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Archive for December, 2011

DCCI’s Marketing Matters Conference Part 7: ‘Consumer Protection Act: How does it impact marketers?’ by Advocate Neville Melville

The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry Marketing Matters Conference welcomed a total of seven speakers from very different segments of the strategic marketing industry. The speakers were all assigned a session of approximately an hour and these were followed by another short session which allowed the audience to ask questions about certain aspects from the presentation. Therefore there were a total of seven sessions that ran throughout the day and they covered topics such as the advances of technology and its impact of marketers, social marketing, ‘green’ marketing the King III report and other relevant strategic marketing topics.

The penultimate session focused on the topic of the Consumer Protection Act which was been affective since April 2011. Advocate Neville Melville presented a talk on the ‘Consumer Protection Act: How does it impact marketers?’

Advocate Neville Melville is a specialist in consumer matters. He served as Ombudsman for Banking Services for seven years, during which time he participated in the consultative processes that led up to the declaration of the Consumer Protection Act. He now acts as a company director, legal, management and Consumer Protection Act consultant, trainer and implementer. He is the author of the best-selling Consumer Protection Act made easy, which is now in its second edition.

Advocate Melville began with an explanation of the newly implemented CPA and how it has changed the game plan for anyone involved in marketing.  His presentation covered all aspects of the interface with customers, including the prohibition on discriminatory marketing, the need for full and honest disclosure and dealing fairly with consumers.

He clearly spelt out the practices which are specifically forbidden by the CPA and the new requirements for holding competitions. Within that context, he elaborated on how the CPA has made it easier for businesses to transform the ways in which they interact with their consumers, as well as the process of aiding companies in the implementation of consumer interaction. It must be said that Advocate Melville really made a long and complicated act appear really simple and straightforward.

There were a number of aspects within the act that people hadn’t registered before, and these are what stood out the most, for example the price of any retail item has to be displayed to all consumers in the shop or warehouse and the fact that the act only deals with products and services that are for human consumption.

The idea of coming to grips with an Act can be a very daunting for some but, in his own words, Advocate Neville Melville ‘made it easy’ to understand the new Consumer Protection Act (CPA).

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DCCI’s Marketing Matters Conference Part 6: ‘Hot, Flat and Crowded’ by Wayne Phillips

The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry Marketing Matters Conference welcomed a total of seven speakers from very different segments of the strategic marketing industry. The speakers were all assigned a session of approximately an hour and these were followed by another short session which allowed the audience to ask questions about certain aspects from the presentation. Therefore there were a total of seven sessions that ran throughout the day and they covered topics such as the advances of technology and its impact of marketers, social marketing, ‘green’ marketing the King III report and other relevant strategic marketing topics.

The next topic of discussion focussed on how marketers can use opportunities that are presented by ‘Green’ marketing and this topic was conveyed through a talk by Wayne Phillips called ‘Hot, Flat and Crowded’ in which he discussed green marketing and the Triple Bottom Line (TBL).

Wayne Phillips is one of South Africa’s chartered marketers, he is the CEO of Better, the director at International Leisure Consultants and he has performed corporate development at the Rhythmic Beat Group. He specialises in sustainable top line growth strategies, strategic marketing and the TBL.

The talk was based on the book Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas. L. Friedman and with his experience in green marketing, Phillips presented a hard-hitting speech on the dangers of only focussing on the single rather than the triple bottom line and how this paradigm shift is necessary for any business to survive.

Once again it was difficult to choose merely one aspect from the speech but the idea of what ‘green’ actually means for a business stood out the most. It was once again very interesting to note that there is actually a code for responsible investing in South Africa (CRISA) and that they require us to keep our business and marketing practices green. The major implications of the code are to ensure that businesses focus on sustainability and that corporate governance has to be carefully managed and communicated.

Phillips also shared his knowledge on the ‘greening’ of a business as well as a few aspects about the Kyoto Protocol (an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). He discussed many aspects such as sustainability, fossil fuels, carrying capacity of the Earth, alternative power production sources (solar, wind, hydro etc.) and many other environmental aspects that businesses should adopt in order to achieve a ‘green’ business. These concepts proved to be extremely relevant as they were discussed at the same time as the COP17 conference in Durban.

This new topic is certainly a very interesting point of discussion and there is still such a huge body of knowledge that still remains to be researched. After a brief conversation with Mr Phillips, it was discovered that the topic of ‘green’ marketing has a huge scope of work available for students and corporates alike and although it is still a new trend it will definitely become even more popular in a very short period of time. A ‘green’ business is and will be the word on everybody’s lips and it has certainly become an increasingly common trend in today’s world.

DCCI’s Marketing Matters Conference Part 5: ‘The Impact of Technology on Marketers’ by Andisa Ntsubane

The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry Marketing Matters Conference welcomed a total of seven speakers from very different segments of the strategic marketing industry. The speakers were all assigned a session of approximately an hour and these were followed by another short session which allowed the audience to ask questions about certain aspects from the presentation. Therefore there were a total of seven sessions that ran throughout the day and they covered topics such as the advances of technology and its impact of marketers, social marketing, ‘green’ marketing the King III report and other relevant strategic marketing topics.

The next session (which followed the speech by Steven Cohen) stayed with the topic of technology and its impacts on marketers and it saw Andisa Ntsubane talk about ‘The Impact of Technology on Marketers’ which focussed on the evolution of marketers and how they have responded to the impacts of technology on how they do their work.

Andisa Ntsubane forms part of the Microsoft SA team and he understands the unique challenges of working across provinces, countries and other regions. He has travelled extensively across Africa and other emerging markets as he has great interest in managing a brand across multiple geographies. Andisa has provided Microsoft SA with guidance on how to overcome new marketing and communications challenges due to his passion with new and digital media. He is also a driver of marketing the ‘Microsoft Way’. Videos were used to enhance and compliment his speech and these shared many unknown facts that left everyone in awe.

It is not easy to identify just one or two aspects of his speech which made an impact but it must be said that the knowledge and expertise that he shared with everyone about social media was truly unforgettable. Social media and technology are advancing hand-in-hand and they are doing this a very rapid pace. The Return on Investment (ROI) of social media marketing means that your business will still be here in five years and there is no need to panic. It cannot be emphasised enough on how important social media is for businesses and one of the videos showed that 50% of the mobile internet traffic in the UK is for Facebook and it enquires on what this could mean for bad customer experiences.

“We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it.” – Erik Qualman

It is really unbelievable how technologies are changing and how these may affect the way we work in the corporate world and how we will have to develop different marketing strategies for these modern times. An example of developing a new strategy for the modern era of marketing is to look at developing mobile applications and mobile based internet browsing as well as the use of social media platforms for marketing of products and services.

 

DCCI’s Marketing Matters Conference Part 4: ‘The Impact of Technology on Product Evolution’ by Steven Cohen

The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry Marketing Matters Conference welcomed a total of seven speakers from very different segments of the strategic marketing industry. The speakers were all assigned a session of approximately an hour and these were followed by another short session which allowed the audience to ask questions about certain aspects from the presentation. Therefore there were a total of seven sessions that ran throughout the day and they covered topics such as the advances of technology and its impact of marketers, social marketing, ‘green’ marketing the King III report and other relevant strategic marketing topics.

Steven Cohen headed up the next session and he presented a very modern speech entitled ‘The Impact of Technology on Product Evolution’ which focussed on how technology influenced the evolution of his product, Softline Pastel.

Steve Cohen is the CEO of Softline Pastel and is one of South Africa’s software pioneers and he has led the product to the forefront of accounting and payroll software due to his entrepreneurial vigour and active approach to managing a business. He holds a BComm, BAcc and a CA (SA) and he is also a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).

One of the most important aspects of the speech looked at the comparison of businesses now and what businesses were like in the ‘90s and this helped to show how technologies have influenced the trends of marketing over such a short span of time.

Companies would find it easy to sell their products by using Brand Awareness via PR but in today’s modern world there is a need for strategic marketing as is no longer easy to sell products. Technologies have influenced how companies sell their product. Many customers today are shrewd and most of them have an easy access to information therefore companies need to make sure they adapt to all advances in technology. The knowledge that Mr Cohen shared about databases was also a vital topic and the fact most people share their details when they register for products online helps companies to keep their databases up to date.

Another one of the aspects that stood out the most is perhaps the idea of ‘cloud computing’ and how it could be used to make your product accessible to many more businesses. It was often said that the best approach to better communication is moving to the cloud system.

“Although technology is wonderful for business, it may also be the biggest handicap as it can annoy consumers because of an overload of information or inappropriate means of communication.”

DCCI’s Marketing Matters Conference Part 3: ‘Marketing Trends and Accessing the New Economy’ by Professor Simpson

The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry Marketing Matters Conference welcomed a total of seven speakers from very different segments of the strategic marketing industry. The speakers were all assigned a session of approximately an hour and these were followed by another short session which allowed the audience to ask questions about certain aspects from the presentation. Therefore there were a total of seven sessions that ran throughout the day and they covered topics such as the advances of technology and its impact of marketers, social marketing, ‘green’ marketing the King III report and other relevant strategic marketing topics.

The next topic which was discussed was ‘Marketing Trends and Accessing the New Economy’ and this was presented by Professor John Simpson.

Professor Simpson is the Director of the Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing and he has been in charge of many major projects at the Institute which is found at the University of Cape Town (UCT) since its inception in 1998. Professor Simpson and Bridget Dore are the authors of the very successful Marketing in South Africa: Cases and Concepts and it is currently going into its third edition. He has also headed up the School of Management Studies at UCT and was the Deputy Dean of the Commerce Faculty for a number of years. He still lectures Marketing, Consumer Behaviour and Business Strategy at the School of Management Studies.

The Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing has performed extensive research on the South African Market’s financial crunch and therefore Professor Simpson discussed the current marketing trends in South Africa and how to go about accessing the new economy.

The presentation was enhanced by two videos which portrayed case studies that were relevant for the topic of discussion as they showed how marketers should focus on accessing a wide range of economies and markets. The first video showed a woman from the bottom end of the market while the second showed a man from the top end of the market.  One of the most interesting topics from this speech was the discussion of the different levels of Living Standard Measures (LSM) and they were divided into four categories; Survivors, Strugglers, Frustrateds and Settled/Top-End.

The ‘Survivors’ fit into the categories of LSM 1-4 and they make up 33% of the population in South Africa. There is little growth in their income and most of it is spent of funeral plans, food and transport. They receive their income from grants and subsides and many of them reside in rural to semi-urban areas.

The ‘Strugglers’ form about 45% of South Africa’s population and they fit into LSM 5-7. They are considered as a good target market but they are also highly despondent as they are extremely indebted and therefore one must be careful in giving them the option of credit. They are low skilled and they experience little to no GDP growth but they are still likely to spend.

The ‘Frustrateds’ make up about 2.5 million of the total population and they fit into LSM 7-8. They are educated members of society and are normally teachers, policemen etc. The access to credit is easy but the access to housing, health and education is much more difficult to gain access to. They like to dream of better living conditions and getting better assets and they always think of allowing their children to be better off than they are. Their major characteristic is that they are highly frustrated with their current position.

The ‘Settled/Top-End’ makes up about 4% of the total population and they are currently worth R300 billion in spending power. They fit into LSM 9-10 and are growing rapidly yet they are spending slowly. The average income per household is anything from R18 500 and up and they are not standardised at all. Their life is about association with belief and comfort. They are further divided into three categories which are Drivers, High Flyers and Astronauts.

The discussion of these categories were all enhanced by videos which showed examples of the kind of individuals who would fit into these. These are extremely relevant within the context of strategic marketing as they provide a platform for marketers to work from when it comes to accessing the new economies.

DCCI’s Marketing Matters Conference Part 2: ‘The Importance of Stakeholder Relationships in the Changed World’ by Professor Mervyn King

The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry Marketing Matters Conference welcomed a total of seven speakers from very different segments of the strategic marketing industry. The speakers were all assigned a session of approximately an hour and these were followed by another short session which allowed the audience to ask questions about certain aspects from the presentation. Therefore there were a total of seven sessions that ran throughout the day and they covered topics such as the advances of technology and its impact of marketers, social marketing, ‘green’ marketing the King III report and other relevant strategic marketing topics.

The first session included a presentation by Professor Mervyn King and it was based on the King III report. This topic of his speech was ‘The Importance of Stakeholder Relationships in the Changed World’.

Professor King is a Senior Counsel and a former Judge of the Supreme Court of South Africa. He is a Professor Extraordinaire at the University of South Africa on Corporate Citizenship, the Honorary Professor in the Department of Marketing and Communication Management at the University of Pretoria, a Visiting Professor in the Rhodes Investec Business School and he has an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Witwatersrand. Professor King has received many awards including the World Federation of Stock Exchanges Award for Excellence in recognition of his outstanding efforts on behalf of the advancement of regulated markets. He has been the Chairman and director of companies listed on the London, Luxembourg and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges. The list of his achievements and the positions that he has held could go on forever and the ones which have been listed above are just a few.

It is certainly difficult to pick just one or two aspects from his speech which stood out but perhaps the fact that strategic communication is already the basis of two PhD’s at the University of Pretoria is certainly very encouraging. Another important aspect that stood out was the fact that by applying an integrated mind to strategy and financials the board will no longer need to use the ‘rear-view mirror’, except to check the competition tailing behind. It is also necessary to draw attention to the notion of current stakeholder (annual reporting) communication and how it is no longer fit for purpose.

With regard to financial reports, the idea that stood out the most was that it is no longer just about figures but about truly understanding the wants and needs of the various stakeholders and communicating that understanding to them in a meaningful and regular way.

One final aspect which needs to be researched in more detail is the idea that there is actually a Code for Responsible Investing in South Africa (CRISA). This topic was also discussed at a later stage during the conference by Wayne Phillips and it is therefore a relevant and vital topic that needs more focus at future strategic marketing conferences.

 

DCCI’s Marketing Matters Conference Part 1: What was the DCCI’s Marketing Matters Conference all about?

The ‘thought provoking, strategic’ Marketing Matters Conference at the Suncoast Casino in Durban was hosted by the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, along with Marketing Matters, on the 6th December 2011 and it was the day that many strategic marketers were looking forward for a long time. The conference proved to be a great success and it really achieved all of its aims which were initially created four years before the actual event.

The conference aimed to address a number of topics which had a strategic focus because marketers have a responsibility to themselves, their organizations and their various stakeholders to stay up to date with various strategic events that could shape the world which their products and services are sold into. They must have an understanding of the legislation that governs their business transactions and impacts the way in which they will be able to communicate with their various target audiences.

Therefore there were many relevant topics which were presented and they included the impact of the King III report, the Consumer Protection Act, the evolution of Technology and its impact on marketers and opportunities presented by ‘Green’ marketing. 

The conference began with a welcome message by the President of the Durban Chamber, Ms Thato Tsautse. This brief introduction was then followed by another message from Mr Andrew Layman, the CEO of the Chamber. 

The official opening of the conference was done by Jeremy Maggs who is a well-known South African personality and he has worked across a wide variety of media platforms such as newspapers, radio, television and magazines. Much of the success of this event was owed to the excellent facilitation by Mr Maggs and without him this conference would have lacked an efficient flow of events as well as a great sense of humour and many thought provoking questions.

There were a total of seven speakers and each of them was allocated a time slot of approximately an hour. These sessions were divided by short ‘question and answer’ periods which allowed the audience to enquire about certain aspects as well allowing the next speaker to set up their presentation. Once again the excellent facilitation by Mr Maggs was evident as he often asked the first, and often very thought provoking questions, in order to break the ice for the audience. 

The next blog of this series (Part 2) will deal with the summary of Professor King’s speech which was based upon the King III report.