By: Sheri Govender , Junior Account Manager at Condriac Digital Communications
The South African socio-political climate is currently undergoing rapid change and this has farreaching
effects on business. The recent cabinet reshuffle has adversely impacted the
economy, with two leading financial agencies being forced to downgrade the credit and trading
status of our country. This change in status quo has decision-makers in various industries
tightening their belts, and it begs the question: What can businesses do to remain relevant, and
to thrive in these tough economic times?
Unfortunately, marketing budgets are often the first internal expenditure to be pruned. Research,
however, has proven that brands that have survived previous economic slumps and recessions,
are those that have continued to market themselves and have thus remained part of the
decision purchasing cycle. It is imperative, then, that businesses, that wish to remain in the
forefront of consumers’ minds, continue with their marketing endeavours.
The heart of your business’ success lies in marketing. Most aspects of your brand depend on
successful marketing. The overall marketing umbrella covers advertising, public relations,
promotions and sales. Traditional advertising, being one of the longest standing forms of
publicity, has certain drawbacks, and is slowly giving way to the rising popularity of “the internet
Traditional marketing means are becoming increasingly expensive and a lot more onerous to
measure than digital marketing. Purchasing television, radio, or printed ads tends to be pricey,
and often doesn’t have concrete ROI’s or measurable statistics. Difficulty in measuring the
conversion rate of your ads, for example, creates a challenge in gaining a good understanding
of the ad’s efficiency and the results they offer. Traditional media also employs a forced strategy,
whereby a product is forced onto the consumer, even if they are not necessarily seeking the
product or service in the first place. Initially, digital marketing and a social media presence were
thought to be a “phase” that would dwindle over time. However, the converse has happened,
and the industry is not only surviving, but it’s thriving.
More and more it is noted that these platforms are rolling out more capabilities of individualising
marketing communications. They boast a plethora of insights and statistics, which in turn leads
to a greater return on investment. This is one of the most compelling reasons why your brand
should not be caught dead without some sort of marketing tactics deployed online.
Digital marketing is far more cost efficient, when compared to traditional marketing. Online ads
are flexible, meaning that a business can switch a strategy mid-campaign, based on results
obtained. It allows you to analyse where the interest of the consumer was captured or lost by
viewing exact results, such as, number of page visits, number of times your page was visited,
call tracking, and even footage of what the consumer did while visiting your site. Adspend on
digital campaigns can be as minimal as a few thousand Rands per month, allowing smaller
business entities to compete with big businesses and even popular brands.
Social media has amplified brands’ digital messaging endeavours. Social media marketing
companies have made a significant splash in recent years, gaining huge revenues for their
clients by connecting them with large, previously unexplored customer bases.
The number one way to socialise in today’s society is through social media. Having an online
presence leads to increased customer service; it is an accepted norm for consumers to head to
the internet first before they pick up the phone to call in. With online marketing, businesses have
the added advantage of socialising with groups or individuals, affording them the opportunity to
specifically target their ads. Brands can direct their marketing strategies to specific countries
and states. More granular targeting strategies are now available to include demographics like
gender, interests, or even the type of device they utilise. These ways of targeting your ads can
inform marketing strategies as to how an audience consumes information, and in what direction
they should take their campaign.
Digital marketing is imperative for a brand to remain relevant amidst turbulent socio-political
times. It provides a range of opportunities, including increasing brand impact. Any marketing
objective is to have potential customers learn about your business, discover your brand and
recognise it in the future. A digital presence allows this. By employing targeted advertisements,
it increases the chance of sales by showing ads to people who are most interested in your
The internet is “always on”, and by creating relevant and engaging content a brand opens itself
up to connecting with, and enticing, current customers as well as making valuable touch points
with potential clients. A business needs to create customer relationships in order to drown out
the competitors and advertising noise. By engaging with them frequently on social media, one
builds trust and more importantly generates brand loyalty. Social media and digital marketing
provide the perfect breeding ground for brands to remain visible and generate awareness of
business offerings, regardless of marketing budget.