The Wonders of Chatbots

Ben Hocking, MSc Digital Marketing Management student


Chatbots are one of the key items on the marketer’s utility belt. Riding the coat tails of the increasing popularity of private messaging apps, chatbots are creating a new way to communicate with customers. If used correctly, this technology will allow you to get ahead of the competitors. If used successfully, there are a number of benefits that chatbots can have on your marketing activities:

Chatbots are very strong at this moment in time, due to the targeted engagement with customers that email marketing isn’t able to achieve. This is because Chatbots can be set up on your website or Facebook messenger and don’t get activated until a user is on a relevant page, meaning that there is a good chance any messages from the bot will be relevant and useful. By being in the right place at the right time, chatbots can be more effective than email marketing, with open rates of up to 98%, and a click-through rate up to 12 times higher than through email. In addition to this, the popularity of Chatbots has risen very recently, with Facebook discussions of Chatbots alone increasing by nearly 6x the volume on previous years. This means that you get in on the ground floor of Chatbot usage and use them to gain an edge on slower competition.

You can use chatbots to improve your customer service skills, assisting customers in understanding your services and products, and can provide instant assistance whenever they need it. Not only does this improve your interactions and the customer experience but using chatbots is significantly cheaper than having a dedicated team of staff, especially during out of office hours. The caveat to this is the limited functionality of chatbot technology. While they may be able to change a booking or give information about a product, they won’t be able to deal with that unusual request that a human would be able to resolve immediately. Despite these limitations, the use of chatbots in the first instance with a human assistant on hand for any more complex issues can vastly improve your customer service experience, as well as reducing the demand on human assistants by resolving the majority of issues without the need of human intervention.

The next benefit of using chatbots is how they can improve the customer journey. Through the use of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning technology, chatbots can take the whole context of the scenario into account and even provide a personal shopping experience for customers visiting your website, as 83% of online shoppers have reported needing help during and online shopping experience. This can range from helping them find the correct item for their needs, to upselling other items and accessories based on the customers shopping habits. Again, this service isn’t perfect. While some consumers may appreciate this level of support, casual shoppers and those who may not have a specific need may just want to experience uninterrupted browsing, and the presence of an intrusive chatbot trying to upsell every time they open the website may be seen as a nuisance, and even go so far as to drive traffic to competitors with better customer experiences. With this in mind, the use of chatbots, when limited to relevant and specific situations, can be an ideal way of improving the customer experience, but care must be taken into the aggressiveness in which they are used within your marketing communications.

Why else use chatbots? Nearly two thirds of smartphone users wont download any new apps in a month. Because of this, rather than expending the time and resources in developing a companion app for your website, you can use chatbots to tap into apps your consumers are already using, such as Facebook messenger, allowing you to take your services to places already inhabited by your target audience. Not only this, all of the data collected by chatbots can be pumped into your analytics, allowing you to gain even more insight into the consumer behaviour and purchasing patterns. You can even take this one step further, using chatbots to collect feedback both pre and post-purchase, collecting opinions with a much higher success rate than through more traditional methods such as email marketing. If we look at the potential success of chatbots used effectively, a simple glance at amazon can show how effective they can be, with the sale of echo units numbering over 30 million units worldwide. While primarily marketed as an assistant, these are in essence chatbots that allow you to seamlessly purchase from amazon without even needing to pick up your phone or turn on your laptop. The potential of chatbots to grow and change is huge, as even now they can do everything from appealing parking tickets to collecting symptoms of illnesses to reduce strain on healthcare call centres, meaning that the scope for innovation with chatbots is not limited to marketing purposes and can be used in any number of ways to assist your business with the right setup.

Having looked at both the benefits and drawbacks of using chatbots in your digital marketing communications, it is clear that despite the potential for issues to arise if the technology is used incorrectly, the ability to reach such a broad audience with automated personal engagement and provide a high level of service and advertisement with very little expenditure is clearly an essential tool in the arsenal of the digital marketer.

Ecommerce development trends to watch out for in 2019

David Beyeemang , MSc Digital Marketing Management


The E-commerce market is one that has been thriving year after year. Ecommerce refers to commercial transactions conducted online. This implies that whenever you buy and sell something using the Internet, you’re involved in e-commerce. According to Smart Insights there has also been an overall growth in this sector by 17% in the UK in 2018.  In this blog will be highlighted the hottest trends to pay attention to in the coming year.

Advanced Product filtering

Implementing advanced product filtering enables your customers to locate exactly what they need faster, with more options when searching. Filter features such as colour, size, price material etc help your users narrow their search which again ideal for them as it meets specifics.

Quick Tips: Advanced product filtering should hold up again 4 benchmarks of performance

  • Available filters – how many filters there are?
  • Filter logic – Is it in order and does it flow naturally for the user?
  • Filter Interface – are the filters easy to select/sort
  • Applied filters – do the filters work together and not against each other?
Image by The Iconic

Using the image above provided by The Iconic as an example – we can see they provide a varied range of filters, the logic follows, the interface works well and lastly, users can easily combine filters which will

Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality

Regarding blurring the lines between the physical and the digital, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are doing so by introducing new ways to see our world. For online retailers, this is providing your customers with different ways of experiencing products outside of a physical store.

There are major differences between augmented and virtual reality. Augmented reality refers to technology that imposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the world, which creates a composite view.

Image by: IKEA Place

Augmented reality provides an opportunity for brands to enhance their customer’s experience in the purchase consideration phase. A study showed that 71% of shoppers said they would often shop at a retailer if it offered augmented reality. An example as seen on the left is IKEA’s Place app which enables you to virtually ‘place’ furniture in your space. These products are true to size, helping customers make better choices.

Virtual reality, on the other hand, is a computer-generated simulation of a 3D image. Users are engrossed with this digital world and can generally interact with it.

Image by: Samsung Gear VR

Virtual reality experiences allow customers to see products or activities in realistic settings.  Best Western is an example of a company that has already started offering 360-degree tour “taster” experiences for its customers to enable them to have an inside look into their properties which is in-turn attracting more customers.

VR is still at an early adoption stage, therefore moving forward brands have the opportunity to serve as digital pioneers and improve the experience they are offering.

Machine Learning and AI

Machine learning and AI have already began having an enormous impact on several major business areas.

Machine learning is a method of data analysis that automates analytical model building. It can deliver a better user experience based on your previous data or buying behaviours and therefore completely makes sense in e-commerce as everyone has different choices and preferences.

For instance, just like in an actual physical store where you’re a regular customer, the shopkeeper knows what kind of clothes you like, ecommerce will make you feel the same in upcoming years.

Mobile first-Commerce

More and more people shop on their phones in today’s digital world. The term mobile-first simply implies considering mobile design and implementation at the initial stage of website development, as it can’t be an afterthought anymore due to customer demands.

According to Forrester, by 2022 smartphones will account for $175.4 billion in retail sales. Mobile first doesn’t have to be tasking, as a first step, review your mobile checkout process and ensure its user-friendly. If you are looking to take it a step further, accelerated mobile pages (AMP) is something you can implement. AMP is a framework that enables you to create incredibly fast website pages across mobile devices.

In terms of its benefits, Google and Wompmobile working together analysed their eCommerce clients and recognised that clients which used AMP pages increased conversion rates by 105% and decreased bounce rates by 31%. Those are without question impressive stats to think about for 2019.

Easier Checkouts

Providing easier checkouts has never been more essential. Brands must make sure this process and as simple as possible as your customers will go to competitors that give them an easier purchase path. A 2017 study found that the main reason for cart abandonment was to do with extra costs, however, one of the other top reasons was due to the actual checkout experience. 28% said that the checkout process was too complicated, this in effect is leading to brands losing out on lots of income.

Here are therefore a few quick tips to provide an easier and quicker checkout experience:

  • One-page checkouts
  • Use appropriate input fields
  • Autofill fields
  • Don’t force registration

Below is a fine example from The Iconic who use an easy to understand, one-page checkout:

In 2019, think about how you can make your customer’s checkout experience easier.

Limitations

E-commerce although on the rise has some disadvantages. E-commerce sites record all the important details about the customers which are to be kept secured as it includes details like names, addresses, phone numbers and, bank details. If in these case sites don’t implement rigorous cybersecurity quantity, implications could be severe to customers and businesses alike.

Conclusion

For your businesses to stay ahead of the competition, it would be beneficial to implement some of the discussed actionable e-Commerce trends so as to prepare your online store for 2019. If you haven’t already started exploring these trends, the above listed could be a useful audit tool.

How to Speed up your WordPress Website

Xinyu Zhang, MSc Digital Marketing Management student


Plugins can often help us implement some specific functions so that people who don’t understand the code can also add features to the website, thus avoiding re-development. WordPress, as a mainstream content management system with many themes and plugins, makes its extensibility to the fullest extent. Currently, many famous blogs, news media, music sites, Fortune 500 companies and celebrities are using WordPress, such as favourite blogs like TechCrunch and BBC America on WordPress. How do you get the best performance out of your WordPress and let it fully demonstrate the benefits of your content in modern web pages centring on speed, search engine optimisation and user experience? This blog will introduce some new plugins.

Ready to work

After we use WordPress to build a website, as the website develops more and more visits, we often encounter unsatisfactory opening speeds in the foreground and background, and even exhaustion of memory. Aside from the speed of the network, there is still a way to improve performance from the WordPress. Since WordPress only allocates 64M of memory by default, we have to modify this default parameter; otherwise, it is easy to cause an error: “fatal error, allowed memory size of xxxxx bytes exhausted”.
First, you need to open the WordPress WP including a directory to find the file of default-constants.php.

The first is to increase the memory limit for running WordPress and the second chart is to raise the memory limit obtained by the background supporter. This grade is more appropriate for modern server’s hosting services.
It is modified and saved.
Restart the server to see the effect.

Add AMP functionality to WordPress

Recent changes with Google search techniques will make Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) increasingly important (Dopson, 2018). AMP is Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages.

As the name suggests, it is to speed up the loading of the mobile web to enhance the experience.

From the official statistics, the webpage average speed has increased by 4 times after use it. At the same time, it is Google’s AMP Project advocating a solution for speeding up mobile networks. WordPress provides full support for AMP pages. You only need to download two plugins and enable them to add an AMP version to your WordPress website.

Even if it is a free version, you can get quite a bit of structured content, including site names, individual text tag translations, logos, GTM, GA, structured data, etc.

You can also add a cache for WordPress

Having a slow-loading site is a serious problem because it can be catastrophic to your bounce rate. As is well known, if websites are not loaded quickly and reliably, they are more likely to leave the site. 47% of Internet users want to load in the site within 2 seconds. It is worth mentioning that a delay of one second can lead to a 7% reduction in conversions.

WordPress occupies a massive amount of CPU resources. Generating a normal page often involves dozens of SQL queries and second-level runtimes. Hence, dynamic page statics for WordPress is the best choice for optimising performance.

This is Autoptimize critical. Such a plugin not only combines various scattered JavaScript and CSS in the page but also optimises the order of loading locations, which can significantly reduce the number of HTTP requests and the problem of repeatedly rendering pages. Meanwhile, this plugin will generate some custom JS and CSS files.

Optimise WordPress images

Website image optimisation has always been a significant content. Compressing images can not only make the website faster but also improve SEO optimisation. Therefore, I recommend a WordPress image optimisation for the friends of WordPress website. Plugin ShortPixel is a full-featured image optimisation plug-in based on image compression, which provides a very comprehensive image optimisation option, including:

  • Image Compression
  • Picture cropping
  • Picture adjustment
  • Image backup recovery
  • PDF compression

All the work can be handed over to ShortPixel, and it will do the job for you in the background supporter.

Automatically add related articles

To help a website improve its Google ranking, “visitor stay” can be extended by highlighting additional topics the readers might be interested in (Dobson, 2018).

The addition of related articles has allowed some users to stay longer on the website. Some topics cannot be clearly explained in an article, and readers are able to understand it through related articles better. I recommend Related Posts for WordPress. This plugin works best, which can go to the other articles cited and then recommend according to the label and classification.

According to the reports, the number of Internet users using search engines has steadily increased, so that search engine optimisation becomes more important than ever. Yoast is known as the best SEO plugin because of its various powerful features: Internal link suggestion, Redirect manager Keyword report, XML site map, content and page analysis tools. As a simple and easy-to-use SEO plugin, Yoast SEO can provide webpage snapshots for search engine optimisation, evaluation of page readability, content length, alt attributes, keyword, title tags, meta descriptions, outbound links and URLs, etc. Furthermore, the basic optimisation elements can be easily done with Yoast SEO.

The Yoast plugin, like an advanced version of the plugin, offers a freemium model. However, most users still prefer to use the free version. There are a lot of advertisements and sales information on the free version. Although it does not affect the use, seeing it for a long time is still annoying. I will provide a plug-in for advertising to use or hide the back-end advertising content of SEO Bloat hidden Yoast free SEO plugin.

 

LinkedIn: Zhang Xinyu 

Lecturer’s top tips on what NOT to do when blogging and how to read

Andras Kenez, Lecturer at Staffordshire business school


This is the most important rule of content marketing for bloggers: use data to understand your readers.

The data-driven content marketing is a way of continuously measuring the user data to develop the content.

Here is an interesting fact I found whilst researching different target groups and reading about different segments of the society, trying to understand how they react to content:

We can’t read anymore.

Mankind has lost the ability to work with complex texts. It is not just Generation Z – it is all of us. We are not able to read texts as we have before. We live in a faster world where information is unlimited.

The bottom line is we do not have time for reading. Our brain and reading habits are adapted to this environment. We can see the world through videos and images, we have experts and politicians to explain us what we see, there is no need for reading anymore. Even the interfaces are different: it is not the same to read on screen than on paper.

  • Almost 50% of the people have limited reading skills. They know the alphabet and have the basic reading and writing skills, but they might have problems with understanding texts beyond a basic, simplest level. They do have problems with reading long emails, articles, blogs. One of three of your colleagues are functionally illiterate, no matter where you are: schools, universities, newsrooms are no exceptions. Look around, if you don’t know who it is, it’s you.
  • Skimming is the new reading. Based on online analytics, we spend less than a minute to read articles and blogs online: we get the keywords and the most significant points (those with bold font or the first few words after the bullet points) quickly, without processing the information. Skimming and scanning are effective techniques to get a general overview immediately. Why bother with the details? Therefore, I can write whatever I want here: no one will read this part. I could even call the editors idiots: even they won’t read (and delete) this. Students use skimming and scanning methods to speed up assignment writing, bloggers use this to save time on research. The problem is: we never go the next step (deep reading) after getting the point.
  • Reading is not critical anymore. Readers are not able to manage conflicting information. As the neuroscientist, Maryann Wolf writes: “My research depicts how the present reading brain enables the development of some of our most important intellectual and affective processes: internalized knowledge, analogical reasoning, and inference; perspective-taking and empathy; critical analysis and the generation of insight.” (Such a long sentence!) Serious (deep) reading is paying attention, working with the content, thinking, and using your brain. Reading requires time.
  • We have no dedicated time for reading. Reading articles and blogs: we do it in our fragmented time (these are the small breaks, in-between moments). During the day, when there is some free time to read: at lunch, on the train, during lectures, in waiting rooms, in bed before sleep. We do not dedicate time for reading, we try to find time for it. Digital devices make it possible to read anytime and anywhere. This is an and endless opportunity and a total game changer.

During the time of the Brexit debate, it is extremely interesting to see this “development” of reading. Propaganda also understands this: telling a lot of contrasting information makes us vulnerable as we have lost our ability to critically evaluate.

To build a new argument here I tried to reread the Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose – but I Kant, it is TL;DR (too long, didn’t read). I used to like it, but now it is too difficult to read. By the way TL;DR: we do not even write sentences anymore. Shortening, abbreviation and simplifications everywhere. Not just ideas but words are too long as well. But TBH, TLA (especially in CTA) is bad for UX and CTR. KISS.

In my last piece here, I have argued to be sceptic with the information you see, now I advise you to read. Spend time deep reading. Reading is like language skills: if you don’t use it you’ll forget it. PRACTISE DEEP READING each and every week.

And if you write a blog, do not forget that you’re writing for people with reading difficulties. Readers like to skim, not chew.

 

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Christmas Cheer! We’ll Be There!!

Dr Tolu Olarewaju, Lecturer at Staffordshire Business School


I knew Christmas was near when BBC Radio Stoke asked for an interview on Black Friday and how to spot good deals. The next day, students debated and presented evidence on some offers that seemed dubious – interesting. Be that as it may, the mood around campus and town was definitely getting lighter as everyone could feel the holidays approaching – research shows that holidays are good for morale.

Christmas is a wonderful time. Just think about those gifts and all that food. Then there’s the added bonus of the end to a year a week after. It is a good time to wind down and relax with family and friends. Even if you don’t like too much company, at least you get to simmer down 🙂

There’s been so much going on lately, we decided to wind down for Christmas. Here we are at a dinner at the wayfarer, an excellent country pub and restaurant.

Academics Relax Too.

Then we got a bit silly at the staff Christmas party.

HoHoHo.

Yours truly was able to get about in Hanley.  There’s a fantastic Winter Wonderland with loads to eat and do including, rides, go karts, games, an ice rink and of course a beautiful atmosphere.

Ice skaters in Winter Wonderland Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent

As an academic, of course this was writing, reviewing, reading, grading, and speculating season but still, twas nice to exchange pleasantries with folks during the yuletide season. Hope you had a lovely Christmas and wish you a wonderful 2019 🙂

 

Free MOOC on Purchasing and Supply Management (PSM) Fundamentals

  • Self-study course
  • Free of charge
  • Material available

What is this course about?

More than half of the total turnover of a modern industrial firm in Europe is directly transferred to suppliers and the bulk of supplies is no longer of domestic origin but European and international. Network economies with a low depth of production and high reliance on international suppliers let firms struggle to cope with the complexity and the new responsibilities. There is no harmonised skill profile and competence set for Purchasing & Supply Management (PSM).

This course arises from the Erasmus+ project “Purchasing Education and Research for European Competence Transfer“ (PERFECT) (www.project-perfect.eu) which develops a harmonised curriculum in PSM and aims at an increase in the number of highly qualified students who are suitable for entering the workplace in PSM related jobs in any size of organization and industrial setting.

For Sttafordshire Business School Dr Steve Kelly (now at Edge Hill) and Marzena Reska were the staff involved in the project.

What do you learn in this course?

  • Identify the basic role, benefits, processes and aspects of a PSM department and a variety of specific job roles.
  • Apply a range of purchasing techniques and tools to purchasing activities.
  • Describe cross-functional connections between purchasing and other departments, and departments’ connections to external stakeholders.
  • Identify opportunities and challenges when acting as the interface between internal customer requirements and external supply networks.
  • Understand the impact of supplier relationship management on PSM performance and apply collaboration tools.
  • Evaluate trends and developments in PSM and interpret their consequences.

How is the course structured?

Over the course, you have the chance to participate in the following sequences on Purchasing & Supply Management (PSM) basics.

  • Introduction to project PERFECT
  • Definition and Meaning of PSM
  • PSM Organisation and Roles
  • PSM Processes
  • Strategic Procurement
  • Offers, negotiations, contracts
  • Supplier Relationship Management
  • Procurement Technology & Digitalisation
  • PSM Controlling
  • Risk Management in PSM

Enrol free now: www.oncampus.de/weiterbildung/mooc/perfect?lang=en

Funded by the ERASMUS + PROGRAMME

 

 

 

Disclaimer
The creation of these resources has been (partially) funded by the ERASMUS+ grant program of the European Union
under grant no. 2015-1-DE01-KA203-002174.
Neither the European Commission nor the project‘s national funding agency DAAD are responsible for the content or liable for any losses or damage resulting of the use of these resources.

What is a university for?

Professor Jess Power, Associate Dean – Students


There are several possible interpretations of the fundamental role of a university, however the one that holds close to my values and beliefs is “the university” as an institution for the creation and dissemination of knowledge, creating graduates who have a genuine commitment to making the world a better place and of being significant players in civil society. The western university model has been a remarkable success and is one in which we should have immense pride. Operational freedom within an interactive setting which enables excellence across teaching, research, learning and enterprise opening unlimited opportunities for many. However, in an increasingly complex and uncertain world the role of the university is constantly being questioned. In particular there has been a recent drive for developing “value”, in the form of employable work ready graduates. This may be interpreted as a set of desirable skills and attributes to be embedded within the curriculum or perhaps and more importantly the development of an entrepreneurial mind-set. The ability to think outside the box, to adapt and respond to change in a fast paced environment and more importantly the ability to be able to communicate within and beyond their academic discipline is perceived key to graduates contributing to societal challenges.

In today’s global economy and in society as a whole we are faced with many complex challenges (clean water, ageing population, disaster management, global-warming, sustainable food production, transitioning populations), which require new ways of working. It is widely accepted that innovative and sustainable solutions for many complex global social issues reach far beyond the boundaries of a single academic discipline or methodological approach and as such the practical argument for embedding interdisciplinarity and interdisciplinary collaboration opportunities into the learning experience within universities is strong. Interdisciplinary working is widely accepted to be the new mode of knowledge production, it focuses on building intellectual capacity and is supported by government policy makers and research funding agencies. Many of the most exciting developments cross traditional disciplinary boundaries and therefore have great potential to break through complex societal problems and foster innovation.

The concept of interdisciplinarity within Higher Education is not new: Thompson and Fogel (1921), acknowledged in their publication ‘Higher Education and Social Change’ that all social problems require interdisciplinary skills and knowledge. They expanded on this by stating: “if graduates … are to be societies’ leaders …they need a broad social and historical perspective that is difficult to achieve in one discipline”. Thompson and Forgel’s (1921) paper highlighted specifically the need for Higher Educational institutions to promote interdisciplinarity as a means of developing the essential skills of leadership required to impact on civil society.

So, what is a university for? It is to change mind-set, opening up opportunities to bring together individuals to generate knowledge to solve societal problems for the good of mankind. Thus, the connections we make, the disciplines we cross and the knowledge we form are only part of the picture, it is the transformative impact on people’s life’s that we make that hold the true meaning of the value of a university, which instil the leadership qualities desired to make the world a better place.

 

Thompson, K.W. & Fogel, B.R. (1921). Higher Education and Social Change: Promising Experiments in Developing Countries. Vol 1 Reports. US: Praeger.

www.staffs.ac.uk 

A day out at Conkers

Simon Hughes, Student, Staffordshire Business School


‘Conkers’ is a day out at an activity centre in Derbyshire, where a group of new Staffordshire University students spent a day during Welcome Week. The day is used to bring people out of their shell and get them involved with various activities that involve communicating and working as part of a team.

The day started out and there was not much interaction between each member of the group and when we arrived at conkers there was still very little interaction while waiting to be split into teams to take part in several activities throughout the day.

When the students were separated into teams, I could see how they were bonding and forming a rapport with their teammates. I strongly recommend this to any person looking to improve their team working skills plus it’s a great confidence booster. It will also help them to ‘find their voice’ to help with communication skills.

The first part of the day was mainly about the communication within their teams. They had to get a bucket of water through an obstacle course, without losing too much water and not letting it touch the ground.

All the teams seemed to have a lot of fun no matter what the weather.

 

 

 

 

The second activity of which the teams took part in, was aimed at helping them build their self-confidence and to believe in themselves with a high wire walk.

 

 

They also had a lower wire for those who had not got as much confidence.

The third activity the team took part in was called `bush craft` where they were split into smaller groups to build a shelter showing their ability to work together as part of a team.
They also had to build a fire under the instructor’s guidance, by gathering wood so that they could toast their marshmallows.

By the end of all the activities, it was apparent that all who took part gained something positive from their experiences. Team working skills and communication were improved and it also helped with their self-confidence.

 

Would you like to market to customers when they’re in your area or about to go to a competitor’s location?

Paul Dobson, Senior Lecturer at Staffordshire Business School


The ability to market to customers or potential customers by their location has been around for a while. However, in my conversations with local businesses not many are aware of this facility.

The number of mobile users is consistently on the rise and already outnumber PC users for internet access.  Therefore, it is a necessity for businesses to make sure their marketing is working as effectively as possible for mobiles. Geolocation is the ability to show where the mobile device, and the user of the device, are located using the built in GPS.  The best thing about using geolocation data is that it knows where mobile users are in-real-time.  Therefore, it enables businesses to create a tailored and relevant promotion to target these potential customers in a more effective way.  For example, it can be used for presenting coupons or adverts to potential customers when they are in the same street.  Geolocation can target users in a few different ways. However, the three most common are:-

  • Geo-targeting is the act of reaching someone based on their location.
  • Geo-fencing is typically used when targeting small regions like specific streets or towns. These targets are especially useful for apps that want to direct foot traffic to business premises, such as shops and restaurants.
  • Beacons are the narrowest of the three location targeting methods. A beacon is a small, Bluetooth device that receives location data from nearby mobiles, if the mobile Bluetooth is switched on. Often these are deployed in the interior of building such as shops, and airports etc.

Search results on a mobile can also be an effective location based marketing tool, for example if potential customers do a Google search for an Italian restaurant near them.  The search results can display the nearest restaurants and, at the press of an icon, the customers can: call the restaurant, get navigation instructions to the restaurant, or have a look at the website and menu.

Screenshot from Google Maps showing local Italian restaurant

Unfortunately, I’m not aware of a single marketing tool that works for everybody all the time, and this is no exception.  The biggest downside of using geolocation data for mobile marketing is that it is easily blocked by mobile users.  Although there are many mobile users that use apps with the GPS location feature enabled, there are also many users that don’t. Also, geolocation-triggered ads may not work on all devices due to ad blockers.

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My Visit to the Wonderful World of Wedgwood

By Sasha Wilson L6 Tourism Management

Wedgwood is an iconic brand within the pottery industry, it was founded by Josiah Wedgwood in 1759 and is valued as part of English History (Visit Stoke, 2018). It is now owned by the Fiskars Group who have ownership over other iconic brands including Gerber, Fiskars, Littala, Waterford and Royal Copenhagen (Wedgwood, 2018).

The World of Wedgwood is located in Stoke-on-Trent, Barlaston and is known for being a cultural attraction suitable for all ages. They attract 100,000 visitors per year with 25% of them being international with Japan and China being the most popular, helping to contribute to their global sales by 40% (Perkins, 2018).

Sasha with some of her fellow students

Sasha with some of her fellow students

My fellow colleagues and I arrived at the World of Wedgwood around 9am, where we were greeted by the director (Chris Perkins) and educational contact (Olivia Thackston). Chris has been working for the attraction for 5 years and manages the front of house, catering and museum teams, ensuring that they all run smoothly and all issues are resolves effectively.

The director showed us to the dinning hall where we conducted the interview, he started off by informing us about the Fiskars Group and the World of Wedgwood providing us with in-depth and valuable information. The group had individually prepared some questions to ask him, however many had already been answered through his inspirational talk.

I wanted to find out how the attraction is sustainable so I asked what strategies and procedures have been put into place to help the environment and reduce waste. He informed me that they don’t use plastic and that everything is made from glass so it can be reused, they also manage visitor numbers and order the right amount to cater for their needs to reduce food waste (Perkin, 2018).

An interesting fact I found out was that they recycle their broken casts by smashing them up which is then sold and used to make motorways, helping them to be more sustainable and provide positive impacts on the attraction as they still make money (Perkins, 2018). When I found out this I was very happy as I believe that organisations have a responsibility to the do whatever it takes to be more sustainable, to help preserve the environment and local community.

Once we had finished the interview we walked around the Museum where I saw lots of Wedgwood blue plates, taking me back to my childhood as my nan used to make us stories on the plates and tell them to me which gave me a warm and happy feeling. I then rang up my nan and told her she MUST visit as she would LOVE it! While on the phone we went back in time and remembered the happy and joyful memories that Wedgwood have provided us with, which we are very grateful for.

One of the many displays in the fabulous museum

One of the many displays in the fabulous museum

We then brought tickets for the factory tour which costs us £5 as we were a group of students, this helped to encourage us to go on the tour as it is affordable and value for money. I highly recommend taking part in the factory tour as you are able to gain first-hand experience on how they make their famous potteries and see the fantastic detail that is put into the hand-crafted items.

To finish our visit we visited the gift shop where I brought a keyring as I collect one every time I visit an attraction, as I am able to look back through them and remember my experience.

Overall, I believe that the World of Wedgwood is a fun and interesting way to spend your day and well worth a visit.

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Reference List

PERKINS, C. (2018) World of Wedgwood Q&A. [Interview]. 11th October 2018.

VISIT STOKE. (2018) World of Wedgwood. [Online] Available from: https://www.visitstoke.co.uk/see-and-do/world-of-wedgwood-p736491. [Accessed: 18th October 2018].

WEDGWOOD. (2018) About Fiskars Group. [Online] Available from: https://www.wedgwood.co.uk/wedgwood/about-us/. [Accessed: 18th October 2018].

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