Digital is transformation

January is all about predictions and industry forecasts for 2015.

Therefore, we have selected our leading Stars from each department to share their thoughts and predictions within their field.

Digital is transformation

Author: Scott Gray 

Digital is not merely a channel through which brand stories can be told. It’s far bigger and more profound than that. Increasingly, it’s relied on as an enabler throughout a business’ value chain. This brings a number of factors that will have permanent effects on the way companies and brands operate.

Here’s just two:

 1. Data as an enabler: Digital interactions create data-points in realtime. These data, if leveraged correctly, can be used to point the way forward, the next steps. Gaining competitive advantage with data is a factor of 2 things: 1. measuring the right data to create relevant insights, and 2. the reaction speed from insight to action. Strategic planning cycles that are put in place for longer units of time (typically 12 to 24 months) will become a thing of the past. Strategies need to be more agile and, as Noah Brier puts it, become algorithms that define.

 2. Digitally enabled services that create value:With the increasing penetration and power of the internet connected mobile device, consumers are leading the technological evolution. Along with the evolution of technology comes the evolution of the consumer behaviour and her expectations. While digital touch-points and activity have typically served to either create demand (paid for media, campaigns etc) or to simply inform (via the good old website), the evolving consumer expectation means an expectation to be able to deal (and transact) with a brand entirely through digital means. As a brand, staying relevant means being there when a consumer needs you. We expect to see “digital transformation” as a regular line item on board meeting minutes.


 It’s time to stop peacocking and get personal

Author: Fran Luckin

My second New Year’s Resolution (after resolving to use the word “festooned” more often) was to see more films. In the actual cinema, not on my laptop. Two movie outings later, I was already starting to regret that second resolution, after I’d been forced to sit, for the second time in two days, through a bloated three minute extravaganza for a mobile network operator. There were fast cars. There were sports celebrities. There were girls in bikinis partying on a boat (sadly, it wasn’t the Titanic).

The brief to the agency was as obvious as the abs on the buff boatsmen: “This brand needs to stand for aspiration!” (Along with about 80% of the other brands in the South African market.)

The whole spectacle was so over the top, so far removed from the ordinary person’s experience of mobile connectivity, from what a normal person wants and needs from a mobile operator, that it bordered on the grotesque. It was the millenial equivalent of those cigarette ads from the 90s. Remember them?  Those spectaculalry lavish mini-movies that were about everything except the actual product?

Now there’s a role for pure entertainment in people’s lives. But make it something that connects with people’s real needs and desires. That shows them that you “get” them.

Better still, what if, instead of rolling out expensive spectacles of cookie-cutter aspiration, we created meaningful experiences, great tools and platforms that actually help people better themselves and improve their lives?

Full disclosure: I’m not blameless in this regard. I’ve created more than one indulgent brand TV ad in my life. But now I’m grateful that I work with arguably some of the smartest people in the country.  People with the creativity and the skills and the insights to create things and experiences that are beautiful, and useful, that get the brand invited into people’s lives.

This year, I’d like to see the walls of Quirk filled with those ideas.

Possibly even festooned with them.

Think about the brands you’re most loyal to. Are we loyal to the brand or to what it can do for us?


 Smart brands to tap into Smart devices

Author: Jean du Plessis

I’m not a fan of predicting the future. At best it is still just informative guess work done by some clever person based on various signals. However sometimes these signals around you are so strong you just can’t igore it. I find myself in this situation today as everywhere I look I see Smart devices: smarthpones, tablets, smart watches, smart TV’s and even smart SHOES!

As a society we are embracing technology more and more and allowing it to embed itself in our everyday life. Today I transact deaily through my smartphone, whether it be making transfers or payments through my banking app or paying for my coffee at the office canteen by scanning a simple QR code. In my living room I find myself streaming video or checking the weather straight on my TV – a task not long ago I would have used my laptop soley for. I believe the fundamental reason why I embrace these things are because it adds value to my life by making everyday tasks easier and better.

So if I dare make any predictions for 2015 it would be that technology will rapidly continue to be embedded everywhere, connecting devices to the Internet, the so called “Internet of Things”. Brands that best leverage this ever increasing availability of smart devices will be the ones to attrack consumers and obtain their affinity.

For brands to achieve this, their marketing function will need to look beyond the limit view of advertisements and social media engagement, but rather shift to offering value-based services to their consumers through these devices.


Don’t fight the Red Queen

Author: Gerard du Plessis 

I’m so tired of reading predictions, “the year of’s” and other random reasoning about what might or might not unfold in 2015, so I won’t bore you with mine. The problem with this time of the year is that we expect our calendar to punctuate the evolution of almost everything. And segment everything into neat compartments so that we can write plans and draw Gantt charts of it all. Of course the winds catapulting us forward pass through meaning and don’t conform to measurable time, nonetheless detailed predictions about increments that don’t really matter much, or even exist.

That’s what I’m thinking about. How will the evolutionary forces that have brought us to this point shape this blink of a nano moment we call a year in the next 12 months? What will unfold? How will we propel forward and by how much will the rate of change increase? What will be retained and what will fall away to iterative progress?

As a planner, the best you can do is except that your world will change more in the coming 12 months than it did in the last 12. So don’t fight the Red Queen. Embrace her with all her power. If you don’t you will simply be left in a windy dust storm.




What’s trending in UX, Mobile, CRM and Social?

These departments share their 2015 digital predictions and new approaches to implement this year.

The year to lighten up

Author: Taya Botha

In the past, the role of a UX designer has been focused on delivering a set of outputs. Outputs like wireframes, sitemaps and functional specifications which only serve to communicate UX thinking and recommendations during the project build. That means that only our clients and the project teams see them. All that time spent on creating beautiful documents becomes wasteful and increases the time until launch. That’s why this year Quirk is getting leaner – that means less time spent on deliverables, and more time spent on the quality of the experience.

In order to get this right, we will follow a more integrated approach and consult more collaboratively with teams during design and build. This allows for the user experience to be tested much earlier and in a more accurate state. By validating the experience early we can test often and fail fast, allowing us to adapt quickly and improve the experience without negatively impacting the project budget or deadline. Jeff Gothelf explains the idea of Lean UX in his article “Lean UX: Getting Out of the Deliverables Business”.


Mobile will be a defining tech factor in consumer relevance

Author: Matt Willis

Mobile has been a buzzword for the past several years, too easily willfully ignored as “that mobile thing” despite the changing reality. Refreshingly, there has been a notable shift in related discourse from a feeling of impending change to an already integrated, multi-channel world.

Smartphone penetration: There has been an acceleration in smartphone penetration over the past year, especially Android, and this will continue as smartphone prices continue to drop.
Access to data services: WiFi is becoming more prevalent and accessible – not only through the classic “coffee shop” model, but also through community projects such as Project Isizwe. This, coupled with mobile data costs trending downwards, will enable more of the population to be online, more often.
Undeniable relevance: The speed of mobile growth and pervasiveness has exposed inert companies and industries. From small optimisations such as mobile-optimised websites through to industry disruptors such as Uber, businesses that have embraced user- and mobile-centricity are being rewarded by mobile users voting with their time and wallets.
Augmented Reality: The 8th Mass Media is maturing. 2015 and 2016 will see this technology move from the realm of gimmicks into a space of value for consumers and brands. Africa will arguably lag in development due to accessibility, but the delay interval in technology availability between the developed and developing world has reduced considerably in the smartphone era.

The convergence of the above: more mobile users online more of the time, accessing the world through emergent technologies such as A.R., making their needs apparent and profitable – will expose opportunity across multiple industries. How we interface with consumers through all marketing channels will continue to change at an increasing rate and will be dominated by mobile relevance.


CRM moves beyond simply managing relationships

Author: Carmia Lureman

Over the past few years the biggest developments in CRM were in new applications and software that facilitate data and relationship management as digital channels expanded. In 2015 we’re going to see the focus shift back to managing the customer experience, integrating with the technology becoming available in other parts of digital and consolidating data sources.

CRM will move beyond merely managing the relationship to managing the Customer Experience. At Quirk we’re already seeing a need for closer interaction between our UX, analytics and CRM teams. What I’m really excited to see is what CRM strategies emerge out of introducing location technology, wearable tech and the Internet of Things into those consumer experiences. Uber, for instance, has already capitalised on the customer experience factor by using geo-location and mobile technology to give customers full control over their cab ride. These technologies offer additional data sources to enrich customer profiles and monitor engagement patterns – a CRM strategist’s dream.

Data consolidation is going to be super important. On top of the need for data-informed, customer relevant business strategies, the Protection of Personal Information Act has been looming for while and is currently pending the appointment of a regulatory body. We’re seeing marketing teams readying their infrastructure and processes, but with the increasing number of data breaches (with big international companies like Yahoo! Mail, eBay, Google, Home Depot, J.P. Morgan Chase and Evernote, to name a few) I’m hoping to see more CRM clients fool-proofing their daily data processing. In doing so, CRM departments should then also be able to get a thorough audit of existing data and be better able to motivate for the resources needed to consolidate and analyse that data – win!


Trending on social

Author: Catherine Scott

In 2014 we were challenged to expand social media beyond the standard Facebook and Twitter package. “Content marketing” was the big buzz-phrase, highlighting a need for richer storytelling and deeper user engagement. Social media was to become the means through which to distribute content, as opposed to the content itself. There’s still a lot of work to do to get content marketing right, but there are equally important items on the 2015 agenda.

These are my top 3 social media trends for this year:

1. Diversity: This is a critical theme for marketing as a whole, but it very much applies to social media. Social is where we connect with people, establish relevance through stories that resonate with consumers, and paint pictures of the lifestyle or personality that a brand embodies. Businesses that truly represent South African culture through their social media work will earn and keep attention, engagement and loyalty. I expect to see more brands employing multilingual community managers, with images, content themes and campaign ideas all starting to reflect a more authentic South African experience.

 2. Social and commerce: Clients will increasingly challenge us to show how social media marketing impacts the bottom line. The major platforms have been gearing towards this shift, with Facebook and Twitter both testing “Buy” buttons. If this takes off, our challenge will be to balance new commercial functions (hard sell) with the genuine conversations and valuable consumer relationships (soft sell) that we’ve carefully cultivated over the years.

 3. Social and CRM integration, finally: It’s been a long time coming and I’m cautiously optimistic that 2015 is the year! Brands have long used CRM programmes to incentivise and reward loyal purchasing consumers. It’s high time to add social media advocacy to the mix of trackable, rewardable behaviours. Imagine earning extra Vitality points for Instagramming an image of your healthy meal or active lifestyle with a branded hashtag. I won’t mention the dread O-word, but it’s safe to say that integration of purchase data with social media engagement data will open provide a much more holistic view of the consumer, opening up a wealth of new opportunity.


Programmatic is so hot right now

Heidi and Sam forecasts the biggest trends that paid media and analytics in a digital marketing agency needs to focus on in 2015.

Author: Heidi Ocker

Programmatic is so hot right now – it was the big media buzzword for the past few years and this year will be no different as we see an increasing percentage of marketing dollars headed into ad tech.
Programmatic needs DATA to really get those algorithms ticking, so we will see a continuing focus on gathering data as well as driving measurable results with a greater emphasis on analytics and conversion optimisation.
All that data will also allow for improved targeting, so we expect to see Hyper targeted audience and location targeting growing further in 2015.
And with the great power of ad tech, comes great responsibility to audit. We expect to see an increased focus on auditing media for brand safety, fraud, and viewable impressions.
Last, but not least, we expect see some great (and terrible) real-time marketing campaigns – from high-attention events to brands piggybacking on newsworthy topics and an increasing focus on agile marketing to make the most of any opportunity.


The year we push for metrics that matter (and don’t analyse what we can’t act on)

Author: Sam Beckbessinger



Marketing has been obsessed with the idea of “big data” for the past few years now, but most South African marketers are fast reaching a point of frustration with dozens of metrics that don’t seem to mean anything. Expect more of a focussed approach this year, with marketers challenging their agencies to show fewer, more meaningful numbers. The brave agencies will venture into reporting on true return on investment values for each activity or channel invested in. We expect a move away from vanity metrics to a much more focussed approach; with marketing managers asking for fewer metrics they can act on, rather than too many metrics, which they can’t.

eCommerce and banking will be notable exceptions, because they have already matured to the point where they can act on most of the data they have. Here, expect continued investment in large data analysis teams, ongoing multivariate split-testing and customer profiling.


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