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Mega, Macro, Micro and Nano-Influencers. What’s the difference?

 

Mega, Macro, Micro and Nano-Influencers - IMM Blog Image2

 

Mega, Macro, Micro and Nano-Influencers. What’s the difference?

In 2019, a survey conducted by MediaKix revealed that the influencer marketing industry was on the rise to becoming one of the most lucrative industries and tools for marketers. And now, 2021 has been dubbed the year of South Africa’s influencer economy. As digital marketing continues to lead the advertising industry away from traditional marketing strategies, the influencer industry has become key in driving campaigns and advertising products and services. A social media trends report released by GWI Core Q4 2020 reveals that influencers have a strong relationship with their followers, particularly with younger generations. It states that “Gen Z’s are almost as likely to follow influencers as Brands”.

 

Brands Chart - IMM Blog Image

 

With the limitations and difficulties COVID-19 presented to marketers globally, the move towards digital has become even greater with companies and organisations choosing to invest their marketing spend budgets in channels that perform without the consumer ever really having to leave the comforts of their home (read more about this trend in our blog here). MediaKix, 2019 key findings in a 2019 survey showed that influencer marketing proved to be 80% more effective than traditional forms of marketing, was 89% more effective in driving ROI and drove sales and traffic up by 71% (MediaKix, 2019). The fact that marketers believe influencer marketing generates better quality leads and customers than other communication channels, makes it vital to understand what exactly “influencing” means and how as marketers, we can best utilise this marketing communication process. What makes this form of marketing so attractive to consumers is the relatability of their marketer – the influencer. There’s a trust factor already attached to the person, so when influencers endorse a brand, product or service, people are easily swayed towards their word.

 

 

 

Influence Marketing

Image source: Neil Patel

 

But what is influencing? And how is it related to marketing?

‘To influence’ is the simplest way to explain what influencing means. As a verb, the act of influencing (in a marketing context) is to shape the ideas of an audience on what products and services best suit their lifestyles, in turn, encouraging them to try or use those same products and services. Influencing is a new-age form of ‘brand activation’ with the only difference being that it relies heavily on individuals with a large social media following to endorse products, services and organisations publicly, in the hopes of humanising brand names to their audiences with the purpose of stimulating brand awareness, product trial or brand switching.  Influencer marketing involves the promotion of products through endorsements and product placement from influential people or organisations who are deemed experts in their fields. These range from tech and DIY to beauty, photography, scrapbooking and cooking. The GWI Core Q4 2020 report also reveals that those who follow influencers are varied in their interests.

Influencer Chart - IMM Blog Image

The influencing industry itself is multileveled and consists of individuals with a diverse set of media and PR skills. While many aspire to become influencers, behind the glitz and glamour is plenty of hard work. For one, it is becoming an increasingly competitive industry. Those that are able to create a following on social media, must work hard to maintain it. Earning trust from followers requires persistent effort. As such influencers can no longer endorse a brand for the sake of making a quick buck. Bombarding an audience with unrelated sponsored content is the quickest way to ‘kill the vibe’ and the influencer’s credibility with it.

As a marketer, it is important to understand this. Influencers typically align to a category such as travel, lifestyle, fashion, food, beauty, sport, gaming, entertainment, tech or health and fitness. While some influencers may focus on or overlap some of these categories, it is vital to choose an influencer that also aligns to your brand’s positioning and tone. It is likely they will be doing the same.

 

There are four types of influencers:

1. Mega-influencers

Mega-influencers are the “celebrity” of influencers. These people typically have diverse audiences without any real influence, but rather, have a strong popularity amongst different groups of people. They aren’t necessarily experts in the industries of the products or services they’re advertising, but they do have a higher audience reach. When thinking mega-influencers, CMS Wire notes the likes of ‘A-list celebrities’ such as Will Smith who uses all sorts of social media platforms to entertain his fans and in some instances, fits in a sneaky promotion here or there.

Will Smith Instagram - IMM Blog Image

Image source: @WillSmith on Instagram

2. Macro-influencers

Macro-influencing as described by Social Media Today suggests that this level of influencing is the level before the ‘celebrity’ status of notoriety. Macro influencers are usually household names, the ones trusted by thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands or millions of followers within their regions. They are typically approached by brands and companies first to explore avenues for advertising a brand, product or service. These avenues always include using their platforms to reach their wide audiences for greater visibility for the brand.

Macro-influencers - IMM Blog Image

Source: influenceforimpact.com (2021)

3. Micro-influencers

Micro-influencers are the ‘newbies’ or the more ‘ordinary’ type of influencer that is more attainable and accessible by the audience than the macro influencer. A micro influencer is usually someone with less than 15,000 (fifteen thousand) followers, but this is dependent on the brand as they determine how far down the line of micro they wish to go.

Micro-influencers - IMM Blog Image

Source: influenceforimpact.com (2021)

4. Nano-influencers

Nano-influencers are the newer influencers coming up who are typically popular amongst their own community and generally smaller audience. CMS Wire describes nano-influencers as your “regular, everyday people” whose family and friends love to see and hear from and who trust their opinions on products and services. Their influence reach is much smaller than that of the higher tier influencers, but this should not be misunderstood as less valuable when nano-influencers tend to have the highest engagement rates with their audiences. The drawbacks of nano-influencing really is just that their reach is not always further than their following which is usually below the 1000-follower threshold.

Nano-influencers - IMM Blog Image

Conclusion

Influencing as a whole is an incredibly attractive and innovative tool for marketers to use. The outcome of which type of influencer to employ when delivering a campaign or wanting to advertise a product is entirely dependent on the type of influencer the brand wants to align themselves with, and who the influencer themself wishes to work with. It also depends on the objectives you are trying to achieve for your organisation.

Influencing is incredibly effective because of the reliability and accessibility consumers have to these people, so looking at engagement is much more favourable than reach. The percentage of an influencer’s engagement is worth much more than their reach as the engagement shows just how many people are actually engaging with their content and what they have to say. All four types of influencers, mega-, macro-, micro- or nano-influencers have something to offer.

Joe Sinkwitz, CEO at Intellifluence sums it up well. “One generally needs to understand that the larger the audience, the less focused it is likely to be, and therefore the broader the offer will probably have to be.”

How Covid-19 increased consumerism despite many losing their jobs and streams of income

Consumerism - IMM Blog Image

By March 2020, most of the world was put into mandatory lockdown after the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a pandemic (read more about that here). This meant that consumers were following stay-at-home orders and were restricted to leaving the house for essential services and  shopping only.

For many people, upskilling, taking on a new hobby or not wanting to forgo their daily routines meant that the purchases of gym equipment, for example, increased as people were now limited to going to the gym. With many people losing their jobs or primary streams of income due to lockdowns, lots of people opted to open up home businesses turning their hobbies into products or services.

Instagram - IMM Blog Image

For many people, upskilling, taking on a new hobby or not wanting to forgo their daily routines meant that the purchases of gym equipment, for example, increased as people were now limited to going to the gym. With many people losing their jobs or primary streams of income due to lockdowns, lots of people opted to open up home businesses turning their hobbies into products or services.

Anything from candle-making, to monetising social media streams, to home delivery foods, people did their best to stay afloat and in turn, communities everywhere turned to supporting small businesses so much so that Instagram added a “small business” tool onto their platform to help others promote their favourite small, locally owned business – read more about that here.

 

Image credit: Instagram

What did consumers shop for most during lockdown?

In many parts of the world, panic buying ensued with retailers globally forced to limit the number of purchases of high-demand items (such as hand sanitiser and toilet paper) per shopper. A leading financial institute, JP Morgan, published their findings in an article and relayed that:  “For the world’s largest personal care, food and drink companies, data showing which products sold the most tells the story of how consumers spent their time and money during lockdown” noting that “flat growth followed by a huge spike — double digit growth. That is very rare for this industry and was totally prompted by the lockdown and the fact that people couldn’t get out,” said Celine Pannuti, Head of European Staples and Beverages Research at J.P. Morgan.

 

Lockdown Purcheses - IMM Blog ImageJP Morgan breaks down what consumers seemed to purchase the most during lockdowns across Europe and the United States of America in 2020 into four main purchase categories:

Soaps and Household Cleaners: sales of household cleaning and disinfectant products increased greatly. Sales of cleaning wipes in the U.S. increased by over 100% in the first three months of the year, relative to a year ago, followed by a 60% surge in the second quarter and sales continued to grow by over 15% in the third quarter. In the third quarter sales of aerosol disinfectants climbed 120%, as did sales of dishwasher detergents and general kitchen cleaners, which have increased around 40%.

Vitamins and Supplements: Amid the pandemic, consumers also loaded up on vitamins and supplements. Revkitt Benckiser grew U.S. sales by approximately 50% in the first half of the year and maintained that momentum in the third quarter (+26%).

 

Coffee - IMM Blog Image

 

 

Hair Color: As a result of the lockdown, home hair color products have become particularly popular in the United States and Europe. For companies like L’Oreal and Henkel, sales of hair color were up over 30% in the second quarter of the year.

Coffee: Many workers around the world began working from home during the lockdown, and coffee became a popular drink. Thus, Nestlé saw fresh roast coffee sales grow by around a third in Europe, while in the US, Starbucks at-home products, Nescafé and Coffee-Mate grew at double-digit rates.

 

The boost in e-Commerce shopping and the logistics of it

Despite the logistics industry taking a knock as countries locked down (read more about that here) and the mobility of transporting of goods had been pushed back, globally, e-commerce shopping across all industries increased this past year as panicked consumers looked for hand sanitiser, groceries, and skincare products online.

Typically these items were also sought out in bulk. A McKinsey report suggests that consumers spent $211.5 billion on e-commerce during the second quarter of 2020, an increase of 31.8% from the first. With more shoppers going to the internet for their shopping, e-commerce now makes up 16.1% of all U.S. sales  and this trend appears set to continue as non-essential businesses, restaurants and retailers start reopening. In the graph below, McKinsey’s report illustrates how e-commerce boosted more than ever before during the pandemic.

 

e-commerce Growth - IMM Blog Image

 

Conclusion

Despite the fact that many people lost their primary streams of income, many people dipped into their savings, others opted to open up small businesses and some were afforded government compensation. The increase in consumerism during the pandemic has spiked particularly via e-commerce. Online shopping has risen and that includes delivery services. While the continuation of this increase in consumerism is probable, analysts await the outcomes of consumer behaviour in the next year.

Good leadership in the post-pandemic world

Leadership Image - IMM Blog

According to Forbes, the true value of a high-performing team and the effectiveness of its leader become all the more visible during major disruptions such as the COVID-19 pandemic. A team’s resilience is characterised by its ability to pivot, rebound and continually innovate its way out of an impossible situation. In reference to a leadership style, the acronym ‘A.G.I.L.E.’, Forbes states, produces an “approachable, grounded, innovative, leveraging and empathic” leader. These are arguably non-negotiable characteristics that leaders today need to demonstrate if their teams are to survive the impacts of COVID-19.

Let’s break it down.

Team Image - IMM Blog

 

 

 

Approachable aka ‘is friendly and easy to talk to’

Good leaders appreciate that great ideas can come from anyone. It is therefore important for you to operate with an approachable attitude during times of disruption and uncertainty. Team members need to feel that they can come to you with ideas or concerns.

 

 

 

 

 

Team Work - IMM Blog

 

 

Grounded aka ‘is honest, well balanced and sensible’

It is crucial for leaders to lead transparently by being honest so that the team can get a more complete view of any disruptions that the organisation may be facing. Honesty, along with sensible and unemotional responses help a team to better react to and solve the challenges of any particular situation – confidence is gained through clarity.

 

 

 

 

 

Innovative Team - IMM Blog Image

 

 

 

Innovative aka ‘is advanced and original’

Facilitate growth by encouraging creativity and originality – this builds healthy team morale. Innovation is necessary for an organisation to remain relevant and to thrive in a competitive business environment. As a leader you should create an environment that stimulates and rewards creative thinking.

 

 

 

Leverager aka ‘can get more done with less’

As the pandemic has pressured so many businesses to tighten budgets, leaders must maximise resources, and this often involves leveraging the talents already present within the team. Together your team needs to embrace new ways of using technology and other unconventional work styles in order to do more with less. Incentivise team members to rise to the challenge and you may uncover existing talents that you never knew they had. You may even find that team members volunteer for certain roles outside their current work scope.

 

Empathetic aka ‘an ability to understand and share the feelings of another’

Whether pre, during or post-COVID, a strong leader always displays empathy and prioritises the wellbeing of their team members. This is a good time for you to prove to your employees that you value them as people and that you understand the challenges their jobs and personal lives present. Showing empathy usually results in loyalty and a higher level of performance.

Good Leader - IMM blog Image

But is that all that it takes to be a good leader?Unhappy Employees Signs

Contrary, the Renoir Group suggests that there is no “best” leadership style and that leadership requires flexibility and the willingness to evolve. Taking into account the uncertainty created by COVID-19 and the complete change it has brought about within the workforce, it is imperative that leadership strategies also change to meet the needs of current times. Good leadership is proactive leadership. Proactive leadership is flexible leadership. Flexibility in turn produces multiple ways to optimise your labour force. As a leader you need to be able to inspire, to explore all avenues available and provide a sense of security for those you are leading. Reigning in the troops by being a source of stability during a pandemic is especially key to the success and sustainability of a company’s success.

Further, low morale as a result of pandemic-anxiety, personal matters or general unhappiness within a company is not something a good leader should accept. Companies don’t take care of employees, the leaders inside that company do.

 

This is what good leadership looks like in a post-pandemic world

Navigating the world in itself during such uncertain times has seen many families and individuals hopeless and helpless. Snap lockdowns, impending new waves of COVID-19 infection cases, a fluctuating economy leading to job insecurity and higher daily expenses, the day-to-day difficulties of living, working from home, surviving with or without familial support, current personal struggles and possibly the loss of a loved one, all contribute to the functionality of an individual, which in turn, affects an entire team.

The Harvard Business Review suggests that poor leadership has a direct impact on employee mental health and might be triggering occupational anxiety disorders. For most, The KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) released a report that suggests the feeling of impending doom and uncertainty due to COVID-19 has seen an increase in anxiety disorders and depressive episodes amongst people across the

age and labour spectrum and thus affects the greater workforce altogether. People desperately need to feel mentally, emotionally and physically safe in their work environment.

Without the security of an empathetic, supportive leader, workers tend to be less productive. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that humanity must prevail to preserve our sanity: Humanity cannot be absent in the workforce, or it will lose the enthusiasm, loyalty and productivity of the worker.

Retaining talent does not only depend on an increase in cheques or benefits, but it also depends highly on the way people feel in their places of work.

In fact, according to Guthrie Jensen, a leading consultancy group, the happier and more grounded employee is 12% more productive, whereas an unhappy, demotivated and discouraged employee is 10% less productive, lacks creativity, determination and generally loses the vigour to succeed. The illustration below shows ways in which employees will show a lack of zest.

 

Conclusion

In order for leaders in any industry to succeed in a post-pandemic world, they must employ a new sense of humaneness unlike before. Prioritising employees is central to productivity and creativity. Good leaders in a post-pandemic world can leverage their organisations to become industry leaders as world economies and industries begin to open up. The key to success at this time is your employees.

What’s all the hype about TikTok, is it a viable marketing channel yet?

TikTok Article

You’ve heard about TikTok before, but how can we use the platform as marketers to expand our reach? In this blog we cover the basics of TikTok and different ways how ads can be executed on the app.

What is TikTok?

In case you have been living under a rock, TikTok is a simple to use mobile app that allows users to upload and edit short form videos ranging from one second up to three minutes. It has become what SnapChat and Instagram had hoped they could become: The next best and biggest thing in video creation – the first of its kind on Western platforms that is arguably the perfect adaptation of YouTube in a short mobile form.

Who uses TikTok?

A Vox report suggests that in 2018-2019, the app was largely used by users based in the U.S.A. with teenagers (10-19 years old) dominating the app. However, the user base is expanding as can been seen this graph published by Statista which shows user-by-age stats in the U.S.A. in March 2021 which shows that older people are beginning to access the app,

and users can take any approach from storytelling, DIY-ing to mundane everyday life.

Distibution of TikTok users

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1095186/tiktok-us-users-age/

 

Why is TikTok so popular?

The platform offers instant gratification. The app itself is both fun and easy to use. TikTok’s in-app tools allow users to easily add music, filters, captions and hashtags which inspires them to be creative and set trends of their own. What makes it even more exciting is the ability to go viral overnight. Going viral is what makes TikTok’s “duet” feature quite exciting. Users also use this tool to post reactions to other users’ videos. This leads to a chain reaction of duets and has made for some hilarious content and has also contributed to how content becomes trendy. What is also quite gripping about TikTok is how easy it is to join trends as users often post tutorials on how others can execute trending dances.

Source: https://media.giphy.com/media/eKNvgaaBcNJQ9y4OyD/source.mp4

TikTok Ads: Is it viable (and if so, how)?

But is it a viable marketing channel yet? Definitely. The platform works so incredibly fast that in a matter of just 3 days, Dior’s 001 Rose Blush went viral – thousands of users purchased, reviewed and applauded the product under the assumption it was famous billionaire Kylie Jenner’s go-to. Likewise, many other brands in the beauty industry have seen the same surge in sales due to TikTok. It seems the opportunities are limitless and there is room for every industry to thrive. The chances of going organically viral on the app are endless, but the question remains, “how do we as marketers make use of the platform in paid TikTok Ads?”

Here are a few simple ways:

  1. Brand Takeover
    A 3-second static image or 3-5 second video without audio that shows on app launch. This is great for brand awareness videos but can be very expensive.
    TikTok Challenge
  2. Top View Ads
    60-second ads that appear after 3 seconds as your first in feed post and include audio and a custom link.
  3. In Feed Ads
    As the name implies is an ad that appears in the users “for you” feed.
  4. Branded Hashtags
    This format encourages user generated content by using the product in a unique way and adding the branded hashtag. (Note this may not actually be the brand name but will likely be related to the brand e.g. #imlovinit). The video is added to the hashtag challenge page which other users can view. According to NoGood, this format of advertising on TikTok has seen an average engagement rate of 8.5%.
    Branded Hashtags
  5. Branded Effects, Sounds and Filters
    This form of advertising is not new to social media platforms. Long before TikTok, brands were using their own branded filters and effects on SnapChat and Instagram. Branded stickers, filters and special effects are created for users to add to their own videos.

Conclusion

Instantly gratifying, always new, incredibly addictive. TikTokers are highly engaged and user generated content is the order of the day. The real question is not should you be marketing on TikTok but rather why are you not already?

 

Unprecedented disruption has reshaped the future of logistics

 

disruption

With the Covid-19 outbreak, a fundamental but unpredictable risk to the logistics industry has shown up. For many countries and companies, keeping up with the market has been nothing short of difficult and uncertain. The challenge Covid-19 presents has forced industry leaders to rethink the way forward and this includes analysing the risks and challenges of the supply chain in order to get back to business as usual.

take risksSupply Chain Risks and Challenges

According to Accenture, the pandemic has brought a new type of consumer to the market and while the demand for fast supply and delivery has increased, routes to markets have been blocked sporadically for unknown periods. Due to this, supply chains are becoming more costly and stakeholders expectations are not being met. The industry itself cannot hold onto sustainable agreements. To examine the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the logistics industry and its potential for the future, Cushman & Wakefield, a leading global real estate services firm, has released its 2021 Global Logistics Outlook. The report discusses the key drivers affecting growth, global leasing dynamics and provides an outlook for the logistics sector. According to the report, these key changes have been drawn out for each region.

 

 

APAC

The Asian Pacific regional market has shown to be resilient. Out of the 34 key markets covered within Asia Pacific, the status quo has largely been maintained year-to-date, with only Singapore showing any real change to potentially becoming more tenant friendly, although this is restricted to certain parts of the industrial market, despite the pressure of a weakening export demand.

APAC

This is a major difference to the office sector within the region, which has seen a much more definitive shift towards being more tenant-friendly. In China, the logistics industry as a whole has seen a 2.5% increase due to new consumer demands and the rise in online shopping. The table below (which can also be found here) puts this into perspective:

Logistic Table

EMEA

Europe’s logistics sector is said to be struggling with supply constraints, stemming from a combination of a lack of developable land and strict planning regimes. Lisa Graham, Head of EMEA Industrial Research for Cushman & Wakefield, explains that, “In contrast to the pre-Global Financial Crisis (GFC) when speculative development represented roughly 80% of new construction, post-GFC has been characterised by predominantly ‘built-to-suit’ development that has led to severe supply shortages in most of Europe’s core logistics markets. As speculative construction resumed post-lockdowns, more product came to market, pent up demand was released and leasing activity accelerated.”

Truck in Road

North America

Proving to be one of the strongest markets, the North American market experienced growth despite the pandemic and other local disruptions to the industry due to hurricanes and wildfires.

But how do we address this issue and overcome it?

Construction MenFive Key Ways to Address Covid-19’s Impact on Logistics

  1. Improving visibility into operations.
  2. Increasing flexibility of inventory and assets to balance supply and demand.
  3. Communicating effectively with onsite and remote employees, suppliers, carriers and customers.
  4. Supporting the labour force by protecting the wellbeing of workers within the supply chain as well as that of the logistics staff.
  5. Being creative in your approach to understanding how to find resolution to the issue at hand and how to address it moving forward.

Conclusion

The pandemic has set a hurdle in all industries, but the world depends on the logistics industry to stay afloat. It’s imperative that these hurdles be overcome as best as possible. To read more about the ways in which logistic companies and leaders can improve their approach into delivering better, despite what the pandemic has presented, click here.

Digital vs traditional marketing – how has it been influenced by COVID-19?

Digital vs traditional marketing 1

The debate of whether digital or traditional marketing is most valuable or otherwise more effective is an endless one. However, since the Covid-19 pandemic first hit, the shift towards digital has been exponential as traditional channels for advertising have come under pressure, become a lot more expensive and in some cases, obsolete.

 

As consumers have had to adjust their lifestyle habits during this time, their media habits have also changed; creating very real consequences for the ‘traditional’ media industry and new, accelerated opportunities for its ‘digital’ counterparts.

 

What’s the difference?

When we refer to ‘traditional marketing’, we are including any form of marketing that does not involve the Internet or digital technology. 99Designs passionately describes “The immersive experience of an impactful TV commercial and the tactile nature of a copy of Rolling Stone magazine are as important today as they were 20 years ago because of their lasting effects on your memory. Subconsciously you attach yourself to their brand emotionally, meaning they will stay at the top of your mind.”

Traditional media are just that – tactile and they exist in real time, physically. There are five main categories in this classification:

  • Print Marketing – magazines, newsletters, newspapers and catalogues.
  • Broadcast Marketing – radio, television and cinema.
  • Direct Mail Marketing – pamphlets and brochures.
  • Telephone Marketing – telemarketers or call centres.
  • Outdoor Marketing – billboards, bus stops and posters.

Digital marketing depends on the internet and the platforms it offers for a company to have a presence on it. It includes some of the following types of marketing strategies:

  • Search Engine Optimisation – the process of enhancing the volume and quality of web traffic directed to a website or a web page using keywords most commonly searched.
  • Social Media Marketing – the process of promoting products and services using Social Media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok or LinkedIn.
  • Paid Search Advertising – when companies or organisations pay search engine providers such as Google, Bing or Yahoo to pop up first on a specific search input by consumers.
  • Affiliate Marketing – the practice of an online retailer paying commissions to an external website to run ads or take up ad space on the website, in return for traffic or sales.
  • Email Marketing – works by sending a mass email to a group of people (usually mailing lists or newsletter subscribers) a promotional message that encourages website traffic or sales for example.

 

Death of TVThere are many different views on whether or not traditional media or marketing is dying or not. Those that say no are usually the bigger businesses with massive budgets that continue to plough their money into television, radio and other printed forms of advertising.

The trouble with these forms of media is that they do not appear on a person’s smartphone or tablet. With the whole world looking down these days to the lit-up screen in the palm of their hand, who’s to say they will see your billboard or poster, let alone read a newspaper or magazine? Even if they were to be interested in what you have to say, the effort of going into a physical store or having to memorise the dates and times of your event is just too much when compared to it’s ‘click and buy’ from your smartphone alternatives.

 

 

 

 

COVID-19 has pushed the consumer to digital channels

Let’s review what has been happening in each on the traditional marketing media industries in South Africa recently:

 

Print Media

In July last year (2020), as COVID-19 swept through the country and lockdowns started to roll-out over extended periods, Media24 announced the closure of many of their magazine and newspaper titles. CEO, Ishmet Davidson stated “the pandemic has accelerated the pre-existing and long-term structural decline in print media, resulting in a devastating impact on our own already fragile print media operations with significant declines in both circulation and advertising since April.” Ishmet also stated that Media24 is reshaping to further accelerate its transition to an increasingly digital world.

Magazine and newspaper titles were impacted as follows:

Magazine portfolio:

  • Move! and the Hearst portfolio (Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Bicycling, Runner’s World) have been closed.
  • DRUM was moved into a digital format only.
  • The frequency of the monthly magazines was reduced to six issues per year, and eight issues for tuis | home, SA Hunter/Jagter and Man Magnum.

Newspaper portfolio:

  • Son op Sondag and Sunday Sun have been closed.
  • The Eastern Cape edition of Son has been closed.
  • Die Volksblad and Die Burger Oos-Kaap have been moved to digital editions only.
  • Amanzimtoti Fever, East Griqualand Fever, Hillcrest Fever and Maritzburg Fever have been closed.
  • Several other titles have been consolidated into one.
  • The Witness has moved into a digital format.

 

Cinema

As we move to the big screen, we see a similar picture emerging where Cinema chains like Ster-Kinekor, Nu Metro, Cine Centre as well as other independent cinemas had to close completely for lockdown against an already dwindling attendance backdrop. The lockdown also led to record highs of streaming, with Netflix for example earning around 16 million new customers over the quarantine period. People love to be entertained, and will continue to watch movies, but perhaps they have found a cheaper, more convenient way to get their fix.

 

Television

Not everyone is on Netflix or another alternative streaming channel. According to the Advertising Media Forum (AMF), time spent viewing TV during lock down almost doubled. However, ad spend declined by 27% between March and April last year. This happened as a result of advertisers’ cash flow drying up due to their supply and demand slowing down. So, with a reduction in ad spend and resulting financial strain, we may see further changes in the television broadcasting industry in months to come. According to the Daily Maverick (Jan 2021), the SABC is already struggling and is owed R57.1-million in unpaid television licences and advertising fees by government departments, municipalities and state-owned entities (SOEs): R29.2-million was owed in advertising sales, with R4.5-million owed by SOEs, R9.2-million owed by provincial departments, R13.1-million by national departments and R2.3-million by municipalities.

 

Direct Marketing

While not as a direct result of COVID-19, in January this year MyBroadband reported “The South African Post Office (SAPO) is on the brink of collapse and is facing bankruptcy despite receiving R8 billion in bailouts since 2014.” It also reported that “Notices on the doors of some SA Post Office branches now state “Closed until further notice” without a clear indication of where people can now get services from.”

This is not good news for direct marketing companies or businesses that rely on post as a channel for marketing and has forced them to move their efforts to email. Findings from Statista indicate that there are nearly four billion email users in the world. Campaign Monitor research reported that 72% of people would rather receive marketing materials from brands through their email.

 

Out Of Home (OOH)

Out-of-home (OOH) advertising was one of the worst hit by the pandemic as lockdowns sent people home, away from their offices and CBDs and prevented them from being able to commute or travel nationally and internationally. This has dramatically reduced the amount of people exposed to billboards. This channel is expected to return, but who knows when and how long it will take to return to previous revenue levels as its share of the marketing budget may have already been ‘lost’ to other digital platforms like Google display or social media ads?

 

The benefits of digital media

Social Media and digital marketing have made customer engagement and personalisation so efficient. The benefit of digital marketing from the perspective of advertisers is that it’s so much cheaper for wider reach, than the cost it would be to use a traditional platform for less reach. Other benefits listed by LeGusTry are that digital marketing offers the highest return on ad spend investment, higher exposure to new clientele and higher engagement rates.

 

benefits of digital mediaThis also evens the playing field somewhat in that smaller businesses are now able to compete with bigger corporates in the same markets. Where before, spending thousands of Rands on television and radio adverts were simply not an option.

Unlike traditional media is can be said that digital marketing uses every touch point of your daily use of the internet to reach you.

Conclusion

Marketing is an ever changing industry and marketers are constantly being pushed to new levels to improve sales and drive traffic to their products and services. With the advent of Social Media, the need for traditional marketing techniques has shown a steady decline as more and more consumers have moved away from traditional TV, radio and print media, to news and entertainment via the internet on their mobile devices.

With the unique circumstances COVID-19 is presenting, the demand for traditional advertising channels along with locked down audiences has dwindled. During this time, companies have heavily relied on Digital Marketing strategies to stay relevant and drive sales. The shift to digital does not start or end with the pandemic, but a global lockdown definitely showed the power of social media in the absence of physical movement and real-time, real-life forms of media like billboards and newspapers. The question is whether or not this trend will reverse when COVID-19 is finally a thing of the past.

Covid-19’s impact on supply networks is slowing down the fight against climate change

Solar Energy

 

covid-19Solar energy developers around the world are slowed down by a spike in the costs of materials, labour and transporting as the world economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic (read more about that here). . An Economic Times India article suggests the zero-emissions solar energy market is showing slower growth at a time when world governments are ramping up their efforts against climate change, and marks a reversal to growth after a decade of lowering prices. One of the greatest challenges to solar energy manufacturers is the soaring cost of steel, which has risen three times in the past year, not to mention the unsteady cost of transportation and the uncertainty of when materials will become available for manufacturing to continue. The pandemic has caused inflation to occur at a staggering rate and many industries are struggling to keep up.

What does this mean for climate change

An online poll by Power Technology readers showed that 54.1% believe a pandemic induced recession could hurt renewable energy development, which in turn, puts us further behind in addressing the climate crisis. With the Covid-19 outbreak hitting the global supply chain and single companies alike, renewable energy growth is expected to slow, with projects consistently being delayed or cancelled as a result. The consequence of this is globally the fight against climate change as per the Paris Agreement, will be put on hold for an extended period of time. While the pandemic has forced us to slow down, the rate of climate change has not. A Time article explains that “Every day, due to rising water levels, some part of the world must evacuate to higher ground.”

 

Climate Change

Demand for solar energy

The demand for solar energy is higher now than ever before. More countries are facing longer, hotter summers and the energy source itself can easily be distributed and rerouted into national electricity lines as Australia has already done. The booming demand for solar energy is however only as in demand as it is available and affordable. With the rising costs of solar energy materials and installations, more and more companies and individuals alike could turn it away for a longer period of time than what the earth can afford. Without renewable energy sources like solar energy, the world depends heavily on non-renewable sources like oil and coal. If we don’t act now, Octopus Energy predicts that global oil deposits will deplete by 2052 and coal and natural gasses are expected to last only until 2060 (read more here).

 

Global warming, pandemic

How the pandemic has affected global warming and in turn, slowed down supply chains

Global logistics industry leaders, EY, conducted a survey on the impact of Covid-19 on the industry and its effects on the job market. The report comes as no surprise that only 2% of companies surveyed stated they were fully prepared for the pandemic. 72% of those affected reported experiencing serious disruptions, while 17% reported significant disruptions (55% reported mostly negative effects). The graph provided by EY illustrates this finding.

Pandemic Chart

Although many employees were requested to work remotely, others – especially in factory settings – had to make new arrangements to ensure physical distancing and were required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). High-tech industries and industrial products manufacturers are investing heavily in technology to limit employee exposure to COVID-19.  Additionally, 47% of all companies reported workforce disruptions due to the pandemic. These are just a few examples of changes affecting supply chains across various sectors. Thus it’s unsurprising that more logistics companies are looking to further empower their labourers through reskilling to help the workforce readjust to the new normal the pandemic has forced the industry into. A Price Waterhouse and Cooper report from April 2020 suggests that there has been a global decline in transport activity and this in itself has forced many workers in the supply chain to be jobless for months on end due to lockdowns. However, in 2021 it is evident that the demand for at-home deliveries has increased.

Conclusion

The Covid 19 pandemic has put immense strain on the world’s resources. Solar energy production has not been spared. We are already in a race against time to reverse global warming. We must seek ways to shorten supply chains by sourcing locally available materials to create renewable energy sources that are  sustainable and more robust against something as unpredictable as a global pandemic. Who knows when the next one could hit.

TEST – Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Marketing

Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Marketing

SAQA ID: 86806

Our Master of Philosophy in Marketing Programme is an IMM Graduate School Qualification on NQF level 9 and is quality assured by the South African Council on Higher Education. You can complete this qualification in a minimum of 18 months, but if life gets in the way, you have 3 years to wrap it up.

Marketing is all about knowing your customer and making sure that all their product needs are met. The goal of our Master’s programme is to equip you with specialist knowledge of various research methodologies and to expose you to advanced marketing models and theories in a very practical way. By the end of the programme, you will be competent in designing and implementing strategies for processing and managing information in order to produce significant marketing insights and you will have had the opportunity to add to the body of academic knowledge in a specialist marketing area.

Once qualified, you can use your superior knowledge of sourcing marketing intelligence and initiating research to collect and leverage the data at your disposal within your organisation. You will be equipped to identify opportunities and creatively analyse complex strategic problems. You may even find yourself designing and applying your own methods and techniques for researching and investigating challenging marketing problems.

On completion, you will have mastered the art of information collection and analysis to inform strategic marketing initiatives and will have the confidence to initiate, lead and implement data collection and analysis processes and systems in a marketing division of a global company.
I’m interested…

Qualification: NQF level 9. 180 credits
Duration: Min. 18 months. Max. 3 years.

Full qualification cost:
R64 950*
View breakdown

Programme Exit Level Outcomes

There are nine learning outcomes in this programme

  • Demonstrate specialist knowledge of marketing intelligence to enable engagement with and critique of current marketing research and practice.
  • Design, select, and apply appropriate and creative methods and techniques to engage with advanced marketing theory and investigate complex marketing problems.
  • Design and implement a strategy for processing and managing information in order to conduct a comprehensive view of leading and current research in the area of marketing to produce significant insights.
  • Use a wide range of specialised skills in identifying, conceptualising, designing, and applying quantitative and qualitative market research methods, and implement an appropriate process of enquiry for the area of study.
  • Use resources of academic and professional discourse to communicate and defend ideas and products of research in an area of specialisation.
  • Demonstrate advanced scholarship and research and use a range of advanced and specialised skills and marketing discourses to communicate to a range of audiences.
  • Apply ethics in marketing research, and understand the implications of complex ethical issues in gathering marketing intelligence, and in implementing marketing strategies.
  • Demonstrate specialist knowledge of advanced marketing research techniques to supervise, implement, and assist with marketing research projects.
  • Lead and/or initiate processes, and implement systems in a marketing division or company.

Fees

Fees for MPhil in MarketingSA Fee per module
New student registration fee (once-off payment)R1 950.00 (non-refundable)
Application fee for MPhil (non-IMM Graduate School graduates)R3 000.00 (non-refundable)
Application fee for MPhil (IMM Graduate School graduates)R1 200.00 (non-refundable)
Dissertation:
MPhil Induction Workshop (payable end of February)R 9 000.00
Dissertation semester 1 (payable at start of the semester)R17 000.00
Dissertation semester 2 (payable at the start of the semester)R17 000.00
Dissertation semester 3 (payable at the start of the semester)R17 000.00

Note: If the Programme is not completed within the 18 month minimum period, the student will be invoiced for additional semesters at the rate applicable at the time of billing.
The prices to be subject to increase on an annual basis.

• MPhil Induction Workshop (payable end of February)
• Dissertation semester 1 (payable at start of the semester)
• Dissertation semester 2 (payable at the start of the semester)
• Dissertation semester 3 (payable at the start of the semester)

View other African country fees


* Assumes completion over a 1 year period and
** Prices subject to increases on an annual basis

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5G – Game-changer, or hype?

Commercial Trends Image

It has become increasingly clear that digitising businesses is no longer a ‘nice to have’, but a necessity that if not already completed or underway at your organisation, now essentially needs to happen overnight. Adding to the urgency and need for companies across all sectors to prioritise digitisation, is the rise of Fifth-Generation cellular wireless networks – ‘5G’. Not simply a faster 4G, 5G has been hyped up to be one of the most transformative technologies in the history of telecommunications. 5G is 10 times faster, supports 10,000 times more network traffic and can handle 100 times more devices than 4G networks while enabling one-fiftieth the latency (the time it takes a message to go from one device to another) with zero perceived downtime. Holding the promise of such high data speeds, underpinned by such substantial improvements in latency, capacity and bandwidth – this fifth-generation network technology is truly more than simple hype. It’s the catalyst in an evolution in advanced products and services that includes everything from mobile, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality, the ‘internet of things’ (IoT) and so much more.

5G is a cloud-based network that connects people on mobile devices to the internet faster than previous networks. Unlike 4G which requires cables and infrastructure to run optimally in a suburban or commercial setting, 5G’s cellular towers amplify cloud-based signals eliminating much of the infrastructure and cabling requirements. And these are just what futurists and technologists call ‘first order effects’; those benefits that are directly attributed to 5G’s properties. Beyond these, 5G will help realise the potential of many other emerging technologies, and foreshadow new approaches, ideas and business models that no one has yet conceived of. Fully realised, 5G networks will pave the way to a host of new options for streaming content, live events, gaming, and other high-quality immersive and interactive experiences as well as usher in a sea change in both product and service innovation, experience and delivery.

It is no secret that 5G will open a door to new consumer services and experiences, as well as expand enterprise opportunities across a broad spectrum of verticals and use cases. Increased broadband speeds will facilitate and likely encourage even greater consumption of content. Streaming will become instantaneous and all downloading will happen in seconds rather than minutes. In addition, the massive amount of bandwidth available may see business models around mobile changing in response. For instance, the abundance and ubiquity of broadband could see a future where users are no longer charged for data use but are billed in other ways that encourage them to use their devices more, without worrying about cost. It thus follows, that a new ‘5G marketing mindset’ focussed on use cases, customer experience and immersion as well as product and service differentiation is increasingly becoming a critical priority for marketers. The right strategy starts with asking how 5G can impact fundamental marketing strategies and product mix across multiple industries. Marketers will need to consider abandoning their current tried and tested playbooks and open their imagination to the limitless possibilities of what could be achieved when harnessing the full potential of 5G technology. Marketing with 5G requires a complete rethink of your four P’s: product, place, price and promotion. It need not only be about promoting your product in isolation, now by leveraging 5G marketers

Rethinking What You’re Selling – Product / Service

Things that aren’t readily possible today, like true live dynamic and interactive virtual experiences and tutorials, will become a reality in the 5G world. 4G has served consumers well in some use cases, but 5G will enable vastly richer customer experiences. Want a VR cooking lesson, an in-home mixed reality interior design consultation or to experience a live event through the power of VR? Think about a MasterClass series, but with Malcolm Gladwell for instance, actually being beamed right into your lounge to give you that introduction to writing class essentially in person. 5G makes it possible.

Delivery Where Consumers Want It – Place

Likewise, 5G may realise the possibility of ‘Minority Report’ like adverting. For those unfamiliar with the Tom Cruise Block buster, Minority Report is a movie set in the future where one of the features is personalised in situ advertising. In the film, ad’s are served to customers based on retinal scanning and recognition technology paired with big data to deliver personalised tailored ad content and discounting based on your individual preferences, purchasing habits and location at the time. Marketers will soon be able to deliver what customers want, where and when they want it, as network capacity will no longer be a restricting factor with 5G. Consumers will no longer have to go to a store or open their laptop to find out about, test or buy products. Using 5G, products can be marketed to customers anywhere, leveraging a plethora of newly imagined devices. Take going to the gym for example, advertising could be done directly via a connected health device like an Apple watch or Fitbit. Signup packages could be introduced utilising try before you buy virtual classes delivered ‘in-home’ leveraging AR or VR technology supporting one-on-one virtual personal training sessions.

Monetisation – Price

5G will enable marketers to offer their customers tiered immersive experiences perhaps spanning from baseline to intermediate and premium or even exclusive experiences for AR and VR. One-size-fits-all pricing models that do not differentiate value will increasingly become a thing of the past as the world of mass customisation finds a delivery channel that will support and encourage dynamic pricing models, much the same as those used in airfare pricing – everyone is on the same plane but almost every individual ticket has a unique price depending on where and when you bought it and the accompanying basket of privileges you are seeking pre, during and post flight. Using 5G, you can offer consumers a new proposition to pay for individualised experiences and subscription plans, especially when considered from the viewpoint of a retailer or event promoter where experience is an inseparable part of the purchasing or consumption act itself. 

Meaningful Marketing – Promotion

5G is new, dynamic and increasingly in vogue offering marketers a catalyst to inject new energy and vitality into their brands, through inspired application and creative execution. But to ensure sustained engagement, marketers must elevate the utilisation of 5G and allied technologies to move beyond simple gimmicks and cheap tricks, shifting application further than fad to becoming a fully-fledged channel for rich immersive experiential delivery. Promotions must above all else resonate with your target audiences. Today’s hyper-connected world makes it imperative to deliver an ad experience that does not ‘feel’ like advertising

We live in a hyper-connected world and while 5G won’t change everything completely, or instantly, it will unquestioningly amplify many of our digital experiences. Marketers and businesses alike must   align our strategies to this new reality, allowing ourselves to explore and apply more of the innovative technological opportunities in our campaigning – especially in the realm of AR, VR, AI, and smart devices. 5G opens a world of new opportunities for marketers and brands unafraid to scrap their old playbooks and buck the status quo to grow customer engagement and brand loyalty.

In concluding, here are just five simple ways 5G will likely revolutionise digital marketing:

  1. Mobile ecommerce will accelerate.
  2. Targeted customer personalisation and CX (customer experience) will get easier—and more accurate.
  3. Segmented video advertising will proliferate.
  4. Augmented and virtual reality (AR & VR) will enhance customer experiences.
  5. Advertising will be more interactive.

At the IMM we’re always connected, always current and always exploring.  Check out all our qualification and short course offerings, each one uniquely developed to keep your knowledge, skills and industry awareness at the leading edge of innovation, best practice and thought leadership.

Appendix: 01

https://www.singlegrain.com/digital-marketing/digital-marketing-trends-2021/

https://recommend.pro/personalisation-trends-2020-part-1/

Commercial Trends Appendix

https://www.roboticsbusinessreview.com/research/the-next-generation-supply-chain-market-75b-by-2030/

https://www.supplychaindigital.com/supply-chain-2/top-10-supply-chain-trends-2021

 

 

From cloud computing to cloud chains – the rise of SCAAS

Supply Chain Trends Image

Ever since Salesforce arrived on the scene nearly 20 years ago, the holy grail of business start-ups has been to emulate the model it essentially created: software as a service (SaaS). There is good reason for this model being so coveted, not only by start-ups but also by captains of industry across sectors where there have been countless efforts to replicate it. The SaaS model allows for amazing margins at scale and predictable annuity revenue streams. For customers, it lowers upfront costs and often leads to better service and product improvements over time. The question being, can the benefits of SaaS be transferred to the world of supply chain management?

Before we explore the answer let’s take a closer look at SaaS.  Software as a service, SaaS, is today often used interchangeably with “cloud computing”, a business model in which customers pay to use software hosted on remote computers. According to Wikipedia, Software as a Service is “a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted and controlled.” SaaS may also be referred to as ‘On-Demand Software’.

Today, the most prevalent form of SaaS is customer relationship management software (CRM). Other core business functions across which SaaS has been popularised include office and messaging software, payroll processing software, CAD software, accounting software, content management software, and antivirus software. SaaS differs from traditional software platforms in that your data as a SaaS customer is transferred over a network (like the internet) to the SaaS provider. The application itself is not housed on your computer, but rather it is hosted elsewhere ‘in the cloud’.

SaaS in effect has its origins rooted in the 1960’s.  Back then, computers were large and expensive, few small or medium-sized businesses could afford to invest in them, giving rise to the software as a service industry. In the 1960s, the model we know today as “cloud computing” or “SaaS” was simply referred to as a “time sharing system”. A system that involved multiple so called “dumb” terminals (keyboards and monitors without CPUs) that were networked to a mainframe. All applications and data had to reside on the mainframe. In effect, it was an early form of “the internet”, a way of connecting computers together. However, at the time this innovative system made it possible for small and medium-sized businesses, educational organizations, and government entities to access computer systems in a cost-effective way. The transfer of risk and burden of costs, including development, maintenance and infrastructure to a third party is at the heart of the SaaS model, one which has stood the test of time and proved to be incredibly beneficial to suppliers and customers alike. As with any great business operating model other industries, functions and organisations have sought to replicate the concept and in the logistics and supply chain sector this has given rise to “SCaaS” or Supply Chain as a Service.

At its core, SCaaS is a flexible and agile supply chain model that enables organisations to manage their supply chains without the risk of upfront investment in facilities, infrastructure or technology. As you are no doubt aware, there are already many companies providing outsourced services for various aspects of your supply chain. You can outsource your manufacturing, distribution, procurement, accounts payable, transportation management, systems and more.  Meaning that essentially all your supply chain services from storage to transport logistics, picking and packing, delivery and inventory management, could be outsourced to an expert partner who handles all these supply chain logistics as a service.

The model the world is working toward will see SCaaS operating much like a ride-hailing service such as Uber. Ultimately, companies will be able to manage their supply chains via an App, or specific programme, and ‘call up’ particular supply chain services as and when they are needed. This enables far greater operating agility allowing for incredible flexibility, supply chain transparency as well as allowing companies to only pay for the services they use – think of it as A la Carte supply chain service or on demand logistics. Speaking of on demand and A la Carte services, if you’re interested in learning more about the current trends, theory and practices powering modern supply chain management, check out our full time Supply Chain management course offerings at https://imm.ac.za/academic-qualifications/qualification-supply-chain-export-management-qualifications/ or our Supply Chain management short course offerings at https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online_courses/supply-chain-export-management-short-courses/?gclid=undefined

From the service provider’s side, increasing demand for SCaaS means a more fluid approach. Costs can be saved by sharing loads and storage facilities between various customers, all contingent on need and capacity. At the end of the day, the operations will be determined by the expectations of the end-user. Businesses will demand that their SCaaS providers adapt to consumer demands, which is going to require a high degree of operating agility. Meaning SCaaS providers will have to work very closely with their customers to ensure that the end-user expectations are met or exceeded. In many ways, SCaaS will require logistics providers to become an integral part of their client’s operations, because close and harmonious working relationships will ultimately lead to the most efficient supply chains, and therefore the best customer service to the end-user.

Current fleet and supply chain companies will need to adapt quickly to keep pace with the burgeoning demand for SCaaS. Those of you who have been in the game for years should however already have implemented SCaaS models in various guises for many of your clients, either proactively or based on growing demand. If you haven’t ventured down this path, as with most things the best time to begin was yesterday, but today is better than tomorrow!

Supply Chain as a Service (SCaaS) culminates in better collaboration, improved quality control, and higher efficiency rates, shipping optimization, reductions in overhead costs, improved risk mitigation and superior cash flow. The advantage of moving to digital supply chain platforms would include: enhanced productivity, greater connectivity, lower cost, greater service, heightened flexibility and adaptability and better asset management.

In order to leverage all available technologies in the future companies will not have the expertise, resourcees, and funding to try to do this on their own. Only the largest companies may decide to retain these functions internally. Furthermore, failing to shift to a digital SCaaS model will result in a lack of competitiveness and financial viability.

Globally, companies are being forced, either due to financial, resources, timing or competitive reasons to outsource more of their Supply Chain activities – meaning the adoption of SCaaS is likely to increase exponentially over time. Consequently, there will likely be increasing opportunity for Supply Chain as a Service consulting firms and providers to become more integrated with their customer base in the provision of their offerings. If a client company needs to go to different outsourcing companies for every single aspect of their supply chain the management of numerous third-party organisations will become their biggest challenge. The age of integrated, full and A la Carte supply chain management is truly upon us – welcome to the age of the cloud chain.

Supply Chain Trends Image Resources