Reflecting on E-Marketing

As I read Schau and Gilly’s (2003) article titled ‘We are what we post?’ I came across an insightful question: “If “we are what we have” and “I link, therefore, I am”, does it follow that we are what we post?” Perhaps not entirely; but to people who connect to us via the digital world, we definitely are what we post. I think this is what studying E-Marketing and all its components has taught me.

What I take home from what I have learnt in lectures, through the group project and perhaps more so through my initiation to the blogging world, it is that digital marketing involves a great deal of creativity. To succeed, to stand out, to sell…it all comes down to being creative; but most importantly, to be so in ways that are relevant to others and their needs.

creativity

Singh, Veron-Jackson and Cullinane (2008:282) make the point clear:

“[…] customers respond more favorably to marketing when they have control over what they see, when they see it, whether it can be personalized to fit their needs, and when they can be active participants in the marketing process”.

Blogging: A new play in your marketing game plan

Interestingly, this particular course has made me realise that marketing extends far beyond products and services as we traditionally understand these. I choose the quote above as an example to illustrate that I am myself a product, prospective employers are the customers, and what I can offer must be personalised to suit their needs if they are to employ me.

This brings me to my next point, which is how to market. Let’s face it; social media is now inextricably, inseparably linked to marketing. As Botha and Reyneke (2013) note, “messages are spread among social media users at an astounding speed across a global landscape”. Thus we are what we post on social media platforms. To market myself, I must make use of relevant social media sites. To market myself well, I need to consider the content at length: controversial has its place (or not anymore!), but perhaps less so on LinkedIn; boring never had its place to begin with. Following the trend is so passé; start the trend and maybe you have a winner. The e-tivity-ing, WordPress-ing, blogging aspect of this course has specifically taught me this.

Closely related to marketing oneself is arguably the most important aspect of a website: the About Me page. While this should be obvious, it often is not. Thanks to this amazingly insightful video, I realised what a crucial aspect of marketing this is.

 

One area which I feel should have been covered in greater depth is viral marketing. I think an amazing idea would be to illustrate the practical side of it. Students could compete in creating a viral post. After all, viral marketing is central to digital marketing today. As Wilson (2005) rightly point out, “a carefully designed viral marketing strategy ripples outward extremely rapidly”, and this can only benefit marketers.

Overall, this entire course has successfully demonstrated why and how digital marketing is “timely, inexpensive and can be quite effective when done in a targeted and relevant manner” (The Artery).

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E-tivity 2: Infographic

Do you want to rise above done to death techniques of presenting data and actually be noticed? Are creativity and visual stimulation what you strive for? Then the answer is simple: Infographics! Infographics is a highly engaging way of reaching a targeted audience. Fact is, no one wants to read chunks of written material to absorb the required information. Simply put, no one has time for boring anymore.

Why are infographics a winner in today’s digital era?

Work and play! The audience gets to engage deeply with your material because of the playful nature of presenting the content. You’ll get people to notice, and that’s the first step of generating traffic. By visually depicting the content, the audience gets to swim profoundly in it, and they are able to read your story more through images, graphs and other visual tools, and less through words.

Hello Computer, instrumental in bridging the gap between the digital world and leading clients, should be the first to embrace infographics. An infographic like this one, showing the trends of social media in South Africa, can be used on the home website.  It is critical to align one’s digital marketing strategy with one’s objectives. After all, isn’t the point of Hello Computer to lure clients in to interact with the digital landscape? What better way to do so that to use an infographic about digital platforms, within a digital space?

Understanding digital marketing strategy: The golden questions

Digital marketing strategy…complicated you’d say? Ask yourself these questions, and it could be that much simpler.

  1. What is the context you operate in?

The existence itself of Hello Computer is intricately linked to the digital world. The context is therefore the digital space, and what Hello Computer must offer to its clients are ideal tools that can be of use to them within that space.

  1. What is your value exchange proposition?

Ask yourself, why must your clients choose your platform? What unique contribution can you make that will assist them in their attempt to reach their objectives?

  1. What are your own objectives?

Hello Computer must consider what its own objectives are. Set SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) goals.

  1. What are the tactics used to achieve goals?

Use the relevant tactics to achieve these. In fact, infographics can be a great tactic as part of SEO tactic if cleverly designed. SEO is all about optimising one’s website with interesting content that is relevant to one’s client. No better way to do this than using engaging, creative infographics, right?

  1. Have you considered ongoing optimisation?

Infographics is a big start! Playing around with images, graphs and charts to turn monotonous data into interesting information can never be untrendy. The flexibility and creativity that this tool allows you are undeniable.

Constantly improving

This infographic hopefully gets the point across: trends in social media in South Africa. Statistics are provided and images are included. Designing perfect infographics takes skills though: getting the colour scheme right, being creative and not repetitive, showing enough but not overwhelming your audience…these are points that can be improved on, which Hello Computer’s dynamic members are sure to achieve!

Infographic

e-tivity 1: Digital footprint

A few results popped up as I did a quick search of myself on Google. From the search results, I realise what I want to be publicly visible as well as what I wish to be seen by only a select group of people. Additionally, I do wish to increase my online visibility so that others can learn more about aspects of me that I am willing to share. This will not only generate more interesting results when someone ‘Googles’ me, but it will also make me more marketable to potential employers who are now taking an increasing interest in assessing prospective employees by accessing and evaluating background information about them.

The first search result is admittedly my Facebook profile. I am quite comfortable with the nature of the pictures and information I have publicly shared, as someone who does not feature in my list of friends will only be able to access pictures sparingly. In any case I do not usually upload any objectionable or controversial files, so I am not particularly concerned about what even those who are connected to me can access.

There are a number of things that I am glad are visible on Google. These include:

What is currently available about me, I believe, helps to portray me as a motivated student which hopefully positions me favourably as a future professional. However I am not sure whether such data will always be available online. I have looked myself up on Google a couple of times over the years, and I have noticed that some results do not show up anymore. This is why I think it is essential to increase my online visibility more concretely. Some of the ways I can go about doing this is to:

  • Create a LinkedIn profile, as it is the most used professional networking site. It will allow me to make meaningful connections with people operating in the same field as me.
  • Start blogging! This is one of the most effective ways to share information about a diverse range of topics that are of particular interest to me. I am especially interested in painting (amateurish at best, but love it anyway), and writing, which I intend to pursue as a side career one day. It is imperative for professional reasons to do such networking now. It might help me connect with publishers.
  • Create a YouTube channel which helps enormously in various ways…sharing…marketing…connecting.