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Marketing Strategy for the Digital Age

Marketing Strategy for the Digital Age

Digital technology has disrupted traditional marketing models, forcing marketers to rethink how they develop and implement their marketing strategy. To help you with your transition into the new digital marketing era, we have created a Digital Marketing Strategy course series consisting of four online express courses that can each be completed individually. Each express course consists of one fast-paced module that can be completed in just one week and is followed by a quick quiz to embed your knowledge. On completion of each express course you receive an IMM certificate and skills badge.

 The first course in this series is an Introduction to Digital Marketing and Technology, which kicks off with a review of the relationship between the internet and marketing, and the most common tools marketers can utilise to advertise online.

Thereafter, we look at digital marketing communication and why it is important as new age marketers to create an integrated marketing strategy where online initiatives integrate and synergise with traditional offline initiatives.

We also review the micro-and market-environments in the digital marketing context and how exactly the internet has transformed the landscape in which companies operate.

In the digital marketplace intermediaries play a critical role, therefore a detailed review of competitors and suppliers in the digital marketing industry is also included.

The second course in this series is The Digital Macro-Environment.

This course is predominantly based on an analysis of the macro-environment. The digital world is transforming rapidly, and digital marketers need to be alert to the forces that are important in the context of their own trading environment.

By analysing the macro-environment or external environment, marketers are able to highlight opportunities and identify possible threats. We relook the use of the PESTLE model when analysing the macro-environment, again with a digital marketing lens, and review the political, economic, social, legal, technological and environmental factors that need to be considered when developing the new-age marketing strategy. We explain how each of these factors can directly influence the digital marketing operations of a business.

The third course in this series is Digital Marketing Strategy Development.

This course is all about digital marketing strategy development. We take you from the structure and formulation of a strategy to the implementation thereof.

The way people shop is changing due to the interventions of digital technologies and social media. This means businesses can no longer ignore digital channels. Regarding online strategies, merely a website is no longer enough for businesses. Marketers need to think about partnering with other online intermediaries and using other digital media channels.

Digital marketing strategy can be complex; therefore, many digital marketers have adopted the PR Smith SOSTAC strategy process model to guide them in the development of their digital strategy.

In this course we introduce you to the PR Smith’s SOSTAC planning framework and how to use it when developing your digital marketing strategy, including the following steps:

Situation Analysis – which means where are we now?

Objectives – which means where do we want to go?

Strategy – which means how are we going to get there?

Tactics – which are the details of strategy.

Action – Putting the plan to work.

Control – which means measurement, monitoring, reviewing, updating and modifying.

The fourth course in this series is Digital Media and the Marketing Mix.

When you think marketing, you think the marketing mix fondly known as the 4 P’s. Traditionally, the marketing mix gained popularity in an era where most businesses sold products. Service provision and the role of good customer service was largely ignored and the potential impact on brand development and the user experience was not clearly understood. Fortunately, in recent years we have added services marketing mix elements of People, Processes and Physical Evidence to improve our focus on customer service.

As digital marketers, we apply all 7P’s of the marketing mix when strategising and also add an 8th P to the mix, Partnerships. This course reviews in detail how each of these eight marketing mix elements can be applied to in the context of digital marketing and how they need to be adapted because of the internet and other digital technologies.

Sign up for this series of courses and bridge the gap between traditional and digital marketing strategy. If you don’t upskill, you may be left behind.

If you are interested in completing our Digital Marketing Strategy series or individual express courses click here.

A successful selling career does not happen by chance, it is built by mastering selling skills

A successful selling career does not happen by chance, it is built by mastering selling skills

The Art of Selling

Some people end up in sales by default, and feel they are not good at it. The truth is that the most successful salespeople in the world were not born that way, they are professionals who have spent time developing and practicing their skills. If you find yourself in a sales position, wishing you were better at your job, then we can help. In just six weeks, we will change your mind set and have you approaching your job differently. Sign up for The Art of Selling, our short online course that will teach you all about personal selling, and what characteristics and behavioural traits make for a great salesperson.


This course will give you a better understanding of the selling cycle, including prospecting, planning the sales call, approach, presentation, closing and following-up phases of the cycle. You will also learn about the role of social selling using the Internet, why it is of importance and its impact on the selling cycle.

If you would like to know more about how to utilise verbal and non-verbal communication when selling, as well as how to influence the customer buying process through sales presentations, adapting, negotiating, and handling objections, then this course is perfect. You will learn about body language, psychological influences, and the various buying models of customers. Find out what motivates customers to buy and the importance of sales knowledge and various sources of information.

If you are new to sales, then The Art of Selling online short course is where you should start, click here.

Once you have completed the Art of Selling course you will have built a solid foundation of knowledge and will be well on your way to becoming a good salesperson. If you are interested in taking it to the next level and becoming an exceptional salesperson, we have developed another course just for you, High-Performance Selling Techniques is the course to help you fine-tune your knowledge gained from The Art of Selling course.

High Performance Selling leverages best practice from the industry and provides you with a sound understanding of practical selling skills using tried and tested methods.

High-Performance Selling Techniques

The solution to any sales problem is to improve your practical skills and the only way to do this is through obtaining the best training. Our High-Performance Selling Techniques course is a follow-up to The Art of Selling course and consists of 4 fast-paced modules that can be  completed within 6-weeks.

During this course you will gain valuable knowledge on how to efficiently manage your time, territory and yourself. You will be taught tried and tested prospecting skills, including how to prospect using technology and platforms such as LinkedIn.

By taking this course you will learn about the elements of a great presentation and learn some practical techniques to meet your objectives. You will be taught a practical approach to closing the deal in addition to the importance of quality service and follow-up service.

You will also gain skills for retaining customers and will learn how to turn follow-up and service into sales. Additionally, you will master the art of handling returns and complaints fairly and will be introduced to planning, staffing and training a sales force.

We are so confident in the techniques and skills that you will be taught during this course that in your last module we have included content on how to make the transition from salesperson to sales manager, what the requirements are in making the shift and an introduction to the functions of sales management.

If you are interested in making the jump from good salesperson to an exceptional salesperson and then to a sales manager, get training now. What are you waiting for? Sign up for our High-Performance Selling Techniques course by clicking here.

Virtual IMM Fridays – Cobus Visser

Cobus Visser.

LinkedIn tactics to harness for better engagement and lead generation.

Nurturing Social Cognition in the Digital Classroom


Reducing social isolation in online learning

Social distancing has become an overused concept, yet remains a relevant phenomenon globally.  The education community has not been spared the impact of the need for social distancing .

Institutions of Higher Learning which have paid scant attention to online learning and teaching dynamics have been unceremoniously thrust into the digital world, leaving both students and teachers disorientated and focused on how to keep learning and teaching of subject matter going without too much consideration of the need to nurture social cognitive skills necessary for a well adjusted online learning experience.  As the IMM Graduate School has learnt over the years of online learning and teaching, online learning is more than just pulling your courses from the classroom to the digital space and teaching through webinars and asynchronous learning activities.

Attention should be paid to the social brain, especially for students who have been used to social contact in the education environment. The more informal term ‘social brain’ which in effect refers to social cognition, includes the quality of social interaction with others and the world through cultivating successful relationships. Social cognition includes inferential thinking and predictive thinking and is inextricably linked to other cognitive functions and academic performance.  This means that educators need to create a digital learning space where social cognition continues to be nurtured.

The importance of nurturing social cognition

Neglecting to pay attention to the student as a social being in the somewhat alien digital environment (for some), we risk losing students as they become discouraged and struggling  with a sense of disconnect, not conducive to meaningful learning and academic achievement.

Lack of social interaction can affect a student’s level of motivation and sense of academic direction.

How is social cognition nurtured in the digital space?  

The nurturing of social cognition requires the creation of opportunities in the digital learning space, for social interaction.  According to Vygotsky (1978), learning cannot be separated from the social context and social interaction.    This is even more crucial as higher education students are mostly the so-called Generation Z  or IGen, whose learning styles require theory to be taught in a real world context, in ‘3D’ in other words.    Lujan and deCarlo (2018) state, that students have an innate need to relate to others. They have a need to belong to a group.  They learn best when they can discuss and discover and when they can communicate multi-modally.  They need to construct knowledge by interacting with teachers and with fellow students. Gen Zers are more oriented to Transformational learning and teaching, which simply put, means active learning where educators create opportunities for students to interact with others through collaboratively engaging with learning content, encouraging critical thought, synthesis of information and innovative problem solving.  Collaborative activities provide students with opportunities to engage actively with what they are learning.  In the digital learning environment this can so easily be lost.

Vygotsky (1978) believed that learning is a collaborative process and referred to the potential learning which will take place, as the ‘zone of proximal development’ and which happens when educators create opportunities for collaborative learning. Students learn from their teacher and each other.

Garrison, Anderson and Archer (2000) in Bektashi (2018) state that their model, Community of Inquiry, facilitates an environment for critical thinking, enquiry and discourse among students. The Community of Inquiry module is a theoretical framework, which identified three elements needed for learning.  One of these is the social presence which promotes the idea that for learning to take place or knowledge to be constructed requires an environment allowing for interpersonal relationships to thrive and opportunities for communication in a safe environment.

So how do we introduce strategies to nurture social cognition in the digital learning space?

Cooperative and collaborative learning activities in the digital space, are effective means of allowing students to construct knowledge and create meaning of subject content together in a social space.  Schilbach (et.al 2013) state that the ‘primary way of knowing’ or constructing knowledge is through social interaction.

Students cooperate on a common project, each having clearly defined responsibilities and objectives contributing to the achievement of a common goal.  Can this happen in the digital space?  Absolutely!  Technology has come a long way with chat boxes, collaborative tools such as Padlet walls, iBrainstorm, a myriad of other apps, social media, and breakout rooms where students can meet and construct knowledge together.  These tools are often not considered in teaching online because lecturers and tutors are afraid to venture into the unfamiliar technology territory.  In avoiding collaborative learning and teaching and defaulting to the familiar comfortable lecturing to a screen, we hinder social cognitive performance, which includes nurturing critical and deep thinking during knowledge construction.

Reference list

Bektashi , L. (2018).  “The community of inquiry framework in online learning: use of technology”.  University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa.

Available from: https://techandcurriculum.pressbooks.com/chapter/coi-and-online-learning/  [Accessed on 11 September 2020].

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (1999). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2), 87-105.

Garrison, D.R., Anderson, T., Archer, W. (2010). The first decade of the community of inquiry framework: A retrospective. The Internet and Higher Education. 13(1), 5-9.

Kautz, T., Heckman, J. J., Diris, R. ter Weel, B., Borghans, L. (2014). “Fostering and Measuring Skills: Improving Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills to Promote Lifetime Success”. IZA Discussion Papers, No. 8696, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Bonn.

Kurt, S. (2020). “Lev Vygotsky – Sociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development,” in Educational Technology. Available from:  https://educationaltechnology.net/lev-vygotsky-sociocultural-theory-of-cognitive-development/  [Accessed on 11 September 2020].

Leong, P. (2011). “Role of social presence and cognitive absorption in online learning environments”.
Journal of Distance Education, Vol 32, 2011, Issue 1

 Lujan H.L.,  DiCarlo S.E. (2017)  “A personal connection: Promoting positive attitudes towards teaching and learning”,  Anatomical Sciences Education  vol. 10. No. 5 pp. 503-507.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.



Virtual IMM Fridays – Thomas Oosthuizen

Thomas Oosthuizen.

COVID: The force of nature or the force of choice?

Download the presentation PDF here

The show must go on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our students had this to say:

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

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

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

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

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