Sell Yourself

Socialite, Kim Kardashian, is not really an actress or singer, yet she is everywhere and has fast become so popular. The reason she, along with so many other celebrities who have faded out of the limelight, still have such a presence is because they have branded themselves and marketed their identities well.

 MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, Hi5, Linkedin have all contributed to the online presence of celebrities. However, companies and other businesses can benefit from online marketing and the use of social networks. For example, Ashton Kutcher has over 1 million twitter friends following him. While this is different for companies compared with people and celebrities, online tools, social networks and social media are useful tools for businesses.

Online marketing is referred to as iMarketing or eMarketing.

Blogging is also an effective marketing tool. In the book “Blogging heroes: interviews with 30 of the world’s top bloggers” by Michael A. Banks (2008), he speaks to a majority of bloggers who began their blogs in order to advertise their companies. They have advertised their blogs on various aggregator sites, such as Aggregator and social networks, such as Twitter, MySpace and Facebook,  which have directed the interested audience to their blog. The blog was able to market their businesses and keep their potential clients updated on developments.

Dave Taylor, who was the number one on Bank’s top bloggers list, began his blog when people emailed him the same questions over and over again. He then began his blog The Intuitive Life Business Blog in order to reach his audience and reply to potential clients all at once.

 According to David Taylor, blogs can help you “establish a voice” and identity online, as well as give you an authority in your marketplace (Banks, 2008: 5).

There are many benefits with regards to online advertising for your company. Firstly, there are more options in terms payment options. Secondly, in terms of design and advertising sizes eMarketing is slightly less restrictive than traditional media. Lastly there is the fact that online sites are customisable.

Firstly, pricing is positive in online marketing is the pricing. Previously in analog media such as newspapers, advertising was expensive as it charged (beforehand) according to its circulation figures. There are various pricing options to choose from, for example, if you would rather pay every time someone clicks on the ad (CPC or Cost per click), or whether pay per impression or action. You are able to customise pricing options to suit your pocket and your company.

With regards to design, online advertising allows you to really brand your business and become creative. The creativity lies in creating a name and look that is eye catching, appealing and unforgettable. Every child is able to recognise a Cocoa Cola or MacDonald’s sign or logo, your brand should do the same. You are also able to choose the size of your ad on other sites, for example would a banner or skyscraper ad suit what you are advertising?

In South Africa, which is still faced with unequal internet access and bandwidth problems, online advertising and marketing has not yet taken off like its counterparts in the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom, online advertising has surpassed television advertising or adspend. But if you look at the growing trend overseas, you should prepare your company for the online marketing wave that should soon to hit South Africa.


Tips: Choose a great, catchy name and tagline

Get a cool unforgettable design to accompany it

Published in: on May 12, 2009 at 4:33 pm  Comments (2)  
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Safety First

POCit-ing your money safely from your mobile.

POCit-ing your money safely from your mobile.

Knowing your market and the audience are just the first steps in making your online or digital business successful. The other important step is keeping your audience and one of the factors that influences audience “stickiness” is safety.  

I will be using the mobile banking POCit as an example of using safety as a means to keeping your audience.

I love payday, but hate queues so of course I would prefer internet or cellphone banking. I became suspicious of internet banking after watching a television programme where the IT (Information and Technology) MR Fix it guy gets hold of the banking details of this small business and takes their money.

Another blogger mentioned that her cellphone has been stolen on countless occasions and she was a bit hesitant to use cellphone banking afterwards because of the safety issue.

So I was pleased to hear that numerous companies were trying to appeal to an audience and guaranteeing safety. There have been various new online and mobile banking solutions that have arisen, such as WiWallet, Wizzit, Fundamo, Swap Wallet and POCit, that assure their users or customers of safety.

I decided to look into POCit in order to see how they are safer than banking online with my bank.

Firstly, POCit allows credit or cheque card holders to make and receive payments securely using your cellphone. Payments are made using only the other person’s cell number so you no longer need to expose your banking details.

Each payment cost 30c (South African) each. POCit is independent of any bank and cellular network which allows people, particularly those who use various banks, to alternate between the banks and payment options they use.

Accoring to POCit MD, David Reynders POCit aims to make mobile banking convenience, secure and simply as all accounts will be on one device such as your cellphone.

For me, the safety aspect was important.

In terms of safety they certify that:

  • No credit card information is stored by POCit on your phone
  • No personal information other than your name and cell phone number is stored by POCit on your phone
  • Your POCit account gets locked if your PIN is entered incorrectly three times
  • Credit card and personal information are transmitted from your phone to our systems in an encrypted format
  • Your credit card number is stored in an encrypted format on our systems
  • Once you have registered with your credit card details on Pocit, no one else can register your credit card to another Pocit account using our registration facility

This was great, but what assured me was that they stated that if a “cellphone is stolen, the payment remains locked in cyberspace until the person gets a new phone; they unlock the money with their pin. POCit also allows people to store money in their cellphones using POCit Money so that when they go out they never need carry a handbag, wallet or credit card and if the phone gets stolen, the money doesn’t, it’s secure in cyberspace.”

Vodacom reported that not a single cellphone payment system has been hacked into globally, bearing in mind that POCit is a relatively new banking system.

So far my mind is at ease with these statements, but I cannot prove or disapprove that they are correct and that they are or are not failsafe. What I am pointing out after my rant, is that they are able to put there customers mind at ease. I would not use a service if I did not the terms of service, conditions and security aspects.

Tip: If safety is important to your customers, make your product safe and continually assure them that it is safe.

Published in: on May 5, 2009 at 3:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Making Moola

MXit uses virtual money called Moola

MXit uses virtual money called Moola

Doing my banking on my cellphone the other day I noticed an option to buy MXit Moola. MXit is very popular amongst my friends and dare I say myself as well. This made me think of what was its greatest attraction was, and of course, what brings in their money.

For those of you who are wondering what MXit is, it is an instant messaging service that allows you to send text messages at a fraction of the price of an SMS. MXit allows you to join chatrooms, download clips and customise your cell phone by using mobile data networks.

Moola, which is MXit’s version of virtual reality money, is used to buy skinz, wallpapers, MXit music, tunes and other interesting items used to personalise and enjoy your MXit experience.

During graduation I met a former student who is designs skinz, or something like that, for MXit. It then became pretty real to me that there are real people behind MXit, and they have to make money. Even though I adore the fact that I can send about a million messages and chat to my friends for about a cent a time, MXit creators and workers have to generate an income in some way and make this a lucrative type business (though they might not want to describe it that way).

Moola, I guess, would then be their solution to this. Instead of blatantly charging tweens and the like for sending their messages, they have found some other appealing way to draw in their income. Their market, which starts anywhere from about 12 years old to about 25, have their interests in personalising their phones and getting the latest. MXit’s answer to this was the invention and creation of these skinz, wallpapers and music downloads.

Their products or content has the ability to be upgraded or refreshed as there are always new music, songs and wallpapers and other related items. MXit’s market is about the latest items and they are always craving for new things to be downloaded, I would know as I think I fall into that category. As a result MXit will keep its audience coming back for more downloads for quite some time and even gain an audience when the next generation wants things that are fresh, new and showcase popular culture. 

However the question in my mind is why Moola?

Firstly Moola personalises Mxit money, it also makes Moola (even though its uniquely South African name) more universal. People can buy Moola using whichever currency their country uses, for example New Zealand dollars, instead of trying to convert and adjust currencies to suit their own.

Another great thing about Moola is the exchange rate, funny as it sounds as 100 Moola trades at R1 (South Africa). So, when you use your meagre R1 you seem to be pretty rich on MXit with your 100 Moola in MXit and tweens terms. This works in terms of them making money selling virtual content and keeping their audience entertained when they buy the content.

Secondly, Moola adds up. Each song might only be 500 Moola, but once you have purchased 20 songs, it has equalled 10000 Moola or R100 and that idea pays.

Lastly, Moola sounds way cooler and buys into the colloquial language of the youth of South Africa. I would want to buy something that sounds cool.

They have found a niche in the market and have used it. This comes with knowing their market and supplying it.


Tip: Knowing your market or target audience and buying into the niche and even the language.

*Note: According to MXit , they do not  give interviews in order to keep up their underground appeal. This post was the assumption of the author, who used MXit as a case study. No statistics were used either in order to ensure that there was no misuse of information or incorrect statistics. (14 May 2009).

Published in: on April 28, 2009 at 3:17 pm  Comments (2)  
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Published in: on April 23, 2009 at 10:14 am  Comments (1)