More than ever before, businesses and employees with digital marketing skills are the ones who will thrive
WHILE many companies, big or small, temporarily shuttered or closed down altogether due to the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses who are still standing today can attest to one factor that contributed to their longevity – digital marketing.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), online sales increased by 30% in the European Union in 2020 as compared to 2019, and the share of online retail from the total accumulated sales in China reached 24.6%.
Last year, Bank Negara reported that online sales almost doubled in Malaysia during the pandemic.
Additionally, OECD predicts that since online sales require an investment, many of the firms that have enhanced their participation in e-commerce when the pandemic was at its height have an incentive to capitalise on their acquired infrastructure or skills over the long run.
“According to Deloitte’s 28th edition of The CMO Survey, investment in digital marketing activities has increased between 2021 and 2022. Most of the companies are investing in data analytics (78%), website optimisation (74%), and digital media and search ( 71%),” says Dr Kimberley Khoo Kim Leng, lecturer in Taylor’s University School of Management and Marketing, adding that digital marketing is a necessary tool for the savvy businessperson and marketer.
Fellow academic Lim Con Nee, from the School of Management and Marketing themselves, believes that those who do not equip with digital marketing skills may run the risk of exposing their career and businesses to change and vulnerabilities.
“If we do not progress with technology, we will be left far behind as companies are already jumping on the bandwagon to run their businesses using omni-channels,” says Lim.
She gives some examples of companies who successfully pivoted quickly to cope with the effects of the pandemic, and to maintain their relationship with consumers as well as generate sales: “We saw how AirAsia developed their super app when the aviation industry was down, how AEON pivoted to online delivery of shopping goods, and Zara and Ikea used AR (augmented reality) in their retail businesses.”
With the acceleration of digitalisation, companies are now able to do so much more than just sell products on a website or platform. Lim says digital marketers have begun to hone available technologies to target specific audiences and consumers to create a personalized experience.
“Many businesses are now focusing on new innovative technologies beyond their comfort zone such as using artificial intelligence and analytics to obtain more insights on their potential buyers,” says Lim.
“They are also using more interactive features like rich media ads on their websites, as well as social media networking sites and influencers, among others.”
After all, marketing is very much about building relationships with consumers, and it has also been likened to courting via “online dating” – driven less by meeting by chance, and more by algorithms and data.
Lim points out that this relationship building also entails being aware of target consumers’ social habits and meeting them where they congregate.
“I foresee that the usage of social sites such as TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter will increase tremendously,” she says, adding that the social aspect of marketing is important as successful digital marketers understand their target audience well and continuously build good rapport with their followers and networks over several years.
Khoo believes that in the future, digital marketing will have the potential to give consumers a fresh and immersive experience, as companies seek to appeal to young consumers who are perceived as “digital natives”.
“Web 3.0 and the metaverse are likely to change digital marketing trends. Many companies have started to look at immersive marketing as it is predicted that AR and virtual reality (VR) will be the imperative parts of the digital natives’ lives,” she says.
Both Lim and Khoo teach a Taylor’s MicroCreds module on digital marketing, in which students will be able to learn marketing theories, digital marketing and social media knowledge and tools, digital marketing strategies to generate more traffic for online businesses as well as hands-on gain experiences.
Taylor’s MicroCreds is an industry-recognised certification of learning with credit value, which is shorter and more flexible than a traditional degree and designed according to the current market trends for various industries and professions.
Some MicroCreds are stackable, which count towards credits needed in obtaining a degree should one choose to complete a degree programme.
These courses are taught by industry experts and experienced academics. Upon completion, graduates will be offered an e-certificate and a digital badge.
For more information on Taylor’s Microcreds, click here.