According to The Next Web, a Financial Times entity, global internet users have increased to 4.95 billion in early 2022, with internet penetration now at 62.5% of the world’s population.
Internet users have grown by 192 million (+4%) over the past year, but the ongoing limitations in research and reporting due to the Covid-19 pandemic mean actual growth trends could be significantly higher than these numbers suggest.
A brief history of digital marketing
The term “digital marketing” was first used in the 1990s with the advent of the Internet and Web 1.0 (the first stage of the World Wide Web revolution, commonly referred to as the read-only web). Internet users could easily find information, but there was no way to share it with others. In 1994 the first search engine, Yahoo!, was born and that same year the first clickable web banner ad went live, marking the beginning of the transition to the digital age of marketing.
The next big step in digital marketing came around the turn of the century with the popularization of social media like Facebook, Twitter and many more, which made it possible not only to exchange information but also to network with other people. Businesses soon realized the madness and the power to build a brand in spaces attended by millions every day.
Fast forward to 2022 and there are a few thousand websites and services to help you keep up with new tools and trends. Today’s consumers are tech-savvy and want their products and services delivered instantly and to the place they need them. Marketers need to keep up with the technological and economic changes in the market to keep their customers.
Enter marketing myopia
The term “marketing myopia” was first coined by Theodor Levitt in a 1960 article in the Harvard Business Review. It’s a short-sighted and inward-looking approach to marketing that focuses on meeting the immediate needs of the business rather than focusing on marketing from the consumer’s perspective.
Marketing myopia is the lack of marketing foresight. Many businesses can easily fall into this trap by neglecting the needs of their consumers.
Marketing myopia occurs when companies take a narrow-minded approach to marketing and prioritize short-term marketing tactics over long-term goals. Some causes of marketing myopia are:
- There is more emphasis on achieving goals than building relationships with customers and what they actually want
- Predicting business growth without proper research through netnography (the audience’s interpretation)free behavior‘ on the Internet)
- Brands don’t watch their competitors because they believe they are the best (and only) possible product or service available
- Mass production of products and goods without knowing and understanding the real demand of the consumer
- Focusing on the past and not changing with the dynamic consumer environment, responding appropriately to changes that can present both potential opportunities and new threats
Hear the University of Johannesburg Marketing Department chart the rise of marketing myopia with Carmen Murray here and gain deep insights into something much bigger than we can imagine.
Companies need to work with digital experts
During the CovidD-19 pandemic, Carmen Murray Communications monitored online data and analytics. They experienced massive digital migration and a rapid rise in digital and social media short courses. This led to “pop-up” digital specialists and generalists proclaiming themselves experts at a time when businesses need digital marketing authority more than ever. These digital generalists are wreaking irreversible damage on the industry by increasing the pollution of digital marketing and marketing myopia.
One of the challenges all businesses face is the impact of the mental health crisis on their users. People have developed screen fatigue and doomscrolling (excessively spending screen time reading negative news) during the Covid-19 pandemic. This further led to people spending less time online and taking social media sabbaticals.
In addition, South Africa has one of the highest AdBlock rates and the lowest digital adoption rates in the world. Poor content strategies put businesses at risk, making it harder and more expensive for businesses to achieve their goals, better results, and higher ROI. Working with digital experts will help drive innovation and the transition to more sustainable marketing and business strategies, avoiding marketing myopia.
No long term vision
In a fast-moving digital world, it becomes difficult to plan digital marketing strategies in advance. If you don’t have a clear vision, an overall business strategy and don’t do everything around your customers: their needs, their wants, their expectations, their frustrations, their problems, you quickly lose out to your competitors.
Trying something new can be daunting, especially when it comes to business. But “fortune favors the brave” – so be bold and invest in digital experts who can bring about change and innovation that makes sense for your brand in this ever-evolving world.
Carmen Murray is a leading digital analyst, content strategist, and CEO and Founder of Carmen Murray Communications.
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