Zibusiso Mkhwanazi … data and digital marketing channels are leading to better customer understanding
Marketers are in a race to better understand the customer through data and experiences on digital marketing channels. Once this deeper knowledge of consumers has been achieved, digital communication will be less noisy and more effective.
This is the view of Zibusiso Mkhwanazi (33) – recently named by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader and a founder of Avatar, a Johannesburg-based integrated marketing agency. In an interview published in the current issue of the ‘IMM Journal of Strategic Marketing’, the magazine of the Institute of Marketing Management (IMM), he says this is especially true when it comes to understanding young black consumers.
“Speaking to them in language they understand does not mean translating English into vernacular languages or tweeting in isiZulu. It means that the strategy and big idea should be thoroughly tested so that it resonates and creates truly meaningful experiences,” Mkhwanazi observes.
Looking to the future, he predicts that technology will play an even bigger role in the communication mix. “This means that there will be a big technology skills requirement, even at CMO level on the client side. I don’t foresee the title of digital manager lasting very long because every brand manager will be just that, and more,” he says.
Equally important in the industry is building agencies that transcend outmoded above-the-line and below-the-line thinking. The traditional demarcation between marketing’s lines of ‘above’ and ‘below’ are not relevant anymore, Mkhwanazi states.
Born in Soweto and raised in a township on the East Rand, he is entrepreneurial at heart and co-founded a Web design company at the age of 17. After several career twists and turns, he and a partner started Avatar in 2012. The company now employs more than 60 people.