May 19, 2020

Too much of a good marketing thing?

African Business Review
marketing 2.0
Facebook marketing
Google ads
Bizclik Editor
4 min
Too much of a good marketing thing?


From the internet to social media to cell phones, there is no doubt that thanks to the communications revolution we are living through marketers are spoilt for choice when it comes to new ways to reach customers and prospective markets. Sure, there is much angst over how budgets are re-allocated, how activity is tracked and how the traditional media needs to evolve to remain relevant. But on the whole, life has never been rosier for marketers, with cheap, direct and effective ways of getting their messages across.

But when does too much of a good thing go bad? Just because you can reach customers in so many ways, armed with so much more information, it doesn’t always mean you should do so.

Over-eager companies risk turning customers off through non-strategic and ill-considered use of new marketing channels in a number of ways.


1. Being plain creepy

Just because you have access to so much more information on a customer – that they have voluntarily shared with you - doesn’t mean you should use it. For instance, new business intelligence tools, such as those from MicroStrategy, allow companies to mine Facebook, which along with Google is possibly the greatest repository of customer data in the world. But companies need to be sensitive to how they use this information to avoid coming across as a creepy stalker. Use the information to profile customers and spot trends, rather than use in personalised communications – unless of course the customer has requested it. A good example is location-based mobile marketing: being sent special offers when you have checked into a shopping mall could be seen as an invasion of privacy, or the best thing since sliced bread – depending on your point of view.

Final word of warning: play it extra-cautious with mobile marketing or when anything to do with the customer’s kids are involved.


2. Oversharing

There are two main potential pitfalls here. Firstly oversharing via a senior executive or brand account on social networks – Durex South Africa found this out when the employee responsible for the @DurexSA twitter account shared a series of entirely inappropriate and offensive jokes prompting a massive community backlash.

But another type of oversharing is also on the rise: this time from cause-based organisations and very often their well-meaning supporters. Hardly a day goes by without a gruesome pic of a poached rhino appearing on my Facebook newsfeed posted by people and organisations wanting to raise awareness around this very serious topic. However, they might be doing the exact opposite, with people becoming desensitised to or overwhelmed by the extent of the problem, and switching off rather than taking action. Nicole Jaq, the volunteer that looks after social media for the Domestic Animal Rescue Group (DARG) in Cape Town, South Africa, says that she sees the best response to posts that have an image in them or include a request for a specific donation. However, she says she limits her use of shock tactics and graphic images to urgent issues that she wants to raise awareness about.


3.  Making assumptions

Google’s clever ability to have ads related to certain topics “follow” a customer is a marketer’s dream. It allows them to get their brand in front of a customer who has shown interest in their product or service several times, even when the customer has browsed away from their site, until that customer is ready to buy. The problem comes in when you’re still being delivered ads for flights to Mozambique six months after your trip. Or, when you’ve searched for something you’re not usually interested in or need the information on a one-off basis only, and suddenly the internet is flooded with advice on how to jump start a car for months on end.

Another pet peeve is Facebook’s ability to deliver ads based on user demographics. Unfortunately what happens is that customers can be categorised too broadly based on a company’s assumptions meaning that for every 30-something female a company delights with its targeted kiddies’ clothing advert, it risks irritating another who doesn’t have children.

There is seldom a one-size-fits-all approach – you’re dealing with people after all. And when it comes down to it, to a large extent it remains a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same. Companies and brands should consider whether they would do something in a certain way “in real life” and then think about what this means for their online activities. A brand that would never dream of being thought of as a pushy door-to-door salesman might find that their online activities are creating that impression, souring rather than building relationships with their customers.


Vanessa Clark is the co-founder of Mobiflock,, a mobile safety and security company offering a suite of services for businesses, individuals and parents. She’s a startup junkie, ran her own public relations agency, is ex-Clickatell and Band-X, and was a London-based telecoms journalist in the olden days before blogs, Facebook and Twitter. She doesn’t like marketing weasel words, but does like people making information flow more easily and safely around the world. She especially likes being in the mobile industry in Africa.

Share article

Jun 12, 2021

Re-defining the economics of CX in the new customer journey

Roger Beadle, Co-founder & CEO...
6 min
Roger Beadle, CEO of Limitless looks at how CX can directly Influence revenue generation in streaming services

There’s no shortage of customer service channels for the enterprise to select from today. Regardless of the many new metrics that have emerged – such as customer success, or empathy – cost reduction is still a primary driver in selection criteria.

There are many articles dedicated to how companies can turn customer service and customer experience (CX) from a cost to a revenue centre. The problem is, if you stop there and don’t look beyond cost reduction, you’re limiting the scope for CX to become an even bigger economic contributor in the enterprise.

There is every opportunity for customer service and CX to significantly influence the front end of business, particularly amongst direct-to-consumer subscription-based products and services, such as popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, as well as sports subscription services like DAZN.

In these products and services and others, there are new customer journeys that may drive business growth and revenue. They start earlier and may last a lifetime, so getting things right at the start of the journey is key so that customers have the best experience from day one.

Not only will this help in making customers less likely to reach out for issues-based support further down the line, but these customers will be much less likely to churn, and much more likely to take up new services as they are offered throughout the lifetime journey.

So, what does the new customer journey look like for these services?

Opportunity waiting for the likes of Netflix & Disney

While consumers may have previously regarded customer service as a way to mitigate the inconveniences in their lives, the customer journey is expanding in scope every day. Today there are many more touchpoints available that put CX in a position to drive revenue.

For one-off purchases, traditional CX deployments have not changed significantly in the past few years. However, if you look at the change in the CX relationships we’re seeing with subscription-based products and services, particularly media-based streaming services, it’s clear that these companies lead what quickly become very multifaceted relationships with their customers. These have serious potential to evolve over time for increased economic benefit.

For any sort of subscription-based business, customer lifetime value is paramount, and the requirement to actively manage a continued positive customer experience is critical.

Every interaction is an opportunity, and every data point is a chance to offer more value. Introductory offers can convert to longtime customers. Longtime customers may take up opportunities to upgrade to more premium products or services. They may also appreciate incentives to invite family and friends to become customers. Consumers who like a particular service, for example, may appreciate a recommendation for another similar or complimentary service.

It all starts with customer interaction, and the customer experience journey becomes an opportunity to strategically affect the user base and resulting revenue - which is a far cry from the limitations of call center cost reduction or churn metrics.

How do companies support the new customer journey?

More and more, customers look at the new customer journey as engaging with brands as part of their lifestyles. Many companies are making brand ambassadors available before the traditional customer journey even starts, which is a marked change from a purely transactional relationship associated with a one-off purchase.

These ambassadors, who are often independent users of products or services, are providing trusted pre-sales advice, and that same trusted advice can also function to nurture the customer journey in a subscription-based relationship. Call it ‘GigCX’ or ‘crowdsourced customer service’ or even ‘peer-to-peer customer service’ - it doesn’t matter.

The key is in providing impartial, trusted advice from real users. Think about it: who would you rather get advice from? Someone who has used a product or service extensively, or someone who has been trained to provide customer service surrounding that product or service?

For services such as streaming media, advice from trusted experts with real product know-how could be invaluable. This may not be limited to technical issues, such as what to do when you can’t access your favourite show, or how to access services across various devices. It could be parents helping other parents who are concerned about how to restrict adult content from child viewers, or simply customers who have similar taste in programming who can comment on the benefits of upgraded or premium products. The point is, these experts are easily available at any touchpoint in the customer lifetime journey, creating more chances to add value.

It’s also about tipping customers from ‘passive’ to ‘promoter’ in the NPS scale. It’s an opportunity to turn neutral customers who may be vulnerable to competitive offerings into loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and referring others, fuelling growth. It may ultimately help drive even further revenue by creating customers that are helping to sell the brand itself.

And, while chatbots and automation may play a key role, they are often not able to handle the more complex support needed in the new customer journey. Conversational AI is rarely as conversational as it claims to be, and in the new customer journey, most companies are finding that a mix of automation and people-centric service is an ideal way to nurture the many new touchpoints created.

It’s no longer about trying to replace human capital with automation: it’s about orchestrating a uniquely personalised CX, and proactively engaging during the customer lifecycle to enhance the experience, and to create more long-term value.

At the moment, we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of the power to affect the economics introduced by the new customer journey. We’ll no doubt see this evolve rapidly particularly amongst streaming companies as they use human-centric connections in CX to support the full potential of customer lifetime value.

About Roger Beadle
Roger Beadle is an entrepreneur and business leader who is reinventing how customer service is delivered via the gig economy. After establishing several businesses in the contact centre industry, Roger co-founded Limitless with Megan Neale in 2016. Limitless is a gig-economy platform that addresses some of the biggest challenges faced by the contact center industry: low pay, high attrition and access to new talent. Previously, Roger and Megan helped to build one of the largest privately-owned outsourced contact center business in Europe, before selling the business to the global conglomerate Hinduja Group. Roger is an outspoken proponent of digital ethics, worker’s rights and the ‘good-gig:’ which encapsulates gig work for incremental pay versus full time work, skilled gig work, no unpaid time/downtime and zero expenses.

About Limitless
Named a Rising Star at Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program, Limitless is a gig customer service platform, combining crowdsourcing and AI to help global businesses address their biggest customer service challenges – rising costs, increasing attrition, variability in demand and the need for diversity. Brands like Microsoft, Unilever, Daily Mail Group and Postmates are using Limitless’ SmartCrowdTM technology to connect with their most engaged customers, and reward them for providing on-demand customer service that can flex in line with demand. Limitless is one of the world’s first global tech platforms to introduce localised platform terms to protect the rights of its gigging workers. Backed by AlbionVC, Downing Ventures and Unilever Ventures, Limitless is empowering people worldwide to earn money for providing brilliant customer service for the brands they love.

Share article