Brian Mdluli says South African direct marketers can teach others a trick or two

Brian MdluliMarkedu has set out to interview direct & digital marketers who innovative our industry in some shape or form.

In this interview you can meet Brian Mdluli– the CEO of th Direct Marketing Association of South Africa.

» You can see an interview with Marian Seitan of the Romanian Direct Marketing Association here
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1 ) Please tell us about yourself; what is your current job role and what have you done before?
I am the CEO of the Direct Marketing Association of South Africa and before joining the DMA I headed up the SA division of a large multinational engineering firm. My role is that of chief administrator at the Direct Marketing Association.

2 ) How is direct marketing developing in South Africa?
Direct Marketing in SA has increased from R5billion a year in 2005 to approx R15billion in 2010 (that’s approximately 1,3 billion Euros). The major brands in South Africa have embraced Direct Marketing as their go to market vehicle

How do you see the future in terms of media mix and spending?
Direct Marketing in South Africa still enjoys a small % with relation to total marketing spend but gaining momentum on an annual basis

What about integration of digital?
Very exciting times as bandwidth become more available to the masses of South Africa and the digital space is enjoying the fastest growth in Direct Marketing channels.

3 ) In your opinion what do you believe are the three biggest direct marketing challenges for direct marketers in South Africa today?
1) Not enough internet penetration in South Africa 2) prohibitive pricing on some of the traditional media channels 3) a very small skills pool.

4 ) When thinking about skills, which are the skills that you believe are most important to develop for the modern direct marketer?
1) data management and analytics

5 ) Imagine that you were taken to the High Marketing Court by a brand-aficionado accusing you of practicing response marketing in a society where branding was seen as the norm. What would be your defence?
Direct Marketing is the only discipline with this marketing fraternity that allows brands to gain meaningful customer insight and open a meaningful dialogue with their customers.

6 ) Will we be using stamps for direct mail letters 25 years from now?
That’s the same questions we asked 25 years ago and we are still using stamps. South African marketers still has an affinity to direct mail and it is a legacy of our past.

7 ) Do you have any examples of great direct marketing work that generated massive Return on Marketing Investment?
Some star Direct Marketing work available on www.assegaiawards.co.za

8 ) How about data privacy. Are you taking steps to decrease the amount of unsolicited emails being sent by South African marketers?
South African direct marketers are regulated by 14 pieces of legislation and there is a great move towards responsible permission based marketing. This will not be overnight but we are making steady progress.

9 ) Is direct response advertising in South Africa common?
Brand communication is steadily moving towards direct response advertising. But the numbers are still low compared to the total marketing purse.

10 ) What is the single most exciting development in direct marketing you have seen in the past 12 months?
Integrated real time direct marketing made possible by social media

11 ) When comparing direct marketing skills in South Africa to central and northern Europe, what is the status?
South Africans excels in some specific channels and we are stars when it comes to integrating traditional media with new Direct Marketing Media. Still a lot to learn from our counterparts, but we can also teach a lot.

You can learn more about the Direct Marketing Association of South Africa here 

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Diana is the event coordinator and digital marketing assistant of Markedu. Responsible for contents and promotion of webinars and other marketing events.