Kagiso Musi was recently appointed managing director of Meta Media, the new kid on the Park Advertising block, and challenger to older sibling, The MediaShop.
What is the life quote you believe suits you best and why?
It’s not so much a quote, but rather a life philosophy – ‘I get my hands dirty for the clean stuff and keep them clean for the dirty stuff’. I think to really excel in anything one must put in the work (get a sense of the practical know-how and do so with absolute integrity). That’s what I try to do every day.
One that best suits me, though, is from Albert Einstein: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant”. This is me to a T – a healthy balance between the soft and hard, the creative and business, the playful and serious.
You have just taken on a big role as MD of Meta Media, a media agency that has a strong focus on data. How is data science changing marketing, and how are modern media agencies harnessing that power? I think the biggest challenge for marketers lies not in the data itself (as there is an abundance of data we draw from) but in the analysis of it. The ability to find what is important in the data remains a challenge. Data science for us is rooted in analysis, modelling and really understanding metrics. Merging marketing mix metrics and metrics that drive the communication piece and media choices has just passed the nascent stage and is beginning to display signs of effective use.
There are still significant limitations to how the industry has used data and a limited understanding of cross-channel data analysis and cross-media integration. This naturally poses a difficulty in connecting customers holistically and spreading messaging and budgets efficiently.
We use client, customer and media data to look beyond the numbers; it allows us to overlay analytics and combine media sets to get costing efficiency, maximum coverage and impactful connections. This requires looking at big data and small data as useful pieces of information to improve our media strategy, planning and buying, and giving our clients equitable solutions.
Why did you choose marketing as a career?
Honestly marketing found me. It chose me. I was ready to go study dental technology (yep… I know right…) and I found the AAA School of Advertising, went in to get a brochure, was offered a bursary after a short chat… and here we are today.
I think marketing chose me because I’m curious, I love to create and solve, I love a challenge, and I love to be part of the solution. I like creating linkages and building stuff – great brands, great campaigns, great advertising people, great marketers. I then chose to grow in this sector because I knew that no one day would ever be the same.
What would your advice be to someone starting out in marketing? I’d tell them that they are here to be sales people and if that does not sound sexy, they should go be dental technologists.
Do you believe that certain people are cut out for marketing and others not, or can you learn your way into being an effective marketer?
I believe that great marketers are made. One must have a love for certain things and some natural abilities but generally, great marketers can be made. If a person does not like the sales pitch, solving problems and working with varied people, endless amounts of information and daily challenges – then they will most definitely not be made for marketing.
Could you give us a brief outline of your marketing education and career journey?
I studied at the AAA School of Advertising and then got into advertising; I shifted onto the client side, together with being an entrepreneur running my own PR and sponsorship company and a strategic consultancy. I’ve also led a number of agencies specialising in brand communications, advertising, digital and media.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been studying and I like to think of myself as a recovering academic, for now. The forever student bug hasn’t quite left me yet.
What are the five most important lessons you learned on that journey?
It is a lot more complex than it looks and it is definitely fun.
Useful information at your fingertips will set you apart, so read ferociously.
An increased vocabulary and learning to write will help you sell stuff.
Thought distillation really is a skill to master.
Change is a true constant when it comes to consumers and brands, so keep up, and never stop learning.
Marketing is changing so much, so rapidly, with the technological advances of this era in media. How would you define the changes and how have you embraced them?
There are many, many changes. I want to pull out two that I believe are most significant for me right now:
The gig economy means we need to hire differently and think about how to integrate teams in a better way. The office bound, nine-to-five employee no longer serves us fully, but the work we do dictates that we integrate. Therefore, embracing technology and the solutions it offers is an opportunity we welcome.
Utilising the power of AI is another exciting area. As an industry we’ve always been excellent at collecting large amounts of data, especially customer data, but have struggled with putting it to really good use. At Meta Media, we are starting to understand how AI can help in how we use data more effectively, for things such as customer insights, customer segmentation, retargeting, tracking etc.
What is your view on social media marketing and how does your agency manage these kind of campaigns?
Social media marketing is a powerful tool to converse, gain insights (brands and customers) and a fantastic meeting place for the two (brands and their customers). It is also a dangerous place when used incorrectly, which we see regularly.
At Meta Media, we use social media marketing extensively for our clients, to gain insights, to connect brands in a targeted way, to monitor trends and to stay connected as a business. We use a few proprietary tools that integrate the work we put out on social media and optimise our campaigns.
What will be the top five marketing trends of 2019?
- Technology drives most of the trends.
- The use of AI in data and analytics will grow – think live chat in search, social listening and cookie synching.
- Influencer marketing will grow, but it will be richer and less about Twitter celebrities.
- Native advertising will be the new creative opportunity and so content must be reimagined.
- Afrofuturism will be a flavour, especially on the continent. This notion is interestingly about technology in the space of ‘future’ Africa. Think of how tech is integrated into telling a quintessential African story in the 55th country on the continent, Wakanda.
- TV will still dominate! Radio will still connect.
What devices/technology can you not live without?
My mobile. Even though I know how to step away from it, I certainly wouldn’t be able to live without it. I see the mobile phone as Africa’s computer as I can do everything on it (type, chat, watch, read, listen, take photos, throw it at something… and easy to carry around). It’s the most practical connecting piece of technology ever invented! Coupled with that, definitely my music apps.