Is the economy killing your marketing?

22-OctIn recent weeks there have been a number of articles written by both research companies and economists painting a bleak picture of the South African economy.

With so many jobs being lost in the media industry alone some are now questioning what impact this will have on the South African business landscape and indeed the role of marketing within all business sectors.

The truth is that our economy is in a tight bind at the moment with the impacts of strikes, political differences (both locally and internationally) as well as oil and fuel prices making their own dents and are becoming more prevalent with every news bulletin that gets broadcast.

With the economy being in a bind  businesses are cutting costs wherever they can and as is always the case, marketing budgets are always the biggest looser’s. Print media, TV advertising, expos and branding are among the heaviest to loose every time. However while business’s in South Africa are cutting traditional marketing costs they still realise that marketing is still a crucial cog in the wheel that keeps their companies’ competitive.

What we have noticed is that where traditional means of marketing are being downsized more emphasis is being placed on online marketing. The reasons for this are more than likely unique to every business that goes through this transformation but we have outlined a few of the more common reasons below:


Having a billboard on the N1 highway in Johannesburg used to be incredibly sought after but there is less traffic on this road lately specifically due to the highly controversial E-tolling system. And with less traffic inevitably means fewer impressions on billboards, which is an aggravating factor in justifying business’s not spending as much on this medium of advertising. For online marketers to justify costs for business’s marketing spending the example above only goes in our favour.

Traffic numbers are constantly increasing on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. This can be attributed to great strategic brand penetration into markets around the world by these networking giants but can also be attributed to the trend that most people spend more time per day on networking sites, whether it is to review or purchase a product or simply to keep in touch with their friends and family all over the world.

With the evolution of behavioural marketing, agencies such as ourselves are able to create the message of our clients and target these communications to people that have already shown an interest in the type of product/ service or industry based on their past search and interest activities online. We are also able to do this at a fraction of the cost of said billboard above.


While there are still large amounts of cars on our roads to drive past billboards and large amounts of people buying newspapers to potentially see advertising the reach that online marketing delivers is staggeringly higher than that of traditional marketing. With a population of approx. 53 million people and with internet penetration of 41% the overall available audience to consume online marketing activities is a whopping 21, 2 million people. Adding to this is the 8:1 ratio of people accessing the internet from a mobile device, meaning that people are no longer only online when they are at work or at home but rather online wherever they are at any given time of the day. Once again meaning that the ability of online marketers to reach these consumers with brand messages is far higher than those of traditional marketing teams.


In the current economic landscape it is becoming increasingly important for business’s to justify their budgets, stakeholders and shareholders alike are more interested in what they are getting for spending money rather than what they are spending it on.

While traditional marketing teams have always been able to give statistics on how many newspapers are distributed every week, or how many people are watching TV when then an advert comes on, they fall down by not having the ability to give statistics on how many people out of their target audience actually took action once they saw the advert. Questions such as did the person like the ad? Or how many people even saw the ad in the first place? And did the individual inquire about the advert’s product or service? These are questions that go unanswered and again are justifications for cutting budgets in these fields.

Using reporting methods like “Big Data” which are at the disposal of online marketing teams, questions like the ones above are easily answered. Online marketers have the ability to mine their data even further and by being proactive can report on topics such as when your audience was most active online during the day, and where they came from demographically and what type of content they (your target market) consumed  as well as What products did they buy or Did the customer buy in store or online? 

The types of metrics available are endless and ever increasing now days but the fact remains the same, our reporting ability gives us almost undeniable power when reporting on the return on investment for business’s online marketing activities.

Traditional marketing will never die but in times of economic hardship and at a time where everyone’s place in the competitive world is always in question there is no doubt that online marketing will always prove the safer, cheaper and more effective means for any business to communicate to their customers.

Has your business been affected negatively by the economic times that we find ourselves in? Please let us know on any of our social media platforms below or contact us here to find out how AOM can assist you with making your online marketing more effective.
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