How regulated industries are getting results from digital marketing

Consumers are changing—they have less time, aren’t brand loyal, are more socially and environmentally conscious, and prefer experiences over products. According to a Deloitte study, these changes are a result of climate change, economic constraints and increasing competitive options.


Marketing professionals operating in regulated industries have the additional challenge of compliance and government regulations, while attempting to engage with their difficult-to-reach audiences.  


“Don’t let regulations limit your creativity and how you engage with your customers and potential customers in the digital space,” said Desirée Gullan, Executive Creative Director of G&G Digital. “Focus on what you are permitted to do within your industry regulations and turn challenges into opportunities to remain competitive.”  


Gullan shared three insights on how brands operating in regulated industries can win at digital.  


1.Understand your audience and make your marketing work harder

Get to know your customers, what digital platforms they use, and what they use them for. Use social to understand their wants, needs and behaviours, and then design a strategy that resonates, provides solutions, and adds value to their lives. You will also save marketing budget and effort by selecting platforms your customers use. For example, if customers only use social media, developing a microsite won’t help you reach them or engage with them.  


2. Use the right digital touchpoints 

Paid search, social media, and influencer marketing are effective channels to reach audiences, but for some industries, this may not be permitted. Regulations can be restrictive. On top of that, not all channels are appropriate for your goals. Identify the best platforms, objectives, and when regulations get in the way, work with key opinion leaders and influencers, use digital PR, tag visual content on your website, and optimise content to increase organic traffic.   


3. Close the digital gap

Another Deloitte study shows that 75% of customers want consistency from their brands. You can achieve this with content that resonates and tells the same story, using a similar tone, across all digital touchpoints. Brands should also be consistent in their support services so that customers experience seamless interaction and don’t feel like they’re dealing with a business in silos. 


Regardless of your industry, online visibility is essential, and when used correctly can yield excellent results for your brand. Leverage opportunities, use the right digital platforms in smart, goal orientated ways. Keep your audience at the centre of your content creation, deliver value, and be consistent across all touchpoints.  


 “Digital is always changing and it changes fast, which also means that new and exciting opportunities are always opening up to engage with your customers on their terms, to add value to their lives and to get an ROI on your marketing,” Gullan concluded. 

Meet G&G Digital’s new GM, Samantha Fletcher

Samantha Fletcher stepped into her new hybrid role as Client Service Director and General Manager (GM) of G&G Digital, the award-winning digital marketing agency based in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

While Samantha has worked with the dynamic team at G&G Digital for the past decade, her full-time return as a business partner and Client Service Director in 2019 led to this new and exciting opportunity. And she’s eager to take the agency to the next level as they expand their digital marketing solutions into regulated industries.

“I’m very excited about the future of our business and the smart, value-adding solutions we offer our clients to help them achieve their business goals,” said Samantha. “The past two years haven’t been easy, but our team worked incredibly hard and remained passionate to positively impact our clients by delivering smart and breakthrough communication strategies that engaged our clients’ target audiences and delivered results,” she added.

From fashion to a digital expert

Samantha started her career in the fashion industry, and her passion for digital marketing took her in a different direction. Her drive and determination took her from Account Manager to Account Director and the rest is history.

Driven by purpose

While Samantha will continue to lead the Client Service team, her role as GM will also focus on the business culture. “Smart strategy drives our business and our team excels at collaborative work, and this is what I want to continue to nurture in my new role. When we’re motivated, happy, and client-focused, we deliver work that resonates with our clients and their customers, and deliver results we can be proud of,” she said.

What’s next for G&G Digital?

Navigating full-time remote. After working from home since the pandemic started, G&G Digital is now a fully-remote, bi-coastal agency, and Samantha will oversee the physical and virtual offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

“While we had very little time to prepare for remote work, we quickly adapted,” she said. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, it was vital that our team were safe. As lockdown regulations relaxed, we continued to work from home; it worked for our team, and we are seeing enhanced productivity and creativity. And now we’re all over the country,” she concluded.

Five digital marketing trends you need to know in 2022

By DesiréeGullan Co-founder and Executive Creative Director of G&G Digital

The good news is: the digital marketing revolution is far from over and it’s providing new and exciting opportunities for marketing professionals to raise brand awareness and expand market share.

Last year’s important trend, personalisation, continues to be relevant as customers demand that their brands understand them better. “Various personalisation strategies help marketers enhance customer experiences and build brand loyalty by establishing strong relationships. Customers will trust brands that have their best interests in mind, especially when it comes to product recommendations,” said Desirée Gullan, co-founder and Executive Creative Director of G&G Digital.

When marketers combine personalisation with innovative digital marketing tools and tactics, they can achieve their goals and better connect with their target audience, building loyalty over the long term. The following five trends should shape your 2022 marketing strategy and help your brand and business thrive.

  1. Conversational marketing1

The days of waiting 24 hours for a reply from a brand are long gone. Consumers want a response––and they want it now––on their preferred platforms, times and in a tone of voice they can relate to. Conversational marketing sets out to connect via chats, text, personalised videos, and emails, all with the intention of putting the individual consumer at the centre and enhancing their experience.

  1. Video marketing1,2,3

Video isn’t optional. A Wyzowl survey shows that 84% of customers buy products or services after watching a video. More than five billion videos are watched on YouTube every day, and other social media platforms are following this strategy. To get more eyeballs on your videos, produce content that your customers want to see, that adds value and makes use of live broadcasts on Instagram or Facebook to drive higher engagement. Repurpose video content for blogs, podcasts, and other channels.

  1. Green marketing1,4,5

Climate change is a major concern, and customers will select brands that are committed to looking after the planet. Ninety percent of Millennials say they’ll spend more money on sustainable and environmentally conscious brands. And for once, Gen Z’s are agreeing with Millennials.

  1. Inclusivity and diversity1

Marketing campaigns should reflect real people––across age, race, ethnicity, gender, language, socioeconomic status, health, disabilities, religion, dietary and diverse body types. You don’t need to cater to every possible demographic in one campaign, but your customers should be able to relate, and importantly, know that their brands of choice are inclusive.

  1. Shoppable content4

Social commerce and online shopping have changed the way people browse, shop, review and recommend. Make this process easy, intuitive and with the least obstacles. Ensure your customers can make purchases or enquiries directly through social posts or connected TVs. And don’t forget, the power of storytelling and customer recommendations to convert.

“There’s a myriad of ways of bolstering your personalised marketing with smart digital tactics,” concluded Gullan, “and you don’t need to use them all at once. Look at your strategy, understand your customers, identify the most relevant channels and innovative tools and content to better engage with them. The best part about digital is you can trial, measure, and optimise, one channel at a time.”

Customers will identify with your brand if they see you’re authentic and when they see themselves reflected in your marketing. Your business and brand can thrive and remain competitive when you understand your customers and converse with them in ways that resonate.

Why less is more on social media

Why less is more on social media

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

There’s no doubt that social media is an essential component of all business-to-consumer marketing and communications strategies, however, the big question is: How many channels are enough?

A recent study by Hootsuite found that oversaturating social media with brand content — especially repeated content — across many channels, causes audiences to zone out, skip content, and, worst of all, unfollow. This is not good news for marketing professionals who go to great effort and cost to acquire followers in the first place.

“It all begins with understanding your audience and the spaces they occupy”, said Desirée Gullan, Executive Creative Director of G&G Digital. “Then you can craft value-adding content that speaks to your audiences in the channels they love. Doing so allows you to have a trusted voice on social media, as opposed to bombarding your target audience with generic content everywhere.”

Here are the 4 key aspects to consider when selecting your social media channels:

1. Who uses this channel and what are they using it for?

Is it an important channel for your target personas?

What conversations are going on here?

What content type works best?

2. Will this channel help you achieve your objectives?

Why does it make sense for your business or brand to use this channel?

What goals will you pursue through your activities here?

3. Does the channel align with your content mission?

Will your content be viewed as unique and valuable, or will the community find it intrusive or irrelevant?

Have your competitors established a strong presence?

Could you lead the conversation on this channel for your brand’s positioning?

4. What results do you want to achieve?

What should you be asking followers to do after engaging with our content — share, comment, visit, subscribe or shop?

Is the community likely to take an action?

Do you have the right metrics, monitoring, and KPIs to measure success?

What kinds of content work best on this platform?

Is your content strategy relevant to this audience?

“Talk to your audience, not at them,” Gullan adds. “People trust brands that give back, whether you’re providing valuable information, entertaining, sharing news, or simply providing a safe place where they can be with other people going through similar experiences.”

Tools such as Hootsuite, Agora or Buffer make social media management easier and aggregate your posts over several platforms using real-time stats, however, repetitive posts on multiple platforms run the risk of brand blindness and unsatisfied target audiences wondering why they’re seeing duplicated content.

This leaves marketing professionals with the challenge of not just streamlining social media presence, but also making content that matters. “Quality over quantity is the rule of thumb – take more time strategising and producing relevant content for your channel that connects and adds value to your followers,” concluded Gullan.

How Instagram Polls can give you the edge

Facebook has done it. Twitter has done it. Now Instagram is bringing polls to users.

Instagram Polls is a feature users can access through Instagram Stories. When you tap on “Poll” on the stickers menu, a Yes/No button will appear on your image, below an “Ask a question” prompt.

Tapping on the Yes and No buttons allows you to customise the answers within a 27-character limit. Once you’re done editing, you can drag the sticker into place. If you choose to leave the question field empty, you can add different text in the style you prefer, and drag that to where you want.

Facebook Messenger allows for several choices, Twitter gives you up to four options, and with Instagram you have two answers to select from. It’s unlikely that Instagram will increase the number of options, since it’s emphasis is on clean, uncluttered visuals.

Polls are a great tool for brands to get insights into their consumers’ decision making. Encourage engaged participation from your audience by posing original questions around topics they can relate to. Then show that you are listening to your market by repurposing your research results into new content, and act on the feedback.

Gain insights into:

  • Preferred products – think about pitting your two best-selling dishes against each other if you’re a restaurant. Then maybe have a promotion with the winner
  • Packaging – if you’re about to launch a new product, ask consumers which colour they like better, what package size they prefer, etc.
  • Prize preference – when you’re planning to launch a competition, regardless of which platform, asking what prize people will prefer will also create some hype and anticipation for a competition.
  • Content and content formats – do your followers prefer Boomerangs or Live broadcasts? Do they prefer motoring content, or tech?
  • What they need – ask if they need help with Managed Document Solutions or VOIP

Polls also provide users the opportunity to take advantage of trending topics. If there’s an authentic way for your brand to participate in conversation around a book launch, for example, then you’d better be sure your phone is charged and the lighting’s good.

The most valuable feature about Instagram Polls is that it can help you profile your audience. Like Instagram Stories, poll results are available for 24 hours, and you can see who voted and what they voted for. The people who engage with your polls are the ones you should actively target through the rest of your content, and to whom you should tailor your brand messages and products.

Be cautious about overdoing it on polls. If all your content is developed around polls, your audience might become disinterested and less responsive.

So, only one question remains. Will your brand be using Instagram Polls?

How brands should speak to GenZs

For teens, life is no longer punctuated by first dances, first exams or first sleepovers – it’s marked by first mobile phones.

The latest Think with Google report reveals that getting a new phone is defined as a life-changing event for teens. Which means the daily lives of teens are defined by their smartphone. Whether they think your brand is cool will make or break their endorsement, in real time, on their phone.

The report, released mid-2016, aimed to scrutinise and unpack the digital behaviours of Generation Z (GenZs) and how they compare to their older counterparts. Data and insights were paired to provide a deep understanding of this mythical group of phone-first youngsters. Here key insights and what they mean for marketers.

The young and restless
The age at which GenZs are getting their first phone is around twelve years young. This doesn’t mean marketers should cannibalise the young and innocent, but it should be rethinking and disrupting communications in light of what’s happening within this generation. And the only way to understand the reality of GenZs is to talk to them. Explore their fears, expectations and hopes; and tailor communications to resonate.

Viva video
Seven in ten teens say they spend more than three hours a day watching mobile video. Smartphones have grown beyond interpersonal communications to multimedia devices. If content doesn’t delight and entertain – in seconds – they won’t watch it. And if it doesn’t look good on their smartphone, they’ll be underwhelmed. The lesson: think mobile video first when designing your brand’s content strategy.

By the buy
Mobile e-commerce is gaining momentum. GenZs are the biggest takers. Two in three teens make purchases online and of those, more than half are completing the purchase on their phones. But in-store, experiential purchasing and browsing still accounts for one brand’s popularity over another. Smart brands are adopting a ‘clicks and mortar’ approach – providing an offline space for teens to feel, hold and fall in love with products and then building an online store they can purchase it from later. And ensuring communications in both places are smart and seamless.

Craft connections
Just because they’re saying it with emojis and Snaps, doesn’t mean GenZs don’t want to be heard. They still value connections with real human beings. It’s just the medium that’s changed. Even when tackling mobile first, it’s essential to craft communications that resonate. Tell human-stories and create experiences that translate to digital and mobile.

Like it or not, GenZs are your future customers. You might not be them, but you can understand them. The most important lesson marketers can learn is that GenZs need to be engaged, connected and entertained with content that fits in the palm of their hand.

Is your site designed to convert?

By Desiree Gullan, Executive Creative Director, G&G Digital

The only thing better than thousands of visitors to your website is an astounding number of conversions. Bumper-to-bumper website traffic isn’t good enough anymore if your visitors are just window-shopping, they don’t add value to your bottom line. In fact, they end up costing you, via paid search and other digital marketing spend. So how can brands make their websites work harder, and turn high-volume traffic into real leads? It starts with Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO).

What is a conversion?
A website conversion is unique to each website and is determined by the desired action and purpose of that website. It might be a transaction, a download, or a form submission. Before understanding how to optimise conversions, it’s essential to understand exactly what you expect your users to do.

A conversion rate is the ratio of conversions to website visitors. If your website has had 100 visitors and one conversion, you have a conversion rate of 1%. Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) leverages more conversions from existing traffic rather than seeking out new traffic that might not result in quality leads. A website designed with conversions in mind will see higher returns on investment and a busier, more rewarding sales funnel. By critically analysing the user experience (UX) of a website, brands can make the most out of the website traffic they already have.

Think like your users
The first step in boosting CRO is to think like the user. Users don’t want to make decisions, so it’s vital you design the journey for them and nurture them along the way. Keep it simple and keep it smart.

Key to this is living up to the promise made via traffic generation (how you got them to your website in the first place). What are they looking for, what are they expecting to find and what have you promised them? Landing page user experience should be designed with this in mind. Be clear about what you want users to do and don’t confuse it with other – secondary – calls to action.

Your landing page should offer what was promised, without requiring extra, unexpected action from the user. And if the end goal is a lead, don’t ask for all the information you need to complete a sale. You’ll only scare them away – it’s the digital equivalent of an ‘I love you’ on the first date, when all you really need is to secure the second one.

A fundamental pillar to CRO is testing and analysis: what you predicted versus what’s actually happening. You can’t predict exactly how users are going to behave. And the best way to reach a conclusion about your customer’s online behaviour is to let the data tell you. Those insights do optimise your CRO.

What’s in it for you?
CRO has endless benefits for your website. You can save on ad spend and increase the number of engaged visitors, while consistently improving the overall usability of your website. Improving your conversion rate is cheaper and easier than increasing traffic to your website (which is, however, a wise place to start). It means making traffic to your website more efficient, so you don’t waste time on unqualified visitors.

The process of CRO starts and ends with thinking like the user. Which isn’t as easy as it sounds. It requires research, time and informed decisions based on data. And a whole lot of trial and error. Which is why it’s key to partner with marketing technologists who are willing to put in the time required to really understand your customers, your data and your site’s performance. And then enjoy watching your bottom line benefit.

At G&G, you’ll find your dream job

Puppy cuddler.
Cheesecake taster.
Silk pyjama auditor.
Nail polish name assignee.

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The state of social: 2017

Here’s what social media consumption looks like in South Africa, right now.

What’s big in digital this year?

By Desiree Gullan, Executive Creative Director, G&G Digital

The prevailing sentiment as we forge ahead into 2017 is the relief at seeing the back of 2016. Nowhere else were the history-making (and, at times, absurd) moments of 2016 more amplified than in the digital space. News platforms were cluttered with stories, Twitter ablaze with debate, Facebook continued to break news. And Instagram was the emotional reflection of it all.

As cut-backs continue to dominate, how should digital marketers assign precious marketing budgets this year? Here’s what should be on your radar.

Get rich
Information delivered in rich media formats increased in popularity in 2016. This trend will boom in 2017 and the digital space will be inundated with video content, infographics and interactive storytelling. The caveat is that users are no longer charmed or shocked by a change in medium – the subject matter has to be more provocative, insightful, humorous and thrilling than ever before.

Numbers game
It’s no secret budgets are being cut across the globe – from cosmetics to cars – which makes it crucial to be able to prove ROI. Marketing automation is a smart solution. Astute marketers and brands want to know who they’re speaking to and how to strike while the keyboard is hot – marketing automation gives them this power. Still new to the marketing automation revolution? Read more here.

Big talk
Consumers are demanding one-on-one, conversational experiences online which has led to the birth of chatbots. Conversations are taking over because users want – and expect – to have someone to talk to any time of day to solve their unique problem. It speaks to instant gratification and the never-ending knowledge abyss.

The rise of real
Content marketing continues to dominate digital marketing techniques, however, it’s not without its evolutions. Users want authentic digital content. That doesn’t mean it has to be heart-wrenching, it just means it has to be real. It has to reflect the target audience, speak their language and share real narratives.

The year past was wild and weird. With any luck, 2017 will be the same. Buckle up and get ready for the ride.