Digital Stuff: A critical reflection on the art of e-Marketing

A couple of weeks ago our e-marketing class was asked to develop a digital marketing strategy for a company. Although I might have seen this as just another assignment to get through the semester and get my DP to write exams, I was completely blind to the relevance of the whole experience. At the beginning of the semester we were told that in a few short years, e-marketing will soon become a discipline of its own and when we were asked to create that digital marketing strategy, I finally saw why. Digital marketing is an indispensable part of most brands’ marketing mix today. This is reflected in South African digital marketing expenditure, which according to PwC’s research, will reach R3.7bn in 2017. PwC also predicts that search marketing will remain the primary digital advertising format going into 2017(Sandmann, 2014).

Harnessing the Power of Internet Marketing

Harnessing the Power of Internet Marketing

The importance of developing an effective e-marketing strategy is indicated by Michael Porter (2001) who has said: “The key question is not whether to deploy Internet technology – companies have no choice if they want to stay competitive – but how to deploy it.” For me as a student however, I see it as an opportunity for growth. I think one of the major benefits of the internet has been its ability to connect people globally. This global system of communication has connected people and its impact and influence is undeniable.  Facilitating communications, decreasing the distances around the globe, are benefits that one cannot deny. With the new move, the human mind is more connected to its surroundings and what lays beyond. I must admit, doing e-marketing and starting a blog has definitely made me more aware of the other benefits of the internet, and as someone about to enter industry, it is invaluable knowledge that will take me far. It has equipped me with the skills needed to keep pace in a fast moving digital world. My blog has allowed me to engage with my readers and debate on important issues regarding the internet and its advantages or disadvantages. Doing e-Marketing taught me about how companies and marketers can leverage the benefits of the internet to allow them to create more brand awareness and reach a wider target market. Things like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) could certainly be used to a marketer’s advantage by generating more website visits.

There is more to the internet than social media, Wikipedia and streaming websites and this was certainly entrenched on me. One of the major setbacks I felt though was the lack of insight and structure on the tutorials offered. Where I would normally attend a tut and engage with the tutor and exchange information with my fellow classmates, it paved the way for some serious tensions and conflicts regarding peer reviews, which can be quite awkward. The tutorials can try to be more practical and relevant to the theory learnt in class.

e-Marketing as a whole has definitely paved the way for much greater insights into the unlimited possibilities that the internet provides. I for one thoroughly enjoyed and I intend to educate myself beyond the course in order to take advantage of the benefits provided by this platform.

Infographics

INFOG

Digital marketing using an infographic affords marketers the ability to keep up with the ever changing digital landscape. A digital marketing strategy drives the creation of demand using the power of the internet and satisfies this demand in new and innovative ways. The internet allows brands to interact with their consumers and build brand loyalty. An infographic is one such example of a digital marketing strategy. Infographics are visual representations of data or information and this allows the information to be delivered quickly to audiences in a way that they can understand what is being interpreted.

Hellocomputer can leverage the power of infographics thus enabling them to capture the attention of their audiences. Infographics can sometimes be persuasive in nature and considering that they are presenting data on social media, their target audience will be able to connect with the infographic because of the increased number of users of social media. Hellocomputer will be able to give people a sense of all the data and information they have collected, and enough context, without overwhelming them. They will be able to persuade their audience to engage with the material presented to them without being discouraged by the statistics of the graphic because it has visual images.

Hellocomputer were evaluating the South African market and they took in the context of the country’s social media use by contrasting it against statistics from around the world and how SA compares with this. The Value exchange being offered was that the information depicted in the infographic was not overwhelming for the users and all the information was timely and relevant to the country. Their objective was to present the data in a non-typical stats fashion and this information can be used by a wide variety of audiences including academic researchers, companies and even ordinary citizens.

Despite its advantage, infographics can be somewhat misleading as the information presented has been condensed to fit into one single poster without giving enough background to the study or how the information was collected. On the other hand it is extremely useful because of its ability to quickly capture and attract their audiences attention and allows them to engage with the information.

 

Projecting Myself to the World: The Digital Footprint

The old saying ‘ignorance is bliss’ used to hold true for me for a number of years. Perhaps this was due to my confidence in the fact that as much as I was an active user of social media platforms, I had led myself to believe that that is where all information about myself ended, on social media. So we were given a little class exercise in my e-Marketing course at the University of Cape Town to see what people can find out about us on the internet.digital footprint

Unbeknownst to me, typing my name on the Google search engine would not return a “no results were found’ page, but it showed my active social media platforms and how people could supposedly ‘connect’ with me. I currently have a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest account and anyone who knows my name and surname can have access to my pages on these accounts. At first, I have to admit, I was somewhat flattered, thinking of myself as something of a minor celebrity because I yielded search results on Google. However, my moment on the throne of glory and self-satisfaction would not last forever.  My eyes were opened when I read reports of hacking, cyber bullying and stolen identities, all done on the internet. I momentarily took a step back to think of the kind of information people can access about me online and what measures are in place to protect what I thought would be visible only to myself and the people I had ‘supposedly’ allowed access to.

A digital footprint is a record or trace we leave of ourselves when we use the internet. I suppose then in this case there is no such thing as privacy when we surf the net. Lately at career talks I have been hearing career advisors telling us to monitor what we do and put online because organisations build profiles about us based on our digital footprints. My Information Systems lecturer last semester put it bluntly and said ‘it’s time you took out all those drunken photos of yourself throwing up everywhere from Facebook’. Duly noted!

There are 2 110 000 results when I Google my name, probably due to the fact that my last name also happens to be the name of a famous tourist destination island. I found that unless you have an account, it would be really hard to access my profile on Facebook, save for my cover photo and profile picture. Even though I have an active twitter account, there is no twitter link in any of the results. Google imaging myself shows 2 photos which where once my Facebook and LinkedIn profile pictures. Another result that shows up is my LinkedIn profile.

Although my privacy settings on Facebook are tight, I still feel like I need to have more control over my digital footprint by being careful of the posts and photos I share. My online visibility does not really give out much information about me and I suppose this is a good thing. I am not an active user of my social media accounts and I believe I can make more of an impact on my career by being published in more professional and career relevant  websites to improve myself as a brand. Often we lack the courage to condition our minds to the fact that we can do anything we put our minds to. I have never blogged before and it seems scary because you are opening your thoughts to scrutiny from other people, but all we need is courage and the bravery to stand up for what we believe in.

‘it always seems impossible, until it is done’- Nelson Mandela

Keep Shining 🙂