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.

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

 

Life’s always been about creating moments. But now it’s all about the ‘micro’ moments! It’s an impulse thing…

Marketing Trends Blog Image July

Depending on your age, you may remember as a youngster being dragged around supermarkets with one or both of your parents for the monthly or weekly grocery shop. Precious moments you’d no doubt rather have spent with friends or quite frankly any other way imaginable. The highlight of these trips was typically the moment your captor (aka parent) headed towards the tills as this meant your torment was almost over. For your parent(s) however, they knew that for them ten minutes of their own unbearable and unfortunately unavoidable (thanks to marketer’s) personal hell was most likely about to begin.  The dreaded wait in the often long and winding queue which conveniently and frustratingly for parents meandered for what felt like miles – not accidently I might add – past every known form of confectionery (sweets, chocolates, candy), beverage or fad toy imaginable! Child heaven. The impulse isle, where every child on the planet perfected their powers of persuasion, through tantrums, bribery, false promises of being good and any other form of manipulation they could muster. Precious moments indeed.

Marketers and retail marketers in particular, tended to exploit the impulsive shopping urge which is inextricably tied to the basic want for instant gratification. An early definition for “impulse purchases” came out of the DuPont Consumer Buying Habits Study which ran from 1948 to 1965 and defined impulse buying quite simply as: “unplanned purchase made by a consumer”. The definition was later updated, to explicitly refer to the intense urge that a consumer feels when they want to buy an item right then and there, often causing cognitive dissonance for the consumer. Marketers recognised early on that kids were great targets for impulse buying and although often not the direct purchasers themselves, they were a direct catalyst to securing a share of parents’ wallets via impulse triggered purchasing.

There’s a specific psychology behind impulse buying, it disrupts the normal decision-making models in consumers’ brains. The typical and usually logical sequence of a consumer’s actions is replaced with an irrational moment of self-gratification as impulse items generally appeal to the emotional side of consumers. Some items bought on impulse are not considered functional or necessary in the consumers’ lives. Like chocolates at the check-out counter. Although most parents trying to pacify a ranting toddler may argue the sweets are all to necessary to retain their sanity.

For generations, marketers and retailers have capitalised through impulse purchase displays and clever store layouts on the psychology of “I want it now!”.  But thanks to technology and the ‘trade craft’ perfected by marketers over decades of having watched generations of toddler temper tantrums in the impulse isle, the concept of Impulse purchasing is rapidly going mainstream on what can only be described as an industrial scale.

Enter the “micro-moment” – Micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to a device – increasingly a smartphone – to immediately act on a need or want.  The impulse isle is now firmly in the palm of almost every consumer on the planet’s hand. Smart phones and tablet devices have ushered in an era where consumers’ every desire be it – to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something – can be immediately satisfied. These “I want-to-know,” “I want-to-do,” “I want-to-go,” and “I want-to-buy” moments are what Google calls “micro-moments.” (visit https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-strategies/micro-moments/ to learn more about Goole’s research into micro-moments)

 

“When we act on our needs in the moment, our expectations are high and our patience is low. This makes the quality, relevance and usefulness of marketing more important than ever.”- Joei Chan, author at Mention

 

We want things right, and we want things right now! Technology has re-awakened the terrible toddler sleeping inside all of our minds. Instant; accurate gratification is an expectation, not a nice to have. The computers caried in our pockets have trained us to expect brands to immediately deliver exactly what we’re looking for, exactly when we’re looking. If the impulse strikes, it must be fulfilled.

Increasingly, our preferences and purchase decisions are being shaped in these micro-moments and brands that do the best job of addressing customers’ needs in each micro-moment, most notably on mobile, will enjoy huge competitive advantages. By being there in these “micro-moments”, your brand has the chance to address consumer needs at the perfect and most precise time to help move customers along their decision journey. The linear sales funnel and accompanying customer journey is being disrupted and along with it the tried and tested idea of needing dedicated content for the awareness, consideration, and decision stages of the funnel. Returning to our retail store analogy, store success was reliant on foot traffic, and certain sales reliant on impulse buying. In the digital world impulses trigger buying scenarios, and micro-moments are the equivalent digital footsteps that lead customers to your virtual store. Your Brand must be in the moment with the customer.

Every time a customer needs or wants something, it is an opportunity for you to provide – provide information, provide options, provide a solution and thus be more than just an option but rather to become a trusted partner and an answer to the requirement. Micro-moments are intent-rich windows of opportunity when your audiences want to know or do something; when and where decisions are being made and their preferences shaped.

As marketers start identifying your prospects and customers’ buyer journeys, identify those “micro-moments” that matter most. Where do prospects want to find information about your products or services? Where do they want to learn about what it is you offer? How can you help them in the moment? How can you positively influence or affect those moments? What content can you deliver to engage them in a meaningful way right then and there? While we’re in the moment, if you’re interested in learning more about the current trends, theory and practices powering modern marketing check out our full time marketing course offerings at https://imm.ac.za/academic-qualifications/marketing-qualifications/ or our marketing short course offerings at https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online_courses/marketing-advertising-short-courses/?utm_source=GoogleAds&utm_medium=SearchWithDisplayNetwork&utm_campaign=Brand&gclid=CjwKCAjw_LL2BRAkEiwAv2Y3SW7g_LtYKVJ_r6sWgBLQvm0-L-nGRf8HEAKEsJGJQHXPe95ii828OBoCJPQQAvD_BwE

When all is said and done, it simply comes down to showing your prospects and customers that you can help in their daily lives, not just when they are present in your office, store or on your website, but whenever and wherever they are experiencing that impulsive moment of need. To win in the micro-moments, you must understand your prospects’ intent, provide them with relevant, useful and high-quality information, directly addressing their need and most importantly maximise the ways you can find to be present in the moment.  The strongest brands will capitalize on these micro moments and evolve to match these moments with valuable content.

Marketing Trends Image Resources

Resources:

https://www.veriday.com/blog/micro-moments-marketing/

https://mention.com/en/blog/micro-moments-marketing/

https://medium.com/@Chadvertising/googles-zero-moment-of-truth-the-shift-to-micro-moments

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

 

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

marketing skills Image

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.

marketing skills image 2

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

Upskill yourself image

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.

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/.

The show must go on

The show must go on - A behind the scenes view of the IMM Graduate School in motion web

A behind the scenes view of The IMM Graduate School in motion.

For five months South Africa has been in a national lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has forced the world to adapt, including the IMM Graduate School. The IMM Graduate School has come up with multiple quick solutions to ensure as little disruption to students as possible. Because we are already a distance learning, higher education institution, classes were able to quickly resume online.

This did not come without its challenges, however. While we quickly adopted an innovative approach to moving students online there were a few challenges that our students and staff found, such as technical difficulties and lack of resources. Many lecturers have turned to other creative ways to teach online including other teaching tools and social platforms, which further engage students, ultimately with the goal of bringing students closer to achieving their final qualifications.

We realised that we had to make a few adjustments to accommodate our students such as:

  • Extending the submission deadline dates of assignments.
  • Finding an alternative solution to assist our students to still write a summative examination by making it a take-home, open book exam as well as the,
  • Provision of additional academic support to students on how to approach an open book assessment.
  • Adapting the exam timetable and extending deadlines by one week to allow more students to have the ability to complete the academic semester.
  • Additional resources being made available while also facilitating online tutorial classes to assist students to better understand difficult academic concepts.
  • Specific examination preparation online workshops to alleviate the additional stress levels of students and help them to better prepare for the upcoming summative assessments.

Our CEO, Dalein van Zyl, together with the Student Support team and members of Faculty worked around the clock to develop regular and consistent communication messages to ensure both staff and students remained informed about what was happening, what was going to happen and what was needed in the interim.

The IMM Graduate School created an online space to accommodate activities such as:

  • The provision and uploading of the final assessment paper for students to access and prepare for.
  • The uploading of a how-to-guide to assist students when they upload their completed assessment documents.
  • A check my work for plagiarism space with the same time and date limitations as the actual upload for grading title, and, lastly,
  • an upload for grading activity, again with date and time based on the Final Assessment time-table so students know when and where to upload.

We have processes in place to ensure all the variables and challenges throughout this process are addressed. A whole team is available to assist students to address any academic queries during the final assessment session quickly and efficiently. These two teams have to be available to address any queries during the entire duration of the 2 weeks from 8am in the morning until 8pm at night, and to address them quickly and correctly.

To ensure The IMM Graduate School stays on track, we have taken on additional markers to guarantee the marking of the final assessments are completed before the end of the semester so students have what they needed going into the next semester.

The show must go on and we at the IMM Graduate School are going out of our way to ensure all students can continue with their studies with minimal disruption.

Our students had this to say:

“I wanted to take this time to commend IMM on the amazingly progressive and accommodating way that the exams have been amended amid this Codiv 19 pandemic. So, flipping well done guys 😊 us students really owe you one  Caryn – student

“Today I want to share with the whole world how incredibly awesome IMM has been and is especially during this lock down.  During this lock down IMM has been at the forefront of online support and making it possible to finish my Honours degree online this semester.” Annelie C

 “Well done IMM with being highly innovative and prepared in this uncertain Covid -19 times. As a student based in New Zealand busy with my BPhil Honours course, I have been overwhelmed with what’s going on in society. Your innovative online portals, friendly and helpful staff and wonderful support to be safe and thrive in this time has made giving my best so much easier even from a far. Thank you for making my journey to success and safety so much more enriching.” Chazelle L.

 “I started studying towards my honours degree this year. With the COVID.19 outbreak, everything has become a lot more stressful, but IMM has handled everything so well and has offered great support to their students, ultimately reinforcing the benefits of online education. – Honours Degree Student, Catherine H

Written by Riana Prins, Head: Assessments & Learning Management System, Academic Faculty, IMM Graduate School of Marketing

The gig economy reenergised by Covid-19

The gig economy reenergised by Covid-19 web

The way people live, work and spend their money has changed drastically over the past decade, particularly with the rise of smartphone technology. Being connected to just about the whole world via social media, has created many ways to make and spend money and has given rise to the gig economy as we now know it.

The term “gig” is slang for job that lasts a specified period of time, most commonly used in the past by musicians. More recently however, this term has become more common when referring to a ‘freelancing’, ‘moonlighting’ or ‘side hustle’ situation where those with specialist skills make themselves available for side-gigs in addition to their full-time jobs. This activity has grown, and an entire economy has developed as a result where gigging for some is all they do, and the full-time 8 to 5 job is no longer required or wanted. According to Investec, 37% of US adults and more than 50% of millennials have a side hustle. Locally, Statistics SA’s employment outlook has found that temporary employment rose from 2.6 million in 2017 to 3.9 million in 2018.

A gig economy is best described as a free system which consist of temporary positions and independent workers for short-term commitments. It’s a labour market is characterised by flexible, on-demand work rather than the more traditional nine-to-five, office-based set-up. The gig economy includes freelancers, independent contractors, project-based workers and temporary or part-time hires across all industries. While gigs can comprise anything from DIY work to landscaping and childcare, the real money lies in jobs needed to support the exponential rise of digital innovation.

So, while gig work is nothing new, when referring to the gig economy in its present format, it is largely driven by those with a skills set supporting new technology-enabled types of work or gigs. For a country like SA that’s facing massive unemployment challenges, the growth of the gig economy carries with it many benefits, providing job opportunities while boosting productivity.

 Pros and cons of gig work

Gig freelancers can work from wherever they like, whenever they like and for whomever they like.  The timing of jobs is also more spontaneous thanks to apps and websites that automatically connect people to deliver on requirements in real-time. Individuals can bolster their earning potential and realise their passion with side gigs, while businesses can tap into the sought-after skills they require, without the need to permanently employ staff.

There are many people who enjoy freelancing and not being tied down to one job. “Free agents reported higher levels of satisfaction in multiple dimensions of their work lives than those holding traditional jobs by choice, indicating that many people value the non-monetary aspects of working on their own terms”, (McKinsey, 2020). But we have to also keep in mind how many of these workers are people who are gigging out of necessity because they can’t get the full-time job that they’d much prefer.

Some say the gig economy empowers entrepreneurs, while others believe it’s just another way of exploiting workers. In most countries, only employees are entitled to the protection of employment legislation, such as being protected from unfair dismissal, and receiving minimum basic benefits such as holiday pay, sick leave and minimum working hours. Independent contractors are not offered such protection and their recourse is limited to what is contained in their service contracts.

But this may be changing too. For example, Uber has recently outlined proposals for a new type of relationship with “gig” workers, including its own drivers, that would keep them as independent contractors but with some guaranteed benefits. The move comes with Uber and other firms facing legal pressure to comply with a California law that would require its drivers to be classified as employees, eligible for unemployment, medical and other benefits.

Uber describes “a new model for independent platform work” in an 18-page document it hopes can be used as a blueprint for Uber and similar firms relying on independent workers. Uber has proposed that gig economy companies be required to establish “benefits funds,” allowing gig workers to accrue and use the money for benefits or paid leave. (eNCA, 2020)

Marc Kahn, Investec’s global head of Human Resources and Organisational Development, believes the gig economy can be a threat or an opportunity to business, depending on how companies look at it. Kahn believes the growth of the gig economy will drive a revolution in the definition of what a company is. “A company is real by virtue of those who are employed in it and some of the assets in it. But what if all the people employed in the company are employed as gigs? Where is the company? Where is the culture of the company? Where does the company begin and end? What about the notion of teamwork?” (Investec, 2020)

A recently published report by Fairwork Project in collaboration with the Universities of Oxford, Cape Town (UCT) and the Western Cape (UWC) evaluates the working conditions of digital platforms and ranks them on how well they do. It’s an Oxford University-backed initiative. “The research focused on the following platforms: Sweep South, M4Jam,Picup,GetTOD,NoSweat,Uber, OrderIn, MrD,Bolt and UberEats. Across contexts, Fairwork’s research has shown that gig workers face low pay (frequently earning below minimum wages), dangerous work conditions, opaque algorithmic management structures, and an inability to organise and bargain collectively. The Fairwork research shows that some platforms are actively trying to create good-quality work, whereas there is no evidence that others are operating with the same concern. One danger according to Fairwork researchers is a race-to-the-bottom that squeezes good practices out of the market,” (FastCompany, 2020)

The research also found that gig economy platforms benefit from a legal loophole that exists in South Africa, as in most countries, labour rights are limited to workers classified as ‘employees’. Digital platforms can avoid the costs and duties arising from employees’ rights – minimum pay, maximum hours, paid leave etc. – by classifying their workers as ‘independent contractors’.

Gig economy ideal during COVID 19 pandemic

COVID 19 has slowed down economies worldwide. People have been forced into lockdown and self-isolation to minimise the spread of the virus and major industries have come to a grinding halt. Before this pandemic, there were difficulties trying to figure out how some industries could make the transition towards a ‘work from anywhere’ culture, where technology was sometimes seen as a luxury as opposed to a necessity to get the job done. In many ways COVID-19 has acted as a catalyst, resulting in many industries adopting new remote ways of working.

This, it is believed will in turn fuel the gig economy. For the first time in the history of work life, we are seeing employers encouraging employees to work remotely albeit for a safer environment.

“The Covid-19 crisis has forced businesses in industries previously impervious to remote working to reengineer their work processes and bolster their technology support systems, which have been the traditional barriers to alternate work arrangements.  This provides a wide variety of natural experiments, that will provide a good starting point to organisations contemplating a switch to the gig economy model,” (Harvard Business Reviews, 2020).

In support of this, employees are finding ways to prove to their bosses that despite not being in the office, the work is still being done, and in some cases more efficiently as there are fewer meetings and distractions to consumer employees’ time. And employers are reaping the benefits of lower overheads as a result of smaller premises and employee consumables.

Those that have now had a taste of work from home freedom may choose to continue along this route in future.

 Here are some tips on how to thrive in the Gig Economy

Create a positive place– it’s important to create your own personal space which disconnects you from a corporate office. This will help protect you from outside distractions and the pressure that comes along with them. Find an open space that will help you to be creative but also allows you to be focused.

Find a routine– routines are mostly characterised as boring and safe but research has shown that by following a routine for example following a to-do list, keeping a schedule or beginning your day with the most difficult work, improves people’s workflow and effectiveness.

Have a clear purpose – It’s not always about doing work to find your footing in the market but sometimes doing work that connects you to a broader purpose. Purpose creates a bridge between your personal interest and motivations and fulfils a need in the world.

Engage with people – Social isolation can be a great risk for gig workers, therefore it’s important to engage with people (even if through online meeting technology) and formal peer groups which you can turn to for advice and encouragement.

Develop a work ethic – The quality of work that you deliver represents who you are. You no longer have a boss who constantly looks over your shoulder. Therefore, self-discipline is key. Set standards for yourself and live up to them.

Digital Marketing as a career

Digital Marketing as a career web

A study by Hootsuite has shown that we spend an average of 6 hours a day online, to put that in perspective it’s a quarter of our lives. Whether we are scanning social media channels on our phone, ordering groceries through an online app via a tablet or planning a holiday on a laptop, PC or smart TV, access to the internet has become an integrated necessity of our lives.

With so much time being spent online and the decline of other traditional forms of marketing, branding and advertising in the digital space has become a necessity if companies want to compete. This has brought about the rise of a new marketing specialist, the digital marketer and several new opportunities for organisations to expand their businesses into the cyber marketplace.

As a result, digital marketing skills are in serious demand and the digital skills gap is set to widen as brands start putting more of a focus on, and allocating a bigger portion of their marketing budgets to digital marketing than ever before. By 2020, 2 million new digital jobs are expected in the U.K. alone and not enough digital professionals to fill them. This provides those choosing a digital marketing with a unique competitive advantage as this is an industry where soon demand will exceed supply. We are already starting to see this trend emerge. According to Marketing Hiring Trends demand for digital marketing professionals outstrips supply with 44% of companies wanting to hire more digital marketers.

 What is a digital marketer?

The ever-growing trend of digitising businesses creates the need for individuals well-versed in the business and art of digital marketing.

A digital marketer is responsible for developing, implementing and managing marketing strategies and campaigns that promote a company and its products and/or services on digital platforms. This individual plays a major role in enhancing brand awareness within the digital space as well as driving website traffic and acquiring leads or customers through online channels.

Digital marketers possess the knowledge and have mastered the skills necessary to harness the power of the internet for the purpose of developing and implementing effective customer journey communication strategies that make use of email campaigns, blogs, web pages, social media content and more.

All of these activities are aimed at engaging with today’s internet-savvy consumers and interacting with them when they are online by presenting them with meaningful content that will stimulate the correct response for the brand concerned. There is a rising demand for knowledgeable and skilled digital marketing professionals in the industry.

Desirable skills

 In order to have a successful career in digital marketing, it is important to master the following skills:

  • Inbound Marketing – possess the ability to utilize inbound marketing to generate new leads.
  • Flexibility – The ability to change what is not working in order to move you towards your project goals.
  • Strong Organisational Skills – The ability to manage various different campaign aspects at the same time.
  • Sales Experience – Essential to have hands-on sales knowledge and expertise. Digital marketing requires being able to understand and anticipate changes in sales trends.
  • Branding Experience- It is important to possess the ability to create an effective branding strategy.
  • Landing Page Strategy – The ability to craft great landing pages for websites
  • Knowledge of Content Writing Platforms – such as WordPress is beneficial.
  • Strong Social Media Skills – Must be able to create effective, potentially ‘viral,’ social media content aimed at increasing brand or product awareness.
  • Ability to conduct analytics reports in order to measure your success.
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – Having a broad understanding of how SEO works is critical to increasing where your website will rank. The higher your website ranks, the more likely people will click on that website in the search engine results.
  • HTML Knowledge is preferable – Being capable of using HTML to create eye-catching sub-headers and other visually appealing content is a huge plus.
  • A strong ability to utilise Advertising Platforms, such as Google AdWords, to create effective ads.
  • Good online listening skills – Understand the importance of listening to customers for the purpose of creating trusting relationships and loyalty.
  • Goal-Oriented – Set both short-term and long-term goals, and diligently work towards fulfilling those goals.

Possible digital marketing career options

 There is a wide variety of digital marketing jobs out there with a wide variety of specialisation options. Here are a few examples:

  • Video/audio production
  • Interactive technology (such as AI)
  • Mobile marketing
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Social Media Marketing
  • E-commerce
  • Email/Direct Marketing
  • Marketing Automation
  • Content Management and Curation
  • Web Development
  • Web Design
  • Copywriting, Editing and Blogging
  • Analytics
  • Business/Marketing strategy
  • Paid advertising
  • Online Public Relations.

 Benefits to a digital marketing career

 There is huge competition for skilled talent regardless of the 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. In more traditional careers like advertising you’d have to wait for an internship or graduate placement to open up in order to gain experience. The digital marketing world, however, provides a host of opportunities for you to kickstart your own career before you even set foot in a workplace. Digital marketing is such a dynamic sector with a range of disciplines, which means you’re likely to meet and work with individuals from different backgrounds and different interests. Due to high demand for digital marketing skills and the fact you can apply this knowledge to any sector or role makes this an agile career.

But one of the greatest benefits of being a digital marketer is the flexibility it offers you to work on your time. You can work for a company on a full-time basis or you can work as a freelancer for various organisations. Because digital marketing is done primarily online you can work from anywhere the is an internet connection. Our own research has also shown that marketing agencies are less concerned with formal qualifications and more interested in whether the applicant has the right skills and aptitude. This makes entering the industry much quicker for school leavers or those wanting to pivot their skills from another industry altogether.

Digital marketing is not a trend, but how marketing will be done going forward. Marketers that do not upskill will be left behind.

After assessing feedback received from the industry it became apparent to us that we had to develop the best and most relevant 10-month certificate course in digital marketing, and we did.

Our newly launched Applied Digital Marketing course is an online blended learning course with interactive content, webinars, gamification and one-on-one coaching with industry experts. The intention of this course is to provide students with knowledge and then get them to apply the knowledge in order to develop specific skills that are aligned to industry requirements. All of this culminates into a hands-on, skills-based portfolio whereby students can showcase their ‘experience’ to the industry, hence improving their chances of employment.

Included are eight learning blocks and one overarching portfolio project where students will

  • build and manage social media business pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube
  • design and create content for social media using online tools
  • apply basic writing skills for online copy and blogging
  • apply online research techniques including keyword research, blog topic research, social monitoring and clickstream analysis
  • develop a good understanding of how to plan and implement SEO strategies and create content for search ranking purposes
  • gain skills in building reports and interpreting data from google analytics and other social media insights tools
  • build a basic website using Wix
  • utilise online tools in the Google Suite such as Gmail, Google Drive and Google Docs
  • use Mailchimp to create email campaigns
  • leverage tools like Grammarly to typo proof copy
  • use tools such as Hootsuite as a social media management tool

To learn more visit our website https://www.imm.ac.za/onlineshortcourses/online-course/applied-digital-marketing-certificate/

IMM Graduate School is offering fast-paced express courses that you can do in less than 1 week for just R475 per course while in lockdown

Supply Chain Management during the COVID-19 pandemicCovid-19 is here and it’s not going to disappear overnight. South Africans still have a long way to go in the fight against the corona virus before life returns back to normal. With the country in lockdown for 21 days, millions of South Africans are beginning to feel the pinch as businesses start to cut salaries and in some cases jobs.

Tammyn Gregory shared her story with us:

“I work in the hospitality industry. The emergence of Covid-19 in China and the steady spread across the globe already impacted our sector even before the first cases were reported in South Africa. The company I work for caters primarily for the international market and as a result, reservations were greatly impacted by the travel restrictions being put in place in Europe and other regions to combat the disease. Then, when lockdown happened the business was closed, and our salaries were cut. With no income, indefinitely, its hard to tell when or if things will return to what they were.”

Tammyn, like many others in this situation was devastated and at first felt hopeless, fearing not having enough money to meet basic monthly commitments. This reality hit hard. Fortunately, Tammyn realised she needed to do something to pull herself out of the hollow pit she found herself in. “I needed to do something to fill my time, and the first thought that came to mind was to use this time to upskill myself. I have always had an interest in the online space and how to use this to market and promote business. With marketing in mind, I decided to look into the IMM Graduate School, as I have often heard friends and family mention that they are the best in this field.”

The IMM Graduate School is a respected distance learning provider and is one of the few learning institutions that was not impacted by the lockdown. Students all over the world have been able to continue with their studies, uninterrupted online during this period. The IMM also decided to respond to this crisis proactively by unbundling some of the modules from their academic programmes into shorter online express courses to allow all those in lockdown to upskill themselves in preparation for future career challenges.

“I am so excited about the courses I have found on the IMM Graduate School website. I am suddenly facing these months of downtime in a totally different light and look forward to learning new things and growing in a different direction. The skills I gain from the courses I have selected will open all sorts of opportunities for me. I could apply this knowledge in my current place of work, but should it be necessary, I could move into a totally new and exciting venture running my own business in website design and digital marketing.”

There are 20 online express courses to choose from. Each one should take no more than a week to complete. They include video content, recorded lectures and a quick quiz. On completion students can unlock an IMM Graduate School skills badge to add to their LinkedIn profile.

Tammyn knows this is not going to be an easy journey for her, but she plans to be disciplined in her approach to her studies. “What really appeals to me about these courses through the IMM, is that I will be able to study from home and I have access to an online tutor if I need help.”

Unique to the IMM Graduate School, subject and industry experts that have contributed to the course content and development are also head tutors. This gives student the opportunity to receive feedback from experienced professionals as they progress through the course content.

“If I look at these circumstances that I have found myself in, perhaps this is the catapult that I have needed to steer me and direct me on a new journey.  I can’t wait to expand my knowledge and to let my creative juices flow.  I have extensive experience in my industry, and I know that the new skills I learn on this course will enable me to apply my knowledge in a new and exciting direction.”

Tammyn certainly is living for today, and planning for tomorrow. You can too. Get to the IMM Graduate Schools website and select a course that will catapult you into a new direction. Make your time in lockdown count!

Why the traditional B2C model is dead

Lifecycle Marketing

Digital marketing is changing the marketing game rapidly and all marketers need to catch up.  If you have not immersed yourself in the waters of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) yet, it is time to dive straight into the deep end. Not only has the 4IR changed the way businesses relate to customers, it has changed the way businesses relate to themselves.

Business with personality

To be relevant to people, and to remain relevant, businesses need to have a personality. They can no longer afford to just have a brand; they need to be a brand and subsequently business management becomes brand management.

Your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors’. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.“ (Williams, 2020)

The New Marketing Mix

Since the 4IR has digitised the way we do business (rapidly and so intensely), it is more important than ever to shift the focus from a product orientation to a consumer one. It is also important for brands to be able to adapt to changes in the market. These changes need to stem from within the business and starts with the marketing mix. The marketing mix (known by many as the 4Ps) has therefore been tweaked to be more appropriate to the shift in business towards prioritising the consumer.

New Marketing Mix web

How the 4Cs differ from the 4Ps

The first C represents the Consumers wants and needs which should now become the focus of product development or, put differently, provide a solution rather than an object. A great example of a company failing to do this is Nokia who produced many products but failed to address what consumers actually wanted and as a result lost market share to the likes of Samsung and Apple.

The second C replaces the traditional Price ‘P’ with Cost to satisfy the need and places emphasis on the value the consumer attributes to not just the product but to other factors such as status, brand loyalty, obstacles to change etc. This explains why consumers are prepared to pay more for products they perceive to have a higher value, for example the loyal iPhone community.

The Promotion ‘P’ is replaced by Communication. Instead of a one-way message designed to manipulate a consumer into buying, social media and website chat applications now allow businesses to have live conversations with their customers and customers in turn can now communicate with the business and directly with each other, which provides the all-important social proof that brands need to be successful today.

Finally we replace the Place ‘P’ with Convenience to buy which highlights the importance of not just having the product readily available when and where the consumer wants it but also making it available online, thereby completely eliminating the need for the customer to go out and make a purchase. It also speaks to the importance of a smooth, easy to navigate purchase process with less complications. The convenience of being able to tap-and-go is a good example of this, or having your credit card details safely stored for repeat purchases.

Marketing is no longer just advertising

When businesses begin to prioritise the consumer and build authentic ways to relate to them a few things become clear. Before, marketing was a segment of business responsible for creating adverts. Now, marketers need to build brands with the intention of creating relationships. With brand building comes brand strategy.

“Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages. Where you advertise is part of your brand strategy. Your distribution channels are also part of your brand strategy. And what you communicate visually and verbally are part of your brand strategy, too. “(Williams, 2020)

marketing to Brand Building web

With this new emphasis on consumer-centricity the only way forward for brands is to get close to their customers, get to know them and what they want and then strive to meet those needs, the brand must move towards interacting with customers on their level. The above proves that the traditional business-to-consumer model is dead and has been replaced with person-to-person communication.

Where do brands start to build their personalities?

Williams (2020), discusses a need for re-evaluation of the core aspects of your business, what you do and why you do it. He encourages businesses to answer the following questions as a starting point to building brand personality:

  • What is your company’s mission?
  • What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
  • What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
  • What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?
  • How can you work to add more value and meaning to your product or services to strengthen your relationship with your customers?

Businesses need to always remember that they exist for people and because of people. Digital marketing moves rapidly and one of the only elements of a business that can withstand this ever-changing environment is their brand.

References

Williams, J. (2020). The Basics of Branding. [online] Entrepreneur. Available at: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/77408 [Accessed 25 Feb. 2020].