Analytics powers the ability to better communicate with your customer, improves the customer experience, and ensures you remain profitable.
Keeping customers happy informed and engaged is the age-old problem facing marketers. Couple that with the myriad of new communication channels now available and it can be a complete headache.
According to Andreas Heiz, customer intelligence leader Middle East & Africa, at SAS Institute, in order for marketers to better ‘market’ to and engage with customers, they need to first break down their business intentions before making strategic plans to approach the customer.
“You need to carefully define what you want to do as a business and what you hope to achieve, outside of just making money,” states Heiz. “Lets look at the basics, most people want to win customers, retain them, maximise the value of the outbound and inbound conversations with them at every touch point, as well as minimise risk to the business and then optimise the company’s goals. Whether that is to sell more units, engage more sales tools or optimise the value chain.”
Embrace the market
But in order to achieve the above there are some basic business rules that need to be taken into consideration. Looking at the market, as it now stands, we can see that the CRM manager of the past has been replaced with the CEM or Customer Experience Manager. This person is armed with the task of acknowledging and embracing changing market indicators and factors such as economic climate, buying patterns, customer loyalty challenges and ever evolving customer touch points.
“The notion that loyalty is given is gone, customers investigate the products they want and need themselves, they no longer just call one service provider and settle on a service from them because they are loyal to the brand,” adds Heiz. “What this translates to, for the marketer, is that promotions and engagement is now less about selling and more about interaction. Bearing in mind that social media is fuelling this decision making process as well.
“Yes it makes it more difficult for us. We need to be cognisant of the fact that we can’t lump people into the same cookie jar or genre anymore – everyone and everyone’s needs truly are unique. And the customer will do his best to find and source what best suits his desires.”
The bottom line in this evolving paradigm is that everyone today, no matter how much we want to believe that it is connected, is in fact disconnected. Customers approach everything through different channels, from the web to a face-to-face interaction, and each of these channels often provide and promote a different message.
What one needs to aim towards is streamlining the message from these interactions, into a single voice or message. One that communicates one offering, one service, one product with standard features – the experience needs to be the same no matter the channel.
“This is easier said than done as the existing solutions available today simply cannot keep up. They all offer the information we need, but they do so by way of independent silos of customer data that are not linked, and from which we cannot pull or extract the full potential of the data they house,” warns Heiz.
Research conducted by the Loyalty Effect highlights that 33% of companies are experiencing higher costs to sell services and retain customers. This indicates that a lot of time and resource is being thrown at the customer engagement model with no guarantee for success. Heiz says that customers who accept that they need to have a natural conversation with their clients are currently the most successful, particularly those that embrace and leverage real-time decision-making.
Giving customers what they need
“Don’t fall into the trap of focussing on the needs of your product managers or sales people. Traditionally the manager who shouts the loudest gets what he is asking for and the emphasis on the customer is lost,” says Heiz. “Look at the data for the facts, rely on your business model for the answers and go back to what you want to achieve as a business, only then will you be servicing your customer and not your product manager.”
According to Heiz the model and approach is not difficult. “Marketing is not based on clairvoyance, it is a science that relies on tools such as marketing optimisation, customer engagement models, analytics and real-time decision-making,” he states. “It is based on the notion of a corporate cockpit that navigates through customer information by way of planning, monitoring, simulation and control. We need to use technology to enable us to see where we are going and how what we do impacts the customer.
“We need to optimise the decisions we take and we can do this by collecting information from data systems, optimising it, and then acting on it by sending an email or engaging through a phone call. Once we have interacted with the customer we can visualise the experience and draw conclusions from it by analysing and monitoring its success. As a business you need to change from being an oil tanker to a jet plane – you need to move quickly and be agile. You will only achieve this by investing time and thought into the decisions you make about customers. It is that, or be content to sit at a roadblock and let your competitors pass you by,” ends Heiz.
Africa’s Top 10 Tech Start-Ups Selected For #Africa4Future Accelerator Programme
Airbus and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have announced the top 10 African tech start-ups that will take part in the latest Airbus Bizlab #Africa4Future accelerator programme. They were selected after an open public pitch event in front of experts, potential investors, the media and other stakeholders in Kenya’s capital city.
#Africa4Future is a joint business accelerator initiative of Airbus and GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa initiative together with the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a non-profit seed fund and pan-African organisation that brings together startups, entrepreneurs and the tech community, and Innocircle, the South African-based innovation consultancy.
The top 10 start-ups were selected from 314 entries representing 19 African countries that were received when the challenge was opened last October. These were assessed by a panel of Airbus and other independent experts.
The programme aims to encourage and support entrepreneurship in Africa. The continent’s young and increasingly techno-savvy population is likely to be the driving force behind Africa’s socio-economic development. The competition identifies Africa’s own pool of talented entrepreneurs using innovative aerospace based solutions to tackle the continent’s most pressing challenges such as transportation, agriculture and healthcare.
As a global aerospace accelerator, Airbus BizLab is ideally suited to help African startups transform innovative ideas into viable and valuable businesses. In doing so, it increases the aerospace industry’s engagement with hardware and software innovators and entrepreneurs in Africa while helping to nurture the establishment of competitive entrepreneurial ecosystems on the continent.
The Nairobi event kicks off an intensive 6-month business incubation and accelerator programme involving technical, commercial and mentorship activities in France, Germany and South Africa. This includes workshops and coaching sessions with Airbus experts, GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa, MEST and Innocircle coaches.
The programme will culminate with Demo Day events at the biennial Paris International Airshow and a special event in Germany from 19-26 June, when finalists will launch their products, define their collaboration with Airbus and announce their investment commitments in front of representatives from across the aerospace industry.
1. Astral Aerial (Kenya) – using drones for humanitarian cargo transport, surveillance and emergency response.
2. Cote d’Ivoire drone (Ivory Coast) – locally-manufactured drones for various applications.
3. Elemental Numerics (South Africa) – applies computational fluid dynamics techniques to the design of machines and components, ranging from aircraft to heart valves.
4. Lentera Limited (Kenya) – applying remote sensors to monitor and transmit environmental data to enable more efficient and smarter farming.
5. Maisha ICT Tech PLC (Ethiopia) – deploying locally built drones for delivering medicines, blood and healthcare items to remote and rural areas.
6. MamaBird (Malawi) – provides a platform to help Governments, NGOs and other organisations deliver vital life-saving supplies to remote communities.
7. Map Action (Mali) – a solution offering real-time online urban mapping to identify problems affecting water supplies, hygiene and sanitation.
8. MobiTech Water Solutions (Kenya) – an online real-time water monitoring solution that allows businesses, homes and water-service providers to manage their available water using an app-based dashboard and instant messaging.
9. Track Your Build (Nigeria) – a novel infrastructure management tool for construction and operations.
10.WiPo Wireless Power (South Africa) – offers reliable and convenient wireless power chargers for businesses, conference centres, airports, restaurants and other venues for the charging of mobile devices, laptops and drones.
Related: 21 Steps To Start-Up Success
Top Sectors For SMEs In 2019
“As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
While the South African economy has been underperforming for a number of years, the first positive signs of turnaround started to become visible by the second quarter of 2018, and by the end of the third quarter, data supplied by Statistics South Africa showed that the economy had indeed grown by 2.2 percent, compared to the previous quarter. This uptick is expected to have a positive effect on business confidence in 2019.
This is according to Jeremy Lang, regional general manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), who says that certain business sectors have already seen an increase in opportunities for small businesses and start-ups.
“While these sectors will not be without challenges, the following four industries are likely to offer the best opportunities for small and medium enterprise (SME) owners to grow their enterprises in the coming year.”
The World Travel and Tourism report 2018, revealed that the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to South Africa’s GDP has been projected to rise from R136bn in 2016 to R197.9bn by 2028 – set to make up a total of 3.3 percent of the country’s total GDP, says Lang.
“Although this sector experienced some setbacks in 2018, such as the drought in the Western Cape and stricter visa regulations for children entering the country, both the water restrictions and visa regulations have been relaxed and the sector is once again poised for growth,” he says.
Statistics South Africa has credited this industry with being the biggest driver of growth in the country’s GDP, having expanded by 7.5 percent in September 2018, says Lang. “To bolster this, Government has made a concerted effort to stimulate small business growth in this area with initiatives such as the Black Industrialist Programme and the SA Automotive Masterplan.”
He adds that businesses in the manufacturing sphere could therefore likely see significant opportunities in the form of outsourcing contracts and new partnerships with large corporates.
“The debate around land expropriation has occupied most of the discussions surrounding the agricultural sector in 2018, with some questioning growth prospects of this sector. However, this industry has a lot of growth ahead of it, as demonstrated by its 6.5 percent growth over the last three months of 2018,” explains Lang.
“Further to this, the industry is also already taking significant advantage of seven climatic regions in South Africa, with the export of a wide variety of high quality fruit and vegetables increasing substantially,” he points out. The recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease that has resulted in the suspension of the country’s FMD-free status will however significantly impact meat exporters.
In terms of opportunities for SMEs, he says that these may most likely be found in the rural and underdeveloped regions, where the need for resources like efficient transport, state-of-the-art cold storage, better irrigation and private power generation will be key to making agriculture projects more productive and competitive in the export market.
Data and information technology
Connectivity and information technology infrastructure are both crucial to business and employment growth in South Africa, says Lang.
“With many municipalities and the Western Cape government committing to providing all of its residents with free data as part of a plan to expand public Wi-Fi network access, it is clear that this is also becoming a high priority on a state level.”
It has also been reported that South Africa is awaiting the arrival of three international data centres, and large players in the communications sphere, including Vodacom, Telkom and Vumatel, are making huge strides in drastically growing the country’s fibre optic backbone, he adds. “As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
In conclusion, Lang says that as South Africa’s economic growth has started to turn around, business owners should keep their ears to the ground as 2019 is highly likely to be a year of opportunity.
Herman Mashaba To Talk On City Of Jo’burg Job Creation Initiative
Herman Mashaba to talk on City of Jo’burg job creation initiative at 2019 Business Day TV SME Summit.
Leading organisations at the SME Summit
Start-up Advice1 week ago
6 Fundamental Steps To Consider Before Venturing Into The South African Cannabis Industry
Business Landscape1 week ago
How Algorithmic Forecasting Can Improve Business Efficiency In Challenging Economic Times
Business Ideas Directory1 week ago
300 Business Ideas To Inspire You Into Entrepreneurship
Start-up Advice1 week ago
Outdoor Versus Indoor: How Different Conditions Will Impact Your Budding Marijuana Business
Women Entrepreneur Successes2 days ago
How A Serious Car Accident Led Founder Relebohile Moeng To Starting Afri-Berry
Lessons Learnt4 days ago
(Slideshow) Top Advice From Local Entrepreneurs That Will Change Your Business In 2019
Start-up Advice1 week ago
4 Things Nobody Tells You About Entrepreneurship
Company Posts1 week ago
Success Fuelled By Partnership