Why personalisation in digital marketing matters

Why personalisation in digital marketing matters

By Desirée Gullan, Co-founder and Executive Creative Director of G&G Digital

In 2011, Coca Cola launched its Share a Coke campaign in Australia, which was a personalised campaign with the most common Australian names printed on Coca Cola bottles and cans. The result? More than 250 million personalised bottles and cans sold over the summer months to a population of less than 23 million people at the time.

This personalisation campaign was so successful it was adapted in other territories, including South Africa. Everyone wanted a can, with their name on it. South Africa’s Share a Coke campaign went a step further, including a pronunciation guide below each name. “A first name is personal and unique. It is a person’s identity, and when used in marketing campaigns, it shows customers that their brands of choice acknowledge them,” said Desirée Gullan, Executive Creative Director of G&G Digital.

Fast forward to 2021. Research proves that personalised emails have a higher click-through rate. When brands incorporate personalisation into their digital marketing strategies, they build stronger relationships with their customers, retain them for longer, encourage word-of-mouth referrals, and create better experiences for new customers.

“It’s important for brands to understand their audiences. We can no longer depend on demographics to inform marketing strategies. Customers want their brands to understand them beyond their gender, race, and location. Personalised marketing that speaks to individuals with empathy will result in better engagement,” Gullan added.

A smart personalised marketing strategy will reap the following benefits for your brand.

  • Better customer experience
    Customers will provide their personal information if they’re sure their data will be protected, and may participate in surveys, fill out forms and share their preferences. Customer information makes it easier for brands to create personalised marketing messages.
  • Increase revenue
    Brands can get better results by talking to their customers in the digital spaces they occupy.
  • Build brand loyalty
    Personalisation will create better customer satisfaction, build loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals, and give brands a competitive advantage.

How to use personalisation in your digital marketing

  • Email marketing
    Gather customer preferences through sign up forms and use it to personalise emails to customer persona segments. You will see better open and engagement rates. Be sure to comply with the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act.
  • Video messaging
    Customised video messages, technology and research can help you scale personalised video messages. Segment customers based on their passions and preferences and create video messages to cater to each audience type. These video messages should always be memorable, engaging, relatable and accessible.
  • Create a seamless customer experience
    Build a consistent and seamless customer experience, no matter the touchpoint. Ensure tone and key messaging is consistent whether customers are in-store or accessing your brand online.

“While personalising messages at scale is a contradiction, marketing professionals can personalise to large audiences by segmenting audiences based on the data and ensuring that the messaging segments resonates with those segments,” concluded Gullan.

Digital marketing trends are always evolving. Your brand has to keep up with the new methods to engage with customers and potential customers and ensure your brand is always top of mind and top of conversation.

Why you need social commerce

Why you need social commerce

By Desirée Gullan, Co-founder and Executive Creative Director of G&G Digital  

Shopping has always been a social activity. Just two years ago, you would find people discussing the good and bad about their recent purchases over coffee.

Today, e-commerce finds people shopping from the comfort of their home, and social commerce means they’re still shopping while being social on their preferred platforms such as Instagram Checkout or Facebook Shops. Here’s how social commerce has impacted consumer behaviour.

How consumers react to social commerce

Consumers are always looking for benefits when selecting a product, or a store, and one necessary benefit, in today’s fast-paced world, is saving time. This is where social commerce comes to the fore. Consumers are supplied with comparative information about their imminent purchases in a click, or a tap, eliminating the need to check other stores or competitor products.

What’s more, studies by Hootsuite found that consumers trust social media more than brand websites for feedback on products and customer testimonials.

Social commerce offers brands the opportunity to capitalise on this fast-growing behaviour.

“Social commerce proves that consumers are not just influenced by social media, they trust it more than traditional online commerce,” said Desirée Gullan, Executive Creative Director of G&G Digital. “As marketing professionals for B2C brands, you should include social commerce in your strategy or you’ll be ignoring a vast portion of your target audience and allowing them to walk past your store and not take a look.”

How to harness social commerce

How to harness social commerce

For years, brands have used social media as an awareness or education tool, now, social media has entered it’s ‘Buy now’ phase, which inspires and empowers consumers to see, like and buy. Here are some insights to help you turn audiences into customers using social commerce.

While many consumers still shop in brick-and-mortar stores, data tells us not to ignore social commerce. By introducing social commerce, brands can continue to streamline the path to purchase, and meet audiences in the spaces they occupy.

What brands should know about image and video SEO

What brands should know about image and video SEO

By Desirée Gullan, Co-founder and Executive Creative Director of G&G Digital  

For many Internet users, buying a new product or service starts with an online search query. In fact, 46% of product searches begin on Google. After a search query, search engines return the best possible search results.

For brands to achieve maximum online visibility of their products and services, they need to optimise their
website and refine and implement an effective search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy for their visual content. In addition, an adequate SEO strategy can ensure a brand’s website is not affected by any of Google’s 500 to 600 search algorithm updates each year.

“Search engines update their algorithms often to ensure they deliver the best results to a user query. These updates should encourage brands to stay on top of their SEO to earn a spot on search results. Previously, SEOs key focus was on words, today, brands should also focus on optimising visual content on their websites,” said Desirée Gullan, Co-founder and Executive Creative Director of G&G Digital.

“Internet users are increasingly searching the web using image and video search. At the same time, brands
are becoming more visual in their storytelling. To ensure better search rankings, user engagement and visibility, brands should optimise their visual assets to gain a prime position in search query results. Optimising visual
elements can also drive website traffic and increase conversions,” Gullan added.

Here are four things you should know about enhancing images and videos on your platform.

1. Tell captivating stories using images and videos

A Microsoft study indicates that the human attention span is only eight seconds. That does not give brands a lot of time to make an impact on their audience. High-quality and original visual content can make it easier for the audience to understand what a brand is saying, even if they’re not reading the article.

2. Optimise website images and videos

Use images and videos that are relevant to your brand. Make sure images load quickly so as not to frustrate visitors. Label the images and videos correctly with appropriate and descriptive keywords for search engine
crawlers to recognise them, their context and return your site in relevant search query results. Correct labelling should also include using appropriate alt attributes, title tags, and image names — this will better help search engines index your elements and help the visually impaired during their online searches. Try not to use stock images for your products and services. Stock images are seen as multiple images, and Google won’t recognise them in its image search rankings.

3. Include site maps

Site maps play an essential role in SEO, as they can make a brand’s products and services more visible in search query results. A site map is a file that should list all web pages and elements on the website. This file will help search engines recognise the content on your site, making content more visible on search results.

4. Add structured data

Search engines support structured data for product images and videos. Structured data is standardised information a
brand can add to their code about specific images and videos on a page. For example, a brand can add information about a product price, availability and reviews in the code, which will make it easier for search engines to serve the specific website page as rich results. Google’s rich results include showing search results as knowledge boxes, carousels and
images. However, make sure your structured data is within the limits of search engine requirements.

Measure site’s SEO performance

Once you’ve enhanced your images and videos make sure to track and measure your SEO success. Several monitoring systems are available to measure the progress of visual SEO optimisation. These tools give better insights into the type of search queries and impressions on your website. And you can use these insights to improve SEO for your visual elements.

As videos and images gain more online traction, brands should understand their role in ensuring their visual content is relevant, effective, and searchable on search engines. Also, keep up with the latest SEO trends to keep your site competitive and engaging.

Advertising to a generation that blocks advertising

Advertising to a generation that blocks advertising

By Desirée Gullan, Co-founder and Executive Creative Director of G&G Digital  

The nature of advertising shifted drastically over the last year. Not only are consumers seeing less experiential and traditional advertising due to COVID-19, they’re also growing tired of the constant bombardment of ads across their favourite media platforms.

For many consumers, Ad-blockers are the answer, which leaves marketing professionals with a new challenge of how to break through the digital wall. One of the ways to do so is by crafting a digital strategy that speaks to modern generations, while resonating with the needs of older generations.

What we can learn from millennials
Millennials are first generation “digital natives,” always connected and attached to smartphones, smart devices and laptops. This impacts the way they find, research, make purchasing decisions and consume products.

Millennials look for three unique influencing characteristics.

  • Deep meaningful communication
    Millennials communicate far more than other generations. When deciding if something is worth buying, they speak to friends, read reviews on social networks and conduct research. Marketing professionals can use these insights to communicate better with their target audience and find ways of giving them instant digital gratification and the information they need, when they need it.
  • Create memorable experiences
    Millennials don’t just want a product. They want an experience––from the way a brand interacts with them to the way it’s delivered. They crave a unique experience that resonates and touches them deeply and gives them something to talk about on social media. Craft breakthrough brand experiences and you will not only create brand loyalty, but also an army of brand advocates who talk, post and comment about your brand helping you achieve priceless word-of-mouth recommendations.
  • Give more than you take
    Millennials want more, and they want it now. During the brand consideration process, they consult with friends and do online research. This presents a wonderful opportunity for marketing professionals to create relevant and engaging content that adds value. Not just hard-sell marketing messages, but related content that adds another value and dimension to their lives.

What we can learn from boomers
Marketing professionals believe that older generations are more reluctant to switching brands. Research has proved that the opposite may be true, that 50+ consumers are as stuck in their ways as previously believed.

  • Demonstrate practical benefits
    Unlike millennials, who are easily swayed by their communities, mature consumers are less easily influenced by peers. They rely on their own experiences, practicality and logic to sway them out of their comfort zones.
  • Stick to the facts
    Sweeping claims don’t work on mature consumers who will do substantial fact and cross checking of information to ascertain whether marketing claims are valid and true. What’s more, they’re much more likely to return items that don’t live up to expectations or brand claims.

How do you navigate a world rich with diverse audiences, who are able to block your brand messages at the click of a button?

Desiree Gullan, Co-founder and Executive Creative Director of G&G Digital, offers the following advice, “there’s no need to allow ad-blockers and the increasing demands of consumers to block your marketing campaigns. Take insights from both millennials and boomers and merge those into a high-performance hybrid strategy that is well rounded with credible brand and lifestyle messaging, sticks to the facts, delivers on promises and it creates memorable experiences at all touch-points.

It’s time to break out of the inbox

Break out of the inbox with smart brand messaging

By Desirée Gullan, Co-founder and Executive Creative Director of G&G Digital  

In the digital era, it’s never been more difficult for brands to break through the deluge of information and penetrate consumer’s ever decreasing attention spans. Your brand messaging is one of the most important aspects of a marketing communications strategy. From the language used, to the tone it is delivered in, successful brand messages will result in your target audience resonating with your brand, and be more open to receiving your content.

It takes between five and seven points of contact for a brand to make an impression. Here’s some ways you can make sure your brand impressions last.

Be customer-centric

Before planning and crafting your brand’s key messaging, make sure you view your brand as a consumer would. Use survey data and qualitative intelligence to better understand your target audience. You will probably find they’re looking for relatable, relevant content that adds to their experience, without being too hard sell.

Be clear about your brand’s why

Take the time to introspect on your brand’s vision and mission. This should raise questions on where you see your brand in the next two, three and five years. Understanding your brand’s short- and long-term progress will mean you can apply that in your brand messaging, ensuring your brand stays relevant.

Break out from the competition

Study your competition thoroughly. What are they doing, where are they going, and who is their target audience? Understanding this will empower you to craft unique and authentic content rather than more of the same as your competitors.

Make channels work

Use channels that are relevant for your budget, your brand and your target audience. More consumers are staying home, which means the most important place to reach them is online. From Instagram to TikTok, people are looking for spaces to connect without the risk of contracting COVID-19. This gives you the opportunity to meet your audience on a platform they resonate with.


Four tips to crafting brand messages that resonate

Be consistent

Make use of all relevant platforms, keep your brand message consistent and tailored to each audience. This will show your target audience that your brand will deliver on its promises with the same consistency as your messaging.

Show why you’re unique

If a competitor can safely say the same thing you’re saying, your brand is not that unique and there’s not much compelling reason for your target audience to choose it. This means it’s time to dive deep and find out what sets your brand apart, then go on to tell your target audience about it in a compelling, honest and creative way –– all aligned with your brand tone of voice.

Prove you’re unique

Ensure that any and every claim you make is true. Avoid outlandish statements that make you “the best in the world”, rather focus on what truly makes you different and better.

Be noteworthy and memorable

Consumers look for memorable communications and experiences that inform, uplift, entertain and inspire. Make sure your brand delivers on their desires in a way that is personable and relatable to your audience.


With effective brand messages, you can go from inboxes to check out and from social media to visits to your website. What’s more, you can forge lasting impressions and transform your customers into an army of brand advocates.

The (very) digital wrap-up of 2020

Brands across the globe are slowly but surely coming to terms with a world in the midst of COVID-19. Doing so has resulted in major campaigns being placed on ice or pivoted to a digital execution. The latter has significantly increased as brands used the opportunity to talk to their target audience online.

One key learning is that the Internet is the only place not locked down in a global lockdown. This has inspired communications agencies to create digital work which showed care, love and empathy. Research shows an increased reliance on digital mediums for many aspects of consumers lives.

In addition, consumers have also increased their usage of streaming platforms using mobile devices or smart TV’s.

To remain in touch with your core target audience, communication must take place where consumers spend their time. Here are some tips to meet your audience digitally.

Take learning online 
Online learning has seen a surge during the global pandemic as many people opted to use their time to achieve personal growth and learn new skills. Smart organisations have implemented e-learning programmes to initiate professional growth for their staff and to give their businesses a much-needed boost in performance.

Make use of live-streaming  
Brands are making use of platforms such as Instagram Live, Facebook Live or Twitch to livestream product launches and other important announcements. This is proving to be immensely successful as the conversion rate from viewer to customer surpassed the 12% mark, resulting in increased sales. In addition to converting viewers into customers, many brands find success in creating memorable experiences for their target audience, which goes a long way in retaining and attracting new customers.

Use webinars to educate and inform 
Webinars were once a frowned-upon digital strategy. This has changed as consumers are now connected by a minimum of three devices at any given time. Use webinars to create content that is easily digested, relevant, and available for future reference. Webinars are an effective tool for internal communications for B2B and B2C brands, as well as educational tools for external audiences.

To capitalise on digital strategies, brands should meet their audiences where it matters, online and in channels of their choice. This is an opportunity to not just grow the cultural relevance of your brand, but also convert traffic into customers and increase market share.

To learn more on how your business can experience growth in a digital world get in touch with G&G Digital, or visit https://gullanandgullan.com/.

Accelerate your brand’s growth with digital marketing

By Desirée Gullan, Co-founder and Executive Creative Director of G&G Digital  

Digital marketing accelerated in the first quarter of 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown restrictions disrupted industries and business activity. This disruption pushed marketing professionals into uncharted territories in a short time, presenting new opportunities for organisations to rethink their traditional marketing strategies to meet consumer demands.  

With lockdown restrictions, consumers started spending more time and money online. Some brands were prepared, while others had to adapt quickly to new digital strategies to meet their target audience’s changing behaviors. 

“Technology and innovation are essential to help businesses meet their customers’ ever-changing demandsespecially at the speed of change happening in today’s environment,” said Desirée Gullan, Co-founder and Executive Creative Director of G&G Digital. “Marketing professionals can give their business the edge by increasing their digital focus and with that the ability to meet customers’ demands instantaneouslyDigital is measurable, so it also allows you to identify and optimise what’s working and pivot quickly to change what’s not workingIt also shows that a business is agile, adaptable and ready for any challenges,” she added. 

To stay ahead of the curve with digital marketing, here are some proven methods.  

Use data to inform strategy
Data, search, and analytical tools can help identify who your target audiences are and help you understand their ever-shifting needs. These insights should inform strategy and drive creative teams and media strategists to execute meaningful campaigns that drive higher engagement and achieve ROI. 

Digitalfirst gives brands a competitive edge
Target audiences have pivoted to be more online, and that’s where your business needs to be. It’s not enough to have excellent products or services; your businesses should implement digital marketing strategies that can quickly react and scale to customer expectations.  

Meet customers where they’re at
As consumers spend more time online, make sure your brand meets them in their preferred digital spaces and push these leads down the marketing and sales funnel. By shifting marketing budgets from traditional to online, brands can raise awareness of their products and services and ensure sales conversions. And it becomes easier for marketers to engage with customers in real-time, assuring customers that their favourite brands are listening to their needs.  

To maintain growth beyond the pandemic, continue to build on the strategies and platforms you embraced during your pivot to digital. This will contribute to your long-term growth and deliver outstanding customer experience. By doing so, customers feel valued, knowing their brands respond to their immediate needs and interests and are there for the long haul.   

What is advocacy?

By Michael Gullan

The 2020 pandemic continues to disrupt industries and businesses while having a significant impact on world economies.

As business leaders shift their focus to a new way of working, they’re also looking at the continuity of their organisations and embracing new methods to upskill their workforce and create brand advocates.

Online learning and training is an effective way to upskill all stakeholders. G&G Advocacy takes eLearning to another level as it intersects eLearning, incentives and loyalty.

Content Capsules™
Content Capsules™ help learners better understand and engage with content. They’re bite-sized learning moments, presented through short and long-form articles, quizzes, audio, video, polls, gamification, and so much more. This helps users retain information and increase their knowledge.

Watch this video by Michael Gullan, Co-founder and Managing Director of G&G Advocacy.

Why microlearning is making a big impact on business

Over the past 20 yearsthe human attention span has rapidly decreased from 12 seconds to eight seconds, according to a Microsoft study. 

A short attention span has huge implications on how effectively an individual retains information. And it impacts an organisation’s approach to upskilling their employees and other stakeholders, to give their business a competitive edge 

What’s more — almost half of South African Millennials are employed and Gen Z’ers are slowly entering the workforce. Growing up in a digital age influences the way they consume content and the way they learn, and it’s important for organisations to adapt to this, especially their learning and advocacy strategies. 

“We’ve seen how businesses have to change the conversation to meet the needs of Millennials and Gen Z’ers. For organisations to not be left behind, they need to engage with their younger workforce in ways that resonate and empower them,” said Michael Gullan, Co-Founder and Managing Director of G&G Digital. “This includes how they learn and upskill their various stakeholders. G&G has taken microlearning to a new level by introducing an innovative Content Capsule™ methodology. This learning method empowers people to control what they learn. And it addresses the short attention span and busy schedules,” he adds. 

Microlearning is more than a buzzword 

Microlearning isn’t a trend. It is a digital learning methodology that delivers valuable and insightful information in bite-sized and easy-to-digest modules. Microlearning is strategically designed to allow employees to complete and assimilate one learning objective at a time. 

Microlearning is not restricted to professional learning, it can also impact an individual’s ongoing, continuous learning, as the success of the popular TED Talks shows. 

Here are three ways microlearning can benefit a business.  

  1. Affordable and scalable
    Microlearning is “learning moments” that are targetedstrategic, short and tailored to suit organisations’ needs and budgets. It’s highly interactiveaccessible from all devices and provides a rewarding digital experience for employees.
    As business processes and industry insights evolve, it’s essential to communicate these changes and upskill teams in a seamless manner. Microlearning will assist businesses to keep learning information relevant, updated and to be able to update it as need be, with no disruption to the learning process.  
  2. Utilising rich media 
    Microlearning offers employees an opportunity to interactively engage with diverse, rich media content allowing them to be fully engaged in horizontal and vertical learning. 

    Using stories, videos, audio, infographics, short and long-form articles, learning becomes more rewarding, easier to understand, and accommodating of an employees’ short attention span and busy schedule.
  3. Data friendly 
    Employees can easily access learning materials from any device, including smartphones, tablets, iPads and computers. And, with the short duration of learning material, accessing the content from smartphones is achievable and not data intensive. 
    With microlearning, businesses can continue to refresh and reinforce employees’ knowledge and skills for the workplace. It is effective and engaging, and as organisations continue to adapt to technology and digital processes, microlearning can help turn learning, training and advocacy into their most powerful business asset. 

How a pandemic has shaped the future of business

The COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of people around the world into lockdown and social distancing to help control the spread of the virus. This public health crisis is also driving businesses to implement remote working to ensure business continuity.

While adjusting to a new way of working, businesses are embracing technology and employees are learning new skills, as they look at digital tools and platforms to stay connected and productive.

Webinars are essential in today’s environment, as they put back the human connection and assist in enhancing collaboration that many people crave while working remotely.

“Marketers may be in crisis mode right now, but the benefits of webinars present a new tactical opportunity,” said Michael Gullan, Managing Director of G&G Digital. “All you need to do is move fast and get your webinar strategy in order to replace the revenue you were generating from areas that are no longer an option,” he added.

Webinars have a myriad of performance enhancing benefits that include the ability to engage with small to large groups, interact with the audience in real-time, record sessions, as well as reporting and analytic tools. Whether a virtual team building, onboarding of new employees, launching a new product or service, or a product demonstration, webinars are a powerful tool that can assist organisations strategically.

Here are four ways webinars add value.

  1. Encourage open dialogue
    Webinars allow for real-time questions from the audience, no matter where they are. Presenters can easily weave audience questions and comments into the presentation and provide real-time feedback. As webinars are live events, they are more conversational as presenters can ask the audience questions, encouraging engagement.
  2. Position organisations as industry experts
    Inviting experts to join in, organisations can expand their reach to other businesses and potential customers, as they position themselves as leaders in their industry.
  3. Soft selling
    By using webinars effectively, businesses can teach and sell their products or services at the same time, in a more organic way. And the registration process allows organisations to build a database, along with an opportunity to attract new customers.
  4. Gaining insights

    Although webinars are live events, they can be recorded to review and use in the future. These recordings offer opportunities to gain insights into attendees’ behaviour and inform future topics. And if used successfully, analysing questions asked during webinar sessions, can also help inform an organisation’s content strategy.

“With tradeshows, conferences, and events cancelled for just about everyone, the new coronavirus COVID-19, is forcing businesses everywhere to pivot many of their marketing plans and strategies overnight,” said Gullan.

Webinars are much more than a product launch or demonstration. They’re an excellent marketing tool that offer organisations an opportunity to convert attendees into customers, all while being cost-effective to deliver an essential marketing role. With an opportunity to expand the business and stay top of mind, webinars are the beginning of a new way to engage organisations and take your business to the next level.