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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:

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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:

 

content-marketing-sales-funnel

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 the 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:

true-size-africa

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

Trust me, I’m an “Analyst”.

Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour 2012 3.

What is the Panda Peleton?

Those who know me will have noticed I’ve recently gone a bit cycling mad. I bought a mountain bike and am soon to buy a road bike. I pore over stats and numbers relating to which bike to buy, some may say it’s even a problem.

Recently it’s been brought to my attention that cycling can also be helpful (not just because of the lack of carbon emissions) to the environment.

It’s the WFF Ride for Nature Panda Peloton, which aims to raise awareness and funds for nature conservation through cycling, while also stimulating the cycling community.

Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour 2012 3.

The Panda Peloton first took to the roads last year at the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour where over 160 cyclists donned WWF’s trademark black and white jerseys. From there it has evolved into something much more. Now, the Panda Peloton is not only synonymous with a single race, but rather asks cyclist who sport the WWF colours and the Ride for Nature shirt in any cycling race or event.

94.7 Cycle Challenge 2012

In an attempt to spread the word and amp up the excitement, Felt Bicycles has sponsored a Felt EDICT Nine 50 Mountain Bike, worth over R20 000, for the individual who raises the most money for WWF through the Ride for Nature 2013 campaign.

For more information please take a look the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/WWFPandaPeloton?fref=ts), follow them on Twitter (@WFFPandaPeloton) or visit http://www.wwf.org.za/act_now/ridefornature/.

That’s a really cool bike, I personally would love something of that quality. Go get involved, win a bike and help the environment.

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Do you want to get frisky?

Are you unhappy with your sex life? If “yes”, you’re sadly not alone. According to a 2011 sex survey by condom brand Durex you’re part of the 54% of the world unhappy with their sexual situation.

The kind people at Durex are doing their bit to help the sexually deprived worldwide (and drive up sales of their products) with their latest campaign, the “Durex Experiment”. The press release tells us:

Durex believes that great sex is never solely about the physical. To achieve a more satisfying sex life, it should be both about the physical and the emotional experience. Durex is on a mission to give lovers around the world a little nudge to open themselves up to that feeling and be moved by the power of great sex.

Today, Durex is kick-starting the first stage of the experiment, with a search for 26 couples around the world to take part in this fun and meaningful sex experiment and be inspired to find out exactly what keeps them fulfilled between the sheets. They will have the unique opportunity to explore their passions and find out what great sex really means to them.

It’s interesting to see that Durex will also be bringing an app out to help couples explore each other. The campaign takes place over four weeks and couples will experiment with a series of sexual scenarios that will stimulate themselves and their partners in a whole new way. Couples will try everything from increased foreplay and sexy intimate talk, to swapping roles and incorporating a bit more adventure in their sex lives.

The Durex Lovers’ emotional and physical reactions will be measured using state-of-the-art cardio monitors to assess changes in heart rate to signify arousal, and their pleasure ratings to gauge its emotional impact. This will be done under the expert guidance of ‘Thrill Engineer’ Brendan Walker, who scientifically measures people’s emotional reactions to stimuli. The chosen Lovers will fly to Venice, Italy to be briefed on how to use the device by Walker himself.

So here’s the cool part, you could go to Venice to be part of this experiment. Simply go to Facebook for more information on how to win. In July Durex will also be releasing an app for iOS and Android that will use the camera on your phone to measure your heart rate and see what stimulates you.

Go enter and win a trip to Venice! (and you know, sex)

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Often I really hate Twitter

I often think to myself: “what did I do before Twitter when I’m bored?”

The truth is, the 140 characters of time wasting are great to keep you busy and entertained however I can’t help but find complete disdain for the sins performed on Twitter. I will now demonstrate these sins with my own examples:

  • Sin 1: “My life is so f*&king awesome:

This was me posting a picture of spending a Friday in a small plane. Why… I want to look awesome.

  • Sin 2: “Here’s an article I think will make me look smart”:

I’m so smart,  I read Business Insider.

  •  Sin 3: “I’ll argue with you even though I would never do this to your face”:

Some backstory here: I was shooting down a South African startup that I don’t really know much about. It wasn’t constructive and it was said in a flippant manner. We’re all guilty of this.

  • Sin 4: “The subtweet”:

I don’t have a good example here. I’ve deleted these tweets because I feel like a tool

-Saul Kropman (@saulkza)

I don’t have a specific example here because I’ve tried to remove all of them because I feel like a complete idiot once the moment passes. This is typically found in the form of a tweet saying something like: “You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you.”

  • Sin 5: “Brand hatred”:

It’s so easy to complain to a brand online. It’s relatively safe and anonymous and social media was created so brands could listen right? Notice my words: “listen” not “abuse”. Be nice out there, don’t look like a tosser.

  • Sin 6: “I’m so angry about politics tweets”:

The truth is, politicians are so taken with social media that they’re sitting online all day waiting for the complaints of their constituents. Complaining on Twitter about politics is about as useful as pissing into an oncoming wind.

Twitter has become a place for complaints, moans, whinging and general outbursts. Sadly, it’s a medium where the loudest (and usually the dumbest) climb to the top. I’m not saying it’s a bad place to spend time during the day however I am saying think before you tweet your latest complaint.

Disclosure

Blogging and disclosure

In America the Federal Trade Commission have come out with some interesting rules on the disclosure required by bloggers and twitter users that are seeded free “stuff”. Locally we have no such regulations and it’s interesting to see what sort of regulations have been put forward:

  • Where and how to disclose: As far back as 2009, the FTC was already publicly recommending that disclosures not be buried at the bottom of a post or on a separate page
  • The disclosure needs to travel with the content: The disclosure must be in every Tweet. You can’t tweet a single disclosure that covers the whole conversation; there is no guarantee that readers will see the disclosing statement. The hashtag #spon is not sufficiently clear. The word “ad” is sufficiently clear, but needs to be in a prominent place. The FTC also suggests not using a #ad hashtag after a URL or shortlink as it could be overlooked.
  • Longer disclosure required: When an advertising claim merits a longer disclosure than is practical for the format, a hyperlink to additional information is acceptable, provided that anything material, or “triggering” is included in the original advertisement and the link is clear and conspicuous. In other words, you cannot bury CRITICAL disclosures in hyperlinked pages, but you can provide additional details.

All good points but I think the important issue to consider here is what is needed to disclose? If someone sends me to drive a car do I need to disclose considering the post is my opinion? I suppose the reality is that my post is still tainted by the fact that I was given the opportunity and send on a plane for free. Ultimately I want to be sent back to drive more cars so I will be slightly biased towards the product.

The issue gets more complex when you’re paid to write a post or paid by an advertiser for a banner or advertorial. I’m obviously going to be particularly pro a company that is paying me money. However, the important issue to consider is the credibility of the writer. If a company advertising kids toys approached me with a financial benefit for featuring their product I’d have no desire to feature anything unless it had a great technology or business angle. Long story short: bloggers without integrity are the problem and theoretically these writers will come across as inauthentic so they’ll rapidly be “caught out” for their blatant brand whoring.

I’m not convinced a disclosure is necessary; it makes a post automatically seem like a useless advertorial to me and this defeats the point. What we need is for the average blogger to become a little more discerning and not chase after a freebie or cash prize. Unfortunately if an advertiser came up to almost anyone and offered them a few thousand rand to write about any old product they’d most definitely take it.

Is money ruining online writing or making it better? I’m convinced making “amateur” online writing more professional by adding a financial incentive is a winner in terms of everyone benefiting and a disclaimer only makes someone look “bought”.

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The best Quora thread ever

One of the highlights on my week is getting the weekly Quora summary. There’s always something interesting and this week there was a question that spoke to me. The question was simple: “I am in my late 20s, and feel I have wasted a lot of time. Is it too late?” As someone in their late twenties it’s easy to constantly ask yourself this question. This self doubt does occasionally become a factor (interestingly less and less as I get older) but these responses should give you motivation to achieve anything. Here’s a comic posted on the site but please do yourself a favour and read the rest of the answers here. The James Altucher answer is, as always, totally brilliant.

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Exterior

The Lego hotel

I’m not the world’s biggest hotelier but I spent six months in the industry as a consultant and have stayed at my fair share of hotels. Now though, I have discovered the greatest hotel ever invented: the Lego hotel. I’m a big Lego fan so this provides massive fascination. Wired has the following to say:

This project is about to be completed and ready to open its doors on April 5 of this year. The hotel is obviously furnished with countless references to the 8-stud brick but also with the brick itself. The rooms are categorized per theme: Pirate theme, Adventure theme and Kingdom theme. All rooms come in two types, regular or premium, depending on the type of comfort chosen, or the amount of Lego bricks in them maybe?

 

Every room is filled with Lego sculptures and other reminders of the geekiest toy ever invented, just like the rest of the hotel covered with such details. I am not sure whether the staff has to keep track of missing pieces in every room, but I bet that Lego bricks might start disappearing faster than bathrobes…

Pictures below:

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Keep running

Eagle eyed readers may have noticed that on individual posts I have a sidebar with a link to “other projects”. The only other project available is my newly launched running blog known simply as “Keep Running”.

I’ve a fairly avid runner (the longest run I’ve ever done is the 56KM Two Oceans) and along with my co-tarmac pounder, Tanya Kovarsky, we look at all the different aspects on running including training, gear, motivation, playlists and how to deal with chafed nipples.

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The site is updated three times a week and currently is a mix of all topics. If there is something you’d be interested in seeing then drop us a line on twitter either on @saulkza or @tanyakovarsky.

In the meantime, it’s beautiful outside so keep running and checkout the site on www.keeprunning.co.za