The Role of Social Media In Harnessing The Full Potential of Customers

Adjaou Mohamed Adesola, MSc Digital Marketing student


Today, harnessing the power of social media is a must, if you want to expand your business. It is by no surprise that engaging with your followers on social media is essential to your business success. By paying attention to what is being shared offers modern businesses with a plethora of market research data. According to We Are Social, the number of internet and social media users stands at 4.021 billion and 3.196 million respectively, a number which represents a 13% increase yearly.

Image Source: Beboom

While the opportunities to capitalize on social media remains abundant, the true success comes from meeting the consumers’ expectations and moving beyond mere participation.

In order to leverage the power of social media to meet consumer’s expectation, a business needs a strong social program and a sturdy foundation to build upon. Thus, it is critical for businesses to first consider their brand positioning.

Brand position refers to how you make prospective consumers make sense of your business. When you position your firm, you begin to stand for something-something, which is unique and useful. So how do you position yourself?

  1. Through Research: Before you craft any marketing plan, you need to understand the market in which your business operates. How do your clients perceive you? Who are you competitors? What opportunities exist in the market? All these allow you to distinguish yourself from other.
  2. Specialization: After research, analyze the data and understand your strengths and weaknesses. Is there something your firm can offer better than others? Specialization can help you gain more margins and develop a loyal clientele base.
  3. Differentiation: You can set yourself apart through proprietary process or tools. Often, a client will be loyal to a businesses that satisfy their needs. It begins by offering good customer care and responding to customer inquiries. Besides, having a presence online gives you a mileage above others.

Discussed below are some of the most important social media platforms and how businesses can use them to target customer needs.

Facebook

With over 2 billion users monthly, Facebook provides businesses with matchless opportunity to reach virtually anyone anywhere. Data from Pew Research Center indicates that women tend to use Facebook more often than men, while the core age is 18-29 years. Facebook is ideal for all marketing your business marketing needs. Additionally, video or image marketing attracts more viewership than generic text.

Additionally, it is not just enough to have a Facebook account or page. Having an account is a hotbed for users to voice an issue or problem. According to Conversocial, 88% of customers are unlikely to make a purchase from a company that leaves questions on social media unanswered. As a business, therefore, consider this: According to Edison Research, 47% of those surveyed said that Facebook, out of all other social networks had the greatest impact on their purchase behavior. Despite the merits, Facebook is prone to easy duplication, since your competitor can pause as fans to gain access to your content, and your photos may end up in other places you have not approved.

The rise of video Live has been around for a while. Nonetheless, its popularity across Facebook has made it a critical opportunity for marketers in 2019. The interactivity of Facebook Live Video makes it easy for brands to engage with their audience and strengthen the relationship between the brands and its followers. In addition, the authenticity of Live Video helps build trust and loyalty with a brand. Although beneficial, there are certain risks technical complexities that you have to deal with as firm. Today, every firm should move from text first approach to a visual first approach since it creates long lasting impression and effect on consumers.

In addition, today Facebook uses augmented reality for messenger. Thus, firms can now integrate AR into their Messenger experience, besides, they can use integrate chat bots on Messenger app to help handle client queries in real time. The main merit of using AR is the inspiration purchasing decision, which are intertwined. Hence clients don’t have to travel to your brick and mortar office, but rather open their cameras and try the product while on the go.

Image Source: Imfnd

Instagram

Currently, Instagram boast of over 500 million monthly active subscribers. Besides, it commands one of the peak audience engagement rates. Despite the good stats, it is not ideal for every industry. Instagram is ideal for fashion, beauty and travel or businesses that offer visual products. In order to get engage your customer you must have clear and appealing pictures, although it is prone to loss of copyright ownership.

Today, businesses can enjoy the use of Instagram story shopping. This feature helps clients create mental perception about a product, thus, making it easy for purchase decision making. Most businesses face challenges of parody accounts when it comes to Instagram marketing. The future of Instagram lies on stories.

Image Source: Imfnd

Twitter

With over 328 million active users monthly, Twitter has revolutionized the world of breaking news. Besides, it offers unparalleled access for users to connect with both mainstream and niche brand influencers. Additionally, Twitter itself says that 80% of their users are millennia’s. It is a leading platform for Newspapers and Newsrooms to engage with their audience. Nonetheless, to get much out of Twitter the speed of your response and how you engage with your consumers is essential. Although effective, Twitter does not have an edit button, hence, it requires one to be very keen when posting information on the platform. Moving forward, Twitter has announced they are working on an edit button, which will make work much easier. Twitter requires good timing and when this is missed your tweet will not have an impact.

Image Source: Social Report

Conclusion

For businesses, creating and utilizing social media helps empower your brand to gain visibility. Social media provides a platform to engage with your clients. Besides, it is an effective way increase your sales through meeting and exceeding customers’ expectations. Nonetheless, pairing human mastery with the right social media tool is ideal for gaining success and meeting consumers’ needs.

Twitter:
@AdjaouMohamed 

LinkedIn: https://t.co/rAg1jZKEzi

How to Use TikTok to Fuel Your Content

Xinyu Zhang, MSc Digital Marketing Management student


TikTok is the music original social software that can shoot short videos. The software, which was launched in September 2016 in China, It also introduced international markets a year later. It is a quick video community dedicated to young people. Users can use this software to select songs, shoot short videos of music, and form their content. Unlike most video apps, TikTok has no “play” or “pause” button. Once you open the app, a video starts playing immediately. You can scroll through a bottomless feed of 15-second videos, just like how you scroll through pictures on Instagram. As the world’s most downloaded iPhone app, TikTok has been downloaded about 80 million times in the United States and has been downloaded nearly 800 million times worldwide. It is worth mentioning that these figures do not include users of Android in China.

Statistic from TechNews.

Why is it an excellent opportunity to post your content on TikTok?

Where are the people, where is the market? According to San Francisco-based research company Sensor Tower in 2018 ,YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are lower than TikTok in downloads of the Apple Store and Google Play. As we all know, Facebook and Twitter also have recommendation mechanisms. However, their recommendation mechanism is more based on the interpersonal circle between followers, that is, through “the interest of the people I care about is my interest” to expand the attention network continuously.

The content distribution mode of TikTok is “de-centralisation”: the algorithm can more accurately recommend the content that users will be interested in according to the user’s behaviour. To a certain extent, the search for the target customer is reduced, and the algorithm automatically finds people who are interested in your content. This is an article about how the TikTok platform algorithm works.

Content quality is an essential item for the positive project

Create your account

First, you need to create an account and create a name. Also, you will need to add a profile. It’s a good idea to fill out your other social accounts or use email here so potential customers can contact you.

Content curation

In the early stage of operation, if you want to increase followers quickly, you can choose the topic that suits the public’s taste, such as entertainment, Funny and other aspects of video production. After the topic is established, the direction of creation is obvious. However, the content must be the same. For example, if you are a singer but often publish some kinds of food, you will mislead consumers and lose some followers. If you are not satisfied with 15 seconds of content, you can accumulate 1000 followers, and the official will give you 45 seconds.

How to get the most out of your content?

Original content

TikTok’s review recommendation mechanism is low in originality and content quality. It is not recommended now, but the review mechanism is always improving. To better support the creation of original content, users can relatively maintain the original content. Besides, it is also contradictory to the content being carried. It is a waste of time to pay attention to the video publication.

Keywords and soundtrack

When the video is created well, the keyword and the soundtrack should be selected. The first is to choose the keyword according to the nature of the content. If it is the imitation class, the keyword of the original video can be directly selected. Then, the soundtrack chooses the hottest music or chooses according to the content. These two types of operations are mainly to make the content have better recommendations and attract the attention of users. You can also use the hashtag to promote your video to a wide audience. You can get more “Like” by leaving various hashtags under the video.

Skilled use of technology

TikTok’s information flow advertising is integrated with UGC. It can not only freely jump to the landing page and brand’s home page but also support consumers to participate in advertising’s likes, comments and forwarding. Interactive features can be seen clearly. To open the screen on the platform or to open an account for information flow advertisements, the brand has edited its own TVC into a screen and directly posted it to the TikTok. As a result, a relatively simple and convenient operation routine is formed. However, most brands of advertisements are more likely to fall into a solidified mode and forget to make full use of the properties of the platform. Indeed, the platform’s unique transition, magic mirror, rhythm, and other elements can not only make the brand image more stereoscopic but also increase memory points.

Best time to upload a video

Do you know how many people use TikTok during what period?

Xixin analysed the number of 22,000 TikTok data and concluded that the periods “after lunch (1 pm) and after work (6 pm)” are the favourite moments of fans to click ‘Like’. The average ‘Like’ number is except for 5am because a star has posted a video that makes a significant difference.

At the same time, in December 2018 Facebook also launched an app called Lasso to compete with TikTok. To get more customer traffic, you can not only use TikTok to post short video content but also post videos to Lasso, Instagram Stories and Snapchat, etc. You can grow your business with powerful, easy-to-use and affordable video hosting platform. For example, through Wipster, the most important views, duration and engagement data will be brought back from the publishing platform to let you know the effect of the video content.

The reason I recommend TikTok to promote your content is that I think TikTok is responsive to future digital trends, and consumers will no longer want to receive public and unique information driven by various platforms. Instead, consumers want the media platform to provide them with valuable information that is particularly relevant to them.

Why Traditional Marketing Is Dying But May Never Go Away

Andrew Rizvi, MSc Digital Marketing Management Student


Traditional advertising might finally be dying right before our very eyes. But despite various claims of traditional advertising going away forever, it’s still managed to stick around as a viable marketing medium, and there are even proponents who argue that traditional advertising will never go away. 

To begin with, when comparing digital to traditional advertising, some recent statistics show that, in 2017, digital ad spend jumped to £186 billion worldwide (41% of the market), as opposed to TV ads that reached only 35% of the market. Moreover, digital ad spend will keep growing steadily in the next few years and is expected to reach 50% of the market by 2020. This is due to digital advertising offering non-interruptive content and a constant stream of new concepts such as social commerce, compared to traditional and being able to measure their success via analytic tools, rather than not being able to measure the impact and therefore control growth of their audience.

However, there are a few reasons as to why digital advertisement will never be able to completely replace traditional advertisement and here are a few facts that must be considered despite its deficiency’s in comparison: 

  • People are still watching TV, listening to the radio, and reading newspapers massively 
  • Traditional marketing targets wider audiences and builds trust, as it is here for quite some time 
  • People don’t like aggressive digital ads. HubSpot says that 91% of people say ads are more intrusive today than two years ago. And, as a result, the number of users worldwide downloading Adblocker Plus has reached 300 million in 2016, costing publishers more than £17 billion.  
  • Not all digital ads are targeted. In one of his posts, Mark Ritson describes online ads as “Google’s highly stupid and imprecise advertising” and that’s true. People don’t install adblockers because they want to get rid of all ads. They want to eliminate those that have nothing to do with them. The HubSpot’s report mentioned above claims that 77% of consumers would rather filter their ads than completely block them. 

Traditional Content Is Only Temporary 

Unlike online content, traditional content is only temporary. Consumers cannot search for magazines, newspapers and TV shows once they have been published or finished airing. Whereas, internet content is forever and is a constant stream of marketing. All blogs posted and social media content will still be accessible for many years later, for as long as the servers are up. This allows for a company to maintain its presence and gather feedback for campaigns simultaneously, compared to traditional forms of marketing and therefore maintain customer relations post-purchase. Despite digital consumers becoming smarter towards what they want to see in their ads and therefore making all levels of the customer journey important, not just the pre and purchasing stage.

Traditional Marketing Is Not Targeted   

Traditional marketing more often then not involves producing content for the masses. However, they are not able to speak to a specific audience and have the reach of the internet. Now, digital marketing allows marketers to target a specific market with accuracy. For example, with the use of email marketing, digital marketers can also personalize their emails to the recipient, and track the actions of the recipient after these emails are sent using digital analytic tools such as ConvertKit and OptinMonster to optimise customer engagement.

Traditional Marketing Is Hard to Track  

The old format of traditional marketing doesn’t allow marketers to track their progress and their marketing returns from a particular channel. For example, they are not able to analyse the increase or decrease in revenue from an advertisement in a shopping mall. Whereas, digital marketing allows you to analyse the return on investment for an ad on a platform. This would then help to learn from experiences, to then put into future digital campaigns. That information can be now gained from multiple digital tools such as Google Analytics and Hotjar, that allow for campaigns to have been monitored by stats and figures constantly.  

There are many factors as to why traditional marketing has gradually declined in popularity in use, as explained above over the past decade and the constant introduction of new digital tools. With next generations millennials becoming to increasingly distrust traditional forms of advertising, digital marketing has become more accessible and trustworthy and in contrast others a constant stream of interaction. With traditional advertisement spending and effectiveness seemingly on an endless downwards trajectory companies are adapting and finding ways of cost- effective marketing tools, with constant updates in technology allowing for development. Instead of traditional ads dying, they are evolving. 

In a nutshell, the only way for brands to survive in this evolving digital environment is to adapt to the changes and start implementing digital marketing strategies using analytic tool to measure success. This is because spending a vast amount of resources on traditional marketing, without having the metrics to back up how successful the campaign isn’t enough anymore with the forever changing landscape of marketing. 

Why Implement A Sustainable Supply Chain

Marzena Reszka, Lecturer, Staffordshire Business School


Operating ethically and operating profitably are no longer mutually exclusive concepts. Leading companies are “walking the walk,” balancing the goal of achieving profitability with gaining social and environmental advantages.

Companies stuck in a mind-set of “what’s the minimum I need to do” are missing out on opportunities to use ethical business practices as an integral part of what makes them unique.

Achieving responsible and profitable supply chains is about gaining a triple advantage creating a clear business case for organisations, as well as benefits for the environment and society. Those focused on this “triple advantage” it supply chain operations can increase competitiveness through increased revenue and brand reputation while decreasing cost and risk.

To sustain competitiveness, companies need to recalibrate their strategies towards ethical behaviour—moving from a focus on compliance to differentiation. Companies engaged in responsible supply chain efforts often refer to their “license to operate.” That implies they’ve established trust with local governments and society by complying with regulations and establishing health and safety programs that give them tacit permission to do business.

Managing supply chains in a sustainable manner can help businesses in not only reducing their total carbon footprint, but also in optimising their end-to-end operations to achieve:

  • Improved credibility, visibility and brand reputation
  • Improved access to markets
  • Greater operational effectiveness leading to cost savings and profitability

A sustainable supply chain should involve the incorporation of socio-cultural, environmental and economically viable practices placed into the full life-cycle of the supply chain. The full life-cycle of the supply chain means all the steps from product design and development, to selection of appropriate materials, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, storage, supply, consumption, and recycling.

Free tool for Purchasing and Supply Chain Management:

https://www.oncampus.de/weiterbildung/mooc/perfect?lang=en

Most research has focused on environmental aspects of manufacturing, while other aspects of sustainability or the challenges for the service sector are largely ignored. Yet SSC is particularly important for tour operators, as the product depends on the activities of suppliers such as accommodation, transport and activities. Therefore, tour operators’ contribution to sustainable tourism will be more effective through the definition and implementation of policies that acknowledge responsibility for the impacts of suppliers.

Across tourism supply chains, research has suggested that the process of implementing sustainable practices is most challenging in the area of transport, and most straight forward in accommodation. Attempt to generate sustainability at the scale of a destination need the combined efforts of the widest partnership of stakeholders.

It is therefore important, when supporting and connecting to a local destination, for businesses to have a strong grasp of the whole holiday experience and the type of advice that will be useful for customers. Each destination has its specific setting, but a general summary of links looks like this:

© 2003 Richard Tapper, Environment Business & Development Group

The Benefits

So why might a business wish to apply a sustainable tourism supply approach – what are the principal benefits?

All supply chains can be optimised using sustainable practices. Sustainability in the supply chain encapsulates a number of different priorities:

  • Environmental stewardship
  • Conservation of resources
  • Reduction of carbon footprint
  • Financial savings and viability
  • Social responsibility

Managing supply chains in a sustainable manner can help businesses in not only reducing their total carbon footprint, but also in optimising their end-to-end operations to achieve:

  • Improved credibility, visibility and brand reputation
  • Improved access to markets
  • Greater operational effectiveness leading to cost savings and profitability

We have created a free online tool to help you develop. Our training tool was developed by and with the tourism industry. This free online training covers 11 modules to complete with short quizzes at the end of each module. This tool helps you to design your own strategy in relation to your individual business needs.  All you need is an internet connection.

Click here to register and start your free online training today:  http://smartour.dcnet.eu/


Reference

Accenture Consulting (2017). Walking the Walk Driving competitiveness Through Ethical Supply Chains.
[Online] Available from: www.accenture.com

Useful links

Individual responsibility in the modern consumption world: Case of responsible drinking

Dr Samanthika Gallage, Lecturer, Staffordshire Business School


The focus of social marketing is to change unhealthy behaviours of consumers by applying marketing principles such as understanding the consumer, segmentation and targeting, marketing mix, exchange and competition. Despite the success of social marketing initiatives to adopt healthy behaviours, sustaining such behavioural change has become a major challenge. This is especially complicated for consumers due to various barriers such as conflict with their busy daily lifestyles, environmental constraints, popular consumption culture and immediate environmental factors. For example, a young adult consumer who is committed to drink responsibly might find it challenging to maintain it due to a heavy drinking culture in the university environment, social life that revolves around alcohol and peer pressure.  Social marketers and public health promoters acknowledge that behavioural change cannot bring any social transformation if it is not sustained. Thus, it is important to understand the complicated nature of the behavioural maintenance. Downstream, midstream and upstream factors of social marketing is a useful framework to analyse this (Kotler et al. 2002).

Source: Adopted from Kotler et al. (2002)

According to the figure above, social marketing interventions can focus on any of these levels. Downstream social marketing interventions target individual level behavioural change, midstream interventions address the immediate environment around the consumer and upstream interventions focus on macro environmental forces. It is worth exploring the effectiveness of these interventions to understand the success of our efforts in changing and maintaining unhealthy/irresponsible consumption behaviours. Let’s take promoting responsible drinking as an example.

Downstream interventions

In this context, downstream social marketing initiatives are encouraging consumers to comply with recommended levels of alcohol by highlighting the related health issues, communicating the associated risks and holding individuals responsible for their consumption decisions. In this approach, social marketers and health educators postulate that alcohol consumption is a rational decision. However, in many instances researchers have proved that drinking is linked to cultural norms and it is considered as a symbolic consumption decision which communicates social identification, rites of passage, and the celebration of rituals and festivities (Szmigin et al., 2011). In a drinking context, a young person would easily ignore the message of “drink sensibly” or he or she would not consider the responsible drinking limits that have been advertised by NHS guidelines (Giles and Brennan, 2015). Rather, they would consider drinking to excess is a heroic, rebellious and enjoyable experience that can later be shared with friends (Gallage et al., 2018). Therefore, even if consumers decide to change the behaviour, maintaining such behaviour becomes complicated. Thus, it is questionable whether downstream social marketing interventions that focus on promoting sensible drinking could contribute to the social change we expect to achieve. Similarly, in many health and social issues such as smoking, healthy eating, physical activity, recycling, individual responsibility alone might not be enough to achieve a social transformation.  Therefore, it is worth considering the other two intervention approaches together with downstream interventions.

Source: www.drinkaware.co.uk

Midstream and upstream interventions

Midstream and upstream interventions play an important role in behavioural change. In the case of alcohol consumption, midstream influences such as parental influence, peer influence and social affiliation has been identified as significant influences on drinking behaviour. Thus, these midstream factors need to be taken into consideration when developing social marketing initiatives. Further, upstream influences on alcohol consumption are dominating institutions of commercial marketing, alcohol marketing and alcohol advertising, regulations and development of a popular drinking culture (Szmigin et al., 2011).  To address these government has initiated some alcohol advertising policies, pricing policies and laws. It is evident that these behaviours are rarely the result of a single force. They are a result of broader environmental factors. Hence, the objective of social marketing should not necessarily be limited to individual behavioural change but should move beyond that and address community-wide holistic change by altering the environment. Thus, it is important not to exclude any downstream, midstream and upstream influences. The majority of the time these three layers are interrelated. Due to the complexity of issues at hand, the interaction of these factors are complex and multiple, ranging from unconscious and biological aspects to the broader level situational pressures, social class and culture.

References

Kotler, P. Roberto, N. & Lee, N. (2002), Social Marketing, Improving the quality of life, London: Sage Publications

Giles, E.L. &
Brennan, M. (2015), “Changing the lifestyles of young adults”, Journal of Social Marketing, Vol. 5 (3),
pp. 206-225.

Gallage, H.P.S. Tynan, C. & Heath, T (2018), “Out-group peer involvement on youth alcohol consumption”, Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Vol. 17(1), pp. e42-e51.

Szmigin, I. Bengry-Howell, A. Griffin, C. Hackley, C. & Mistral, W. (2011). Social marketing, individual responsibility and the “culture of intoxication”. European Journal of Marketing, Vol.45 (5), 759-779

Dr Samanthika Gallage

Staffordshire Business School

I am currently working as a lecturer in Marketing attached to the Staffordshire Business School. My research interests are in the area of social marketing, transformative consumer research, subsistence market places and critical marketing. Currently I am working on youth alcohol consumption in the UK, barriers in promoting condom usage in Asia and sustainable consumption issues in the African region.

If you are interested in any research collaborations, interventions, intervention evaluations please contact me via hakmana.gallage@staffs.ac.uk.
LinkedIn profile is https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-samanthika-gallage-371a7965/

Volunteering at the British Travel and Tourism Show

Laura Walker, Tourism Management Level 6 student


The British Travel and Tourism show, also known as BTTS, is the leading exhibition dedicated to the domestic tourism industry. The show is provided for travel and tourism trade professionals who want to source new ideas and inspiration for future brochures, itineraries and tours. This year the BTTS was held over 2 days from 20th – 21st March 2019 which showcased over 270 exhibitors from all areas of the travel and Tourism industry including hotels, attractions, suppliers and destinations.

One of the exciting exhibitors of 2019 was Visit Stoke who decided to attend the BTTS to promote Stoke-On-Trent as a cultural destination. As a level 6 Tourism Management student at Staffordshire University, I had the most amazing opportunity to attend the BTTS along with Claire, Tim and Andy from Visit Stoke and assist in promoting the destination. The aim of exhibiting at the show was to increase the interest in potential groups and coach tours in visiting Stoke-On-Trent and the surrounding areas.

I went along on Wednesday 20th March 2019 where I met the team from Visit Stoke who were very friendly and made me welcome. They explained what the purpose of exhibiting was and to just talk to guests about what Stoke-On-Trent can offer. The day was very interesting, and I gained lots of experience of talking to industry professionals about what Stoke-On-Trent has to offer.

A very big thank you to Claire, Time and Andy from Visit Stoke for letting me come along and help out on their stand. I had a really enjoyable time so I’m very grateful to them, I had a fantastic day!

If anyone is interested in attending the BTTS in 2020 it will be held 25th– 26th March 2020. Visit Stoke are always working hard to promote the city of Stoke-On-Trent as a cultural and interesting place to visit as a destination and are happy to answer any questions you may have so feel free to contact them for more information.


British Tourism and Travel Show

Visit Stoke


Why Google Analytics are a Digital Marketer’s Best Friend

Ben Hocking, MSc Digital Marketing Management student


Do you have a website without analytics set up? Rather than using guess work to try and evaluate your digital presence, using Google analytics can provide you with everything you need to know about your digital marketing performance. From what your customers do and who they are, to how they got to your website and what they buy, Google analytics are essential in any marketing environment in order to improve performance. Let’s look at some of the key ways in which Google analytics can improve your digital marketing performance:

Know who your customers are

Google analytics collects data on the visitors to your site, such as age, location, gender and interests, as well as how they are accessing your website. This information is greatly beneficial in working out the customer personas of your market segment as well as showing you who isn’t purchasing from you. You can also see information such as how they use your site and how long they spend on the store, allowing you to identify any weak points in the customer experience and improve your performance. Recent changes in 2018 have also introduced the ability to create an audience of customers purchasing repeatedly from your site and create comparisons with frequent visitors who do not buy from you, bringing the features of Google analytics in line with other offerings like AdWords.

Find out which campaigns are most effective in increasing traffic and conversions

When evaluating the success of a campaign, Google analytics will allow you to track exactly who uses your website as a result of any individual piece of marketing content. Being able to see everything from click-through rates of ads to actual conversion rates, being connected to Google analytics will allow you to target your marketing budget at the better performing sections of your marketing campaign and reduce your spending on the areas that just aren’t seeing the same kind of performance. Not only does this maximise the effectiveness of your digital marketing communications, but it allows you to spend your budget more efficiently. This is ideal for everybody, from the small business owners with a budget where every penny is crucial, to international companies where one small tweak can save thousands for the business. Another recent addition that improves the effectiveness of Google Analytics even further is that the program is now able to analyse historic data to find key variables and patterns from your high-value consumers, allowing it to identify any visitors that that are most likely to convert in the future and in combination with predictive analytics, allow you to develop a future conversion probability in prospective visitors.

Use Google analytics to improve your SEO performance

Search engine optimisation is another feature in digital marketing that is crucial in determining the performance and growth of your business. By increasing organic traffic to your business, you can increase your conversions and performance without spending a penny on advertising. So how can Google analytics help? By knowing the demographics and interests of the visitors to your website, you can easily create targeted content to gain visibility during search results. You can also use Google search console in conjunction with your analytics to see which search terms are bring the most traffic to your website and see actual data of the click-through rates and bounce rates from these searches, allowing you to adapt and increase the relevance of your website from this information. Being able to see the bounce-rate is particularly important for your pay-per-click advertising, as a high bounce rate can drain your advertising budget very quickly.

What can’t Google analytics do?

While Google analytics can tell you the who, how and when, it can’t work miracles when it comes to the why. You can have all the data in the world about the number of people who take a look at the website and buy or don’t buy, but other than using a certain degree of trial and error with underperforming pages, you won’t be able to discover the thought processes of the customer journey using Google analytics alone.

Another limitation of Google Analytics is that while it is able to track clicks on links and movements between web pages, it cannot track mouse movements or see what a user may be looking at on the screen. This limits how effectively it can track within the same webpage, though this opens up potential to expand analytics through the use of mouse-tracking software.

Again, when using analytics to improve your SEO performance, it can only tell you whether your marketing communications are working in improving your website traffic and search engine positioning but cannot tell you the cognitive processes and decision-making of the consumers themselves, for good or bad. Because of this, while Google analytics is a key tool in the arsenal of digital marketing weapons, it isn’t the miracle answer to all of a marketer’s problems.

Are Google analytics the answer?

So, when looking at the wealth of benefits of using Google analytics, including a plethora of other benefits too numerous to mention in one article, it’s obvious that using this platform is absolutely necessary to gain a full understanding of the consumer base of the business, and is a key component in maximising the efficiency and effectiveness of targeted marketing communications.

Experiencing International Confex

Lia Bover Armstrong, Event Management student


International Confex is the leading exhibition for event planners: delivering ideas, inspiration and a great opportunity to expand your network and create business relationships in the industry. This event is free to attend, and it provides educational seminars and debates which will enhance your professional skills and expand your knowledge.

The event has been going for 35 years and lasts 2 days, usually, in February or March and it is hosted at the Olympia Conference and Exhibition Centre in London with over 8,000 visitors from different parts of the world.

These days, when recruiting, businesses look for someone not only with a degree but also someone with experience, so as an Events Management student, I wanted to volunteer in some events to gain more of an insight into the sector and experience as this would benefit me in the future.

Confex has been the first event I have volunteered for and I thought it was a great opportunity to learn from and start getting connexions. Sometimes when volunteering, organisers cover for some or all the expenses which is good as everyone knows student life can be a bit expensive and these cases can motivate you if the event is far from where you live. In my case for Convex, they covered my train fare and gave me a packed lunch for both days.

As I had to start at 8.30 am on the first day, I travelled down to London the day before to settle in and prepare for the next day. I was staying very close to the venue, one stop away with the London Overground to be exact, so travelling the next morning was easy, however, as it was rush hour, the train was full, and you barely had any space.

As I got there, I went through the regular protocol of security, printing my badge off and being scanned in. Once I had gone through, I was told where to go and met Duncan Siegle, the Director of the event, who was very friendly and helpful.

As Duncan had emailed us prior to the event our respectful duties, he showed us the theatres that each of us had to manage and made sure we knew what do to and, in case of help, where to go to.

There was a total of 6 theatres: Keynote theatre, Key Skills theatre, Personal Development theatre, Future PA theatre and Event Management and UK VA theatre.

Our duties included scanning badges as delegates arrived for each seminar, being a microphone runner for any Q&A and tidying up the theatre.

Most of the seminars were pre-book sessions but we were allowed to listen to each of those talks and some were very beneficial as they would give tips and theories about what and what not to do.

These seminars were silent seminars which consisted in delegates having to wear headphones. I thought it was a great idea, as sometimes, when in a big event such as Confex has a lot of visitors, you can’t always hear what speakers are saying and also, I thought it was a great way to create less acoustic contamination.

Another thing that was sustainable was how at Olympia, all of the waste is processed off site and is either recycled or converted into energy, which is part of their Grand Plan.

Finally, for the last hour of each day I was able to have a good look around the event and was impressed with the amount of new event technology offered and other event supplies available.

All in all, I was very satisfied with the feedback I received, I was able to learn a lot of useful things from the seminars, met new people and learned how even big events like this still have last minute problems but with a great team, you can get fast solutions.

Staffordshire Business School (SBS) Alumni Success Stories

Dr Ahmad Mlouk, Senior Lecturer at Staffordshire Business School


On Thursday 21st February 2019 SBS hosted a grand event in the form of a presentation delivered by two of its alumni (Business Study graduates): Mr Jason Tarry, CEO of Tesco (UK and Republic of Ireland) and Mr Mark Mackenzie, Group Sales Director of Nestlé (UK and Republic of Ireland). The presentation was primarily aimed at students but of course staff attended too. Both students and staff were very pleased that they had this opportunity to hear directly from former graduates, each with an amazing success story to tell. Not to mention here the ‘mountain of ‘Kitkat Ruby’ that Mr Mackenzie brought to the ‘party’ for all chocolate lovers to enjoy! Each of the duet reflected on his study at SBS and the time spent in Stoke on Trent nearly 30 years ago. They both agreed, perhaps the best time of their life was the time spent studying for a university degree. Like most business students, during their study, neither of them had charted his future career path. They only started to think about it after graduation but even then, they took the first job they could get.

June Dennis, Dean & Angela Lawrence, Head of Department, with Jason Tarry and Mark McKenzie

Over a presentation that lasted about 2.5 hours (including Q & A time), Mr Mackenzie and Mr Tarry, each profiled his journey, especially during their study and the early days/ years after graduation, in a manner that is relevant to all students regardless to whether they have just started their study at university or are heading to graduation in few months.

Mr Mackenzie and Mr Tarry delivered and amazing presentation that every participant learned something invaluable from.

“Believe in yourself, and go for it!”

One of Mr Mackenzie’s advice. A message that is so relevant to every student and indeed, every individual. Meaning that hard work, resilience and determination will pay off nicely.

“Care about what you are doing.”

This was Mr Tarry’s advice and it is simple, students must care about their study.

A further advice from the CEO of Tesco (UK & ROI) is this:

“Want to keep learning and developing.”

I take this to mean that the learning journey does not end upon one’s completing their course or degree!  Indeed, the more serious learning begins at the point when a student finishes a course of study!

In conclusion, the messages imparted by both guest speakers could not be more similar, loud and clear, that resilience and hard work will pay off, one must believe in herself/ himself and one must keep learning and developing.

Introducing Professor David Etherington our new Professor of Local and Regional Economic Development

First, I am extremely pleased about joining Staffordshire University as Professor of Local and Regional Economic Development.

My background originally was as a Senior Planner working on urban regeneration in local government for nearly 17 years. The last 10 years was in Sheffield City Council under David Blunkett, the Leader of the Council. It was an interesting time to be in a Labour controlled local council which was taking the lead on the campaign against rate capping and austerity imposed by the Thatcher Government. I moved from academia to take up a Senior Lecturer post at Huddersfield University and then Middlesex University as a Principal Researcher working on employment skills and welfare policy.

Soon after I arrived at Huddersfield, I was contacted by Martin Jones (now at Staffs) in connection with some research I was undertaking on the Danish welfare reforms and labour market policies in the early 1990s. I am interested in the concept of the inclusive labour market, and the Danish model offers some interesting and innovative examples especially given the lead role trade unions play within welfare and labour market policy. This work has spawned a long term comparative research work on the UK and Denmark.[1] My recent research focus on devolution and employment inequalities stems from work I originally undertook at Middlesex University (2005-2007) on Devolution Regional Governance and Deprived Areas as part of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) Transforming the Prospect of Places Programme,[2]  and for the European Commission on the Quality of Work and Life in a Changing Europe (2006-2009)[3]. In 2014, when Martin arrived in Sheffield, he contacted me about developing joint work that could dovetail with his ESRC WISERD project. We worked for the last three years on analysing the impact of austerity on devolution and welfare reform in Sheffield[1] (2016) and Greater Manchester (2017).[2] We found that:

  • between 2010 and 2014, there was a £1.19b loss of income from the SCR through the combined reduction in welfare and local government funding, which needs to be compared to the Sheffield devolution promise of £900m over 30 years.
  • The extent of low paid work within the Sheffield City Region comprising the largest proportion of workers paid below the living wage.
  • Leading policy actors disagreeing with these findings claiming that the regeneration of the economies as a result of devolution will compensate for this.[3] However, the devastating nature of these cuts will undermine any devolution deal.
  • We were invited on to the Royal Society of Arts Inclusive Growth Commission Research Advisory Group[4]  making submissions derived from work in the UK and Denmark.

As a result of the Devolution work Sheffield TUC as part of their Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise Campaign (SNAP) approached me in 2018 to work with Sheffield Hallam University (also involving Martin and David Beel from Staffs) to undertake an evidence review to support their campaign. The research involved:

  • A conference was organised in June 2018 to disseminate the interim findings which was attended by over 50 people.
  • That low pay and precarious work is prevalent in largest employing sectors such as retail, fast food, social care but also in higher education
  • Universal Credit and benefit cuts has a major negative impact on low paid workers
  • One of the outcomes was STUC co funding a new union organiser, recruited and employed by BFAWU (Bakers Union) and trained to use their highly successful organising model. The Organiser works with Sheffield TUC and Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise Campaign on a number of different targeted workplaces.
  • Interim report of research (carried out by Middlesex, Sheffield Hallam and Staffs Universities) “Forging an inclusive labour market – empowering workers and communities: an interim report on low pay and precarious work in Sheffield” [1] is currently being edited with a view to launching early in 2019.

[1] E.g. Etherington D (1998)
From welfare to work in Denmark: An alternative to free market policies? Policy and Politics Volume 26, Number 2, April 1998, pp. 147-161 Etherington, D. and Jones, M. (2004)
Beyond contradictions of the workfare state?: Denmark, welfare-through-work,
and the promises of job-rotation, Environment and Planning C: Government and
Policy
22, 129-148 .Ingold, J. and Etherington, D. (2013) Work, welfare and
gender inequalities: an analysis of activation strategies for partnered women
in the UK, Australia and Denmark, Work
Employment and Society
, 27(4):621-638, 

[2] https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/political-devolution-regional-governance-and-tackling-deprivation

[3] https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/78671/factsheet/en

[4] Etherington D and Jones M (2018) Re-stating the post-political: Depoliticization, social inequalities, and city-region growth, Environment and Planning A http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0308518X17738536
https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.645005!/file/SSDevolutionPolicy.pdf

[5] http://www.staffs.ac.uk/news/new-study-reveals-that-austerity-and-cuts-undermine-the-northern-powerhouse-and-greater-manchester-devolution-plans-tcm4293826.jsp

[6] https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/council-leaders-defend-devolution-deal-over-austerity-claims-1-8142434      
Guardian letter published 8 November 2016 on austerity, deindustrialisation and disadvantage
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/nov/08/areas-of-confusion-in-britains-benefits-system

[7] https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/reports/emerging-findings-of-the-inclusive-growth-commission