Digital Challenges to Traditional News Media Models

In Australia, and internationally, traditional or legacy print media is being challenged not by its importance in informing people e.g. during bushfires, Covid-19 crisis etc. but related challenges of economics, populist politics, innovation or lack of and now preferred use of digital channels and major social media like Facebook and Google by most people nowadays.

 

Following are excerpts from articles outlining challenges of populism, PR, social media or atomisation of channels, and possible solutions to support news, democracy, innovation and business models in a digital world.

 

From Inside Story Australia:

 

How disasters are shaping Australians’ news habits

 

A new study tracks the rise in news consumption during the bushfires and the pandemic — and finds a glimmer of hope for publishers.

 

In times of great uncertainty, readers and viewers will seek out reliable, accurate and up-to-date news — doubly so when their own safety and wellbeing are at stake. But will the news media continue to be there when they’re needed?

 

The latest Digital News Report: Australia, the sixth annual study of national news consumption trends, provides further evidence that Australians still rely on the news media — directly or indirectly — regardless of its financial difficulties…..

 

….News businesses, digital platforms and the government will need to reconsider how to maintain a healthy news ecosystem and keep citizens informed. Paying attention to what news consumers are telling us would be a good starting point.

 

Our survey confirmed that social media and search are now the two major pathways to online news, with a growing number of people accessing news through mobile alerts, newsletters and aggregator apps. News consumers are trying to find efficient ways to curate and organise the vast amount of news available to them. Rather than go directly to the news-brand websites themselves, audiences are increasingly relying on Google and Facebook to find what they want….

 

….But we know news media businesses are struggling to adapt to the digital environment, and we know they haven’t yet found a sustainable means of surviving.

 

From The Conversation Australia:

 

Media have helped create a crisis of democracy – now they must play a vital role in its revival

 

In May 2020, with the world still in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, Margaret MacMillan, an historian at the University of Toronto, wrote an essay in The Economist about the possibilities for life after the pandemic had passed.

 

On a scale of one to ten, where one was utter despair and ten was cautious hopefulness, it would have rated about six. Her thesis was that the future will be decided by a fundamental choice between reform and calamity….

 

….She was writing against a backdrop of a larger crisis – the crisis in democracy. The most spectacular symptoms of this were the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States and the Brexit referendum. Both occurred in 2016, and both appealed to populism largely based on issues of race and immigration….

 

How the pandemic contracted the media landscape further

 

Alongside these developments, the existential crisis facing news media was made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. As business activity was brought to a stop by the lockdown, the need for advertising was drastically reduced.

 

Coming on top of the haemorrhaging of advertising revenue to social media over the previous 15 years, this proved fatal to some newspapers…..

 

Defending against the digital onslaught

 

At a national level, the Australian government took up a recommendation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to force the global platforms, particularly Facebook and Google, to pay for the news it took from Australian media….

 

Populism and scapegoating

 

A third factor in the crisis, exacerbated by the first two, is the rise of populism. Its defining characteristics are distrust of elites, negative stereotyping, the creation of a hated “other”, and scapegoating. The hated “other” has usually been defined in terms of race, colour, ethnicity, nationality, religion or some combination of them.

 

Powerful elements of the news media, most notably Fox News in the United States, Sky News in Australia and the Murdoch tabloids in Britain, have exploited and promoted populist sentiment……

 

From Mumbrella Australia:

 

Publishers: Stop expecting handouts from Facebook and Google, start innovating

 

 

Facebook and Google direct enormous volumes of traffic to news publishers. But instead of paying for the privilege, like other brands do, publishers expect to get paid. Simon Larcey says that instead of the ‘last-ditch, half-assed cash grab’, media companies need to, unsurprisingly, innovate….

 

……In a nutshell, this sums up the ludicrous move by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and local news publishers, which have demanded that Facebook and Google cough up cash for any news content that the digital giants share across their platforms. And with Google agreeing to play ball last week, it looks like these demands are being met.

 

While some might regard this move as a digital giant throwing a lifeline to a drowning local news industry, other, more cynically minded people – myself included – might see this a move as one developed by Google’s PR department to win the hearts and minds of stakeholders. Putting Google’s motives to one side, there’s a risk that this is yet another nail in the coffin, an admission of defeat by local publishers who are no longer able to successfully compete….

 

The problem with handouts

 

Welcome to 2020, and after years of lobbying, the government has decided that if the news publishers of Australia cannot build a sustainable digital advertising revenue model, the two tech platforms will be strong-armed into footing the bill……

 

…….The numbers from the digital giants are probably even larger today. At least 50% of all news traffic is directed to Australian news sites via third parties. If Australian news providers did not have these two platforms, their traffic would be cut in half, and they would generate half the ad revenue. Any brand or marketer wanting to get that type of traffic to their site would pay Facebook and Google big money – in fact they do – yet Australian publishers think they should be paid for the privilege. It makes no sense.

 

For more articles and blogs about Australian politics, business communication, consumer behaviour, digital literacy, digital marketing, digital or e-consumer behaviour, media, political strategy, populist politics, social media marketing and WOM word of mouth.

 

Tourism Australia Marketing Campaigns

Australian tourism campaigns have often been in the news, sometimes for good reasons attracting attention, other times questions about the campaigns including the most recent ‘Philausophy‘.

Tourism Australia's latest campaign 'Philausophy' attracts criticism.

Tourism Australia Marketing Campaigns (Image copyright Pexels)

The ‘Philausophy’ campaign is self-indulgent wank, and a crime against Australia

Tourism Australia’s latest ‘Philausophy’ campaign has “desecrated” Australia and is appalling, self-indulgent wank, according to creative director and senior copywriter Mark Farrelly.

November 1, 2019 10:52

by MARK FARRELLY

What happens when you give a government department $38m dollars of our money? You get a pile of self-indulgent wank that’s an embarrassment to our nation.

You would think after the unmitigated disaster that was ‘Where the bloody hell are you?’, Tourism Australia would have learnt a lesson. But clearly, it did not.

The campaign after that was completely forgettable. Can you remember it? Bet you can’t. It passed like a ship in the night. The only thing memorable about it was the fact its weak, pathetic slogan was grammatically wrong.

There’s nothing like Australia? No people. Australia is a place. A location. It is somewhere, not something.

There’s nowhere like Australia would have made sense. I’m not saying that’s great. But it’s okay.

Rule one of tourism advertising: you are advertising a destination.

So it’s not surprising that when you have a team of people so unable to use even basic English, they are going to come up with something even more appalling than before…

…The campaign after that was completely forgettable. Can you remember it? Bet you can’t. It passed like a ship in the night. The only thing memorable about it was the fact its weak, pathetic slogan was grammatically wrong.

There’s nothing like Australia? No people. Australia is a place. A location. It is somewhere, not something.

There’s nowhere like Australia would have made sense. I’m not saying that’s great. But it’s okay.

Rule one of tourism advertising: you are advertising a destination.

So it’s not surprising that when you have a team of people so unable to use even basic English, they are going to come up with something even more appalling than before.’

 

What had happened before?

 

Tourism Australia looks beyond ‘controversial campaign

‘”Where the bloody hell are you?” has gone the way of the “shrimp on the barbie” – into the dustbin of advertising history.

It is two years since the Government unveiled the confrontational slogan to sledge people into coming to Australia, and now it is being dropped.

The $180 million campaign generated much publicity around the world but did not generate any major increase in visitor numbers.

Tourism Australia is also set to review its contracts with advertising agencies as it opens one of the country’s largest advertising accounts to tender.’

 

What is the issue or challenge round tourism marketing?

 

The Best Job in the World” & Beyond in a Brave New Marketing World

“Not since Willy Wonka and the golden tickets hidden in chocolate bars, has something come along like this.” Editor, The Sunday Times, United Kingdom

Investing heavily in content but not communication channels to reach prospective tourists, however, Queensland’s ‘Best Job in the World’ did gain attention globally through having travellers create the content.

The challenge was to convey to the rest of the world, in an already saturated global travel market, that surrounding this vibrant living organism was tangible product and a new tourism story for Australia…

….By the end of 2008 the groundwork was laid, the tourism regions and operators along the 2300 kilometre of the Great Barrier Reef had come on board under the “Islands of the Great Barrier Reef” banner, we had agreement from our international travel partners to start including Islands of the Great Barrier Reef product into their packages and marketing collateral had been produced.  Now all we needed was an idea or a “hook” to sell the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef to the world.

Stage two was the big idea itself.  Brisbane-based creative agency SapientNitro was given a brief to devise a campaign to promote the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.  While several ideas were floated we realised that “The Best Job in the World” was The One; a dream job offering one candidate something priceless, the role of Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef with six months to explore the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef while based in a luxury house on Hamilton Island for a pay cheque of AUD150,000.

While the caretaker’s duties, cleaning the pool, feeding the fish and collecting the mail, were tongue-in-cheek, for the campaign to work, it needed to be a real job…..

….Then on a cold January morning they opened up the newspaper or turned on the television and were hit by a ray of Queensland sunshine; an advertisement for “the best job in the world” with the initial criteria of “anyone can apply”.  The application process simply asked people from around the world to submit a one minute video of themselves telling Tourism Queensland why they deserved the best job in the world….

….On 6 May 2009, Ben Southall, a 34-year-old British charity events organiser, was announced as the successful candidate for “the best job in the world”.  In the first 24 hours of his announcement as the successful candidate, Ben undertook more than 100 media interviews and featured in news stories around the globe.

Two months later on 1 July 2009, Ben started his role as the Caretaker for the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.  During his stint he visited almost 100 Queensland destinations, fielded more than 450 media interviews and posted more than 60 blogs of 75,000 words, 2,000 photographs, 47 video diaries and more than 1,000 tweets….

….The estimated publicity value of the campaign topped AUD430 million and penetrated almost every country on earth.  Not bad for an investment of around AUD4 million over the three-year life of the campaign.’

 

Ongoing issue of direct communication with prospective tourists

 

Campaign fantastic but let down by one oversight by QLD Tourism, no direct channel via their global web presence to contact or make an enquiry in one’s own language, locally.  However, this is where Tourism Australia has been quietly creating a global web presence and physically through local travel and related representatives trained as ‘Aussie Specialists’ with resources made available online via ‘Aussie Specialists Club’.

As important, mostly ignored, are the significant digital marketing resource created by Aussie Specialists developing their own web presence targeting geographic, cultural and linguistic regions.

Result?

Most related web searches would find the relevant Tourism Australia website then finding travel planning and an Aussie Specialist travel agent would only be three clicks away; digital marketing 101.

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Impact of Digital on Marketing Industry Employee Skills

Digital and any new technology can be disruptive and requires changes in thinking, working, learning, education and training; includes marketing and IT.  However, like computer science, education and even job descriptions do not keep pace with technological change while many working successfully in IT or marketing do not possess related university degree, if at all.  Many are educated in other or similar disciplines e.g. engineering, or self-taught through personal or business need, and industry training or certification is more important than the degree (like CPA in accounting), supported by outcomes.

Following is paid content (marketing) from Digital Essentials on Mumbrella explaining how digital has impacted the marketing industry:

Marketing jobs are radically different in 2019 – but some employees can’t keep up

A revolution in how we consume media has turned advertising on its head, but recruits of all levels aren’t being trained in essential new skills.

February 4, 2019 7:30

Keeley Pope understands better than most how jobs in Australia’s media and marketing have changed over the last decade. A recruiter with 25 years experience, she deals first-hand with exasperated employers who require new starters to have mastered a breathless list of digital skills. “Today, you’ve got to be able to go from editing a video one minute to analysing data the next and then briefing into a post-production house afterwards,” she says.

In fact, that’s just the start of it. Marketing roles in 2019, she explains, can also encompass social media strategy, paid content, e-commerce, app building, project management as well as skills in Photoshop, CMS and copywriting. “Even the mid-level roles are very much hands-on,” she adds. “Now, marketers are publishers in their own right, too.”

These changes are, of course, a result of how marketers and agencies have reacted to the differing ways we consume media – the decline of printed newspapers, say, or the rise of social media and TV-on-demand. The problem is many current employees have been caught cold: either forced to suddenly acquire skills they’ve never been trained for or rejected for new positions outright. “The onus is on the individual to upscale themselves….

….And all that change is affecting how businesses are marketing and growing. New research by PWC and Facebook, for instance, reveals more than a third of Australian small businesses are exporting to foreign markets, and more than a third of companies now earn international revenue within just two years of establishment.

And so brands have reacted. Digital marketing spend has grown by 13% in the last year, up to $2.24bn, with video showing the biggest leap, along with increases to display, classified and search (Google ads, basically). Meanwhile, programmatic spend in Australia has leapt to $1.7bn – a staggering increase from just $84m in 2012.

“The reality is modern market is diversifying,” says Easther. “So employees now need to know a little bit about a lot – whatever side of the fence you’re working on. So, to do marketing well, particularly in digital, you need to be able to hold a conversation, and you need to know the strategy of how all the channels work together.”….

….On Easther’s course, he finds his students range from those starting out in creative agencies to senior marketing directors working client side and even those in media sales. “Some have learned digital from a few different sources and they come to formalise their learning,” he says. “While others have deep knowledge in one area but want to be more versatile. They might be a social specialist, say, but when they have a meeting to discuss programmatic, they wish they could contribute more.”’

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Understanding Digital Marketing – Student Course Book and Management Guide – Damian Ryan

Understanding DIGITAL Marketing – Marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation.

Course Book from Damian Ryan and Calvin Jones, 2009, Kogan Page.

Following is a university or higher education course book for digital marketing including preface from the author Damian Ryan and table of contents including key features or components of digital marketing culture and practice.

Marketing strategy and management of in the digital era requires new approaches and understanding in both teaching and management.

Understanding Digital Marketing – Damian Ryan (Image copyright LinkedIn/Kogan Page)

Top down traditional marketing precludes synchronous feedback with horizontal and bottom-up communication as central to digital marketing strategy of systems via social media carrying WOM word of mouth of authentic messages that cannot be controlled by marketing ‘commissioners’.

First some quotes:

We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future. (Marshall McLuhan)

The press, the machine, the railway, the telegraph are premises whose thousand-year conclusion no one has yet dared to draw. (Friedrich Nietzsche)

Whoever, or whatever, wins the battle for people’s minds will rule, because mighty, rigid apparatuses will not be a match, in any reasonable timespan, for the minds mobilized around the power of flexible, alternative networks. (Manuel Castells, author of The Network Society)

 

Preface: Welcome to a brave new world

The world of digital media is changing at a phenomenal pace. Its constantly evolving technologies, and the way people are using them, are transforming not just how we access our information, but how we interact and communicate with one another on a global scale. It’s also changing the way we choose and buy our products and services.

People are embracing digital technology to communicate in ways that would have been inconceivable just a few short years ago. Digital technologies are no longer the preserve of tech-savvy early adopters, and today ordinary people are integrating them seamlessly into their everyday lives. From SMS updates on their favourite sports teams, to a free video call with relatives on the other side of the globe, to collaborative online gaming and much, much more: ordinary people – your customers – are starting to use digital media without giving it a second thought.

The global online population was around 1.3 billion at the end of 2007. Projections suggest that figure will hit 1.8 billion by 2010. In the developed world internet access is becoming practically ubiquitous, and the widespread availability of always-on broadband connections means that people are now going online daily to do everything from checking their bank statement, to shopping for their groceries, to playing games.

What makes this digital revolution so exciting is that it’s happening right now. We’re living through it, and we have a unique opportunity to jump in and be part of this historical transition.

In the pages that follow we’ll take you on a journey into the world of digital marketing. We’ll show you how it all started, how it got to where it is today, and where thought leaders in the industry believe it’s heading in the future. Most importantly of all we’ll show you – in a practical, no nonsense way – how you can harness the burgeoning power of digital media to drive your business to the crest of this digital marketing wave, and how to keep it there.

This digital marketing book will:

  • help you and your business to choose online advertising and marketing channels that will get your ideas, products and services to a massive and ever-expanding market;
  • give you that elusive competitive edge that will keep you ahead of the pack;
  • future-proof your business by helping you to understand the origins of digital marketing and the trends that are shaping its future;
  • give you a concept of the scale of the online marketplace, the unfolding opportunities and the digital service providers who will help your business to capitalise on them;
  • provide practical, real-world examples of digital marketing successes – including leading brands that have become household names in a relatively short space of time;
  • offer insight through interviews, analysis and contributions from digital marketing experts;
  • ultimately, give you the tools you need to harness the power of the internet to take your business wherever you want it to go.

 

We set out to unravel the mysteries of digital marketing by taking you on a journey. As we travel into this digital world we’ll reveal how leading marketers in sectors as diverse as travel, retail, gambling and adult entertainment have stumbled on incredibly effective techniques to turn people on to doing business online, reaping literally millions as a result. We’ll show you how to apply their experience to transform your own digital enterprise.

Whether you are looking to start up your own home-based internet business, work for a large multinational or are anywhere in between, if you want to connect with your customers today and into the future, you’re going to need digital channels as part of your marketing mix. The internet has become the medium of choice for a generation of consumers: the first generation to have grown up taking instant access to digital information for granted. This generation integrates digital media into every facet of its daily lives, in ways we could never have conceived of in even the recent past. Today this generation of digital natives is entering the workplace and is spending like never before. This is the mass market of tomorrow, and for business people and marketers the challenge is to become fluent in this new digital language so that we can talk effectively to our target audience.

Television froze a generation of consumers to the couch for years; now digital media are engaging consumers and customers in ways that the early architects of the technology could never have dreamed of.

When the Apple Mac came along it opened up the art of publishing, and as a result print media boomed. Today, the same thing is happening online, through the phenomenon of user-generated content (UGC) and social networking: ordinary people are becoming the directors, producers, editors and distributors of their own media-rich content – the content they, their friends and the world want to see. But that’s only the start. Prime-time television audiences are falling, print media are coming under increasing pressure to address dropping circulation figures and – while the old school sits on the sidelines, bloated and slowly atrophying – digital media have transformed themselves into a finely tuned engine delivering more power, opportunity and control than any other form of media could dream of. In other words – it’s time to follow the smart money!

Over the last 15 years I’ve had the absolute pleasure and pain of working at the coalface of the burgeoning and insistent new media. I’ve met lots of smart people and spoken to literally hundreds of organisations with massively diverse and challenging agendas. The one common factor was a hunger for data and knowledge: anything that would give their particular brand that elusive competitive edge.

When putting this book together we wanted to make it as informative and practical as possible. Each chapter begins with a summary of its content, so you can easily browse through the chapters and select the one that addresses the topic you’re interested in. We’ve purposely left out the jargon – and where technical terms have been absolutely necessary we supply a clear definition in the text, backed up by a complete glossary at the back of the book that explains all of the terms we use in plain English. The result, we hope, is a book that is clear, informative and entertaining, even for the complete digital novice.

In your hands you hold what independent marketers around the world have been crying out for: a book that shows you how to use the internet successfully to sell your products or services. We begin with the origins of the medium and take you through the various disciplines of digital marketing campaigns. We travel around the world collecting facts, figures, comment and opinion from acknowledged experts, brands and organisations in different fields, getting them to spill the beans on how the net delivered the goods for them.

We’ll look in detail at areas like search marketing and affiliate marketing, we’ll delve into e-mail marketing and creative online executions and look at various digital marketing strategies, some moral, some less so.

In Amsterdam last year, I was granted a late-night audience with some of the best ‘Black Hat’ marketers in the world. These people, who will remain nameless, earn their living scuppering the efforts of competing brands in the digital marketplace. Black Hat marketing is real – and it can do real damage to your business. We explain what it is and, more importantly, give you some practical steps you can take to help protect your business against it.

It took television 22 years to reach 50 million households – it took the internet just five to achieve the same level of penetration. Things are progressing at an unbelievable rate, and we’re approaching a pivotal point in marketing history – a time when digital marketing will overtake traditional mass media as the medium of choice for reaching the consumer of tomorrow.

In the summer of 1993 I interviewed Jerry Reitman, head of direct marketing for Leo Burnett in Chicago, for my magazine goDirect. During our conversation Jerry pointed at the computer on his desk and said: ‘And that. . . that’s where it’s going.’ I wondered what he was talking about.

Fifteen years on and practically the entire population is online. Consumers have grown tired of mass media marketing and are turning instead to the internet. They want more engagement, more interaction. They’re starting to spend most of their leisure time in a digital world, and creative digital marketing is the way your business will reach them. Welcome to my world. . . Damian Ryan

Table of contents

  1. Going digital – the evolution of marketing
    2. Strategic thinking
    3. Your window to the digital world
    4. The search for success
    5. Website intelligence and return on investment
    6. E-mail marketing
    7. Social media and online consumer engagement
    8. Online PR and reputation management
    9. Affiliate marketing and strategic partnerships
    10. Digital media creative
    11. A lot to look forward to
  • The future’s bright: head towards the light
  • Word of mouth: savvy consumers control the future
  • Search: a constantly evolving marketing powerhouse
  • Mobile: marketing on the move
  • Tracking and measuring human behaviour In-game advertising
  • Holistic marketing: blurring lines and integrating media
  • Dynamic, unpredictable, exciting – and essential

 

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University Student Learning – Digital Marketing Skills for Work

How does a university, or even high school student acquire digital marketing skills and related employment?

There is a now clear crossover between seemingly mutually exclusive disciplines language, communications, information systems, websites and marketing.  Following is a helpful article from Kim Le via Marketing.com.au:

5 Tips for University Students to Help Kickstart Your Career in Digital Marketing

October 16, 2018 By Kim Le

Having been born a first-generation Australian with immigrant parents who value good education, I was always pushed to perform the best academically. Against their will for me to study Medicine or Law, I’m currently completing my double bachelor’s degree in Business and Information Technology, majoring in Marketing and Enterprise Systems Development at the University of Technology, Sydney…..

How can university students learn digital marketing?

Digital Marketing Internships (Image copyright Pexels)

….As one of the countless number of students approaching their final years of tertiary studies, it was only natural for me to begin to contemplate about which career path I should take. It wasn’t until my 4th year at university that I discovered digital marketing was the perfect bridge between my two university degrees. The more I researched about the industry, the more intrigued I became. For those students who are looking to get started in digital marketing, these are the steps I took which I believe helped me get my first job in digital marketing, and I don’t doubt that it will help you too.

  1. Start a Blog or Website

If you don’t already have a blog or website, start one! If you’re a beginner, blogs are super easy to make, they’re free, and anyone can do it. WordPress is a great platform to use for both blogs and websites and having one will allow you to practice and improve your design, SEO, social media, basic programming and marketing skills. Your employers will also look upon it favourably!

  1. Don’t Just Rely on What You’ve Learnt at University

Marketing subjects at university teach very broad concepts and usually don’t delve deep enough into digital marketing…..In my degree, the elective subject Digital Marketing and Social Media is the only subject which concentrates on digital marketing concepts. Because the options for digital marketing subjects available were limited, I found it difficult to acquire an in-depth knowledge about digital concepts. It would be highly beneficial for students like myself who are interested in the digital world if universities could incorporate more core digital marketing subjects in their curriculum.

  1. Search for Opportunities Yourself

The world of digital marketing is constantly growing and is extremely competitive. With a lot of entry or intern marketing positions nowadays looking for interns or graduates with ‘at least 2 years previous marketing experience required’, it’s a small wonder why many students like myself are finding it difficult to get our foot in the door in the digital marketing industry.

  1. Grasp Every Opportunity

Push yourself out of your comfort zone and grasp every opportunity that comes your way. I received an email one day from UTS Careers services about Digital Cadets, a free one-day digital marketing event, hosted by Indago Digital. I didn’t have to think twice about applying because digital marketing events and opportunities don’t come by very often and I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn more about digital marketing from industry professionals.

  1. My First Digital Marketing Job with Indago Digital

A few weeks after the event, I reached out to Indago Digital to provide feedback for the event as well as inquire about their current positions and internships. A staff member was quick to respond, and I had an interview scheduled for the following week. The first part of the interview process was with the Managing Director, Gary, to get to know more about me. I then proceeded onto the second step, which involved a skills test to examine if I was a good fit for the role. I was able to successfully pass the test and began my internship at Indago Digital not long after.’

 

One could also add that the ATDW Australian Tourism Data Warehouse Marketing e-kit is a very useful resource for those learning about digital marketing, especially sole or small business in tourism and hospitality, plus other services.

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