Marketing experts are not illusionists|The Media Online

I am no stranger to managing complex relationships and campaigns, but when a client wants 100% ROI with a digital spend less than what I use on my monthly groceries, the magician in me knows there will be no rabbit coming out of that hat.

Digital marketing is becoming more significant each year and brands need to look at placing more focus on delivering connected experiences for customers.

It irks me when a client says they understand the need for digital marketing and the power of it, but when it comes down to investing, the enthusiasm in spending is non-existent. While a growing number of businesses recognise the opportunity that the internet presents, what they do not recognise is the need to financially invest. Perhaps they do not understand which methods are best for them and are unsure about how much of their total marketing budget to allocate to online advertising?

I had a client who was looking for innovators across South Africa with the intention of giving them funding to bring their innovations to life and make money from it. Apart from print articles, this company was using Facebook and Twitter to find innovators. With a minimal budget of R2 000, we were able to increase the Facebook audience by 33% in one month. While they had money to invest in innovators, there was no interest in investing in digital marketing to find these innovators.

Talking budget allocation is a sore point in many agency-client meetings. The average business should be focusing 40% of their marketing budget on digital marketing.

If you want to grow your website traffic, then you need to ensure that the budget you set is going to allow you to do that. If you want to generate new leads through AdWords and search, then you need to invest. If you want to generate leads using social media, then you need to allocate a social media budget.

According to Moz, by spending $1 per day on Facebook ads, you have the chance to get in front of about 4 000 people that wouldn’t have seen your ad otherwise. While this information is a little outdated, the methodology still stands. When promoting articles on Facebook I look at spending R200 per post/status update and running that paid promotion for three to four days.

With Google Ads, you’re in charge of your online advertising costs. My usual recommendation for starting budgets in AdWords ranges from R10 000 to R20 000 per month.

Content marketing requires significant paid media investments to break through the noise and can be high or low figures depending on your business size, goals, marketing budget, and resources.

Take Coca-Cola as an example. When it launched its Coca-Cola Journey website in 2012, the brand hired four full-time employees to manage the website, commissioned content from 40 freelance writers and photographers, as well as curated content from people within the marketing and public relations departments.

Content marketing allows for a two-way authentic conversation. It’s the word of mouth of the internet. I worked on a campaign for a company targeting SMEs. They wanted to use content marketing to grow the programme’s visibility and improve how it converts visitors into members. This resulted in ‘how to’ articles, interviews with famous entrepreneurs and business experts, spotlight articles as well as topical news articles.

With a sound content marketing strategy and monthly Facebook and AdWords investments, their audience grew from less than 2 000 visitors per month to over 30 000.

By making a few simple changes to their content marketing strategy, the brand was not onlu able to connect with more potential customers, but also make a bigger social impact by connecting more entrepreneurs with the right information to help their businesses grow.

Most marketing managers understand how to use their advertising or marketing budgets on billboards, print, and TV, but digital comes with a different ecosystem.

The stages of the marketing funnel:




Action (purchase a product, sign up for an event, read an article, etc)


How to allocate your digital marketing budget:

Social media marketing

Content marketing

Video advertising

Mobile marketing

Email marketing

Search engine optimisation

Virtual events/webinars

Display advertising

Paid search

Online reputation management


If you are a small or new business, or new to digital advertising, you need to generate awareness for your brand through social media, Google Display Network, SEO, email marketing, and content marketing.

If you want to increase website traffic, you need to focus on SEO, PPC, social media, and email marketing.

If you want to increase social media followers you need to have boosted posts, video ads, sponsored mentions, and dynamic ads.

My top two choices for where spend should increase in 2019

Content marketers need to create content that targets individual or group needs. Users expect personalised content from brands.

People want to have relationships with brands on social media. Brands need to spend to market to an audience on Facebook or Instagram. Spending R5 000 a month to boost a few memes and status updates just won’t cut it.

A sound marketing strategy can help you build brand awareness, drive customer loyalty, and ultimately increase revenue. How you allocate your funds and marketing priorities can make the difference between surviving or thriving.



Charis Coleman is the head of digital content at Kagiso Media. She has worked with small and large local organisations as well as large multinational organisations, while managing specialist content teams. 



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