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5G – Game-changer, or hype?

Commercial Trends Image

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

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

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

Rethinking What You’re Selling – Product / Service

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

Delivery Where Consumers Want It – Place

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

Monetisation – Price

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

Meaningful Marketing – Promotion

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

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

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

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

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

Appendix: 01

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

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

Commercial Trends Appendix

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

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

 

 

From cloud computing to cloud chains – the rise of SCAAS

Supply Chain Trends Image

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supply Chain Trends Image Resources

 

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

Marketing Trends Blog Image July

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Marketing Trends Image Resources

Resources:

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

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

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

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

 

What is marketing and why choose it as a career?

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What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word marketing? Billboards? TV ads? Flyers?

Many organisations are reluctant to invest substantial amounts of money into marketing as they often don’t understand the full host of benefits that it offers. Marketing isn’t just about promoting brand awareness. And it is much more than just selling. In fact, Marketing is one of the foundational pillars for building a successful, sustainable business.

The primary objective of marketing is to identify and satisfy, or exceed, the ever-changing needs of consumers. By looking at this broad primary objective, it is clear that the concept of marketing is related to many activities in business. Marketing in its full context refers to any activity undertaken by an organisation that has been actioned to produce goods or services as well as price, promote and distribute them to a certain target market. These marketing activities are actioned to stimulate an exchange between the organisation and its customers which in modern terms we refer to as sales. If done correctly, marketing activities should result in the organisation achieving its goals.

Marketing is an integral component of business. The purpose of marketing is to ensure that your prospective target market knows about and then purchases the products or services on offer by your organisation. Put in layman’s terms, marketing is the process of identifying consumer needs and determining how best to meet those needs. Advertising on the other hand, just like sales are one of many tactics within the marketing function that facilitate communication with potential and existing customers about the company’s products or services.

So, if you haven’t been seeing the conversion rates you’d like to, maybe the issue is that you are attempting advertising or sales as a standalone initiative and not looking at your business through a complete strategic marketing lens. In other words you may be lacking in strategy. And any promotion without a sound strategy behind it, is simply a waste of resources.

How doing a marketing course can benefit you

 

You become employablemarketing image2

Marketing skills are in serious demand, especially in the digital marketing space. This skills gap is set to widen. It is one of the few job markets that are thriving and surviving in the COVID-19 environment. Brands are highlighting marketing more than we have ever seen before. Bigger budgets, increased pay and diverse career opportunities are just a few of the benefits that marketing professionals are able to look forward to this year and in many years to come.

 

 

 

 

marketing image3

Communication skills are valuable no matter what your career path

Even if you decide to veer off into a different direction with your career, having some marketing and communication skills in your armoury is never a bad idea. One of the most important skills that businesses seek in employees is communication. The ability to communicate effectively with a potential market is a critical part of what makes any business successful. You can use the skills you develop when studying marketing in just about any business setting or career, even if it is just communicating with your colleagues to get your point across. The field of marketing communication is very broad and with the emergence of digital technology it is now more dynamic than ever and requires all business owners and managers to keep up to date with the latest developments.

 

 

 

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You remain relevant

No matter whether you are a seasoned marketer or a doctor wanting to know how to put your practice onto the Internet, short courses are a great way to learn new skills quickly or to top up existing skills in order to remain relevant.

 

 

 

 

 

marketing image5You open up diverse career opportunities

Marketing offers a wide variety of career choices for different personality types. If you have more of an extroverted personality and enjoy working with people, possible career options include sales, retailing, brand or product management. If you are more of the analytical type, you might enjoy a career as a market research analyst or digital marketing planner rewarding.

 

 

 

 

Marketers are always in demandmarketing image6

The importance of marketing cannot be overstated, and this is only expected to increase. One of the main goals for any organisation is expanding their customer base and the power of marketing in realising this goal implies that marketers will remain high in demand for some time to come.
Marketing teams can be found in almost every industry – agencies, in-house, outsourced or freelance. There are always a wide range of jobs available in this field, especially for those who have the required qualifications and skills.

 

 

 

 

marketing image7Earning potential

Marketing is a business function that allows a lot of room for growth. By continuously improving your knowledge and application of marketing, you will be able to climb up the corporate ladder. And, depending on the company, your position and your experience, you could become a highly paid professional in no time.
What’s interesting and beneficial about the job market for marketing professionals is that there is huge competition for skilled talent regardless of industry. This means that individuals with the right skills can negotiate for great salaries but also land great benefits and perhaps even bonuses depending on their role.

 

 

A marketing course that has it all

The IMM has just updated it’s industry leading short course in The Fundamentals of Marketing. This course will set you up with a good foundation. It has been designed both for current marketing professionals who want to update their skills, and those looking for an introduction into this exciting career field. It is also suited to business owners and entrepreneurs who aim to develop their marketing knowledge so they can apply this knowledge to their own brand.

The field of marketing is exciting – it stimulates creativity and requires lateral thinking. Marketers face the challenge of constantly having to come up with creative ways to promote a brand, product or service. If this sparks your interest, look at signing up for our Fundamentals of Marketing Short Course. This course has been developed by a team of marketing experts that have a thorough understanding of the practical marketing skills required to compete in today’s fast-paced marketing environment.

This IMM online short course covers the fundamentals of marketing management and offers a holistic view of this important field.

The course is a 12-week online short course where you will start off with Part 1: The world of marketing. In Part 1 you will learn about the basic principles of marketing, the marketing environment and competitors. Following these foundations, you will learn more about consumer behaviour, research, marketing decision making, segmentation, targeting and positioning.

Then comes Part 2, the marketing mix strategy, throughout part 2 of this course, you will be exposed to how digital technology has impacted the four P’s and how an additional four P’s have been added to address the service elements of the digital environment namely, People, Process, Physical Evidence and Partnerships. You will also learn how to drive action through a well thought out marketing plan.

An understanding of the fundamentals of marketing forms the basis for developing successful marketing strategies in any organisation. IMM’s Fundamentals of Marketing course is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills you will need to develop practical skills that are applicable in the workplace.

After mastering this course, you will have obtained extensive knowledge of the field of marketing and its operations, this knowledge will lay the foundation upon which you can further build your knowledge to graduate level by signing up for one of our marketing degrees or higher certificates.

By now, it should be clear that the marketing world is about much more than just promotion and advertising, and that it could be a riveting field to jump into, so sign up for our Fundamentals of Marketing Short Course today and kick your marketing career off the right way!

To sign up, or for more information on our Fundamentals of Marketing Short Course, or any of our other courses in marketing, visit https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online_courses/marketing-advertising-short-courses/