Stellenbosch Open Day.

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

Online registrations close 1 March 2021. Register now.

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

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

startup Image

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

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

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

A closer look at great businesses born during recessions
Uber

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

Airbnb

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

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

WhatsApp

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

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

Netflix

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

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

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

Death-care services

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

Education

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

Security

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

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

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

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

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

IMM Graduate School Year-end Function – December 2020

IMM Year End Function 2020 Alex Dalein2
IMM Year End Function 2020 Angela Lars
IMM Year End Function 2020 Chrissie Lars
IMM Year End Function 2020 Dalein Lars
IMM Year End Function 2020 Dalein Lars2
IMM Year End Function 2020 Dinah Lars
IMM Year End Function 2020 Dwayne Lars
IMM Year End Function 2020 Esther Lars2
IMM Year End Function 2020 Group1
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IMM Year End Function 2020 Group12
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IMM Year End Function 2020 Group21
IMM Year End Function 2020 Irene Angela Lars
IMM Year End Function 2020 Thozama Lars

Top 7 marketing trends in 2021

marketing trends in 2021

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

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

 

 

Inclusive marketing image

 

1. Inclusive marketing

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

Content is still king3. Content is still king

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

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

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

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

 

Video advertising4. Video advertising

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

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

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

 

eCommerce will continue to boom5. eCommerce will continue to boom

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

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

 

 

Social commerce 6. Social commerce 

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

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

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

 

Voice search7. Voice search

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMM Launches Brand New Supply Chain Management Qualifications

IMM Launches Brand New Supply Chain Management Qualifications

Never before has the active integration and coordination of superior supply chain activities, that provide the best value for customers, been as important as it is right now. As an unprecedented 2020 draws to a close, with an uncertain future for businesses across the globe, it has become abundantly clear that competent and proficient Supply Chain Management (SCM) is a major catalyst when it comes to sustainable economic growth.

With this in mind, the IMM Graduate School has added two brand new, cutting-edge SCM qualifications to their offering. What makes these new programmes significant is that they are accredited by the internationally recognised Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT); a first for any SCM qualification in South Africa. This offers valuable professional recognition worldwide.

The Higher Certificate in Supply Chain Management is an introductory course (NQF 5) which provides students with a holistic understanding of both supply chain and business management. Along with the CILT accreditation, the Higher Certificate is also accredited and registered with the DHET/CHE/SAQA.

The BCom Honours in Supply Chain Management is the most up-to-date SCM qualification in the world, with modules that cover many never before inclusions, namely;

  • A brand new, uniquely tailored SCM Management Synchronisation and Orchestration model.
  • Additional SLC’s in terms of SCM services not found in traditional textbooks.
  • An entire chapter devoted to Supply Chain Analytics, including all the formulae pertaining thereto.
  • A customer-centric downstream approach, as opposed to upstream supply partners.
  • Artificial intelligence, digitalisation and blockchain technology which is collectively covered for the first time in any SCM qualification.

The BCom Honours also includes the design of brand new responsive organisational structures hinging on the fact that so many companies are now working remotely due to Covid-19, an integral part of a future-focused approach to SCM, that is really only coming to light as businesses start to react to new ways of managing their structures. Also new to this particular qualification is an entire Ethics and Risk Management module, again stemming from a new approach to Covid-19 business practices, that no textbook in the world has yet included.

Registration for both programmes is now open, so for more information or to register please visit imm.ac.za.

SSC eTutorials

SSC eTutorials

The IMM Graduate School is at the forefront of online education development and in a position to digitally support students through their academic journey.  The risk of feeling isolated (which is often experienced in distance learning) is significantly reduced when you become a part of a student community.

No matter where in the world you are, our SSC eTutorials provide you with 12 weeks of live online classes in each semester, with great tutors. These tutorials are offered in the evenings and Saturday mornings, to enhance your distance learning experience.  They will help you keep pace with the learning content – which can often be a problem when you are taking the journey on your own while facing work, home, and study responsibilities.

SSC eTutorials will offer you:

  • Small online groups for personal, individual attention, where your tutors know you by name;
  • Breakaway rooms online to collaborate with other students, where you can bounce your understanding of concepts off each other, see varied perspectives on the module content, and learn from each other;
  • Immediate feedback from tutors who are experts in their field, and who have a wealth of industry experience to share with you;
  • Access to recordings of SSC eTutorials and tutor presentations, so you will not miss a class and will be able to use these tools to recap before assessments.

Join our eCommunity – a place where others will motivate you, as you motivate them.

Authentic Assessment in the Digital Learning Environment

Authentic Assessment in the Digital Learning Environment

Meaningful evaluation of student competence in online learning.

Introduction

During 2020, focus has shifted to learning and teaching in the digital environment, which up until a few months ago, was regarded as inferior education.  Then necessity became the mother of invention as those who had clung to the familiar contact modes of delivery, were forced into the online environment.  Academics were forced to apply newly acquired didactic skills to accommodate learning and teaching in the digital space.

Inevitably, with online education, came the need for online assessment. Institutions of higher learning, took traditional summative assessments online with little consideration of the suitability thereof. Taking traditional summative assessments online brought with it quite a number of challenges.

Cheating raised its ugly head and collusion among students has become rife (Ahmadi H., 2020, Larkin, C., & Mintu-Wimsatt, A. 2015, & Šprajc et.al. 2017 ). The travesty is that cheating students become ineffective graduates with questions about ethics among future business leaders being raised (Chandler et.al 2017).   For the sake of academic integrity and ensuring that assessments truly reflect how well students have mastered outcomes, the nature of assessing student competence as we have known it, needs to be reconsidered in the digital environment.

The purpose of the discussion below is to prompt thought around the relevance of current assessment practices in the online assessment environment, bearing in mind the challenges which online assessment and traditional assessment bring with it.

Traditional Summative Assessment

While the focus over the last while has been on keeping learning and teaching going during the lockdowns imposed by governments, appropriate ways of assessing student competence in the digital space, remained a lesser priority with most still focused on traditional summative assessment methods.

So, the question is whether 3-hour summative assessments are the only relevant methods in the digital environment and in the 21st century and whether they are the only way to measure competence?  Are we testing critical and creative thinking and problem solving or just making sure that students can apply theory to practical situations, which are often not real or authentic?

Authentic Assessment

How could we be assessing student competence as an alternative to traditional examinations especially in the digital learning environment and for the 21st century?

The notion of authentic assessment, which has been around for some time, as an alternative, may assist in reducing the incidences of cheating among students, encourage critical and creative thinking and problem solving and keep academic integrity as intact as possible.

Authentic assessment is not only focused on knowledge and application of theories and principles, but assesses the so-called hidden curriculum which encourages acceptable norms and values, respect for the opinions of others as well as interaction with and tolerance of all.  The following quote from Koh, Tan & Ng (2012) “In contrast to conventional paper-and-pencil tests that focus on knowledge reproduction and low-level cognitive processing skills in artificial and contrived contexts, authentic assessment tasks emphasize knowledge construction, complex thinking, elaborated communication, collaboration and problem solving in authentic contexts.”, encapsulates the focus of authentic assessment, well.  Authentic assessment addresses not only the cognitive aspects of learning but provides for a holistic assessment of student competence.

While traditional assessments assume that students have been exposed to knowledge to be tested, student-centered, authentic assessments on the other hand drive and determine the learning content.

The benefits of authentic assessments are that it allows for students to construct knowledge and creates opportunities for learning in a real world relevant context. The key to successful authentic assessments is clearly defined outcomes and rubrics as “powerful support tool to make judgments about students’ learning in several disciplines” (Gallardo (2020).

So, what could an authentic assessment look like?  Instead of a structured 3 hour paper, students could be required to complete tasks over a period of time, constructing and applying knowledge as they progress through the tasks, which may be in a real world or simulated context. Virtual reality scenarios provide simulations of real world contexts for students to apply their learning to.  Another variation is that students may be required to solve a real world problem, drawing on knowledge of several related subjects, for example, drawing on the theories of marketing and business thus integrating their knowledge of several subjects into one project.  Students may also be required to work on a common problem in groups across a digital platform, managing the roles and responsibilities within the group.  The variations in authentic assessments are endless.

The Pros and Cons of Authentic Assessment

The toss-up between the grading of authentic assessments and traditional assessments is that authentic assessments, while they encourage critical thinking, problem solving and learning about team dynamics, values and norms, are more open to subjective evaluation and more time consuming to grade because of the need to provide detailed feedback.  On the other hand, the trade-off with traditional assessments is that the latter is faster to mark, but often neglects the all important more complex higher order thinking required of graduates.

Higher education institutions have a responsibility to industry and society, to produce competent graduates with sound higher order thinking.  Are our assessment methods achieving their objectives?

Reference List

Ahmadi H., (2020). “Cheating in Education: A Focus on Plagiarism.” Turkey and Afghanistan: Eskisehir Technical University and Kabul Polytechnic University (not peer reviewed)

Alsubaie, M. A., (2015). “Hidden Curriculum as One of Current Issue of Curriculum”. Journal of Education and Practice, Vol.6, No.33, pp 125 – 128

Chandler, N., Miskolczi, P., Kiraly, G., Scuka, B., and Gering, Z., (2017) “The ethics of our future business leaders: an analysis of the perceptions of cheating in higher education,”  Hungary: Babeş-Bolyai University: Hungarian Economists’ Society from Romania and Department of Economics and business Adinisyration in Hungarian Language, vol. 20, no. 131, pp 3-27

Gallardo, K., (2020) “Competency-Based Assessment And The Use Of Performance-Based Evaluation Rubrics In Higher Education: Challenges Towards The Next Decade”,  Šiauliai: .Problems of Education in the 21st Century;  Vol. 78, Iss. 1,  (2020): 61-79.

Koh, K.H., Tan, C., & Ng, P.T., (2012). “Creating thinking schools through authentic assessment: the case in Singapore”, Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability; Dordrecht Vol. 24, Iss. 2,  (May 2012)

Larkin, C., and Mintu-Wimsatt, A., (2015). “Cheating Among Undergraduate Business Students:  Say it Ain’t So”. Las Vegas: ASBBS Annual Conference vol 22, no. 1. Pp 269 – 277

Mueller, J., (2005). “The Authentic Assessment Toolbox: Enhancing Student Learning through Online Faculty Development”. Naperville, IL,  Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. Vol 1, no. 1

Šprajc, P., Urh, M., Jerebic, J., Trivan, D., Jereb, E., (2017), “Reasons for Plagiarism in Higher Education”, Slovenia : Organizacija, vol. 50, no. 1, pp 33 – 45