internet the middleman, we are able to connect with each other much simpler and faster than before” was Zander’s response. “We have taken advantage of this, and have created a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors” added Brandon.

Merge is a social platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors. It aims to simplify, refine and accelerate the process of finding investment for entrepreneurs, and the process of finding investment opportunities for investors. From idea to developed, the platform allows entrepreneurs to present a brief outline of their venture to a network of all investor types. While doing this, entrepreneurs are able to browse through, and connect with investor profiles that suit their requirements.

Related: 8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion

From Private Investors to Venture Capital, and everything in between, Merge allows all investor types to join. Investors have the opportunity to personalise their feed to suit their investment preferences, and will be able to connect with innovative businesses – that are looking for investment – at their fingertips. Only once there is a mutual interest in each other, are users able to enter a secure private chat where they can discuss further and share documents under the protection of a digital NDA.

The two boys became good friends during their time in high school at St Stithians Boys College. However, it was only in their last year, 2016, that they decided to pursue their dreams and create the platform. They didn’t know how to code, so rather ironically, they needed some form of investment to get the platform off the ground.


“We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we believed in our vision and that we were really trying to make a difference, and if we could get others to see that, they would be onboard.” said Zander.

Related: Lessons From The Rich And Famous: Manage Your Money Like Oprah To Avoid Going Into Debt Like Nicholas Cage

Chris Peters is one of these individuals that bought into their vision, and became Merge’s first investor. As a successful entrepreneur and part time investor , Chris saw how much value the platform could bring to all entrepreneurs and investors alike. His marketing and strategic background gave him insight into how Merge could play a vital role in a lucrative space, Brand involvement.

“Entrepreneurship and SME development are two key factors that drive economic growth in developing countries like South Africa. That is why brands are currently getting involved, and looking to support entrepreneurs through various means. We have built a platform that allows these brands to successfully market, and execute on the programmes they have created to assist entrepreneurs.” said Chris

Merge was created to assist all entrepreneurs and investors in finding exactly what they are looking for, regardless of age, race, sex, financial position or social status. That is why anybody can sign-up as an entrepreneur. As long as you are determined and willing to work for your dreams. For too long has the investor space been seen as an “elite club for the select few”, and Merge is here to change that. Whether you’ve gotten your bonus at the end of the year and looking for new investment opportunities, or are an active investor, you can sign-up. Whether you’re currently working, or a retired industry leader, you can join as a mentor.

Their vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

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