2017 is here, and it’s no secret that in marketing and in public relations, digital is here to stay. The internet has changed the marketing and PR landscape for good- any brand that ignores the digital landscape does so to its own detriment! With discussions currently raging about the price of data in Zimbabwe, what does the digital marketing landscape hold for 2017? Zimbabwean digital marketing guru, Tinashe Nyaruwanga, welcomed the new year on his blog, with a post highlighting digital marketing predictions for 2017 by Zimbabwean marketing experts. Several pertinent areas were highlighted that every brand and business should be considering:
A greater commitment to digital by Zimbabwean brands and businesses-
The past three years alone have shown an accelerated rise in digital marketing, with the Zimbabwean marketplace beginning to understand the value of being accessible to consumers in the digital space. There is a universal agreement among Zimbabwean marketers that 2017 will see an increased commitment to a systematic, strategic digital marketing approach. At Magna Carta, we have seen the rise of digital PR alongside digital marketing, and see more brands beginning to consider what their PR approach should look like online.
The growth of influencer marketing-
The internet is fast becoming a cluttered space, and the emphasis this year will be on building up brand value and loyalty to cut through this noise, according to writer and media relations and communications consultant Sure Kamhunga. With more vlogs, blogs and online magazines come online influencers who influence sentiment and/or action among a group of consumers, and brand will seek to take advantage of this to a greater degree. This goes hand in hand with the rise in social PR, with brands seeking to craft brand messaging for the digital space.
A shift away from “vanity metrics”
More brands are jumping online, but there will be a shift away from metrics such as ‘likes’ and ‘comments’, to metrics that are more meaningful from a business perspective, such as leads and conversions. TBWA’s Head of Digital, Kundai Mangwende, emphasises this need for more meaningful engagement- “brands are beginning to realize that the total number of fans or likes are useless if they do not offer some value either way. As a result, there is going to be a push from brand managers or community managers to start thinking beyond the ‘likes’.” With digital PR too, we predict an increased focus on metrics that demonstrate the impact of brand messaging.
The rise of e-commerce
The cash crisis has forced businesses to adapt and offer their customers digital and cashless solutions for making purchases, and e-commerce will rise as an area of focus as the environment on the market continues to demand it. However, the current discussions around data pricing are going to be critical in determining whether this area can grow or not, and which segments of the market will be able to afford data.
Video, video, video!
According to marketer Charlene Mukuzvazva, the international trend for 2017 will actually be one step further, from video to the rise of 360 panoramic video. With the growth of video in 2016, from Facebook Live to Periscope, and with local videos making their way in compressed versions to WhatsApp, video is set to rise in 2017. Once again, legislation and developments around data will determing whether this growth will be supported or halted, and whether video sharing will continue to boom on mobile or will be reserved to the proportion of the market with WiFi access.
Read the article and insights in full on Tinashe Nyaruwanga’s blog- “15 Zim Experts Give Their Digital Marketing Predictions for 2017”.