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.
10 African Innovators Selected For Global Accelerator Startupbootcamp Afritech
Startupbootcamp AfriTech empowers the top innovative African tech startups, linking them to the fastest-moving corporates on the continent.
Startupbootcamp (SBC) AfriTech today announced the Top 10 African Innovators selected to participate in the globally renowned, multi-corporate backed accelerator programme for 2018.
Post an intensive 3-month global scouting tour, across 15 countries, and inclusive of 19 FastTrack events and 220 face-to-face startup engagements, the SBC AfriTech team received 1,004 applications from 73 countries in total, attracting double the applications from its inaugural launch in 2017.
The applications were shortlisted to the top 22 startup teams that were flown down to pitch their businesses over 2-days to some of the most progressive leaders in the innovation space in Africa, including corporate sponsors, mentors and investors.
The SBC AfriTech programme (previously SBC Africa) ended on a record high in 2017 with 32 corporate agreements in pilots and proof-of-concepts signed by close of the accelerator.
“Our inaugural year was big, it was bold,” comments Zachariah George, co-founder and Chief Investment Officer of SBC AfriTech, “Our phenomenal success of last year has made us the only truly global accelerator for tech ventures in partnership with dynamic corporates on the African continent – we are accelerating the next wave of innovation in Africa.”
The top 10 African Innovators selected are:
- Akiba Digital, South Africa: A financial savings platform and personal savings coach that leverages A.I., machine learning and gamification to democratize wealth in Africa.
- Bankly Technologies, Nigeria: A goal-based savings product that digitizes cash and enables in-country, peer-to-peer transfer services through the use of vouchers available nationwide.
- Brandbook Analytics, South Africa: A mobile application providing users free gift-card coupons for completed purchases with the ability to harvest vast amounts of consumer data and improved forecasting and analytics.
- CredPal, Nigeria: An innovative solution using deep data that provides individuals with instant access to credit at the point of checkout for various online and offline merchants.
- Digitech Group, Ivory Coast: Provides incumbent insurance companies an omni-channel and cloud-based digital platform to sell insurance products through mobile and web.
- Inclusive Financial Technologies, Ghana: Inclusive FT’s API helps digital financial services reach the most remote customers across Africa by enabling them to onboard, verify and monitor them via digital channels.
- Kudimoney Bank, Nigeria: A no-charge, full-service, online-only bank making banking services more affordable and more accessible by offering an interest-earning spending account with zero charges, a savings account with above-average interest rates and access to low interest instant loans.
- Lüla, South Africa: A mobility-as-a-service platform that connects stakeholders to improve mobility by providing transport that is convenient, accessible and safe and enabling operators, cities and passengers to have easy access and understanding of transport.
- MPost, Kenya: A patented solution providing legally recognised physical addresses for the 95% of the African population that do not have a postal address.
- Prospa, South Africa: A micro-savings solution for low-income earning South Africans, allowing users to purchase savings vouchers at traders that entitle the user to a set amount of savings which are deposited into a mobi-savings account.
The 10 selected tech startups have a month to ready themselves for the 3-month accelerator that will kick off on August 13th in Cape Town and culminate with the Demo Day on November 8th when they will pitch to the world.
To the Top 10, Philip Kiracofe says: “You are here because your solution is market-ready and the sponsors want to work with you starting from today. The next 3 months are going to be absolutely exhilarating. We are going to be here side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder, pushing you, cajoling you, encouraging you, nurturing you, mentoring you and helping you achieve 12 – 18 months’ worth of growth in a 3-month span. On Demo Day you’re not going to believe that just 3 months ago you were standing where you are today. Congratulations and good luck.”
SBC AfriTech is anchored and endorsed by heavyweight corporate sponsors RCS, BNP Paribas Personal Finance, Old Mutual, Nedbank and PwC. The programme also has local service partners Brevity Law, Cloudworx, Inner City Ideas Cartel, and The Loudhailer and is globally supported by Google Cloud, Cisco and Amazon Web Services.
Annual Show Fundex To Reveal Entrepreneurs Funding Secrets
Riversands Incubation Hub is set to host its third annual FundEX event at Riversands on Thursday 16 August 2018.
Last year’s FundEX brought together more than 600 entrepreneurs seeking funding for business expansion. This year’s one-day conference and expo is set to create numerous golden opportunities for entrepreneurs needing access to funding.
FundEX carries the theme ‘Secrets of Scale’, and will unpack what it takes to build a ‘fundable’ business, featuring entrepreneurs who have attracted funding and built successful businesses.
“We measure the success of FundEX against the number of entrepreneurs who secure funding after the event. Contrary to popular belief, there is funding available. This event aims to provide practical guidance on what funding is available and what it takes to access this capital,” says Jenny Retief, CEO of Riversands Incubation Hub.
While Riversands does not provide funding, the organisation plays a role in bridging the gap between entrepreneurs and the many players in the funding space.
This year’s FundEX will extend beyond the one-day event and includes 10 places for entrepreneurs to work with a finance coach with insights from funding experts to prepare for funding. “We will walk this funding journey with these selected entrepreneurs,” adds Retief. Entrepreneurs attending FundEX can apply to be selected for this ‘fast-track’ process.
Entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to interact with a variety of funders including banks, government funders and alternative funding platforms in the funders’ lounge during the show. Appointments with funders can be booked on the day, with the lounge opening at 10:00 and running to 15:00.
The one-day event runs from 09:00 to 16:00 and is open to the public, with tickets available online at http://www.fundex.co.za priced at R350 per head.
Riversands Incubation Hub is located off William Nicol Drive near Dainfern.
What Is South Africa Day?
Celebrated annually on the last Saturday of November, South Africa Day is dedicated to nation building where South Africans are inspired by the spirit of our common citizenship, values and constitution to forge a unity that is unique to our land and people.
Drawing inspiration from an auspicious moment in South Africa’s history when 26 political parties signed the Interim Constitution in November 1993; South Africa Day is not a public holiday, but a day of celebration and of community togetherness that is supported by South African business, and driven by ordinary citizens.
South Africa Day is therefore a day on which projects, celebrations and events aimed at community building are undertaken throughout the nation. While South Africa already has many specific focused days viz. Youth Day, Women’s Day, Worker’s Day, Mandela Day (service to humanity, with international focus), Heritage Day (cultural diversity), there is no day set aside for the deliberate bringing together of South Africans as a whole. South Africa Day is intended to bring a sense of urgency to addressing the challenges facing South Africa within the global economy, and those facing the nation in its politics and in the fracturing of social cohesion.
South Africa Day is the brainchild of Dr Bheki Shongwe; whose vision was brought to life through the support of prominent members of South African society who have dedicated their lives to building our country. Archbishop Thabo Magkoba, Advocate George Bizos, Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu and Dr Enos Banda are patrons of South Africa Day. Of course, the contribution of our sponsors and the value they have added cannot be stressed enough.
Noteworthy activities to date include The Foschini Group’s vibrant approach to an in-house display in celebration of South Africa Day in November 2017 where staff where encouraged to sign the South Africa Day Pledge and Declaration. The Foschini Group has set in motion what South Africa Day hopes will be one of hundreds of events that will be organised by South Africans citizens in the future.
Nation building is important to inculcating a feeling of belonging and with it accountability and responsible behaviour (National Planning Commission: 2011). Central to South Africa Day’s efforts toward nation building is active citizenship in community upliftment in partnership with business and community organisations. As such, the organisation has a number of Flagship Projects that are being activated.
One project that is already coming to fruition is that of the South Africa Day Towns Makeover Initiative; wherein NWK is the proud premier sponsor. Spearheaded by South Africa Day Chief Operations Officer Barend la Grange, the town of Coligny was selected out of 6 towns in the North West province.
Coligny was a town plagued by racial fragmentation and tension following the death of sixteen-year-old Matlhomola Jonas Mosweu and the subsequent riots; and rising out of such a difficult situation especially with the events that have further divided the society being so recent, is not an easy feat. However, the Cleaning, Reparation, Painting and Planting (CRPP) beautification process, through the commitment and efforts of the local community and local business saw sponsors from outside of Coligny viz. Promac and PowerRock step in to work with the local community and business by sponsoring products and service. Prior to implementation and for the purpose of this project in Coligny, research was undertaken by the Urban and Regional students of the North-West University, under the leadership of Prof Juaneé Cilliers.
South Africa Day is immensely proud of the progress to date and plans are already under way to ensure that the objective is not just to make the town attractive in an effort to instil pride in its residents and visitors but to create an environment that is investor friendly. Chris Hart, Marius Joubert and other key economic and financial experts and interest groups are collaborating with the Coligny Forum around medium and long term investment in the town that will have sustainable impact through job creation for the local communities of Coligny, Scotland and Tlhabologang. After all, the beautification process of the town has to be accompanied by improvement of the socio-economic circumstances of citizens for the South Africa Day Towns Makeover Initiative to have a more long term, meaningful impact.
South Africa Day would love to see all South Africans get excited about and pledge support for, South Africa Day by adopting the South Africa Day Pledge and Declaration: http://www.southafricaday.org.za/Pledge/PledgeDeclaration.
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