All the CIM Lecture Notes - A Mini Marketing Course

Throughout my Chartered Institue of Marketing (CIM) qualification in Professional Marketing, I've been writing up lecture notes to give a little taster on what to expect if you're considering taking the course yourself; or if you're just looking for marketing advice on tools, models and strategies. It's a really valuable course if you are interested in marketing. I found it particularly worthwhile completing the course while alongside work, as it provided opportunities to learn new tactics from both a theory and client-facing point of view.

My CIM lecture notes are in the three following sections:

 

Marketing Module

A marketers role is important in driving success to the business, and delivering results. This module takes you through the foundations of marketing, and I would strongly recommend this as a stand-alone module for anyone looking for a career in marketing, if you don't want to take the full course. It outlines an understanding of how external environmental influences affect planning, and how information enables decision making. The marketing mix was a key element of this unit, and how you can apply the marketing mix to address market and customer needs. Please see below for my CIM lecture notes on the marketing module:

 

Week 1 - Marketing’s position within a business

Marketing defined! Exploring the definition of marketing, its functions and roles it plays within a business. This blog also includes a great description of key terms and useful definitions!

 

Week 2 - Planning and buying behaviour

This blog explores the marketing planning process, why it’s an important part of marketing, and how buying behaviour affects the purchase decision. These lecture notes also explore how influencers have an impact on the business, or customer/ consumer such as environmental, social and political.

 

Week 3 - Factors and trends in the marketing environment

Trends are important for marketers as they help us identify what direction marketing is taking ahead of time. Knowing trends before they happen allow us to understand what is and isn’t working, and then implement that change before your competition does.

 

Week 4 - Marketing information and research

Marketing information/data and research, why we need insight as marketers, and how we can use it to make better judgments and more effective campaigns. Understanding that data + information = INSIGHT.

 

Week 5 - Presenting your data and information to form insights

How to present and gather insights from raw data. Once we have these insights into the current situation, we can then use them in forecasting; this blog discusses the benefits of forecasting in marketing.

 

Week 6 - Outlining the marketing mix

It must be the MOST fundamental of all marketing concepts, behold… the marketing mix! Here's everything you need to know about the famous 4 Ps of marketing.

 

Week 7 - Putting the marketing mix into context

How we can adapt the marketing mix to the following organisation types, business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), and not for profit/third sector, and small to medium-sized enterprise (SME). Markets are dynamic, and constantly changing, this blog explains how we can shift our marketing activities in order to meet different objectives.

 

 

Digital Marketing Module

This module appreciates the importance of the ever-changing digital landscape and how to improve digital marketing effectiveness from using the tools required; While also providing awareness to the challenges and opportunities marketers face within the digital environment. I will applaud CIM as they ensure they update their syllabus each year, meaning that they are teaching students what is happening NOW. In the digital landscape, we need to be aware of was is happening right now in order to give us a competitive edge. Please see below for my CIM lecture notes on the digital marketing module:

 

Week 1 - Digital disruption and The Scope of Digital Marketing

Digital disruption and more importantly how they can make an impact on your business model. We also looked at the scope of digital marketing, with specific attention to the Internet of things, Big Data, and Marketing Automation.

 

Week 2 - Integration of Online and Offline Marketing

Assessing the impact and influence of the dynamic digital environment and how customer behaviour has changed as a result. Today we looked into ways to integrate online and offline marketing concepts to increase impact.

 

Week 3 - Digital tools in the marketing mix

How digital tools can support and enhance marketing efforts, and the role of digital marketing within the marketing and extended marketing mix.

 

Week 4 - Digital tools strengths and weaknesses

Here's a great overview of the digital tools available and how they can support and enhance your marketing strategy with their strengths and weaknesses. This blog also covers the ways in which digital hardware can fit into marketing.

 

Week 5 - Describing the process and stages involved for digital adoption

The process and stages involved in digital adoption, common misuses and evaluating platforms for different contexts.

 

Week 6 - Digital marketing plan models (Your planning tool kit!)

A COMPLETE guide to planning models and how to use them! This blog covers the customer journey, Multi-channel campaigns, Marketing Funnel, RACE model, and SOSTAC.

 

 

Integrated Communications

Understanding the importance of effective internal and external communications in building sustainable relationships, and delivering customer value. It dives deep into explaining how the concept of product and brand management can enable brands to deliver customer value. This module also looks at how we can apply the marketing mix in terms of producing consistent brand messaging throughout the business. Please see below for my CIM lecture notes on the Integrated Communications module:

 

Week 1 - Integrated Communications

The value and importance of good internal and external communications. How effective internal communication is key to building sustainable relationships and delivering customer value.

 

Week 2 - Benefits of Having Internal Relationships

The benefits of internal relationships in the workplace and what they mean to the company and employees, and the different methods available for communication.

 

Week 3 - Allocating internal resources

Each organisation needs efficient resources to maintain a successful business, this blog outlines why these resources need to be effectively managed and allocated.

 

Week 4 – Brand and Product Management

Successful brand building is at the root of a profitable business and one of the biggest hurdles that a marketing team will face. Marketing’s role serves to generate brand awareness and to strengthen brand image as a strong brand will generate profits.

 

Week 5 – Brand Building Models

This week we explored how we use different models for brand building and the different types of brand attributes. A blog covering the following brand building methods, Brand Identity Prism, Perceptual Map, AIDA and Customer Value Proposition (CVP).

 

Week 6 – Integrated Communications Planning

Identifying appropriate SMART communication objectives and how to recommend integrated marketing communication (IMC) plans. As well as the 3 Ps - Push Pull and Profile Strategies.

 

Week 7 - Media Implementation Cycle

How the media implementation cycle fits into marketing communication planning, and how we might measure effectiveness across multiple channels.

 

If this blog has sparked interest, and you are looking for information regarding the Chartered Institute of Marketing, visit CIM.


CIM Lecture notes - Week 7 - Media Implementation Cycle

This week’s lecture notes will look at how the media implementation cycle fits into marketing communication planning, and how we might measure effectiveness across multiple channels.

 

Media implementation cycle

Before diving into the media implementation cycle, we must first look at the different types of media available. Using media will support communication planning, as it allows you to consistently promote company messaging through channels that your prospects are using daily.

The three key media categories are:

  • Bought media: Adverts, Sponsorship, Pay Per Click (PPC)
  • Owned media: Websites, LinkedIn articles, Blogging
  • Earned media: Press Coverage, Viral and Social media

Media implementation strategy needs to be planned systematically. Pickton & Broderick (2005) developed the media implementation cycle to be used as a planning framework for media activities. The media implementation cycle features coherent activities including media strategy planning, scheduling, target audience, and media selection, right through to media evaluation at the end.

 

 

How do we use the media implementation cycle?

  • Marketing communications objectives and strategy: This is the first step in the framework, and it means that your objectives and strategy need to be set ahead of planning media implementation. For definitions on objectives and strategy please see my last blog.
  • Target audience: Your target audience/ audiences are the people that you intend to reach with your media marketing communication messages.
  • Media objectives: In this section, you should outline what you plan to achieve in terms of media reach, the frequency of activities, and the impact of messages.
  • Media budget: The budget of the media plan will vary depending on company size, but any budgets should be relative to the objectives you plan to achieve and segmented by each platform to give better analysis of financial resources for each activity.
  • Media selection: These are the range of media channels you plan to use to communicate company messaging to your target audience.
  • Media scheduling: The process of planning the frequency of advertising, and when you plan to place your ads.
  • Media buying: Speaking with publications to seek the best advertising rates or the process of purchasing other media promotion methods.
  • Media evaluation: The assessment of how well your media advertising performed, you may wish to evaluate advertising based on click-through rates or uplift in sales.

Many of these steps within this media planning framework concern the reach, frequency, and impact of messages communicated to the audience.

 

How do we measure the effectiveness of different communications?

Using a variety of channels really brings a bundle of benefits. However, measuring all these channels alongside each other can prove difficult as each channel will have a slightly different way of analysing metrics. For example, when reviewing advertising stats, you could be looking at click-through rates and impressions. When reviewing a contributed article that you have earned, there’s simply no metrics you can pull out from it except the number of people the magazine was sent to. Even when taking the circulation figure, that doesn’t really tell you the actual number of people that read or even acted (such as visited the company website to find out more information) from reading the article. The challenge is real.

Seeing an uplift in sales is one of the most used methods for measuring the success of campaigns. It doesn’t provide granular detail on what assets were performing best but it does provide you with real stats that indicate how well your overall marketing is doing. Another key indicator is the number of direct responses your company is receiving from new prospects such as incoming calls, redeemed vouchers, and higher email open rates. It is important to factor in that the results for some of your marketing communication plans will be long term, such as brand building. While some of the media advertisement may bring direct short-term business such as sales.


CIM Lecture notes - Week 6 – Integrated Communications Planning

With our Integrated Communication plan hand-in just around the corner, we decided to look at identifying appropriate SMART communication objectives and how to recommend integrated marketing communication (IMC) plans.

In this blog, we’ll explore the strategies in an integrated communications plan and how it helps raise company profile and brand image.

 

What are Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)?

It has been around for a while and it’s still very valuable, as it ensures that all your messaging is aligned to support the desired brand image. The key point to remember is all internal and external messages should be consistent and aligned to support the brand identity; Brand identity can be developed by using brand building models.

“Integrated marketing communications is an approach to promoting a message through multiple strategies that work together and reinforce one another." the balance small business

For more information on IMC please check out my blog on Integrated Communications.

 

Aims, Goals, Objectives, Strategy and Tactics …

So, you will need all of them for the plan, but what tells them apart? Before you start any plan, knowing this is crucial.

Aim – This is the business's purpose or desired outcome, they tend to be more general than goals or objectives because they are focused on a bigger long-term result

e.g. Achieve a marketing share of 20% within three years of the product launch

Goals – A goal is usually a target that won’t contain the steps needed to get there, but will be more specific than an aim

e.g.  Increase profits by 25% within one year

Objectives – These are measurable and there are usually multiple objectives within a marketing plan. Objectives should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, and Time-bound). We have a SMART Objective Generator you can try out.

e.g. To increase the monthly website views, coming from organic search, social media, email marketing, and direct traffic, by 10% within the next 12 months

Strategy – This is the ‘What’ that builds out a plan, within the strategy you should answer ‘What are you trying to accomplish?’.

e.g. You might consider writing about the competitive landscape and what you are going to do to achieve a competitive edge or gain more market share

Tactics – These are ‘How’ you will achieve the goals you have set, they are the specific activities that need to be carried out.

e.g. Using social media channels to promote and share relevant content to followers

 

Push Pull and Profile Strategies – The 3P’s

When it comes to marketing communication planning, there are three different methods you can base your strategy on, and these are the 3P’s of marketing communication. A push strategy forces the product down into the distribution channel by putting emphasis on product promotion. A pull strategy is used to satisfy corporate promotional goals and involves communication between customer/ consumer to attract them to purchase from retailers and distributors; Businesses use a profile strategy to develop corporate promotional goals.

 

Push Strategy: What

The push strategy aims to get the product to market without spending a massive amount on advertising, this is where direct and personal selling is used to acquire customers. Businesses tend to use trade shows for this strategy as a chance to use personal selling against industry figures attending.

Push strategies work best when the purchase decision is low-level and usually unplanned or described as an impulse buy. Also use this strategy if there are a low brand loyalty and there is good substitutes/ alternative products available to the consumer. This is a good strategy for consumers who are familiar with the product.

Push Strategy: How

  • Shop displays
  • Packaging design work
  • Arranging stock agreements with retailers/ distributors
  • Direct face-to-face marketing
  • Attending industry trade shows

 

Pull Strategy: What

Unlike the push strategy, pull strategies are softer, promotion heavy and directed towards the end user. Lots of promotional offers are needed to support the campaign. The additional advertising used in this method means the total cost is considered as high.

If product demand is high, then it signifies that a pull strategy would be relevant. Also, if you have clear product differentiators that are based on emotional or real features. For consumers that tend to make brand choice decisions before they go to the shop, and if they have a high brand loyalty then this method is also suitable.

Pull Strategy: How

  • Promotional sale offers
  • Product competitions
  • Sponsorship
  • Free samples
  • Public Relations

Profile Strategy: What

Developing a profile strategy is a little different from the other two methods. It aims to build brand awareness and perception, which is done through positioning and brand identity development. The strategy is about sustaining communication with stakeholders and keeping them in the loop with company updates, often done through monthly newsletters.

Profile Strategy: How

  • Corporate advertising
  • Maintaining a social media presence
  • Sponsorship
  • Company newsletters

Winning with Conversion Rate Optimisation – from Marketing Week Live 2019

Marketing Week Live (MWL), well it’s probably one of the most hyped marketing events in the UK. As you can imagine it got very busy, so don’t make the mistake of wearing heels.

The time I spent at MWL this year was valuable, as I spent the day attending sessions, and connecting with existing and potential suppliers that Napier could work with. As a word of advice, if you are considering attending next year, then remember its beneficial to get to the talks at least 15 minutes early. Or you risk the chance of sitting on the floor or standing at the back peering over everyone.

 

Winning with Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)

During my time at MWL, I attended an interesting talk from Deepak Lamba, CRO Consultant at VWO. The talk highlighted the key pillars of a successful conversion optimisation rate (CRO) program, and also brought to our attention how different the customer journey is now, compared to how it used to be. Once upon a time, there was a simple customer journey that went in a linear click-based pattern, it looked something like this:

 

 

Now it’s a little different, people now shop in more ways than they ever have before. On average, there are about 10 touch points before a contact becomes a qualified lead. So, when we begin to imagine what this looks like, we see this:

 

The reason for this is simple, people now shop across many different platforms at the time they wish. People are now more likely to pop back and continue shopping from a different platform to before; making it incredibly hard to track customers from start to finish. We have moved on from measuring petty clicks and into a new exciting era of measuring impact. Now it is all about tying marketing revenue with deep insights into customer journey and touch points. Touchpoints that lead to sales. Many companies are still not taking a structured approach for testing, for reasons such as no optimisation roadmap/ framework, lack of understanding of A/B testing, and lack of buy-in from leadership teams.

Now to reveal the key pillars of a successful CRO program (Research, Hypothesis, Prioritise, Test, Measure/ Learn):

 

This lovely simplistic method for testing may take you back to your school science lessons and testing. It really gives a good framework for planning out your program from start to finish. To begin your research, you must understand your trail. For eCommerce organisations the map of your audience trail might look like this:

 

What methods would we use to measure the effectiveness of a conversion rate optimisation program?

  • Heatmaps: The simple answer, they visually show which parts on page people are mostly looking at/ using, this identifies which pages are selling.
  • Scroll maps: They tell you how long people are scrolling down the page; And which pages are keeping customers engaged the longest.
  • Session replays: A very easy feature to use, they enable businesses to record, save and replay interactions their visitors have on the site. They will help you understand why a customer may have left the website without doing anything.
  • Surveys: For insight into the effect of word of mouth on your direct traffic.
  • Form analytics: To help you build an understanding of how visitors interact with every form field.

CIM Lecture notes - Week 5 – Brand Building Models

After last week’s lesson, on the importance of brand and product management. This week we explored how we use models for brand building. We also explored the different types of brand attributes.

 

Intrinsic and Extrinsic

Brand characteristics can come in two varieties, these are intrinsic and extrinsic. It’s important to remember that the decision to purchase a product or service will be based off one of these types of attributes, both attributes play a part in what makes the customer buy.

Intrinsic attributes of a product refer to its basic functional characteristics such as performance and shape. If an intrinsic characteristic of the product were to change then this would impact the product directly and not necessarily the brand.

The other characteristics that a product can have are Extrinsic, which are not directly linked to the product itself. Extrinsic attributes derive from the brand name, marketing communications and messages, packaging, and price to name a few. These are all features that affect the perception of the product and often help customers to distinguish one brand from the next.

 

Brand Building Models

Companies use brand models to predict the behaviour of your customers and prospects. More specifically they help drill down into key brand messaging for achieving business growth. Outlined below are the main benefits of using a brand model:

  1. Consumer mindset – Using the right brand model you can identify the consumer’s mindset, as well as attitudes and behaviours towards your brand.
  2. Predict the future – Brand models will ask the ‘what if…’ questions to predict likely outcomes. With the future outcomes in mind, you can then start to consider future actions you might take.
  3. Providing information – Provides information that leads to insights that will help you achieve business goals.
  4. Quintessential framework – A brand model gives you the full overview of what your brand does, and why they do it, that’s why we say it’s the quintessential framework for evaluating and decision making.

 

Here are 3 Core Branding Building Models:

 

Brand Identity Prism

Kapferer’s Brand Prism (2004) is one method used in brand building, “Jean-Noel Kapferer’s Brand Identity Prism, which holds that brand identity occurs in a nexus between corporate image and consumer perception” (Anderson, 2010). Anderson points out an important part of the prism - that it incorporates the connection of a brand’s outward/ external expression on the left and the internal expression of the brand on the right. This model is used to determine the brand personality, and once it has been identified, it can then be built and consistently communicated.

 

The diagram below provides an overview of what the brand prism model might look like for Napier. Providing deeper insight into understanding our brand and how we can build upon it:.

 

 

Perceptual Map

The perceptual map model is used to visually analyse where competitors stand and benchmark according to the set values. The core outcome from a perceptual map is to see where you benchmark against your competitors. I’ve included a diagram below to demonstrate what this might look like for a selection of competing cake brands:

 

AIDA

This clever acronym stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. The ADIA model is used when creating a brand’s messaging, and applies a simple structure that covers all the points to include when writing content, for example, the text for an advertisement. This model will usually look like the below diagram:

 

Customer Value Proposition (CVP)

The customer value proposition is a marketing statement, that is designed to persuade. The CVP perswades prospects on the benefits of a specific product/ service. It’s more of an external message for customers and prospects rather than an approach for internal use amongst employees.

In simple terms:

CVP = What the customer gets for what the customer pays

 

The customer value proposition can be put into three categories, there is benefits, points of difference, and resonating focus. The main challenge for marketers is how exactly we communicate the CVP to prospects.


CIM Lecture Notes - Week 4 - Brand and Product Management

This week we learnt how, as a company we build a successful brand and communicate this with our customers. Organisations can sell their products or services, but it all comes down to the fact that customers buy because they believe in your brand and not just your products and services.

Successful brand building is at the root of a profitable business and one of the biggest hurdles that a marketing team will face. Marketing’s role serves to generate brand awareness and to strengthen brand image as a strong brand will generate profits.

 

What is product management?

Product management involves being responsible for understanding customer requirements and implementing changes to product ranges. Funnily enough, products are managed by product managers, and this means that they are responsible for adding particular products to ranges or discontinuing old products when they reach the decline phase of their product lifecycle.

I have touched on the product lifecycle, also called the Diffusion of innovation model before in CIM, it’s the breakdown of the phases that a product will go through, starting with its introduction, through to decline phase and is demonstrated in the diagram below.

 

 

Benefits of branding

Organisations have assets in which they can add brand value. These assets include:

  • Brand name awareness
  • Brand loyalty
  • Perceived quality
  • Brand associates

 

Companies need to build on their brand in order to improve their assets, here are some of the benefits that brand building can bring:

  • Improved perceptions of value - customers will see a greater added value when they buy your products
  • Trust - customers trust brands that have a clear messaging and structure
  • Less vulnerability to competition - a clearly defined brand will differentiate you from other businesses as customers can easily identify you from the rest
  • Less vulnerability to crisis - strong brands can leverage the brand name to survive a public crisis
  • Larger margins - customers buy for the added value that your brand brings when they make a purchase, meaning that there will be more sales to well established brands
  • Platform for brand extensions - using an existing well-established brand on new products to increase profits

CIM Lecture notes - Week 3 - Allocating internal resources

Each organisation needs efficient resources to maintain successful business, and these resources need to be effectively managed and allocated. Last week we talked about the benefits of internal communication, which leads into why some organisations will employ an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Manager. This manager will specifically handle the responsibility of communications management and internal marketing. A good IMC manager will ensure that there is a constant flow of communication, both internal and external.

 

Types of Resources

We can look into four different areas of organisational resources, these are the following:

  • Physical Resources - They vary depending on the organisation but for some this will include physical manufacturing capacity, retail outlets and office buildings.
  • Human Resources - Is a key resource for every organisation, they include members of staff such as managerial, admin, and specialists. It’s important to remember that when employees are motivated and engaged the performance of the company will be better.
  • Financial Resources - This area is usually managed by a financial specialist, and budgets are put in place. A company’s financial resources will include net worth, capital, credit reputation, cash flow and share price.
  • Intangible Resources - Is a bit harder to put onto paper, but it a company’s overall image, branding, market reputation and goodwill attitude.

 

How do we allocate these resources?

Fred Reichheld created a model called the Service Profit Cycle (SPC) in 1996 to demonstrate the links between how the company operates internally and the service performance it offers externally.

 

 

The way it works is simple, each linkage on the chain affects the next stage in the cycle:

  • Respectable amounts of employee retention and profitability means that they can afford to produce good quality external services to their clients.
  • If there is a production of good quality of external services, then we will have happy and satisfied clients.
  • If we have satisfied clients then they are likely to be loyal to the brand, become our promoters, are likely to purchase more/ often and recommend services to family or friends.
  • If our clients stay loyal, promote the brand, or purchase more from their satisfaction of the service, then we will see a rise in profits. As it’s cheaper to retain customers rather than to invest in new business, this will contribute to the growth of profits.
  • If there’s a rise in company profits, this money can be invested into internal growth such as employee recruitment, training, development, recognition, rewards and tools to aid our work and help us do a better job.
  • If internal service quality is high, this in turn increases employee satisfaction.
  • Employee satisfaction leads to higher employee retention rates.

It is possible that the SPC can also work in reverse, so don’t get caught up in the cycle of going in a singular direction. For example, where there might be a reduction in company profits it will mean that the company must make cuts elsewhere. At every point in the chain there is chance for positive or negative effect e.g. the level of customer satisfaction will affect the level of customer loyalty, if customer satisfaction is high, it will increase customer loyalty; Likewise, if customer loyalty decreased, then profits are also likely to decrease.


New Online Editor for Huthig

Congratulations to Gunnar Knuepffer who has joined the Huthig electronics team as the new online editor. Formed of AUTOMOBIL-ELEKTRONIK, elektronik industrie, elektronik journal, emobility tec and www.all-electronics.de, Gunnar joins the team after previously working as the editor for Produktion.

Gunnar replaces Therese Meitinger who has left the company to find a new role outside of the electronics industry. We wish her all the best in her new role.

 

Gunnar Knuepffer, Online Editor at Huethig

 


CIM Lecture notes - Week 2 - Benefits of Having Internal Relationships

 

In this lesson we learnt the benefits of internal relationships in the workplace and what they mean to the company and employees, and the different methods available for communication.

 

Benefits of internal relationships

Below I outline some of the key benefits of making sure that there is a good internal relationship structure in place and people follow it:

  • Internal relationships introduce a decentralised approach. This means that key decisions are not made at the centre of a business (senior management), meaning that the decisions are delegated further down the chain, a decentralised approach.
  • Internal relationships prevent silo mentality, which is an attitude that some organisations might have. Silo mentality occurs when members of organisations do not wish to share information or withhold information from others within that organisation.
  • Motivated employees who more loyal, because we are all more motivated to perform well on a task if we know what we are trying to achieve.
  • Cohesive team working, a cohesive team are able to comfortably converse with one another to communicate strengths and weaknesses, commit to decisions and are not afraid to engage in conflict around ideas. Cohesive team work steams from having a good internal communication structure in place.
  • Which nicely moves onto the next point of preventing conflict, poor communication is one of the biggest causes of conflict within a company. It leads to misunderstanding and can occur if a manager asks an employee to relay an important message to another employee, but the employee fails to relay the intended message.
  • It encourages innovation, because interdepartmental communication encourages people to share ideas about their work outside their usual team and as the ‘pool of ideas’ is larger and sparks innovation for knowledge-based ideas. For example, a sales team will see more success if they speak with marketing who might have more insight into what prospects are reacting well to in terms of marketing content.
  • More satisfied customers are a result of an organisation having a customer focus throughout all areas of the company. Departments that talk with one another have much more insight, and better idea of the bigger picture. Once this communication between teams develop, information is easily shared and used to the customers advantage.
  • And lastly staff that feel empowered to influence a policy that affects them, creating a vision and sharing it with the team will urge people to help achieve it. Transparency in communication is how you deliver the message to everyone.

 

Internal communication methods

The methods and tools available today are endless, businesses will use a collection of different tools for different purposes. Here some of the main communication tools that we are using:

  • Face to face meetings
  • Email
  • Text
  • Notice boards
  • Website
  • Social media
  • Newsletters
  • Video conferencing
  • Company intranet

 


Electronic Product Design & Test Confirms Mark Gradwell as New Editor

Congratulations to Mark Gradwell, who has been confirmed as the new Editor at Electronic Product Design & Test (EPDT).

After joining his role as a Consultant Editor in May 2017, Mark will step up to move into his new role as Editor from January 2019. Mark will manage full responsibility of EPDT content across print, digital, website, newsletters, social channels and live events.

It’s safe to say that everyone is thrilled with Mark’s new position. Richard Woodruff, Business Development manager at EPDT has said “I’m excited Mark is stepping up to assume full editorial responsibility across EPDT. He has already added a great deal of value during his first year and a half, helping develop EPDT’s editorial voice and product in print with his extensive industry network, solid technical understanding and strong writing skills.”

EPDT is a big player in the electronics market providing news on the whole electronics product development and manufacturing cycle. We are sure that the success will continue with the appointment of Mark Gradwell as Editor. EPDT ensures us that there are already many exciting plans in the pipeline!

 

Mark Gradwell Editor, EPDT

Landing pages - What are they? And why do you need one?

Landing pages are a vital part of any B2B inbound strategy. Once you have your content, you can use landing pages to inform potential customers why they need it, and what they will gain from it. Promoting your content also gives you the unique opportunity to collect useful insights about your customers by including a form they must fill out in exchange for the content.

 

What are landing pages?

A landing page is a standalone webpage promotes an offer, usually a piece of content, with the aim of getting them to part with their contact details by completing a form.

After filling out a form the visitor is directed to a thank-you page; you guessed it... it’s a page that says thank you for filling out the form. The visitor will either be able to download the content from this page, or it can also be sent to them via email.

There is a common misconception that landing pages are time consuming and not worth the hassle, however with the marketing automation platforms that are available today, they can be easily created using templates and drag and drop features while still looking professional.

 

What makes a good landing page?

A successful landing page will be focused on achieving one goal, this could be for a visitor to fill out a form, complete a survey, access a free trial, or download a free content offer. Landing pages that tend to have the highest conversion rates, will be aimed at a specific target audience segment. This means that the content you are offering is relevant to the person it is aimed at and it should be something that the person will see value in.

Another tactic to consider when developing a form for a landing page is progressive profiling. This is a useful technique for gathering information about the people you are targeting.  An example of this would be a person who is returning to your website having  previously filled out a form on another landing page.  You could ask that visitor a question they haven’t been asked before, for example what their biggest marketing challenge is.

Lastly, the value of the content that you are offering should be reflected in how much personal information you are asking for. If you are offering a marketing checklist for example, then you shouldn’t request much more information than a name and an email address. On the other hand, if you are offering an informative eBook then people might be more willing to give you a bit more information in the form fill. At the end of the day you are looking for conversions, so you need to present an offer that’s worth filling out the form for.

 

How to optimise B2B landing pages to increase conversions

Headline

- Have an interesting heading that showcases the value and tells prospects exactly what you are offering. The headline is the most critical component, remember that readers will scan landing pages, and therefore your headline shouldn’t be too long.

Limited navigation

- This means removing your usual navigation that sits at the top of your page such as the about us page/ contact us page. The goal is to get people to fill out the form and you don’t want to risk directing them somewhere else.

Images

- Landing pages should always have a compelling picture, as this gives visitors a better idea of what they will receive and make the page more visually appealing. Just make sure it’s relevant to your offer.

Social sharing links

- These links will enable visitors to share your landing page on social networks. This will grow the reach of your landing page to fans and followers.

A thank-you page

- As I mentioned earlier a landing page should be followed with a thank-you page which thanks and provides prospects of details for the next steps of receiving the offer. Thank you pages can also be used to promote additional related content, frequently in exchange for further information from the visitor.

 

 


CIM Lecture notes - Week 1 - Integrated Communications

What is Integrated Communications?

This module is about understanding the value and importance of good internal and external communications. Effective internal communication is key to building sustainable relationships and delivering customer value.

It’s about delivering consistent, and transparent messaging throughout the organisation. Making sure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same objectives.

 

Why do we need it?

For a business to be successful it needs motivated individuals. Communication management responsibilities help both allocation of resources to different areas of the business and motivate individuals by understanding their needs and working with them.

Communication strategy is now an essential method for improving business effectiveness. It’s more than just notifying staff about company announcements, it’s about putting a structure in place that binds the team together.

There are basic needs that employees want from a business, these include:

  • Income security
  • Increases in income
  • A safe and comfortable working environment
  • Sense of community
  • Interesting work
  • Recognition of effort
  • Gaining skills and career development
  • Sense of identity

A communications strategy helps employers guarantee that they are meeting these needs.

 

The assignment

For this module we will be writing an integrated communications plan for our chosen organisation, before we start this plan it’s good to think back to the different stages of planning. Where are you now? Where do you want to be? How will you get there?

In the diagram below I’ve mapped out how the integrated communication plan will fit into these stages:

 

Internal marketing and cross functional relationships

Internal marketing is crucial - but what is it exactly? It is when a company treats their members of staff as internal customers/ stakeholders. The idea of this, is to create a positive work atmosphere where employees form cross-functional relationships with one another and work towards a common goal.

In other words, it’s the promotion of an organisations objectives, products/ services internally within the company. Companies do this to motivate employees to work towards the organisations goals and foster brand advocacy.

A common goal for businesses would be to have a cross-functional team of workers, this is group of people with different functional expertise that work towards achieving the same goal.

 

Who are the stakeholders?

Internal stakeholders: Employees, managers

Connected (micro): Customers, shareholders, suppliers, distributors, financers, retailers.

External (macro): Government, press/ media, pressure groups, local communities, professional bodies, society.

 

Organisational culture

This is made up of the values, behaviours, as well as social and physiological environment of a company. It’s almost like the company’s own personality, and it affects how people perceive what it’s like to work at that company.

Here’s a list of elements that affect organisational culture:

  • Power structures
  • Routines
  • Symbols
  • Control systems
  • Organisational structure
  • Storytelling

The Napier approach - Our 4-step process for delivering great service

WHAT?

The Napier approach was designed to help ensure we deliver the best service possible to our clients. A 4-step process tailored for the B2B technology market, ensures that we are applying the right processes and methodologies. Especially when planning, but also in our daily marketing activities. This approach is a great way to stop focusing on the individual activities and start thinking more creatively about new ideas for campaigns.

 

 

WHY?

It’s so easy, particularly with modern marketing technology to launch a campaign with minimal planning and strategy. Achieving the best results depends upon having a process that defines things like the objective and audience and considers the best messages and tactics to achieve the results. Following the Napier 4-step process gives us the confidence that what we are producing high quality work, consistently.

 

WHAT EXACTLY?

 

Step 1: Determine

What: This stage is about understanding the current situation and how we can outsmart the competition.

The best campaigns are built on understanding clients and their strengths. By identifying and prioritising the things that really matter, the client’s strengths are isolated, helping us to achieve business goals that make a difference.

In this stage we look at the client, their products, technologies, the market and their competitors. We use a combination of analysis tools, research, and our existing experience to identify marketing and business goals.

Activities/ Tools:

  • Talking to the clients about their customers - This includes discussion around marketing goals, personal goals, and interviewing the client’s sales and marketing teams
  • Communications audit -We use the Meltwater tool to analyse online media coverage
  • Advertising audit - Print advertising audits require a lot of manual research an can be expensive, however, digital tools such as Spyfu provide us with good profiles of the SEM campaigns running
  • Ambition star – This is a model derived from Porter’s five forces. We have adjusted the elements to make it more focused for technology clients, but here’s an example of how it’s used:

 

 

  • Research - Surveys or qualitive interviews
  • Situation analysis - SWOT. Here’s some useful questions that could help you answer your SWOT:

 

Here is a completed SWOT for said ‘Cakes R Us’ company:

 

 

  • Product/ Customer involvement - B2B clients will know the distinction between high involvement and low involvement products. We use our product/ customer analysis tool to look at the relationship between the involvement of the customer and the level of involvement the supplier thinks the product demands. Here’s the Product/ Customer involvement in action:

 

  • Other tools that aren’t specifically aimed at technology clients but still may be used are: PEST, and Porter’s five forces, and the Boston matrix

 

Step 2: Focus

What: It’s where we identify the messages, channels and tactics that will drive prospects through the sales funnel more quickly.

Identifying the people that matter allows us to classify key elements such as the personas, and buyer journey. This stage demonstrates the tools needed to increase the pace, that prospects move through the funnel. We recognise the channels that buyers are using, and use these channels to help bring them closer to reaching a decision.

By building messages that will resonate with your prospects and customer; means that you are getting through to them and they will be more likely to make the decision to purchase from you.

Activities/ Tools:

  • Social media listening - Provides insight into attitudes and opinions of various stakeholders
  • Audience targeting - Defining the right audience
  • Stakeholder analysis - This involves building out a map of all your stakeholders, as not all stake holders will be affected by every business decision, this is a map that informs us who will be potential stakeholders and therefore educate our decision-making process
  • Personas - Developing personas for the target audience is the main way we clarify segmentation. We use the persona tool within HubSpot for this
  • Research and surveys - I’m sure this doesn’t require much explanation, we use this step to understand an individual’s perceptions
  • Perceptual maps - This is what we gather from our research, here’s what they look like:

 

  • Message development - Companies messaging chances too often as companies are acquired or new products are launched, we work with the client to develop their messaging (this includes their values, vision, competitor performance, to name a few)
  • Messaging house - Because it’s too important to get the branding and storytelling right. This is document that is produced from the step above, your message development
  • Buyer’s journey and Sales funnel - You’ve all heard of the sales funnel, and we lovingly support that methodology here as it can be applied to any sales process and it’s optimised for inbound marketing
  • Customer journey map - This is an alternative way to. describe all customer experiences. It begins with the customer first impression of the company and then finishes after sale of the product, this map incorporates any friction in the process of buying
  • Setting objectives (and SMART objectives) - Objectives must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time bound)
  • Valid metrics matrix - Built around the funnel and outputs, this model incorporates each stage in the funnel and the effect of these on you target audience, and intermediaries. Here’s the tool below:

 

  • Briefing sheets 

 

Step 3: Deliver

What: It’s where we deliver on campaign planning and strategy, to generate opportunities. In this stage we focus on achieving maximum impact on our tactics, from completing and delivering the work.

Activities/ Tools:

  • Payment by results - We actively encourage PBR to ensure that our pay is tied to the success of campaigns
  • Idea generation - Brainstorming and benchmarking are some of the ways that we generate ideas to be used for content and campaigns
  • Project/ activity tracking - By using tools as simple as protect dashboards, we make sure that we can keep track of all campaign activities that are taking place and report back to the clients on our progress
  • Dashboards including:
    • Press releases schedules
    • Article schedules
    • Content planning
  • Management tools schedules - Such as work-back schedules
  • And of course, how we deliver on our services:
    • Content planning and creation
    • Managing written content
    • Creation and editing of visual graphics
    • Video production
    • Website development
    • PR and media relations
    • Advertising and planning
    • Publication analysis
    • SEO services
    • SEM
    • Lead generation
    • Email marketing (including database management)
    • Email design and development
    • Landing pages
    • Marketing Automation
    • Social media marketing

 

Step 4: Enhance

What: It’s essential that we not only understand which campaigns have been successful, but also understand what techniques got us there. Communicating success to the client is just as important as recognising a successful campaign. The tools and techniques that we use to measure campaigns can be found in this section.

It’s where we refine what we do to deliver a better return on investment. The other steps within the 4-step process involve continuous adjustments, to improve the campaign. Whereas ENHANCE takes a step back to look over the approach as a whole. In this stage we identify if the approach we are using is as effective as it can be, or we may decide to radically change the process for success. Enhance isn’t about ‘tuning our engine’ it’s more about ‘building a better engine’ (if need be).

Activities:

  • Evaluation strategy - Good objectives and KPI’s will determine how you evaluate. This will have been set out in the planning stage of the campaign
  • Media clips - We collect these in-house and share with clients
  • Meltwater - Our tool of choice when it comes to collecting online cuttings, it allows us to eliminate specific searches such as press from news wires and crawlers. This allows us to send off only the highest-value of cuttings to clients, and exclude ‘spammy’ copies of content
  • Coverage analysis spreadsheet - We believe this is standard format is the best way to present and analyse client coverage on a monthly basis, however, for specific campaigns we also do offer bespoke reports when required
  • Online activity and advertising - This goes beyond simply calculating basic metrics of cost per click, when we have access website data we can dive into looking at channel specific traffic, conversions, customer value to name a few metrics
  • Publisher stats - we use these as a last resort as you can never guarantee which publishers remove ‘spammy’ clicks and which include these within your data, never the less, they are still valuable when analysing campaigns
  • Google analytics and client statistics - This is a better tool to understand the real value, we can easily remove clicks from users that have bounced as this signals that they were not interested in the content and therefore filters out any bots, or ‘spammy’ clicks as we say
  • Marketing automation platforms - These platforms are highly important for tracking campaigns across all stages of a campaign, it gives insight into whether the interest from potential customers kicked off by a social media interaction, and followed that link through to the website where they decided to sign-up to a newsletter/ or even buy!
  • Social media analysis - These are some of our chosen tools for social:
  • KPI performance ­- Measurement matters! Marketing technology advances have made it easier to and more affordable to connect activities with outcomes, KPI’s (key performance indicators) are our tool for measuring the success

 

OVERVIEW

We use the Napier 4-step process to ensure we deliver the best possible campaigns for our clients, and also for Napier. The process not only generates great results, it also improves communication, both within the agency and without clients as we think about how to optimise the campaign.

Stuck for tools...? Why not visit our tool box?!


HubSpot's State of Inbound Report 2018

State of Inbound Report 2018

The state of Inbound 2018 report is finally here! Read on for some great stats and insights of the current state of the marketing landscape.

The Main Marketing Challenges and Priorities for Marketers

Top priorities:

  • 69% of marketers said that their biggest priority was converting leads to customers
  • 61% said that their marketing priority was to grow SEO and organic presence. Blog content creation followed second with 55% saying that is their priority. Surprisingly only 50% of people said that marketing automation was their priority, but I would expect this is because most companies already have this in place.

Top challenges:

  • 61% said their biggest challenge was generating traffic and leads
  • 39% said ‘proving the ROI of our marketing activities’. This is a big challenge as 53% of marketers said that ‘Inbound marketing gives us higher ROI’. While 18% of people could not or do not bother calculating ROI.

The Growing Importance of Video Marketing

In the 2017 report we saw a big shift with marketers focusing more on video marketing. The 2018 report shows that YouTube is the channel most invested in with 45% of marketers saying that this is one of the channels they will be investing in over the next 12 months.

But who started the video hype? Well, you may have thought this is a trend of the younger generation, but the State of inbound 2018 shows that it’s actually the senior marketing leaders who are making a stand and putting video at the forefront.

Business Preferences

Are you becoming a little anti-social? I think so... 83% of people within a business for internal communication prefer to communicate over email; with only 59% of people who would rather speak face-to-face. Looking at the other end of the scale only 32% of people want to communicate using messenger apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat, and Facebook messenger. It appears to be the C-Level executive’s that prefer using the messenger apps than VP’s, Managers and Individual contributors.

Overrated Marketing Techniques

HubSpot asked marketers what they think the most overrated form of marketing tactics, and by far, paid advertising was voted the most overrated. Maybe the death of paid advertising is near, there’s a few reasons this could be such as banner ads becoming too popular, or people aren’t seeing enough return on investment from them, we’ll have to wait and find out.

Sales

Surprisingly, 75% of sales teams have said that instead of improving the efficiency of the sales funnel that they are more focused on closing more deals in the year to come.

Now a sales team should be spending all their time on prospecting and selling, right? In fact, many reps are spending a lot of time on data entry. The report showed us that only 25% spend less than 30 mins on data entry per day, everyone else is spending between 30-120 minutes per day on data entry and other manual tasks.

On top of this, the majority of senior leaders are predicting that their sales teams are spending less than 30 minutes a day on data entry and manual tasks.

To download and read the report in full, please click here.


CIM Lecture notes - Week 7 - Putting the marketing mix into context

 

What did we cover?

Following on from our session last week, where we explored the marketing mix and the factors we should consider when choosing your own marketing mix. This week, we talked about how we can adapt the marketing mix to the following organisation types, business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), and not for profit/ third sector, and small to medium sized enterprise (SME).

Markets are dynamic, and constantly changing,. This blog in particular explains how we can shift our marketing activities in order to meet objectives that differ across organisations.

 

Business to Consumer Marketing

B2C marketing is usually the easiest of marketing techniques as, after all, we are all consumers. This gives us lots of previous buying experience to reflect on when deciding how you cater for your audience. For this business you need to ask all the questions that will be going through a consumer’s head before making the decision to purchase your product. The simplest way to do this is to imagine you are in their shoes, what do they want to know before buying?

After really diving into what they want to know and what takes a consumer to buy, you will need to tailor your marketing mix to their preferences. B2C’s use their product research and development to ensure that they are meeting their consumer’s needs and do continue to. This might include the after-sale care, such as a warranty for a phone, or added value such as ‘bundles of benefits’ which could be extra data free for a month with the purchase of a phone.

Product:

Business to consumer marketing needs to ensure that their products differentiate from their competitors. This is because consumers have a shorter decision process, than say, a team of influencers within a business making a B2B buying decision. Consumers won’t see the value in your product. Your product must cater to the individual’s needs; survey’s and focus groups are a good way to conduct this research.

Price:

Pricing strategies will vary depending on how well the brand is established; consumers might pay more for the brand itself even if a competitor is offering a similar cheaper product. The price needs to match the quality of the item.

Place:

There are many ways that the product can be distributed to the consumer, this includes less direct options such as manufacturers, agents, distributors, retailers; and more direct options such as your company website or an in-store purchase.

Promotion:

Techniques will vary dependant on your target audience, with online and offline techniques that you can get your business message across to your audience. The most important thing to think about is reaching your audience on the channels that they are already on, such as Facebook, or messaging on billboards in a particular area.

 

Business to Business Marketing

The main difference when marketing to a business and not to a consumer is that you will be marketing to a team of decision makers, rather than a singular consumer. B2B marketing can be categorised by the type of purchase, these main purchase categories are new-task purchase, modified re-buy, and straight re-buy.

For each purchase type the marketing mix will vary, this is because as the nature of purchases differ so will the marketing mix.

New tasks - These tend to have a complex decision-making process, mainly because it’s a new product that the company might not have much experience with and its likely to be a major process. Unless, it’s something like buying your stationary from a new supplier, which will probably be low risk.

Modified re-buys - Provided that the previous product met the expectations, then this style of purchase will be fairly straightforward as the customer knows what they want, whether this is the same as before, or a similar product with a newer modification. In this case, personal selling with personalised negotiations works really well.

Straight re-buys - When a business is buying a straight forward product, for example a standard product that is used in the manufacturing of their own product.

Product:

B2B companies need to make sure that their products have an advantage against their competitors, but the type of products that they are likely to be selling tend to be more complex. They might be more service based or mixed. As with more complex products, there will be an extra service such as technical advice and after sale training.

Price:

In B2B you will find that there is more leeway and negotiation when talking about price of the product/ service.

Place:

A lot of companies will buy directly from the supplier, this means that the distribution channel is much shorter than B2C. Key areas to think about here are transport arrangements, the storage of products, and inventory control.

Promotion:

The ‘buying unit’ within the customer organisation is often complex and B2B organisations will usually have a sales team that build a relationship with the key decisions makers and influencers, while catering the product to meet the customer’s needs. As the products/ services of a B2B company are more complicated, the advertising and promotion will also include a lot of educational content to teach the prospect about that particular area. Advertising is most likely going to be constricted by trade publications, the messaging of these ads normally takes a more logical approach rather than incorporating emotional messaging.

 

 

Small/ medium enterprise marketing

SME’s usually have less resources than larger companies, and with this, they might be limited in growth opportunities financially. Less resources will mean that they will take on a more hands on marketing approach and therefore have a more personal relationship with their customers. The decision-making chain is much shorter than what you would see in B2B, meaning better flexibility to cater for their customers specific needs. The distribution strategy will be simple, and promotion as it’s costly will be on an ‘all you can afford’ methodology.

Product:

SME’s key to success is about finding a niche in which they can differentiate themselves from larger competitors in the market. SME’s will take a flexible approach to new business when beginning to cater the product for customers.

Price:

A new SME might struggle to increase their pricing strategy as customers could question the reliability, or financial stability of a newly emerged product. A clear price structure that is based on the average price in the current market is how SME’s should begin.

Place:

Smaller enterprises tend to deal directly with the customer, it’s more personal but after a while new channels will develop and the selling with be less direct. SME’s need to consider the cost of different channels and how this cost might affect the overall price of the product.

Promotion:

Budget is often limited for SME’s promotion, and the approach is often what area of the business needs the most resources put in. You will see that SME’s will look for cheaper forms of promotion such as social media advertising, and steering clear of TV or radio ads. Digital media allow SME’s to reach a large audience geographically at a low cost, this is a better tactical approach for small businesses.

 

 

Not for profit/ third sector

Previously, marketing for not-for-profit companies was frowned upon, but today we see it in a different light.  The single biggest difference between commercial marketing and third sector marketing is their objective. Businesses are looking to satisfy stakeholders, and not-for-profit organisations are looking to serve a different type of stakeholders.

Product:

There might be a physical product that third sector organisations create in order to raise funds, such as a small memento, in this case there could be marketing around this product. Usually not for profit organisations is marketing a particular campaign as a service.

Price:

Prices will remain the same, they might not even cover the actual cost that the organisation is paying but this will be part of the package, that say, the council is giving back to the community.

Place:

This is usually high street shops such as a charity shops. However, there is an online presence for these organisations where people can donate and sign-up via a website that might have been shared through a link in an email.

Promotion:

Not for profit organisations are very limited by their resources. As the decision makers within these charities and other not for profits will want to give the majority of their money to ‘the cause’. These organisations need to ensure that they give out the right message, and a lot of time will be spent to make sure that the message is appropriate.

 


CIM Lecture notes - Week 6 - Outlining the marketing mix

What did we cover?

It must be the MOST fundamental of all marketing concepts, behold... the marketing mix! I have touched on this in a previous blog, however this was centred around the digital tools within the marketing mix. This blog outlines the key considerations when outlining your organisation’s marketing mix.

 

The marketing mix

It’s made up of the famous 4P’s which consist of product, price, promotion and place. The marketing mix was put into place to assist marketers with the how, where, and what, they should be selling their product or services for. These 4P’s are the tactics that us marketers use to meet the needs of stakeholders. Each P can be broken down into its own mix of activities:

 

Product:

This mix is about understanding how decision making takes place for new product development, what products a company should keep and of course, which products should get the sack (discontinued). Another important part of this mix is deciding what can be done to maintain your product. Modifications of existing products mean you can keep up with the pace of changing customer needs and the external environment.

  • Products will fall into categories, whether they are consumer or business to business marketing. These categories consist of convenience goods, shopping goods, speciality goods, raw goods, components, supplies, accessories, and installations. Here’s a good blog on the product classes if you wish to find out more.
  • There are different levels to a product or service when talking about its value, the ‘bundle of benefits or ‘total product benefit CIM like to say. It starts with the core product; which will benefit the consumer, for example with the use of a mobile phone, the core product would be communication. The next level of value is described as actual product, this is the value of the features and capabilities of the product/ service as well as any branding, packaging or design. For a mobile phone this could be the quality of the camera. The last added value of purchase is called the augmented product, this is all about the sales ‘after care’ if you wish, such as value through a product warranty, guarantee, customer service and support.
  • This was a model that was introduced by marketers to help better understand exactly how a buyer adopts and engages with a new product or technology. I’ve previously written a blog about the diffusion model, and you can have a look here if you haven’t already.

 

Price:

No shock here, this is where the pricing policy is discussed, as well as the methods and tactics for pricing. The desired positioning of a product is often reflected by the price. In this section we have the consumer in mind when considering what the pricing strategy will be for the product. The quality of the product must be reflected in its price for consumers to feel like they are getting a fair deal. For example, a corner shop with hand written neon stars as pricing labels wouldn’t be very successful with a Waitrose pricing strategy...

  • Company and marketing objectives should be reviewed when looking at the pricing strategy. This is because an organisation looking to grow their market share might need to initially reduce costs to get them where they want to be. Likewise, a company wanting to increase profits, will need to increase pricing.
  • There are a few pricing methods to choose from, and what works best will vary depending on the industry and organisation you are in. Pricing tactics include product line pricing, which is where products are ‘stepped’ (increased) dependant on their production cost, benefits and features. The next pricing tactic is optional product pricing, this means adding the option of extras to a single item, for a car the extra option might mean paying more in return for heated seats. Product bundle pricing, is for when products are sold together at a reduced price such as a multi pack bag of crisps.
  • Pricing strategies for a product or a portfolio of products include cost-plus pricing. This is a simple way of calculating the cost it took to produce the product and adding a fixed percentage for profit; this method does incorporate the marketing costs or efforts that went in to aiding the sale. Demand-based pricing is probably the consumers worst friend, this means marketers will set the price at what their research tells them that people are willing to pay. For cars, if the price goes up then people are likely to look elsewhere, but if your bus fare went up in price then for that unfortunate consumer they don’t really have another option and are more likely to pay the extra cost. Competitor pricing is when an organisation with match their competitors pricing. This includes when a company ‘matches’ the cost but at a slighter lower price for a competitive advantage. Psychological pricing, which I’m sure you will have seen everywhere, this is when you see a price at £99 - the trick is to make you think you are paying less.

 

Place:

Here is where we think about where we place our product for the best sales, how we might get the product to the consumer, and how much distribution costs will be. Selling directly to consumers, will be cheaper for the company per item sold. We also have to think about when intermediaries are involved, how this will affect how much we sell each product for, as it will need to include logistics such as storage and transport.

Sometimes the P’s will crossover, that is why price also comes into this element when we’re talking about distribution.

  • Developing a distribution network will save you effort and time, while increasing opportunity when selling in bulk, however, it will mean you don’t make as much profit per sale. These are some of the channels you might choose. Agents, this includes manufacture’s agents, brokers, fundraising agents, and selling agents, they don’t tend to take title or ownership of the product but will receive a commission for being the intermediary. Distributors do usually take ownership of the good you’re selling, and this comes with a ‘handling fee’. However, not all distributors will directly deal with the consumer, in some cases you will be responsible for customer support. Wholesalers will support the sale with a wide range of functions such as promotions, storage, customer feedback, and credit control to name a few. Retailers are anything from corner shops to, high street shops and supermarkets, and will only deal with the end-consumer. Direct routes involve the manufacture directly dealing with either the business buying their product, or the end-consumer; rather than an intermediary.

 

Promotion:

This leads onto what promotion mix will be used to promote your product or service. Here we will decide the appropriate marketing mix for our specific target audience, the right messaging to use, and consistently using this message across all tools, while also selecting what media choice will be the most effective.

  • There are far too many aspects of the promotion mix to dive into for this blog, but I wanted to highlight some if the key points that this section of the P’s cover. Advertising covers media such as radio, television, internet advertising, these media messages follow the DRIP methodology (differentiate, Remind, inform, and persuade - the consumer to buy). Public relations which is what companies do to get a message to a large reach of people; will help organisations to develop relationships with the key influencers in the media as well as stakeholders, it’s also used to counteract negative coverage. Direct marketing is one of the most personal form of marketing that the consumer will experience, and it includes SMS, email, TV selling, or any other channel where you directly meet your target audience. Sales promotion is designed to increase sales, it might include a discounted flight ticket for a holiday, the idea it to convince people to purchase when presented with an offer, it could also be about loyalty vouchers.

 

There it is, the marketing mix. All the tactics you need to reach and meet the needs of important stakeholders.


CIM Lecture notes - Week 5 - Presenting your data and information to form insights

What did we cover?

In last week’s data collection orientated lesson, we learned how to present and gather insights from raw data. Once we have these insights into the current situation, we can then use them in forecasting; this blog discusses the benefits of forecasting in marketing.

 

Managing and presenting data/ insights

You could go to the effort to create the best research project in the world, but if you don’t know how to present this data properly then it really has no value. Your marketing research should lead to results and recommendations.

Instantaneous data is becoming more apparent as we look at data that is drawn in from online sources such as surveys. In this case the person who set up the report might choose to have instant alerts meaning that once a recipient has completed the survey a direct email is sent to the creator.

 

Benefits of forecasting

Forecasting is what we are able to complete after we have collected the data and research. But why exactly is it so important to marketers?

Forecasting gives us the upper hand as it can identify opportunities and potential threats. The sooner we identify these, the sooner we can begin to create tactics that can be implemented to achieve better results. Looking at forecasted events will allow us to explore trends in the market, and how we can use them in what we do.

Previous forecasting of say, future costs and trend predictions allow us to refer back and think about how accurate we were. We can compare our current situation to how we forecasted it to be. Analysing how accurate we were can help us improve how we forecast in the future.

If we do our research at the right time and begin acting on it then we’ll keep a competitive advantage over our competition. This way forward thinking will help us to maintain a good public image, be on top of our game, serve the right product in the right place and at the right time; and also bring more money to the table.

 

The marketing information system (MKIS or MIS)

The MIS is a ‘system in which marketing is formally shared, stored, analysed, and distributed to managers in accordance with their informational needs, on a regular basis.’ Jobber, 2007. Maybe you haven’t heard of this before and it might be because your company doesn’t haven one in place, don’t worry because most companies don’t! The idea is that companies input the information in the diagram below into a collaborative dashboard that people can easily view and gain insights from.

What makes data valuable?

The value of the information can be demonstrated by the following characteristics:

  1. Completeness
  2. Accuracy
  3. Relevance
  4. Clarity
  5. Timeliness

These few checks on your information can distinguish whether it’s going to add value to your decision making or not, the key is not to rely on your information unless you believe it’s ticked all the boxed above.


CIM Lecture notes - Week 4 - Marketing information and research

What did we cover?

This lesson was focused on marketing information/ data and research, why we need insight as marketers, and how we can use it to make better judgements and more effective campaigns.

Another aspect of reviewing marketing information is the form it comes in and how we collect it, read on to learn about what we did in week 4!

 

Marketing information - What’s the need?

 

The first thing to understand is that data + information = INSIGHT

 

To know what your customers are thinking is one reason why we need marketing information. Once you know this you can begin to imagine the steps they take before they make a purchase. From looking at the customer journey we can identify barriers and eliminate these, for a smoother transaction.

As a marker, we need stats. Why? Because a hunch just isn’t enough these days! Marketing research provides you will all the information you need to be able to back up campaign ideas; if there’s a trend then we need to be able to justify and back up with stats provided by data. Trends are what allow us stay ahead of competition, if we can identify these before they do then we have a competitive edge.

Measuring how well we did can only be done if we can compare how well we did on our previous campaign, and how do we do that...? With stats of course! I must sound like a crazy stat lady, but you get what I am saying here - we do need them.

Brand perception is gauged by marketing information, we use it to understand what the overall perception of the company is from an outsider’s view. I’ll move onto what we collect, and where we get later in the blog, but without marketing information we’d struggle to understand where we are as a company, and with that, we wouldn’t know how to improve.

 

“to manage the future is to manage informationHarper, 1961

 

How do we get insight?

There are two main types of information and research that we can use to get insight from, these are:

  • Marketing research - this would be used upon starting a campaign, it involves analysis and collection of information to assist in decision making for marketing projects.
  • Market research - this is used for when you are looking at a given market place. It will analyse the bigger picture and look into the demographics of the end user of the company’s product.

 

Forms of data

Companies will often carry out the task of collecting data before many events. This can include a launch of a new campaign or product, or a move into a new market. The forms of data vary, but you will usually need to explore all forms of data below to get a well-rounded perspective:

  • Descriptive - what products are being bought and where
  • Comparative - benchmarking
  • Diagnostic - why the customer is doing something
  • Predictive - how will the customer/ market react?

 

Sources of information

The data you collect will either be secondary or primary.

 

Secondary data

This data should be collected first, confusing - I know. It’s the kind of data you can collect from sitting at your work computer with access to internet and previous marketing campaign data/ results, any existing data that has been collected for another purpose. It’s great because it’s free and ready to hand, but the important thing to bear in mind is that it has been collected for another purpose, it wasn’t created to answer the questions you’re asking. Secondary research can either be internally or externally sourced.

Internal sources

External sources

- Sales figures

- Directories

- Number of employees

- Government statistics

- Operational data e.g. stock levels

- Published marketing reports

- Customer feedback and complaints

- News and media sources

- Advertising spend

- Trade and industry stories

- Previous campaign data

- Competitor data (what’s available)

- Previous marketing reports

- Online information sources (desktop research)

- Personnel

- User generated media (social media feeds and forums)

- External database

 

Primary data

To follow on from your secondary data research, comes primary data. Primary data is created specifically to achieve one objective and is sourced usually after you’ve exhausted all your secondary resources. This type of data has been created for the purpose of answering your question, making it highly relevant but also expensive as it could involve some of the following techniques.

- Surveys

- Interviews

- Focus/ Discussion groups

- Panels

- The Delphi technique

- Observational and participating

- Experimental

 


CIM Lecture notes - Week 3 - Factors and trends in the marketing environment

What did we cover?

Trends are important for marketers as they help us identify what direction marketing taking ahead of time. Knowing trends before they happen allow us to understand what is and isn’t working, and then implement that change before your competition does; helping you achieve goals more effectively and giving you an advantage. The macro and micro environment can affect us in the planning stage of marketing, and this week we went over the factors and trends in the marketing environment, and how they affect it.

Micro and Macro environment

What is micro and macro, I hear you ask...? Well, maybe you didn’t quite get that excited, but here’s what they are. Micro factors, are the factors that can directly influence your marketing, some of which are controllable by your company. Macro factors are factors that indirectly influence marketing, these are typically the factors you would see in a PEST analysis and cannot be controlled by your organisation.

Example micro factors: the company, suppliers, marketing intermediaries, customers, competitors, and the public

Example macro factors: demographic forces, economic forces, natural forces, technological forces, political forces, cultural forces, environmental and ecological forces, legal forces, and ethical forces

Once you understand how to identify the relevant factors that influence your business, the next step is to outline and evaluate these in a marketing audit. The marketing audit is a vital stage of marketing planning as it establishes a benchmark or starting point on which to grow from. The marketing audit is made up of three elements, there are an external audit of the macro environment, external audit of the micro environment, and an internal audit. I talked more about influencers can have an impact on the business, or customer/ consumer in one of my other CIM blogs, you can read that here.

 

PESTLE Analysis

The PESTLE tool is a way of working through every factor that we should be considering, we use it in similar way to a check list. PESTLE stands for:

[P] Political - First consider the external political environment, and any changes you can forecast over the next 3-5 years. What policies may a new government enforce, and how will that affect your company.

[E] Economic - Here you are looking to spot any trends in consumption, such as taxation inflation or unemployment, and changes to exchange rates would be evaluated here.

[S] Social - Changes to society, demographics, a useful resource might be the census or regular government reports to look over regional and social movements.

[T] Technology - This is where you begin to identify new technologies in the market that provide an opportunity, IoT is one area that is massively growing and will shape today’s industry. Try to evaluate how your company will move with change.

[L] Legal - New laws are often introduced, such as the more recent GDPR regulations put into place, how will this affect your company?

[E] Ethical - Consider your ethical corporate responsibility to be ‘green’ as well as take an ethical approach, companies should understand what are growing concerns of the public and the expectations that lie with you as a business to improve situations such as global warming, can you introduce a ‘paper less workplace’ for example?

 

Check out some of the other models and tools you can use in my marketing tool kit blog!

 

 

 


CIM Lecture notes - Week 2 - Planning and buying behaviour

What did we learn?

In the second week of our digital module we discussed the marketing planning process and why it’s an important part of marketing. In this lesson we also covered buying behaviour which varies with every customer.

We also took a look at how influencers can have an impact on the business, or customer/ consumer such as environmental, social and political.

 

The planning process

There are different approaches when it comes to marketing planning, and more than one model that you can use; but why exactly is planning so important? Planning is the fundamental element for identifying organisational direction, providing direction, ensuring that you can track and report on your objectives, ensuring that you cover all areas and finally, planning provides organisational focus.

Planning helps businesses get past day-to-day firefighting, and educates the whole team on company goals, as well as exactly where their role fits into.

The planning process should incorporate all of the below:</span

  • Objectives - where we want to get to
  • Analysis - internal and external factors that could affect your business
  • Strategy - how are we going to get there
  • Action plan/ tactics - what we need to do to be able to get there
  • Timing - time scales of goals and objectives
  • Resources - the resources we need to achieve your goals, including budget

Some marketing planning will be carried out in stages, such as the action planning. Another approach to planning is cyclical, the cycle time will vary depending on the task, an example of cyclical planning is the SOSTAC model</span.

 

Planning model: APIC

APIC is a model that takes a cyclical approach, it varies slightly from the SOSTAC model. It’s four stages stand for:

  • Audit and analysis - identifying strengths and weaknesses, incorporating both external and external (macro and micro) influences. This section is also used to examine the businesses strengths and weaknesses, a SWOT tool can be used for this.
  • Planning - this stage sets out the target results that you will later audit on, these should relate to corporate goals. While also including your tactics, schedules, budgets, and specific marketing activities.
  • Implementation - this is where you deliver on the plan and discuss marketing and promotional mix. The success of this stage is dependent on a good ‘audit and analysis’, and success is measured in the last ‘control’ stage.
  • Control (Evaluation) - the very stage involves measuring the overall success of meeting goals and objectives.

 

 

 

Customer and consumer buying power

A key part of marketing is spent evaluating your customers and prospects. Marketers are really trying to understand their customers buying behaviour - here’s why you should be paying attention too:

Deliver more appropriate and relevantly: Understanding your customers wants, needs, and what influences them is key. You can then begin to develop an understanding of what platforms they are using and meet your customer where they already are. If you know your customers, it means that time isn’t wasted on content that isn’t going to move your target audience closer to the end of the funnel.

Higher customer satisfaction: Marketing campaigns that deliver relevant content, will mean that prospects will have a higher interest in what their reading. From this, it will make it a better experience for the customers, but also improve the effectiveness of the campaign.

Better customer/ business relationship: A customer who feels that a business understands what they really want, will hold a better relationship and encourage returning customers. Knowing your target audience also means knowing how they prefer to communicate. Whether customers prefer to make a purchase decision based on reviews or based on ad that popped up at the right time, this is something that you may need to consider.

 

Customer Influences

There are many variables that are not controlled by marketers but can have an influence on their purchase decision, such as their age, or lifestyle differences. Below are some of the biggest influences to be aware of:

Psychological influences

  • Attitudes and beliefs
  • Perception
  • Motivation
  • Learning

Social and cultural influences

  • Groups
  • Culture

Personal factors

  • Demographics (e.g. age, job, location)
  • Personality
  • Propensity towards risk (how likely are they to take a financial, performance, physical, social, ego, or time risk when making the decision to purchase a new product?)
  • Behavioural economics

 

Business influences

Similar to customers, businesses also have influences that play an important role within the spectrum of buying behaviour. These influences are:

Environmental factors

  • Economic climate
  • Technological
  • Political
  • Cultural
  • Social factors - especially for global companies dealing with lots customers from different backgrounds

Organisational

  • Policies
  • Performance evaluation
  • Internal hierarchy/ status

Group or interpersonal factors

  • Group dynamics within a team, teams are often not static and therefore will affect how they influence each other ion joint decision making

Individual factors

  • Personal factors including age, and an individual’s opinions will affect the direction the company goes in, at the end of the someone will make the final call

When a decision has an outcome that affects a large amount of people, there’s no surprise in the number of factors we are seeing here! The more complex decisions become, the more people are involved, and the more data is analysed.


CIM Lecture notes - Week 1 - Marketing’s position within a business

What did we cover?

 We have moved onto the next module of the CIM course (the marketing module), and begun by exploring the definition of marketing, the function of it and the role it plays within a business. 

Marketing defined

A main concept of marketing lies with the idea that marketing is the management of an exchange process, we exchange our goods whether it be money, products, ideas and beliefs for non-profit organisations. This idea can be demonstrated in the diagram below.

Let’s talk about marketing as business philosophy. Marketing plays a crucial role in a business, and the perception of marketing as a business philosophy is definitely one I would consider true. Marketing is where customers stem from and would certainly be considered a fundamental in most businesses.

In the lesson we talked about how marketing is a catalyst for change. This means that marketing sparks an action for change and marketers should be able to respond dynamically because we are working in a fast pace environment where in order to keep up, we must adapt.

Marketing is management process responsibility for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitability’ - CIM

Marketing is often perceived as a management process - yet, CIM explain that it is not only managers that do it. It’s more about understanding that marketing handles the responsibility for ensuring that we recognise customer needs as they need them, and quite often identifying the customer needs before they need them. A good example of this would be car air bags. Volvo identified that safety would be a major focus in the future of that industry and were able to introduce air bags at an early stage.

Product sustainability in marketing, is how we satisfy customers and a good product will meet a customer’s needs and expectations. The last aspect of CIM’s definition of marketing to explain is probability, it all comes down to making money, and our end goal of marketing is effectively to turn prospects into happy customers.

Key terms and useful definitions

Differentiation - this is about making sure that your product/ service has unique features, that will help it to stand out aside from the other products in the market

Segmentation - dividing your target audience into individual segments who share common characteristics, the process of segmentation allows you to give more relevant content to your customers (e.g. we have a segmented newsletter that contain different topics, this lets people sign-up to more related news)

Targeting - the process of using segmented groups of your target audience to serve better content to prospects/ customers</span>

Direct marketing - a combination of advertising using computer technology to directly reach out to prospects or customers, this includes email marketing

Relationship marketing - marketing shouldn’t just aim to acquire customers, it should also be used to retain existing customers, relationship marketing is the term used for the on-going relationship with the customer

Social marketing - over recent years marketing has grown and now covers more than just the traditional channels, there are now government agencies that are trying to implement people attitudes to specific issues such as healthy eating or anti-smoking campaigns - this is social marketing, campaigns which aim to promote social well-being

Market orientation - the focus on identifying and satisfying customer requirements is known as market orientation

Company orientation

Orientation means relative position, in this context it means how a company views the relationship with their customers. There are a few different views when it comes to business drive, below are some of the ways that a business may see themselves relative to the market they are in:

  • Product orientation - the company are high advocates of their product, they believe that their product is the best out there. The problem with this view is that the company will invest a lot of their money into the manufacturing of the product and do this because they have assumed that people will want to buy the ‘best’ product in the market.

 

  • Production orientation - making the cheapest product there is may appeal to some people... but it is not always the best approach. Some companies will put a lot of time and effort into producing the cheapest product on the market to maximise profits. The major flaw here is obvious, you will potentially lose customer over low-quality items.

 

  • Sales orientation - the need for continuous sales, for companies only really looking into the number of sales behind the product. Short term this is effective for income however, in the long run you could miss out on opportunities by hounding down on such a small area of the overall picture. There’s an argument that there should be a section for companies who have a ‘marketing orientation’, but to adapt this view would mean you perceive marketing as just a sales support role and don’t take in to account many other forms of marketing, including strategy on thought-leadership pieces and content development especially in B2B marketing.

 

  • Market Orientation - this type of organisation wants to engage with their customer to build long-term relationships. This company often understands the importance of understanding what customers want from your business (market orientated companies are market driven, different to marketing orientated companies who are market driving).

It’s clear that the goal here is to hold a market orientation within an organisation, so why aren’t all companies market orientated? Possible reasons include leadership issues, lack of customer insight, lack of infrastructure, or the company may have a too transactional approach when it comes to marketing.


CIM Lecture notes - Week 6 - Digital marketing plan models (Your planning tool kit!)

What did we cover?

As the due date for our coursework was quickly approaching, this lesson was spent recapping on multi-channel campaigns and the models we have worked on throughout the units. We also looked at how exactly, we can in-corporate these into a digital marketing plan.

 

Customer Journey

To understand the customer journey, you must investigate the different touch points that your customer experiences with your company. I’m sure you are aware that customers don’t just make any purchase, from a company placing a product in front of them...

The customer journey is the pathway your customer takes from the first step of understanding the problem, to end goal of making a purchase from your company. Marketing channels are your customer, and brand touch-points. There are now so many different channels that can reach customers, and all customer journeys will be different for each brand depending on the platforms and channels your customer uses.

The marketing activities on the top demonstrate the actions made by the customer e.g. reading a blog, or visiting the company website, and the marketing activities along the bottom are actions made by the brand.

 

Multi-channel Campaigns

If executed correctly then multi-channel campaigns will increase your market reach for the same message, you would be extremely lucky if all of your audience were using the same platforms! In reality, they are most likely not, and this is why it’s important to use more than one channel to get your message across.

These campaigns also give you the ability to integrate with segmentation, as well as buyer personas. This integration means that when reporting you can look at campaigns as a whole, rather than analysing in sections. This will give you a much better idea of the success of a campaign.

Offline marketing activities can also be integrated and use the same messaging. However, this is slightly harder to report on and align with your online marketing activities.

Multi-channel campaigns will increase the overall strength of the message in your campaign and seeing more of the same message will reinforce it.

 

Marketing Funnel

The funnel outlines various stages that a prospect will follow, starting from the first point of contact such as a form completion on a website, to when the prospects makes a purchase. It’s a good way to visualise the customer journey and helps to demonstrate the funnel like process. Marketers should start broad and aim to capture as much leads as possible, then over time as you nurture prospects they should move down the funnel. Some prospects will drop out for reasons such as losing interest in your product, and as you get closer towards the end of the funnel you are left with the prospects who will turn into customers.

 

RACE Model

This model was introduced to aid online marketing activity planning, it integrates into the stages in the marketing funnel above.

REACH: [Buyer stage - Exploration] For raising awareness, this is usually done via social media platforms such as Facebook. Blogging and search engine optimisation is another way that companies can reach their customers.

ACT: [Buyer stage - Decision making] This is where the company is interacting with the customer through use of the website and they get closer to becoming a lead or customer. Blogging, content offers, and interactive tools are all ways that a company can act with customers for this stage.

CONVERT: [Buyer stage - Purchase] The contact has now become a valid customer and has completed a purchase.

ENGAGE: [Buyer stage - Advocacy] This is where companies should continue building the long-term relationship between them to encourage customers to become advocates. This will lead to a repeat sale or potentially recommendations to new customer who haven’t bought from you before.

 

SOSTAC

Planning... Where do you start? There’s a model for that! The SOSTAC model was created to help marketing planning, and it outlines a good methodical process to follow. The model helps guide you through all the necessary components of a marketing plan, it covers everything from identifying where you are now, getting where you want to be, and everything in between.

This is what SOSTAC stands for:

[S] Situation Analysis - Where are we now?

[O] Objectives - Where do we want to be?

[S] Strategy - How do we get there?

[T] Tactics - How exactly do we get there?

[A] Action - What is out plan?

[C] Control - Did we get there?

 

SITUATION ANALYSIS: At this point in the planning process you are trying to identify where you are now, you should consider using the SWOT tool here. Key areas to focus on in the situation analysis are marketing trends and themes, how well your competitors are performing, and your company’s internal resources and capabilities.

 

OBJECTIVES: The SOSTAC planning model uses the 5 S’s to help distinguish where we want to be:

Sell - Customer acquisition and retention targets

Serve - Customer satisfaction targets

Sizzle - Wow factor, this is the added value you offer

Speak - Engaging customers

Save - Quantified efficiency gains

 

STRATEGY: Moving on to working out how we actually get there, this stage in SOSTAC will give us an overview of our plan using the STOP & SIT tool:

Segments

Target markets

Objectives

Positioning (OVP)

And

Sequence (Trust, Try, Buy)

Integration (CRM & Database)

Targeting and Segmentation

 

TACTICS: You’ve done your overview of how you’re going to get there, now this stage goes into the specifics of how your strategy is going to work. The tactics of your marketing plan should talk about the 8 P’s of marketing, communications mix, content plan, and a contact plan.

 

ACTIONS: Who does what, and when do they do it? This stage assigns people with responsibilities, and tasks. It is also used to outline the processes and systems needed, internal resources and skills, and also if you require external resources they can be mentioned here.

 

CONTROL: Optimise! This section of the plan uses your KPI’s, objectives, and web analytics to optimise your activities. Through monitoring you can measure the success of user experience, conversion rate, frequency of reporting, and the process of how you report and carry out actions.

 

Why not visit Napier’s Toolbox  if you’re interesting in producing your own tools for evaluation?


CIM Lecture notes - Week 5 - Describing the process and stages involved for digital adoption

What did we cover?

Today’s lesson was focused on describing the process and stages involved for digital adoption and evaluating platforms for different contexts.

 

What is digital adoption?

The world is integrating to digital whether we like it or not, digital adoption is about understanding how to adapt to this change and use it is how intended.

A very common misuse of digital adoption is that it is a business’s customer relationship management system (CRM), if all of your sales team are on board and using it to track and record every sales action then you could safely say that you are using it to its intent. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, a lot of companies are not using their CRM system to its full potential, with only some employees updating occasionally.

 

Diffusion of innovation model

This was a model that was introduced by marketers to help better understand exactly how a buyer adopts and engages with a new product or technology over time. It’s a model that is used by businesses when they want to gage how a new product or service is going to perform in a new market.

The diffusion model shows the five categories that a consumer can fall into and, as a business, how to engage with these different categories. This is the diffusion model:

 

 

These are the categories that make up the diffusion model:

  1. Innovator - Innovators are small groups of people that are exploring new exciting ideas and technology opportunities, the followers for these ‘gadget fetishes’ will typically have a lot of marketing content available to them, such as specialist blogs like Gizmodo.
  2. Early adopters - You would consider early adopters as the ‘opinion leaders’ because they share positive testimonials about a new product or service; early adopters seek improvements and efficiency. To get engagement from an early adopter it will require more persuasion than the innovator; However, they are receptive to change.
  3. Early majority - Followers that are likely to read reviews to understand to the product, they will look for product reviews via YouTube, YouTube is the platform the majority will find business product reviews.
  4. Late majority - They don’t tend to be keen on change, this category of consumer won’t tend to buy a new product unless there is strong evidence in the success of the product/ service or feel that they are being left out by not owning. To engage with this audience, businesses should provide marketing material, evidence and reviews from consumers in the ‘Early adoption’ stage.
  5. Laggards - Tend to prefer to ‘lag’ behind... these are not your trend setters! Laggards will only get on board with your product or service once they have researched statistics or felt pressure from others who have bought.

 

Evaluating platforms

Platforms have different strengths and weaknesses, it’s important to consider which platforms that are successful in different contexts. Platforms could be evaluated for the following contexts:

 

Depth and breadth of coverage

    • How frequent is the content? 24/7?
    • How many people are you reaching?
    • Celebrity endorsements
    • Websites give you a lot content, they are great for depth

 

Analytics and metrics

  • How easily can you access metrics for a platform?
  • Can you identify the success/ failure of a campaign?
  • Using email platforms, you collect a variety of email stats (e.g. bounce rate, open rate), making the platform great for tracking your campaign

 

Collaboration and workflow

  • What platforms enable you to collaborate with others?
  • Crowdsourcing (e.g. social media)

 

Engagement

  • Responsive marketing
  • How easily can you measure customer engagement?
  • Does the platform allow you to measure if it was a positive or negative engagement?

 

Scalability

  • How efficiently can a campaign be scaled? Global?
  • Does the platform allow you to tweak the budget spend? (e.g. AdWords)
  • Can you run multiple campaigns at once?

 

These are the main points ....


CIM Lecture notes - Week 4 - Digital tools strengths and weaknesses

What did we cover?

In this lesson we learnt about digital tools in more detail, and how they can support and enhance your marketing strategy with their strengths and weaknesses. We also looked at how digital hardware can be co-ordinated.

 

Strengths and Weaknesses for Some of the Digital Communication Mix

 

Live chat

Strengths:

  • Oversea call centres now mean that we can overcome language barriers, and improve the customer experience
  • Live chat enables 24-7 customer service to be available
  • Often chat ‘handlers’ are able to multi-task and help 2-3 customers at once
  • Chat bots allow you to send relevant and useful links to customers in need of information

Weaknesses:

  • Software hitches or technical difficulties has potential to result in a bad customer experience if the line gets cut off

 

Video

Strengths:

  • HubSpot found that 55% of people watch video content thoroughly, appose to skimming. As for blogs where it is more common for people to skim.
  • YouTube is the second largest search engine, proving there is a high demand for video content
  • Video is widely used for learning and entertainment, educational videos make great shareable content

Weaknesses:

  • Costly and time consuming to create
  • More bandwidth required
  • People won’t always opt for video over text content if they are in an open area with others around them

 

Social media

Strengths:

  • It’s Free!
  • Humanises your brand and gives the opportunity to represent brand values and voice
  • Most social media users will log into their account at least once a day, proving that people are regularly using these platforms

Weaknesses:

  • Time consuming
  • The Edelman Trust Barometer has revealed that media is the least trusted source of all markets
  • Bad PR around social media such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal

Podcasts

Strengths:

  • Helps to build relationships, your audience is listening because the content is relevant, and they are interested
  • Content to build thought leadership perception
  • Can be used as live content and then re-purposed as a downloadable offer afterwards

Weaknesses:

  • File sizes are often large, which could make it hard for people who have a slow internet connection to access (an audio only podcast would save file size)
  • Unlike a webinar or conference call, there is no way for your audience to interact, get involved and ask questions

 

Applications

Strengths:

  • Apps are more than just social, they can be used for news, games, sports etc.
  • Apps give brand an opportunity to provide their customers with an app that provide them with something of value, your app could help customers solve a particular issue, or be transactional
  • More opportunity within apps if you integrate advertising onto the platform

Weaknesses:

  • Mobile apps require on-going maintenance to solve any technical issues
  • Expensive

 

Email

Strengths:

  • Flexible design will help to convey branding
  • Scalable, meaning you can reach you audience at a global level
  • Thanks to marketing automation, we can save time by using automated emails

Weaknesses:

  • Bounces and undelivered emails, there are lots of things that have an impact on whether your email will bounce or not (e.g. keywords, html, or out of date marketing lists)
  • Resources and skills - it’s sometimes easier to outsource if you don’t have the right time or skills in-house as email campaigns often take a lot of preparation and content

 

How Does Digital Hardware Fit into Marketing?

 

Mobile/ handheld devices/ smart phones

Mobile devices are now used more often than desktops are for traditional browsing, and that’s why it’s important to adapt to this change and integrate marketing with mobiles. Mobile marketing interacts directly with the consumer and has great tracking benefits; Tracking is almost instantaneously and helps us to better understand user behaviour.

 

Wearables

This market is fairly new and has lots of potential, wearables are widely used and predicted to keep growing. Wearable devices provide marketers with more opportunity to give users a more personalised experience, geo-ads are an example of a personalised marketing approach.

 

Internet of things

The IoT will continue to grow as more and more devices will be connected via the internet. For marketers this means they can give a more tailored and relevant experience to the user that could be based on location, and demographics.

 

TV/ Radios/ Consoles

Marketers are now having to think about the direction that the world is going in, Netflix’s CEO has claimed that “broadcast TV will probably die by 2030”. Consumers now have more control and would rather pay to just watch the TV shows they want, when they want it, factors that businesses should acknowledge when considering commercial advertising.


CIM Lecture notes - Week 3 - Digital tools in the marketing mix

What did we cover?

How digital tools can support and enhance marketing efforts, we also looked at role of digital marketing within the marketing and extended marketing mix.

 

Digital and the marketing mix

The marketing mix is your core 4P’s of marketing (Product, Price, Place, and Promotion). These are the foundations for your marketing mix, but as time as progressed we now also have the extended marketing mix. This is made up of 7P’s that are tailored for use in service industries (Product, Price, Place, Promotion, People, Process, and Physical Evidence).

Below are the ways that these important P’s can be thought about in a digital aspect:

Product - Digital products, brand rise and fall, digital enabled services

Price - New dynamic pricing strategies meaning that price can be updated in real time according to how popular the product /market is at that point in time, enhanced measurability of pricing, less overhead costs for eCommerce<

Place - Fewer intermediaries, global locations, digital product delivery 

Extended marketing mix::

Physical Evidence - All online collateral is consistent and recognisable with branding, higher use of customer testimonials in messaging, expert content enhancing brand confidence such as webinars

Process - Better customer communication, enhanced eCommerce platforms, introduction to customer relationship management (CRM) systems such as SaleForce

People -Social media marketers now commonplace, marketers now need digital skills, brand advocacy now actively encouraged

 

Digital communication and the online community

There are thousands of free, as well low-cost tools that can help us as marketers. The important point to remember is that integrated plans require a range of communications, which will depend on your segment and message focus.

Within the past ten years, digital has grown massively and marketing can now happen on almost every communication platform.

The digital communications mix includes the following:

    • Blogs and chat
    • Video sharing
    • Social networks
    • Wikis, user forums and groups
    • Podcasts
    • PSS
    • Widgets
    • Photo sites