Digital Marketing is More Important Than Ever

As New Zealand moves towards Alert Level 3, Digital Marketing is more important than ever. Many more Kiwi businesses will now be trading online and Digital Marketing is essential to ensure that they attract customers to their new offerings.

Why Digital Marketing?

So why should you consider Digital Marketing? There’s a simple answer: that’s where your customers are.

This January 2020 summary prepared by Hootsuite/We Are Social, compiling data from a number of sources, tells us that some 4.47 million Kiwis (93% of the population) can be found online. Not only that, but there are also 6.49 million mobile devices across Aotearoa — yes, some of us have more than one mobile device (think tablets as well as smart phones). And 3.6 million of us hang out on social media.

In addition, at least 70% of New Zealand broadband connections are now based around unlimited data, with an increasing number of mobile connections also heading towards unlimited data (that’s typically “unlimited with an asterisk”, with telecommunications providers limiting their potential downside by reducing delivery speed once certain data caps are reached).

Telcos are steadily increasing mobile data capacity because consumers are spending more and more time on mobile devices, with nearly half of all webpages now being served through smart phones.

Mobile usage is pretty much universal across most Kiwi age groups these days, with only the over 55 lagging behind (and even their adoption rates are dramatically increasing over time).

Kiwi consumers (at least those aged 16 to 64) aren’t just popping in on the Internet, either. They are amassing some serious time online — just over six hours a day, according to the latest data. (If you think that total sounds way too high, consider that Internet usage includes watching Netflix, listening to music via Spotify, playing online video games and of course the endless chatter of social media through your mobile.)

So where do they go? These are the top 20 most visited websites by Kiwis, according to Alexa.

Where consumers go, the advertising industry isn’t usually too far behind. Digital advertising has dominated total advertising expenditure since 2015 and accounted for more than NZ$1 billion in revenues in 2018.

By 2019, that billion dollars had grown another 12.8%, reaching $1.26 billion for the year. Paid search advertising accounted for the largest share of digital ad dollars, but social media advertising is showing the largest year-on-year growth.


That was then, this is now

All those numbers, impressive as they are, represent the status quo before we were all introduced to the joys of lockdown, of course. Since that time, international research tells us that social media usage has grown substantially as a result of our new homebound status.

In summary, then, digital marketing was already a dominant advertising medium before tthe coronavirus came along. Post-pandemic, it has become an essential weapon in every marketer’s arsenal.


After the Lockdown: Recession

it will come as no surprise that New Zealand, along with most of the world, is heading into a recession. Our Minister of Finance, the Hon. Grant Robinson, made that prediction before the lockdown even began.

April 2020 projections from the NZ Treasury reinforce that outcome, with painful predictions about New Zealand’s likely unemployment rates (based on different scenarios).

The three scenarios are:

  • Scenario 1: Alert Level 4 is in place for 4 weeks, Alert Level 3 for 4 weeks and then a mix of Alert Levels 1 and 2 for the next ten months
  • Scenario 2: three months at Alert Level 4 and then a mix of Alert Levels 1 and 2 for the next nine months.
  • Scenario 3: Alert Level 4 is in place for six months and then Alert Level 3 for and another six months

The New Zealand government’s April 20 decision to stay on level 4 for five weeks and then move to level 3 for an initial two weeks should see us close to scenario 1. Even so, that represents a massive jolt to the New Zealand economy.

internationally, surveys of marketers report a significant drop in predicted demand for products.

Major spending is expected to be delayed or cancelled by most consumers.

And, regrettably, this nightmare won’t be over quickly.


Preparing for the Recession

The pandemic may be uncharted territory, but recessions are familiar ground. There are quite a number of studies that have identified common features of those organisations which have survived and thrived through past recessions.

This HBR research, for example, identified a blend of prevention and promotion as the best strategy for managing through a recession.

As a general rule, the data suggests that companies that were able to maintain marketing expenditure during a recession were much better placed to gain market share on the other side.

That same philosophy was similarly demonstrated in the aftermath of the 2007/2008 recession.

NZIER analysis of past recessions all the way back to 1967 show that after each recession it took several years for New Zealand to recover.

Of course, the situation was quite different in past recessions. Whilst some businesses were severely affected, others were relatively untouched. We are faced with dramatically different circumstances today, with only essential businesses able to open during Level 4 lockdown (but often at much lower volumes and with higher costs). Whether planned strategies and philosophies are enough to help businesses navigate through the turmoil remains to be seen.


So what should you be doing, right now?


1. Listen


2. Communicate


3. Share


4. Explain


5. Be sensitive


Review your current activities. Are you listening to customers and prospects? Do they know what steps you are taking to keep them and your staff safe? Do they know what to expect in the weeks and months ahead? Do you?

Do this homework BEFORE you start any marketing.


If You Need Help

We offer a number of online training courses to help with Digital Marketing and with Selling Online:

How to Market Online

This is a seven-part course for those new to Digital Marketing. It is based around the seven key elements that you really must master in order to market your products and services online.

To learn more about How to Market Online, please click here.

How to Sell Online


This course provides an introduction to online selling for those new to the ecommerce space. It is a seven-part course which identifies the essential elements of online sales.

For more information about our How to Sell Online course, please click here.

Advanced Digital Marketing

This is a thirteen-part course that keeps you up to date with the latest developments in Digital Marketing. For more information, please click here.

Social Media Marketing

If you would like to know more about the full range of Social Media marketing options available to Kiwi businesses, check out our Social Media Marketing course:

The Principles & Practice of Social Media Marketing

This is a thirteen-part eCourse providing a comprehensive introduction to Social Media Marketing, from the Basics to detailed instructions on how to build and run a Social Media Marketing programme.

For more details of the Social Media Marketing online course, please click here.

Mastering Facebook and Instagram Marketing

This is a 13-part course which covers what you need to know to maximise your presence on New Zealand’s most popular social networks, Facebook and Instagram.

For full details of the Mastering Facebook and Instagram course, please click here.

Digital Marketing 101


Digital Marketing 101 is a 26-part online training course designed for students who may know very little about Digital Marketing, touching on a wide range of Digital Marketing topics over a six-month period.

For more information about Digital Marketing 101, please click here.

Facebook Accelerator Programme

So you have a few hundred (or a few thousand) followers on Facebook but now you want to know how to get to the next level? Our Facebook Accelerator seven-part online course will lead you through the steps necessary to supercharge your Facebook presence and get Kiwi consumers engaging with you and your brands.

For more details of the Facebook Accelerator programme, please click here.

The Complete Facebook Marketing Course

Complete Facebook Marketing course

For those who wish to master Facebook Marketing in its entirety, we’ve created a ten-week online training programme which will take you from absolute beginner on Facebook to highly effective Facebook communicator.

For more details of the Complete Facebook Marketing programme, please click here.

Mastering Facebook Advertising


This is a nine-part eCourse providing a comprehensive introduction to paid Facebook Advertising.

For more details of the Mastering Facebook Ads online training course, please click here.

Instagram Marketing course


If your target audience is Under 35, Instagram absolutely must be one of your marketing options. This course will give you a solid introduction to this fast-growing social medium.

Influencer Marketing course


Our Influencer Marketing online training course is a nine-part course which covers the importance of Influencer Marketing, helps you to determine the smartest and most effective strategies — and to explore how to identify effective Kiwi micro-influencers who will be good ambassadors for your brand.

For more information about our Influencer Marketing course, please click here.

Writing for the Web course


Effective writing has become an absolutely core competency when communicating online. Not just any writing, however. Different media require different approaches. The headline that might have looked wonderful in the newspaper probably won’t fit within the constraints of Facebook or Instagram character counts.

Our Writing for the Web course covers the key elements you need to know to communicate effectively to online audiences.

For more information about our Writing for the Web course, please click here.

Mastering eCommerce

Mastering eCommerce course

Our online course, “Mastering eCommerce”, tells you what you need to know about selling effectively online in a seven-week programme that steps you through the principles and practices of eCommerce in New Zealand.

For more details of the Mastering eCommerce programme, please click here.

How to Prepare an Effective Social Media Brief
Preparing an Effective Social Media Marketing Brief

Even if you don’t intend to become directly involved in social media yourself, you may still need to understand the principles, practices and opportunities of social media — for example, if you need to brief someone about running a social media campaign. This programme is designed to provide you with the insights necessary to prepare an effective brief.

For more details of the How to Prepare an Effective Social Media Brief programme, please click here.

Online Video Marketing

Online Video Marketing - Short Course

Online Video is no longer an “up-and-coming” marketing tactic — it’s here, and it’s a powerful way to communicate your brand story, explain your value proposition, and build relationships with your customers and prospects.

It’s well past time for you to upskill yourself in online video marketing, with our seven week course on Online Video Marketing. For more details, please click here.


Michael Carney Written by: