New Age marketing during the pandemic

Dear Editor,

What a roller coaster ride it continues to be, when all of your resources depend mainly on digital marketing. Not in a million years would I get to see the power of online/digital marketing than in this era in the midst of a pandemic. With years of experience in marketing major brands, this is the time to respect and utilise digital marketing platforms to survive this wave.

Much experience and theory, comparing to common practices around the world have been summed up to further assist organisations, especially the marketing departments to embrace the digital era that has been enforced overnight.

Every marketer through this pandemic needs the following to ensure relevance, adaptability and survival. No matter what product or service you provide we’ve noticed a new following in a Namibian context for online shopping experience. In our small population comparing to the rest of Africa recent statistics around online transfers have created a perception that Namibians have shifted to online banking services. A local daily reported in February that electronic money has just become the most popular way of sending money in Namibia. In 2020 alone, over N$40 billion was moved through e money platforms. So, what conclusion can marketers draw from this information? There is an increase with smartphone banking as well as ability to trust when sending money on such platforms. We need to embrace such changes, which we may have not speculated a few years back in the midst of no pandemic and traditional forms of purchase and sending of money.

Social media influence has been able to determine product or service need. In the midst of social distancing, limitation to receiving traditional print, this platform remains and continues to transition from the norm to what our new environment will be forced to utilise. Through consultations with various institutions, a lot of subscriptions from traditional print have been put on hold due to remote working. This should give marketers the platform to convince boardroom conversations that digital advertising is the cheapest and most effective, which results to very detailed insights to their target market. This is an opportunity for organisations to embrace digital news as well as supporting their marketing budgets towards online advertising. In years of brand promotion, it is fair to say that the social media marketing tool has increased dependence on followed individuals or pages that bring more brand awareness and prospectus leads to an organization. A debate whether or not the brand matches your organisation may be left for further exploration.

It is important to take note according to Deleersnyder et al. (2009), that in times of crisis, companies tend to reduce spending on communication/advertising. This should be relooked, after a decade of revolutionising the space of marketing products and management, companies should recognise the power that online digital marketing platforms have, in the midst of any pandemic to assure consumers of its relevance and need to still purchase or make use of their services.

May every marketer embrace this beautiful time we find ourselves in and use the pandemic as a further motivation in the boardroom to share the relevance and importance of digital marketing during the pandemic and years to follow.

Marlize Maree is a marketing expert