Africa, particularly South Africa has been playing catch up in the previous revolutions i.e First, Second and Third Industrial Revolutions. According to Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, Vice-Chancellor and Principal at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa needs to actively participate in this revolution to realise economic growth. Accenture has estimated that Artificial Intelligence which is a major contributor to the Fourth Industrial Revolution can add up to 1% into South Africa’s GDP.

In case you are wondering what the Fourth Industrial Revolution is all about. It characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human.
One particular discipline that is of interest for #PatOnBrands is marketing. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is fundamentally changing how marketing is done. For brands to remain competitive they need to adapt their marketing tactics and strategies. A good start will be marketers being comfortable with technology and using it to their advantage. The Fourth Industrial Revolution world is dynamic, meaning that marketers need to be dynamic too. In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, customers leave trails of data at different touch points, which can be very useful to marketers. The data constitutes what is popularly known as big data.

Big data provides marketers with the opportunity to gain more customer insight in real-time. This then gives marketers the opportunity to adapt their marketing strategies as customers’ needs change. Despite the opportunities, Musa Kalenga CEO and Founder of BridgeLabs states that to this day many South African marketers and business leaders have not developed appreciation of using data to support decision making.
The following required from marketers to succeed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution:

1. Education
Most marketers that are holding decision-making roles in their organisations come from the so-called “old school” therefore they may not be clued up when it comes to what is required for their brands to be successful in this era. Training and education is essential for marketers in order for them be able to understand best practices. They don’t need to go back school to learn about these, they can always attend conferences and read the latest articles on this phenomenon.

2. Embrace data
Dan Zarella once said, marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed. Good marketing decisions are made based on data not intuition. Through data analysis marketers are able to identify trends and patterns which improves the quality of the decision made.

3. Invest in new and up-to-date technologies
In order for marketers to thrive in this Fourth Industrial Revolution they must invest in tools that can analyse the data and automate repetitive tasks is needed. By investing in marketing automation software, marketers can improve efficiencies and over time they can increase revenues.


Final word

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is happening now and the sooner marketers and business leaders familiarise themselves with the key elements of this revolution the better they will be in their quest to outperform their competitors and remain in business. Also, this revolution affects all sectors, from advertising to transportation, so marketers brace yourselves!!!

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Thokozani Patrick Mahlangu

Thokozani Mahlangu is an internationally certified digital marketing professional and an Mcom Business Management graduate from the University of Johannesburg. He is the Chief Brand Creator of Pat onBrands and Pat onFitness- a fitness movement through which organizes weekly runs under the banner #RunWithPat.

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  1. What about Branding? How do brand marketers prepare for the 4th industrial revolution?

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