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The tech industry boom – where will tech be in the next ten years?

The tech industry boom

The tech industry boom – where will tech be in the next ten years?

Industry giants merging and major acquisitions of tech companies, assets and processes have broken global sales records in the first half of 2021. With an unprecedented frenzy of deals worth more than $671 billion, the tech industry led the way with its fortunes soaring during the pandemic, reports Quartz. Silicon Valley has notoriously become one of the most wealth-producing areas in the world with many tech companies settling in the area where innovation, production and creativity are nurtured. However, while Apple and Microsoft have led the way to reaching higher profits during the past decade, and that margin ever-increasing even during the COVID-19 pandemic (read more about that here), one still needs to ask the question: where will the tech industry be in the next ten years?

7 industries that will boom over the next decade

7 industries that will boom over the next decade – all because of technology

In 2016, Chivas listed 7 industries that were expected to boom over the next decade. Without any ability to foretell what was to come in March 2020, the company listed various industries that most certainly saw a huge rise in demand and profits. We break down the top 3:

1. The Internet of Things – Smart Appliances

With an increasing demand for easier access to apps like Facebook and Instagram and search engines like Google and YouTube, more and more daily appliances like refrigerators and toasters are being developed with built-in internet search engines that rely on at-home wifi. This prediction has certainly come true with Samsung and other leading appliance companies expecting their current sales-boom to continue into the near future (read more about that here).

Smart Appliances

2. The Shared Economy and the Apps that forge that path

With Airbnb and Uber becoming popular over the past few years, creating opportunities for those providing these services and the consumers themselves, the tech industry has helped to define and establish a shared economy and ecosystem where both the consumer and the service provider are given a platform to utilise or offer a service from the safety of their smartphones. Consumers have and will continue to seek out services this way with more platforms of a similar nature popping up.

The Shared Economy and the Apps that forge that path

3. Connected Schooling – EdTech

The internet has opened up a huge opportunity to change the way schooling is done and with COVID-19, nothing became more of a necessity than promoting online schooling. Millions of children around the world went from in-class learning to tablet and computer learning through services like Google Meets, Zoom, Skype and other video-conferencing tools. More, technology has now allowed for education systems to be integrated in-app where teachers and schools can monitor the activity of their students from their own devices. With the pandemic changing the way schooling occurs forever, the boom in tech-orientated learning will continue to rise and be further optimised to the needs of students, teachers and parents alike.

Connected Schooling - EdTech

So where will the tech industry be in the next ten years?

Everything has gone digital. And while innovation is tightly monitored and kept at bay as multiple companies fight to win the race of the century with new and needed technology advancements, one can only predict that the future of tech is leading the way. Without modern technology and the offerings of services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Facebook, TikTok, Zoom, Gmail, Slack, PayPal and many other major industries being accessible with just a click of a button, arguably, life would become inconvenient. We have already become so accustomed to the conveniences of modern technology like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, living without it seems baffling. This is why we can only predict that the tech industry can only expect to continue rising as a leading industry amongst all other industries.

 

Conclusion

The past decade has come and gone so quick and while it feels like not much can happen by 2030, so much has happened from 2011-2021. Skelia, a leading tech firm reiterates that the interconnectivity that the internet, software development and new technology offers, gives a global consumer access to tools and ways of life that has been life-changing.

The biggest brands in the world – what are they doing right?

The biggest brands in the world

Visual Capitalist suggests that investors and key analysts can learn about a brand’s true value by assessing its value outside of the quarterly earnings reports they typically release. By doing this, we can establish a better sense of a company’s market value, as well as brand loyalty, assess the features of the consumer’s relationship with the brand and how valuable the brand or company is based on its earning potential.

With COVID-19 affecting consumerism greatly (read more about that here), the top 5 most valuable brands of 2020-2021 are all tech companies that serviced services and products that could be accessed or purchased online.

Visual Capitalist

However, across all industries and all platforms, some brands have remained on top despite plummeting retail sales, but an increase in share price (see the list here).

In the end, what really are the biggest brands in the world and what are they doing so right that keeps them on top?

So… What are the biggest brands in the world?

To better unpack which brands have had sweeping success over decades and truly kept their mark, we explore three of the biggest and most valuable across multiple industries and elaborate on what exactly it is that they did right.

1. Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy – LVMH, Fashion, Beauty & Alcohol

In the case of LVMH, it’s suggested that e-Commerce has contributed significantly to the companies incredible success and the overall luxury business. Flow Bank reports that the luxury market took a giant leap in value and consumer sales through two avenues:

  1. A growing middle-class tapping into the luxury market.
  2. e-Commerce and social media allowing brands to be more easily accessible and reach a wider clientele.However, what has truly made LVMH so incredibly profitable is not only Louis Vuitton’s very popular (and extremely sought after) monogram design but also the fact that the company group owns major other competing luxury brands like Dior and Givenchy, and major cosmetics retailer Sephora. In the fashion industry, LV has skyrocketed as one of the greatest brands of all time, making its founder one of the richest people in the world (read more about that here). More, the group also owns the luxury Moet Hennesy alcohol brand. Tapping into the feeling of elitism while mixing in proportionate amounts the need for literally everyone to own a luxury bag, LVMH has succeeded in becoming one of the greatest and most valuable brands ever, and has also only really competed with itself in the luxury market. To see a list of all listed companies the LVMH group has acquired, click here to read more.

    Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy - LVMH, Fashion, Beauty & Alcohol

2. Amazon – e-Commerce

Amazon has notably been one of the fastest-growing companies in the world reaching a market value of $260.5bn according to Forbes. Amazon’s success is largely attributed to how convenient and accessible the retailer is – offering its buyers multiple options for the same product at competitive prices, a quick delivery turnaround time and major share value on the stock market.

Importantly, part of Amazon’s major success also lays in the fact that the site was notably the first e-commerce site to offer buyers the “buy now” option (read more about that here).

Amazon - e-Commerce

3. Google – Technology

Google is by far the most popular and established Tech company in the world. With the company name becoming a verb sometime in the early 2000s, Google quickly grew to become the internet’s favourite and most used search engine in the world.

While holding innovation key to their growth, Google has popularly become known as one of the coolest companies to work for.

With Google continuing to elevate their services through Google My Business, Google Workspace and of course, the ever so popular Gmail, Google has quickly risen to fame for making the internet so easy to use and adapt and thus, their share value has only ever increased over time. The tech company is currently worth $145.6bn according to Forbes.

Google

Conclusion

Across industries, what these three brands have managed to do is really assess and assert their market value on the stock exchange, making their companies even wealthier. But what’s more important is that each of these companies offered a solution, product or service that suited the needs for the very people they were targeting. LVMH relies heavily on the luxury consumer and has quickly established itself to being the pinnacle of luxury brands. Likewise, Amazon has become exactly that as the pinnacle of all e-commerce, easy and affordable retail. Google in itself has built up a reputation for always having the answer. While none of these three listed companies offer the same services, all three have done amazing work at establishing their brand identity.

How is Jeff Bezos so rich – a breakdown of how the billionaire acquired his wealth

Jeff Bezos

How is Jeff Bezos so rich – a breakdown of how the billionaire acquired his wealth

In 2021, Jeff Bezos was listed as the richest man in the world, surpassing the historically richest, Warren Buffet, according to Investopedia, a leading investment and tech industry site. After a 27-year run, Bezos left his position as CEO at his self-founded company Amazon – one of the most valuable public companies in the world. According to Forbes, since his debut on the Forbes 400 list in 1998 with a net worth of $1.6 billion, his fortune has grown by 12425%—up by $196 billion. With a net worth of nearly $202 billion today, Jeff Bezos has become the richest person on Earth. But how did Jeff Bezos become so rich so quickly and was it all just through Amazon?

The billionaires club – how Bezos overran his peers to becoming super-rich in a mere 20 years.

1. Amazon stock prices

Forbes further reports that Amazon’s increasing stock price allowed Bezos to double his net worth from $81.5 billion in October 2017 to $160 billion in October 2018, making Bezos the world’s wealthiest person in the world.

Amazon - Prime Boxes

He is the first person to have amassed a 12-figure fortune on Forbes’ annual list of the 400 richest Americans. Since then, he has remained at the top, especially since Amazon shares surged because of the pandemic (you can read more about how consumerism increased during COVID-19 here).

With the advent of the internet in the 90s and the opening of Google in ‘98, Bezos managed to hop onto the digital market quite early, placing Amazon as a public stock which at the time, blew up being the first company ever that allowed for consumers to purchase books and CD’s online, to be delivered to your door (read more about that here).

Aamzon

2. Amazon’s affiliated companies

While the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are also tech-giants marking their internet territory and amassing huge sums of money, what stands out about Bezos is that his wealth has been majorly acquired through his shares in Amazon and Amazon Web Services (which was estimated to be worth half a trillion dollars in 2019), was his sudden growth and near-immediate boost to billionaire status in 1998, just four years after being founded.

Both of his public companies, Amazon and Amazon Web Services offer easy to access services and goods. Amazon itself is a leading consumer favourite and go-to for all kinds of products from babywear to makeup, to hygiene products, to furniture, to technology, books, toys, homeware and more. What also makes Amazon so intriguing for business owners is its Fulfillment by Amazon which allows businesses to stock and run their supply chain directly through Amazon without ever having to deal with any logistics.

Amazon’s affiliated companies

Conclusion – Jeff Bezos is super-duper rich

Being one of the most notable self-made billionaires ever, Bezos’ ranking has him being an aspiration to many young people in tech and especially to small business owners. Bezos wealth accumulation has primarily been due to the fact that he has provided solutions to modern-day problems.

With an even greater need in fulfilment for contactless delivery options during

the COVID-19 pandemic the business has strengthened further and penetrated new markets.

Through his initial sell-books-online, deliver-to-your-door business model to becoming the largest and most notorious online shopping brand, Bezos has accomplished an incredible fortune being worth a near $200bn today.

Jeff Bezos is super-duper rich

With Amazon continuing to push its global footprint and moving to more countries and setting up shop in more continents, Amazon’s growth is likely to skyrocket within the next ten years. Bezos is set to become one of the first Americans to reach trillionaire status as a single person through his shareholding at his founded companies which he no longer works for or participates in.

Creative hacks – apps and digital resources that are freelancer must-haves

Creative Hacks Article Feat Image

With more and more people branching out into side-hustles, start-ups and moving towards a freelancer working model, it has become incredibly important that new freelancers (and some old) have access to the best tools to ensure that your self-run business runs smoothly. Luckily, there is no shortage of both free and paid software and tools that freelancers can use to keep business going. Being a jack-of-all-trades typically means that freelancers have to be good at multiple things and hold multiple skills, be literate in many software packages and be able to do multiple jobs all at once. So how will you manage? Let’s break it down.

 

Apps and platforms that are digital creative necessities

Apps and platforms that are digital creative necessities – which are you using to optimise your business?

There are many apps and software options available to the current market of freelancers. Lucky for us, we now live in a competitive digital age where so many companies are offering their tools and services for free, or part thereof, like Shopify or Toggl Track. When it comes to platform necessities for digital creatives, social media managers, graphic designers and other creative freelancers, it’s important that we cover our bases with regards to finances, organisation, time planning, scheduling and cloud drives to store all of our work safely. Without considering these important aspects of your self-run business, you could find yourself in a pickle. Market Hire, a leading freelance resource site and data collector, performed polls to better understand which platforms and apps freelancers prefer to use broken down into different categories such as time management, creative suites and organisational tools. The graph below illustrates which tools were widely preferred over a range of categories.

 

Top Freelancer Tools

So which platforms do we prefer and why?

Everybody has their favourite, but these are our personal go-to’s. Most of these platforms run for free and signing up with your Google Account is an easy sign-up option they all offer.

  1. Toggl Track
    Creative Boom has listed Toggl Track as a leading tool for all freelancers. It’s an absolute must-have. Toggl Track works as a Chrome extension that allows you to instantly start timing yourself once you start working. The site and extension work perfectly. You can sort your tracking up to be client, project and job-specific.This is especially great for freelancers who track hours. It also offers the option to add in billable and non-billable clients, projects or jobs so that you can keep track of your daily, weekly or monthly earnings. Whenever you need to, you can simply just download your Toggle Report and it will reflect how many hours you’ve worked.Toggl Track IMage
  2. Canva
    Canva is an undisputed favourite for anyone. The site, which can also be downloaded as an app for Mac and Windows, is the perfect place for all types of creatives. Offering a wide variety of digital templates ranging from birthday invitations to multi-page business reports, social media branding kits and accommodating all forms of digital content like video and gifs, Canva leads the way for creative tools.The Influence Agency breaks down further why Canva is such a successful and necessary tool for creatives – read more about it here. Whatever you do, if you have not already, sign up for Canva today!Canva
  3. Buffer
    Buffer describes itself as, “the most intuitive, affordable, and authentic way to reach more people on social media.” This could not be truer for most freelancers. Buffer offers the easiest scheduling tools across all social media platforms for post scheduling. It also offers insight and analytics to further understand which posts perform best per platform and further helps you through its “best time” scheduling option where you can schedule a post based on when the account receives the best engagement. Buffer is an amazing tool for any freelancer or social media manager and is definitely a great alternative to the other scheduling options like Calendar.ly and Hootsuite.Buffer

Conclusion

There are so many more platforms and apps at a freelancers disposal. For more insights into other tools that could help you, click here. Overall, you have to use what works for you. Everyone has a preference, you just have to work with what makes sense for you and your business. For digital creative freelancers, your needs will change over time so always be open to trying something new. In a world where tech is everchanging, it will always be beneficial to gain insights into which platforms perform best for yourself.

What’s all the crypto hype about?

cryptocurrency - IMM Blog Image

Cryptocurrency has taken the world by storm. In South Africa alone, many have been scouring the internet, trying to understand what this “bitcoin-crypto” thing is and a quick analysis of Google trends shows this quite well. People are excited. They are intrigued. But, are there any good reasons for this reaction and is it worth all the hype surrounding it? See for yourself…

What is cryptocurrency

What is cryptocurrency?

The world of cryptocurrency, and its community by association, are notorious for its jargon, and this poses a barrier for people who are interested in getting to understand it but are relatively new to the space and idea of crypto. Key definitions (as defined by Luno.com) to keep in mind are cryptocurrency, cryptography and blockchain.

  • Cryptocurrency: A digital currency that relies on cryptography to verify its transactions.

A digital currency - IMM Blog Image

  • Cryptography: The practice and study of techniques for secure communication in the presence of third parties called adversaries. In the context of cryptocurrency, cryptography validates and secures transaction information.
  • Blockchain: A decentralised network that records transactions, much like a traditional ledger. These transactions can be any movement of currency, goods or secure data.

What is the Blockchain and how does it work?

The blockchain is thus the “collective” ledger of which every computer connected to the network has a copy of, and which processes, encrypts and stores all the data transactions simultaneously across every connected node (read more about that here). According to Forbes, Blockchain experts and enthusiasts, this prevents any tampering with the system and prevents cheating or stealing as the ledger is decentralised, which makes for more user oversight and transparency.

Blockchain - IMM BLog Image

  • Distributed Ledger: A large database that is consensually shared and synchronised across multiple sites, institutions or geographies. It allows transactions to have public “witnesses”, thereby making a cyberattack more difficult.

Distributed Ledger - IMM Blog Image

Where does crypto come from?

Satoshi Nakamoto

According to Investopedia, Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency. The first recorded cryptocurrency transaction was for a pizza purchase on the 22nd of May, 2010. However, long before this, on the 3rd of January 2009, the infamous Satoshi Nakomoto “mined” the genesis block on the Bitcoin Blockchain and the rest, as they say, is history.

Where does crypto come from

How do you trade crypto and how does it work?

Globally, the most famous and used cryptocurrency exchange has to be Binance, it being a noticed benchmark for other exchanges to emulate. A lot, if not most crypto trade goes through Binance. In South Africa, since Binance doesn’t have a straight ZAR to crypto function, companies like Luno have sprung up in order to close that gap in the market, creating a spade for new and experienced traders and enthusiasts to trade and buy cryptocurrency.

trade crypto

What has been the response?

The technology is influencing and its popularity has spread like wildfire, some comparing it to the dot com bubble of the late ’80s and 90’s, where almost everyone had some investment on the then-new internet. According to Fortune.com, countries like Cuba and El Salvador have accepted it as a legal form of trade, giving it more legitimacy, while other countries like China have cracked down on everything to do with it, not trusting it at all,  giving it some illegitimacy too.

Conclusion

Crypto was developed as a means to an end to the financial crash in 2008. Nakomoto, whether one person or a group under a pseudonym, published a paper outlining a new form of monetary exchange which, he hoped, would cut out the banks and the state entirely, and which was run and protected by the best cryptography technology available at the time. Thus, out of the ashes of one of the biggest global financial innovations in history, a new sun was about to rise, which would revolutionise the imagination of how a monetary system could work.

Whether or not crypto is worth the hype is still up for debate but what is not debatable is the numbers that are trading on the exchange – investing in crypto whether you’re in the first or second camp is highly rewarding at this point in time and it is not going anywhere anytime soon.

Crypto Conclusion 2

The impact of net-zero carb emissions – new goals for big tech and Silicone Valley

The impact of net-zero carb emissions - IMM Blog Image

In the last decade, the value of major tech companies and atmospheric CO2 concentrations rose parallel to one another, according to the International Energy Agency. The impacts of technology companies and organisations on the environment are relatively low compared with their economic, financial, and social footprints. The fact that these companies have such a significant financial impact, in addition to their considerable scientific and cultural influence, is why they should be advocating for and lobbying for governments to reverse the inevitable consequences of climate challenges.

Big tech - think ‘clean tech’; what is Silicon Valley doing

Big tech – think ‘clean tech’; what is Silicon Valley doing?

According to the Financial Times, the founder of Google’s green energy start-up, Martin Roscheisen once led a company that he envisioned would usher in a green revolution by making solar power cheaper than energy from fossil fuels. Having studied computer science with Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford, the Austrian entrepreneur had witnessed the dot-com boom and bust and believed green energy would lead to fortunes for Silicon Valley investors. By bringing green, renewable and sustainable energy options like solar or wind-powered energy to the tech city, Big Tech by itself sets a precedent to smaller and competing companies to achieve the same sort of “green” status of being eco-friendly and environmentally conscious.

Silicon Valley going green

Further, with Silicon Valley going green and making the move towards not just the type of energy it consumes to power this mega-village of creative geniuses, it also paves the way to show other industries in other cities how easy and viable it is to function and exist while doing whatever you can to protect the earth. Investors are flocking to green energy producers to put money behind solutions that fight climate change, ranging from battery storage to sustainable aviation fuel and lab-grown meat (read more here).

Electric cars – is it tech or automotive? Well, it’s both.

One notable and in fact, popular tech billionaire, Elon Musk’s very own Tesla is a perfect example of how tech can go green all while maintaining the very essence of convenience, luxury and relative affordability. Despite Tesla being a car, the engineering, craftsmanship and ideas behind it still fall relevant to the tech industry. The rechargeable, battery-powered car has gained a lot of traction in the United States not for what the car itself has to offer, but how efficient, easy and accessible Tesla has made power and charging points throughout the country. The multiple features and tech functions the car has to offer such as “dog mode” are all just perks, but a great part of selling Tesla was built into the sales pitch of sustainability, environmentally-friendly and it being futuristic – and that’s what Tesla has become beyond its self-driving auto-pilot function. The car itself offers all the comforts and features of ordinary cars, but still, it is arguably only through technological creativity that it could come to fruition.

Electric cars - is it tech or automotive

So what are big tech’s goals for net-zero carb emissions?

Bloomberg Green reports that out of the 10 greatest profiting companies in the country, four of those were tech companies and of those four, all have committed to reducing their emissions to net-zero by 2050. The promise of reaching net-zero targets is one thing; achieving them is quite another. Bloomberg Green also reports that it has become typical practice for companies to “buy” their carbon offsets, rendering their “sustainability” marketing strategies as simply just that – marketing strategies in an attempt to greenwash their images and align their company values to a wider audience and more conscious global citizen. Regardless, the move towards a greener future presents a great opportunity for future generations to flourish and explore this world beyond what we can today and by investing in companies, startups, ideas and people who are actively seeking to change the world, big tech can lead the way.

Silicon Valley 2

Conclusion

Big tech companies in Silicon Valley are definitely finding ways of trying to reduce their impact on the global climate crisis that has been looming over us for decades. If these companies can come together and lead the way in a greener, more sustainable earth, not only will it benefit the environment, but it will most likely boost their revenue.

 

How e-Commerce stores have started opening up physical stores and physical stores went digital

e-Commerce - IMM Blog Image Main

Over the past few years, e-Commerce has picked up significantly around the world as people are opting to find more convenient and in a lot of cases, cheaper ways to shop. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the growth of e-Commerce was exponential globally (read more about that in our blog “How Covid-19 increased consumerism despite many losing their jobs and streams of income”). The push to go digital has been great for brick and mortar stores. Snap lockdowns, social distancing rules and globally the risk factor of going out for non-essentials (and even essentials) continue to pose a risk for community health. Many stores have therefore opted to open up digital stores. Almost everything these days exists digitally and if your business isn’t shoppable online in these times, you probably aren’t going to be able to sustain it for much longer. Checkers60 were pioneers of online trade in 2019 (read more about that here), but other grocers and even pharmacies are now forced to head in the same direction.

Shop Online - IMM Blog Image

Why are online stores looking to open up physical stores and why are physical stores opening up online stores – The bid for hybrid shopping is here.

According to Repsly, online retail startups who often pride themselves on being nontraditional are now working to bring back established brick and mortar stores while maintaining their fresh image online and even typically launching new products online first, rather than in-store.

Similarly, Repsly also reports that physical stores have also had to start leveraging the trend of online shopping. For most retailers, their big retailers use their stores as fulfilment centers.

Thus, combining the two and creating a hybrid-like model whereby consumers can shop online, but collect in-store gives major retailers the best of both worlds. The Mr Price Group has done this exact hybrid model of order online, pick up in-store, incentivising store visits through quicker collection and free collection as opposed to longer wait periods and fees associated with delivery.

Online Shopping - IMM Blog image

This article suggests that the move for online stores to go brick-and-mortar lies within the fact that 85% of consumerism occurs physically. However, this now dated article (2019) does not consider the implications of in-store shopping in relation to COVID-19.

In spite of this, it goes on to explain that online retailers have many reasons for adding an offline presence due to the buying culture that still exists, the experience customers enjoy when visiting a store and the necessity in reaching a wider, but to an extent more targeted clientele.

In some situations, shopping in a store is also quicker (from an instant receipt of goods perspective) and more convenient (from a touch, feel, try and choose perspective) than shopping online. In addition, physical stores serve as local distribution centers for online retailers.

Shopping in Store - IMM Blog Image

Conclusion

For any retailer, big or small, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a number of threats to businesses. Many businesses liquidated, but also many started to spring up as people began to look for new ways to earn money. For brick and mortar stores, the cost of maintaining shops open while there were no customers buying in-store was a forceful hand to go digital. Since consumers have now primarily gone towards and are still growingly leaning towards online shopping, it is only sensible for the survival of retailers to exist online and for their product catalogues to also be present online.

Likewise, for online retailers, opening up physical stores gives way for storage capacity and can act as fulfilment centers, but also expand their customer reach for shoppers who typically prefer in-store shopping.

In conclusion, a hybrid of this model may prove to be the most effective.

Depending on the business itself, giving consumers the best of both worlds and catering to all kinds of shoppers is always better.

Online Shopping Conclusion - IMM Blog Image

Digital Marketing Tools that are expected to be trendy in 2022

Digital Marketing - IMM Blog Image

Digital Marketing trends have continued to grow over the past year, especially given the COVID-19 pandemic. People have found different and new ways to optimise their time and entertain themselves and their families using online platforms and digital technology. The same can be said for businesses, small and big, who have had to utilise new tools to increase engagement, performance and overall value with their consumers. They have in many cases been forced to better use online strategies like Search Engine Optimisation in order to be found by customers in an increasingly competitive landscape – Google’s search results page.

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With SEO growing as a leading tactic in digital marketing, the SEO service market is looking to hit $19.5 billion by 2025 according to India West. Businesses without a SEO strategy will most definitely not be able to compete in the online world. According to this article, Google’s latest algorithm update allows marketing and business professionals to now have more control over search engine optimisation than ever before. The update also insists that businesses keep their websites up-to-date in order to promote good user experience – the better the experience, the higher the business ranks in search engine results. This on its own is a win for product or service providers that are looking to sell or market their offering online.

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But besides SEO, here’s what else is expected to be trendy in 2022!

1. Artificial Intelligence technology tools

Building and Decor South Africa reports that personalisation is a key factor in the buying decisions of 86% of e-commerce customers. Therefore, the rise of Artificial Intelligence tools being used to understand consumer trends, clicks and interests will continue to rise amongst Digital Marketers next year. To customise e-commerce experiences such as sending coupons or relevant re-engagement emails, e-commerce service providers are already using big data to predict consumers’ demographics and behavior. This information all comes from the technology embedded in AI. The bigger attraction for organisations is the ability to automate digital marketing processes.

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2. Chatbots and Digital Voice Assistants

Business 2 Community reports that due to the success of digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, more people have become excited about the idea of chatbots and digital assistants. It gives customers an experience that is personalised which in turn will build their brand loyalty. We forecast that as early as 2022, businesses of all sizes will have to integrate chatbots into their digital marketing strategy in order to increase customer engagement.

Chatbots and Digital Voice Assistants - IMM Blog Image

3. Augmented and Virtual Reality Marketing

A number of digital marketers are currently using Augmented Reality ads. The experience that Augmented Reality offers is life-like and more exciting than just scrolling through product images. As COVID-19 has forced millions of consumers to buy online, the e-Commerce space has taken off, hence more spending occurred during 2020-2021 (read more about that here). With more people now habitually shopping online, creating alternative realities, or bringing the feeling or experience of a store or brand to the consumers own hands, allows for greater reach and will revolutionise the way we shop. Digital Marketers will have to integrate forms of AVR into their strategies in the coming year.

Augmented and Virtual Reality Marketing - IMM Blog Image

Conclusion

There are many more tools that Digital Marketers are going to need to optimise in the

upcoming year. As we’ve all seen with the revolution of technology becoming more and more consumer-based over the past year, it’s becoming pressing that marketers start rolling with the tech and finding their place in strategising in the unknown. From Chatbots to Virtual Reality, both rely heavily on Artificial Intelligence, therefore making the three intrinsically linked. We’ve already seen how platforms such as TikTok have exploded over the past two years (read more about that here), we now need to think of innovative ways to integrate these tools onto these mega-platforms.

 

10 reasons why project management is important to organisations. (2021)

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What is project management?

Project Management can be defined as the discipline and process of managing the end-to-end activities within a project life cycle from the planning, monitoring and control of all aspects of the project to budgeting, resource management and the motivation of all those involved; to achieve the project objectives on time and to the specified cost, quality, and performance.

A basic project management lifecycle covers four stages: Initiation, Planning, Execution and Closure.

The importance of project management.

When done correctly, project management is integral for any organisation as it helps all facets of the business run smoothly. It allows team members to prioritise the work that matters, freeing them from distractions caused by tasks taking them off track. It empowers team members to deliver results that positively impact the business. It also enables employees to see how their work contributes to the company’s strategic goals.

Because projects can often be extremely complex and involve various stakeholders, having a project manager lead your team and ensure everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goal is integral to project success.

The importance of project management - IMM Article Image

 

Reasons why you need project management:

1.     Clear focus and objectives

Project managers are there to take control of all this and much more. Project managers position themselves around the whole team and project so that they can execute the perfect project that consists of an efficient distribution of tasks among the team members. Breaking larger tasks into smaller chunks not only helps the team to get them done easily but also helps the project manager to monitor all of the tasks easily.

In order to perfectly execute a project, you need to ensure that your team is always focused and that your plan is flawless. When you make your team do the work of a project manager without the proper training and knowledge, you end up with improper briefs, poorly defined objectives and projects that lack focus.

2.     Realistic project planning

The importance of project planning cannot be overemphasised. Oftentimes, organisations overestimate the timeframe in which they can achieve deliverables, or underestimate the costs, or both – which leads to project failure.

A competent project manager will consider the big picture and set realistic and achievable goals, budgets, and timelines.

To set realistic goals, budgets, and timelines, the project manager will liaise with the relevant stakeholders to understand the strategic priorities and business objectives of the project. Based on their research, the project manager then outlines a project plan that balances those priorities within the constraints of time and budget. This process involves cost estimation, resource management, and risk assessment.

3.     Strategic alignment

Project management aligns projects with the overarching business strategy. It should be seen as a driver of organisational strategy. Therefore, if you are not applying project management principles to your business in order to achieve strategic goals and initiatives, you are likely not going to grow as well as an organisation that does.

As project managers oversee the planning and execution of a project, they help ensure the project’s overall goals and its subsequent tasks and milestones all align with the organisation’s strategy. Strategic alignment at every level of the project keeps each stakeholder on the same page and ensures each initiative is driving the business forward.

4.     Effective resource allocation

The biggest, most important resource project managers have at their disposal is their team members.

Project teams consist of people of different backgrounds and departments, who might have other commitments in addition to their involvement in the project. Through proper project planning however, it is possible to ensure that they are available when needed.

Similarly, other resources like the budget, tools, machinery, and more can be arranged effectively to avoid project delays during the execution of the project. Through properly allocating each resource in the beginning, it is easier to monitor the phases that are more demanding and prepare accordingly.

5.     Improved customer satisfaction

In the project management context, customer satisfaction would form part of project quality management whereby the project manager ensures that policies, objectives, and responsibilities of the project are satisfying all relevant project stakeholders.

The concept of customer satisfaction is therefore applied by project managers to generate quality products and services, in the most timeous fashion.

6.     Learning by retrospection

When managing a project, it’s important not to make the same mistakes repeatedly. Therefore, project managers use retrospectives to consider what went well, what didn’t go so well, and what should be done differently for the next project to improve overall efficiency and success.

This produces a valuable set of documentation that becomes a record of what works and what doesn’t work going forward, enabling the business to learn from their failures and their success.

7.     Risk Management

Appropriate planning means that your project is ready for potential risks that may occur. This means that you are somewhat prepared to overcome any unforeseen obstacles that may negatively impact your project.

A competent project manager will never ignore the risks, regardless of how minor their expected impact may be. Every risk deserves to be properly analysed and dealt with as soon as possible.

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8.     Continuous Oversight

Another importance of adequate project management is that it ensures a project’s progress is tracked and reported on appropriately.

Status reporting may be boring and sometimes feel unnecessary – but continuous project oversight and ensuring that a project is tracking properly against the original plan, is critical to ensuring that a project stays on track.

When proper oversight and project reporting is in place it makes it easy to see when a project is beginning to deviate from its intended course. The earlier you’re able to spot project deviation, the easier it is to correct it and get back on track.

9.     Quality control

Project members are under enormous pressure to adhere to project guidelines, deadlines, budgets, compliance standards and quality control.

Project management is important when it comes to identifying, managing, and controlling the quality of whatever project is being delivered. As it is important to deliver what was promised to the client, the project manager ensures that the quality of the deliverables remains up to the mark. It’s the duty of the project manager to deliver a quality project on time.

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10.     Leadership

A successful project always consists of incredible leadership coupled with strong direction, which can only be achieved by the help of a skilled and efficient project manager.

Leadership is always key when you want your team to be performing at their absolute best. The amount of time and energy you spend on leading your project team will always help you in the long run because it builds trust and commitment to deadlines.

How can you become a successful project manager?

Now you know how proper project management can benefit an organisation. If you feel you need to upskill yourself in project management principles, and wish to develop an understanding of the project management process, then sign up[ for the IMM’s Project Management Fundamentals online short course.

By completing this course, in only 6 weeks you will be provided with the required fundamentals to initiate, establish, plan and manage a project to successful completion.

You can find more information about this online short course on our website https://shortcourses.imm.ac.za/online-course/project-management-fundamentals/.

 

Trademarks and copyrights – how do they work in South Africa?

Trademarks and copyrights

Dingley Marshall Lewin, a leading Intellectual Property firm in South Africa explains that Intellectual Property protection is an integral part of insuring a business. If you are aware of what type of IP rights you own, you can address them by taking legal action.

In this case, it would be best to consult a professional. However, many business owners don’t know much about intellectual property law and how it works in South Africa?

We have broken it down for you:

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1. Trademark

A trademark can serve as an effective way to protect your name, logo, brand symbol, etc., so that no one else can use it. Examples are the Coca-Cola branding and Nike swoosh. Upon registration of the trademark, limited to the goods or services you sell, for example a logo, no one else may use that mark or a symbol similar to it in South Africa.

Trademark Items

CIPC (Commission for Companies and Intellectual Property) is responsible for registering South African trademarks. Trademark registrations are subject to fees for each class in which a mark is registered. If you believe someone has infringed your trademark, you can file an interdict to force them to cease doing so, order that they return the goods bearing the mark or claim damages.

 

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2. Copyright

An original piece of work can be protected with Copyright, which are exclusive rights. Among the rights provided by a copyright are the rights to reproduce, publish, broadcast, adapt and import the work.

There are several types of copyright legislation in South Africa including literature, music, broadcasts, sound recordings, artworks and computer programs which all fall under the scope of the copyright law in South Africa.

Depending on what kind of work it is, copyrights are granted for a period of between 50 and 70 years. Unlike other intellectual property rights, Copyright does not require physical registration. After meeting the requirements outlined in the Copyright Act, the creator receives this right automatically.

On the contrary, many people think you can have a copyright for a good idea. Unfortunately, there is no protection for ideas under copyright. Unless it is expressed in a tangible form such as a book or painting, a good idea is not protected.

 

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Patents

When it comes to patents, the term specifically refers to the certificate issued to the patent holder upon registration. Having a patent protects your invention from being copied, used, distributed, imported or sold without your (the patentee) permission.

The CIPC provides this registration service for a fee. Before beginning this process, you should get professional assistance from an intellectual property attorney. It is a more complicated and expensive process than registering a trademark.

Normally, patent protection lasts for a period of twenty years before it expires. If someone uses a patent without permission, the patent holder may sue them for damages by seeking an interdict and filing a lawsuit. Patent holders cannot renew a patent.

In conclusion, it is imperative that when companies, brands or individuals seek to strengthen their product or service, that they firstly be able to decipher between which form of intellectual property protection they should seek, and secondly, do so in order to protect their work.

Trademarks, copyrights and patents are the best forms of leveraging your brand’s authenticity without the possibility of infringement or duplication that can end up in you losing business to someone else.