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Industry lacks expertise, savvy

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More than half of the world’s population: three billion now use the web regularly and two-thirds of those are from the developing world who, thanks to smartphones have doubled their Internet use over the last five years. All of this poses significant challenges for advertisers and marketers.

The Internet economy will reach $4-trillion in the G-20 nations this year.

If it were a national economy, it would be in the top five, behind only the United States, China, Japan, India and ahead of Germany. In the United Kingdom, A Barclays survey found that UK tech companies predict growth of 11% over the year – more than four times faster than the UK’s GDP forecast for 2015 (2.6%). And in South Africa, as the most technologically advanced country in Africa, that growth is as fast, if not faster.

“Instead of just a few dozen or hundred reliable magazines and newspapers, television and radio stations, advertisers are now chasing dozens of social media outlets, millions of blogs and online publications, podcasts and streaming Web TV. It’s never been harder to know where to place ads or market,” says Chanel MacKay, new Media Director at Cape Town’s digital agency Atmosphere Orange.

“Plus today’s customer is highly influenced by social media and word-of-mouth. They know which brands they like and where to find them. It is up to the brand to follow and understand their growth in the online journey in order to better interact with them,” says MacKay.

“Programmatic media buying is where mobile was three years ago,” says MacKay, who joined Atmosphere Orange, wooed over by its high tech human resources and knowledge of this rapidly developing market following an eight year career development at competitive agency 25AM. “People know it works, they know they must be putting budget aside and incorporating it, they know it is growing, but they don’t understand how to use the technology to their best advantage.”

With her experience and training on the psychology of a buyer, MacKay believes customers are flexible on how they engage with brands. “In order to better interact with the customer, marketers must embrace the technology, they must understand the best ways to capitalise on these industry opportunities. Programmatic is cheap, it’s efficient and enables brands to make decisions for optimisation on the fly. Backed by accurate data, we understand the individual customer. We have the targeting technology. It is critical that we educate and inform our clients.”

“The quicker the industry embraces it, the quicker agencies will win and the quicker brand budget will be retained in-house. We are doing our best to grow that understanding in the market. Unfortunately there are a lot of people are out there insisting they are specialists in programmatic but are merely on the bidding side, they have no idea of how to implement strategies that work for mobile reach and best brand fit.”

With seven certificates and two Legendary Awards from ABSA for excellent service and regional superstar performance, MacKay has proven success in understanding and interpreting information as it relates to each unique brand objective. “We focus on that customer journey. We know the gaps. We know that people online are like fish, they have a five second attention span. We know where else we are going to capture them. It is part of the journey of getting interaction with the brand; to do that you need the best technologies, visualisation and data. Customers trust our programmatic services because we have the answers; we are able to provide that 360 degree solution.”

Confident of Atmosphere Orange’s technological position in the marketplace, and backed by a passion for the industry, MacKay will oversee what she calls a dynamic process that will take South African brands front and centre on the digital platform.

“What is required now is that we focus on helping the market develop its understanding of how data can be used and interpreted for visual communication strategies across all the digital platforms available to the marketer, based on strategies that are clear and work efficiently. Programmatic is both an art and a science. One can’t just analyse data and say there you go, we need to put value, reasoning and creative representation behind the conversations we are sending out to an information based economy and then be responsive towards how the campaign is performing, marrying new data to the key performance indicators for an even bigger picture.”

MacKay, known in the industry for developing brand strategies that speak directly to consumer behaviours and who has seen nomination for the Bookmarks Best Digital Planning Award two years in a row, has expansive ideas for this digital agency’s growth. “Atmosphere Orange’s programmatic talent is what makes us massive beyond reproach, I believe we just haven’t been screaming loudly enough about the expertise we have in programmatic. We understand the intricacies of digital advertising technologies better than most. We pride ourselves on using more tech features that allow us to always exceed the client’s key performance indicator’s (KPI’s); they see product growth. We plan to keep consistently exceeding those KPIs, bench marketing performance, implementing continual optimisation while maintaining a reputation for service excellence.”