Marketing innovations to watch in Africa 2023

This article is part of Pulse Insights, our newsletter about marketing insights in Africa, bringing you strategy, insights, industry news and announcements to help you market better and sell more. 

It’s a brand new year! A chance to start on a brand new page. Remember your new year’s resolutions? We’re not going to ask how they’re going (so we don’t pile the pressure on) but what we’ll discuss are your marketing plans for the year. You may not have written them as resolutions, but you should have a general idea of what you’d like to achieve this year. 

Here are insights from some of our strategy teams in Africa, and expert tips you should keep in mind as you begin to execute on strategy this year.

(PS: If you need clarity in your brand’s strategy, or a marketing partner to help bring your vision to life this year, we have a link for you at the end of this article)

Performance marketing 

As budgets thin around the world and fewer funds are available for marketing, decision-makers will look for more ways to squeeze out more value from their marketing dollar. What does this mean for marketing efforts? 2023 will likely bring about more performance marketing activity on the marketing calendar. The key difference in performance marketing is that brands only pay for marketing activities that directly bring about a lead, sale or other agreed-upon action taken by a customer. 

The reason businesses are turning to performance marketing is obvious. It will bring you the best bang for your buck. Here are a few performance marketing applications to double down on: 

  • PPC: Pay-per-click advertising means that you, the advertiser, only pay when someone clicks on your ad. This is a great way to pick up on leads from Google and social platforms like Facebook and is especially applicable to brands selling low-ticket physical items, but brands with relatively more expensive offerings will still find value from PPC advertising. 
  • Email marketing: Email marketing should already be a solid part of your marketing plan, regardless of the industry or business you operate in. Email marketing has been around for a long time and is still relevant today. Marketers who map out a strong email marketing strategy will find that they will reach new audiences, and gather high-quality leads at a relatively low cost.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM): SEO includes efforts to create content that answers the purchasing questions the target audience is asking on Google. This process requires some time to effectively propagate, from the creation of content to publishing and indexing, and then to ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). Though it takes time, SEO is a rock-solid marketing investment that will continue to bring in leads in perpetuity.

SEM is more up your street if you need to begin already to see returns from your search engine initiatives. This is paid and will run until the expiration of the budget, but it is also effective in bringing in quality leads that can be nurtured and converted. 

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence has come a long way. In the past, there have been speculations and predictions. However, with the launch of Open AI’s ChatGPT last November, artificial intelligence is set to take centre stage in conversations around marketing tools and plans. ChatGPT is able to answer marketing questions to a reasonable and often astounding degree of accuracy. Here are the top ways you can deploy artificial intelligence in your marketing plans this year: 

  • Content moderation and generation – AI technology is at the level where you can deploy it to create and moderate content, or at the very least, generate a strong scaffold for your writing. What this does is it increases the speed at which you can generate content and ultimately distribute it. 
  • Ad Targeting and Analysis – Specialized AI tools can help you do two things. Test your ad content before publishing and finetune your targeting, allowing you to use the historical ad data you have to get better results from your future campaigns.
  • Social media listening and brand awareness – Because of the most recent improvements in AI tech, artificial intelligence systems can now understand context and intent, enabling them to run through huge amounts of data and provide an overview of your brand’s perception and the sentiments associated with your brand on the internet. 

The big win with AI is its speed, and ability to save costs, which are both valuable, especially when budgets are tight. An exponential rise is predicted for this technology, because more and more people will pay more attention to AI, providing it with the constant and growing data source it needs to become more intelligent, and more helpful, not just in marketing but in most other use cases. 


The themes of Artificial Intelligence and more stringent marketing budgets are clear and strong from these predictions. Positioning and prioritizing these newer trends will give marketers an edge, as the trends unfold even more in the coming months. We hope that the applications of these predictions will help to put your brand ahead of competing brands in your space this year. 

Remember that link we promised? Click here. You can talk to any of our 6 experts, and experienced teams about your marketing plans, campaigns, and strategy. You’re in great hands. We’ve worked/are working with some of the continent’s biggest brands, helping them finetune their strategy, execution and campaigns, optimizing these steps for results that exceed their expectations.