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Claudio Pereira   |   06 Aug 2020   |   Digital Marketing

The Top 3 B2B Marketing Challenges in South Africa and How to Solve Them

You might think that with the rapid rate of marketing technology adoption throughout South African businesses, that the primary marketing challenges teams are facing currently, involve complicated technology with acronyms such as AR, AI and SEO littered throughout this blog.

Well, unfortunately, trendy tech acronyms are hard to come by in this post (although there are plenty in this one if that’s your sort of thing). 

The truth is that South Africa’s biggest marketing challenges look remarkably similar to many countries around the world.

Generating website traffic and high-quality leads is a pressing issue for most marketing teams, so we decided to unpack some of the other pressing issues internal teams and agencies alike are dealing with at the moment. 

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, shall we?


1. Securing enough budget

Creating a high performing marketing campaign requires a budget. 

Whether you’re aiming high with lofty goals for big business, or whether you’re creating a small scale campaign for a small business, chances are you’ll need to get a budget approved.

Budget conversations can be tricky anywhere in the world, but they often require an extra level of motivation for businesses operating in struggling economies, such as South Africa.

In a recent HubSpot survey, over 64% of marketers worldwide had indicated that their marketing budget has increased in the past 6 months.

Many South African businesses, however, went in the other direction. Companies began looking to optimise or even reduce their marketing budgets where viable.

That’s not to say securing budget for your campaigns is impossible in South Africa...

How to solve budgetary concerns

Have you ever wondered why most fast food outlets sell more large-sized meals than their smaller options?

It’s not just because their customers are hungry (although yes, that’s clearly got a lot to do with it 😋). 

It’s got just as much to do with how they price the Small, Medium and Large options, as it does with how hungry their consumers are. It’s no coincidence that a small burger might cost R20, a medium burger might cost R30 and the large one only costs R35.

Most consumers pick the large burger over the medium burger because they believe they’re getting more ‘bang for their buck’. Therein lies the answer to securing more budget.

The key to unlocking budget is being able to prove the expected returns on that investment (ROI).

That same HubSpot survey found that marketers who were able to show their expected ROI ahead of a campaign secured the budget they needed in order to execute the campaign properly.

When most businesses can see and understand the results they can expect from a campaign, they’re more likely to endorse the budget required for it.

If you’re wondering how to figure out your expected ROI of your next campaign, HubSpot has a great guide on doing exactly that, check it out here.

Are you looking to acquire new customers and kickstart a sustainable growth strategy for your business 🚀? Then download the Complete Guide to Customer Acquisition right 👉 here.  

2. Proving your ROI

Proving your ROI is an effective way to secure more budget..

HubSpot’s survey from early 2020 found that only 53.85% of marketers even measured their customer acquisition costs. A figure you’re unable to prove your ROI without.

Tracking every marketing activity big or small can be tricky, especially when there is a disconnect between sales and marketing teams, with information and communication not being shared both ways.

It’s no wonder then that measuring ROI remains one of the biggest marketing challenges globally each year, with South African marketing teams being no different. 

Yet, understanding ROI is a vital way for us marketers to gauge and understand the effectiveness of each marketing campaign or piece of content we produce.

So how do we overcome any challenges in proving it?

How to solve any challenges in proving ROI

The easy answer would be to rely on a CRM that holds all the relevant sales and marketing data you might need.

Systems such as HubSpot’s CRM go a long way in bridging the data gap between sales and marketing, so you’re able to track the performance and ROI of every campaign or piece of content without too much hassle.

Access to live reports about which contacts converted from which channels, at what cost means calculating the ROI of your campaign is a piece of cake.

The challenge many South African marketers face, however, is that the CRM solution operating within their business doesn’t provide them with enough data to do the maths.

If that’s the case, the solution usually lies in having clear communication between the marketing and sales teams to effectively measure your campaign's influence on revenue.

A service-level agreement (SLA) between departments often provides the solution to keep those communication lines clear.

According to this 2018 report, inbound marketing agencies with an SLA in place experienced twice the ROI of organisations that didn’t.

If you’re wondering what should or shouldn’t be included in an SLA, look at this blog from HubSpot.


3. Creating content for a diverse audience

South Africa is a diverse nation with so many beautiful cultures, it’s little wonder why we’re referred to as the rainbow nation.

Creating content for our 11 official languages can overwhelm even the biggest marketing teams. Luckily, however, that is very seldom required.

That’s not to say all content in South Africa can get away with a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Whilst English is the predominant language of business in the country, certain industries require content in Xhosa, Zulu and/or Afrikaans.

Ensuring your content addresses the right challenge regardless of the language can be tricky.

What’s more, is that many of South Africa’s largest businesses operate throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Meaning their customer base consists of several different cultures, languages and needs.

Marketers must build a website and create content that caters to different languages, currencies and even devices being used.

There is a great HubSpot Research report that analysed the content preferences of countries all across the world; check it out over here.

So how does anyone create effective content for such a diverse audience?

How to solve the need for diverse content

The answer is fairly simple. Understanding your audience by conducting thorough buyer persona research at the beginning of a project means you’ll understand the differences in their needs regardless of their region or language.

Addressing the challenges of your buyer persona tends to translate, regardless of the language.

However, there are some additional things to consider when making your content appealing to a wide and diverse audience.

Awareness of seasonal or cultural references and ensuring measuring or currency references translate accordingly should always be top of mind when creating content.


To sum up

Marketing is a journey. The rapid rate at which businesses are adopting marketing technology, to how we’re able to use customer data to tailor experiences according to each touch point a user has with your brand, and, of course, so much more. 

It’s all very exciting, but you often feel like the goal posts are always moving. 

The tale of the story here is that you’re not alone; marketing teams across the country are facing these challenges. 

Lead generation tips and tricks

Claudio Pereira

An especially gifted procrastinator who occasionally uses words the in order correct.