Q&A: Irina Herf, General Manager of DCMN South Africa

We recently added another international office to our stable: DCMN South Africa. The new hub has been going strong: they’ve got their first client on board and already had to move to a new office to accommodate the growing team.

To mark the Cape Town hub’s first TV campaign for online travel booking platform Travelstart, we spoke to DCMN South Africa’s General Manager, Irina Herf, about what else is on the cards for 2018.

Firstly, tell us why you decided to join DCMN. What made the job attractive to you?

DCMN is an awesome company. I have known one of the directors for a long time and was always very curious about the company. I’ve been very impressed with how they treat clients, how they treat partners and especially how they treat employees. This is the reason the conversation started.

At my previous job, I was responsible for extending the international unit to the rest of Europe. I loved this job as I am very curious and my passion is to learn more in new areas. Discovering a new country is a passion of mine.

I am proud to have the opportunity to build a business in South Africa. I am also excited to share my international knowledge with my colleagues from South Africa, and to learn from them. So it is a win-win situation for both parties.

Why is South Africa the perfect place for a DCMN hub?

When we started looking at South Africa as a possible location, the startup market was one of our main considerations. In 2016, the year before we opened, investment in startups increased by 134%, which was a really good sign for the future of this market. So it made so much sense to open DCMN where our target market is doing really well. South Africa is also a gateway to Africa, which is incredibly exciting and gives us leverage for future expansion.

Your first TV campaign with online booking platform Travelstart was a great success. Why did Travelstart choose to work with us?

Travelstart was convinced about our TV tracking tool, DC Analytics, and our approach to optimising the TV campaign and, ultimately, to optimising the budget efficiently. They see us as a partner who will help them create a much bigger reach with our performance thinking. They also felt that the DCMN culture was a good fit for them. Travelstart is a tech company and liked the fact that DCMN’s roots lie in tech.

What were the results of that campaign?

The results were staggering! Travelstart registered a 650% increase in sales generated by TV, proving that an ROI-driven approach can be as effective for offline media as it is for digital.

What is your overall strategy for South Africa?

The DCMN approach is a fresh and exciting one for SA, but larger brands already have dedicated agencies and it will be our task to convince them that our offering will provide more ROI. In order to demonstrate DCMN’s differentiator around tracking, we are focusing on building relationships with potential clients and suppliers (such as offering market insights and production).

As we build relationships, we will also start focusing on the African market. There are a lot of opportunities for local and international brands to tap into these markets. As they are generally different to the western world, it would make sense to look at offering insight solutions to clients who want to enter this space.

We should also focus on using South Africa for production. South Africa is a very established production hub providing a great opportunity for international clients.

What are DCMN’s main USPs in the market?

We offer tracking and performance marketing for both offline and online media. Our TV tracking tool, DC Analytics, is particularly unique in the market. We provide access to international markets, have a large pool of talent at our disposal and bring many years of experience with e-commerce/digital brands to the table.

I am strongly of the opinion that already established brands are looking to work with someone with a performance marketing mindset and not just to build a brand. Ant that is exactly why we are the right partner for them.

What are the next steps for you? How are you planning to build and grow your team?

I firmly believe in the wellbeing of our employees and that if they are looked after and happy, our clients will receive the best service. Customer service is not a department – it’s an attitude. So that is a big focus area for me. Bringing my international experience to Cape Town also means that I can teach the team about an ROI-driven approach, which is part of DCMN’s DNA.

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