According to Percy Shangase, Managing Owner at Amashuku Marketing Solutions, now more than ever, marketers need to be intentional in their efforts to harness an insights-infused multiple disciplinary marketing approach to connect with their customers, who are shrinking owing to eroding discretionary spend.

2020 was the year to learn from, despite business closures, retrenchments, erosion of market share and voice, retrenchments, unavoidable job losses, houses and cars being repossessed by the financial institutions and the imminent drop in the standard of living.

What we need to do is reposition our mindset and re-group, re-focus, and re-energise our individual and collective efforts in invigorating our brand’s or brands’ essence, relevance, affinity and ultimately the bottom line.

Only cool heads will yield positive results rather than irrational panic. I am under no illusion that we have brands that are still at their embryonic stages (have not taken off and/or have taken off but have not reached the cruising altitude) that have an absolute responsibility to connect with customers effectively and consistently.

Experienced marketers, sales directors, strategists, media buyers and creative directors need a helping hand in navigating this uncertain yet treacherous period in history. The handful of people across industries and categories need to immerse themselves with experiential marketing, which will help create tangible/palpable memorable brand experiences coupled with ensuring authentic brand voices and effective and inclusive messaging. 

Digital marketing cannot operate in absolute isolation from traditional marketing methods, and traditional marketing methods cannot operate in isolation to marketing research. It would be the death of marketing as we know it if the perceived panacea is purely digital marketing because in most cases, it borrows from the ‘traditional’ discipline.

Brands need to gravitate towards an enviable position to pivot their strategies that will ensure they remain connected and relevant to their consumers. This could be effected without brands drowning in the sea of sameness of digital marketing.

I am not for a moment advocating to castigate digital marketing, however, I am throwing caution in the air that all role-players should desist from believing that digital marketing is the ‘only’ solution to the current marketing dilemma. It is rather part of the package in circumventing the eroding market share.

Let us bear in mind that needs, desires, aspirations and interests of consumers are dynamic and unique. Thus, marketers and their stakeholders need to be poised with effective tools (a collaboration I might add) that will help them with practical projections skimmed from insights and make well-informed decisions.

I have taken a sober decision to embrace the digital world in obtaining real value insights, yet seeing the need for traditional marketing. Immersions, visual checks and fieldwork remain the core of marketing. I am not oblivious to the realities of the marginalised.