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Essentials of Digital Marketing Communications Assignment sample

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Essentials of Digital Marketing Communications Assignment sample

Introduction

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The outbreak of the recent Covid-19 pandemic has brought the world to a crossroads. Amidst what is being hailed as 'the new normal', the nations are forced to refigure their social and economic orientation. The implications of the emergent outbreak of the virus are far-reaching for the economic and health infrastructures of both developing and developed nations, which can be seen in aspects of trade, tourism and investment. While the degree of impact will vary from country to country, as not all of them are equally affected by the pandemic, the onset of the crisis will likely result in an acute increase of inequalities and poverty on a global scale. That is precisely why the strategic attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (abbreviated as SDGs) have become more relevant in this juncture (Tosheva, 2020). The pandemic in question is primarily a global health crisis, but with the emergence of gated globalization and the disruption of global supply chains, the pandemic has gravely affected the global economy, plunging our world into a crisis situation that is unlike anything the twenty first century has ever perceived. The World Bank has been projecting a significant decline of 5.2 percent in global GDP in the year 2020, which is only the tip of the iceberg (Nicola et al., 2020). The gravity of the situation has surpassed the economic recession of 2007 - 2009, and is only comparable in effect to the great depression that followed the Second World War. While the pandemic continues to affect the lives of individuals and communities across the globe in profound ways, and the future evolution of the crisis remains largely uncertain, businesses across the globe are forced to think of new strategic paths to attain sustenance, growth and further development. A report from United Nations (2020) assesses country impacts and professedly claims that while the pandemic is thought to be affecting all countries in a simultaneous manner, the shock will differ in degrees of impact, depending on the underlying governance, economic and demographic substructures of the country. In this juncture where the global populace is forced to stay at home in the fear of a microscopic, although potentially lethal, organism, private businesses and public institutions of governance are becoming more and more reliant on digital technologies in order to support the citizens and communities. In order to ensure business continuity and keep the national economy afloat, governments are rapidly implementing national digital policies, and in turn, novel electronic modalities are being established in order to optimally respond to the specific demands induced by the crisis situation. Countries across the globe responded to the onset of the virus not only by closing public spaces, implementing lockdown measures and restricting international travel, but also with the thorough mobilization of assets and resources and the introduction of novel and innovative digital solutions which aimed to sustain and boost the organizational infrastructures. The present essay will look at how the digital marketing instruments are being extensively used in the present context. We shall focus exclusively on the food retailing sector and deduce how new digital marketing techniques and strategies are proving to be effective for the food retail businesses in attaining their Sustainable Development Goals in this adverse condition.

The Economic Impact of Coronavirus

The outbreak of the virus has led the global institutions to revise the growth forecasts for the respective economies. The pandemic situation has penetrated deep into every aspects of the lives of global citizens. The perceived impact on transnational economic activities is significantly broad. It ranges from the diminishing of the discretionary spending of consumers to freezing business activities from a lack of capital, halted recruitment and a leash on expenses rather than the cost required for the commencement of basic operations. The global economies are getting hurt by the onset of the pandemic regardless of their scales of income. A chart published by UNIDO shows that the effect of the pandemic on food retailing industry in the UK has been grave, and the trajectory of growth has been deviated significantly from projection. The chart shows that the gross business revenue peaked in 2019, followed by a sudden depression after the month of January of 2020, when the national lockdown measures were imposed.

(Source: Stat.unido.org, 2020)

The World Bank forecast predicts that 92.9 percent of all global countries will fall into economic recession in the aftermath of the pandemic. Although the prediction shows that the global economy will slowly regenerate itself, the recovery process will finally depend on the ease of lockdown restrictions and increase of expenditures by the government, which may prove to be rather difficult since the World Health Organization already warned about a second wave, which is yet to come. Large scale manufacturing processes have continued to deteriorate across 90 percent countries of the globe since March 2020, and the impact has been devastating especially for the developing countries. Monthly reduction of industrial production has been perceived in Slovakia (-32 percent), Malaysia (-34 percent), Turkey (-33 percent), India (-55 percent) and North Macedonia (-35 percent). On the other hand some countries have recorded an increase in production, among which are Canada (+7 percent), Singapore (+4 percent) and Senegal (+9 percent) (Siddiquei and Khan, 2020). A study on the economic impact of COVID- 19 outbreak concludes that the direct health costs associated with contamination and morbidity is in fact much lower than the passive economic losses that were inflicted on nations in the process. Many countries are perceived to go through a loss of affects and economic recession even when the health consequences of the virus on the countries have been manageable. Lower income countries are much more vulnerable to the situation due to their poor socioeconomic condition and their lack of means that are required to response to the crisis. The international demand for products and services have also decreased to a great extent due to the worldwide onset of recession, and as a consequence, the organizations are being forced to look for new ways of economic integration. However, some industries such as automobile and tourism are more affected than others, and perceivably, the food retailing industry has managed to stay afloat.

Digital Transformation and E-Commerce in the Post-Pandemic Era

The interrelated concepts of 'digital economy' and 'digital technologies' emerged in the scientific lexicon in the twenty first century due to unprecedented technological advancements that merged different strands of technology such as communication, telecommunication and information to create an internet of things (IOT). The technological landscape of the contemporary era is characterized by a charged dynamism and new innovations that aim to ease the daily life of global citizens by their participation in the virtual. Information and Communication Technology has propelled the phenomenon of globalization as more and more local companies are able to promote their products globally through the use of virtual marketplaces. The global networked economy is becoming more and more democratic by giving small and medium companies the opportunity to compete alongside global corporate giants (Indristuti and Fuad, 2020). Although there are general rules and conceptual frameworks that govern market participation, the mode of business transactions have changed with the technological advancements (Savastano, Amendola and D'Ascenzo, 2018). Nowadays, the virtual realm is used for smooth business operations in the food industry, which has replaced the tedious management of goods physically. As globalization is the name of the game for today's business operations, the companies that want success and growth at the local level must also meet the criterion put forth by transnational competitiveness since the knowledge-based economy of the contemporary times transcend geographical boundaries.

There are many advantages of the present knowledge-based economy. The extensive use of digital technologies in the business operation are making services readily available through better coordination among agents (Mandal and Joshi, 2017). Moreover, the government institutions are able to integrate activities of public administration in a seamless manner. Digital technologies are also enabling rapid response to public demands and needs, ensuring better quality assessment, causing betterment of interaction within the business industry, reducing corruption, encouraging participation of the citizen to form a fully integrated information society, increasing transparency and generation of revenue, lessening production costs and additional expenditures and causing people to take up ICT courses in universities (Fu, 2020). This is further resulting in an increased interest in information and communication technology in public forums, which in turn, is making the governance process participatory, open and democratic. The public administration has seen unprecedented improvement in the previous few decades and the society in general has been transformed through the creation of value.

During the pandemic crisis, the digital transformation have become a crucial instrument of change. It has enabled the global populace to connect to each other and participate in the economy, which in turn has facilitated a resemblance of continuity in their regular lives amidst the disruption of social networking. Therefore, the necessity for reliable digital frameworks has been injected with a new immediacy, and some aspects of information and communication technology have been identified as crucial in the extended period of self-isolation. The importance of ICT operations have been amplified by the increased opportunities of food delivery schemes, remote work options, telemedicine, remote learning, online entertainment, contactless payment systems and production logistics (Tosheva, 2020).

The outbreak of the pandemic has proved that in order to maintain business continuity and societal resilience, one has to adopt to digital connectivity tools. The businesses that are keeping their operation offline must face the consequences of the recession and perish. A data shows that the usage of internet as a medium of exchange and communication has risen by 70 percent since the onset of the crisis (Feldmann et al., 2020). Moreover, the usage of online communication applications has doubled, and the daily usage of video streaming services have been perceived to rise by 20-fold. Hence, it can be understood that the Coronavirus pandemic has worked to catalyse the digitization process of businesses and the usage of internet by consumers. Old traditional models of business are being demolished as the global economy has taken a digital turn. The organizational workforce has been reshaped and new services and technologies have been developed to cater to the workforce of the digital era (Seetharaman, 2020). As a result the competitive environment has become infused with a dynamism and immediacy unprecedented in history. The immediacy is probably experienced now more than ever. The diverse domains of electronic payment transfer applications, e-commerce sectors and food delivery options have gone through dramatic changes to attain the trust and confidence of their growing customer base. A report retrieved from Hubspot shows that while the websites of construction and tourism industries saw a decline in traffic during the lockdown period, the consumption industry has seen a steady growth in traffic. In the next segment, we shall look at the food retail and consumption industry in more detail. 

(Source: Hubspot.com, 2020) 

Implications for the Food Retail Industry 

It has been perceived in relevant data that the food retail and consumption industry is much less affected by the pandemic crisis compared to other industries (Shahidi, 2020). What is significant in the above table is the fact that there is a parallel growth between computer software sector and the consumable goods sector. As the pandemic has forced the majority of the world populace to stay indoors, the food retail industry has to make drastic changes to accommodate the necessities of the 'new normal'. The reassuring fact is that there has been no known case of transmission of the virus through consumption of food till date (Leone et al., 2020). The below report shows that hourly incomes of employees have been vastly affected in the onset of the pandemic, but those involved in food services are better off than the rest.

(Source: Ons.gov.uk, 2020a) 

Various national and transnational organizations such as the European Food Safety Authority, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States and the World Health Organization have reasserted that there is no known linkage between consumption of food and the transmission of COVID-19 virus. The Good Manufacturing Practices and hygiene measures that are already in place result in the effective governance of food production process, and the current situation has forced companies to stringently adhere to the regulatory policies. As a matter of fact, the regulatory quality control and hygiene management measures that are implemented by food manufacturers and retailers worldwide are designed in a way that they would prevent the food from being contaminated not only by the present SARS-CoV-2 virus but by any pathogen under the sun (Zuber and Brssow, 2020). In the wake of the coronavirus situation, food manufacturing and retailing companies are not only adhering to the existing hygiene and food safety rules and regulations but also being watchful of possible violations of food safety that may emanate from the additional COVID-19 related measures (Rizou et al., 2020). Therefore, it is imperative that at extreme precautions are taken at all stages of food manufacturing, retailing and consumption, from farm to fork. The additional precautionary measures included examination of the medical condition of workers (sick leave), maintaining of personal hygiene (washing of hands), surface disinfection, temperature regulated working environments from the preparation to the delivery of food, and most importantly, maintaining of social distance (Nakat and Bou-Mitri, 2020). It has also been suggested in relevant literature that the last stages of food production need to be more minutely regulated, since there is a greater involvement of agents in these stages (Luckstead, Nayga and Snell, 2020). The data found from ONS showed that while other sectors are increasing prices to generate profit, the food and beverages industry saw the price to be decreasing.

(Source: Ons.gov.uk, 2020b)

An interview with the owner of a local cloud kitchen attested to the fact that there is an urgent need to impose the regulatory measures. In the owner's own words, "If we fail to maintain the hygiene in the kitchen premises, it will not only affect our business but also our own workforce. As we run our operation with a tiny group of people where everyone is assigned to a distinct role, if any one of them falls ill, the integrity of the whole operation will be jeopardized." Another interview with a food delivery professional illustrates the various health check-up measures that they have to pass through to maintain their occupational safety. The delivery guy says, "We have to go through a tedious process involving temperature checks and washing of hands at regular intervals. As weird as all of this would may seem a year ago, it is the new normal after all, and it's the least we can do to maintain the safety of ourselves and those around us." Another problem that the food and beverages industry had to face is the maintaining of the freshness of the produces when the global food chain got disrupted. In this juncture, the food service providers were forced to procure goods from local vendors which resulted in a boost of the national economy (Hobbs, 2020).

Conclusion 

It is evident from the above discussion that the food and beverages industry has been able to effectively implement technological innovations such as online booking, doorstep delivery and contactless payment systems. Regarding this aspect, the local kitchen owners and food vendors are indebted to food ordering websites that worked as mediators in the business. The new emergence of cloud kitchens attest to the fact that there has been an increased importance of the online food delivery platforms as more and more people, in the aftermath of the pandemic, are opting to get the food delivered to their doorstep rather than going out to dine at a Michelin- starred restaurant.

References

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Fu, X., 2020. Digital transformation of global value chains and sustainable post-pandemic recovery. Transnational Corporations Journal, 27(2).

Hobbs, J.E., 2020. Food supply chains during the COVID?19 pandemic. Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie.

Hubspot.com. 2020. Data: How COVID-19 Is Impacting Sales And Marketing | Hubspot. [online] Available at: <https://www.hubspot.com/covid- data?category=industry&topic=website-traffic&subTopic=&drilldown=null> [Accessed 2 December 2020].

Indriastuti, M. and Fuad, K., 2020, July. Impact of Covid-19 on Digital Transformation and Sustainability in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs): A Conceptual Framework. In Conference on Complex, Intelligent, and Software Intensive Systems (pp. 471-476). Springer, Cham.

Leone, L.A., Fleischhacker, S., Anderson-Steeves, B., Harper, K., Winkler, M., Racine, E., Baquero, B. and Gittelsohn, J., 2020. Healthy food retail during the COVID-19 pandemic: Challenges and future directions. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(20), p.7397.

Luckstead, J., Nayga Jr, R.M. and Snell, H.A., 2020. Labor Issues in the Food Supply Chain Amid the COVID?19 Pandemic. Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy.

Mandal, P. and Joshi, N., 2017. Understanding Digital Marketing Strategy. International Journal of Scientific Research and Management, 5(6).

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Savastano, M., Amendola, C. and D'Ascenzo, F., 2018. How digital transformation is reshaping the manufacturing industry value chain: The new digital manufacturing ecosystem applied to a case study from the food industry. In Network, Smart and Open (pp. 127-142). Springer, Cham.

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Shahidi, F., 2020. Does COVID-19 Affect Food Safety and Security?. Journal of Food Bioactives, 9.

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