The Chinese proverb, "May you live in interesting times"Â�, is often seen as a curse. With world markets in a state of flux and the looming threat of a global recession, 2012 will certainly be an interesting year.
At MMAP we see this as a blessing rather than a curse. Advertising spend is bound to become more conservative as companies downsize in response to the economic pressure, but this when strategic thinking and added value services will become important.
There is a plethora of OOH media owners and we expect the market to continue to grow as OOH media owners expand outside of the South Africa's main cities. MMAP's value proposition, which includes Data OUT/side ®, our comprehensive database of up to 110 media owners and an integrated outdoor solutions service package turn the threat of planning and buying OOH in this fragmented market into an opportunity. As an OOH sales company, MMAP is a one-stop shop that sells "inventory"Â� on behalf of a wide range of media owners to increasingly time-pressured media agencies.
Despite the growth of digital media, OOH and radio continue to be the principal means of building brands in rural and peri-urban markets. In 2011 we saw an increase in the demand for sites in small towns and peri-urban areas throughout the country, especially around transport and shopping nodes, as marketers seek to increase their reach beyond the financially strained middle class. This demand, combined with the visual impact of OOH in uncluttered settings, should continue to drive the expansion of this segment in 2012, as well as the increased use creative executions which use African language.
By way of contrast, major urban areas have seen a dramatic increase in OOH clutter. This is where digital innovations such as LED screens and the innovative use of the medium become important. MMAP are great believers in working with our agency partners to break through the clutter. In 2011 we sourced a building wrap for the Anglo campaign which, through the innovative use of light, is an iconic addition to the Johannesburg cityscape.
We believe that 2012 will see an increase in brands that seek to own iconic urban sites. What should also see marketers being more "strategic"Â� in terms of building an OOH holding of key urban sites, upon which creative can be rotated. With our mapping software, MMAP is positioned to help in the implementation of this long term strategies that maximise advertising spend by tailor-making OOH holdings that associate great brands with great sites.
The bleak economic outlook for 2012 should also be a wake-up call for OOH media owners. Price benchmarking and adhering to municipal council regulations are two key areas which need to be addressed if lingering negative perceptions of OOH are to be erased. With Database OUT/side®, MMAP has a holistic view of the OOH which can assist media agencies with price benchmarking as their client's budgets get tighter.
There are indeed "interesting times"Â� ahead - with the impeding loss of alcohol advertising spending and potential "retail wars"Â� once the Mossmart-Walmart merger comes into effect. In 2012 strategic thinking, leaner operations and added value services will be the key to turning potential threats into opportunities.
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