Stellenbosch Open Day.

Book your seat for Stellenbosch’s Open Day on the 30th of January 2021. RSVP before the 27th of January 2021.

Project Management Fundamentals Short Course. This short course will teach you how to effectively and efficiently approach and execute projects. more info.

Project Management Fundamentals Short Course. This short course will teach you how to effectively and efficiently approach and execute projects. more info.

How to pivot traditional marketing skills into practical digital marketing skills (2021)

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In a world that is continuously evolving, adaptability is a key characteristic. Adaptability is the ability to constantly adjust to new conditions. Since the Internet was first introduced, there has been a massive change in marketing. Businesses are no longer only using older, traditional ways to advertise their products or services. They are having to radically shift towards a more modern way which is being driven and fueled by digital technology.

In order to remain relevant as a marketer, those with a background in traditional marketing have had to pivot their skills to make them valuable resources again, but this time in the digital marketing space. Those who are not adaptable or who have not begun upskilling in this space will struggle to remain employed in years to come. Knowledge in digital marketing is no longer optional.

 

Traditional marketing vs Digital marketing

Traditional marketing generally refers to any type of marketing that is not online. That includes print, broadcast, direct mail, phone, and outdoor advertising like billboards. From newspapers to radio, this method of marketing helps reach targeted audiences. Traditional marketing is not only one of the oldest forms of marketing, but also one of the most researched. Marketers lean towards this method because it is tried and tested. Everyone encounters some sort of traditional marketing in their lives, whether it is reading a newspaper or driving past a billboard.

In contrast, digital Marketing provides marketers with a live platform to reach out to a larger target audience across a more diverse range of demographic groups, unlike traditional media. Today, most businesses are willing to allocate more than 60% of their marketing budgets to digital marketing, because of the great opportunities for advertisements offered by the digital media world. With a basic website, any business (no matter its size) can have a starting point for their digital marketing. This is the first platform they use to create awareness of their existence to their potential clients. A website is essential as many believe if a business does not have one, they are not established or able to compete. A website lends credibility and professionalism to a business. The website then opens up new ways for communicating including social media marketing, direct emails and newsletters among many others.

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How to pivot your skills from traditional marketing to digital marketing

Digital marketing offers a wide variety of options for you to specialise in once you decide to take the leap and transition your career. The diversity of options is what makes the digital marketing world so unique as pretty much anyone can find a career path suited to their personality and skillset. Here are some examples of different paths in digital marketing:

1. Digital Marketing Manager

A digital marketing manager has the relevant knowledge on the latest marketing strategies and tools. They are responsible for driving the business communication strategy into action and running digital marketing campaigns, right from coming up with a concept to the execution and reporting afterwards. Managers also often work closely with supporting an entire marketing team to make campaigns go live.

2. Content Strategist

The fundamental function of a content strategist is to develop a content strategy based on business objectives and the needs of the target audience. A content strategist is meant to handle the company’s content requirements and come up with a content strategy to deliver on communication objectives.

3. SEM and SEO Specialist

A search engine marketing (SEM) specialist or a search engine optimisation (SEO) specialist is responsible for managing organic and/or paid campaigns on search engines. Along with that, the job description often includes handling or overseeing display ads on Google. The specialist has to manage everything related to these campaigns, including strategy, budget, execution, and reporting (usually in conjunction with an outsourced agency or freelance specialist).

4. Email Marketing Specialist

An email marketing specialist has to take the lead with strategies related to email campaigns. The primary duties comprise running an end-to-end email marketing campaign, managing the database, and coming up with email messages relevant to specific audiences and the industry.

5. Social Media Manager

The role of a social media manager is to administer social media accounts. The prime responsibility is to come up with eye-catching and engaging text copy along with visual designs, including video, images, infographics and more to increase engagement and followers on the company’s social media pages and drive traffic to the website.

Upskill yourself with a relevant course or certificate

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Now that you know some of the possible career paths you can develop to pivot your marketing career, it’s time to equip yourself with the latest digital marketing knowledge and skills.

IMM’s industry-leading Applied Digital Marketing Certificate will teach you how to develop a digital marketing strategy and how to apply digital marketing skills through practical activities and assignments.

What sets this certificate apart from other digital marketing certificates is the practical nature of this course. Every bit of theory you learn will be applied and developed as a marketable skill for future job prospecting. Upon completion you will be armed with 10 different skills-based certificates as well as your own portfolio of work.

We developed this certificate after researching the needs of the industry. You will be able to study online from anywhere in the world, in your own space, at your own pace, guided by our industry experts. With our practical and business-relevant material, you will be given the latest hands-on digital tools to help you deal with real-world digital marketing scenarios.

For persons who already have experience, this course is your fastest route to obtaining hands-on skills in digital marketing. Visit the link to find out more about this one-of-a-kind course, or to sign up today! https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online-course/applied-digital-marketing-certificate/

Remain relevant

Once you have chosen your desired career path to transition into, and completed a relevant certificate or course, you cannot become complacent.

This industry is constantly changing, and you should therefore always be learning. Don’t allow your skills to become outdated. It is important that you ensure that your digital marketing skillset remains updated with the latest tools, tricks and trends in the industry. The best way to ensure this is by continuously adding knowledge to your arsenal. Keep looking out for new updated short courses on topics that are relevant to you.

If you are looking for online short courses designed by industry experts, visit: https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online_courses/marketing-advertising-short-courses/

Conclusion

Despite the benefit of possible full-time marketing opportunities, gaining the knowledge of digital marketing can also open several other opportunities in your professional career. It will allow you to be able to start your own business and market your product or service, fulfilling your dreams of owning a start-up. You will also have the opportunity to become a freelancer, as your Applied Digital Marketing Certificate would have equipped you with the relevant skills for freelance work including copywriting, content management, search engine optimisation, website design and much more.

Regardless of your chosen path in marketing, businesses recruit marketers who are an ideal blend of the traditional media and digital media worlds. Today still, traditional media does exist and plays an important role in marketing strategy.

If you are a traditional marketer that has been dragging your feet on upskilling into the digital marketing space, then this article should have alerted you that your time to make the switch and save your career is now! Pivot your skills before it is too late.

5 Reasons why brand management is important

brand

$84.02 Billion US Dollars – the brand value of Coca Cola in 2020.

1.9 billion – The estimated number of Coca Cola sales per year.

94% – the percentage of the world’s population that can explain what the Coca Cola logo is associated with – joy and happiness.

So, what’s the key to Coca Cola’s longevity and resilience? Brand management!

What is brand management?

Brand Management is a series of techniques that increases the perceived value of a product, service or brand over time. Successful brands are built on the foundation of a meaningful brand strategy that provides the framework for what a brand stands for and how it will be communicated to the marketplace. Strategic brand management involves the design and implementation of marketing programmes and activities to build, measure and manage brand equity. It also builds brand Identity which represents how the brand wants to be perceived.

“A ‘brand’ is not a thing, a product, a company or an organisation. A brand does not exist in the physical world – it is a mental construct. A brand can best be described as the sum total of all human experiences, perceptions and feelings about a particular thing, product or organisation. Brands exist in the consciousness of individuals and of the public.”

James R. Gregory, “Leveraging the Corporate Brand.

Here are five reasons why brand management is important:

1.    To buy your brand, consumers need to know your brand.

Brand awareness is one of the key components of brand management. Customers won’t think of your brand when it’s time to make a purchasing decision if they don’t know who you are. This will result in them rather purchasing your competitor’s product or service.

 

2. First impressions are important.

Have you ever heard the saying “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression?” The packaging of your brand for example, is the first contact point between your brand and your customer. Brand management gives you the opportunity to keep your branding fresh and memorable, making a lasting impression on customers, throughout their journey with you.

Consumers offer their trust and loyalty with the implicit understanding that the brand will behave in certain ways and provide them utility through consistent product performance and appropriate pricing, promotion, and distribution programmes and actions. To the extent that consumers realise advantages and benefits from purchasing the brand, and if they derive satisfaction from product consumption, they are likely to continue to buy it. In certain product categories, customers perceive significant value in brands as they enable them to communicate something about themselves. In such cases brands are used as symbolic devices because of their ability to help users express something about themselves to their peer groups.

3. Consistency is key.

Brand management in highly competitive and in dynamic markets will only be effective if the brand itself stays close to its core values and uniqueness. It’s therefore extremely important for brands to have a consistent tone and feel in every brand touchpoint. Brand management gives you the opportunity to ensure that both the intangible and visual aspects of your brand are aligned.

A brand that is consistent and clear puts the customer at ease, because they know exactly what to expect each and every time they experience the brand. According to branding author Keller, a brand is more than a product, because it can have dimensions that differentiate it in some way from other products designed to satisfy the same needs.

Here’s an example of how Coca Cola has evolved over time, while maintaining a level of consistency and brand recognition.

4. Brand loyalty.

The world has become smaller with the rapid growth of e-commerce, and more and more consumers are buying products from outside their countries. It is therefore important to look at managing brand equity in different types of market segments and to also consider international issues and global brand strategies, where relevant.

If consumers recognise a brand and have some knowledge about it, then they do not have to engage in a lot of additional thought or processing of information to make a product decision. Thus, from an economic perspective, brands allow consumers to lower the search costs for products both internally (in terms of how much they must think) and externally (in terms of how much they have to look around). Based on what they already know about the brand – its quality, product characteristics, and so forth – consumers can make assumptions and form reasonable expectations about what they may not know about the brand.

Therefore, when your brand is managed successfully you will see a definite increase in brand loyalty.

5. Brand maintenance never ends.

There have been various changes in marketing in recent years. The customer has changed drastically and the benefits they derive from the products sold by companies have changed. Modern marketing has had to adapt to the digitalisation of the world.

Once you have your brand, the real work begins.  Maintaining your brand is a continuous task.  Logos, taglines, and editorial messaging should obey brand guidelines. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram updates should express a similar brand tone and feel as brochures and mailers. The responsibility of brand management is to continuously enhance and improve the brand over time.

The shift to digital has decreased the extent of control that a brand manager has over brand meaning. With today’s many-to-many communications model the growth and proliferation of large social media platforms has ushered in an era in which dynamic and real-time conversations are taking place among consumers on a massive scale, making the control businesses have over brand message and co-creation of brand meaning limited.

As a digital age marketer or brand manager, you must consider online branding in your strategy and how you can use online channels to support your brand.

Do you want your brand to be the next Coca Cola, or even better?

 

Enhance your brand management skills.

The IMM Graduate School has a cutting-edge up to date 6-week Strategic Brand Management online course that is perfect if you want to become a better Brand Manager.

It contains four fast-paced modules and will help you to develop practical skills in branding and brand management.

Follow the link to sign up for our Strategic Brand Management Course today <https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online-course/strategic-brand-management/>

Why you should continue with marketing communications during a recession

The South African economy is officially in a recession and the COVID-19 pandemic has sent it into a flat spin. Many businesses have been forced to close their doors and those that are still open are looking where they can start cutting costs. Unfortunately, many make the biggest mistake of cutting costs on marketing communications first.

Here are 3 reasons why you should continue to communicate to your market during a recession:

  1. It allows for re-positioning of your brand or presents you with an opportunity to introduce a new product.
  2. Advertising becomes less expensive during a recession.
  3. A consistent and stable brand during a recession gives consumers a positive impression and reassurance that you are not going out of business.

 

What is marketing communication?

Marketing communication’sultimate objective is to convince consumers to buy the company’s products.  There are various marketing communication mix elements that a company can choose to communicate their message to selected target audiences including:

Direct Marketing

Direct marketing is about making direct contact with existing and potential customers to promote your products or services. Unlike media advertising, it enables you to target particular people with a personalised message using a variety of different methods, direct mail, email, telephone marketing, and SMS.

Publicity/Public Relations

As with advertising, public relations seeks to inform, educate and persuade to action. But unlike advertising, which controls its messages and media through paid placement, public relations builds relationships and creates an ongoing dialogue of interaction and involvement with an organisation’s target audiences and those who influence those audiences through articles, collateral materials, newsletters and websites.

Personal Selling

Personal selling may be the most customer-oriented promotional activity, but it requires exceptionally skilled people. Once you know what kind of salespeople you require, you need to make sure you recruit them effectively, provide appropriate training and compensate them appropriately to maximise the potential of the sales force.

Sales Promotion

Most advertising does not deliver sales quickly, since it works on the mind of the consumer. Sales promotion, however, works on the behaviour of a consumer. When consumers hear of a sale, such as two for the price of one, a free gift or the opportunity to win a prize, they typically react. The easiest way of distinguishing sales promotions from other promotional methods is that it always has an expiry date.

Sponsorship

Sponsorship is the supporting of an event, activity or organisation by providing money or other resources that is of value to the sponsored event. This is often in return for advertising space at the event or as part of the publicity for the event. There are many kinds of sponsorship such as television and radio programme sponsorship, sports sponsorship, arts sponsorship and educational sponsorship.

Advertising

Advertising is known as a paid, non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods and services by an identified sponsor (usually an organisation). The paid element means that every advertisement, whether it be read in a newspaper and magazine, heard on the radio or seen on television or the internet, has an organisation that is paying for it. The non-personal part of the definition talks about how advertisements usually make use of the mass media (e.g., TV, radio, newspapers, magazines) in order to convey the message to a large target audience, often making use of several media options at the same time.

Digital or Internet marketing

The Internet is considered to be the most consumer-friendly advertising medium because it allows the audience to control their interaction with the advertising message. The most popular formats of Internet advertising include:

Search engine advertising – A method of placing online advertisements on Web pages that show results from search engine queries.

Banner advertisements – An image that can be placed just about anywhere on a Web page containing text, images, or animations.

Pop-up advertisements – A form of Internet advertising in which advertisements appear in a separate window that materialises on the screen while a selected Web page is loading.

Video advertisements – Audio-visual advertisements that are compressed into manageable file sizes and range in length from 15 seconds to several minutes.

Blogs – Digital communities on the Internet where like-minded individuals exchange their views on issues of personal relevance.

Social media – Web-based and mobile technology used to turn communication into interactive dialogue. The overall idea is to integrate technology and social interactions to create value for users.

Affiliate networks – These are sites that maintain links for other organisations in order to receive a potential fee for generating traffic.

Keyword advertising – This occurs when advertisers pay internet search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Bing to add their advertisements in or near relevant search terms, based on keywords.

Companies that thrived during a recession thanks to enhanced marketing communication:

Toyota

During the 1973-1975 recession Toyota resisted the temptation to cut down on its marketing budget. By 1976 the company became the top imported carmaker in the U.S..

 

 

Lego

Lego decided to expand into a global market during the 2008 economic crisis in the U.S. and now   the company operates in 30 countries and has 50 companies worldwide. Its main business is the manufacturing, development, marketing, and distribution of the LEGO toy system. An estimated 300 million children have played with LEGO bricks.

 

Kellogg’s

The Great Depression in the 1920s led to the reduction in marketing of the leading cereal brand Post. In the meantime, their biggest rival Kellogg’s doubled its advertising spending, leading to their profit skyrocketing by 30%. Even now, a century later they are still the category leader.

 

 

Pizza Hut

When McDonald’s decided to reduce its marketing spend during the 1990-1991 recession, Pizza Hut took advantage of their reduced presence and focused their efforts to retain their own respective marketing activities.

McDonalds’ sales declined by 28% while Pizza Hut had a sales increase of 61%.

 

Amazon

Amazon used the 2009 recession as an opportunity to introduce a new product called The Kindle. As a result, Amazon customers bought more e-books than printed books on Christmas Day 2009.

 

 

 

Samsung

During the last recession Samsung decided to maintain marketing investment and focus on rebranding itself as an innovative company. In the beginning of the economic downfall Samsung ranked No. 21 in brand value but quickly moved to No.6 as a result of its marketing efforts.

 

The bottom line

Cutting on marketing costs during an economic downturn is not the way to go. During a recession marketing matters more than ever. Instead of cancelling traditional and digital marketing campaigns, businesses would benefit from ramping them up instead. COVID-19 and the related economic downturn is your opportunity to shine!

Upskill yourself with IMM Graduate School

Upskill yourself with one of IMM Graduate School’s many marketing and advertising short courses. These courses are perfect for students looking to enter the world of marketing as well as those who already have a job in marketing but need to fill out their marketing skill set and stay on top of this ever-changing industry. If marketing is your choice as a career, you should never stop learning. Visit the link to find the perfect marketing short course for you: https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online_courses/marketing-advertising-short-courses/

Why every manager should have project management skills.

Project management is defined as the process of leading the work of a team to achieve goals and meet success criteria at a specified time. By this definition any task that involves a team, has goals and a deadline can be considered a project.

Managers are faced with numerous tasks that resemble projects, whether it be a stock take, determining an annual budget, planning a sales campaign, preparing for an audit or planning a staff function. The truth is that anything that does not form part of your day-to-day business is in essence a project, and as soon as you are responsible for getting others to contribute to the success of the project – be our own team, others in the business, outside contributors or any combination of these – you are a project manager.

It therefore stands to reason that having project management skills will be highly beneficial to any manager and ultimately the organisation. It also just so happens that many of the qualities that make a successful project manager are qualities that make a good manager in general. More about that later…

As a manager, there are a variety of benefits in learning project management skills. You will improve project outcomes and improve your ability to manage teamwork, which will in the end make you a more valuable asset to your organisation since you will be expanding the scope of your abilities. Ultimately, learning project management skills will give you a more competitive skills advantage that will be beneficial to your career for many years to come.

So, let’s dive right in…

What is a project manager?

Project managers play the lead role in planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing projects. They are accountable for the entire project scope, project team, resources, and the success or failure of the project.

The project manager’s role varies depending on the industry and individual business, but at its core, project management entails balancing a project’s timeframe, budget and overall scope as the team works to meet its objectives. Project managers oversee the individual tasks that move a project toward completion, so its ultimate success or failure depends in large part on the project manager’s competency.

Project managers keep knowledge and information flowing seamlessly. They need both technical know-how and first-hand knowledge of the tasks they assign to others to keep the project moving forward.

Good project managers are people with an excellent entrepreneurial mindset. This allows them to think about a project beyond the basic skills set needed to manage it, and it is the project manager’s job to direct teams and team members to the finish line.

What makes a successful project manager?

Managing a project, whether it be planning a big corporate event or developing new software, can be daunting, to say the least. The reality is that there is no secret formula that will make your project unwrap flawlessly; more often than not you’ll stumble upon a series of challenges and obstacles before you reach success.

It is the ability to overcome these unexpected obstacles and deal with them on the go that makes a successful project manager. A successful project manager will be able to picture project management within the context of their company’s culture and align objectives with the already established practices and mission. Behind each successful campaign, a superbly organised event, or a functional product is a project manager with a sharp skill set.

Let’s look at eight essential qualities that lead project managers to success and create an environment of trust, communication, and productivity:

●      Effective communication skills – A successful project manager must be a great communicator! Project management communication is a skill that is never perfected, can always be improved and is pivotal in being able to initiate and execute a project effectively. The PMI (Project Management Institute) suggests that a project manager should spend 90 percent of their time communicating!

●      Stakeholder-focused – Project managers have to adopt a stakeholder-focused approach. Good management of stakeholders will not only clear the path of any possible obstructions but will also promote steady progress and eventually improve the quality of the results you are generating. It’s not just a case of keeping stakeholders happy – it’s also a matter of using their resources, knowledge and influence to help you achieve your objectives.

●      Strong leadership skills – Developing leadership skills, is important for project management because the overall success of any project is determined by its leaders. Leaders, or project managers, oversee projects and make critical decisions that can lead to their success or failure. When project managers develop these key leadership skills in addition to their technical skills, everyone benefits. Project teams work more effectively under good leadership, and a project’s chances of success are greatly increased.

●      Team-building skills – Project success starts at the team level. Equally as important as workplace technology and sufficient resources, good project management team building allows managers to assemble teams that work together to overcome obstacles and work efficiently to meet deadlines.

Good team building is achieved by managers who go the extra mile to help their team succeed. Instead of simply delegating and monitoring tasks, the project manager works to build the confidence, decision-making skills, and agency of his or her team.

●      Have integrity – Call it integrity, honesty or loyalty. A successful project manager needs to have them all. The project manager’s actions set an example for the rest of the team members and they are ultimately responsible for setting ethical standards for the rest of the team. The project manager should practice what they preach and in turn earn trust.

●      Cool under pressure – In this line of work – the project manager is in charge – it is critical that project managers actually stay in charge and maintain the perception of remaining cool. Especially in stressful or critical situations. If the customer senses that a project manager is losing control of his team, or the project, or the situation as a whole, then they are going to become frustrated and uncomfortable.

●      Empathetic – For a project manager, empathy is very important. It puts you in a position to understand the level of creativity or competence in handling a particular task, and that helps you to adjust in terms of delegating duties.

When you are empathetic, you get to know and understand how your teammates like to work. This will bring out the best in your team.

●      Technical expertise – A strong project manager must develop an understanding of the sector, the business issues and the specialist skills as quickly as possible. Without that project managers will be unable to connect with stakeholders or truly ensure that the expected outcomes are delivered. Critically, they will be unable to facilitate the identification of solutions to problems or have the flexibility to identify opportunities when they present themselves.

IMM’s Project Management Fundamentals course

After assessing the needs of the industry, the IMM Graduate School has developed a Project Management Fundamentals short course that will teach you how to effectively and efficiently approach and execute projects.

In this course you will start off by becoming familiar with the key characteristics and features of projects and explore the role of the project manager. You will get introduced to the ten general areas of knowledge as set out in the ‘Project Management Body of Knowledge’.

You will also learn about the phases of a corporate strategy, project management methodologies and the feasibility study which is the initial design stage of any project. Following on from this, you will deep dive into the project planning process, which lays out the roadmap for the project and shows how the project scope will be achieved. Additionally, you’ll learn about the monitoring and control of a project which involves tracking the actual project performance against the project plan.

Finally, you will come to understand how to plan the time intervals for monitoring and evaluation, monitoring of team performance, monitoring the project budget and other important activities all the way up to the correct procedure to follow when closing a project.

Visit us at https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online-course/project-management-fundamentals/ to learn more about this course or to sign up today!

Supply Chain Management trends in 2021 to take us to infinity and beyond

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The number one factor to impact, well anything, in 2020 was of course COVID-19. Supply chains were not spared. International trade ground to a halt with the volume of Global trade in May of last year down by 17.7% compared to the same month in 2019, economies crumbled and global GDP for 2020 contracted by an estimated 4.3% and Supply Chain Managers were throwing their demand forecasts out the window.

GDP

The global pandemic has both battered the supply chain industry and at the same time brought to the fore how vital it is. Discussions that revolved around lean management and the almighty JIT system have been replaced with finding ways to make supply chains more resilient to change and more agile so as to be able to adapt to unforeseen change more quickly.

Here is what the experts are predicting will trend in the supply chain management industry in 2021.

The rise of the machine

Robots don’t get sick (although they too are susceptible to viruses) they also have a number of other advantages over humans: they work faster, don’t need breaks, and make less mistakes. Amazon currently has over 200 000 autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) moving stock around their warehouses. Drones are beginning to be used to make light deliveries and driverless trucks are about to come rumbling over the horizon. Development of these technologies will continue to grow.

Robot Image

But automation isn’t only about robots. It can come in the form of software too. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software or Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) are helping more and more SMEs go paperless and improve their supply chains.

AI will continue to develop, and process more big data allowing Supply Chain Managers to develop more efficient systems, and make more accurate projections as well as respond to changes faster – saving time and money.

There will be more ways to track, manage and report on the exact status of inventory with technologies such as GPS and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. These developments in the Internet of Things (IoT) arena will feed data to AI systems so that they can develop process models which in turn will enable the robots to make more autonomous decisions.

Other digital developments that are being repackaged for use in Supply Chain management are Smart Contracts, which are transaction protocols that are meant to be executed when certain conditions are met automatically. Wider adoption of blockchain, with research suggesting it can save the food and beverage industry $31 billion by 2024 alone.

Cloud-based technology will enable users to work from anywhere and will be especially beneficial to smaller organisations that cannot afford to invest in costly and extensive infrastructure.

Automation

What about the humans?

The humans will be at home, not because they have been replaced by robots but rather because the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many countries including South Africa enforcing strict lockdown periods. Many companies were forced to find ways to allow their employees to work from home and it is anticipated that this trend will continue. There are many advantages to working from home such as better work-life balance, increased productivity/better focus, less stress and avoiding the commute, to name a few. The lockdowns meant companies had to invest in infrastructures that could support remote working. There are of course also advantages for the organisations as they no longer have to facilitate a large staff contingency, and research has shown that contrary to initial fears, productivity as a whole increases when people work from home.

Human Image

SCM Dojo also predicts there will be more focus on employee development across the following 3 dimensions:

  • Technical Supply Chain Competencies (also includes Materials Management & Logistics)
  • Digital Supply Chain Knowledge, and
  • Soft Skills

The Age of Ecommerce is Upon Us

The combination of people being locked down and working from home resulted in an astounding jump in online retail purchases. Even helping to make Jeff Bezos the world’s first man with a net value of over $200 Billion. To put it another way ecommerce experienced 10 years of growth in just 3 months.

Ecommerce image

And this is not expected to slow down. In fact, a global growth rate of 8.1% is expected between 2020 and 2024 with Turkey in the lead with a 20.2% forecast.

 

Ecommerce 2

Source Statista

B2B online transactions will also grow and are expected to reach $1.8 trillion by 2023.

Consumers will also increasingly turn to their social media platforms for retail therapy with recent developments such as Facebook’s and Instagram’s Shops.

Disaster-proof supply chains.

Remember at the beginning of last year when suddenly toilet paper became a rare commodity, or when SAB had to dump millions of litres of beer because of lockdown?

Shelves Image

These are two classic examples of the unexpected impact that COVID-19 had on supply chains. Supply chains are now being re-engineered to be more agile and able to respond to unforeseen circumstances more quickly.

Organisations are using AI and machine learning to develop models that can be used to predict future events and prepare for it.

Organisations are looking to supplier diversification to bolster their supply chain. What this means is they are hedging their bets between international and local suppliers to get the best balance of price, production capacity, shipping costs, lead times and quality so that if one channel closes down they can increase demand on the other.

Conclusion

2021 will mostly be about recovering from the whirlwind that was 2020. It’s time to take stock and build better, more robust, agile and diverse supply chains. We will do it using robots, powered by AI and informed by IoT while we work from home on cloud-based systems and keep the wheels of commerce turning with our online purchases. Necessity has forced us to find new and innovative ways to overcome the roadblocks the pandemic has put in front of us and now we are set to leverage these solutions as the trends in SCM in 2021. The future remains a mystery but two things we know for sure: The world will never be the same and whatever the future holds, Supply Chain Management will, as always, be at the centre of it all.

Supply Chain Meme

Are you interested in a career in Supply Chain Management? The IMM has a number of Supply Chain Management academic programmes and short courses to suite your requirements and your pocket. Visit our website for more details or call us on 0861 466 476 to speak to one of our consultants.

What is marketing and why choose it as a career?

marketing image

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word marketing? Billboards? TV ads? Flyers?

Many organisations are reluctant to invest substantial amounts of money into marketing as they often don’t understand the full host of benefits that it offers. Marketing isn’t just about promoting brand awareness. And it is much more than just selling. In fact, Marketing is one of the foundational pillars for building a successful, sustainable business.

The primary objective of marketing is to identify and satisfy, or exceed, the ever-changing needs of consumers. By looking at this broad primary objective, it is clear that the concept of marketing is related to many activities in business. Marketing in its full context refers to any activity undertaken by an organisation that has been actioned to produce goods or services as well as price, promote and distribute them to a certain target market. These marketing activities are actioned to stimulate an exchange between the organisation and its customers which in modern terms we refer to as sales. If done correctly, marketing activities should result in the organisation achieving its goals.

Marketing is an integral component of business. The purpose of marketing is to ensure that your prospective target market knows about and then purchases the products or services on offer by your organisation. Put in layman’s terms, marketing is the process of identifying consumer needs and determining how best to meet those needs. Advertising on the other hand, just like sales are one of many tactics within the marketing function that facilitate communication with potential and existing customers about the company’s products or services.

So, if you haven’t been seeing the conversion rates you’d like to, maybe the issue is that you are attempting advertising or sales as a standalone initiative and not looking at your business through a complete strategic marketing lens. In other words you may be lacking in strategy. And any promotion without a sound strategy behind it, is simply a waste of resources.

How doing a marketing course can benefit you

 

You become employablemarketing image2

Marketing skills are in serious demand, especially in the digital marketing space. This skills gap is set to widen. It is one of the few job markets that are thriving and surviving in the COVID-19 environment. Brands are highlighting marketing more than we have ever seen before. Bigger budgets, increased pay and diverse career opportunities are just a few of the benefits that marketing professionals are able to look forward to this year and in many years to come.

 

 

 

 

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Communication skills are valuable no matter what your career path

Even if you decide to veer off into a different direction with your career, having some marketing and communication skills in your armoury is never a bad idea. One of the most important skills that businesses seek in employees is communication. The ability to communicate effectively with a potential market is a critical part of what makes any business successful. You can use the skills you develop when studying marketing in just about any business setting or career, even if it is just communicating with your colleagues to get your point across. The field of marketing communication is very broad and with the emergence of digital technology it is now more dynamic than ever and requires all business owners and managers to keep up to date with the latest developments.

 

 

 

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You remain relevant

No matter whether you are a seasoned marketer or a doctor wanting to know how to put your practice onto the Internet, short courses are a great way to learn new skills quickly or to top up existing skills in order to remain relevant.

 

 

 

 

 

marketing image5You open up diverse career opportunities

Marketing offers a wide variety of career choices for different personality types. If you have more of an extroverted personality and enjoy working with people, possible career options include sales, retailing, brand or product management. If you are more of the analytical type, you might enjoy a career as a market research analyst or digital marketing planner rewarding.

 

 

 

 

Marketers are always in demandmarketing image6

The importance of marketing cannot be overstated, and this is only expected to increase. One of the main goals for any organisation is expanding their customer base and the power of marketing in realising this goal implies that marketers will remain high in demand for some time to come.
Marketing teams can be found in almost every industry – agencies, in-house, outsourced or freelance. There are always a wide range of jobs available in this field, especially for those who have the required qualifications and skills.

 

 

 

 

marketing image7Earning potential

Marketing is a business function that allows a lot of room for growth. By continuously improving your knowledge and application of marketing, you will be able to climb up the corporate ladder. And, depending on the company, your position and your experience, you could become a highly paid professional in no time.
What’s interesting and beneficial about the job market for marketing professionals is that there is huge competition for skilled talent regardless of industry. This means that individuals with the right skills can negotiate for great salaries but also land great benefits and perhaps even bonuses depending on their role.

 

 

A marketing course that has it all

The IMM has just updated it’s industry leading short course in The Fundamentals of Marketing. This course will set you up with a good foundation. It has been designed both for current marketing professionals who want to update their skills, and those looking for an introduction into this exciting career field. It is also suited to business owners and entrepreneurs who aim to develop their marketing knowledge so they can apply this knowledge to their own brand.

The field of marketing is exciting – it stimulates creativity and requires lateral thinking. Marketers face the challenge of constantly having to come up with creative ways to promote a brand, product or service. If this sparks your interest, look at signing up for our Fundamentals of Marketing Short Course. This course has been developed by a team of marketing experts that have a thorough understanding of the practical marketing skills required to compete in today’s fast-paced marketing environment.

This IMM online short course covers the fundamentals of marketing management and offers a holistic view of this important field.

The course is a 12-week online short course where you will start off with Part 1: The world of marketing. In Part 1 you will learn about the basic principles of marketing, the marketing environment and competitors. Following these foundations, you will learn more about consumer behaviour, research, marketing decision making, segmentation, targeting and positioning.

Then comes Part 2, the marketing mix strategy, throughout part 2 of this course, you will be exposed to how digital technology has impacted the four P’s and how an additional four P’s have been added to address the service elements of the digital environment namely, People, Process, Physical Evidence and Partnerships. You will also learn how to drive action through a well thought out marketing plan.

An understanding of the fundamentals of marketing forms the basis for developing successful marketing strategies in any organisation. IMM’s Fundamentals of Marketing course is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills you will need to develop practical skills that are applicable in the workplace.

After mastering this course, you will have obtained extensive knowledge of the field of marketing and its operations, this knowledge will lay the foundation upon which you can further build your knowledge to graduate level by signing up for one of our marketing degrees or higher certificates.

By now, it should be clear that the marketing world is about much more than just promotion and advertising, and that it could be a riveting field to jump into, so sign up for our Fundamentals of Marketing Short Course today and kick your marketing career off the right way!

To sign up, or for more information on our Fundamentals of Marketing Short Course, or any of our other courses in marketing, visit https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online_courses/marketing-advertising-short-courses/

 

Advertising during a pandemic: Brands that got it right!

Advertising during a pandemic

ALRENE COETZEE, Social Media Manager at Digital Content Lab shares a light-hearted review on how some brands broke through the noise of COVID-19 advertising by showing us the funny side of the pandemic.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit South Africa at the beginning of 2020, a full national lockdown began at midnight on Thursday 26 March. Many brands had to make rather big adjustments to their marketing strategies in order to reach their customers at home using digital marketing tactics.

So here we are, almost a year later, and still stuck with endless adverts from brands who seem to have gotten the same memo to bombard us with their sombre piano music and empty roads, reminding us THAT WE CANNOT BE TOGETHER, but at the same time WE ARE NEVER APART.

But just when we thought it was time to zone out of these depressing ads, something unexpected happened…

Saved by humour
Here are four brands who thankfully took a different approach and changed the game completely by appealing to our sense of humour through clever and engaging content.

Chicken Licken SA (84,713 Youtube views)

Chicken Licken SA really did their slogan “Soul Food for a Soul Nation” justice with their COVID-19 campaign video portraying South Africa’s unique sense of humour amidst the pandemic. The video includes snippets of how South Africans try to outsmart the COVID-19 rules along with the famous zol-song and the president’s struggle with his mask. They made sure to keep things on the light side.

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjly7EsmUYY

King Price Insurance (3,381,998 Youtube views)

King Price Insurance had some fun with their hashtag “#UnapologeticallySouthAfrican”. Their COVID-19 campaign video opens with a woman approaching a roadblock where a police officer continues to check her temperature and asks for her permit. A funny series of misunderstandings take place pointing out the struggles we face in a light-hearted way. The traffic officer takes her temperature and tells her she is ‘very hot’ to which she responds that she is married.

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M35_uhXFbmE

Nando’s SA (18,159 Youtube views)

Nando’s SA took the jolly “We wish you a Merry Christmas” carol and turned it into a funny, witty song introducing their “Say ‘tsek to 2020 Fed-up Festive Feast”. They sure made us realise that even though we have our downs, our truly South African sense of humour cannot be taken away from us.

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g25anWNqwkk

Castle Lite SA (515,455 Youtube views)

Castle Lite’s intro to their #HitRefresh on 2020 played on that one phrase South Africans know all too well… “My fellow South Africans”. In their video there is a small town called Hotazel where the temperature gets, well… hot as hell. They used the COVID-19 nation address and turned it into a fun commercial, making us feel refreshed for a 2021.

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlDIgsLiM8c&feature=youtu.be

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic is no laughing matter, at least these brands managed to lift the spirits of the nation while promoting their brand.

Jokes aside
If you or the marketing team in your company is not geared up to drive your digital marketing strategy this year, then consider the IMM Graduate School’s Applied Digital Marketing Certificate course. In 10 months, you could be upskilled with some of the latest strategic thinking and best practice from the industry.

This course promises to be the most up to date course available as it is continuously reviewed and updated by our tutors that work in the digital marketing industry. Here’s what one of our students had to say about this course:

“Thank you so much for the ADMC course, it was really an eye opener to what I thought I already knew. This course was really what I needed to enhance my marketing qualification and added to my understanding of digital marketing.” Tokologo Mokoena (Marketing Manager – SABC – Ikwekwezi FM)

Being a digital marketer in 2021 means you need to have a wide range of skills; from technical know-how to content creation. In this practical, hands-on course we introduce you to the tools required to be a successful and efficient digital marketer. If you would like to apply for this course or would like more information, follow the link to our website https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online-course/applied-digital-marketing-certificate/.

Say hello to uninterrupted COVID proof education!

Uniterrupter Covid Education

The only thing that is guaranteed right now is change and 2020 has undoubtedly offered proof of that! COVID-19 also sometimes referred to as “RONA” has had a massive impact on students and student life. But, it’s not all doom and gloom, there is a way to stay safe and enjoy uninterrupted studies for this year regardless of the lockdown level or which variant of the COVID-19 virus is doing its rounds.

It is still possible to plan for a future despite the challenges being presented
The matric exams which ended on 15 December 2020 are currently being marked and results are expected to be released on 22 February 2021. While matrics seem to have been left in a sort of limbo, Blade Nzimande, Minister of Education, has urged students not to fret. Traditional Tertiary Education Institutions have all set their academic year to begin between early-March and mid-April. This gives matrics ample time to settle into their choice of studies.

But, there is no need to wait to apply
Charmaine du Plessis, Chief Marketing Officer at the IMM Graduate School has advised matrics to apply with their prelim results. “Most matrics have an idea, even before they write finals whether or not they are expecting a Bachelor’s or Diploma pass. The IMM Graduate School has a structured process where students applying for a degree programme but don’t qualify (with their final results), can move to either a Diploma, Higher Certificate or other course within the IMM Graduate Schools bouquet of offerings.”

image2Everybody that applies to the IMM Graduate School will be assisted to find a suitable programme to study

Du Plessis urges students that already have a qualification and want to register for a Postgraduate programme to do so as soon as possible to avoid the inevitable rush that is expected when matrics eventually receive their results. “We are anticipating a peak registration period, so to avoid longer call back times and (digital) queues, rather get your application in now”.

We ALWAYS have space for you
The IMM Graduate School has geared up to take on more students this year. The COVID-19 lockdown was a catalyst in the adoption of online learning in South Africa and the IMM Graduate Schools academic department along with support functions have adapted their processes to take on an increased number of students for the year.

This is just as well since UNISA has recently announced that it will be decreasing student intake numbers by 20,000 students this year. Part of the reason for admitting fewer students is the inability of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme to meet the demand.

Another is that some buildings on the UNISA campus have been closed indefinitely due to COVID-19 and in an effort to keep everyone safe they have announced that there will only be one registration period for the 2021 academic year. This means that all modules for 2021 – for both semesters – must be registered before 12 March 2021.

If you have applied at UNISA and find that your registration has been unsuccessful due to any of the above or any other reasons, then turn to the IMM Graduate School – we can be your academic home for the next few years. We are able to offer you an uninterrupted fully online education backed by an established and committed academic team. And if COVID-19 lets up and allows for it, you can at any time sign up for classroom education at one of our many student support centres countrywide.

“Furthermore, to assist student financially during these tough economic times, we have partnered with Study Loans 4U. Study Loans 4U has relationships with the major banks and is able to not only secure the most favourable terms but also to increase the chance of a loan application being approved. Study Loans 4U does all the administrative work to make sure that the application process is quick, easy and stress free. In addition, the IMM has in place an instalment payment options which allows students to bay for their studies throughout the semester”, adds du Plessis.

Our registrations for 2021 are still open, but don’t leave it too late. You shouldn’t have to delay your goals by missing even one semester/term of studies. Take as much control as you can over what is controllable. Your health and your education. See you soon!

Don’t let a poor economy stop you from starting a business

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DILLON LOUW, Digital Content Creator at Digital Content Lab reviews what Netflix, Microsoft and Disney have in common and if its advisable to start a business in a recession.

Netflix, Microsoft and Disney and other highly successful brands were all founded in poor economic times. This goes to show that even though we find ourselves in a shrinking economy, there are feasible business opportunities for savvy entrepreneurs.

Need more evidence? The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine that ranks 500 of the largest United States corporations by total revenue for their respective fiscal years. More than 50% of all companies on the Fortune 500 list right now were founded during a recession, or under poor economic conditions.

A closer look at great businesses born during recessions
Uber

Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick originally founded the ride-hailing company as Ubercab in March 2009. The idea itself came after they could not find a taxi ride one night in Paris.
Fast forward a few years and in December 2015, Uber had reached its 1 billionth trip and by June 2018 its 10 billionth trip.
Аѕ of Јаnuаrу 2021, the аррrохіmаtе еѕtіmаtіоn of Ubеr’ѕ net worth іѕ $100 bіllіоn. Furthermore, one of Ubеr’ѕ іnvеѕtоrѕ, Веnсhmаrk, ѕауѕ thе firm іѕ соnfіdеnt аbоut Ubеr’ѕ орtіmіѕtіс future.

Airbnb

Airbnb is a community that was born in 2008 when two hosts welcomed three guests to their San Francisco home. The idea was initially conceptualised during the Industrial Design Conference, where the founders initially focused on providing short-term living quarters, breakfast, and business networking opportunities to persons who were unable to find a hotel during the conference.

Airbnb has since grown to 4 million hosts who have welcomed over 800 million guest arrivals to about 100,000 cities in almost every country and region across the globe.

WhatsApp

Former Yahoo! employees Jan Koum and Brian Acton created the encrypted messaging platform WhatsApp in 2009 as a means for people around the world to message each other quickly. The platform rapidly gained traction in regions that do not have access to the same network capabilities as the U.S.A. because of its ability to operate via Wi-Fi.

In 2014 Facebook purchased the app, which now has more than 2 billion users globally, for a staggering $19 billion.

Netflix

Legend has it that Netflix founder Reed Hastings was motivated to start an online DVD rental by mail service after incurring a $40 fine from Blockbuster for a DVD that was returned late. Ironically, the new-born company nearly crumbled when Blockbuster made the fatal mistake of refusing to buy it out during the dot-com bubble burst of the early 2000s.

Netflix weathered the storm caused by the dot-com bubble by means of its incredible innovative spirit to spearhead the streaming on-demand video service we know today, leaving Blockbuster permanently in the dust. Today, Netflix is worth nearly $34 billion and growing, thanks to the current demand for home-based entertainment.

Three recession-proof sectors
There are three business sectors that appear to be ‘recession-proof’. While the first may seem a little morbid, especially given current times, they all make sense and are worth noting. A start-up supplying innovative solutions to these types of businesses in a recession are likely to succeed as they will benefit from derived demand in these industries. These include:

Death-care services

Businesses offering services related to death, including funerals, cremation, burial, and memorials, tend to be some of the most recession-proof operations. The reason for this is that death-care services will always have a steady stream of business regardless of economic conditions. According to Business Insider, South Africa’s funeral industry is estimated to be valued between R7.5 billion and R10 billion.

Education

South Africa’s education system is under massive pressure to upskill individuals and get them ready for the job market. South Africa is experiencing a skills shortage in several of its business sectors which emphasises the need for service providers that offer efficient, affordable and accessible adult education. The education industry has faced massive challenges as a result of COVID-19 lockdown and has had to adapt processes in order to survive. Industry Leaders like the IMM Graduate School where students have experienced no disruption to their academic year and have seen increasing interest in South Africa and the rest of the African continent for their online distance learning education offering.

Security

Despite poor economic conditions, the private security sector has also been booming of late. Private security is an estimated R45 billion industry showing a growth rate of 15% per year. There has been an alarming increase in the crime rate over the years and private security firms are taking advantage of this to expand their operations.

Services industry in the spotlight
What appears to be clear from the above examples of recession proof businesses is that each of these fulfil a basic need; the need to bury our dead, the need for education to increase our earning potential and the need to keep ourselves safe. All of these as well as the many businesses that were founded in a recession appear to have one other thing in common – they are all services businesses. And furthermore, those least impacted by COVID-19 are delivering an online service; Netflix offering low-cost entertainment from the safety of your home and WhatsApp offering low-cost communication via their platform no matter where you are.

It could therefore be concluded that businesses that start up in this current economic climate must consider offering a low cost, online service that is easy and safe to access while fulfilling one or more basic needs. If you can figure that out, perhaps you will be the next big brand that started up in the 2021 recession.

In the meantime, prepare yourself and sign up for one of IMM’s programmes in Marketing, Business or Supply Chain. Start topping up on your knowledge and skills so that when that big idea comes along, you are ready to act.

If you would like more information on what the IMM Graduate School has to offer you, follow the link to our website https://imm.ac.za/.

Top 7 marketing trends in 2021

marketing trends in 2021

Today’s marketing world travels at breakneck speed, and in order to succeed in this industry, you have to stay ahead of the game. Throughout 2020, and the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw consumers shift their shopping habits from in-person to online. This shift in consumer behaviour has led to a substantial change in the way marketers reach consumers.

The pandemic has significantly impacted the way consumers search for, access, and utilise goods and services. It is important that marketers stay with the times. In this blog we review and discuss the top trends in marketing for 2021.

 

 

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1. Inclusive marketing

Inclusivity has never been as significant as it is today. HubSpot (2021) defines Inclusive marketing as “campaigns that embrace diversity by including people from different backgrounds or stories that unique audiences can relate to”.

While some inclusive campaigns try to break stereotypes, others simply aim to reflect or embrace people in the real world.

In 2021, we will see more marketing campaigns that include media and subject matters that cover a variety of cultural backgrounds, religions, race, etc., as well as representation for people with physical and learning disabilities.

 

 

 

Increase in brand-to-brand collaborations2. Increase in brand-to-brand collaborations

Other successes like McDonalds’ collaboration with Travis Scott have encouraged some deep-pocketed organisations to have their marketing departments put a renewed focus on brand collaborations with celebrities in 2021.

Collaborations like this between corporate brands have proven to be largely beneficial to both parties, as these types of unexpected partnerships create a social buzz and allow for cross marketing by both brands to their customer bases which is a big advantage in today’s world where customer attention is more difficult to grab than ever.

These types of celebrity and brand collaborations often do not require celebrity endorsement fees, which is an additional advantage in an era of tightened marketing budgets.

 

Content is still king3. Content is still king

Content marketing has become the marketer’s main tool for attracting customers and boosting sales. The marketing landscape is likely to remain this way for years to come.

Today, most businesses pay for content-related ads and invest to generate unique content or publish blogs. According to the Content Marketing Institute (2021), content marketing has helped 96% of top brands in building trust and credibility with their audience.

In the current marketing sphere, content should form the core of your marketing strategy. With a vast amount of information freely available everywhere, and to everyone, most businesses already know how to attract their customers. However, what is crucial is the actions they take. The main goal should not be to just provide people with content and hope for a positive reaction. Instead, it should aim to encourage prospects to share and engage with your content.

The content you generate unlocks the key that connects your brand to your audience. This connection is important to generate trust which will lead to loyalty.

 

Video advertising4. Video advertising

n 2020 we saw an overnight obsession with TikTok amongst Millennial and Generaton Z users, video has truly taken marketing by storm. According to a study by Microsoft (2020), the average human being has an attention span of eight seconds. This makes it extremely difficult for marketers to capture the attention of their audiences.

Various other Social Media platforms also allow you to create short videos, for example, Facebook and Instagram. These videos can be anything from 10-seconds to three minutes, providing you with a sufficient amount of time to respond to questions, demo a product and more. Not only are videos informative and engaging, but they can also provide large chunks of information in a short time. Therefore, video advertising helps in demonstrating your offering in a better way than other ad formats, in turn leading to a higher conversion rate.

Furthermore, app developers have been updating their features and are focused on driving and creating customer loyalty by reducing the number of times consumers switch between various applications, especially where video is concerned. A great examples of this is Instagram’s new ‘reels’ feature. As these companies begin to promote these features, users get hooked on them, which makes it a great option for marketers to showcase their offering.

 

eCommerce will continue to boom5. eCommerce will continue to boom

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many retailers and brands have transitioned to a permanent online operation. According to Forbes.com (2020), online spending in 2020 was up 77%. Another example of this is international ecommerce giant, Amazon, who according to businessinsider.com (2020) have recorded their highest eCommerce growth in more than 3 years.

There have always been several benefits to shopping online, with the convenience of it being the biggest drawcard for consumers. In 2020, though with the COVID-19 pandemic, shopping online is not only convenient but also the safest way to do your shopping. Consumers today have become very used to this way of life, and many of them only now realise the benefits to online shopping including the excellent customer experience. This only means one thing for 2021, eCommerce will continue to boom.

 

 

Social commerce 6. Social commerce 

Similar to the popular omnichannel approach, social media marketing now offers users the opportunity to shop ‘in-app’. This in-app shopping has turned into a major trend among millennials mainly due to the convenience of it. Consumers today are becoming opposed to continue their search or purchase products when they have to switch between applications to make their payment. This is because users do not want to be disrupted, they want to engage with a brand and shop online all in one place.

It is a well-known fact that social media today is the largest and most beneficial platform for marketing online. Now, with the launch of Facebook Shops, Instagram Shopping and Pinterest Shopping Ads and Catalogues, social commerce will become one of the most influential marketing and commerce trends of 2021.

According to Smart Insights (2020), 55% of online shoppers now make their purchases via social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, and 71% of users turn to their social media for inspiration for shopping. Therefore, it is now of essence to offer your products and services and make them ‘shoppable’ on social media. As we see more organisations make the switch to digital to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic, this will be an essential tactic if you wish to remain competitive.

 

Voice search7. Voice search

The CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, revealed that out of the five searches conducted on an Android app, one is always a voice search.

Voice search is becoming so popular because it provides consumers with information at any given moment: while traveling and they do not have much free time, or when they can’t type, or even when they’re just too lazy to type. For consumers today, it is all about convenience.

Therefore, marketers need to start optimising their content for voice search. The best way to optimise content for voice search is to firstly, focus on phrases and longtail keywords. This makes sense since voice searches make use of a more natural language. The way we talk is completely different to the way we type.

Secondly it is to anticipate specific questions that are asked in a conversational tone, as people are inclined to ask their devices questions. A great example of optimising your content for voice is to start some of your paragraphs by asking questions such as why, what, where, and when.

While none of these trends are completely new to digital marketers, they are all gaining momentum and as the marketing world continues to transform in 2021, these trends will become critical to organisations that wish to remain competitive in their respective industries.

As the world continues to experience the lasting repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the business world will continue to transform digitally. It is now more crucial than ever to keep your marketing strategies current and focused on the changing behaviour of your target audience.