Ema Talam, PhD Student in Economics at Staffordshire University
On May 16 and 17 this year, I had a privilege to attend 25 Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) PhD Forum. The Forum was organised by the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) of the University of Sussex, which is world-renowned research centre around the areas of science, technology and innovation policy. The work of SPRU is diverse, including: economics of innovation and industrial policy; science, politics and decision making; sustainable development; energy; and technology and innovation management.
The 25th edition of the PhD Forum, which started back in 1994, was organised around the theme: “Global challenges, local contexts: Reconciling theory and practice in Science, Technology and Innovation”. The programme of two-day conference included 14 panel sessions with total of 30 presentations by PhD researchers from all over the world; keynote speeches and plenary panel sessions; and plenty of networking opportunities. The full programme of the Forum can be found here.
On the second day of the Forum, in Panel 11: “R&D Innovation Policy and Centres of Excellence”, I presented my own research titled: “Evaluating the effectiveness of R&D tax credits: Critique of the user cost approach”, which was very well received. The paper I presented – still work in progress – looks into two distinct approaches to evaluation of the effectiveness of R&D tax credits, and specifically, critically appraises one of the approaches: the user cost approach. The full abstract of my paper can be found on the link provided above. The 25th SPRU Forum was an excellent and an invaluable opportunity to present and get feedback on my research; learn about the ongoing, diverse and very relevant research in the fields of science, technology and innovation; and to meet and network with other scholars working in the field.
Andrew Rizvi, MSc Digital Marketing Management Student
Google Analytics has become one of the most important marketing tools, if not the most necessary. It allows campaigns to be measured in real time, compare data of previous results and offers so much more to a business in terms of metrics.
Being one of the most powerful tools out there for being able to analyse traffic on your website. It gives you a vast amount of information on metrics, that helps monitor what visitors of the website are looking for and how they are getting to the site. This helps companies put all the information together in hope of increasing conversion rates and therefore sales margins.
This is a list of the important data Google Analytics provides for its users:
Where in the world the visitors are coming from – very important if targeting a specific audience and can be crucial if using STP marketing strategy aimed towards a certain target market
How visitors found the website – this is very important for determining which of your efforts are paying off. It shows if visitors found the site directly, through advertisement from other outlets and also even search engines. This is helped by a UTM code that you can then attach to a custom URL in order to track a campaign name, medium and source. This enables Google Analytics to help see where searchers came from as well as what campaigns directed to. This can then be implemented into using Google AdWords to take it a step further in order to increase website traffic and conversions.
Which keywords were used by visitors in the search engines to get to the website – this is very crucial for SEO. This knowledge allows you to see, which keywords people are searching for to get to your site and then be able to use that to incorporate into your chosen website. This enables for companies to use that information to benefit themselves on search engines for brand awareness.
This allows you to use this information to see how your traffic arrives at the site through different marketing channels. That can also be helped by the use of a UTM code that you can attach to a custom URL. This, in turn, helps a business see where it should best place its marketing resources in order to use demographics, Geographic’s and physiographic segmentations to define its target market.
This diagram shows important data right up front — the number of sessions, the bounce rate of those and their conversions for the businesses most effective channels. It also shows how your top channels are performing and which ones would need to be changed to help production.
In Google Analytics each section has an overview page that covers its features such as behaviour flow, site content, site speed, site search and many more. This is also another crucial aspect for a user, as it allows a potential business to go see what can be improved on the site. This will then help a business understand where its potential conversion rates are falling and therefore go about to improve them, to turn them into customers by looking for patterns and usage rates.
It also gives you a bigger insight into the depth of the metrics in the ‘overview’ page on behaviour also:
Page views — is the total number of pages viewed during the selected time period. The important thing to understand is that a user may visit multiple pages on your site and each of those visits would count as separate.
Unique page views — This metric only measures the number of unique page views you receive. This will not count a user visiting multiple times, only his original visit.
Average time on page — It shows the average amount of time users spend viewing a page on your site.
Bounce rate — The percentage of single page-visits that didn’t lead to another page visit.
Exit percentage — The exit percentage shows how often users exit from a page or set of pages when they view the page(s). Exit % is often confused with bounce rate, but they’re not the same.
All of the above can drastically help businesses, not just in terms of production of the site and where it needs improvement. But also, the impact changes can have immediate and the percentage of increase can be seen via this tool.
Conversions This allows for tracking of what actions a visitor would take on your site and takes action you care about and converts to a customer. That action could be through filling out a form, completing a purchase, or by simply showing a high level of engagement with your site. This can be very useful in determining what is successful when measuring which traffic sources result in conversions. This is why Google Analytics predeceasing factors are so important, as people who engage regularly are more likely to interact than a first-time visitor. This is why the overall impact of the use of Google Analytics can be so profound to businesses, due to the fact it offers clear metrics to justify reasoning of spending resources to improve customer satisfaction and conversions.
However nothing is perfect.
In order to understand all the intricacies of the Google Analytic tool, you need to learn it. The issue with that is that the information is sometimes hard to find, may be confusing, and overwhelming. If business users traffic is high then that comes with its own complications, as the price is roughly £117,000. This is an astronomical price for potentially a small to medium enterprise, despite this allowing for better in-depth accuracy in metrics. There could be a layer of options between the free and premium for a company or other options entirely like Adobe to find its niche with capital, which in turn will help provide optimum results via conversion rates if used correctly.
Why should a business use it? Google Analytics allows you to track a vast amount of important metrics, covering all aspects, as well as being able to access it on multiple devices. It Also monitors the effectiveness of your online marketing strategies, user experience, device functionality and the to link between other Google products. The statistics show you what is working well and what isn’t. Once you have identified any issues your site may have, you can create a solution. Google Analytics gathers information needed to improve a website and make it the best it can be and therefore help a business reach its potential.
Creating accessible social media content can not only increase your engagement but also include an audience often overlooked: people with disabilities. Whether your goal is to increase online traffic to your business, social media, or blog, inclusion is the best approach. Accessibility goes beyond considering physical constraints, it’s actually a lot more sophisticated than that.
Why Accessible Social Media Is Important
Take a moment to think about how content engages you: is it something you see or read? Does a deal sound good to you? Unfortunately, some audiences can’t see/hear the attraction behind it and need to be engaged another way to include them. The UK alone has over 13.5 million people with declared disabilities, beyond a fifth of our growing population.
The Office of National Statistics find that 80% of disabled adults use the internet frequently, increasing every year. The 2016 Click-Away Pound Survey suggests that 71% of participants (approximately 4 million) disengage with inaccessible websites or content. A new CAP Survey is in progress while the current results certainly emphasise the importance of online accessibility for engagement.
Marketers and businesses failing to meet this increasing demand for accessible content risk a gradual decline in engagement and revenue. The Business Disability Forum quotes a credible but outdated total spending power of people with disabilities as £80 billion per year. However, a recent government press release states a much higher total of £249 billion per year.
Improving Content Accessibility
Ofcom reports confirm a large majority of visually-impaired people actively use mobile devices. Alternative Text describes images aloud through screen readers if a description is included, and is available on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The latter includes automatic alternative text for recognisable objects within the image, indicating further AI use in social media marketing.
AI is becoming an integral part in social media’s evolution by contributing to complex tasks such as collecting and analysing big data. Accessibility expert Matt King believes AI will contribute to removing the barriers of disabilities in the not-too-distant future. Until this is feasible, we need to fill that gap by making our content as accessible as possible.
Describe the image and any included text with clear and concise language. Remember: your description becomes their eyes and key parts of your content could be missed without this.
You can caption videos through video editing suites like Adobe Premiere Pro or even Notepad to create subtitle files to use on YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Online tools like Kapwing and Facebook or YouTube captioning tools can reduce time and costs if you’re on a tight budget/deadline. Twitter and Instagram currently lack more accessible ways to add captions without using third party software.
Challenges Facing Content Creators
Business Attitudes Towards Accessibility
Creating accessible content will contribute to additional hours from your team’s budget and you may need to negotiate a budget increase. This could be tricky because not all businesses are comfortable increasing budgets and may fail to understand the importance. Using what you’ve learned from this could help provide justification for the budget increase.
Understanding the importance of accessibility remains a grey area for most businesses, and your input could fill that gap. Almost half the British public don’t know how many disabled people there are in the UK, but you do now.
Another angle to consider is that lacking accessibility gives competitors an advantage because disabled customers may opt for companies that do. The spending power mentioned before demonstrates the potential financial loss if this is ignored and how providing it would give a better competitive edge.
Scheduling & Posting Accessible Social Media Content
Accessible content is not just down to the content creators and budget limitations. It’s also down to the capabilities of the tools and resources they use to publish it.
Post scheduling tools may save time, but some of these tools do not come with Alternative Text. Posts may require a manual upload in some cases, supporting the argument that distributing engaging content takes time to perfect. Upon close analysis: Buffer and Hootsuite offer alternative text for Twitter but not Instagram yet, while Loomly doesn’t.
This wouldn’t be as much of an obstacle for content creators if Twitter and Instagram had independent post Schedule functions like Facebook. Although Facebook’s is not flawless since alternative text can only be provided after publishing the post.
Growing social networks among younger audiences like Tik Tok pose their own challenges of distributing accessible content. Despite claims to enable everyone to be a creator, there are currently no accessibility settings and limited features to be inclusive. This sparks concern of whether future emerging social networks will understand the importance of accessibility and include it.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 recentstatistics 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 IsOnlyTemporary
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 HardtoTrack
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.
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:
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:
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:
Conservation of resources
Reduction of carbon footprint
Financial savings and viability
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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),
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.
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.
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.