Our June profile is Anna Bowżyk, Head of Marketing at online start-up SweepSouth. Born in Poland and with previous marketing positions at Rocket Internet, Naspers and Travelstart under her belt, she is fast making a name for herself in the online world in South Africa. We pick her brain on everything from media buying and brand strategy to sales targets and commercializing online communities.
What are the essential ingredients for building a brand successfully online?
The same marketing principals that you would apply in successful offline brand building, should be applied in the online space. First of all, define your primary and secondary market and then determine what you have promised to deliver – what will your customers recognize as being beneficial to them? How does your product emotionally engage with them? Define the essence of the brand and its brand personality – this is your differentiator. Once you have a clearer idea of the brand identity, look at how you want to translate it verbally and visually across online channels.
The most powerful thing about digital marketing is that you can customize the message based on the customer journey and the context in which it will appear. Try to execute the campaign holistically across channels and don’t change the concept too much – in an online environment it’s always tempting to change things too quickly if the results of the campaign aren’t immediate.
How do you convert an online community to a real commercial opportunity?
The most important aspect of an online campaign is to understand what connects your community and why they stay engaged. When you start introducing products to your community, it’s very important that you are authentic and listen to their feedback. The product needs to be in line with the community interest.
What changes/developments are we likely to see in media buying over the next 2-3 years?
We can see the change in media buying already – digital media is rarely excluded from the media plan and advertisers are slowly starting to look at including mobile in their strategies. Mobile is going to become a significant game changer in this space. I expect there will be a greater shift on budgets towards the digital space. We can also see a more pragmatic approach towards media buying. Influencers and online communities will become more and more important, and this will become increasingly visible over the next three years.
Are South Africans ready for e-commerce?
The majority of the population is not. It’s interesting for me to observe the market getting more mature for e-commerce. There is a definite change in mind set happening at the moment, but we still have a long way to go.
What is your experience of working with performance-based affiliate marketing?
It’s one of my favorite channels. It’s great, especially for e-commerce and SME’s that are more performance and ROI oriented. It’s very transparent and allows publishers to make the decisions if the product or service advertised will be a good fit for their communities.
What does SweepSouth look for in affiliate partners?
There are two groups of affiliate partners that we are looking for. The first group; bloggers and influencers who will understand and use our products and in so doing create their own content about SweepSouth to promote it to their audiences. And then secondly we are looking for partners who generate content or offerings with complimentary services and in turn can upsell their clients with SweepSouth’s cleaning services.
As a student you and a team participated and won the European part of the Google Online Marketing Challenge. That’s quite an achievement! What made your team better than the rest?
This team was very interesting. Because we were based in different geographical locations we worked entirely online – I was the only person who knew everyone in person. The first time everyone met face to face was when we took a picture together to accept our award. Each of us represented a completely different skills set, which created a lot of heated discussions, but it also perfected our strategy and ultimately the execution. We didn’t take any shortcuts and we all had a very strong work ethic, which ensured that all of us were 100% satisfied with the final outcome. The choice of the members was not random, each of us was top in our field of expertise and we trusted and respected each other. I have never worked with such a dedicated team that challenged and brought out the best in each other.
A great website is…
1 place in Poland everyone should visit?