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Structuring a complete Digital Marketing Strategy

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013


Having recently completed the Digital Marketing Institute’s (DMI),  Digital Marketing Diploma, I thought I would summarise and share the contents of the course, and at the same time provide a holistic overview of the DMI’s view on Digital Marketing.

Marketing Trends

What are the top marketing trends you’ve come across?

The program consists of a 5 Day intensive bootcamp covering all the various disciplines of Digital Marketing.

First off, it’s imperative to understand, that there are many channels that make up an entire Digital Marketing Plan, and by selecting only a few of them, you could be leaving out many other crucial aspects.

Secondly, by utilising all channels, you are in effect harnessing the full power of a complete strategy, but need to do so in a fully integrated way.

The different components that make up a Digital Marketing Strategy are:

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Search Marketing – The DMI covers Pay per click (paid advertising) under this section
  • Email marketing
  • Digital Display advertising
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Mobile marketing
  • Analytics (being able to report on results)

The entire marketing framework, then needs to be underpinned by strategy, and thorough planning.

Aside from just understanding the various channels, the DMI continually refers to the 3i Principals, being initiate, iterate, and integrate. The basic concept is that each strategy must start off with the customer as the focus of the campaign, alter over time, as one gathers more accurate info about this customer, and finally integrate all other marketing messages in a coherent manner.

Your objective

First off, and more importantly than the channel you are ultimately going to use, is the over arching objective(s). Why you are doing it

Be Specific

What results are you looking for?

You need to set yourself, and your organisation, very clear, specific and measurable goals that you are looking to achieve from your online marketing strategy.

By starting with the customer in mind, you could begin to ask such things as; ‘who is my customer?’ ‘Where do they work?’ ‘How do they browse the web?’ and ‘what leads them to make a buying decision?’

Why do we need to ask ourselves these questions? Well, in order for success, your message needs to be highly targeted. The better you know your audience, the more they we feel as though you are talking directly to them.

Tell your customer, what you want them to do, by making your ‘Call to Action’ clear.


Once you’ve answered these questions, you need to invest a considerable amount of time doing focused and quality in depth research.

  • Interrogate the keywords that people use when looking for your product or service
  • Check trending data of search volume at different times of the year for your product or service
  • Explore which channels potentially stand to provide you with the best success and Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Be aware of what your competitors are already doing in this space, and how you can differentiate


Once you have worked out the purpose for your campaign, and have done your research, you now need to develop a detailed action plan.

Decide how long in advance you wish to plan (3, 6 or 12 months), and then set up a calendar, with dates to take various action steps.

Marketing Strategy

How will you unlock your brand’s potential?

Make sure that all your dates coincide correctly, and don’t overlook anything. An example of this would be to make sure you have designed and populated your emailer, before the date it’s due to be sent.


The greatest marketing plan in the world is absolutely meaningless, if not acted upon. So in order to get results, take action.

If your planning stage was done correctly, there is no need to second guess yourself, so trust your plan and work it accordingly. Stick to the plan and don’t deviate at the outset. You need to allow for a certain amount of action, and results before you decide to change anything.



If you can’t measure it, how can you improve on it?

In order to run any marketing campaign effectively, you will need to decide upfront what will determine its overall success.

Analyse and report

Have you got the results you expect?

This is important, so that you can ultimately tweak the campaign in the direction that will further increase your ROI.

Decide in advance what you plan to measure in your Digital Marketing Plan, as well as how you plan to measure it. This can easily be done with a number of free or paid for reporting tools which can be found online, and taken advantage of.

Before deciding on the tools to use, first decide on the type of information you wish to measure, and what you would like to do with it, once you have it.


So, while there are many opportunities and channels for Digital Marketing online, and whilst it is important to pick the rights ones for your business, its even more important to do in depth research, strategise your campaign, have an executable action plan, and then, through real-time and effective monitoring, deviate your strategy and actions, to make the most of everything that online has to offer you.





Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back.

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

What you say on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+ and any other platform on the web) could potentially end you in hot water.


Not only is this a fact when it comes to issues of humanitarian aspects, racial commentary or general slander against individuals, but even more so against the corporate world, and especially the company you work for. More and more companies are monitoring their reputation online, and this online commentary has become easier to monitor, and pick up through a wide range of tools. Therefore the chances of negative (and positive) sentiment being picked up on the web is a reality, and increasingly so.

So what does this mean to you, the employee of a company, against which you have had or made a negative outburst? It’s quite simple, you can lose your job, and what’s more, even have legal action taken against you. Just by posting something on the web, in any form or any platform, you are governed by the same laws that govern publishing as a whole.

So, the next time you retweet someone’s negativity, or post on Facebook, or decide to just have your own negative outburst, think about the long-term impacts that this action could have against you


User optimisation vs. search engine optimisation

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

For most of us, the topic of search engine optimisation, is an old one. All you have to do is just Google the term, and the long list of SERP’s that follow will all kind of say the same thing. Most with a slight varying nuance in the ‘how’ to approach it. But all of that is rapidly changing. While up until recently, it was all about keyword density, increasing the number of pages on a site, or getting as many backlinks as possible. That’s all quickly coming to an end.

Google SERP’s

Why the change?

Much is being researched and written about the many algorithmic changes that Google is making, and rather than slowing down, these changes are actually on the increase. We saw as many as 12 changes in 2012, compared to just 11 in 2011. And if that’s not enough, the latest Google Panda update #24, the first for 2013 was released on January the 24th, 2013.

So, why the change? It is widely documented that this is Google’s continued attempt to ‘clean up the town’ so to speak. For all too long, SEO companies, practicing in both the white and dark arts, have been ‘influencing’ the results found on Google’s SERP’s. And in retaliation, Google continually intervenes to keep the search results as pure and uncontrived as possible. Most of which can be dated as far back as 2003, when they first began to ignore the keyword tags on websites

So where is this going?

The real question is, where will this end? I personally can’t see it coming to an end. For Google to remain competitive, and continue to attract users to its search engine, it is imperative that it continues to clean up the results its users find while searching. What’s more, Google now looks beyond search. Much more emphasis is now being placed upon the users engagement factor. Things such as bounce rate, load speeds, and goal completions, can both positively or negatively impact on where your site ranks, more so then how you got them there in the first place.

Whilst pre Panda and Penguin updates focused on driving the click, these days the emphasis is more about post-click activity. The bottom line really, is if the user wins, we all win.  So much more effort needs to be placed on what happens after the click.

The conclusion

While this is rapidly becoming the new reality, it is still important to consider both sides when approaching your SEO rollout. While the new focus is around optimising the browsing experience for the user, increasing overall engagement, and retaining the user for a longer period of time, the old practices still apply to some extent. To put it simply, while it is becoming increasingly more important to keep your user engaged once he or she has found your site, you still need to get them there in the first place.

Season greetings from Talooma

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

As 2012 drew to a close, the team at Talooma wanted to do a little something different for our clients.

Rather than the traditional eCards that get emailed out these days,  we thought we could do something a lot more fun,  interactive, and who knows, maybe even have it go viral (hope, hope).

So we have created a humorous and festive video against the backdrop of Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas” acted out, sung, and produced by the entire team at Talooma.

So take a look, and enjoy. Oh yes, and have yourselves a very Merry Christmas, and enjoy this time with your loved ones.

The Talooma Team

Digital Marketing Institute Launches in South Africa

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

The Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) officially launched in South Africa yesterday. The opening address was made by Mr. Ian Dodson, the CEO, in which he promised to ’build the digital economy one person at a time’

Present at the launch which was held at the Balalaika Hotel in Sandton, was a delegation of the Irish Trade Commission, and a number of South Africa’s top Digital Agencies. Also present was Blue Magnet, the 1st of 5 accredited training institutions that the Digital Marketing Institute has partnered with to roll out its wide variety of course material to the local market. With its flagship course being the Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing, they offer theoretical training with practical outcomes.

The DMI promises to introduce a number of standards over the next few months. These are set around the standards in the industry and training of Digital Marketing, through the planned advisory council.

Globally, the DMI spends considerable time working with its partners around the globe to maintain these standards, formalise, and rollout education.

The DMI promises that through its dedication to educating professionals in the field of Digital Marketing, career growth and competitiveness in a global jobs market will increase.

“The Digital Marketing Institute spends considerable time working with our various partners at the Advisory Council.  This ensures that the syllabuses for our various courses are exactly what is required in order for you to further develop your career.  We get input from organisations such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Universities and other Educational Institutions as well as some of the world’s leading Advertising and Marketing Agencies” says Ian Dodson.

With online marketing being the core focus for businesses across the globe, DMI hopes to improve the current standard of quality within South Africa and worldwide. The focus on education and training means that we will be able to develop the digital industry in South Africa and through that, reach and target foreign investors.

CEO, Ian Dodson introducing the Digital Marketing Institute

Marketing success : Execution fail

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

If we could sing a song to KFC at this point; we would be singing Build Me Up Buttercup by The Foundations.  We feel let down and almost robbed by the harrowing story that follows; so much so that e felt the need to share it on this platform. But it goes deeper than us being upset about a serious lack of chilling goodness! It cuts to the heart of an issue that many organisations fail at when it comes to their marketing becoming a reality.

KRC Krushers - the sippable treat full of real bitz!

Marketing Success.

The Johannesburg weather is beginning to heat up in a serious way. The mercury has touched on just shy of 30 degrees a few times already and the brunt of summer is no where near us. The relentless heat coupled with a lot of traffic on the M1 South heading towards Johannesburg central meant that we were in need of something to quench our thirst and bring some much needed relief from the heat.

While making our way along the highway we cannot help but be bombarded by the cleverly designed and well placed KFC Krusher street pole advertising. Every few hundred meters the mundane “fade into the background” and traditional street pole advertising (which gets filed by our minds eye as irrelevant) is replaced by the larger than life replica Krusher cup, grabbing our attention and screaming at us to take notice!

The repetition of the Krushers coupled with additional more traditional billboard advertising on the highway made it virtually impossible for us to think of anything other than making our way immediately to KFC!

Execution fail!

KFC did everything right. Or should we say that the Ad Agency who does KFC’s advertising did everything right! They used a busy, public space to grasp our attention in everyway imaginable. In fact, a KFC Krusher was all that was on our minds long after we had even passed the clever, alternative advertising. 10 points there!

When we finally arrived at a KFC (on William Nicol) some distance from the M1 south where we had been hypnotised by this Krusher advertising, we waited in line patiently, adding to the suspense of that very moment we would have the Krusher firmly in our grip. Alas, it was not meant to be. Upon ordering our long awaited KFC Krushers, our ears were met with the very words we dreaded, “Our Krusher machine is broken.”

Not only did these 5 words make us want to cancel the rest of the order and buy lunch from the competitor down the road, but we were also very disappointed because it seemed as though KFC had grabbed an advertising opportunity by the horns, (unlike other brands in South Africa) and finally used some creativity in a campaign.

Maybe someone should have checked that KFC’s Krusher machines were all working properly before they created such a hype around one of their products. All in all, a complete brand disappointment and a slack effort on KFC’s side.

What to do?

When embarking on a marketing campaign, ensure that you include in the planning of your campaign to check the following boxes :

  1. tell your organisation about the promotion
  2. check that you can handle increased demand for when your marketing actually works
  3. have a plan in place for if things go wrong with your delivery

Social Business – The Focus of NetProphet 2011

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

So what is Social Business, who’s doing it, and why is it so important?

NetProphetNet Prophet 2011 opened up with yet another bang this year, with Rob Gilmour covering the overall history and success of NetProphet to date. This year being no different, but with attendance exceeding the 1000 people mark.

The general theme of the event was that of Social Business, and why we should all be thinking about getting involved. Although the concept is a rather fresh one, it’s something that many businesses, to a large extent are already very actively involved in. The sad fact however, is that most businesses haven’t even considered the idea.

So what is Social Business?

Social Business ThinkingImagine if you will the impact of businesses working together not only for profit, but, in the process, creating a business model that adds immense value to the broader community that surrounds it. How many times have you found yourself frustrated by a number of things that just don’t work? How many times have you thought to yourself, if I had the means, I could fix this, and make it better?

Now take this example to the next level. Imagine, you were able to conceptualise the solution, get the right team of people together, employ a vast number of free technologies to support it, raise some funding along the way, and in the process, not only fix the initial problem, but make life better for all those impacted by the same problem, and while you’re at it, make a profit from your initiative.

This is Social Business.

Social business is not about running a charity, or a non-profit organization. It’s not even about doing things for free. On the contrary, social businesses make good profits, and all the while, they are aiding a greater cause, eliminating a problem, or just simply making life easier for all those around them.

While this might sound somewhat utopian, social businesses are already a reality in most parts of the world, delivering much needed relief from a wide variety of global challenges.

Two examples of such social businesses are:

Young Africa Live, a mobile-based community portal developed by the praekeltfoundation, where young people can openly discuss critical issues such as love, sex and relationships with each other, and mPedigree, a mobile service in Ghana and Nigeria that verifies via SMS the authenticity of medication prior to being taken. Saving millions of lives and recouping lost revenue to pharmaceutical companies.

Social businesses are sustainable, they deliver true value to their community, they build trust and most importantly, lasting customer relationships, and loyalty. Another great thing about social business is that, if set up correctly, they are a great source of ever increasing annuity revenue for the founding businesses.

Technology and Social Business

With the level of technology at our fingertips today, the possibility of social business also becomes that much more of a reality. The misconception of limited Internet access in places like Africa is now superseded by present day mobile phone penetration, allowing us to reach a much wider audience immediately. Social Media allows us to share and consume content and media much faster, while also collaborating on multiple projects in real time. And finally, the Internet provides the power of research right on our doorstep.

So, the next time you are faced with a situation that you find somewhat frustrating, chances are, you are not alone. The difference however is that you might be in a unique enough position to bring about a change that has a long-term benefit to your community, while making you a handsome profit in the process.

Lessons learnt while building Woo Themes

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Adriaan Pienaar AKA ‘Eddy Rockstar’ gives us some insight into the lessons he has learnt while building Woo Themes

  • You can start up your business from anywhere
  • Start an International Business – Not a South African business. (Change your view about your business to that of a global one)
  • No Funding – Bootstrap & Monetize – If you plan and manage your business properly, you can continue growing without having to slow down, while you wait for funding
  • Marketing the Stigma
  • Branding: Be unique & personalize – Build your personal brand online
  • Listen to your audience – They are the ones who will ultimately buy from you
  • Force your audience’s attention to you (Don’t just live in the ‘Twitterverse’)
  • Design is more important than tech (Design will differentiate you)
  • Your customer is more important than everything else
  • Tech is only half important (communicate to your customer, don’t geek speak to your clients)
  • Stay on top of Trends – Just (But don’t be a copy cat)
  • Diversify your income (existing customers will invest in other products from you, because they trust you)
  • Limit your exposure to risk
  • Smile & Enjoy – Have fun while you’re doing it

Vinny Lingham’s Secret’s for securing funding

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

The important things to consider when you are looking to raise funding for your new business, or business idea, you need to concentrate on the following:

  • Have a great team
  • You need a good plan
  • Be a good networker
  • Build a ‘Great pitch’ (if you can’t deliver your message in 1-2 sentences, then it’s not simple enough for a funder)
  • Have a good demo
  • Be persistent (don’t give up)
  • Remain passionate about your business
  • Show potential
  • Build products, not services (service  businesses don’t scale)

Oh, to be treated like a millionaire everyday

Sunday, April 18th, 2010
Ready to depart from the station

Ready to depart from the station

How you ask? Well, either you have the bank balance, or you have the connections.

For the moment, it’s the latter for me.

Thanks to Red Pepper Books being a member of the esteemed ABSA Rewards loyalty program, we were invited to be part of a, for many, once in a lifetime experience and total treat.

This exclusive occasion was only open to a select 72 people for the day (we were two of those).

It all begins…

08h30, we met at the Capital Park Station in Pretoria, the home of Rovos Rail and it’s departure point. Here we enjoyed champagne, canapés, great company and the opportunity to take some spectacular pictures. Next thing we knew, we were boarding this illustrious transportation device.

The train itself is beautiful and furnished with only the best. After about 30 minutes of exploring the train, we stumbled upon the bar, which was the last carriage, and also where the real party seemed to be under way. We found ourselves two seats at the bar, joined in the festivities and met some amazing characters. The drinks flowed, the conversation progressed and the laughter

Standing proud at the window

Standing proud at the window


Next thing we knew, we were being ushered though for lunch. We were seated in the dining hall where everything was in it’s place and immaculate. The waiters came and took our orders and the wine began to flow. This was not just any wine, but rather some of this country’s finest, and the selection was endless.

Lunch was enjoy over a slow 2 hour stretch of five courses that exploded into a variety of tastes and the whole experience was enjoyed in the company of Rani from ABSA and her husband Ruben, who is about as passionate about photography as I am.

2 hours later, just as we were halfway though our 2nd black coffee and cognac, the train came to a holt, and we were informed the we were now at our next destination. This being Makgopong Station in Naboomspruit. We then boarded two coaches and made our way to Legend Golf and Safari Estate. The ride took about 45 minutes, and as we drove into the estate, we were all in total awe of our surroundings. If the entrance was anything to go by, we could all guess that we were in for even more of a treat. Lined up in a row, were 7 game-viewing vehicles waiting for us to climb onto and ride off into the bush.

White rhino

White rhino

As we entered the game viewing area, we were surrounded by a huge selection of game species. We saw Wildebeest, Springbok, Blesbok, Warthog, Zebra, and Rhino. We were then taken to Entabeni (place of the mountain), where a series of lions were being reared and rehabilitated to be put back into the wild.  This was a truly humbling experience. On our departure out of the park, we were fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of some Cheetahs, just before they ran for cover.

Thinking the day was coming to an end, we were then taken deeper into the bush to a Pedi cultural village, for a further experience, where we were greeted by the sound of drums, clapping and singing. Not to mention another assortment of food platters and deserts, and a series of wines and malts to round off the day. We sat and socialized to the sounds of traditional music as we relaxed and unwound, even further.

At around Six o’ clock, we climbed back onto the game vehicles and headed back to where the coaches waited for our return to Capital Park Station in Pretoria. Sadly, this was the least enjoyable part of the trip, with a 2-hour bus ride to allow each of us to

Pedi drummers & singers

Pedi drummers & singers

recover from all the overindulgence of the day.  After what seemed like a trip that would never come to an end, we finally reached the station, where we disembarked, said our farewells to each other, and climbed into the comfort of our own vehicles, as we headed for the highway and made our way home.

I would really recommend, that should you get the chance to experience the Rovos Rail, then take to opportunity to do so.

In closing, I would like to say a really special thank you to Red Pepper Books, ABSA Rewards and Rovos Rail.

(Additional photos available here)