My (entirely satirical) predictions for digital in 2015

Without fail, around November we start to see “Marketing Analysts” provide the top trends they predict for the coming year. I see these “Analysts” using this platform for speaking gigs, further writing opportunities and general fame so I thought I would take some time out on a rainy Sunday and look into my crystal ball of future knowledge in order to tell you what to expect.

1) 2015 will be the year of the mobile

I know, I know we hear this every year but I’m telling you that 2015 is the year that mobile adoption is going to hit the mainstream. Smartphone’s will be everywhere and we can see the start of this with Vodacom selling a smartphone for a mere R549. Smartphone adoption in Africa is also going to grow; I know this because of the graph below:


2) Content, content, content

I can’t beat this drum enough: content is king. We all know your users wake up daily in order to find out exactly what you want to say to them. I can’t be more proud when a Community Manager asks users whether they’ll be having a “insert brand here-licious weekend?” or runs a Twitter “retweet” competition. In 2015 I see this growing more and more, with content focussing on questions that require users to favourite if they agree and retweet if they don’t.

In addition I see Content Marketing becoming a “thing” that’s spoken about in marketing departments. Whether it’s text, video or audio: everyone wants to hear about your brand. I have this picture of a funnel to fully explain my point when it comes to Content Marketing:



Trust me, I’m a “Market Analyst”

3) Integration is key

We’re seeing more and more digital agencies start to take the lead on large accounts and we’re seeing more and more traditional agencies buy digital agencies in order to compete. 2015 is the year we get digital agencies building hardware and I predict it’s time that these agencies focus on products rather than service. A perfect example of such integration is┬áthe brilliance of the “Dove – Real Beauty Sketches” campaign and how it merged online with traditional, above the line work. In case you’ve missed this video at every conference for the past two years I’ll help jog your memory:

4) Brands will expand into Africa

Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt and Tanzania are all rife for the picking. If you see point 1 of my predictions you’ll see that smartphones are going to be massive in Africa. Whether it’s FMCG, Automotive or Financial services, Africa is no longer being seen as “that place with poor people and Ebola”. Many companies make the mistake of dividing Africa into West and East regions however it’s a waste to separate the two as Africa is not about differentiation but a place to make a quick buck.

Look, Africa can fit the US and China in it’s landmass:


5) 2015 is the year we finally get decent broadband in SA

Trust me, I’m an “Analyst”.


It’s time to “just let go”

I’ve had the pleasure of being on a counselling course for the past three months where we’re being taught how to counsel callers that are in potentially life threatening situations. It’s a tough ask, you could have someone literally about to blow their brains out and need to somehow be talked off that literal or metaphorical ledge. You would be correct in saying that this is a fairly pressurised situation. I’m not going to talk about counselling per say but more about the two important business lessons I’ve managed to get out of this process.

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Why running a marathon is the most terrible and wonderful thing I’ve ever done

Last week I ran my first marathon in over a year. I’d been avoiding it for one simple reason: it’s a damn hard process. I was under trained physically and mentally. I’ve been jumping between cycling and running and with the addition of a social life and work (which is probably a life in itself) I’d not trained enough. Unfortunately this was the last qualifying run for the Two Oceans Marathon so I had no choice.

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An Uber in South Africa update

I’ve written before about Uber and how I thought it was a bad idea in South Africa (read about it here). I’ve used the service in both Joburg and Cape Town and have been suitably impressed by the service. You request a cab on your phone, they call you to confirm and then pick you up. Simple and easy. In Cape Town the pricing was totally different making the service both affordable and easy. In Joburg though the minimum cost per trip was R85, making it quite expensive. Things have changed and these are the new prices:

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Hiring the right people isn’t as hard as you think

This year I’ve had the pleasure of hiring a few new staff members as well as branching out into the recruitment business. I’ve also recently seen a lot of bad hiring decisions on behalf of some friends and clients and felt it would be a good time to discuss some thoughts on hiring.

When you’re in a big corporate you’ve got an entire HR department to handle situations such as this. They’ll accept CV’s, filter through the candidates, interview them and then check for cultural fit. It’s a slow process but there are reasons for that.

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The “enthusiasm economy”

It’s not often I post something personal on this blog but I felt now was a pretty great time to do so. The last three or four months have probably been the most amazing ever for me from a business perspective. In pure currency terms I’ve basically tripled my one companies retainer revenue while at the same time growing my second company from nothing to making more in a month than I’ve made in my best solo year. I’m not here to brag, I’m here to talk about attitude.

I’ve recently changed a lot about my attitude and bought into what I am calling the “enthusiasm economy”. Essentially it’s using enthusiasm to create something; whether it’s motivation or something more tangible. Now I’m probably starting to sound like the first chapter of “The Secret” but let me explain: I don’t believe in visualising what you want in order to manifest it: I believe in enthusiasm motivating you.

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Why the “iPhone 5C” is genius

I’ve owned a fairly substantial amount of phones. From my first Nokia 5110 to my current iPhone 5 I’ve owned and reviewed more phones than I can even count. However, if you ask me what my favourite phone of all time I’d have to say it was my iPhone 4. For a device to last me the usual two year cellular contract period is highly unusual. I loved that phone and even after two years it was still going relatively strong. In the end though, the contract cycle continues and I got an iPhone 5. Such is the vanity of the iPhone owner. Interestingly you can still buy the iPhone 4 and 4S, a testament to the longevity of these devices. No one is still buying a Samsung Galaxy S2, it’s a thing of the past.

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What’s in a technology name?

Technology names are tough, we’ve become so desensitised to names such as the “Huawei G590″ or the “Lenovo T410″ that we accept arb naming conventions. There’s the classic example of how Steve Jobs returned to Apple in the late nineties and took their range from the likes of the “Quadra 700″ to the infinitely simpler “iBook”, “iMac”, “Powerbook” and “PowerMac”. Even though there were more than one product per range, you knew immediately which product was for you based on your computing requirements.

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Introducing the Wallee

I recently had the pleasure of spending some time with the Wallee, a brand of iPad and iPhone accessories that give your phone and tablet some cool abilities. Basically you clip on a case and can hook into cool accessories such as the wall mount, a stand, hand strap and my personal favourite: The Pivot which makes your tablet into a mini iMac. Pair a Bluetooth keyboard and you’ve got a cool workstation.

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