Why Marketers must focus on user experience

February 9, 2017 15:36 by Alaina Roberts

Why Marketers must focus on user experience Created by McConnors

By making user experience (UX) your top priority when designing your customers’ online experience, you could reap rewards from 2:1 up to 100:1 on your investment (Forrester Research). With such compelling rewards, it is easy to see why marketers are looking to UX tools and techniques to help improve user engagement and increase revenue.

While UX is a long established principle, in the last few years more attention is being paid to the subject beyond simply designing a user-friendly interface. In this article we look at what UX is, why it is important and offer a peek into some UX techniques that could help you improve your digital experiences to increase user engagement, loyalty, and ultimately revenue.
What is the user experience?

User experience is about creating moments of delight for a user. It is the point when you meet or even exceed expectations and the customer thinks to themselves, “that was easy!” The key elements of UX for marketers, UX experts and stakeholders to understand are the ‘user’, their ‘goals’, ‘tasks’, ‘journeys’ and ‘scenarios’. Let’s take a look at a fictional example, in which a watchmaker is seeking new customers online:

Users – who are they, what are their values, preferences, abilities and limitations? Our watchmaker has built a profile that says a typical use is 28, male, tech savvy, fashion conscious, influenced by peers, and will pay more for high quality products.
Goals – what is the user trying to achieve at the end of their experience? In this case, the answer is simple: they want to have a new watch.
Tasks – what needs to be done to achieve the goal? The user needs to research prices and read reviews, before finding a store or website to buy their new watch.
Journeys – These are the routes that the user takes to achieve their tasks e.g. using a website’s online search function, looking at related items, and reading independent reviews.
Scenarios – The context in which users undertake their tasks, goals and journeys. Do they need to replace a broken watch or are they treating themselves to a luxury purchase?

This sort of detailed understanding of who, when, why, what, where and how a customer buys a watch is critically important for a retailer commissioning a website geared towards selling watches. The world of UX can be a complex one, with many facets to explore and understand it can be useful to have a UX expert assist with this.
Why is the user experience important?

It is estimated that by 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator and with 88% of online consumers not returning to a site after a ‘bad experience’, it is easy to see why marketers should make UX a priority.

“Simply improving customer journeys has the potential to increase customer satisfaction by 20% but also to lift revenue by up to 15% while lowering the cost of serving customers by as much as 20%.”McKinsey

When you read that 67% of mobile users say that when they visit a mobile-friendly site, they're more likely to buy a site's product or service- (Think with Google), it becomes clear that customers’ digital experiences have a direct impact on a company’s bottom line.
Top UX techniques you can use for your digital experience

Here is just a peek into some UX techniques that can help you improve your digital conversion rates.

1. User personas
User personas are a key tool in your UX arsenal. These fictional representations of your real customers are designed to identify needs, motivations, attitudes and goals to help craft tailored experiences and journeys to help increase engagement and ultimately revenue. To create your user personas nothing beats speaking directly with your customers, either through focus groups or over the phone, to provide valuable insight. Your sales team should also be able to provide useful information to help build up the profiles. This valuable insight about what your customers love and hate, where they spend their time online, which social networks they use, who influences their decisions and where they look for information, is of enormous use beyond simply creating a website or mobile app that converts. This information can also help you with product development, prospecting, messaging and overall marketing strategy.
2. User testing
The best way to understand what users think of your digital experience is to watch them in action! Observing 6-12 real consumers undertaking set tasks, such as researching or buying a product, can uncover up to 85% of hidden UX issues. Heat map technology, eye tracking software, verbal feedback and body language can reveal where users get lost, stuck or frustrated on your site, app or web-based platform. User testing can be done to review the existing usability of a digital experience and also at the post development stage. By undertaking this research you can test whether the user interactions are as expected, and make iterative improvements to optimise the experience. Undertaking this vital exercise will provide invaluable insight to help revolutionise the performance of your site or web-based application.
3. Customisation of the online experience
There is an online population of over 1.8 billion users, and the same experience will not please all of them. It is now possible to customise different parts of your website to provide a much more tailored experience. E-commerce sites like Amazon, Missguided and Homebase all analyse user behaviour and offer suggestions in line with them. Streaming sites like Netflix and Spotify also offer a similar service. You can even use automated personalisation software to address returning website visitors by name.
How to improve UX? A case study

Apple’s smooth omni-channel experience Apple has led an innovative approach to their product development and they have seamlessly integrated this with a highly engaging and consistent customer experience. A well-designed user experience is the key to a higher conversion rate and an increase in brand loyalty.

Apple offers a smooth omni-channel experience from a consumer’s first awareness of the brand, to the moment the product arrives and all the way through to post-purchase and beyond. For example, one of the contributing factors to their success has been the gradual introduction of feature iterations, allowing them to bring consumers along their evolution journey. Unlike, for example Microsoft’s approach with Windows 8, when the impact of such a dramatic change left many users frustrated because it ignored all of the intuitive expectations which users had learned from previous iterations of the operating system.

Another examples of how Apple has improved their UX includes revolutionising the tedious task of redeeming iTunes vouchers. Rather than typing a long complicated code on a mobile keypad, you can now simply point the camera and it auto-recognises the required information to activate the credits.

Finally, the introduction of the Airpods caused quite a stir at their launch. Using existing technology in new ways to delight the user experience, the wireless headphones have optical and motion sensors to detect when they are in your ears and help prolong battery life. Their functions include simple actions to make and take calls, change a song, adjust volume and activate Siri. Voice-activation technology is also a growing trend that Apple have now extended to their desktops.
Understanding the user expectations, implementing existing technology in new ways and evolving new technology demonstrates how Apple put the users at the heart of the experience and helps place the brand ahead of its market equivalents.
Getting ready to put UX first

Armed with a thorough understanding of your users and their intentions will enable a project to successfully flow through the various stages, from planning the structure and process flows, to the content and design. When visitors arrive at your site or web-based application, the design needs to hold the attention of your audience and provide clear paths for their journey.
By taking a research-based approach, you can discover your users’ habits, patterns, wants and needs. This will enable you to design and develop your website or mobile application based on data, not assumptions, to maximise your conversion rate.
Here we have just scratched the surface on creating a positive user experience. It’s a multifaceted operation that can only be completed through truly understanding your prospective customers and their needs.

Originally published on 18 October 2016 by Alaina Roberts at DotLabel.

Tags: User experience, Website, Customer experience, Journey, User persona

Categories: Digital Marketing

The Learner's Perspective: What will 2017 look like for marketing?

January 11, 2017 14:41 by Emma Hailstone

The Learner's Perspective: What will 2017 look like for marketing? Happy New Year - michila

It seems appropriate for my first blog of the New Year to be looking to the year ahead. The trends that I am going to discuss are by no means an exhaustive list, but they are the trends that are going to be significant in 2017.


At this time of year, a lot of people are likely to be thinking about what holidays they wish to go on to beat the post-Christmas blues.

The falling value of the pound and the uncertainty of security will have an impact on the travel industry; holidaymakers are likely to get less for their money when they exchange into foreign currencies, and so going on holiday abroad will be more expensive.

The benefit for marketers working within the UK travel and tourism industry would be a cheaper destination for overseas tourists and costal resorts will be far more appealing to UK citizens, which will all benefit the British tourism industry. Targeting these sectors might be fruitful.

The B2B sector may suffer due to the recent political uncertainty, which may deter corporate guests coming to the UK, who make up the majority of hotel rooms booked by overseas travellers.

The extent to which all of the above affects consumers’ decisions is yet to be seen, but as often holidays are booked well in advance we will find out in the near future.


As a result of the decision to leave the EU, the price of sourcing global produce is likely to go up. This could be a problem for supermarkets that source their meat, fruit and vegetables from abroad. Therefore, consumer patterns may change as they may choose the value supermarkets instead, or at least those that source all their meat from the UK.

We have seen the consequences for supermarkets already with the dispute between Tesco and Unilever over their request for a 10% increase in prices. This led to a day of panic as favourite brands disappeared from Tesco’s shelves. Although they were able to resolve the dispute quickly, this is not the end for price disputes and so consumers are likely to see price increases in the new year.

For brands, the key is to establish whether they focus on price or whether to focus on customers.

A brand which has adopted both these strategies to remain in the premium bracket is Marks and Spencer, who have been struggling to compete with their clothing range.

M&S CEO Steve Rowe proposed and implemented a number of changes last year including a focus on their food sector, as this area of their business generates 50% of profits (BBC News, 2016). I am sure that most of us will agree that we would rather go to M&S for their food rather than their clothing or homeware.

To combat the falling profits in the clothing sector, price cuts and a reduction in price promotions were proposed. A number of stores have also been closed as the company reviewed the viability of the stores themselves.

Other retailers who will take a hit are those who outsource their production, such as Ted Baker whose labour is based in Hungary. The truth to this will come with the outcome of the negotiation of the trade agreements with the EU, the time of which is still yet to be determined, as this cannot happen until the UK has officially left the EU. Ultimately, trading globally could become much harsher and more competitive as the UK is no longer under the protection of the benefit of free trade within the EU.


In 2017, the nature of work may change. Over the past couple of years, we have seen a rise in what has been termed the ‘gig economy’. This term refers to workers who are on a form of a zero-hour contract, getting paid for the ‘gigs’ they do rather than receiving a set wage per hour, applying to people who work for companies such as Uber and Deliveroo.

This change in the nature of employment is not compliant with UK employment law. There is the danger here that wages will be too low and so there will be an increase in inequality, so therefore it has attracted scrutiny as all workers are entitled to the national minimum wage.

A tribunal in October last year ruled that Uber must pay the minimum wage for all their workers and that they are no longer considered ‘self-employed’. In response to this, Uber has sought a legal ruling to class itself as a digital platform rather than a transport provider to avoid this ruling being enforced (Marketing Week, 2016). This acts as a warning to brands to be mindful of how they communicate in response to tackling these issues as they pursue a new way of defining work in the future.


Augmented reality has come to the fore this year, particularly with the success of Pokémon Go. This has been an enlightening development for local businesses who have attracted more customers by becoming a ‘pokéstop’. Further developments in this area will be interesting to see in 2017.

For years the future of tech has been in artificial intelligence. Some argue that Siri, the voice recognition service used by Apple is a form of AI but the key competitor in this area is the online retailer Amazon, with the release of the smart speaker ‘Echo’. Increasingly, businesses are finding ways to offer consumers choice and the ability to simplify daily tasks by communicating with a ‘faceless machine’ (Marketing Week, 2016).

Something else to consider is whether TV will become less relevant in wider advertising strategies. There are those who think that TV ads are going to be less effective as people migrate to using other channels to watch TV programmes. Engagement will therefore be defined by number of views online. However, analysing online metrics has been criticised in light of Facebook inflating their data (The Guardian, 2016), therefore we can question whether people will trust online advertising data that is reported, especially from big companies such as Facebook and Google. This offers a warning to brands to make sure that they are attentive to detail to avoid misreporting that users are more engaged with content than they actually are.

‘Post-Truth’ Consumers

Furthermore, the dangers of communicating false information resides in what has been named ‘post-truth’ politics, awarded the ‘Word of the Year’ by the Oxford Dictionary last year. The term ‘post-truth’ defines the moment when we as consumers are quick to react based on emotion or personal belief rather than by checking the facts.

To feed these beliefs, some newspapers are quick to put out news with misleading content. These particular newspapers have been targeted by the ‘Stop Funding Hate’ campaigners on Facebook who particularly targeted companies who advertise in these newspapers, as this symbolises their support for the misleading articles printed, including those which demonise migrant workers. As a result, many of these companies have stopped advertising in these newspapers. This campaign comes at an appropriate time, as the Christmas adverts released by companies such as John Lewis and Sainsbury’s, designed to inspire a sense of goodwill and unity are in conflict with the money raised from Christmas sales that is being put towards adverts in newspapers that inspire a ‘culture of hate’ amongst its readers.

This offers a positive lesson for marketing as it demonstrates how marketers should appeal to the ‘post-truth consumer’. Customer experience is a topical issue with consistency being key to gain the trust of customers as they will be quick to latch onto any criticism and broadcast their complaints over social media.

Tags: Retail, Technology, Work, Travel, Post-Truth Consumers, 2017

Categories: A Learner's Perspective

The Learner's Perspective: Social Inclusion in Advertising

December 6, 2016 14:15 by Emma Hailstone

The Learner's Perspective: Social Inclusion in Advertising Social Inclusion CCO Public Domain

Something I consider as hugely important in society today is the issue of social inclusion. As a marketer, it is worth highlighting that there is a key role to play in tackling this issue as there is the ability to influence how consumers think and behave. Society is made up of a wide range of diverse people, and it is important that everybody is equally represented as we are all part of one society regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, gender, wealth, health or sexual orientation. There is a need for a greater representation in advertising of those representing minority groups in order to break down the barriers they may face resulting in them being treated differently.

We are all made aware of the issue of social inclusion at various points every year, such as recently in the Children in Need campaign. This year has also been the year of the Olympics and the Paralympics, with the Paralympians characterised in adverts as ‘super humans’, a term carried over from the London 2012 Paralympics. Everybody is represented equally in the Olympics and Paralympics, with the Paralympian Ellie Simmonds and Olympian Susie Rodgers both appearing in the same Samsung advert for their ‘School of Rio’ campaign. On the Samsung website, they claim that the aim of these adverts was to ‘shine a light on the athletes that push the limits of what is possible’. This is in line with the Samsung brand which has an innovative approach to technology at its core. There is also a humorous theme to these adverts as different athletes attempt to teach the comedian Jack Whitehall how to swim, cycle, play rugby and so on.

MARS Chocolate, who won Channel 4’s Superhumans wanted competition for the £1 million advertising slot available for the Paralympic Games, also chose a similar innovative approach to equal representation in their adverts. Appropriately named ‘Look on the light side’, these adverts used real tales of social mishap delivered by actors with disabilities and good humour, staying in line with the message of the Maltesers brand and the cheeky tone that has run throughout their recent advertising campaigns.

The risk that was taken with this campaign was that some people would call the ads insensitive, but the majority described them as ‘brilliant’. MARS do not claim to be experts in disability however, they did seek guidance from the charity Scope that aims to encourage everyday conversation surrounding disability. They also conducted focus groups as they were at first hesitant about using a humorous approach, but the outcome of the group was that ‘humour can be a powerful force for positive change in overcoming taboos’ (Marketing Week, 2016) which, in essence, describes what these advertisements are all about. Michele Oliver, the Vice President of Marketing at MARS, states that they wish to be a beacon for other marketers to follow in promoting more diversity through their advertising campaigns:

As one of the UK’s biggest advertisers, we have a responsibility and a role to play in reflecting diversity in everyday media.’

- Michele Oliver, MARS website

Where there is greater risk taken, there is also the chance for a greater reward. Customers may be more enticed to engage with the MARS brand as a result of them using it ‘for good’ which is a key principle of the MARS brand.

The success of this campaign will have a long-term impact as it has prompted MARS to change the brief they give to their casting agencies.

Therefore, we must not just think of this issue at the highlighted points in the year. The key to including and advocating social inclusion as a marketer is longevity. Promoting equality is for life, not just for a moment, avoiding ‘tokenism’, i.e. only making a small gesture to contributing towards a more diverse representation in advertising. 

It is also really important that we are all aware of the legal requirements when undertaking advertising. The Committee for Advertising Practice set out clear guidelines for disability, children, religion amongst many others. For advertisers who breach these, the Advertising Standards Agency have stringent penalties. With regards to using humour, CAP remind marketers to be mindful of using a light-hearted approach as it can cause offence.

For more information on these guidelines, please to go the CAP website

Roderick, L. (2016). Mars 'embraces diversity' with campaign at overcoming disability taboos. Available: Last accessed 1st Dec 2016.

Tags: Advertising, Social inclusion, Diversity, CAP codes, Mars

Categories: A Learner's Perspective | Advertising

The Learner's Perspective: Celebrity Endorsement

November 17, 2016 19:04 by Emma Hailstone

The Learner's Perspective: Celebrity Endorsement Walkers Crisps

This week I have chosen to focus on brand.

Who you choose to represent your brand matters.

But who is the right person to represent your brand?

As marketers, we must be mindful of the impact of celebrity branding. Donald Trump’s recent presidential success has polarised the American people and threatens the Trump brand. As Ivanka Trump contemplates the consequence of her father’s high profile campaign and the criticisms levelled at him by the Clinton Camp, we must reassess the impact of celebrity endorsement.

In light of this recent event, I have chosen to focus this week’s blog on Walkers and the face of their brand, Gary Lineker, to highlight the limitations of associating a celebrity with your brand.

When we think of the Walkers brand, Gary Lineker comes to mind; a former footballer and sports presenter who does not have a direct link with the Walkers brand, but Walkers has a significant presence in Leicester and Lineker was born in Leicester. The first ad that Lineker starred in was appropriately called ‘Welcome Home’ as he had recently returned from playing football abroad.

Gary Lineker has been in the news recently as he has spoken out about Walkers relationship with The Sun newspaper because of their stance over the Calais refugees. As a result, there are rumours that The Sun have asked for him to be sacked from Match of the Day. His political stance is therefore putting his career at risk.

The question is whether this will threaten the strong, clean image that he has spent so many years building up and maintaining as the face of Walkers.

Lineker’s 21-year long association with the brand could also be challenged as Walkers look to change the focus of their brand. Walkers have recently taken on other sporting stars to launch the brand into the world of social media. This is evidence that Walkers want to appeal to a wider audience, starting with the Leicester City player Jamie Vardy who featured last December in the promotion of the limited edition crisps ‘Vardy Salted’. Vardy had recently fired Leicester City to the top of the Premier League table after scoring in 11 consecutive matches.

Lionel Messi, one of the top football players, appeared in an advert with Gary Lineker in February, which unsurprisingly piqued the interest of football fans online, as the activity on Twitter indicates (Campaign Live, 2016). This could also be a result of Walkers recent focus on sport in their online promotional campaigns as a result of their owner, PepsiCo, becoming a sponsor of the UEFA Champions League.

Lionel Messi is surrounded by recent scandal over tax evasion. The question here is whether Walkers are taking a huge risk by choosing someone more relevant like Messi to represent their brand despite his image. His overwhelming presence in the sport certainly does make him a favourable candidate for the role, and I wonder whether this will propel him forward into becoming a strong representative for the brand, following Gary Lineker who also had a successful sporting career.

The case of using Messi as an endorser for Walkers highlights a limitation when choosing a celebrity to represent your brand, as there is the risk that their image splits into two. We can look back to when the sports brand Nike chose to start making golf equipment with the endorsement of Tiger Woods when he turned into a professional golfer in 1996. He had the image of a great golfer, and his unique name, ethnicity and articulation serve him well as somebody to support a brand. He also held the image of a happily married man until the accusation of his infidelity shattered this image. This led to many of his sponsors dropping him from their brand, which has had implications for his image but he never cheated at golf so sport sponsors remained loyal, as the focus of why they chose him was on his position as a top golfer. Instead of ending their sponsorship with him, Nike made an advert in which Tiger was listening to advice from his father Earl talking from his grave, and the caption they attribute to him in their campaigns ‘Winning takes care of everything’ seems apt in relation to the resilience of his image as a top sportsman.

From these examples, we can see that there is hope yet for someone like Gary Lineker, whose well-established image as the face of Walkers could aid him survive the storm of his political engagement with The Sun.

Who you choose to represent your brand definitely matters. I think that the right person to represent your brand should be someone relevant, as I personally do not see the change in the way that Walkers advertise their brand as a bad thing. We must acknowledge the limitations of celebrity branding, as you cannot guarantee, even after 21 years, that your choice of celebrity will never be considered a risk; the image they choose to portray as a celebrity could ultimately come into conflict with the message of your brand.

Tags: Celebrity endorsement, Brand Walkers, Crisps

Categories: A Learner's Perspective

Christmas advertising 2016

November 17, 2016 18:48 by Neil Kelley - Lead Course Director, L3 Foundation Certificate in Marketing

Christmas advertising 2016 Buster the John Lewis dog

As winter draws in, the days get shorter and the temperature lower, what do we have to look forward to? Recently, it seems that Christmas advertising will save us, from the cold, the darkness and from politics. I’ve even seen posts on social media that John Lewis’s Christmas advertising will save us from concerns in relation to recent political news, which is pretty impressive for a piece of marketing communications that is ultimately designed to make us prefer one brand over another.

Is modern advertising a form of escapism? Well, O’Donohue (1993) discussed the premise that consumers actively seek gratification from their encounters with advertising, with seven different kinds of satisfaction being sought. One of these types of satisfaction is through ‘vicarious experience’, that we can escape reality through our imagination, imaging the feelings and actions of others; others in adverts perhaps?

The wait for the John Lewis Christmas advert is over, the #BounceBounce 10 second teasers were released throughout the week and on Thursday the 10th of November the full broadcast advert was made available on YouTube, promoted by various other social media channels. The reaction to the advert has been varied this year, and the creative approach taken has been different. Gone is the attempt to tug, or heave, at our heartstrings through sympathy and empathy. Gone is the heart-breaking complication in the narrative arc, that of lonely penguins or lonely old men on the moon (that is then overcome by gifting a purchase from John Lewis, such as a soft-toy penguin or a telescope).

It seems that John Lewis’s new approach has left the public a little disappointed, many are sad that the advert didn’t make them cry this year, but what if it made you smile? It’s a different approach, but the vicarious experience mentioned earlier is gone. We can still escape from reality for a little bit, but there’s less sadness in the emotions conveyed and it’s this that may have left people disappointed (unless you can empathise with Buster the Boxer; you’ve always had to watch people on trampolines but never got to have a go yourself). Do we have to sympathise and/or empathise with sadness for a John Lewis Christmas advert to be effective? Happiness is also a powerful emotion, but perhaps one that doesn’t provide enough social media talking points.

Aldi, the discount supermarket chain, released an advert featuring their Christmas mascot (Kevin the Carrot, I kid you not) to poke fun at those who become obsessive during the wait for John Lewis’s newest piece of Christmas entertainment. He almost explodes with excitement and hyper-ventilates whilst waiting for John Lewis advert to be shown. Perhaps that’s a good approach from Aldi, John Lewis shoppers and Aldi shoppers arguably have different socio-economic status and if Kevin is parodying the actions of a perceived higher social class, or just poking fun at the ridiculous state we’ve gotten ourselves into around Christmas advertising.

The Christmas advert battle for hearts and minds, tweets and comments, likes and shares, is fought on social media. Who loves Kevin, who loves Buster, who did cry, who didn’t cry, who can parody the adverts the quickest, who’s disappointed, who doesn’t care, which brands can piggy-back on the campaign and parody. We all want to be gratified, we all have our opinions, we all want to share… but this Christmas, spare a thought for @johnlewis, “Computer science educator, father of four, social liberal, atheist, and not a retail store” and how he’s dealing with our confused response to a UK retailer’s Christmas advertising campaign.

O’Donohoe, S. (1994) Advertising Uses and Gratifications, European Journal of Marketing, 8/9, 28: 52-75

Tags: John Lewis, Aldi, Advertising, Retail, Social media

Categories: Advertising

The Learner’s perspective: Marketing to the digitally connected consumer

November 7, 2016 16:22 by Emma Hailstone

The Learner’s perspective: Marketing to the digitally connected consumer Connecting with the digital consumer

This week I have been reading about marketing in the ‘digital age’. I have discovered that many organisations are finding it difficult to connect with consumers, as overbearing advertisements are having a significant impact on consumer behaviour. It is becoming increasingly challenging to engage with consumers that are starting to avoid these ‘annoying’ adverts.

The looming problem for professional marketers is the ease through which consumers can find ways to avoid these kind of adverts altogether. A report issued by PageFair and Adobe Ad Blocking in 2015 highlighted that 198 million people worldwide use some form of adblocker. Compounding this issue, consumers are now using multiple devices to access the Internet, which makes them almost invisible to advertisers. In fact, around 25% of people in the UK confess to use 3 or more devices a day, in what has been termed the new ‘multi-screen reality’.

Another issue is that advertising has become disruptive for television viewing as well as online browsing. There are many ways in which consumers can bypass adverts all together such as using the fast-forward button on a Sky remote. Alternatively, people are choosing not to engage in watching adverts because they are distracted by their smartphone. Research by Accenture (2015) found that 87% of consumers use more than one device at a time, most commonly watching television and browsing on a smartphone.

Consumers are also using their televisions and other digital devices to stream online content. On-demand services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime offer the service of unlimited, and almost uninterrupted content for a low monthly fee.

So with all of this in mind, I then thought - what can we do as prospective digital marketers to combat the problem of creating a disruptive browsing experience, to ensure the future of digital advertising?

The good news is that it is something that we are already beginning to see today, with some organisations embracing new initiatives such as real-time marketing.

Two possible real-time marketing solutions are ‘native advertising’ and ‘moment marketing’.

A preference for native advertising has been found amongst consumers. The promotion of a product or a service is situated within the flow of the scheduled content, therefore being less disruptive for the consumer experience.

An example of a native ad is the New York Times 1500-word article about women inmates that was published online to promote the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. This article was successful because it appealed to a particular audience, offering them an interesting topic whilst advertising a way for them to explore it further by watching the series online. The article was particularly engaging as it included audio clips, a slideshow and graphics which moved when the reader scrolled down the page.

An alternative solution is ‘moment marketing’. An important thing to acknowledge is that people today live their lives in moments, which we must identify and capitalise on in order to stay up-to-date and relevant to the modern day consumer.

Through their best-selling chocolate bar KitKat, Nestlé have changed their marketing strategy to attract the modern consumer. They chose to invest in the KitKat brand to become more relevant and engaging to consumers.

For the many years that it has been around, KitKat has been synonymous with ‘taking a break’. However, the ways in which people take breaks has changed over time. So, as part of this change in strategy, Nestlé redesigned KitkKat packets to mirror the different ways people spend their breaks such as ‘YouTube my break’ which involved a link to a short YouTube video that people could watch. This interactive approach is a great example of ‘moment marketing’ because it is engaging for the consumer and is consistent with the tagline of their brand which has been the same for 80 years.

To conclude, what is key, for those of us who are aspiring digital marketers, is to make it personal by remaining people-focused, putting the consumer at the centre of everything that we do. A key part of facilitating this is staying up-to-date and relevant with consumers, responding in real-time to changes in their behaviour.

Tags: Digital Marketing, Customer behaviour, Marketing strategy

Categories: A Learner's Perspective | Digital Marketing


November 1, 2016 11:25 by CIM Academy

Competition Competition time! Photograph: 186789 © A-papantoniou

Win the opportunity to study for CIM Academy’s Executive Marketing Leadership Programme with nothing to pay until the start of the second module.

Submit 2500 words on the following topic by the end of November 2016 to, with your name, address, and email address

'The way customers think and behave today will drive more change in the way organisations create and deliver value in the next five years than over the last twenty years.'


Terms and conditions

1. There is one prize available. Your entry is limited to one unique and original entry per person.

2. Your entry must be sent to

3. The competition is open worldwide, but all entries must be in English.

4. By entering you agree to your entry being promoted by CIM and to participating in any relevant PR or promotional activities arranged by CIM with no recompense, either by CIM or any partners, either during or after the competition.

5. Employees of CIM and their immediate families are not permitted to enter the competition.

6. Entries must be received by Wednesday 30 November 2016 (midnight GMT). Incomplete or late entries will not be accepted.

7. Entries will be judged by a panel consisting of Course Directors from the programme and senior members of CIM. The ideas will be judged on the following:
• Demonstration of exceptional understanding of marketing.
• Demonstration of creativity, innovation and inspiration.
• An innovative, original and creative approach that includes consideration and an in-depth understanding of the challenge outlines in the Brief.

8. CIM will contact the winner by email not less than one calendar month after the closing date. CIM will make every endeavour to contact the winner. In the event that the winner does not respond within four weeks, an alternative winner will be selected.

9. The intellectual property in all entries will be owned by and be vested in CIM and by entering this competition you agree to assign all intellectual property rights in your entry to CIM.

10. CIM and its partners will not be held responsible for any losses, injury or property damage as a result of this competition.

11. The winner will receive:
• Attendance at Module 1 (Contemporary Challenges) of the CIM Academy L7 Marketing Leadership Programme at Moor Hall taking place in 2017. The prize represents the equivalent of a 33% reduction in the cost of the full programme equating to £2,000. The remaining fee of £4,000 plus assessment fees will become payable on the 31 March 2017).
• Free CIM membership for 12 months. If you are already a CIM member, your free membership will commence at your renewal date. If you are not currently a CIM member, your membership will be activated at an appropriate grade not less than one month after the results are announced.
• Free entry to the Assessment for this module of the Award.
• Media exposure at CIM’s discretion.

12. The prize does not include any travelling, accommodation or other supplementary expenses that may be incurred by the winner in undertaking the prize.

13. CIM and its partners are not responsible for obtaining Visas for winners. If an individual is refused entry into a country and unable to receive their prize they will forfeit that prize.

14. There is no cash alternative, the prize is non-transferable and can only be taken by the prize winner.

15. The judge’s decision is final.

16. CIM reserves the right to refuse entries that we consider to be offensive, or contain inappropriate/illegal material.

17. Should the winner already be undertaking a CIM qualification, there will be no refund of any moneys paid.

18. Once booked on the qualification programme, should a winner choose to withdraw from the course, there will be no reimbursement of fees or payment in lieu of fees.

19. CIM has no liability or responsibility to the winner except as set out in these Terms and Conditions.

20. The name of the winner is available from CIM one calendar month after the closing date.

21. Entrants must be over 18 years of age, and must meet the entry criteria for the L7 qualification programme. (See ‘Do I qualify?’

22. CIM reserves the right to cancel, amend, withdraw, terminate or withhold the prize or temporarily suspend this competition in the event of any unforeseen circumstances outside of its reasonable control, with no liability to any entrants or third parties.

23. This competition is being run by the CIM, Moor Hall, Cookham, Berkshire, SL6 9QH.


1. Except as expressly provided for in these Terms and Conditions CIM shall not in any circumstances be responsible for indirect damages or loss of any kind, including loss of profit, business or revenue, arising out of or in any way connected with the performance or failure to perform these Terms and Conditions, breach of any express or implied term or warranty, or where the performance of any of our obligations to you is prevented, frustrated or impeded by any circumstance or cause beyond our reasonable control, including without limitation fire, flood, lightning, civil commotion, malicious damage, compliance with any law or governmental order, accident to or breakdown of plant, machinery, utilities, computer servers, telecommunications networks or default of suppliers or subcontractors.

2. We do not seek to exclude or limit our liability for death or personal injury arising from our own negligence or for any fraudulent misrepresentation.


Applicable Law

1. These Terms and Conditions shall be governed in all respects by English law and you hereby submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

2. CIM reserves the right to vary these Terms and Conditions from time to time. Such variations become effective immediately upon the posting of the varied Terms and Conditions by CIM Academy. By continuing to use CIM Academy you will be deemed to accept such variations.


Tags: Win, CIM Academy's Executive Marketing Leadership Programme, Customer behaviour, Level 7

Categories: CIM Academy | Competition

Tackling Textbooks

November 1, 2016 11:22 by Gill Kelley

Tackling Textbooks

Confused on where to start with your new textbook? Perhaps it’s been a long time since you’ve even picked up a textbook. Here we look at the top tips on how to get started with your CIM studies.

Ensure you know what chapters you are required to read- There’s little chance you’re going to be able to read the whole book whilst studying. Instead we outline which chapters you should be reading then so it coincides with your weekly online learning sessions. Perhaps page mark which pages relate to each specific topic so you can easily find it again.

Read slowly- Take your time, read what you need to slowly. It’s much better readying 10 pages in an hour and knowing all the material, rather than spending an hour on 40 pages and remembering nothing. Perhaps read a paragraph, take a few seconds to take it all in and ask yourself any questions, and then move on. This helps you know the material thoroughly and could help you quote this easily when need be.

Take Notes- General notes, Post it notes, highlighters, annotations, mind maps, bullet points… Whatever helps you best! Of course there are pros and cons to all but only you will know what works best for you and only you will know what your notes mean. Make sure you add enough information to be able to reference the original text when you come to write it up - remember to add the page number to your notes so you can go back to the original text. Colours also help differentiate certain notes from others so be sure to remember what means what.

Structure of the Book- Some textbooks have overviews or summaries and some even quizzes at the end. Focus on the areas you have little knowledge and then use these summaries and quizzes to test your strengths and weaknesses. If you understand more when you are applying your learning (so are pragmatic in your learning style) then try reading the Case Studies before you read the main content of the chapter.

Don’t let the size of the textbook put you off, stay focused and know what works best for you. If it’s the style of writing you aren’t keen on then try another book that covers the same topic; each author writes differently and again it’s about what you can digest and learn from the most. The vast CIM Library is there at your fingertips and helps you find the book you are looking for either online or on site.

Tags: Studying, Textbooks, Reading

Categories: CIM Qualification | Tips

Tick Tock, Tick Tock… How do you manage your time?

November 1, 2016 11:17 by Gill Kelley

Tick Tock, Tick Tock… How do you manage your time? How do you manage your time? Photograph: 47009676 © Afrajtova

Rachel is a busy working mum, she has 2 young children who she juggles alongside a full time job in a demanding Marketing role. She wakes early and gets her children ready for the day ahead, grabs a slice of toast on the way out and drops them at two different locations. Once at work she begins her day, attends several meetings and approves various high profile marketing campaigns. She rushes from work to collect her children from the childminder and eventually, after dinner and evening activities, Rachel puts her children to bed and turns her attention to studying. Rachel is on the Diploma course and puts aside an hour each evening to study. She then ensures she dedicates two hours on both Saturday and Sunday whilst the children are occupied. Before Rachel knows it she has completed 11 hours of studying per week.

As we’re sure you know, time is precious and it’s important you don’t neglect all the other important things life throws at you. At CIM Academy we understand this and have put together Qualification courses which we hope allow you to manage your time well and therefore stay on track throughout your studies.

Each module is scheduled over six learning sessions. In theory you should complete a session a week and we make this clear in a week by week detailed study schedule which is drawn up at the start of each session so you know exactly what you should be studying and when. This allows flexibility for personal and work commitments and even holidays or family commitments which cannot be moved. However some dates are immoveable, including workshop days that are included in your chosen route to study, virtual classrooms and submission of final assignments or examinations.

Let’s say however you are not like Rachel; you could perhaps be an ‘early bird’ with no children or even a ‘night owl’. It’s definitely worth having a think about as you will have a certain number of hours to compete each week. To achieve the high grades you want to be putting in all the hours you can. If you are one of the lucky ones to be allocated some time to study in your working hours, great but it is still good practice to plan when you will complete your study hours. Let’s look at a couple of other examples -

Jennie wakes early, and can focus on her studies for 30 minutes first thing each morning before she goes into work.  She prints off the article from her current session and reads it on the train on the way to work.  By the time she gets home from work she is exhausted and doesn’t have any energy left to focus on her studies (unless it is to attend a virtual classroom), but she estimates that she has studied for five hours before she reaches the weekend.  She then studies for two hours early Saturday morning, and for three hours on Sunday morning (after a lie-in!), whilst the rest of her family are out playing sports.  In total she achieves 10 hours of study per week.

Jon would like to keep his weekends free if at all possible.  He knows he will need some time at weekends to write his assignments, but for now he estimates he will do two hours per night from Sunday to Thursday, and so will have achieved 10 hours of study each week.

It’s important to try and gain the support of family and friends. Having the support and guidance is a massive help and will encourage you to work as hard as you can. Sticking something on the fridge perhaps remind you and others that you have homework to do too!

If you are not sure what to prioritise, speak to your Learning Support contact or your Course Director who will be happy to advise you. Here are 10 quick tips we have put together to help get you started-

  • Stay organised.
  • Plan ahead.
  • Don’t leave things to the last minute.
  • Don’t put off getting things started.
  • Work at the time of day when you know you will be most ‘intellectually alert’.
  • Don’t be too much of a perfectionist.
  • Develop good study habits.
  • Take advantage of having others around you who can test your knowledge.
  • Read as much as you can.
  • And ask as many questions as you like!

Stick to the above and you will have a stress free and enjoyable journey with CIM Academy.


Tags: CIM Academy, Case study, Studying

Categories: CIM Academy | Tips

Top 10 tips for a perfect study environment

November 1, 2016 11:14 by Gill Kelley

Top 10 tips for a perfect study environment Create the best studying environment. Photograph: 53581027 © Stokkete

Studying for a CIM Qualification involves dedicated time and so creating the best working environment for you is important. Of course the days of using a desktop PC at home are long gone and you can now access all your study materials on a tablet or smartphone. It is however still important that you find a quiet area to spend your revision time so here we give you our top 10 tips which you can hopefully incorporate into your study routine.

1. Keep a tidy work space - If you have a clear desk there’s a lot less to distract you meaning you can stop procrastinating and focus on your studies in hand.

2. Try to avoid background noise - Although some people say that background music helps, Accelerated Learning Research shows that music from the Baroque era stimulates the brain to learn - the beats per minute (60) are the same as the alpha brain wave state, and so it helps the brain to be more receptive to learning. This is however very different from being in the same room as others, as this can prove very distracting for all.

3. Break up your studying - It’s amazing the amount of difference a few minutes off a long chunk of studying makes. Take a breath! Get some fresh air and start again! Even just stretching your legs will help. Your concentration will soon start to go once you’ve been looking at something for a while and you will soon find that shortened periods of studying will help you take in a lot more.

4. Phone on silent! - Or just let those around you know you are studying. One less thing to distract you and clicking on Facebook or Twitter is too easy so put your phone on silent or even turn it off completely to stop you from this easy distraction.

5. Take advantage of downtime at work - If you’re one of the lucky ones who is allocated some time to study during work hours then great, as this environment is what you need. If not, and you have a busy home life, then take advantage of any free time you can. This may during your work lunch break or during a slow time of day. Even if it’s not for long, every little bit of time helps.

6. Lighting - It may seem simple but straining your eyes to read in dim lighting or even bright artificial light can cause headaches. Try and find natural light and remember to take breaks.

7. The Clock! - Can be your worst and best friend both at the same time! 5 minutes may seem like an hour which for some can be so off putting. It’s best not to know how long you have been studying for and instead set an alarm so you know when you should be taking that well deserved break.

8. Comfort - Sitting on your bed or on the sofa may seem like a good idea at first but you will soon want to give up on the studying and watch some TV instead. The same goes for a hard, straight back chair, this will soon feel uncomfortable. Instead find somewhere that works best for you and use this as your study area.

9. Find the time that works best for you - There’s no point trying to study late at night if you know you are tired and not going to take anything in so instead find the time of day that works best for you, incorporate this with your perfect study area and you are in the environment you need.

10. FOCUS! - Last but not least focus! Only you can be true to yourself when studying and only you will know if the environment you are working in works in your favour. You may already know or it may take some time to realise but whatever works best for you, is what you should stick with.

Tags: Studying, Time management

Categories: CIM Qualification | Tips