The biggest story of this year is the coronavirus pandemic’s catalyzing the transformation of brick-and-mortar to online. Afraid of contracting the deadly virus, shoppers abandoned stores and big malls, and switched to online shopping in droves. Yesterday Gap Inc announced that it will be closing most of its stores. Gap Inc (GPS) owns the Gap and Banana Republic brands. The company announced that it will be closing 220 Gap stores and 130 Banana Republic stores in the next three years. “What we’re doing is restructuring the fleet, shifting and pushing more of the business to digital and growing (market) share in key categories,” Gap Global president Mark Breitbard said during a webcast. This is just the beginning of a long-term trend of digitization of retail stores. This means digital marketing will continue to be a huge growth area.
Digital marketing is definitely becoming a niche that is coveted by big brands. But it takes singular individuals with their own dreams to set themselves apart in this field and make it big.
This week, we meet with Rei Prendi, the digital marketing expert, for his life journey so far.
Why social media marketing?
Because it has helped me to become a successful entrepreneur and earn a lot of money (laughs). To be honest, it comes with the territory. I am an easy, outgoing guy and I am in touch with a lot of people in real life. Social media is merely the digital extension of this. I find it a pleasure to work in this field specifically because it gets me in touch with a lot of people and helps me to develop contacts in the digital and marketing world. It is easy to adapt to changes in this sector and I was all the more equipped to do so. I can be innovative and creative at the same time, which is a big deal for me.
How did your journey start?
I started learning code when I was a teenager and became very interested in the work in general. I would learn and detect bugs, find security issues and develop ethical hacks for software. To be fair, I started doing this because a friend’s Facebook account was hacked and it got me worried about this aspect of technology since I wasn’t aware how it worked. Plus, I was still in high school and it was a good time for me to expand my skill set. I wanted to innovate, and do my own thing all the time. The Facebook hack was the wakeup call I needed to really do my own thing.
What about work? How did you become well known for your work?
Once I learnt the ropes of social media, marketing was easy. I was working on my own for many years helping out many clients and celebrities who are now in the big leagues. Finally, I became famous myself when I launched a project named Elektronika.al which has been up and running for almost a decade now. It really helped me to expand my campaign and lay down roots.