In the new marketing dispensation which is now much more complex than ever, marketers have come to learn that their roles in organisations are equally becoming broader and bigger.
Marketing can no longer be restricted to merely planning, strategising, research and communicating.
Given the growing number of marketing plat forms and media now at our disposal, the marketers challenge, is now to ensure that the impact of their communication channels is being felt.
Marketing jobs and employers are increasingly demanding for tangible visible results.
Marketers will from time to time need to evaluate their performance and the impact of their programmes on their targeted markets.
Having a multiple number of communication avenues makes the marketers work even more complicated.
The highly competitive market environment has also contributed to every organisation’s initiative to adapt and adopt.
It has been estimated that about 40 per cent of the Zambian corporate and commercial organisations have now gone digital. Going digital just seems to be revolutionary as the times have drastically changed.
Acknowledging this reality, the Zambian government initiated the establishment of the Zambia Information Technology and Communications Authority (ZICTA) to facilitate for this development among many other things.
The Zambian Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) on the other hand has started implementing its digital migration.
Muvi TV a private television station and broadcasting company, has since made significant strides towards this transition.
Among the first organisations to have gone digital are the banks, followed by mobile communications companies.
This development has now since extended to other sectors such as insurance and health services.
My point is that regardless of the need for companies and businesses to go digital, this should not be done haphazardly and with no future focus on how the system shall be managed once implemented.
This seems to be the case with most Zambian organizations.
I remember working for an up-coming Lusaka based digital media company.
The company had an ambitious plan on how it intended to position itself as a leading digital services company in Lusaka.
On my first encounter with the company’s director soon after an interview, I was so impressed that the company had a good product to
However, upon settling down, I soon began to observe that the company had not done its homework and adequate research before embarking on its mission statement, as a lot of things were not in place.
For those who may not be in the know what exactly is digital technology and what does it involve?
In a layman’s definition, digital technology is a means and a method of transmitting, processing data and information electronically either using computers, smart phones, I pads, electronic bill boards, LCD screens for display adverts or any other advanced platform.
Some time back the task for marketers was that easy considering the minimal number of communication channels available then.
For instance, if a business wanted to promote its services and products, it could only use outdoor advertising, radio, television,
newspapers and publications.
Using these channels did not entail very detailed process to identify the target audiences.
To assess the impact of any media campaign during those days, marketers simply needed to conduct some field research, opinion surveys, observations or sampling.
With the advent of the computer age and internet which has provided for various communication platforms such as the social media.
The marketer has to assess the impact of these communication platforms, to find out what kind of people their organisation is
reaching, when they are being reached, how many people are being reached.
This is known in marketing as the digital foot print.
I have come to observe that most Zambian marketers and organisations the task of managing their organisations digital strategy still remains a major challenge.
In as much as most commercial organisations have now embraced the digital technology and are using these as a means of enhancing their marketing efforts, there is still remains a lot to be done in the area of digital strategy management.
This problem I perceive can be attributed to lack of knowledge and comprehensive professional understanding on the digital era phenomenon.
Zambia may not be the only country on this continent which has to fully adjust and come to terms with this development.
The digital age has undoubtedly brought many advantages to businesses and organisations and has helped them gain market share and promote their products and brands.
However, it is important for organisations wishing to embark on this journey to understand that, they would need to invest in this
undertaking, for example they would need someone wholly dedicated to managing the systems.
Marketing people would need some specialised kind of training in digital marketing too.
The author is a Manager for Business Development, Marketing and Public Relations At the Zambian Open University.