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Evolution of the Internet, and its impact on our lives

Introduction

In 1960 Media theorist Marshall McLuhan predicted “The global village – one world interconnected by an electronic nervous system making it part of our popular culture”. Marshall McLuhan’s prediction is reality today.

The very first connections between government departments & researchers in the sixties have evolved into one interconnected world and, without quite noticing when it happened, the internet has become the nerve center of everyday life.

The Internet continues to evolve minute by minute, but there are several innovations that have marked its evolution in recent times, We take a look at these innovations and their impact on our lives in this presentation.

How has internet access evolved?

Internet access has rapidly evolved with well over half of the world’s population accessing the internet today. Figure 1 illustrates this rapid growth trend. In 2005 there were 1,024 billion users versus 3,578 billion users in 2017! [Source, Statista]. Figure 2 – an example of the global village! Internet penetration is across the world.

Northern Europe has the highest penetration at 94%, whilst Africa has seen the fastest growth rates with the number of internet users across the continent increasing by more than 20 percent year-on-year. [Source, Hootsuite].

What devices do digital consumers use?

From wearables, streaming sticks, consoles to Smartphones and laptops there are many ways people can access the internet today.

Mobile phones are the world’s preferred choice for going online, accounting for a greater share of web traffic than all other devices combined. For example, 52% of the world uses their mobile to go online, versus 43% for Laptops/Desktops. [Source, Simon Kemp].

Device usage however is more complex than this. Many consumers and households are multi-platform, using a combination of smartphone, desktop and tablet devices, with digital consumers owning 3.64 connected devices. [Source, Chase Buckle]

How do consumers search for information on the internet?

Consumers search for information on the internet in a variety of ways. 91% of adults’ use Search engines to find information with Google the heavily favored search engine. For example net share of 74.54% throughout 2017. [Source, Verónica Jarski]

Google is so popular, terms like “Google is your friend”, “I can Google that for you” have become common speak in every day conversations.

Social media networks are another way people search for information. An example of this – ‘Seeking recommendations’ has become a common term used on sites like Facebook. Seeking information through trusted social networks makes search results credible.

The rise of Social media

With 3.196 billion social media users world-wide (up 13 percent year-on-year) Social media has become an essential ‘nerve’ in the Global Village. [Source, Dave Chaffey]

Social media has had a significant impact on how people live their lives. For example, social media is now the ‘go to’ place to get the latest news. According to a new study, 85% of social media users surveyed said that they relied on Twitter and Facebook for their news when they wake up. [Source, David Schneider] Social media also influencers purchasing decisions.

People are using their social networks to seek additional information whether that be ‘recommendations’ or ‘further product information.

What do Consumers buy Online?

Global Consumers buy online across all categories however, consumers still have a preference to buy in-store, vs. online for most shopping categories. A modest growth of 8.8% (of total retail spend) is forecast for 2018 versus 7.4% in 2016. [Source, Khalid Saleh]

As the Global Consumers online buying behavior infographic shows, 60% of consumers prefer to purchase music, movies, videos and books online, versus 28% in-store. In the case of categories like Furniture & Groceries when online logistics are far more complex, consumers will still buy in-store. [Source, Statista]

In terms of global trends, the UK has the highest retail E-commerce sales as a percentage of total retail sales (15.6%) , followed by China (13.8%), Norway (11.5%), Finland (10.8%) and South Korea (10.5%). [Source, Khalid Saleh]

Online Video Consumption

More people are interacting with videos today (and for longer) than ever before. Figure 3 illustrates this fact showing video accounting for half of the ever-growing Internet traffic and according to a Cisco study, global consumer Internet video traffic will account for 80% of all consumer Internet traffic by 2019 [Source, Tubular Insights].

Global consumers are spending on average 5.75 hours per week watching online video according to a recent study. 4000 global consumers were surveyed with 17 percent of the group watching more than 10 hours per week.

Movies and TV shows led the list in terms of what people were watching most often, with the vast majority people viewing videos at home. [Source, Limelight Networks].

Key Trends

Rise of the mobile! Increased processing power, better battery life, better networking and lower prices (making internet access affordable in developing countries) have been key drivers in acceleration of mobile device usage.

Google is still our friend, but we also have other sources to inform our search. Whilst Google remains the search engine of choice, consumers are turning to other sources to validate searches. As a result, today’s consumers are highly informed, and very much in the driving seat of any internet purchase/other internet outcome.

Online retail sales growth – not there yet! Whilst consumers buy online, growth in the retail emarketplace is slow relative to Mobile, Video, etc. Consumers have strong preferences to buy small items online ie; Music/videos versus categories like grocery where consumers still prefer shop in store. I believe this will change as obstacles are overcome. A recent example Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods in September 2017.

Video the rockstar! Video accounts for half of the ever-growing internet traffic. More people are interacting with video today than ever before and with predictions that 80% of all Internet traffic will be video by 2019, video consumption is set to experience the ‘supernova of growth’ over the next 12 months!

Social media!  From becoming the ‘GoTo’ place for the latest news, influencing product purchases and even political outcomes, social media has had (and continues to) have a signficant effect on how people live their lives.  And the next phase of social media –  ‘artificial influencers’ – Instagram’s faux Influencers  already have real followers! [Source, NBC news 2018]

Summary

The internet has profoundly shaped our world becoming the nerve center of everyday life. Several innovations have marked the internet’s evolution in recent times, these are;

  • acceleration of mobile device usage
  • rise of social media
  • rising rate of video consumption

As Internet continues to evolve Video is likely to experience the fastest acceleration.

One to WATCH … e-commerce. As logistics / e-commerce processes are streamlined, and innovative business partnerships are formed, I believe the world will also see rapid growth in online shopping categories like Groceries.

Oh and keep an eye out for those artificial influencers too!

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Meet AI influencer @lilmiquela …. almost 1 million followers!!

 

How effective is Promotion in Apples Extended Marketing Mix?

 

36078621-apple-imageHow effective is Promotion Within Apple’s Extended Marketing Mix?

Promotion is a core pillar of the marketing mix ensuring a business reaches its target audience, with the right product at the right price, time and place. The core elements of the promotional mix are;  Sales Promotion, Personal Selling, PR and Advertising (QUORA).

Apple’s Promotional Mix
The key elements in Apple’s promotional mix (Panmore institute) are: Advertising, Personal Selling, Sales Promotion, and PR.

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Picture | 2018 Apple TVC campaign ‘Behind the Mac’ promoting individual stories of creativity
  • Advertising Apple uses a range of communication mediums to promote its brand, from traditional ‘ABTL’ (Above the line) such as TVC, Print, Billboard, to the digital options available today. A recent example of advertising – the latest TVC campaign ‘Behind the Mac’ promoting individual stories of creativity.
  • Personal Selling With over 492 Retails Stores in 19 countries across the world
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    Picture | Chart shows Apples Global Retail Store presence. SOURCE: statista

    Apple’s Store Employees are key in Apples Promotional Mix.

  • Sales Promotions Apple uses a range of sales promotion techniques. Examples include, short-term campaigns such as money back guarantees. Apple also uses Strategic Partnerships for cross promotion. For example, Ticketmaster. Purchasers of concert tickets can purchase the artist’s album for $1 off the iTunes Store price. Upon purchasing the combo, customers are provided a direct link to the iTunes Store where they will be allowed to download their album.
  • PR Whether it’s giving a new product to a group of popular YouTubers pre launch, distribution of Press Releases or hosting launch events, Apple uses PR to maximise its brand profile and in the process create much hype.

Effectiveness of Apple’s Promotional Strategy

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Picture | Print advertisement Muhammad Ali features in ‘The Think Different Campaign’. SOURCE: Buster Hein 2012

The fact that Apple is ranked the most valuable brand in the world (Forbes 2018) is a clear signal that Apple’s Promotional Strategy is effective. Part of Apple’s success is that it reaches & holds its target audience on an emotional level. Rather than promoting a specific feature, Apple promotes the emotional outcomes of consuming an Apple product. For example, ‘The Think Different’ campaign 1997 – 2002, (SV staff). This creative execution made Apple users feel unique, empowered, that they too could change the world.

Another key reason why Apples Promotional strategy is so effective is its People. Yoni Heisler writes “Apple’s customer service is its secret weapon”.`

Indirectly, Apple Customers & Strategic Partners are also essential in Apples Promotional strategy. A recent example of a Strategic Partnership (that had a multitude of promotional spin-offs) was the exclusive content deal Apple signed with Oprah Winfrey. Oprah is famous across the world, has a huge following, thus expanding Apple’s global reach. When the deal was announced (BLOOMBERG) it made headline news across all platforms, publicity, a further benefit of such a partnership.

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. Picture | Oprah Winfrey, Apple’s new Business partner. SOURCE: BLOOMBERG

Apple have been effective with PR. In particular, ‘being seen’ to address customer problems. A recent example of this was the development of an App to ween apple customers off the additive nature of their phone. (BLOOMBERG). This story made headline news, and for customers made them feel that Apple cared further cementing brand loyalty.

How Apple has evolved its promotional strategy
Over time Apple has constantly evolved the way it promotes its brand. In the early days, (1980’s) it used ABTL campaigns to promote its brand for example, the historic 1984 Advert played (SEE BELOW) at the 1984 super bowl game, an example of using Iconic events to promote the new Macintosh (BLOOMBERG).

Whilst Apple uses traditional media today, it also leverages social media channels effectively to create viral hype through; celebrity endorsement, digital influencers/bloggers reviews etc. An example, Apple iPhone X launch was released to digital influencers months before launch (SAM BURNS).

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Picture | Apple’s Apple Employees.

From opening up the first retail store in 2001, to 492 retail stores worldwide today, Apple is the fastest growing retailer in history (Humayun Khan) evolving its personal sales force capability dramatically.

Apple has evolved its strategic partner network over the years too, maximizing the benefits of cross promotion such as; extending its reach, enriching its promotional offerings and strengthening its USP (unique selling proposition).

In conclusion
Ranked the worlds most valuable brand, (Forbes) I believe Apple has effectively used key promotional components (Roberta Greenspan, Panmore institute) of Personal Selling, Sales Promotions, Advertising and PR to ensure it reaches its target audience, with the right product, at the right time and the right place.

My 2centsworth … what do you think?