Blog

Asking your employer to support your qualification?

July 3, 2017 12:51 by Gill Kelley

Asking your employer to support your qualification?

Are you thinking about studying for a professional marketing qualification? If so, it may well be worth checking to see whether your employer is willing to support your studies. This may be through time off to study or financial support or both.

If there is no clear policy, then you may need to put together a business case to support your request.

As a first stage you need to carry out some fact-finding.

Selling the benefits of the qualification – this will vary from qualification to qualification; the following apply to the CIM Diploma in Professional Marketing studied at CIM Academy.

• CIM has been supporting the marketing profession for over 100 years and has a global reputation as a centre of excellence and its qualifications are recognised worldwide. This means you can trust CIM to apply high standards of quality and integrity at all times, as these values are vital for the success of the marketing profession.
• The qualifications are based on CIM’s Professional Marketing Competencies which show what is expected of marketers at each stage of their career, and this is underpinned by extensive research with employers as well as leading academics. This means you can be sure that the content is up to date and relevant to the job you do.
• The qualification will give the knowledge, skills and understanding to perform at a management level and carry out a professional marketing role in the workplace. This means you can professionalise your current role (if you are already working at this level) or equip yourself for a promotion or future move.
• The qualification is made up of modules, each of which is a qualification in its own right. By taking the two mandatory modules (Strategic Marketing and Mastering Metrics) plus one of the electives (Digital Strategy or Driving Innovation) you will achieve the full Diploma. This means that you can study a module when it is relevant to your work – you don’t have to study them in a set order. As the assessment is linked to your workplace you will give immediate payback to your employer in respect of the work you are doing on the assessment.

There are many benefits that could be included here – for example, there is an advantage in studying on the Blended route, as you only need 1 day away from work per module – the rest is done online. You need to carry out research and prioritise the benefits that are most relevant to you and your employer.

How will the qualification help the business?

Think about your qualities as if you were applying for your job – and link these to benefits for your employer. For example, think about the fact that you are keen to progress in your career, and what this means to them; there may be a business benefit in the fact that you would remain loyal to them as an employer.

However, the more important benefits to them might be the fact that you will be able to improve ROMI through more effective marketing plans and activities. Look at the content of the course and identify which parts of this will help you improve the most. Use these facts to develop a range of benefits that this course of action will offer your employer.

Of course, the ideal situation would be to quantify the benefits here, and set them against the actual cost of the course. This is quite difficult to do, but say for example that you have managed 4 campaigns costing £30,000 each this year and you assume you can improve on that cost by 10% through your improved skills, that would equate to a saving for the business of £12,000. The price of a blended diploma (including fees) would be £3,650, and so payback would be achieved within 12 months (even if you only managed a saving of 5%).

When can your employer start to see results?

We mentioned earlier that assessments are employer based and practitioner focused, so some benefit should be seen at a very early stage. It could be useful to draw up a timeline of the time it will take you to complete the qualification, and what topics will be covered when. At CIM Academy you will study intensively and should complete a Diploma in less than 12 months. The timeline will also show your employer when you will be focused on completing and submitting assessments, and so when you may need support from them.

In summary –

• Do your research
• Ask for the funding
• Support your request with benefits for the business

Good luck!

Tags: CIM Qualification, Studying, Professional Development, Funding, Employer support

Categories: CIM Qualification

Qualification or expertise, does it have to be a choice?

June 28, 2017 13:09 by Anna Hern

Qualification or expertise, does it have to be a choice? CC0 Public Domain

The newly launched CIM Foundation course for the Construction industry marks a real step forward in the drive to make an academic qualification that is of immediate relevance to practitioners – and about time too.

Marketing is a broad (and much misunderstood) discipline, whose principles need to be learnt and understood. The principles hold for any market sector, but the application is necessarily different depending on the industry in which you work. Sometimes so different that it is difficult to apply the principles without some transitional guidance.

However, it is surely impossible for a central organisation to supply training tailored precisely to meet the changing requirements of a hundred unique industry sectors: a collaborative approach that combines an established and authoritative training programme with insight from current industry practitioners has to be the ideal solution.

The construction sector is the first to have undertaken such a collaboration: marketing professionals currently working in the sector provide practical guidance based on first-hand experience of the specific challenges of this diverse industry. One small example illustrates the point. Marketing training will demand that you focus on the customer – but in the construction industry, who is that customer? The architect who specifies? The contractor who builds? The commissioner who pays, or the occupant who lives with the consequences?

With its complex supply chains and various influencers, the sector is difficult to navigate and also very much in need of skilled and enthusiastic professionals. The new course draws on the experience of marketers who have had to adapt their learning to meet the needs of the construction sector and are happy to help smooth the process for new entrants.

The result is the very best hybrid – a measured and expert framework in which the unique and specific application of knowledge is explained and demonstrated. Candidates completing the course will come away not only with an understanding of marketing principles, but also with the interpretation to enable them to apply those principles in a construction environment immediately.

The first course begins in September and registrations will close on Friday 18th August. More information is available here


About the author: Anna Hern is MD of Ridgemount PR, a consultancy specialising in the construction sector, and CIMCIG committee member

Tags: Level 3, Foundation, Marketing, The Construction Industry

Categories: CIM Qualification

A Learner's Perspective: The future of using virtual technology as a marketing tool

June 20, 2017 07:35 by Emma Hailstone

A Learner's Perspective: The future of using virtual technology as a marketing tool CC0 Public Domain

I am basing this blog on the rather clever advert by Nissan which showcases the talents of the tilt brush artist Stephen Wiltshire as he draws the Nissan Micra from memory using a VR headset.

The advert shows the image of the car appear in the same room Stephen is standing in as he draws it. This relates to recent developments in augmented reality; i.e. using a VR headset to view 3D images in your own surroundings, the concept behind Microsoft’s latest HoloLens technology.

However, the common view that virtual reality was a way of escaping reality is starting to be replaced by a more progressive view that it is more about switching that around to how virtual reality can enhance reality.


This defines the difference between virtual reality and augmented reality. Augmented reality is deemed more realistic as it maintains a user’s connection with the real world. This however does not always have to be streamed through a headset, as seen with Vein Viewer, a medical device that projects a patient’s veins onto their skin so that medical professionals can administer injections more accurately.


These developments in virtual technology will particularly benefit automotive companies who will start to struggle if they do not keep up with digitally enhancing their stores; a trend that is starting to be seen in the automotive industry as some carmakers such as Hyundai are starting to move from out-of-town dealerships to showrooms in popular shopping centres like Bluewater and Westfields.


Jack Rands, Renault’s social media director aptly defines this process as ‘moving with the customer’ (Marketing Week, 2015). When buying a car, it has become more about convenience, as people are less likely to drive to an out-of-town dealership if they can buy the car in a more convenient location or explore their options online.


Toyota’s GB marketing director Andrew Cullis has said ‘he wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon starts selling cars’ based on his observation that ‘a [simpler] ecommerce buying experience is what a lot of drivers crave’ (Marketing Week, 2017). The future of buying a car is changing, and who knows what will happen in the next few decades, the number of people who buy cars may even decrease as they rely on other modes of transport instead such as an Uber taxi. The future of driving could also be driverless, which is something that Uber are looking into in order to make their fares even cheaper.


Eventually other retailers will be required to use virtual technology in their stores. This is supported by the findings of a report conducted by Westfields in 2014 assessing the future trends of shopping (How We Shop Now Report, 2014) backing up the claim that customers increasingly expect retailers to use technology to intervene in the shopping experience. Companies that sell a service such as a travel agency could really benefit from this as for example using virtual technology to sell a particular holiday location would make the sales process easier as people will get to ‘try before they buy’ a holiday package.


Using virtual technology in stores goes beyond using VR headsets; retailers can use ‘real-time tracking’ to help manage their stock more efficiently or even to track a customer’s movement around the store. For example, Sweden’s largest grocery chain ICA monitors shopper behaviour using their CCTV so that they can respond to long queues quickly and identify the areas of the shop with the highest concentration of shoppers. Some stores are also using heat map software to assess the visual effectiveness of their shelf displays in real time.


However, this raises the issue of privacy. Customers place a high value on their privacy and so as marketers we must listen to this.


The important point here for marketers is to prove the value of using the technology. To do this, you must tap into the storytelling power of VR to achieve ‘VR excellence’ (Marketing Week, 2016); this means using VR in a way that helps you tell the story of your brand to the customer, helping them to engage more with your company and persuading them to buy your goods and services. A good example is using virtual technology in sponsorship of an event, such as Jaguar who launched a ‘Feel Wimbledon’ campaign to give people the chance to feel what it was like to hit the winning shot as Andy Murray, therefore offering a clear reward. The key here is providing customers with a reward, otherwise it risks being a gimmick.


The view that VR is seen as a ‘gimmick’ may detract customers away from engaging with the use of VR. It is important to properly integrate the use of virtual technology to avoid ‘doing VR’ for the sake of ‘doing VR’ (Marketing Week, 2016). The point of using virtual technology is to improve the customer’s experience in store, and this may not necessarily be improved if a customer has to put on a headset. It is important to make the experience interactive, as this is more likely to maintain the customer’s attention. The carmaker Skoda set up a kiosk in Waterloo Station by asking commuters to design their own custom version which was subsequently put up on the main advertising screen in the station, something which would have definitely attracted the attention of fellow commuters. This is one example of how the traditional car showroom is slowly being transported into an ‘interactive showroom experience’ which has the potential to be experienced anywhere.


The important thing to remember with virtual technology is that it is early days; to reap the full benefits customers will need educating about the ways in which it can enhance their experience and be more than just showing off the latest technology.

In the future, virtual technology could be a great way for marketers to sell a brand and to generate sales by providing an engaging and immersive shopping experience. However, care should be taken with how it is used as it has the potential to be a disruptive rather than a productive presence.

Tags: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Automotive industry, Digital Marketing

Categories: A Learner's Perspective

Why change?

June 13, 2017 08:31 by Gill Kelley

Why change? CC0 Public Domain

CC0 Public DomainCCO Public Domain

Change is the only constant in today’s business environment. The development of a marketing oriented culture takes a long time, and when developed it becomes a measure of the value it receives from its employees, relative to other organisations.  Equally, innovation often means change, a potentially uncomfortable position for many employees. Managers have an important role in encouraging ideas and experimentation, fostering sound internal communications to keep their staff in contact with what is happening in the business, and facilitating change.

Changing environments are making the achievement of a market orientation even more difficult.  Marketers have to balance the following issues (to name but a few) with the need to satisfy the customer.

  • New political scenarios are emerging which may change allegiances of trade blocs.
  • Globalisation and deregulation are increasing competition
  • Customers are becoming more sophisticated. As supply exceeds demand in many markets, so customer choice increases and the customer gains in power. Customers’ expectations are therefore increasing
  • Governments and people are becoming increasingly aware and concerned over the impact of our actions on the environment. They are bringing pressure and legislation to bear on organisations that are forcing them to redefine their products, services and activities
  • Demographics are changing. People are living in smaller units, living longer and living in mixed-race societies and cultures. There are new opportunities for organisations but, at the same time, certain activities that are no longer required or socially acceptable
  • Technology has changed our lives. The pace of change is exciting for some, bewildering for others. Organisations have to decide what they want to adopt, make the investment and execute their plans, all before the next generation of technology wipes out their investment
  • Shareholders’ expectations for steadily increasing returns on their investment, coupled with changes in corporate governance, are leading to increased emphasis on measuring organisations’ performance in the market across a range of criteria, not just financial. Increasingly, marketing assets such as brands are coming under scrutiny and marketers have to measure and justify expenditure on marketing activities

 

Change and internal marketing

Many people feel threatened by change and the difference it might make to their lives, especially if they are not in control of the changes that are being made.  For example, what will happen if they cannot do the job they have in the changed organisation?  Will there be redundancies?  Will their status change within the organisation?  To overcome some of these issues, internal marketing is necessary to make sure that productivity does not drop due to employees’ fears and the feeling that it is not worth putting as much effort in to work as they may be applying for other jobs or discussing the situation with other employees. Internal marketing has been proposed as a philosophy that focuses on a firm’s employees with the aim of rendering them more effective in delivering superior customer service (Lings and Greenley, 2009). Valuing staff and ensuring that they embrace change is a key role of internal marketing and some of the internal marketing actions that can help to avoid barriers to change include:

  • Making sure there is open communicationand fostering employee involvement both before and during the change.
  • Making sure that the change is communicatednot just through words but also through behaviour.  Champions of the change should demonstrate new ‘behaviour’ and lead by example.
  • Encouraging the right attitudeto the change by understanding and removing the fear factor.
  • Developing a culture that is based on creativity and innovation, and extending the boundaries within which people are empoweredto work gradually, so that they are able to make minor mistakes.
  • Using a framework for implementing change can help support the organisation’s efforts as there will be elements that favour change and others that incite barriers to change.

Serious consideration needs to be taken about how many resources you will invest in the change programme. The influencers in the organisation need to be identified so that they can become part of the positive messaging about the change that is taking place.  It may be impossible for your staff to do their day-to-day jobs and help implement a change and so a change steering group or a change champion may need to be heralded as a new interim role until the change has been completed. Kotter (1996) suggests an eight-step model that helps frame a change programme. It starts with establishing a sense of urgency, discusses clear vision and open communication and finishes with the anchoring of the new values in to the corporate culture.

Want to learn more? Contact +44(0)1628 427240 to find out about our Marketing Leadership Programme starting in July 2017.

Tags: Change management, Leadership, Marketing Leadership Programme, Level 7

Categories: CIM Qualification

The Learner's Perspective: 6 ways to improve your professional networking online

June 9, 2017 07:32 by Emma Hailstone

The Learner's Perspective: 6 ways to improve your professional networking online

Having access to a whole world of connections offers great potential for professional networking. There are ways of using your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles to boost your presence online and network with potential business connections.
Networking online is very similar to networking face-to-face; first impressions are very important. The difference online is that you are putting your persona out there before you have even started speaking to anyone.
Here are 6 ways to ensure that you are putting your best foot forward when you are networking online.
1. Protect yourself. Google yourself and delete inappropriate images from your profile(s). This is a quick and effective way to see what others see when they search for you online. Set up a Google Alert for yourself, which will notify you when someone has searched for you.

2. Be positive. People are less likely to connect with you if you post negative messages on your profile. Keep these messages clean and consistent.

3. Be professional. Separate your personal and professional life online. Create another account if necessary.
Use a professional image on your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles (if you use the latter for business).
Use a professional email address.

4. Keep it private. Check your privacy settings to make sure they are appropriate.

5. Post regular, relevant and authentic content on your profile. You can use your Twitter profile to your advantage here as it prompts you to post short, concise messages. Posting a link to a blog post or website and using images in your posts are more likely to attract engagement.

Use relevant keywords in your profile that potential connections will be searching for. Job listings and other people’s profiles are a good source of inspiration for generating these keywords.

Use relevant hashtags in your posts as this will improve the reach of your message to your potential audience. Don’t use too many hashtags however, as the impact and meaning of your message will be lost.

Retweet relevant content and reply to tweets to increase your presence on Twitter. This can be positive customer feedback or helpful articles. Anything you post should be in line with your overall purpose and values.

Twitter is an effective platform as you can use your Twitter activity dashboard to see who is engaging with the content you post on your profile.

6. Be persistent. Once your profile is ready to go and the connections come flooding in, the important thing is to nurture these connections. As recommended in my last blog, it is key to plan ahead. Plan what goals you would like to achieve and try to stick to them. This way you are more likely to stay on track. Joining online communities is a good way to stay in touch with events that are coming up and the latest discussions on issues in your area.
Don’t just rely on social networking sites to make professional connections; online networking should supplement and not completely replace face-to-face networking. Connecting on LinkedIn is a good start but meeting face-to-face is a worthwhile follow-up activity.

Tags: Networking, Social networking, Online, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

Categories: A Learner's Perspective

Anticipatory Design

May 24, 2017 08:08 by Alaina Roberts

Anticipatory Design CCO Public Domain

Imagine a world where your fridge was always stocked and there was no need to think about grocery shopping, simply ‘liking’ an online recipe would get the ingredients delivered direct to your door.
What if you were only shown clothes that would fit and suit your body shape and skin tone? And what if, when you scheduled a client meeting in your calendar, the relevant train tickets were automatically booked for you without having to lift a finger.
Since the birth of the computer users have understood there is a basic set of rules, I need to use a mouse and keyboard or touchscreen to input data in order to get an output. However, things are changing. As companies continue to collect a wealth of data on users, from tracking online activity and preferences to physical whereabouts, this insight can, and will, be used to change our lifestyles.
What is Anticipatory Design?
We make tens of thousands of decisions every single day, but imagine if technology could simply remove the need to make some of those decisions. Netflix and Amazon already use technology that aims to help decision making by learning and suggesting relevant recommendations based on previous behaviour, however Anticipatory design is more than this.
Anticipatory design is about design that is one step ahead of you, based on knowledge of your goals and preferences. “It is when decisions are made for you and executed on your behalf. The goal is not to help the user make a decision, but create an eco-system where a decision is never made” states Aaron Shapiro, CEO of Huge. Shapiro first coined the term Anticipatory design back in 2015 after the search for the Monopoly board game on Amazon turned from a simple purchase to a mammoth task.
The smart decision making of Anticipatory design works by bring together big data, machine learning algorithms, the Internet of Things (from thermostats to coffee machines) and User Experience design.
So, how can Anticipatory design work in practice?
Joel Van Bodegraven at Hyper Island provides a great example of what Anticipatory design could look like for the average person…
It’s 07:00 am, your alarm goes off.
Your mobile screen lights up, shows your schedule and news you’ve missed while you were asleep. Meanwhile, your mobile triggers your coffee machine, turns on the radiator and sets your TV to the correct channel.
While eating breakfast, Google Maps sets up an alarm to leave in 30 minutes in order to arrive in time for your next meeting. 20 minutes later, Uber notifies you that a car is on its way and arrives in 5 minutes.
The Uber arrives, you enter the car and enjoy a comfortable ride to work. While in the car, and without interacting with your phone, coffee is ordered at your favourite coffee shop next to your office. The driver drops you off at the coffee shop where your fresh coffee awaits. With a freshly made coffee in your hand, you enter your office to prepare the next meeting.
Apple’s Finder already gathered relevant conversations and documents to check before the meeting. When your meeting finally starts, your phone turned itself to a ‘do not disturb’ mode and flags important incoming emails for after the meeting.
Whilst we might not yet be seeing this seamless anticipatory experience, there is definitely a trend for technology to be moving this way.
Here are three examples that use anticipatory design…
Google Now
The Google Now app is based on anticipating its user’s needs. Google describes it as designed to deliver ‘What you need before you ask’. Using personalised ‘Cards’, it displays relevant information based on your location, diary and web searches.
Using this insight it can provide a local weather report, tell you how long it will take you to get home from work based on current traffic conditions, show you relevant news stories and recommend nearby restaurants. It can even show you stock prices, flight information and sports scores if that’s what you are interested in.
Amazon Dash Replacement Service
Forgot to re-order the pet food? You don’t even need to remember it with Amazon Dash. A connected automatic pet food dispenser with built-in sensors can measure the amount of remaining food in the container, and when supplies reach a certain level, it would instantly re-order some more without any manual intervention required.
Digit
Digit is a US-based online app designed to target those people who are not very good at saving money. The app reviews the users spending habits and lifestyle, and then works out how much money to set aside into a separate savings account. The aim is to help users build up a savings pot that might be used towards an emergency fund or a holiday. It reassures users that they have access to their money at all times and are so confident in their calculations they guarantee that you won’t go in to your overdraft. These three examples help to highlight both the opportunities and concerns that could come from Anticipatory design.
So, what are the benefits of Anticipatory design?
• Reduced decision making
Making decisions is a mental strain for users. Cognitive load relates to the amount of information that working memory can hold at one time. Although consumers think they want choice, too much choice results in decision fatigue and cognitive overload. When this happens the outcome leads to poor decisions being made or no decision being made at all.
• Simplified user interfaces
When the smart technology removes the need for so many choices, it means that interfaces can be more streamlined, less distracting and provide a more intuitive online experience.
• Save users time
If the technology is doing the thinking on behalf of the user, it means users can avoid doing mundane tasks and let their connected devices manage them on their behalf.
The Drawbacks of anticipatory design
Whilst the advantages of anticipatory design sound appealing, it is not without its drawbacks.
• Privacy concerns
The model of anticipatory design relies on using different sources of data held on a user. This access of extensive data might be an issue for many users with regards to privacy.
• Loss of control
As humans we’re so used to being in control when using technology, and the concept of anticipatory design, by its very definition, removes this user control to anticipate (or assume) what the user wants or needs before they request it. Are users ready to relinquish control?
• Getting it wrong
The entire premise of anticipatory design is based on habit and previous behaviour, but just because a user did something in the past doesn’t automatically mean that’s how they want to do it in future. By hiding new and different things it will limit a user’s discovery of new experiences.
The future of Anticipatory design
With the exponential growth of digital solutions designed to make our lives easier, it is more a case of when, rather than if, Anticipatory design will become a natural part of our lifestyle and help to, as Shapiro puts it,‘[let] you focus on what’s important to you in work and life’.
Originally published on 8th May 2017 by Alaina Roberts at DotLabel.

 

Tags: Technology, Decision making, Amazon, Google, Privacy

Categories: Digital Marketing

The Learner's Perspective: 6 ways to improve your professional networking

May 17, 2017 13:34 by Emma Hailstone

The Learner's Perspective: 6 ways to improve your professional networking

Networking is an important marketing tool as it will increase awareness of your business and will allow you to gain the knowledge and expertise to enhance your credibility as a professional marketer.

Here is a basic guide composing of 6 things that you can do to ensure you are on track to becoming more successful at networking.

1. Get the basics right!

Look – maintain eye contact with the person in front of you. Avoid letting your eyes wander around the room. This will reassure the person that you are talking to that you are interested in what they have to say which means they are more likely to be open and honest with you.

Listen – listen actively
Active listening means fully concentrating on what is being said. This involves being seen to be listening such as nodding your head for example and maintaining eye contact to show that you are engaged in listening to them.

Being patient and neutral in your approach to the conversation will also be very beneficial in getting the most out of it, allowing short silences in the conversation so that you don’t jump in too early.

2. Be prepared – the key is to sell yourself and be proactive.
What unique value do you offer? Prepare a short and concise introduction of who you are and what you have to offer.

Have your first question prepared before you go up to someone; ask them why they have come to the event for example, which is a direct and informative question. The Five W’s who, what, why, when and where are a useful place to start when coming up with open-ended informative questions.

3. Set yourself a goal – this can be something you want to learn more about or specific people you would like to meet before you attend the event. Use these to document how well the event went afterwards.

4. Be positive – go in with an open mind and a positive attitude. Every networking event is an opportunity, even if you feel that you will get nothing out of it there may be benefits further down the line. It is important to show yourself in a good light as the people you meet will have a lasting first impression of you.

5. Build bridges – look for ways in which you can offer a solution to the problems that they may be facing. If you are unable to do this, there might be someone you know you may be able to help them, and who knows they may return the favour in the future.

6. Stay in contact – Always follow up a conversation promptly if you have promised to do so. When you do, mention something specific that you enjoyed speaking about with that person; this is an easy way to help you to maintain a positive attitude during a follow-up conversation.

By following these six simple rules you will be on your way to becoming a more professional networker.

Tags: Networking, The Five W's

Categories: A Learner's Perspective

The Learner’s Perspective: What are the implications of Universal Basic Income (UBI) for marketers?

March 24, 2017 11:13 by Emma Hailstone

The Learner’s Perspective: What are the implications of Universal Basic Income (UBI) for marketers?

 

The idea of providing a basic income has been around for a long time; Thomas Paine in the 18th Century wrote a pamphlet about how people should receive a basic income funded by “the common property of the human race” i.e. the profits from the land. Its aim is to support people who are struggling with rising living standards equated with poor growth in wages.

Therefore, providing a universal basic income will benefit those around the poverty line the most. These are people who have been labelled as ‘precariats’ as their life has become precarious, filled with insecurity that is not being addressed by the current welfare system. The basic income will lift them out of not being able to afford the essentials to live so that they can consider other opportunities without the worry of whether enough money is going to come in each month.

This will depend on what extra support is available apart from the universal basic income for larger families. This may make the administration of the basic income more complex.

It is also likely to benefit women and young people in particular by giving them a sense of financial independence. Although there are a lot of women who work compared to previous generations, a lot of women still depend on their husbands for disposable income. This is something to bear in mind when considering how household products are going to be advertised in future, as it would be labelled as rather traditional and possibly discriminatory to only target women with these ads.

There is a concern that without the universal basic income, we will not be able to adapt to the changing nature of work. With the rise of automation and artificial intelligence, this has led some to question the future of our identity, as if we lose our jobs this is part of what people may consider as their identity.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX supports this, and has brought the argument back up recently.  He says that the universal basic income is “going to be necessary” to survive the rise of automation and artificial intelligence. However, this view may be considered a little far-fetched as historical events have demonstrated that society can adapt to technological advancement, as seen in the Industrial Revolution. There is the possibility that with further technological advancement this will create more jobs for people, so what would be key here is to retrain people to be able to do these jobs.

Along with the possibility of many jobs becoming redundant, there has been the rise of zero-hour contract jobs, now commonly referred to collectively as the ‘gig economy’; this has offered a lot of people the opportunity for flexible working but it also brings about a level of insecurity. Therefore, it is important going forward that these workers are able to take this risk but to be supported in doing so.

Those who choose to take on flexible roles and work fewer hours will have more time on their hands. Therefore, as marketers, it is important to make timely advantage of this opportunity. If people choose to only work in the morning for example, this would free up more time in the afternoon for leisure time.

This would be a specific group of people, as not everybody is going to choose to work part-time immediately. These are likely to be older people who have the comfort of relying on more savings and having less to pay out for. Therefore, this is likely to change your strategy in the future. People may choose to go to the cinema more in the afternoons during the week and so a cinema company should promote cheaper cinema tickets in order to encourage people to spend this extra income.

The leisure industry has become a much more significant part of British life, as the number of shops and restaurants has multiplied over the last 50 years. Therefore, with the potential for more leisure time, this is a budding area to introduce more competition i.e. new opportunities for setting up a business. This would likely be those who receive enough income to live on, and so would see this extra income as an opportunity for investing in setting up their own business.

Traditionally, a popular choice of spending leisure time would be going to a football match for example. However, with the rise of gaming as a way in which many young people spend their spare time, this is another area that may not have been considered. It has become a much more collective activity, with the Guardian naming it as ‘the world’s newest spectator sport’ in the form of large conventions, such as the ‘League of Legends tournament’ held in Paris in May 2014, to which 30 million people tuned in to watch. If you are considering how to target the younger generation, this is certainly an exciting opportunity to invest in.

We can think of younger people from a professional point of view also, specifically those looking to further establish their careers, as they may choose to invest their extra income in professional development i.e. further education and training. Therefore, for organisations like The Chartered Institute of Marketing, this could offer the potential to attract more people to study with them.

It is possible that the universal basic income will be tested in the UK, as there have been a number of promising results seen from the schemes implemented in other countries, such as Finland and India. There is even a pilot being conducted in Glasgow. For it to be rolled out nationwide however, this means that the question of how it would be funded would need to be addressed, as it has been calculated that it could cost up to 1% of GDP.

In order to afford giving everyone a basic income the Government are likely going to raise the funds by increasing taxation. This is most likely to be an increase in direct taxation, so there are going to be some people who do not benefit at all from the extra income. For example, if the basic income was £100 and some people end up paying £100 more in taxes, then there is no benefit.

To conclude, the universal basic income is an exciting prospect for us all, and offers a number of opportunities for us as marketers, but it may be a while yet before we see any further developments in the consideration of its implementation in the UK.

Tags: Marketing, Economy, Universal Basic Income

Categories: A Learner's Perspective

4 mistakes to avoid on your next digital project

March 16, 2017 14:36 by Alaina Roberts

4 mistakes to avoid on your next digital project CCO Public Domain
Here are a few genuine mistakes we have seen companies make when embarking on their digital journeys. Our hope is that you don’t make them too!
1. Believing you don’t need a specialist web designer
Whilst a branding agency might be great at creating a visual identity to communicate your positioning and values, and a packaging designer can ensure that your product stands out on crowded shelf space, don’t be mistaken into thinking they have the right skills to design for the web.
Designing for the web is a complex specialism that goes beyond consumers looking at something that provokes an emotional response. With web design you are creating an entire experience. A two-way interaction that requires actions to be taken and goals to be achieved, and if the experience is not enjoyable, your user gives up and visits your competition instead.
A website needs to do much more than just look nice if it is to produce the best results. A skilled digital designer can take your brand guidelines or existing identity and translate that into the online environment.
Site structure, navigation, the content and how it flows across the site as well as the calls to action are all vital elements that are carefully considered by a specialist web designer who understand the importance of user experience. The most effective solutions would be based on user experience research and insights.
Just as you wouldn’t expect your GP to do heart surgery, ensure you are using the right expert for the job to get the best results.
2. Forgetting the user
If you were going to launch a new product in the marketplace, would you invest thousands of pounds in it without researching it with your target audience first? Surely that would be crazy? Spending all that money without knowing first hand whether it meets the needs of the people you want to buy it.
Unfortunately there are so many companies that overlook the value of research when it comes to developing their website and other digital products. Understanding who your users are, their goals, needs, wants, frustrations and pain points means that you can create a solution that is easy and enjoyable for them to use. If doing a task is easy, they are more likely to repeat it, and if that task is buying from you, then the benefits should be clear.
It is so easy to make assumptions about the users and end up just developing a site that fulfils the needs of the business, but if the user is ignored, the site will struggle to reach its potential.
User interviews and workshops are examples of effective User Experience (UX) research techniques that can help to provide insight for the development of a user-centred websites, apps, intranets and portals. From building User Personas to crafting user journeys, the insight gained from user research can be used to optimise the entire customer experience both online and offline.
Investment in user research should be a no-brainer if you want to ensure the best results for your site.
3. Not allowing enough time to scope at the start
Once a decision has been made to invest in a new website or digital experience, the pressure is often turned on and stakeholders want to get the ball rolling.
However, spending enough time at the beginning of the project to properly scope and agree the requirements will ensure that the entire process runs more smoothly. We have found the most effective way to kick-start each web project is with a stakeholder workshop. Bringing together key representatives from the business, from decision makers to selected customer-facing staff and systematically working through important aspects of the project will produce a better scoping document.
Discussing the business challenges can help prioritise the requirements for the end product. Occasionally, we find that in these exploratory sessions we uncover other business opportunities or improvements that fall beyond the scope of the web project, for example changes to operational procedures to increase efficiency.
In addition to looking at the business, it is important to consider the consumers. Identifying the end users and their goals can help identify gaps in knowledge about them that can then be filled by subsequent research.
The benefit of these sessions is that everyone agrees the objectives, requirements and priorities for the project, avoiding issues being flagged later in the process. The outcomes from the workshop discussions are then collated and form the project scoping document. Once the full scope has been defined, it is much easier for a digital agency to confirm quotes and timings for delivery.
4. Being unrealistic
When it comes to web projects, you need to prioritise what is important to your business. If you continually change your requirements, it will affect your deadline and your budget. If you want an all-singing, all-dancing website on a shoestring, you will likely be disappointed.
Originally published on 8th March 2017 by Alaina Roberts at DotLabel.

Tags: Digital, Digital Marketing, Website, Branding, User experience

Categories: Digital Marketing

The Learner’s Perspective: The rise of the millennial consumer

February 21, 2017 10:04 by Emma Hailstone

The Learner’s Perspective: The rise of the millennial consumer CCO Public Domain

Who is a ‘millennial’?

Millennials are an increasingly talked about demographic in research. Their behaviour as consumers has started to affect, and will continue to affect businesses in different ways, but not just in the marketing department. With big businesses such as RSM and Goldman Sachs talking about them, it is clear that this is something which is a significant talking point. As a millennial myself, it is a subject that I have been keen to write a blog about.

For those who are not familiar with the term, the ‘millennial’ generation refers to people who are currently between the ages of 16 and 35, so those born between 1980 and 2000. They have grown up in an era of rapid technological change, globalisation and economic trouble, giving them their own unique set of behaviours and experiences.

What is important to them?

Young people are reported to have different priorities from previous generations. The number of people that choose to go to University has increased; but with the rise of inflation, fees also continue to increase, recently increasing to £9,250 with the forecast that this will rise over £10,000 in the future. Therefore, graduates are coming out of University with higher student debts.

Once they have graduated, on average young people are also earning lower incomes; it has been in the news that there is an increasing ‘intergenerational divide’ in earning potential, based on the calculation that young people will earn £8,000 less during their 20s than previous generations. Coupled with rising living costs, this means many graduates choose to move back home after graduation or rent shared accommodation to save up to buy a house, as house prices are unaffordable.

As young people are putting off marriage and buying a house and tying themselves into a mortgage, this leaves them with more disposable income to spend on other things. This means they are vital consumers for industries such as technology, fashion, entertainment and travel as they would rather spend their money travelling around the world, buying the latest gadgets and socialising with friends.

Young people are also keen to invest in their wellbeing due to greater knowledge of the importance of living an active, healthy lifestyle. We are now more aware of the health risks associated with overeating and not exercising enough, and so growing up with these advancements in medical knowledge means young people are more willing to exercise more, eat better and smoke less than previous generations. This is helped with health apps readily available on smartphones and also the increasing fashion of owning a fitness device such as the Fitbit. Research conducted by Goldman Sachs found that millennials are more willing to spend money on ‘compelling’ wellness brands, as it has become fashionable to wear active wear. Brands are beginning to respond to this new fashion by diversifying and creating their own lines of sporting wear, such as Cath Kidston and Jack Wills who have both launched a new sportswear range recently.

What does this mean for marketers?

Authenticity is key to prosperity online, as young consumers are well-informed so are quick to latch onto anything negative through online reviews or peer recommendations. The customer’s experience needs to be just as important as price and product when putting together a marketing strategy. If a high level of service is expected, this should be rolled out consistently to every customer touchpoint, resulting in a seamless customer experience. Seamlessness is something which has become almost expected when purchasing online, with the ease of being able to purchase almost anything and having it delivered the next day without a hitch. If someone is able to make a quick and easy purchase, it is likely that they will make another purchase in the future.

For brands to succeed at marketing to young people, an online presence is also important. Young people have grown up as ‘digital natives’, constantly connected online on their phones and browsing using different online platforms. This makes them an ideal target for brands. However, the way in which brands reach out to millennials is important. Young people are unlikely to ‘like’ a page on Facebook if it does not have anything to offer. With less money to spend on average, loyalty schemes and vouchers are more appealing so that they get value for money. They have a wide range of knowledge at their fingertips on their smartphones. Often when making a purchasing decision, they are likely to compare the product or seek reviews online before deciding where to buy it from.

For those who have become online retailers, many brands have started to use their online presence to deliver a personalised experience. This is more popular amongst young consumers as it is appealing to be treated as a valued customer. Integration across channels is therefore important here so that there is consistency. This will enable you to have a ‘single conversation’ with young consumers and hopefully offer a better, faster and more memorable experience. However, this should not be limited to young people, as their parents are also becoming more digitally savvy. Consumer uptake of new communications technologies has compressed over the years; it took 30 years for radio, 15 years for mobile phones and social media just 3 and a half years. Those who do not adapt and evolve with these technologies are likely to be left behind in the fast-flowing current of new technology.

In order to create this personalised experience, it is key for you as a marketer to develop a persona of a young person as your target market. A persona is a fictional representation of needs, goals and behaviours. This will help you to understand young consumers better and will ultimately help you to create the solutions to the potential problems they may face.

Tags: Millennial Consumer, Digital, Technology, Persona

Categories: A Learner's Perspective