Congratulations, you’ve made it! You’re finally done with high school and ready to start the next chapter. Don’t believe everything you see in movies though – higher education isn’t just fun and games. It takes hard work, dedication, and a dream for a bright future to be successful.
Why higher education after school is so important
One of the common reasons for pursuing a higher education is to develop industry-specific skills before entering the workforce. This often makes you more employable, especially abroad. But the benefits of pursuing a higher education stretches further than just a successful career. Along your learning journey you will acquire better communication skills, critical thinking skills, a sense of self-discipline and the confidence that comes with your accomplishment.
What makes high school different from higher education?
High school: Students are reminded by teachers of any homework they need to complete.
Higher education: Students are expected to complete assignments without being reminded by lecturers or tutors.
High school: Class starts and ends at a specific time every day.
Higher education: Class schedules vary depending on the course and students must manage their own time. Distance learners must juggle work and family commitments with their studies.
High school: Textbooks are often provided by the school.
Higher education: Students are required to purchase their own textbooks, but study guides are often provided at little to no cost.
High school: Classes usually consist of 35 students at most.
Higher education: Depending on the institution, class sizes can vary from twenty to hundreds of students per class. There are also higher learning institutions such as the IMM Graduate School that offer students the opportunity to study remotely and attend lectures or tutorials online.
High school: Teachers usually assist students in areas they have trouble with.
Higher education: While there is generally limited access to lecturers, they are available during scheduled office hours and students are often expected to proactively seek out assistance.
High school: Exams may consist of only a small fraction of the learning material.
Higher education: Exams are made up of all the materials covered in the semester or year.
Taking the next step
Here are six tips on how you can transition from high school to higher education.
Make sure you know what to expect. Get in touch with past and current students to discuss life as a student and address any concerns you may have upfront.
Don’t doubt your own abilities. Feelings of self-doubt are normal in the beginning but don’t worry, you can do it!
Be ready for failure. Everyone fails at some point, it’s part of the process of becoming successful. Remember that grades don’t measure your self-worth or potential. Don’t let one failure all wo you to give up. Keep trying.
Learn to balance your social life and academic life. You can work hard and play hard but find a balance between your studies and social life.
Be dedicated. If you thought you studied hard in school, get ready to hit the books even harder. Higher education is your gateway to a better future. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
Enjoy yourself. Student life can be a fun experience but never forget the primary goal is to get an education.
Technology has turned the world into a global village in terms of effortlessly connecting people from all different countries and cultures.
Sharing information is more accessible than it ever has before, making it much easier to generate product awareness or promote your service. And since the internet is such a powerful tool that can be used to generate ROI, investing in digital marketing cannot be ignored. According to eMarketer, “worldwide digital ad spend is predicted to reach over $375 billion by 2021.”
Therefore, to keep up with your competition then you must keep up with the trends. Take a moment to think critically about the impact of change in technology to your business. And then take advantage of the successful existing business techniques that are out there as well as try to predict where technology is going to go in the future. Your business will grow if you retain and actively reach new customers in a proactive way rather than getting left behind.
However, Cardinal Digital Marketing Agency understands if you don’t have the time to research all these trends and that’s why we’re here to help! Request a free proposal today.
That being said, we’d like to share 12 digital marketing trends for 2020 you should watch out for:
Chatbots Take Off
Many companies will continue using a chatbot, they’re effective software programs that interact with website visitors and customers. Chatbots communicate naturally with people viewing the site and can answer their questions in real-time.
Chatbots either use verbal interactions or chat windows to help web users find what they’re looking for.
Hiring an individual to monitor and communicate with visitors on your website can be expensive, but chatbots save costs by answering questions on your behalf. And subsequently, customers tend to appreciate the personalized service and getting their questions answered.
Additional Benefits of Using Chatbots in Digital Marketing
a). It Saves Time: Unlike humans, a chatbot can provide answers quickly to all kinds of questions. And quick responses mean that customers can make decisions faster.
b). Customer Satisfaction: Unlike humans, the chatbot doesn’t need time to rest. Any time the customer wants information, it’s right at their fingertips. And as the chatbot responds more accurately, your sales conversion rates will increase as well.
c). Good Humor: A chatbot is never moody. You will never hear customers complain about being turned away. They are unbiased, clear, and informative- all the qualities that make your customers feel at ease.
Use of Private Messaging Apps
As 2020 approaches, many companies will start shifting their focus on how to better utilize private messaging apps. Smartphone apps like WhatsApp, Viber and WeChat are already gaining popularity. And instead of using emails, companies are adopting the use of private apps as well as private messaging groups.
Major brands are already undergoing experiments in monetizing messaging apps and soon enough, customers will be able to pay for products directly through messaging apps. Sending and receiving money will be much easier.
Some applications like WeChat Pay have already made significant progress in making it easier to pay online; WeChat, Venmo, and PayPal users are already getting into the habit of using these types of apps to transfer money to their peers.
Increased Use of Artificial Intelligence
The name “Artificial Intelligence” is exactly how it sounds; it refers to robots or machines having the ability to work like humans. AI uses a combination of different features such as chatbots and voice assistants to quickly find answers.
For instance, Alexa and Siri are voice assistants that provide excellent customer care. Just like a human, they can take orders from the users and work behind the scenes on their behalf.
The AI robot does this by using sensors and human inputs to gather facts about a situation and can also collect/store the search data to improve the user’s future experiences.
Cardinal Digital Marketing even has an AI-powered healthcare marketing software called Patient Stream that allows doctors and healthcare providers to streamline their processes to gain new patients.
Companies use digital ads to market their products, but have you ever come across an online ad that was straight up annoying or had nothing to do with you? Not only do online consumers tend to ignore these ads, but they may also end up hating the product and doing everything in their power to stay away from the brand.
Forbes magazine states that because of this overwhelming digital connection, unrelated ads or brands that keep on bombarding people with their irrelevant ads will be disregarded by 49% of people.
If your brand keeps consistently sends tailored messages, then 36% will respond by buying the product.
Many companies are aware of this trend and are already planning accordingly. And we’re predicting right now that by the year 2020, most companies will be targeting precise audiences and users will only be viewing (and responding to) hyper-relevant ads.
Currently, only a few companies are using some form of personalization. And big conglomerates like Amazon are already doing it well.
This household name built their huge internet business by analyzing customers’ behaviors and promoting products based on assumptions and the user’s past purchase history. It showcases products that a person may be interested in by putting forth similar or complementary products in a Recommendations tab, and Amazon found that this upsell tactic works in getting more business.
Personalization is truly the future of digital marketing. And these days, it’s what consumers expect…one study even shows that 79% of consumers feel frustrated if the content their viewing isn’t tailored to them.
According to Gartner, by 2020 at least 90% of online advertisers will start using marketing personalization in some shape or form. And by 2021 there will be a significant increase in fully personalized websites.
Personalization is truly the key to a successful digital marketing campaign in 2020. According to Dale Carnegie,“a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
This quote says it all in terms of the importance of personalization. This is one of the reasons why companies and marketers address you by your first name whenever you see it in your emails.
It is ultimately the best tool for increasing conversions, and this is the reason why some marketers have been leveraging it for decades to improve their marketing efforts.
One study shows that personalized email campaigns receive 29% higher email open rates and 41% higher click-through rates than traditional emails with no form of personalization.
That means if you haven’t tried out personalization in your digital marketing strategy, then you’re leaving a lot of benefits on the table. Here are some reasons why:
The primary benefit of personalized marketing is having the control to reach a specific group of customers. And by collecting user data from list segments, surveys, or studies, you’re better positioned to create more relevant and effective email campaigns towards targeted audiences based on their buying habits, interests, and behaviors.
For example, if your target audience likes movies and general entertainment, you can embed pop culture references when sending your emails, creating blog posts, or even in your email opt-in forms to deliver a more personalized experience with your content. Hopefully, your audience will appreciate the references and better relate to your brand which will ultimately boost conversions.
New Customers’ Behavior
Along with keeping your existing customers happy, your business should also actively be bringing in new ones as well. Here are some of the ways this will apply to the digital marketing space in 2020 and beyond:
i). Companies will have to work with influencers: Just recently, studies show that about 86% of women have to consult social media before deciding on a product. And this is important- consumers want brands to be honest, friendly, and helpful.
If a brand gets positive feedback from other users, then it’s likely to bring in new users.
ii). Companies will have to focus on video content: A survey done by Wyzowl indicates that about 95% of people have watched a video explaining their products or services.
Through publishing self-made videos, companies more directly engage with their customers by actively providing useful information.
The companies also increase their transparency as customers tend to trust and respect their expertise.
Research indicates that companies producing transparent and easy-to-digest information are likely to retain 94% of their customers.
However, how you handle a customer’s private data is vital. In 2018, the GDPR policy was more actively enforced to ensure that companies handle customer data transparently.
This means that there will be more emphasis on this in the future; companies will be required to be completely transparent on what kind of information is being shared to promote their products.
Here’s a Tip on How to Improve Transparency
Establish your company’s core values.
Make sure that selling is not your only goal.
Be an open book to your customers- tell them as much as you can about who they are doing business with.
If customers raise some concerns or questions, respond immediately.
Be able to take constructive criticism from your customers and respond in a friendly, non-judgmental tone.
Create space and encourage people to give different suggestions to help improve your products- facilitate a community around your brand.
Growth in Digital Marketing
TheDrum indicates that by 2020 and through the next few years, the global digital software industry will grow by $74.96 billion.
Consequently, more money will be channelled towards digital marketing. CMO predicts that by the year 2022, around 87% of marketing budgets will be spent on digital marketing.
In fact, this growth in digital marketing will result in a form of marketing referred to as “Agile marketing”, which is a form of marketing that measures how efficiently a brand or company is at achieving its marketing goals and objectives.
An agile marketing team develops winning strategies and theoretical results to inform their stakeholders with the purpose of implementing it quickly. There’s no perfect way to implement agile methodology in your organization (although we’ve found that a hybrid seems to work best).
Essentially, growth in digital marketing translates into the speed in which new products and services are developed and distributed to meet customers’ needs.
Agile marketing is growing in popularity on social media since brands and marketers have spent the last few years figuring out how to connect and communicate on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and others.
These social media channels provide enormous insights and data into what types of content works and how best to create it.
This number is overwhelming, which is why many people are switching to one software that syncs every tool. HubSpot has embraced this trend already and others are starting to follow.
Soon, many enterprises will be using a single marketing software provider.
In case you’re wondering if paying and implementing a marketing software tool is beneficial, here are the benefits:
It reduces tedious work: It helps in getting rid of repetitive duties and helps you establish a daily routine.
Streamlined marketing efforts: You can keep track of where you’re at in the buyer’s journey with your customers and can communicate with them more effectively.
It improves accountability.
It makes customer management more manageable.
You can document progress much faster and easier.
Right now, a lot of different changes are taking place in the search engines industry and updates are happening constantly. These changes in the search algorithms have profoundly affected the user’s search results.
Every new algorithm comes with different benefits or problems, depending on how you look at it. Ultimately, the goal of search engines is to help users get specific results that answers their questions.
Therefore, you will see in 2020 and beyond that the quality of search results will improve dramatically.
As the growth in technology continues to increase rapidly, we will start to see more people using smartphones with voice assistants.
Features like Google, Alexa, and Siri are useful in digital marketing. Voice assistants can search for things, read text loudly, and even voice dictate text messages for you so that you can be hands-free.
Voice search is also essential when using it for your business. It’s helping in the growth of a mobile-friendly movement and adding value to local SEO. Voice search also boosts the use for Artificial Intelligence and prioritizes semantics of searches.
Tips for Power Search Optimization
a). Understand the Language: When people use search engines, many use long sentences with specific keywords. Therefore, to optimize the opportunity to be found in voice search results, use longer keywords and complete sentences (think of what someone would ask a friend about a specific product or service).
b). Be Conversational: When implementing voice search in your website, use an engaging conversational tone when creating the text but remember to use complete sentences and be grammatically correct.
c). Answer Questions: Most people use the internet to get information, whether they are researching a product or service that they need or are trying to Google an answer to try to cheat in a late-night trivia contest. Therefore, think about this when creating content for voice-powered searches. Include any questions that people may ask concerning your products and provide detailed answers.
More Focus on Customer Retention
In the coming years, companies will also start to divert their attention from acquiring new customers to retaining their existing ones.
These companies understand that it takes less money to keep existing customers happy and will channel more effort in the middle and last stages of the buyer’s journey. Because collecting better data and focusing on market segmentation helps save costs.
Retaining customers helps increase revenue because when you keep your existing customers then they tend to tell their friends and give you referrals. Loyal customers are also likely to be more direct and honest with you regarding any issues or problems, giving you a chance to improve your brand.
If you are operating a business, it’s important to know about the current marketing trends and be able to stay on top of where digital marketing is headed in the future.
And just like Amazon, you can start personalizing your products, using social media to answer questions, and implement video marketing to gain trust and show that you are transparent. Remember, if you are handling any client data then transparency is critical. And there are plenty of marketing software systems that can streamline all your online activities and customer relationships.
Infobesity: Mathemagician Andy Rice on the courage to realise risk
4IR presents various challenges for today’s marketers – none more so than the courage to up their appetite for risk in today’s data-driven world, notes ad legend Andy Rice. LUCINDA JORDAAN reports.
Andy Rice needs little introduction. The award-winning brand strategist’s illustrious career includes him heading up Ogilvy Johannesburg’s account planning department before founding Yellowwood Brand Architects, South Africa’s first brand strategy consultancy.
A recipient of the AdFocus lifetime achievement award, among others, Rice cemented his stature as South Africa’s foremost ad commentator as co-host of Talk Radio 702’s AdFeature with Andy Rice, and his popular Heroes and Zeros podcasts.
As keynote speaker at the recent IMM Graduate School’s Marketing the Future conference, Rice’s presentation gave a wry look at the critical need for human cognition in a tech-based world. The title of his presentation ‘Even a Ferrari has rear view mirrors’ succinctly summarised the gist of his talk: no matter how speedy or sensational your journey, you still need to keep an eye on what you’re leaving behind as you move ahead.
The role of data in marketing
“Data doesn’t always take you to your destination but it will put you on the right road,” he quips, adding later that the biggest concern in updating a talk he first gave 23 years ago at a MultiChoice conference was in appearing to dismiss the vital role data plays in marketing strategy and execution. The danger, though, lies in placing too much emphasis and reliability on that data. “Our obsession with info is overriding a more measured, sensible use of data,” he explains.
Rice draws on a wealth of experience to prove his point, citing Ogilvy UK’s Vice Chairman and founder of its behavioural psychology unit Rory Sutherland’s work on behavioural economics to illustrate that, “Logic will take you to a certain point, but creativity will get you beyond that point.”
Of courage and creativity in 4IR
“Behavioural economics is the bridge between science and behaviour. But where does complementary stuff happen? Between the future and past,” notes Rice, adding that today’s marketers are scared of taking risks, “yet responsible risk-taking should be their very lifeblood” and possibly one of the biggest challenges facing marketers is the need to develop an appetite for taking risks rather than an over-reliance on data.
“They’re cousins, data and creativity – but the unifying family thing would be courage,” explains Rice. “You need data, as it will help you get much closer to the end point. But creativity and thinking will lead you to the truly differentiate disruptive.”
The disruptive impact of 4IR on society has profound implications for the future of work, given how unsettling and disruptive change is on the psyche – which is why Rice places such emphasis on the human element, and the need to balance creativity with intelligence.
“If we had more courage, we would know what to do with data better; we would look beyond it being a channel and how it can enhance the creative process, and not dilute it,” he opines.
Combining a variety of creative case studies with his own industry experience and insights gained from years of consulting, Rice entertainingly laid bare the dangers of relying too heavily on data and forgetting the basic instincts that drive successful campaigns.
A notable example of a campaign that highlights the importance of being courageous enough to take a risk, best illustrated in the case of REI Co-op, an outdoor outlet in the US that, five years ago, decided to go against the status quo, by shutting shop on Black Friday and launching an #OptOutside campaign. The effect could not have been predicted: the campaign, boosted the brand beyond any sales figures, with social media impressions skyrocketing by 7000%, and 2.7 billion media impressions in 24 hours.
The campaign organically grew into a content hub for the brand – and won the Cannes Lions Titanium Grand Prix, one of the ad industry’s highest annual honours.
Any talk on the “future of advertising” tends to be a rehash of what we’ve seen and heard before, contends Rice: “If it’s a trend, it’s already blindingly obvious – and if it’s a fad, it’ll soon fade.” Nevertheless, he explored two ‘trending’ phrases picked up at Cannes to highlight the need for context in a data-driven world.
Infobesity and mathemagician
The first, ‘infobesity’, refers to the glut of data available. This minefield of information needs to be sifted through to find the golden nuggets of insight that really matter to consumers and the way we run our business.
The second phrase, ‘mathemagician’, refers to the solution to infobesity and represents, says Rice, “the perfect meeting of discipline and skills.” These are the strategists who can acquire information linearly and manipulate it laterally; most of us can either do one or the other.
“Too many marketers use research like a drunk uses a lamppost: for support, illumination,” Rice says, quoting industry great David Ogilvy referencing market research in the 1960s and 1970s. He adds, “…the only real risk is to take no risk at all”.
Rice’s advice to marketers? “Keep track of trends and technological changes affecting the way consumers relate and react to brands – but don’t rely only on research. Get out there, meet people, and learn to look at challenges from the outside in; see customers in their entire world, in all aspects of their lives, and work that back into the category you’re dealing in, then into the brand space.”
They’re cousins, data and creativity – but the unifying family thing “would be courage,” explains Rice.
Risk and courage are the crucial human elements in the fourth industrial revolution. The real risks for marketers are:
Proof over instinct
Channel over insight
Numbers over hunches and what you feel is right: “There’s no relation between the power of a big idea, and the cost of a big idea.”
Out with the old and in with the new – circular supply chain might just save the environment
Good news! Businesses can now increase their profits and reduce their carbon footprint at the same time.
As it stands, the supply chain industry follows the traditional linear supply chain methodology (source, create, and discard) but with our already limited resources and the expected rise in the global population (10 billion citizens by the year 2050), this idea of “input equals output” is an overall economic dead-end and environmental threat.
The linear model has been left relatively untouched since the 1980s since a linear economy promotes financial growth by sourcing large amounts of affordable, easily accessible resources.
With the increased focus on reducing our carbon footprint, this is being replaced by the
circular supply chain model.
Linear Supply Chain
The linear supply chain model. Source: ResearchGate.net
Circular Supply Chain
Circular Supply Chain. Source: supplychain247.com
The principles of circular supply chain
Waste equals affordable resources: Biodegradable materials such as cardboard boxes and tissue paper are returned to nature and non-biodegradable products are stripped down to its raw form.
Reuse: Certain products, or parts of products that are still functional, can be used to create new merchandise.
Repair: Faulty products can be repaired and resold
Recycle: Discarded material can be restored.
Energy from renewable resources: Circular supply chain aims to eliminate the use of fossil fuels in the supply chain.
What we can expect in a circular economy
The circular supply chain methodology is becoming more and more popular as production costs continue to rise. Whereas the linear supply chain model ends when a product is sold and ultimately discarded, supply chains become circular when a connection is made between the beginning and end of the chain.
Instead of producing “disposable” products, businesses are choosing to “upcycle” certain used parts to revert them back to their raw material form to be used again. The product is used for as long as possible to get the most value during its life cycle.
From an organisational standpoint, here’s how businesses can benefit from the circular model:
It creates new profit opportunities
Production costs are lowered
Businesses can enjoy a good public reputation for their role in preserving the environment.
But unfortunately, there is a downside.
Prolonging the life cycle of a product will negatively influence the sale of replacement products.
Product quality may suffer. Certain materials such as plastic are designed with a limited life cycle in mind. In time, these materials become brittle, especially if it’s used too many times.
Here’s how we as consumers will benefit from a circular economy –
Greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 2 – 4% per year.
Adding an extra link to the supply chain will encourage job creation
Consumers will enjoy more durable products, therefore saving them money in the long run.
The use of land, soil, and water will be managed more effectively.
Products will be more affordable if materials are recycled and reused rather than sourced from scratch.
It will put an end to the global resource scarcity
By paying less for products, consumers can enjoy an increased disposable income
These countries have already started using the circular model to reduce their carbon footprint.
The European Union (EU): In 2001, it was announced that all countries within the EU will be required to recycle at least 50% of all their packaging waste.
Japan: As the most efficient country when it comes to recycling, Japanese businesses and households must follow strict recycling laws and ensure that all packaging materials are recycled and reused.
The United Kingdom (UK): As of 2007, all UK-based organisations are obligated to recycle or treat their own waste, regardless of its size.
Luckily, the linear supply chain method is likely to be phased out entirely which means we’ll be a step closer to a waste-free planet.
Be part of the change and register for one of IMM’s Supply Chain programmes or online short courses. Start your career, or if you’re already working, boost your career with an internationally recognised qualification from the IMM Graduate School. Applications for 2020 are now open! https://imm.ac.za/
With the speed at which modern technology is growing and evolving, it is no surprise that everything that relies on it must move at a similarly breakneck pace. Digital marketing is no exception.
With constant updates, new techniques, and changes to algorithms, digital marketers are frequently scrambling just to keep up. Being aware of emerging or continuing trends is a vital part of staying on top of the game.
With a brand-new decade rapidly approaching, here are some of the top marketing trends for 2020.
It’s highly unlikely that you know anyone who doesn’t use some form of social media. Given its ubiquitous nature, social media has understandably become an integral part of online marketing. What may not be as obvious is just how many users shop on social media networks.
This represents a tremendous opportunity for businesses, given that 72% of Instagram users have purchased a product on the app. Even more impressive, a survey of more than 4,000 Pinterest users found that 70% use Pinterest to find new and interesting products.
Fortunately for merchants, these platforms have made it easier for them to use the power of social media to reach their customers. Whether you use Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, there are now ways for e-commerce stores to create shoppable posts, making it easy for users to shop directly from your post.
Social media offers you the ability to reach new customers quickly and easily, shortening the sales funnel and making it easier for users to shop.
By 2020, shoppable posts are expected to be the norm.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
In recent years, both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have become massively popular and are emerging as top trends in marketing. In 2020, AR is expected to surpass VR in popularity, despite VR’s early lead.
Already, many major companies are making use of AR. Ikea, for example, has an app that allows users to visualize what a piece of furniture would look like in their home before making a purchase.
Today’s buyers are looking for new experiences when they go online, and for many, that means greater interactivity. In fact, a whopping 91% are seeking more visual and interactive content. There are several reasons for this:
Interactive content is different and new, and as such, it stands out more.
This type of content serves to keep visitors on your page longer.
Interactive content is immensely shareable, and when users share this content, it helps to grow awareness of your brand.
Simply put, interactive content is more engaging. Users enjoy it more than other content.
2020 is going to be the year of personalized marketing. Consumers are quite adept at tuning out generic ads that have no real connection to them. Accordingly, traditional means of advertising are becoming much less effective. So, what can be done? Personalize it!
In a survey of 1,000 people, 90% remarked that they found personalization appealing. More important for your business is the fact that 80% admitted they’d be more likely to give their business to a company that offered them a personalized experience.
Email lists are an old standby of marketers, and they lend themselves well to personalization. Segmented lists with personalized email blasts have been shown to perform than generic emails sent to an entire list. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with your audience in a meaningful way.
Google Ads Smart Bidding
Those involved in digital marketing are already familiar with automation, but now Google has announced Google Ads updates that will likely lead to automation and smart bidding becoming the new normal.
Google Ads makes use of machine learning in order to optimize your bids. This gives you several new abilities to help you maximize your conversion, including:
The ability to choose conversion action at the campaign level
The ability to set your bids to change automatically when sales start or stop
The ability to optimize bids over multiple campaigns with a chosen set of conversion actions
While there are a variety of new trends to keep your eye on, that doesn’t mean that all the old methods have become outdated. In fact, there are several marketing trends that have been big in the past and are expected to continue into 2020.
For years, “content is king” has been the axiom of digital marketing. As we move into 2020, it continues to be true.
High-quality content allows you to show your expertise and communicate with your customers from a place of authority. Your content is also what search engines provide to searchers online, so continuing to produce high-quality content is a must.
Customers respond well to visual content, making video an important digital marketing tool in 2019. It will continue to be important into 2020 and likely beyond that.
Don’t overlook live video. On average, live videos on Facebook Live and Instagram Live keep your audience watching three times longer than recorded ones. The daily watch time for Facebook Live videos have quadrupled in a single year, and they produce six times as many interactions as traditional videos.
SERP Position Zero
Being No. 1 is no longer the goal.
The top spot in SERP is now position zero, a featured snippet of text appearing above the search results. This prime location often provides information relating to the search query, while also providing a link to the page from which the information is drawn.
Position zero is the first, and sometimes only, result that some users will view. As such, it is highly coveted and should be the focus of your efforts.
While many business owners appreciate the fact that marketing continues to change at a fast pace, those who are willing to adapt and evolve will continue to attract high-quality customers in a digital world.
Technology, the big disruptor, is itself constantly disrupting, and the challenges this brings demand a shift in our attitudes and perceptions, too. LUCINDA JORDAAN talks to Shavani Naidoo and Deborah Schepers.
Whether you’re a farmer or urbanite, student or CEO, there’s no escaping the disruption of 4IR on all aspects of life – and none more so than the world of work.
According to a McKinsey Global Institute foresights report on the future of work, up to 375 million workers may need to change their occupational category by 2030, and digital work could contribute $2.7 trillion to global GDP by 2025.
We’re living through shifts in all industries – media particularly – and have already seen the creation of job titles that didn’t exist 10 years ago. Technology, the big disruptor, is itself constantly disrupting, and the challenges this brings demand a shift in our attitudes and perceptions, too.
Primedia Group’s data science expert Shavani Naidoo and Deborah Schepers, Group Head of Analytics and Insights, gave a combined presentation that succinctly brought home the current reality of 4IR by outlining the rate at which civilisations and societies have transformed, and how this has sped up over the past century alone.
Their presentation illustrated how the hunter-gatherer era lasted for aeons, phasing over centuries into agriculture and settlements, before the first industrial revolution took hold with the invention of the steam engine. This spurred a shift in production, “from muscle to mechanical”, as Naidoo noted, with mass production and rapid tech development leading to the second and third industrial revolutions – the latter being the digital Information Age, which began in the ‘70s and which we’ve transcended in just a few decades.
The duo pointed out that one of the first really big markers of 4IR was a “shift in the balance of power between retailers and consumers”. “We are becoming wiser,” noted Schepers, “with consumers looking to one another to understand how they interact with brands”. Amazon, she pointed out, has created the review culture that sees consumers ‘working’ before and after the shopping process by researching product recommendations and reviews.
Call out culture, too, adds to the power shift, with manufacturers and brands now called on to account for flaws and discrepancies in their products. Castle Free’s ad claims of comprising zero alcohol is a case in point, noted Schepers, explaining how a consumer tested the claim, found the product to contain 0.39% alcohol and forcing the withdrawal of the ad.
In essence, noted Schepers: “What the brand says is cool, but users’ recommendations, more so.” A growing trend, she adds, is that of “everyone’s an expert” – which, advantageously, will see a shift towards higher standards, because “personalisation puts the consumer in control”.
“Personalised ads boost engagement, and we have become active – not passive – consumers of media,” she added.
Q&A with Deborah Schepers and Shavani Naidoo
What are the most telling differences between 4IR and previous industrial revolutions?
4IR will fundamentally change the way in which we work, live and relate to each other in comparison to previous industrial revolutions. We now live in a deeply interconnected world that is evolving at an exponential pace. This revolution will transform humankind itself – we are already seeing augmentation
in our ability as our phones have become an extension of us; allowing us access to unprecedented computing power and shared knowledge within seconds at the click of a button.
Where are we seeing the biggest impact in 4IR – and what can we expect within the next 5, 10 or 20 years?
Every aspect of marketing and media is being affected by the 4IR. There’s already been a switch in power between brands and consumers due to the hyper-availability of information and the connectedness of platforms and information sources.
Where seductive ads used to be enough, marketers now need to deliver on value throughout the brand experience. Consumers know everything – and they’re willing to work before, during and after the purchase process to share this, because it makes them feel empowered. Euromonitor calls this trend ‘Everyone’s an Expert’.
The implications of this trend are that marketers need to begin building a great end-to-end experience. As Jeff Bezos says: “In the old world, you devoted 30% of your time to building a great service and 70% of your time to shouting about it. In the new world, that inverts’’.
The next big changes will be in the area of personalised, curated media streams – accessed naturally via voice as our interface with machines and the world becomes more seamless.
What are the key drivers of this revolution – and its impact?
There are many key drivers of this revolution but the most interesting ones which come to mind are the Internet of things, connectivity, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and Virtual reality.
3D printing and virtual reality are having significant impacts on healthcare. This year South Africa pioneered the first successful middle ear transplant using 3D printed middle ear bones. Further away in California, neurologists are able to see the brain of a patient in 3D using virtual reality before entering the operating room.
The hope is that this will enable hospitals to train surgeons faster and better where their skill could mean the difference between life and death. Artificial intelligence is having a significant impact in ambient computing: Apps such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri provide a glimpse into the power of artificial intelligence which is advancing at a rapid pace. Today, voice recognition and AI are progressing so quickly that talking to computers will soon become the norm. Our devices will become a natural extension of us, anticipating our needs and helping us when required.
How will this change the way consumers navigate the world – and what does it mean for marketers?
The long-term future sees the weak AI platforms of personal digital assistants become stronger and being able to edit our worlds based on our preferences, appetite for experimentation, and price elasticity. This raises interesting questions for marketers, who will need to bid for the attention of these digital assistants.
‘Putting the Me in Media’: Personalisation and data analytics go hand in hand in effecting consumer control – but what are the pros and cons of personalisation?
Personalisation has been found to lead to business growth, with research by Boston Consulting Group suggesting that brands which offer individualised products, services or experiences, are growing revenues by 6-to-10%, 2-to-3 times faster than brands that do not.
A study by Adlucent showed that audiences exposed to personalised ads are almost twice as likely to click through for an ad featuring an unknown brand if the ad was tailored to their preferences.
What is the reality and impact of a shift from an ‘attention economy’ to actual money?
Attention economics treats human attention as a scarce commodity. Put simply: Attention is a resource: a person has only so much of it. We have seen a proliferation of content and choice, especially in the video space, and the reality is that there are only so many waking hours in which to consume content.
This means that ad revenue models can’t continue to grow, and that publishers will start looking to subscription models. In this case, money becomes the scarce resource again, and content providers need to start producing content that delivers long-term value, not short-term attention.
What determines success or failure is the entertainment value of the content.
Premium content will always attract the masses. Game of Thrones is an excellent example of this: the series finale ended with a staggering 19.3 million viewers. What’s more, consumers are willing to pay for premium content. For publishers, this means that a lot more focus should be placed on delivering premium content – and for marketers, it means we need to seek out premium content to partner with, as well as find ways to deliver advertising creativity and entertainment value that competes with premium content.
How marketers can counter this revolution: Shavani Naidoo and Deborah Schepers share top tips
Marketing needs to shift focus from shouting about products to building a great end-to-end experience
Deliver on personalisation while maintaining a mass effect
Make sure that your brand has a sonic identity
Look to integrate and associate with premium content
Prepare for a future in which we may need to market to new entities
The Eisenhower Matrix – helping people prioritise since 1960
The new year is here and no doubt you have already thought about your new year’s resolutions. If you are like so many of us you will say to yourself “And this year I am going to stick to them” but then life gets in the way… there is always something more urgent that needs to be done first or maybe just something that is more appealing . Those well intended resolutions start slipping down the to-do list until eventually they slip right off.
If only there was some way you could prioritise all the tasks you needed to get done and decide which tasks to do right away, which to delay, delegate or even eliminate completely.
Enter the Eisenhower matrix!
How it started
The Eisenhower Matrix, or the Eisenhower Box as it’s also referred to, is a productivity strategy created in the 1960s by the 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower was often hailed as “one of the world’s most productive people” for his ability to sustain his high level of productivity over many decades. He is famously quoted as saying:
“most things which are urgent are not important, and most things which are important are not urgent.”
For many, the Eisenhower Matrix still remains a popular time management method to this day.
How it works
It’s simple – first list all the tasks you need to get done. Then draw two columns to the right of them one for important and one for urgent. Now tick each item that is either urgent or important, you can also tick both or neither. They might seem like the same concept but ‘important’ and ‘urgent’ mean two different things in that ‘Important’ tasks are completed to meet a long-term goal whereas ‘urgent’ tasks are time-sensitive and demand immediate attention.
Now divide a sheet of paper into 4 quadrants (as shown in the image above) and write all the tasks that are both important and urgent in the top left quadrant. Next write all the tasks that are urgent only in the bottom left quadrant, all the asks that are important only in the top right quadrant and finally tasks that are neither important nor urgent in the bottom right quadrant. All that’s left to do is action the items according to the image below and hey presto you have prioritised all your tasks.
Now adopt the following approach:
“DO” it now (important and urgent): Urgent tasks that need to be completed immediately. Example: Phone an irate client back or respond to an email.
“SCHEDULE” for later (important but not urgent): Tasks that can be scheduled for another day. Example: Complete a survey or reply to a non-urgent email.
“DELEGATE” or assign to someone else (not important but urgent): Tasks that can be passed on to someone else. Example: Book a flight or complete a tax return
“ELIMINATE” – Don’t do it (not important and not urgent): Tasks that are neither urgent nor important. Example: Browse social media or reading news articles.
As effective as Eisenhower’s box can be, it’s not perfect. If you don’t know what your exact goals are, it would be difficult to pinpoint which tasks take precedence over others. But the advantages ultimately outweigh the disadvantages.
It can be implemented on a large or small scale
You can identify which tasks need your urgent attention versus those that can be scheduled for a later.
You can use it in both a personal and professional capacity
You’ll be able to improve your time management skills
Tasks can only be evaluated based on two factors – urgency and importance.
It can be time-consuming to list
You can be more productive
Here are some tips on how you can use the Eisenhower Matrix effectively.
Make a to-do list and add to it throughout the day.
Set a limit to how many tasks you can add to each quadrant.
Plan ahead by jotting down the following day’s tasks the night before, then review it again in the morning.
Once you have determined what your bad habits are, find tools that will help you break them.
Get rid of any distractions.
Lastly, keep track of all the tasks you passed on to others. This will ensure that they are completed on time.
Try it for at least 5 days – all you need is a piece of A4 paper, a whiteboard, or even post-it notes and a pen. By categorising your tasks based on importance and urgency, you can become just as productive than President Eisenhower himself.
Make sure signing up with the IMM Graduate school is in the “DO” category. Applications for 2020 are now open! https://imm.ac.za/
A critical skills shortage in digital marketing could mean job opportunities for 2020 school leavers
As the class of 2019 are released into the big wide world of work, many parents are holding their breath, hoping that by some miracle their school leaver finds employment and start a successful career. Sadly, according to an unemployment report released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), youth’s (15 to 24) are far less likely to find a job or to be absorbed in the job market than those that are older. There is a general belief that total lack of experience counts against them and firms would rather employ older people who have more work experience. It is therefore not surprising that the youth unemployment rate in South Africa rose significantly to 58.2 percent in the third quarter of 2019, reaching its highest level since the first quarter of 2008.
Dalein van Zyl, CEO of IMM Graduate School says, “with this pressure on parents and households, the obvious next step is to look to tertiary education to solve the problem. Unfortunately, only 33.6% of candidates (2018), who wrote the NSC examinations received a bachelor pass and were eligible for studies at higher education institutions. In addition, unless the programme of study is highly practical in nature, jobs are still hard to come by. The industry wants graduates that are job-ready.”
It is critically important for parents of school leavers to identify where the biggest skills gaps are and then get their school leavers upskilled (with experience) in one of these areas as quickly as possible.
The world has gone digital
The world as we know it is changing, with one common element driving everything – digital transformation! Businesses can no longer ignore the fact that digital technology is the key to future success and therefore are constantly on the lookout for people that have a talent and skills in digital technology.
Parents should therefore be looking at careers for their school leavers that involve some sort of digital technology if they want them to even be considered for future employment, globally. One of the fastest growing industries in the world today is digital marketing – the science of knowing where to find customers online, how to develop a relationship with them and how to communicate with them in a meaningful, efficient and effective manner. For a while now those in the digital marketing industry have taken note of an escalating skills shortage. Digital marketing skillsets are in high demand, but ultimately in short supply.
There has never been a better time for school leavers to develop a digital marketing skillset
In a recent global survey published by The Economist Group, research from across nine countries highlights an alarming shortage of critical skills and talent within the digital marketing space. Interviews with more than five hundred international marketing executives, reveals that 74% of marketing executives believe their industry faces a critical talent shortage of digital marketing experience and soft skills needed to meet customers’ increasing demands. Areas of ‘customer experience’, ‘strategy and planning / brand management’ and ‘data and analytics’ were identified as crucial to an organisations’ success and business performance. The survey further points out that many of these marketers will need to place a strong emphasis on recruitment, meaning they are on the lookout for new, young talent with verifiable skills. According to the report, securing talent with the right skill set is the most cited challenge faced by marketers today.
“There has never been a better time for school leavers to develop a digital marketing skillset. That’s why we set out to understand what skills are required for entry into this industry and developed a 12 month skills focused course that could both address the skills gap and solve (to some extent) the unemployment issues that school leavers are facing,” added van Zyl.
Practical skills valued over credentials
One of the challenges in the industry it seems is that digital marketers tend to be too specialised and there is a need for candidates to have a broader understanding of the digital marketing landscape and overarching strategies. “Furthermore, 60% of digital marketing executives we surveyed indicated that they did not care whether or not a candidate had a three year degree and were happy to accept someone with a Diploma, Higher Certificate or even an online short course, as long as they had the skills to do the job,” adds van Zyl.
Successful candidates are chosen for their ability and understanding of basic design and content creation, this means having practical skills such as copywriting and blogging abilities, knowledge of research techniques such as keyword research, blog topic research, social monitoring and clickstream analysis and an understanding of top of funnel versus bottom of funnel strategy and tactics. The need gets even broader where candidates need an understanding of marketing fundamentals and useable knowledge in SEO, segmentation and targeting, various testing strategies, reporting and analysis using online tools such as google analytics. The marriage of creativity and analytical thinking is central in today’s landscape of digital marketing.
“After assessing the feedback received from industry it became apparent that we had to develop youths with generalist skills and that their specialisation would happen later – through on-the-job training – or more formal education channels.
With this understanding in hand we proceeded to develop what we believe to be the best and most relevant 12-month certificate course in Applied Digital Marketing”, added van Zyl.
Equipping school leavers with practical digital marketing skills.
This 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. While this course has been designed to specific industry requirements for minimum entry as a junior digital marketer, it’s also ideal for those already in the industry wanting to broaden their knowledge and future-proof their careers.
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,
Learn how to navigate the backend of a WordPress site,
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,
understand and use HubSpot as an online CRM tool,
use tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer as a social media management tool.
understand the in’s and out’s of PPC (pay-per-click) advertising,
know how to use tools like Google Ads and Wordstream.
Portfolio of evidence
“This course won’t just leave students with an impressive paragraph on their CV, it will also give them an extensive portfolio of evidence demonstrating their new digital marketing skills,” ends van Zyl.
Interested candidates can get a more detailed breakdown of this course here. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the IMM Graduate School on 0861 466 476.
Smartinsights – 6 essential marketing trends for 2020
Examples of digital marketing tools and techniques to give you an edge in the year ahead
Well, we’ve nearly made it! For years I’ve been looking to the future, predicting how innovations in digital media, platforms and technology will shape marketing in 2020. The cutting edge examples certainly show the exciting opportunities available – there is almost too much choice…
In this article, I’ll explore six key marketing trends based on examples and research on the adoption of the latest marketing techniques and technology marketers can use. For recommendations on tapping into the innovations in different digital marketing channels, including email, social media and search engine marketing, see all the other posts from the
Now we’re nearly at 2020, we can see the huge impact that digital marketing has had. Looking at advertising alone, these eMarketer predictions show how the duopoly of Facebook and Google dominate paid media investments online, although offline media buys remain important for many larger brands.
Trend 1. Lifecycle marketing
Although it’s often said that the ‘funnel is dead’ since consumer follows non-linear journeys, regardless of the product or service you’re involved with marketing, it will always be the case that to grow a business, your primary focus is growing awareness, closely followed by increasing customer leads and prospects.
The role of digital in creating a unified customer experience is also high in the response, but it’s shocking that digital marketing isn’t seen as a driver of boosting revenue from existing customers. It’s an artefact of the question since digital marketing is effective in achieving all of these goals, including customer retention.
A more practical way to plan to integrate online marketing into marketing activities is to consider communications from a customer point-of-view through the customer journey. I call this always-on lifecycle marketing and recommend you review your use of online AND offline media across the customer lifecycle.
An example of an audit is shown by this example of the use of marketing activities by a B2B company, which although strong at the top-of-funnel in terms of activities used, is less strong in the middle and bottom-of-funnel nurture and re-targeting activities. Many businesses are adopting marketing automation and account-based marketing technology to implement these touchpoints. See the article linked to above for all of the potential activities that can be audited.
Trend 2. Conversational marketing
For me, this is the most exciting trend in marketing today, bringing together rapid consumer adoption of smart speakers and innovation in search query processing, conversational interfaces and messaging.
Conversational marketing was highlighted as a key innovation in the latest Gartner hype cycle alongside Artificial Intelligence, which often fuels it. You can see that of the technologies on the Innovation Trigger slope, many aren’t expected to become mainstream for 5 to 10 years.
Of those forecast to hit the mainstream within the next 2 to 5 years, the three most significant for marketers to consider are personification, real-time and conversational marketing.
“Conversational marketing technologies enable interactions between companies and customers that mimic human dialogue and do so at scale. This category is near the Peak of Inflated Expectations phase”.
Personally, I think the hype about smart speakers to support the purchase journey is just that. While some products lend themselves to purchase, where a choice is to be made amongst complex products, they just won’t cut it until we have truly intelligent comparison bots. However, the research suggests I may be wrong. A study of 2,000 British adults commissioned by Artefact UK, an AI and data-driven agency, reveals that:
“Six out of ten smart speaker owners (60%) have used them to make a purchase in the past year. In fact, nearly a quarter (22%) said they have done so within the past week”.
I believe that building in more relevant to web, email and mobile-based conversations can have a bigger impact by boosting relevance and speaking in a more personal tone. Persado is an interesting tech here.
Persado uses a copy impact classification applied to existing copy, which is used to tailor copy and calls-to-action on an individual basis.
For example, using Persado Natural Language Generation to run an experiment, Air Canada sparked a higher response using Anxiety language getting a 3% engagement lift, compared to a 5% drop using Exclusivity language, and a 3% drop using Safety language.
Another example of AI application is nutrition and wellness retailer Holland & Barrett using AI to provide better-targeted emails. This Machine Learning approach from Tinyclues goes beyond optimizing copy using a tool like Persado, instead, it also involves targeting based on the behaviour of individuals to create more micro-targeted campaigns.
Speaking at a session I chaired at the Email Innovation Summit, Richard Lallo, Head of Digital Marketing, described what he calls ‘strategic promotions and mono-product pushes’ in a campaign. The business was able to drive campaign revenue and increase re-purchase rate while sending emails. Campaign revenue increased by 27%, open rates increased by 19%, while email send volume decreased by 23%, which also gives cost savings.
Trend 3. Insights-driven marketing
At Smart Insights we’re huge fans of using analytics and insight to drive business performance and optimize the results from digital marketing. It’s why we’re called what we are.
Improving their data-driven marketing is an aim of many businesses indicated by the most desired skill amongst digital marketers revealed by the Altimeter/Prophet State of Digital Marketing report.
Businesses using this approach are trying to gain the benefits reported by Mckinsey research that suggested that:
Intensive users of customer analytics are 23 times more likely to clearly outperform their competitors in terms of new customer acquisition than non-intensive users, and nine times more likely to surpass them in customer loyalty.
In addition to advances in customer analytics supported by CDPs described in the next section, new Voice of the Customer (VoC) techniques, such as online-hosted customer communities, can improve customer preferences for future products and how they are delivered.
For example, Red Bull used insight platform Vision Critical to launch a community of consumers passionate about the energy drink category. By providing a deeper understanding of consumer preferences, the community challenges widely-held assumptions. The company, for instance, learned who consumes Red Bull drinks — and how and when they buy — were changing. Data from the community provides insight on the competitive landscape, revealing channels the company can enhance to improve growth.
The community also helps Red Bull deliver more value to retailers.
Trend 4. Marketing technology
Today, Marketing Technology (Martech for short) presents a bewildering choice of software services for businesses looking to improve their management of digital media, experiences and supporting data. If your business and your agencies adopt the right blend of Martech, it can help give you an edge against competitors, but if not, you may be missing out on the insights and automation processes they are using.
The latest 2019 Martech supergraphic from Scott Brinker, a specialist who hosts Martech conferences and has advised on technology for HubSpot, has created this somewhat scary map of all the potential categories and services that companies can use.
To highlight the range of great services available and to simplify the options a little, we designed this essential digital marketing tools infographic to recommend the categories of tools you should consider across the Smart Insights RACE Planning system and highlight the most popular, most capable tools.
We will create the annual update for this in early 2020, discussing it recently on LinkedIn has highlighted some of the latest trends that aren’t evident from this version of the wheel.
Raviv Turner, Co-Founder, of B2B service @CaliberMind said:
“No MarTech stack is complete these days without the third leg of CRM, MAP & CDP. The only way to map, store, analyse and act on the complete end-to-end customer journey is having all the data in one place using a Customer Data Platform (CDPs).”
I’m not sure ‘the only-way’ is accurate, but that is the sentiment.
Kristen Obaid, Always On digital marketing campaigns manager for an international
Education company, added:
“The Salesforce and Adobe MAPs are underrepresented here (eg Pardot can be used for email, social, CRM, CMS, audience management, analytics. Krux is now SF. They can both be used as DMPs if the data is configured properly.) BI with simple data integrations (like Domo, Tableau) are also missing, plus Intercom for service CMS eg FAQs, and Drift for automated service chat”.
Trend 5. Consumer Privacy and KYC
Repeated privacy faux-pas by Facebook, Google and security breaches at other brands leading to the release of customer details have highlighted to consumers that their data isn’t as safe with online brands as they may have once thought. Privacy regulations like GDPR have been enacted to improve data privacy with increased fines.
Record fines have arisen in 2019 from the maximum penalty for contraventions increasing under GDPR to up to €20m (£17.5m) or four percent of global turnover – whichever is the greater.
British Airways was issued with a proposed fine of £183m for a breach of customer data and a £99 million fine on hotel chain Marriott for failing to protect personal data contained in approximately 339 million guest records.
While these may be more the concerns of the CIO or CFO rather than the CMO, it shows the need for marketers to work with colleagues to mitigate the potential impact of security breaches and reassure customers.
At the same time, we have seen a decreasing effectiveness of traditional identification methods such as cookies for tracking, which makes media ROI determination – supposedly one of the key benefits of digital channels – more difficult.
Emerging technologies can potentially help with both of these challenges.
New Identify Management or Know Your Customer solutions are being developed that can both improve security, reduce fraud and improve insight about customers across multiple devices.
For example, UK start up Hooyu blends traditional methods of customer verification such as database checks (where available) with ID document validation, digital footprint analysis, geo-location and facial biometrics. While this is most relevant for banks and other gambling applications, it indicates the range of data points that are now available.
With these consumer concerns and new legislation such as the EU ePrivacy legislation about to be launched and the inaccuracy of tracking online with increasing restrictions built into browser like Chrome and Safari it seems like the days of the cookie (and particularly third-party cookies) and digital fingerprinting may be numbered. This means that businesses should be considering other alternatives if they aren’t already.
“More than 20% of all cookies in a desktop environment do not live longer than a day and a further 15–20% do not survive a month. For vendors in a third party context (which are typically all participants of the programmatic ecosystem), the problem might even be worse.
Trend 6. Digital transformation and Marketing Transformation
Our managing digital marketing research revealed many challenges in terms of how digital marketing is run in companies today. Problems included a lack of focus on integrated strategy, testing, and optimization and structural issues like teams working in silos or a lack of skills in integrated communications.
To counter these types of problems and to make the most of the opportunities for growing a business through digital marketing, many businesses are now putting a digital transformation programme in place.
The aim of digital transformation is to develop a roadmap to improve digital capabilities and skills, while at the same time, integrating ‘always-on’ digital marketing activities with brand and product marketing in the business.
This chart from the research shows that many businesses are active in transformation to try to achieve this aim through the success factors covered in this briefing.
Despite some talk that we might be in a post-digital world by 2020 and some traditional marketers suggesting that “it’s time to shut down digital marketing for good” the reality is that many specialist digital job roles and are needed to run digital marketing activities as my post ‘10 reasons you still need a digital team‘ shows.
A common practice that we can expect to continue in the future is a move to a hybrid approach to managing digital marketing with digital marketing skills being developed in marketing teams as suggested by this structure.
However, the label of a ‘digital department’ is outmoded, since the creation of large digital teams has caused silos to develop with other marketing and product teams. Instead, we can expect a continued move to a digital/marketing Centre of Excellence model. The DCoE will be smaller ‘digital services units’ that track the latest developments in development, advising on new digital techniques and technologies.
Through the year, we’ve been adding to our tools to help all members assess how well their businesses are adapting to using digital media and technology as part of Digital Transformation. To review your digital readiness, either for integrated digital marketing or individual channels, download our benchmarks or take our interactive capability graders.
All the best for grasping the opportunities from digital marketing in 2020 and beyond! To help you on your way take a look at our benchmarking templates, each of which will give you a quick review for digital marketing governance and the key channels like search, social, email marketing plus analytics, content marketing and experience.
No decision can be made without input from past experiences, past learning, past memories and, hence, emotions. This may explain why behavior can be different while brand attributes are similar, writes ANNE THISTLETON.
We often believe that we make rational decisions; those that we believe to be objective and not influenced by our emotions. We see ourselves consciously deliberating on these decisions, so we often deem them as rational. However, physiologically, there is no such thing as purely objective/rational judgment as there is no place in our mental processing system that is devoid of prior experiences.
No decision can be made without input from past experiences, past learning, past memories and, hence, emotions as they are the signalling system of those memories.
An example that is often used to describe our rational decision-making process is how we choose not to “succumb” to the temptations of something that we understand is not good for our physical bodies, such as chocolate.
However, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have emotional influences. Instead, we are receiving different emotional tugs in our decision-making process than those who are choosing the delicious, sumptuous, yet high calorie chocolate.
One’s conscious and non-conscious processors (system 2 and system 1) are working back and forth at an immense speed to decline the offer. Your emotional signalling system is interacting with your conscious mental processing and causing you to move away from the chocolate because there are other influences that are more valuable to you than the calories in the chocolate.
Influences wrapped up in memories
Many of those influences are wrapped up in the memories that are being accessed by one’s non-conscious processor. Maybe one’s emotional system has put a very high value on staying fit which then has great influence on decisions made on a daily basis – whereas, for others the love of chocolate might overwhelm the negative aspects of eating it. Decision-making is always a neural tug-of-war and the strength on either side may be evenly matched or highly disproportionate.
I think where one gets confused is when we fall back to old marketing terminology. We were all raised to understand that brands had functional attributes and emotional attributes – and we put things like feeling good into emotion and price and calories into functional. And we talk of processing the functional benefits rationally and processing the emotional ones emotionally.
However, those categories don’t mirror how the mind processes the incoming data. Emotions are a signalling system of value – of importance. So those aspects of an expected product experience that are important to us generate an emotional response, which then creates a feeling of desire or not.
For someone with R15 in his pocket, the price for McDonald’s French fries has high emotional value – he can truly feel the pain of paying R15.50 for a medium packet of French fries and his inability to afford it.
The fat content or calories are meaningless to him so that doesn’t even enter his consideration set – it doesn’t make him feel anything.
But for many others, the price is irrelevant in their decision – it doesn’t make them feel one thing or another, but instead the fat or calories do. And their emotional signalling system is causing them to move away or reject the French fries.
Complicated and complex
The feelings we are getting from our emotions are a compendium of lifelong and frequent changes to our memory networks as they are activated when we are making a decision. Some mental activation will come from the fabulous smells, some from the expectations of a great taste; and some from the intense desire to be fit. Those activations, both conscious and non- conscious, will then inform the decision.
The other important aspect to know is that our conscious and non-conscious processors are interrelated and cannot be separated. It reminds me of an example that a former colleague gave me while explaining the difference between complicated and complex. A Boeing 747 is complicated, as each part is discrete and can be built and taken apart repeatedly without changing the pieces. So, each piece can be studied individually and through intricate drawings can be outlined in terms of how they fit together and why they work as they do – as there is no interaction between the two that fundamentally changes the parts.
Mayonnaise, however, is complex. When the ingredients are added together chemical reactions occur and the mix changes. Oil and eggs and vinegar once added together cannot be separated and returned to their former state. Therefore, you cannot understand mayonnaise by simply studying its individual ingredients because a key piece of the value is in the interactions.
It is the same with our mental operating system – you cannot look solely at the non-conscious system or solely at the conscious system and then add the two pieces together and reach conclusions about what drives the mental operating system.
You need to do it by looking at both at the same time – with the goal of understanding the interactions and their outcomes – as they both drive behaviour.
Historically, we have been focused on conscious processing; however, we now know that, in concert with the conscious processing, the non-conscious processor is a major driver in decision-making. And that really is the missing piece as the non-conscious processing provides the insight into why behaviour can be different when brand attributes are apparently so similar.
Three facts concerning the human mind all marketers need to understand:
The mind is an associative processor
With the ability to process 11 million bits of data per second, our neural operating system is the most advanced pattern recognition technology on the planet. While the conscious mind is laboriously processing just 40 of those bits of information, our non-conscious mind is constantly searching for matches between incoming data and existing non-conscious memories. These associations are what enable us to make sense of the world and create expectations of what is to follow based on the relevant memories that have been ‘activated’ in the mind. This is why ‘cold’ in the context of coffee has a completely different meaning than in the context of beer.
Thought is beneath our level of awareness
While some learning or thought is processed consciously – such as learning a new language – the vast majority of the brain’s resources are used to process data almost instantly and unconsciously. Conscious thought is only the tip of the mind’s iceberg. Meanwhile, the non-conscious mind shapes and structures all conscious thought and action. If it were not doing this ‘guiding’, there could be no conscious thought. We are not even aware that the incoming data is impacting our experience and affecting our judgement and actions.
Decisions are primarily a function of feeling, not thinking
We have been raised to believe that our decisions are the output of conscious deliberation. Because we are capable of introspection – looking inward into our conscious mind – we can see how we are making decisions, so it all makes sense. However, what we cannot see is the massive, non-conscious operating system that is firing beneath the surface, generating feelings of like and dislike, as well as those prompting an approach or withdrawal.
These feelings are guided by the context and fuelled by non-conscious memories and evolved biases and shortcuts. Making decisions where there are many complicating factors, or the stakes are high is hard work for our brains – it takes much processing and energy to work out the best choice logically. So we don’t. Instead, our brains have developed a wide array of rules of thumb – evolved cognitive biases and personal mental shortcuts – that enable us to make a decent decision without spending too much time and energy.