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Hoorah Digital


The future of marketing is data-driven, creative, and people-based

By Shaune Jordaan, Hoorah CEO

For most of its history, digital marketing has largely involved adapting traditional marketing methods to the digital space. Whether in the online, mobile, or social spaces, agencies have largely stuck to the same old methods of coming up with a piece of creative and broadcasting it to the widest audience possible.

Thing is, there’s plenty of evidence that those methods no longer work, not in the sense that they’re supposed to: increasing sales of a product or use of a service.  All the metrics so beloved of digital advertisers – views, clicks, engagement, time on site – mean little if they don’t produce meaningful results for the client.

And when you’re sending out marketing messages to the broadest possible audience, there’s no way you can guarantee those results.

That’s about to change in a big way. Digital advertising is set to become a great deal more personal, with the data companies set on allowing them to target highly relevant messages at an individual level. That, in turn, has the potential to produce real business results. It’s an approach called people-based marketing and it’s a total game-changer.

 What do we mean by people-based marketing?

To illustrate what people-based marketing entails, it’s worth taking a look at how current attempts at targeted online marketing work. Let’s say you visit your bank’s website. A cookie will be served and ads for your bank will follow you around the web. But because the only information that cookie generated is your interest in the bank, there’s a good chance that the ads you’re served will be for products you already use.

This approach is predicated on the idea that agencies somehow hold the key to all the data a business should use in its marketing efforts. In truth, however, most agencies can only access data provided to them by third parties – such as Google or Facebook.

In reality, most companies are sitting on a veritable treasure-trove of data, most notably in the shape of their CRM databases.

Knowing this, people-based marketing narrows things down much further. So, for instance, if you were looking for a car online, you might be served ads for special rates on the relevant financing offering from your bank.

It is, in other words, an approach which recognises that you’re an individual with your own unique wants and needs.

 How does it work?

People-based marketing uses data layering, user location, online user behaviour, purchasing behaviour and publisher data to create custom profiles. These profiles are then matched with advertiser needs to ensure that people receive marketing that is relevant to them and which serves the best business interests of the consumer.

 Technically how does it work?

From a technical perspective, people-based marketing entails combining first, and third-party data by building data management platforms (DMPs), and then connecting this data to DSPs (Google double click manager) to communicate to people interested in an advertiser, via digital media.

It might sound complex, but really, it’s the best way to target real people. Even better, it’s an approach that allows its practitioners to customise tech integrations and consult on the best tech solutions – all depending what data advertisers and brands are sitting on.

The companies who do people-based marketing well will take things one step further. Not only will they customise your data, integrate and build tech, they’ll also know how to engage and communicate with these audiences once created and segmented.

The data that companies are sitting on is a goldmine. Used properly, it can completely transform the way a business talks to its consumers.

Digital veterans launch new data-driven creative agency

A group of digital agency veterans have come together to found Hoorah, a data-driven creative agency which aims to deliver real business value to its customers through people-based marketing. The four founders have each been part of some of the biggest names in the South African digital spaces.

CEO Shaune Jordaan was, together with Chris Corbert, the former co-founder of search marketing specialist agency Synergize, which was bought out by Publicis in 2013 and merged with Saatchi & Saatchi to form Saatchi & Saatchi Synergize. One of his final acts while there was to move agency’s operations into Performics, one of the world’s biggest media businesses.

Taking on the CSO role meanwhile is Jay Thomson, who co-founded Liquorice with Miles Murphy. At the time of its 2014 acquisition by Publicis’ DigitasLBi, it was one of the biggest independent digital agencies in South Africa.

Head of Media, Tamsin Kingma previously built one of the first programmatic teams in South-Africa and, while working at a major media agency, led a team of 15 media specialists with a client portfolio ranging from Africa to Europe.

Neil Pursey, who’s heading up Hoorah’s in-bound marketing operations is also the founder of digital training academy Webgrowth, meaning he’s no stranger to the startup space.

While the four founders believe that the wave of digital agency acquisitions by the likes of WPP and Publicis were important, they’re hoping to bring something new to the party with Hoorah.

“The agencies which were bought out by the big holding companies were pioneers,” says Jordaan. “They were doing things that no one else in South Africa was doing at the time and were often tasked with bringing big brands into the digital space.”

According to Jordaan, things have moved on since then. Almost everyone now has a digital presence and has the basics nailed down.

“What we’re looking to do at Hoorah is make use of a new blend of technologies to deliver the kind of data-driven marketing that produces tangible business outcomes,” he says.

While data is important to the work which Hoorah does, the founders are at pains to stress that it must be blended with creativity in order to be effective. Here too, Hoorah’s approach will be different to most other agencies.

“In a lot of agencies, you’ll be given a creative concept and asked to make it work with the programmatic and data tools at your disposal,” says Thomson. “We think that’s the wrong way around. Instead, you should use data to create interesting and unique experiences for your potential customers.”

By adopting this approach, the Hoorah team believes it’ll circumvent some of the criticisms that have been levelled at programmatic marketing in the past.

“There’s a sense, especially among the general public, that programmatic advertising means you’ll buy something online and continue to see ads for it for the next three months,” says Kingma. “It doesn’t have to be like that at all. Done properly, it can anticipate your needs and make your customer journey more pleasant”.

Despite having only just opened its doors, Hoorah already has clients onboard including the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF)’s South African office and Rawson Property.

“The fact that we had clients from the get-go was a massive validation of what we’re doing,” says Pursey. “It shows that our focus on data-driven, people-based marketing resonates with businesses, especially as they start to see the results roll in”.

Those results, Jordaan says, are because Hoorah’s approach allows digital marketing to reach its full potential.

“In today’s marketplace, you need to talk to a consumer online as if they’re standing right in front of you,” the Hoorah CEO says. “But this is only possible if you understand your consumers. To understand people – their habits, their browsing patterns, their likes and dislikes – you need to dig deep into the data to uncover golden insights.”

Once you’ve got those insights, he points out, “you might leverage existing technologies or build new ones from scratch.”

“One thing’s for sure though, it definitely doesn’t mean using the spray and pray methods of old.”

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