9.1 Group Activity Records
The main objective of this research paper is to study and analyse the changing media environment of certain regions in the planet and what part the internet plays in all these. This paper will be divided into nine sections including the executive summary part. It begins with a brief introduction into the area of study and familiarize the readers of the problems that the research study intents to discuss. This includes how the internet and the media is altering the population’s perspective of the world. Studies were conducted on different regions of the Asia-Pacific: Asia, New Zealand, and Australia. Certain aspects that were considered in the study were the rate at which the internet, the media and online marketing are being accessed by the locals of the targeted regions. The paper’s main body focuses to answer four unique questions that seek to elaborate on the main objective. The questions to be answered include how the internet has changed our shopping behaviour; challenges and opportunities that the changing media environment is posing to the marketers; how existing marketing communications can be modified to effectively interact with consumers in Asia-Pacific region and lastly; how marketers use the Omni-channel marketing to take advantage of the consumers over-reliance on mobile devices. The research used statistic graphs and table from ‘Statista 2018’ to formulate data corresponding with what is actually happening in the ground. The graphs show a rise in the number of mobile sales from the year 2016 to the year 2021. The rise in 2021 is estimated to be 20.5 percent more than what was registered in 2016. The findings from the research were: (i) over-reliance of consumers on the media is working in favour of the marketers, (ii) changing media environment has led to unseen opportunities such as real time advertising, and (ii) more than 60 percent of the people can and always shop while at their houses. From the research, it was concluded that online advertising, privacy concerns of consumers and mix of traditional media can help markets to reach out to the larger population by modifying their strategies. Also, it was noted that the changing media environment has enabled real time advertising and big data analytics as opportunities while presenting high competition and risk of losing data as challenges. Also, mobile phones were found to be used more frequently accessing online data as compared to laptops, computers, and tablets.
2.1 The Changing Media Environment
The world has become a global village. The once so big place is literary a couple of kilometres wide as of today. What fascinates everyone is how fast people who are in opposites parts of the globe can communicate and visualize with each other. Social media, smartphones, high speed computers and laptops have been connected together with the internet and aided people to be in constant touch with their long distant relatives (Saleem et al., 2011 p.60). However, as much as people are happy to be interconnected worldwide, technology is becoming more complex by day. Research conducted shows that the internet has altered the way a greater percentage of the Asia-Pacific region is consuming media (Redmart, 2014). Consumers in Australia, New Zealand, and the Asian region can now comfortably control what, when and how they access media and the internet at large.
By 2020, the National Digital Economy Strategy of Australia is aiming at providing 100 percent of the homes with high-speed broadband (Shopee, 2019 n.p). This will elevate Australia to the top of the food chain. However, according to statistics, Australians only 25 percent of the people are subscribing to the broadband services as opposed to the 93 percent consuming the internet. New Zealand, on the other hand, has 91 percent using the internet with 88 percent on weekly basis. Asia, being the largest has more than 200 percent of the people connected to the internet at any given moment. Surprisingly, the internet is surpassing the traditional media such as television and radios, which begs the question: Is the world population safe as it swims in the sea of the internet? Certainly not. The internet comes with its share of risks. Online bullying, privacy breach, credit and identity theft.
However, someone has to gain from all these. Content marketers are one of them. Advertisers are controlling the online market taking advantage of the immense online access in Asia and the surrounding.
2.2 Limitations of the Report
How has the Internet changed your shopping behavior? List a few examples to illustrate your answer.
With its transition into a global interconnected network (Lim et al. 2016), the Internet is an exceptional medium for obtaining, organising, sharing and conveying of information (Hansen 2008). These characteristics have led to more advantageous use of this medium by individuals and organisations. The enhanced use and development of Internet allows the Internet to become a beneficial tool for marketing and serves as an ideal platform for domestic and international transactions in the form of non-store shopping, e-commerce (Kian Chong et al. 2010). Internet shopping (e-commerce), also known as online shopping, is a rapidly growing phenomenon that is prevalent worldwide (Lim et al. 2016) and not predicted to slacken. Other names for online shopping include: web-store, e-shop, virtual store and online store (Singh and Sailo 2013).
Besides, in this 21st century where most people are encumbered with hectic schedules that keeps them busy and occupied, online shopping presents consumers (Singh and Sailo 2013) with the conveniency of purchasing goods and services directly from a seller through the Internet (Singh, Mittal and Kukreti 2018). Thence, online shopping has become an accomplished mode of shopping (Singh and Sailo 2013) that has attained a crucial position in peoples’ lifestyle.
With online shopping, consumers can be exposed to and acquire a more extensive variety of product and services promptly and easily without time and space restrictions (Kim et al. 2012). Compared to traditional shopping, online shopping not only offers higher shopping convenience values, there are lesser tangible and intangible transactions costs such as products searches, price comparisons and transportation – of which consumers and able search for and compare any competing products and services with marginal expenditure of personal time, effort (Katawetawaraks and Wang 2011) and expense. For those office workers who have limited and fixed timing to allocate for traditional shopping in retail outlets; coupled with the inability to shop for products during late nights past operating hours, online shopping caters a 24-hour shopping resource for consumers (Singh, Mittal and Kukreti 2018).
Earlier, consumers have to position themselves in front of the desktop or laptops that are connected to the Internet to engage in online shopping. Presently, the technological advancements of smartphones and tablets play a vital role in Internet connectivity and subsequently online shopping. Limitations of space restrictions (i.e.: being confined to sitting in front of desktops and laptops) (Singh, Mittal and Kukreti 2018) are overcome with these mobile devices that allow optimised access to the Internet for online shopping anytime and anywhere (Eri, Aminul Islam and Ku Daud 2011). Should the person need to travel from a place to another, he can utilise the time to shop on Shopee, Lazada and Qoo10 through their mobile applications.
Image 3.1: Shopee made available on mobile devices
Source: (Shopee 2019)
Over and above, tremendous progression in use of Internet for online shopping places absolute influence on the shopping process for numerous consumers as it alters their social aspects of shopping. Beneficial to those who wish to refrain from experiencing pressure with having any face-to-face interactions with sales promoters at the supermarkets (Katawetawaraks and Wang 2011). A fitting example would be RedMart – a Singapore-based online grocer that offers price match guarantee on their immense range of groceries and household essentials that can be delivered to consumers’ home seven days a week (RedMart 2014).
Image 3.2: Website Interface Image 3.3: Examples of products available
Source: (RedMart 2014) Source: (RedMart 2014)
Online shopping on the Internet is unlike traditional shopping in a physical market. A critical understanding of consumer behavior (Lau, Tan and Kwek 2010) and aspects of new technologies challenging the traditional assumptions underlying the conventional theories and models fundamental to online shopping (Limayem, Khalifa and Frini 2000) is needed.
It is reasonable for consumers to possess diverse shopping orientations that would in turn influence their purchase behavior in online shopping. The affiliation between shopping orientations and online purchasing that can be inferred from the wide array of anecdotal, registered and scholarly evidence provides insights into major reasons why consumers engages in online shopping behaviour (Lau, Tan and Kwek 2010).
The absence of time and space constraints of online shopping appeals to consumers who have strong convenience focus and preference for getting hold of purchases in a convenient manner. As for price-conscious consumers (i.e.: economic shoppers) who are principally driven by achieving the best value for their money (Brown, Pope and Voges 2003), online shopping provides an online platform to conduct competitive price comparisons (Brown, Pope and Voges 2003) with the transparent listing of pricings (Lim and Cham 2015) and detailed product information made easily available online. As such, consumers are able to utilise lesser resources while searching for their coveted products at desired prices (Lim and Cham 2015).
Per contra, multiple shopping orientations do exist among consumers who participates in online shopping as they are adept to perform comparison-shopping while in the most time-saving situation (Brown, Pope and Voges 2003). By understanding consumers’ shopping orientation, online stores places effort in knowing the decision-making process of consumers by providing vast amount of detailed information with regards to product attributes, availability and accessibility, and relative pricings (Brown, Pope and Voges 2003). These facilitate information search, fair price comparison (Singh and Sailo 2013) and cater to those of limited time and budget. Subsequently, consumers are often so expected to make a rational and sound decision (Koski 2004). This usually encompasses a favorable purchase intention that may drive actual purchase (shopping) behavior on the Internet.
Albeit the magnitudes of convenience and time flexibility made available for consumers through online shopping, such ease of access and flexibility may also decrease consumer self-control and encourage impulse buying (Dawson and Kim 2009). As impulse buying behavior is particularly motivated by stimulus, an increased and consistent exposure to particular stimuli; of which the diversity of products and complexity of information available, intensify the likelihood of impulsive buying (Dawson and Kim 2009).
External cues, also referred to as marketing stimuli placed and controlled by marketers, may also trigger impulse buying behavior among consumers (Dawson and Kim 2009). Marketing mix (i.e.: promotions and advertisements) is an example of external triggers. While the Internet behaves as a unified platform that allows commercial transactions between buyers and sellers, the Internet also serves as a medium for communicating product availability and promotions through online advertising (Saleem and Abideen 2011). Driven by the technological upgradation of smart phones and tablets, advancements in Internet, abundance of free web platforms available and rising consumers’ need for added convenience and speed, myriads of businesses are operating (i.e.: providing products and services) stores in the Internet environment to gain a competitive advantage.
Utilised by marketers as a cheaper alternative to traditional marketing (Lim et al. 2016), online advertising is a controlled mechanism that one to reach potential consumers, create product awareness among them (Saleem and Abideen 2011) and eventually transforming probable consumers into actuals (Singh and Sailo 2013) in a short period of time. To surmount strong competition on the Internet, online stores have taken up aggressive promotional strategies and marketing advertisements. An example includes banner ads appearing on unrelated websites that allow consumers to reach the site within a click. Promotional incentives like such can induce impulse purchasing among consumers (Dawson and Kim 2009).
What challenges and opportunities are posed to marketers by this changing media environment?
The rise of new technologies and Internet of things, fueled by the customers’ insatiable demand for instant gratification and rapid response, has driven marketers to step up their game to not only revolutionize their media strategies, but also strive for consumers’ attention, engagement and dollars with meaningful interactions. Here are some of the top challenges posed to marketers: –
1. Effective Reach across Platforms/Multichannel behaviour
The media landscape is often described as growing increasingly ‘fragmented’ and interconnected, with consumers seamlessly accessing content across more screens than ever before. According to a study conducted by comScore (2016), 89 percent of the users are using multiple devices. The lines between desktop, mobile, TV and film has significantly blurred and multi-screen behavior among the modern consumers has become a norm. As a result of this changing landscape, there are a new host of issues and solutions facing marketers, such as how to effectively advertise across these platforms and how to create a seamless brand experience across channels, to reinforce recognition of your brand and drive consumer engagement.
They will have to rethink their media strategies and find a more targeted communication tool to reach specific target audiences. Marketers have to use multiple media rather than a single medium to reach prospective customers. Also, marketers must ensure consistent and relevant brand messages across all the digital touchpoints to be successful.
2. High Competition
The tremendous growth of internet has enabled consumers to access to a wealth of information at their fingertips, literally anywhere, anytime and however they want it. Consequently, they can compare products and prices easily, causing intense competition. Marketers and advertisers have to ensure the brand is at the top-of-mind-awareness among their target audience. (need to elaborate more)
3. Risk of Losing Control
The balance of control has changed from marketers to consumers. In the past, advertisers and marketing practitioners were much more in control of the flow of information to consumers. However, modern consumers are dubious about marketing message have become more empowered with information and they are no longer passively consuming the news feed by the brands or marketers. In fact, consumers can now access to a wealth of information online from multiple sources that aid decision-making, such as forums, review sites etc.
Furthermore, consumers are now the co-creator of content. They read peers’ reviews as well as share their own experiences online. Word of mouth is especially influential. The challenge for marketers is that they have limited or no control over content posted by individuals online and how information is shared to other users. Thus, there is possible reputation and commercial damage from negative e-WOM.
4. Delivering seamless, innovative Customer Journey
The modern consumers are more dubious and no longer willing to accept a static, linear journey. The average customer is now always-on and always addressable; most customer engagement is now multi-event, multichannel journeys. Along with the customer journey being more dynamic, consumers are more demanding and more deeply involved in driving their own journey than in previous years. Marketers need to recognize this and alter their messaging with customer expectations in mind.
While promoting products or campaigns is an integral part of a brand’s strategy, ensuring technology is both engaging and fun is vital. This has led marketers to integrate all sorts of new, innovative technologies and develop content marketing, rather than using a traditional ad, in the hope they will find value in it and share the story with their friends.
5. Increased Security Risk
As more information is shared online, there is more incentive for hackers to find ways to get through the security. Consumers shop online, pay bills, submit applications with private information and other important documents, and much more. That’s a treasure trove of data for thieves.
On the contrary, the diversified media environment presents marketing practitioners with a plethora of opportunities, including:
1. Big Data and Analytics
Marketers gain unparalleled access to consumers’ purchase patterns and data insights to better understand the consumer behaviour, thus improving brand offerings. At the same time, marketers can easily reach out to their target market as they can now segment the market more easily through information obtained from the consumers’ social media, browsing history, purchase patterns etc.
2. Real time advertising
There is a “window-of-opportunity” for influencing the consumers’ selection of the advertised brand versus the other brand in the product category in real time. With the explosion of Internet, marketers can now actively stimulate discussion and purchase by posting live feed or real time updates via social media and online channels.
3. Targeted Content for More Engagement
For any piece of content to be successful, it has to be personalized and speak to a specific person. With fragmented audiences, efficiency of advertisement will increase, as it is easier for marketer to make the right content for the right group of audience.
The emergence of Internet has created an environment for consumers to express their opinions, share transparent details about their experiences and give immediate feedback on products or services. This consumer feedback is invaluable for marketers as they can gather unique insights and consumer trends. Also, it helps with strategic planning and savvy marketers use consumer feedback to develop a customer-centric experience. Alongside this, when customers feel that they have a voice, they are more likely to be loyal.
How should existing marketing communications strategies be modified, in order to interact and connect with consumers in Asia-Pacific region, based on the information provided in the case?
Integrated marketing communications has become a vital part of brand strategy and due to the advancement in technology, there are more than 2.7 billion people using the internet in 2013 based on the ICT Data and Statistics. In addition, Asia-Pacific region has a penetration rate of 32%. Marketing practitioners have been using five main marketing communications strategies to connect and interact with consumers today.
Advertising helps to raise brand awareness by reaching out a mass audience. Online advertising especially in Singapore is leading in Asia-Pacific region and is expected to grow 11.3% per year to 2021. Personal selling helps to build relationships with consumers, gathering feedbacks to satisfy their needs and wants. One-third of the marketers in New Zealand has used social media platforms such as Twitter, to enhance their businesses with 27% of consumers visited their site. Sales promotions attracts the customers’ attention and brings shopping convenience to consumers by reducing search costs and decision costs. Companies use direct and digital marketing to interact with consumers via their official websites and social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. This allows them to keep in touch with their customers, updating them with the latest promotions and information about their products and services. Public relations help to increase brand value and improves its credibility such as engaging in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and using social media campaigns to encourage consumers to participate.
Hence, interactivity is the key in making use of the new technology to get the attention of tech-savvy and always-connected consumers, especially they have overload of product information from both commercial and social media sources. To address this, existing marketing communications strategies could be modified in the following ways.
5.1 Privacy concerns of consumers
As media environment is becoming increasingly cluttered and fragmented, privacy and security concerns have been the main issue for consumers. Consumers do not feel comfortable surfing online advertisements, and college students, the demographic that shop online the most, do not find Internet advertising trustworthy (Kelly, Kerr & Drennan, 2010). These has led many consumers hesitating to enter their personal information such as credit card details, constraining online businesses. Marketers should be wary of consumer protection and find ways to alleviate these concerns. Online firms should be transparent and use third-party verification and security seals to reassure potential customers. With all these security cues, potential customers and consumers will be more likely handle their personal information and conduct purchases. Online firms could also reward potential customers with benefits such as coupons, discount code for first-time purchase, in return for handling their personal details. Above all, advertising content should take precedence over technological considerations.
5.2 Mix of traditional media
According to the ICT Data and Statistics in 2013, more than half of the mobile-cellular subscriptions are in Asia-Pacific region (3.5 billion out of the total 6.8 billion subscriptions). Nielsen has also found out that many consumers in Asia-Pacific region are going online due to the increase in access to broadband networks, not only in smartphones. However, there are still a minority percentage of households are not connected to the Internet. Hence, until then, marketing communications strategies via traditional media usage such as television and print should continue.
5.3 Digital content marketing
Today’s consumers increasingly want greater control of their media consumption and having a two-way, interactive forms of communications with the marketers and firms. Market practitioners address this by creating digital content marketing. Digital content marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating, and satisfying customer requirements profitably in the context of digital content, or bit-based objects distributed through electronic channels (Rowley 2008). Rowley (2008) discussed that digital content creates value as it educates the people with information about the company and the products, allowing them to make better product decisions. Consumers can also share the story and recommend purchases to their friends and family. One of the channels that marketers could use would be social media because it not only allows consumers to interact with the brands but also share their experiences and opinions with their friends and family. Choosing the right social media tool depends on the target market, the message being delivered and the level of control (Kaplan & Haenlein 2010). Kaplan & Haenlein (2010) has also suggested that market practitioners should constantly make their content fresh, interesting, enjoyable and valuable by finding out what consumers want to hear.
For instance, many brands such as KFC, Casio and Nike use Facebook as it is easily accessible and is able to interact and connect with consumers in many ways. Marketers are able post and update about their products information, offer discounts and allow users to like the brand’s official page and share it with their friends and family. Facebook users also can express their opinions and give their feedback through clicking the “Like” button and comment. In addition, Facebook users are able to connect with the brands on a personal level by sending message directly to the company with their enquiries.
Since development of m-marketing is still in its infancy stages, no industry standards have been set for monitoring and evaluation. Practitioners need to be aware of potential issues, especially on how to argue for ROI and its impacts on overall campaign effectiveness. Existing measurement related issues still stand, but they just get more complicated with digital additions. As for when and how, it mainly depends on whom the target audience of the IMC campaign, and what their media preferences are. So as usual, understanding consumer behaviour should be the key step before determining when and how.
How can marketers use omnichannel marketing to take advantage of consumers’ over-reliance on mobile devices? Use an example of a company you know to illustrate your answer.
Omnichannel marketing uses multiple shopping channels (i.e., physical store, online website or mobile app) to reach consumers, and provide an integrated and seamless shopping experience. It has become increasingly pervasive because a shopper is might start in one channel and move to another. Marketers could also leverage and allocate marketing resources to enhance a product or services increasing the likelihood of consumers purchase (Shankar, 2014).
Globally, there is an increase in mobile users. In 2018, an estimated 1.8 trillion U.S dollars in mobile e-commerce sales were reported (“Number Of Online Activities Per Device 2017 | Statistic” 2018; “Topic: Mobile Commerce In The United States” 2018) (refer to appendix 8.1). Given the mobility and convenience of smartphones, consumers can easily check and compare prices among retailers, look for discount codes, read online reviews, make purchases and even track their parcel. Kushwaha and Shankar (2013) mentioned that consumers who make their purchases through various channel tend to buy more frequently than those who shop in one channel. Based on the consumer profile, the target market are 1) younger mobile users who are savvier with technology or are more likely to adopt mobile wallets or payment apps, 2) consumers who lead a hectic lifestyle and purchases online provide them with solutions.
The process of omnichannel marketing engages consumers holistically from a physical store (offline) to the web page or mobile app (online), leaving the customer experiencing the brand across all channels. This medium provides marketers with the opportunity to capitalise on the mobile connection with consumers who are over-reliant on mobile devices. Starbucks is an excellent example to illustrate the success of omnichannel marketing. With the concurrent rapid switch of consumers’ using online and offline channels, Starbucks came up with comprehensive strategies to integrate the brand across all channels.
For instance, The Starbucks app (refer to image 6.1) is a convenient method to pay in-store and skip the queue by ordering ahead. It has multiple features, 1) membership and loyalty card that track stars (rewards points) which will automatically be updated once purchases are made, 2) the accumulation of stars allow users to redeem the drink of their choice, 3) Starbucks can send custom offers to users (e.g., offer of 1 for 1 drink, birthday treats or free gift), 4) users are able to purchase a gift card through the app and send to another user, 5) Starbucks card allows users to check balance, add credit, view past purchases and transfer balances between cards, 6) find a store near you and check the amenities offered in-store before making a trip down.
Image 6.1: Starbucks reward app
Source: Google Play Store (2019)
Starbucks maintained consistent messaging and engagement with customers throughout all channels, delivering a sense of familiarity and relationship with the brand. Studies indicate that the success of integration across all channels influenced the perception of experiential quality (Wu 2017). These integrations also increase engagement with customers which could, in turn, improve customer retention and an increase in annual revenue.
Starbucks built on a cross channel infrastructure
– Gathering all interactions with users on the Web and mobile platforms, we are able to provide a realtime 360° view of user engagement across their membership, loyalty and e-commerce activities.
– meaningful metrics — (for example gift card purchase conversion rate), a frictionless experience through your digital touch-points is a definite pre-requisite.
– Report data: Starbucks app XXXX downloads / users
– Prove: the increase in sales using the app
– This initiative reduced the excessively long time of waiting at the payment counter and increased the effectiveness of management and improved shopping environment for consumers
– At the same time, management can use these data to check consumer royalty and management including consumption time zone, preferred branch, preferred beverage and number of visits
Basing on the research objective and the questions being answered, it will be prudent to conclude that changing media environment is doing more good than harm to the people and marketers of Asia-Pacific. The research found out that marketers benefit as much as consumers befit from the changing media environment. Their target audience is tenfold now and consumers can accesses anything and everything in the internet regardless of the place you are from. The major findings from the research include;
These findings prove that the media changing environment is working proportionally to the needs of both the consumers and the marketers. Marketers can easily get their products across all the consumers as most of them spend hours online. The only challenge facing marketers is modifying their strategies for maximum output; which they will be able to handle in the near future.
Average number of online activities per device among
internet users worldwide as of 2nd quarter 2017
Source: (“Number Of Online Activities Per Device 2017 | Statistic” 2018)
Mobile E-commerce is up and Poised for Further Growth. Source: (Loesche 2019)
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Koski, Nina. 2004. “Impulse Buying On The Internet: Encouraging And Discouraging Factors”. Ph.D, University of Tampere.
Kushwaha, Tarun, and Venkatesh Shankar. 2013. “Are Multichannel Customers Really More Valuable? The Moderating Role Of Product Category Characteristics”. Journal Of Marketing 77 (4): 67-85. doi:10.1509/jm.11.0297.
Lau, Teck Chai, Hoi Piew Tan, and Choon Ling Kwek. 2010. “The Effects Of Shopping Orientations, Online Trust And Prior Online Purchase Experience Toward Customers’ Online Purchase Intention”. International Business Research 3 (3).
Lim, Yet Mee, and Tat Huei Cham. 2015. “A Profile Of The Internet Shoppers: Evidence From Nine Countries”. Telematics And Informatics 32 (2): 344-354. doi:10.1016/j.tele.2014.10.002.
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RedMart. 2014. “Singapore Online Grocery Startup Redmart Raises USD 23 Million In Series B Round — Redmart”. Redmart. http://about.redmart.com/singapore-online-grocery-startup-redmart-raises-usd-23-million-in-series-b-round/.
Saleem, Salman, and Zain-Ul Abideen. 2011. “Effective Advertising And Its Influence On Consumer Buying Behavior”. European Journal Of Business And Management 3 (3): 55 – 67.
Shankar, Venkatesh. 2014. Shopper Marketing 2.0: Opportunities And Challenges. Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
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