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Journal of Strategic Marketing Newsletter – June 2021

Journal of Strategic Marketing Newsletter – June 2021


The first big cold fronts are pushing through South Africa, warning of cold and hard days and nights ahead. The Covid-19 ‘third wave’ is fast approaching. South Africans will spend another winter in the grip of the pandemic, but at least this year there is hope as the second phase of the vaccine rollout picks up pace.

Hope is something that has been in short supply over the past year. But a recent NIDS Rapid Mobile Coronavirus Survey revealed 71% of South Africans were not vaccine hesitant. The hope that at least we will have something beyond masks and sanitiser to make us feel safer is very much alive and well.

Financial and health institution Discovery certainly found out just how eager the nation is to have the jab. A glitch in the government’s electronic registration system on the second day of the phase two rollout saw the company having to take walk-ins at its Sandton head office, where it had set up a vaccine site.

By noon, it had signed up a thousand walk-ins over the age of 70, all through word of mouth. The company had earlier issued a letter to clients clearly communicating how the rollout would work. In unequivocal plain language, imparting just the facts, it laid out the logistics behind the vaccine drive. It was a calm and reassuring communication, a welcome relief from the often-opaque nature of government’s messaging. And it was a lesson in word-of-mouth marketing, despite that not being its intention.

Supply chain management (SCM) has been very much part of the Covid-19 story. In this issue of The Journal of Strategic Marketing, Dr Myles Wakeham and Carl Wakeham unpack the complex but vitally important relationship between SCM and marketing. The disciplines are “inextricably” linked and by working together, the Wakehams say a mediocre institution will be transformed to one that is customer-focused and demand-driven.

The past year has also been a time of social upheaval around issues of race, gender and climate change. The clamour is loud, and brands have to pay attention. The story on advancing gender in marketing strategies makes it clear that sitting on the fence is no longer an option. Sustained and systemic effort is needed to embed transformative strategies into a company’s DNA.

We’ve also taken a look at the skills modern marketers need in this changing environment. And where the skills shortages lie. With Covid-19 accelerating digital transformation, it’s no secret that the more skills marketers have in this area, the more employable they become.

Finally, a survey of consumers in Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa delivers insights into something very important to us Africans, and that is fashion. What we buy, how and where we buy, how we find information on clothes… it appears to be time to slip out of the tracksuits and sneakers that were de rigueur during the hard lockdowns and get just a bit more fashion forward.

Here’s to putting our best foot forward… even if it’s just to visit a vaccine site.


Advancing Gender - with quote

Beyond ticking the box: gender advancement needs sustained and systemic effort

The odd advertising campaign paying lip service to gender is not enough to address fairness and equity by brands, says GLENDA NEVILL. To really commit to a transformative mindset in marketing strategies requires companies to put their own houses in order inside and out.

Recent advertising and marketing missteps have highlighted how brands and their agencies can get messaging so terribly wrong when it comes to advancing gender and race in marketing campaigns.

“The time for brands to turn a blind eye to race and gender equity is
long past. Consumers and employees demand change, while knee-jerk responses and mollifying words offer cold comfort,” writes Dipanjan Chatterjee
in the opening paragraph of a recent Forrester Report, Design a Programme to Advance Race and Gender Fairness and Equity.

SCM marketing Interface - with quote

The marketing and supply chain management interface: A marriage of convenience

Supply chain management and marketing are inextricably linked, write DR MYLES WAKEHAM and CARL WAKEHAM. Organisations should use their supply chain management capabilities and capacities as a basis to support and build their brands and ultimately strengthen their marketing mix strategies.

Supply chain management (SCM) is the process and activity of sourcing requisite inputs that an organisation requires to create need-satisfying products and service, and the ultimate delivery of such offerings to targeted customers such as businesses, intermediaries (retailers and wholesalers) and consumers.

SCM is the inter-woven co-ordination and integration of the flow of materials, information and money and includes the various logistics activities, the transformation process (operations) and finally, business processes. Without effective SCM, organisations cannot deliver on the promises that they make to their customers; nor can they deliver superior value and cost reduction, which represents the mantra of effective and efficient SCM.

Marketing Skills - with quote

Between a hard and a soft space: What makes modern marketers more employable

It is not just Covid-19 that has turned the marketing sector inside out. The pervasive need for businesses to gather and analyse data and then use the resulting insights effectively is a much sought after skill, says AMELIA JACOB. At the same time, soft skills are essential too. 

Marketing is one of the fastest growing functions in companies today. According to Career Junction’s Index for March 2021, despite an overall uptake in hiring activity, demand is volatile for marketing professionals.

So what is it businesses are looking for when it comes to the skills needed for modern marketing? What makes one marketer more employable or valued over another?

Fashion Africa - with quote

Styling: Fashion tastes and preferences in three African countries

There is no doubt fashion is an important consideration on the African continent. Clothing retailers physically cross borders, and brands are also available online via ecommerce portals. FRANKLINE MWENDA KIBUACHA highlights the results of a recent survey in Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt, giving marketers useful insights into what consumers think.

How fashionable are you? What do you look for when buying clothes, shoes, and other fashion items? Where do you get that information, and where do you ultimately shop?

To get answers to these questions and more, GeoPoll conducted an App study in Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa. Here are the highlights from the report.

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R30-billion! South African ecommerce doubles in two years

The growth of online retail in South Africa in 2020 came to 66%, bringing the total ecommerce spend to R30.2-billion. The results of the Online Retail in South Africa 2021 study conducted by World Wide Worx with the support of Mastercard, Standard Bank and Platinum Seed, showed categories experiencing the highest growth – aside from data and airtime top-up – were clothing at 56%, and groceries at 54%.
“The most astonishing aspect of this total is that it is more than double the R14.1-billion reached in 2018, in just two years,” says World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck, principal analyst on the research project. “It is also 50% higher than the total forecast for 2020 three years ago, when online retail in South Africa was expected to reach R20-billion by 2020.” More than two-thirds – 68% – of these consumers used the time during the pandemic as a positive learning experience, while the demand for online entertainment also surged, with 52% of respondents saying they have spent more money on virtual experiences than they did before the pandemic.

‘Ethically Aware’ accreditation now available for SA products

With consumers becoming ever more environmentally and socially conscious, The Ethics Institute has launched the ‘Ethically Aware’ accreditation. It can be obtained through the Ethically Aware Supplier Induction (EASI) programme, an e-learning programme for companies who want to train their suppliers on responsible business practices. “EASI was designed to create an engaging learning experience on a topic that is often neglected,” says Prof Deon Rossouw, CEO of The Ethics Institute. “It is an interactive programme filled with animated video content, case studies, practical scenarios and exercises.” The Ethically Aware accreditation is valid for two years from date of completion, or until the senior manager who completed the training is no longer part of the management team.

The social media marketing genius of Billie Eilish

British pop star Billie Eilish has been labelled a “social media marketing genius” by UK media trade magazine, AdAge. With a new album about to drop, Eilish has dominated social media, particularly Instagram, as she shares her journey from green-haired “fashion disruptor” to blonde bombshell. A cover image of the album, Happier Than Ever, reached one million likes in just six minutes. The platform recently published its 20 Most Liked Pictures on Instagram: Eilish has eight of the 20 pics in Instagram’s 10-year history.

Olympic (Brand) Games 2020 … or 2021

The Olympic Games in Japan are scheduled to begin on 23 July… if they go ahead. Only North Korea has indicated it won’t take part. No overseas fans will be allowed to attend, while 72% of Japan’s citizens believe it should be cancelled again. In the meantime, what about brands, advertisers and sponsors? Reuters says the lack of support by citizens and the substantial price tag could be off-putting. “Japan’s Olympic sponsors are scaling back advertising campaigns and delaying marketing events for this year’s Summer Games, concerned that public sentiment toward the event is souring amid a fresh wave of Covid-19,” it reported. Canon Inc and Japan Airlines Co Ltd have collectively pitched in more than $3 billion to support the event.

UN Economic Mission for Africa highlights companies’ digital transformation

The UN Economic Mission for Africa’s Covid-19 Africa Impact Survey (March 2021) says there is optimism about growth in 2021 “even if the short-term remains uncertain”. “While the situation remains difficult, especially in the goods sector, companies appear to have seized the opportunity to accelerate digitalisation, launch new products and switch to local suppliers,” it reports. Sixty-five percent of the responding companies say the pandemic speeded up their digital transformation. This includes acquiring technology and tools; training of staff; conducting advertising campaigns; developing new products for online selling and hiring staff to support digital transformation.