Global Entrepreneurship Week at Staffordshire Business School #GEW2019

#GEW2019

ALL WELCOME

Monday 18th Nov 2-4pm LT111/113 Julia Roberts

Professional skills for the self- employed Communications and Events Professional

Julia will start with a small talk on how her career developed and then will follow this with some workshop activity.

Tuesday 19th Nov 10.00 – 11.00 LT 02 Ashley Emily Whitehead

Building brand identity: the case study of Simply Great Britain

Tuesday 19th Nov 1.00-2.00 R101 Science Centre Emily Whitehead

Building brand identity: the case study of Simply Great Britain

Tuesday 19th Nov 1.30 – 1.50pm Flaxman Film Theatre Dr Tolu Olarewaju

“The Hult Prize is both the world’s largest student enterprise competition and the  world’s largest movement for social impact. Students from universities around the globe compete to win $1,000,000 in start-up funding to start a business that solves a pressing social issue. This year’s business challenge concerns climate change and is our chance to show the world that our institution is dedicated to Impact. Come and find out how to compete this year and the benefits of engaging with students from every part of our planet.”

http://www.hultprizeat.com/staffordshireuni

Friday 22nd Nov 10.00 – 12.00 S205 Mellor (IT lab) Jonathan Westlake

10.00 – 11.00 Good online tools for digital marketers

11.00 – 12.00 Good online tools for entrepreneurs and the self employed

These are practical workshops come early to ensure you get a seat.A

Speakers profile

Julia Roberts is a communications consultant with over twenty two years of professional work experience within Creative Communications and Marketing including Digital Media, Public Relations and Event Management.

Julia is also the founder and creative director of the Ginger and Spice Festival The Ginger and Spice Festival was crowned champions of British Food Fortnight Competition 2017 and was selected as regional finalists at the Rural Business Awards in both 2018/2019 and 2019/2020.

Her business Rocket Communications and Events Ltd was shortlisted as a regional finalist in the Rural Business Awards 2019/2020.

Julia Roberts - Entrepreneur in Residence

Emily Whitehead

Emily Whitehead Ltd provides highly experienced training, coaching, consultancy & speaking, delivering to a wide range of businesses and organisations. Specialising principally in marketing & communication strategy, leadership & management, business structure, environmental planning & management, this work is carried out for both private clients and within funded projects (most recently ERDF projects in Staffordshire & Leicestershire). Other projects have included work with Staffordshire CC, Stafford BC, Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, Staffordshire University Business School , Keele Sustainability Hub, UKCPA, WiREUK & National Forest.

Operating under Emily Whitehead Ltd, Simply Great Britain has a mission to change how Britain views small, micro business one story at a time. Working within a membership community model, Simply Great Britain celebrates, supports & connects its members both online and in person.

Jonathan Westlake

Jonathan is an IT specialist. Exposure over the years to a wide variety of business contexts ranging from small firms to large organisations.  He has extensive experience of business techniques and transformation technology used by business. He was also instrumental in setting up Wavemaker Stoke and also runs his own small business. He is also vice-chair and secretary of the British Computer Society North Staffs branch.

Global Business Directions Conference 2019

Thursday February 7th 2019 – Location Ashley LT002, Leek Road Campus, Staffordshire University

Organisers: Hazel Squire and  Prof Jon Fairburn

Free – all welcome

Programme

9.00 Networking
9.30 Welcome and introductions  Hazel Squire and Prof Jon Fairburn
9.40 Key note speaker – Andrew Stephenson, Group People Director at Lookers plc

‘Building a customer centric organisation in the digital age’ 

10.30  Break

10.40 Salman Hamid, Director of Development at GMP Drivercare.com 

 ‘The technological aspect of today’s business’

11.30 Break

11.40  Tony Evans, Head of Leonardo and Analytics, SAP

“Digital transformation and the intelligent enterprise”

12.30 Lunchtime
 13.30 Jeanefer Jean-Charles, Creative Director  www.jeanefer.com

‘Keeping your business moving’ 

14.20 Break
14.40 Vanessa Oakes, Staffordshire Business School

‘Digital technology and new employment experiences’

15.30 Closing remarks

 

Speaker profiles

Andrew Stephenson

Andrew Stephenson

Andrew Stephenson has been the Group People Director at Lookers, one of the UK’s largest automotive dealer groups since May 2016.  Reporting to the CEO; Andrew is responsible for the HR function and people agenda for over 8,500 employees across areas in the UK and Ireland.  Andrew also leads the IT function and is responsible for customer experience across the companies 31 franchised manufacturer brands.

Andrews’ team have driven an improved customer experience through instore insight and a new online proposition.  This has been underpinned by the introduction of comprehensive monitoring of customer experience.  This independent monitoring ensures much better outcomes for customers in all circumstances and provides statistically valid measurement of customer satisfaction.  The performance on customer experience now directly links to remuneration within the group.  Andrew’s team are also responsible for the delivery of the company’s new website to support omni-channel focus on customers.  Lookers are one of the Sunday Times Top 25 Big Companies to work for in the UK and have twice featured in the Glassdoor and CMI list of the Most Inspirational workplaces.

Andrew is a Level 8 student currently completing his DBA at Staffordshire University with a study into customer loyalty. Andrew holds a MA in Strategic HRM also from Staffordshire University, is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD, a Chartered Manager and Fellow of the CMI and a Fellow of the Institute of the Motor Industry.  Andrew is also a Trustee of the national body of Citizens Advice, chairing their remuneration committee and an independent advisor to the Customer Experience Committee of HMRC.

 

Salman Hamid

Salman Hamid

Salman Hamid is a Director of Development at GMP Drivercare Limited, where Salman develops and implement Digital Technologies including bespoke systems, online automotive portal with a capability of getting live prices (APIs) and AI Technologies. GMP Drivercare helps Public and Corporate Sector organisations in Fleet Management, Grey Fleet Compliance, Telematics, Lease Car Schemes, Salary Sacrifice Schemes and more (A One stop shop).

Salman is a Staffordshire University and University of Roehampton Alumni, BSc Hons in Business Information Technology from Staffordshire University, MSc Information Systems Management from University of Roehampton and MSc Digital Marketing from Staffordshire University.

 

Tony Evans

Tony Evans

As Head of Leonardo and Analytics, Tony Evans is responsible for enabling customers to leverage SAP’s innovation portfolio, to drive business transformation and operational improvement. As the executive sponsor for SAP Machine Learning and Cloud customer adoption, Tony partners with customer executive teams to promote SAP’s next generation computing platform.

Since joining SAP, Tony has led SAP’s billion dollar North American Database business and has managed the North American financial services business as the Chief Operating Officer.

Prior to SAP, Tony has a successful track record in driving Business Process Reengineering and change management for global organisations, including PepsiCo, Lucent Technologies and IXNet. Tony has also held senior leadership positions across Oracle, BlackBerry and SAP, where he has led organisation of sales, technical and marketing professionals, driving revenue growth through partnership with customers.

Tony is an alumni of Staffordshire University, where he graduated with BA (Hons) in Business Studies and a Diploma in Marketing from CIM. Tony has an MBA in Change Management from the University of Brighton and is a qualified Project Manager with the Project Management Institute, an organisation he sat on the board of in NYC, and represented in the Global Project Management Forum. Tony also sits on the board of a successful startup, CrowdFlik where he partners with, and advises the CEO around business strategy.

Jeanefer Jean-Charles

Jeanefer Jean-Charles

Jeanefer Jean-Charles career began working across theatre, dance, television and film, including Co-Artistic Director of her company Bullies Ballerinas Jazz Productions, touring nationally and internationally. Her work has taken her to over 20 countries.

Today she is the Creative Director of Jeanefer Jean-Charles and Associates, with over 20 years’ experience of devising, creating, facilitating and directing dance and movement for performance.

As a Mass Movement Director and Choreographer of large scale performances, opening ceremonies, stadium events, outdoor spectacles, carnivals and parades, the success of her work is in her unique process of empowering and skilling up teams of artists, whilst bringing together the talents, strengths and shared stories of communities in inspiring and unforgettable ways.

Career highlights include: Mass Movement Director for Roald Dahl’s City of the Unexpected 2016, Choreographer for the award winning The Return of Colmcille, Derry-Londonderry City of Culture 2013, Mass Movement Choreographer for the Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace, Mass Movement Coordinator for all four of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremonies, Movement Director for The FA Cup Final 2016 Opening Ceremony at Wembley, Artistic Director for The Rugby League World Cup Opening Ceremony in 2013.

Vanessa Oakes

Vanessa Oakes

Vanessa Oakes is a Human Resources and Leadership & Development professional with extensive industry experience including 10 years as Head of HR at an international Environmental and Engineering consultancy and 6 years as a lecturer on the CIPD’s professional HRM programmes.

Vanessa brings a wealth of experience in how digital technology will affect your experience as a candidate looking for a job, to how it will affect you in your future employment.

She has worked with Social Media tools to approach passive candidates for opportunities within her organisation, she has implemented Applicant Tracking Systems which monitor the status of applications, she has worked with online tools which recorded attendance and monitored productivity and performance and software which measures and records employee engagement. These digital tools provided essential data which allowed managers to better manage their teams, improving the overall performance of the organisation.

She will give you a clearer understanding of how digital technology will become a key part of your employment experience.

5 top tips to be successful on social media

Andrew Rizvi, MSc Digital Marketing Management Student


Planning

When mapping out a plan for social media it is always best to start with the goals you want to achieve for business standpoint and how you plan to implement them.

Using SMART for goal setting can be a successful foundation for social media marketing if followed correctly:

  • Goals must nail down exactly what is expected of the initiative. Also simply being just more active on social media is one of the quickest ways to burn valuable time unnecessary. That’s why it’s crucial to ask ‘why’ your business is on social media.
  • Measurable – Being able to definitively answer “yes, we hit the goal” or “we missed the goal by 20%” is a good goal standard. Key Metrics, Goals or OKRs that you would like to accomplish broken down into days, weeks, months, and the year.
  • Attainable – Out of reach goals are demoralizing and frustrating. Having to stretch to hit a goal is productive, but don’t go overboard with expectations.
  • Relevant – A social media-marketing goal needs to tie in to marketing’s overall goal. Is it to build an audience? Increase website traffic? Strengthen branding?
  • Timely – Dates and times keep companies accountable to their goals. Staying on track may at times be impossible, so be able to acclimatise to change is also important

Engaging with customers rather than just promoting

Social media is becoming more and more like a customer service platform. A tricky part of this is that the better you get the more difficult engagement becomes. The other side of this is that customers are more often than not the best source of inspiration, as they will often be asking the questions ‘why’ don’t you do this. Useful tools to find out what’s working on social media are Twitter List, Google Keyword Planner and Facebook Pages to Watch or even simply creating a community site. This allows a company to then evaluate and remarket itself in the future by using metrics from former campaigns.

Engaging with your target audience by using free or low-cost brands, such as Buffer Reply or TweetDeck. This allows for a more interactive service that can help with providing insight to customers as well as the business. For example, everyone person on Twitter has 100 friends that follow them, and those 100 friends have 100 friends that follow them. Even if only 5% of the total friends share the content, that’s still a massive number of shares and impressions. Crafting content unique to each platform is critical and is why planning is so important to keep a constant stream of customer engagement for marketing purposes.

Boost organic content to a targeted audience

Unless you would have a big team overseeing your social media with the ability to invest a lot of time, you can end up wasting a lot of money on paid advertising. Organic social media posting is the perfect testing ground for paid ads and boosted posts. In other words, you’re using organic reach to determine what posts you should put money behind and use this as an opportunity in disguise. And therefore, being able to use A/B testing can help use company resources wisely regardless of the size of it.

That opportunity is paid social media advertising. Even if you only have £5 to spend on boosting a Facebook post or promoting a Tweet, it will effectively get that content in front of hundreds of potential customers. That is why looking out for posts with high engagement but low reach as a good barometer for potential success and is something that should be checked regularly by using analytics, to ensure that the content will be maximising its possible target audience.

Using a combination of Facebook Audience Insights and Twitter Audience Insights to learn about your audience and create personas. Once you have an idea of who they are, use those insights to create highly targeted ads that will resonate with users.


Measuring Your Results

A clear and fundamental part of this is holding up the results against the goals you set at the beginning to compare. This gives a clear indication as to what is working and what is not. The main providers of gaining this information can be found using tools such as Sprout Social, Google Analytics, Iconosquare and Snaplytics to make sure that resources are being spent wisely and how they can be better placed elsewhere if not.

  • Followers. Total up the number of new followers each social media platform received, and compare this number to the goal set. This can be achieved using analytics tools such as Sprout Social to measure the success.
  • Likes/shares/comments. Measure the amount of engagement the audience has with the posts. Note which type of content gets the biggest responses for future strategies.
  • Leads. Ultimately, successful social media marketing increases the number of qualified leads for the company. This is the metric that tells you the most about your efforts. Therefore can give the biggest indictor as to where it was a success and where it can be improved.


Create an Editorial Calendar

Last but least, an important way of keeping on track of everything and staying ahead of the game is to have a ‘content schedule’. If there’s a common thread between the biggest brands on social, it’s that they post on a consistent basis.

Chances are that when doing it, juggling multiple social channels and trying to tick as many boxes as possible is incredibly challenging. This is why having a content calendar can make the process much easier by:

  • Allowing you to fine-tune each post for each platform without having to jump between sites.
  • Timing posts to maximize engagement, keeping you from having to constantly post in real-time.

Taking the time to make a schedule does double duty of keeping your social media presence organised while also maximising your contents’ reach. This inevitably helps a company reach its potential, whilst being able to continuously funnel information to a specific target market.

 

 

 

The Future of Facebook Marketing

Ben Hocking, MSc digital marketing management student


Facebook is going to be one of the main places to focus your social media marketing for the foreseeable future. But will you be marketing in the right place? For a while now, the news feed has been the place to be to engage with consumers, using display ads and chatbots. However, these methods had varying success due to them being easily overlooked and being a nuisance  when posted too frequently. In response to this, 2018 saw an update to Facebook’s algorithm in order to reduce the amount of fake news and improve the reputation of the platform. As always, with the changing of Facebook algorithms comes a change in marketing culture within the platform. In an environment that has ever increasing scrutiny on user content by employers and relationships, users are experiencing a shift from news feed-based engagement to an increasing popularity of private messaging and stories.

With Facebook messenger becoming increasingly popular with 1.3 billion users a month, a huge new market is presenting itself. Thanks to copying of the original innovation by Snapchat and the subsequent success of stories on Instagram, stories (short videos and images that appear temporarily on a user’s social media) are becoming the next big thing in social media, with users clearly finding more comfort in the creating limited time content that can be forgotten about much easier than a public post on social media. Social media platforms are predominantly buying in to having stories on their platform, even with private messaging groups such as WhatsApp making the transition. Always attempting to be remain the leader of social media platforms, Facebook have clearly thrown their metaphorical hat into the ring and transitioning Facebook into a more story-oriented experience, and in typical Facebook fashion, making it bigger and better. These improvements are much needed for Facebook, as when it comes down to private messaging, it still lags behind WhatsApp by hundreds of millions of users.

One of the main changes to Stories is how the platform now uses the story cards (a collection of images taken from the stories of other users that provide a link to their complete story). Bigger cards, easier access and constant reminders: Facebook is clearly showing its cards on how it wants users to engage, and we can understand why. By using stories to market to users, pages can post as often as they like without filling up the news feed of their followers and risking being branded a as “nuisance” content. From a marketing perspective, this allows advertisers to place ads in the middle of a stream of content more seamlessly than before interruptive. Even if you scroll past the initial set of stories, there is no escaping them. After every few posts on the news feed there is another opportunity to engage with stories, this time Facebook even doubles down with the amount you can choose from on your screen.

Interestingly, Facebook is clearly playing the media platform game and winning. On mobile, stories are king, but switch to desktop like over 30% of users, and we are greeted with the same old Facebook we know and love. Other than stories being available along the right-hand side when you first open your news feed, their presence is very limited, showing that the ease of image-based content curation that mobile provides has been accounted for when transitioning, as well as accommodating desktop users in the changes. (Need to find data for older audience not engaging in stories).

So, you’re probably asking yourself why the predominance of stories is so important in shaping the future of marketing. Well, by using stories you can combine all your posts into one convenient little package to, believe it or not, tell a story about your product. Stories let your content be consistently viewed in the order you decide you want it to, allowing you to engage your audience with the correct posts without the risk of them missing the good bits. They also allow you to get the users invested in your content before presenting them with your long-form marketing through the stories themselves and the ability to swipe and tap to take them from Facebook to your website effortlessly, and the best bit- they already know they want to go there, reducing bounce rates and encouraging good quality engagement with your content. Another amazing feature of Facebook stories is the integration between the Facebook platform and the messenger app, with stories appearing seamlessly between the two platforms as is typical for Facebook messenger. This will allow advertisers to target any users from either platform with meaningful content.

The final trick up the marketer’s sleeve with Facebook stories is the ability to embed polls and links within the story itself. Want feedback on a new service? Add an emoji slider and let them show you how happy they are, the possibilities are endless. And this is only the beginning, with the increase of popularity for Facebook stores expected to overtake news feeds as the primary way to share on social media in 2019. With more than double the users of Instagram, Facebook may have been late to the party, but they are soon going to be the life of it.

How the New Customer Funnel Could Change the Customer Journey in Your Business

Leah Mahon, Student, Staffordshire Business School


The new customer funnel is changing the way that businesses interact with their customers on their customer journey as we previously knew it.

For years, the traditional funnel has been one of the most used by businesses. However, according to Davies BDM, it has endured criticism due to its inability to adapt to the changing customer journey aligned with what customers want and need in an era of rampant digitalisation and self-controlled consumerism.

Now, the new funnel is set to be one of marketing’s biggest developments for the digital plethora, as predicted by Campaign Monitor. Its new hourglass shape represents non-linearity and continuity throughout the customer journey. It also boasts of new varied stages for every customer to experience as an acknowledgement of true individuality. The new funnel merges the stages of pre-purchase and post-purchase like never before to demonstrate a truly complete view of the customer life cycle. The concept of multi-touch, multi-channel and multi-path customers journeys are now changing the marketing strategies for every business that is embracing the rise of digital.

Some insight from Customer Journey Marketer, breaks down a little more why the previous customer funnel wasn’t quite cutting it in the dawn of this digital age, and what the new funnel can offer customers.

The Old Customer Funnel:

  • Inconsideration of external influences
  • Customers are linear and the same
  • Lack of focus beyond the point of purchase
  • Lack of granularity
  • Lacking perspective of journey

The New Customer Funnel:

  • Customers can enter at any pre-purchase stage
  • Customers do not enter every stage
  • Movement in non-linear way
  • Customer journeys are individual experiences

 

So, How are Businesses Using the New Funnel?

Good question! And it’s one that’s on every savvy business’s mind. The streaming service Netflix is using this new funnel with the non-linear perspective at the forefront, as described by Blue Coda. For instance, the average Netflix user would usually enter at the Engagement stage of the funnel.

Netflix market effectively to their customers with a “call to action” by offering a free streaming trial upon subscription for a month on their landing page with just a URL or Google search. This non-linear approach helps to reel in potential long-term subscribers quickly, and enable Netflix to collect data which can lead to profitable conversions. In a time with iron clad subscription polices, they emphasise that users can cancel this at any time, which increases trust in their service too.

According to Towerdata, customers crave that “1 to 1 level” experience and personalisation of their journeys’ which Netflix do throughout. After Engagement, the customer could then move their way down to Advocacy after watching their favourite series with personalised recommendations for similar streaming content. They could pass this onto friends and family, even before they make their way back up the funnel for an official subscription at the Purchase stage.

Another business that is putting the new marketing funnel to good use is Pinterest, as they prepare to launch their ad business in the UK market. Marketing Week demonstrates that they too market themselves well at the Engagement stage, which prompts potential customers to relinquish their data by signing up to their service, which would enable them to view more pins and to create their very own.

UK County Manager for Pinterest, Adele Cooper, highlights that businesses that work with them have the option of a using a “conversion pixel” which tracks if customers click on a pin and what they go onto do next. This means that ad companies now know what to market to their customers as they could make their way to Expansion with targeted ad campaigns personalised to there need and wants, before the Purchase stage has even been met.

Is it Worth the Journey?

It’s not just Campaign Monitor that has proclaimed the death of the old marketing funnel, but a marketer himself – Mckinsey – has also declared the concept of the funnel entirely dead as we knew it. However, according to McKinsey and Company, revival is not far away in the form of the Customer Decision Journey. 

Albeit, this model underwent a revival of its very own after failing to meet the forever changing scope of digital. Previously, its journey allowed customers to actively evaluate products or services through technology, while being able to add and remove choices. It also included a feedback loop where customers could continuously evaluate products and services after purchase, prompting products to perform and brands to provide a satisfactory experience every time. However, now in an era of accelerating digital advancements, the Customer Decision Journey was forced to undergo a drastic change.

Throughout the new journey, McKinsey argues that the stages of Consideration (Awareness) and Evaluation (Discovery) can be compressed, or in some cases completely eliminated. Businesses do not just react or respond to customers as they make purchasing decisions, but they also shape their decision journeys entirely. The rise of the digital plethora that once allowed self-controlled and self-educated consumerism, as outlined by Davies BDM is now fuelling the underpinning of further technological advancements that allows businesses to take back control. They have greater control over aspects like design and optimisation, and are now being able to create a space for not just value for the customer, but simultaneously for businesses too with “end to end purchase in consumer markets” being the end goal in this strategic model.

Albeit, an improvement from the linearity found in the traditional funnel with its entry and re-entry method, the Purchase stage is still a primary point of contact with the onus on customers to make a buyer “decision” on their journey. And with personalisation and customer individuality at the forefront, it is arguable that emphasis in this stage is complying with the demands of digital consumerism, because the pivot for customers has now become “the experience, not the purchase.” According to Relevance, personalisation can increase “five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend, and can lift sales by 10% or more.”  Customers feel more connected to the message that a business is sending out through personalisation also. Despite the “circularity” of the Customer Decision Journey, it is merely limited to “eating its own tail” while the focus remains on B2C transaction, and the assumption that can customers will remain loyal even if they have a good post purchase experience. Yes, there is more freedom for customers to explore, but ultimately the static nature of the end goal limits this model to a similar function of the traditional funnel. Customers crave a human touch, and businesses that use this strategic tool can risk compromising customer the longevity of their customer life cycle, and ultimately their sales if the journey itself to a potential purchase is indeed a bumpy one.

The connection between the stages of Purchase and Advocacy of both the new funnel and the Customer Decision Journey has also been criticised by marketers. Both models allow non-linearity to move freely throughout, but only once a customer has interacted with a product or service in some way. Take Netflix, for instance, and its call-to-action landing page, or Pinterest and its coaxing to sign up for more pins. The Harvard Business Review argues that now with the expansion of digital, the Purchase and Advocacy stages are now entirely disconnected, because people no longer have to be a customer or relinquish their data to become an advocate for a business. Potential customers are now experiencing what businesses have to offer through live events, content marketing, social media and word-of-mouth. This advocacy is an individual journey in itself that is not acknowledged fully with the previous strategic models, which  puts emphasis in the business, before the customer. True non-linearity through the customer journey is yet to be achieved, and now with more than 4 billion digital users around the globe and only predicted to increase by 20% each year, businesses that continue to rely on the convergence of Purchase and Advocacy could find themselves disconnected from their target markets before they have even truly met is this digital dichotomy.

It is food for thought whether the Customer Decision Journey has met its limitations, because its promise to reclaim self-controlled and self-educated consumerism as its very underpinnings for their B2C goals are undoing itself as customers’ feelings aim to be at the heart of every business – and not their money. For businesses to reject this concept would ultimately mean rejecting their customers. As they continue to shape their own individual journeys, and let the journey’s of others influence them, the impulsive nature of human behaviour is the foundation for the personalised digital experience to just keep getting bigger.

What about the Future of the Funnel?

The Customer Decision Journey and the funnel – new and old – don’t quite offer a smooth journey just yet. But just like the dawn of digital, they don’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon, and they have a been a catalyst for further development of the journey customer’s embark upon. As predictions rise to up to 72% of marketing teams to increase spending and create bigger budgets for marketing tools and technological assets in the next two years, and as marketing strategies shift to transactions in the context of a relationship one thing can be for certain…

That in an age of counting followers and subscribers as a sign-point for the changing face of digital, the customer funnel – and the customer journey itself – will be changing right along with it on its very own journey. And businesses that embrace the multi-dimension of social influence, advocacy from non-customers and truly non-linear paths to purchase, they too are sure to come along on the journey.

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.

Undergraduate courses

Postgraduate courses

Introducing Dr Alyson Nicholds, our new Associate Professor

 

Dr Alyson Nicholds, Associate Professor (Business Management), Staffordshire Business School

I am delighted to be joining Staffordshire Business School as Associate Professor (Business Management).  This is my 5th University, having previously worked at Leeds Beckett, Birmingham, Middlesex and Coventry in various teaching/ research roles.

Dr Alyson Nicholds

Dr Alyson Nicholds

I’m probably best described as an ‘interdisciplinary’ academic of all things Public Policy. What this means, is that I bring to bear all my past professional experience (as Nurse, Health Promoter and Development Officer) to analyse, empirically, ‘what works’ in health, social care, urban, science and technology policy.

I do this by exploring ‘why policy fails’, but this is not by evaluating the impact of policy is (i.e. rationally), but by analysing ‘why practitioners do what they do’ (i.e. the accounts that professionals provide of their practice). We call this more novel type of research ‘discourse analysis’ and it works by paying close attention to the language embedded in what practitioners say and do i.e.:-

  • How professionals ‘describe’ how they do what they do (‘functionalist discourse’);
  • How professionals ‘interpret/ frame’ why they do what they do (‘constructivist discourse’);
  • How the context ‘shapes/ constrains’ what professionals say and do (‘dialogic discourse’);
  • How society ‘influences’ what it’s possible to say and do (‘critical discourse’)

Discourse analysis is therefore important because it addresses some of the limitations of more rational/ scientific approaches to traditional policy analysis which typically ignores the human voice. Hence, much of my early work has involved applying the second type of discourse (constructivist discourse) to real-life cases, as with my PhD, which revealed regeneration professionals’ shared experiences of the barriers to effective regeneration in the East and West Midlands[1] [1a].  Indeed, this was so compelling, that I’m now reanalysing this data using the third type of discourse (i.e. dialogic discourse) to understand ‘why actors don’t do what they say’!

Other work, using this more ‘constructivist discourse’ approach, involved a large scale NHS funded study (Post Doc) to ascertain the value of different joint commissioning arrangements in health and social care (i.e. in 6 NHS Trusts in England)[2]; and scientists’ preferences for sharing knowledge in a global network (i.e. the large-scale physics experiment known as the hadron collider at the CERN facility in Switzerland) [3].

More recently I’ve been working with colleagues from Birmingham and Middlesex to analyse how formal and informal leaders prefer to lead in sub-national urban development places (i.e. the Smart Cities policy initiative)[4]. My latest work explores the practical applications of all of this type of discourse work in transforming the social outcomes of public policy through greater reflexivity in management learning. In future blogs, I’ll be writing about this and the different ways we might better research these complex types of policy problems, to address widening social and economic inequality.

[1] http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/3495/1/Nicholds12PhD.pdf

[1a] Alyson Nicholds (2011) Making sense of urban policy failure in complex times, Regional Insights, 2:2, 18-20, DOI: 10.1080/20429843.2011.9727924

[2] Helen Dickinson, Stephen Jeffares, Alyson Nicholds & Jon Glasby (2014) Beyond the Berlin Wall?: Investigating joint commissioning and its various meanings using a Q methodology approach, Public Management Review, 16:6, 830-851, DOI: 10.1080/14719037.2012.757353

[3] Mabey, C. & Nicholds, A. (2015) Discourses of knowledge across global networks: What can be learnt about knowledge leadership from the ATLAS collaboration? International Business Review, Volume 24, Issue 1, February 2015, Pages 43–54. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969593114000754

[4Alyson Nicholds, John Gibney, Chris Mabey & Dan Hart (2017) Making sense of variety in place leadership: the case of England’s smart cities, Regional Studies, 51:2, 249-259, DOI: 10.1080/00343404.2016.1232482

It’s never too late to get an education

by Justyna Podymna 

Did you ever think about going to University to gain new skills and qualifications? Did you let a lack of confidence and the fear of being a foreign student stop you? I wrote this blog to inspire people and to share my journey.

Justyna Podymna (right) receives her certificate at the celebration

Justyna Podymna (right) receives her certificate at the celebration

The biggest mistake you can make is limiting yourself. My story is similar and started a few years ago. Before I moved to the UK I always wanted to go to University to gain higher qualifications and to get a better job in the future. I wanted to be able to fulfil my dreams and just be happy. I came to the UK in 2007 and for the first few years I was jumping from one job to another but none of them were satisfying.

I decided to fulfil my ambition of gaining higher qualifications and returned to education as a mature student. After researching my nearest universities, I chose Staffordshire University and made an appointment with an International Advisor to find out what options were available to me, both as a mature and an international student.

Why did I choose Staffordshire University? Employability. This was the winning point in my decision. They advised me that their Step Up to HE Course would be beneficial for me to adjust to academic life after such a long time away from education.

The Step-Up course teaches you academic writing skills, research techniques, how to correctly reference and how to get out as much as you can from all available resources. At the end of the course, not only do you have valuable experience and insight, but you are a step ahead of the other students and are able to offer help and support. Furthermore, after completing the course you are awarded with a Foundation Certificate in Higher Education. This is handed out during an awards evening, along with loads of delicious free food and drink to celebrate!

Celebrations for completing the Step Up award

Celebrations for completing the Step Up award

The tutors and the course leader, Ashley, are friendly and approachable. They will help you with all the formal stuff too, like your university application, student finance and your personal statement.

You get loads of support as student. There are well-being counsellors, a student enablement centre and academic skills resources to help with your academic skills! You can access the academic skills resources here.

I’m in my second year now and I’ve realised that the support of another student is really useful and important. Everyone at Staffs is super friendly and you can expect loads of help.

Believe me your future is in your hands and anyone can do it. Don’t limit yourself because of the language barrier. You will learn something new daily. Remember, knowledge is like a tool in your hand and if you use it effectively it will push you to success.

More on Step Up here 

Course details here 

 

Jobs of the future

Written by Rachel Gowers, Associate Dean


By 2025 it’s estimated that we will lose over five million jobs to automation. Don’t worry though – jobs are getting more interesting with machines handling the more mundane tasks. Your time will be freed up from performing the repetitive tasks of the past so you can focus on more fun stuff like knowledge creation and innovation. Here are some of the jobs to look out for:

Data Analyst – Data analysts are in high demand across all sectors, such as finance, consulting, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, government and education. Data analysts translate numbers into plain English. Every business collects data, whether it’s sales figures, market research, logistics, or transportation costs. A data analyst’s job is to take that data and use it to help companies make better business decisions.

Forensic Accountant – As a forensic accountant, you’ll utilise your accountancy skills to investigate financial discrepancies and inaccuracies such as fraudulent activity, financial misrepresentation or misconduct and disputes. The role involves an integration of accounting, auditing and investigative skills. You will carry out meticulous investigations to uncover information, identify specific irregularities in financial documents and reports, quantify the exact losses and trace and recover illegitimate funds.

UX Analyst – User Experience (UX) roles involve delivering the best possible experience for the user of a website, with the aim of making the website as straightforward to use as possible. The term UX analyst arises as the role involves a lot of analysis of users’ behaviours and preferences in order to create the best experience for the user. As a UX analyst you will look at the content of websites, and also the design elements, such as colours and images. Within some companies you’ll focus on research skills and psychology, in others you’ll concentrate on design and in some you’ll fulfil a more technical IT role.

Content Creator – A content creator is someone who is responsible for the contribution of information to any media and most especially to digital media. They usually target a specific end-user/audience in specific contexts. Facebook hires thousands of content creators and editors every year to not only provide content but also to monitor what is happening on-line.

Talent Manager – A talent manager’s responsibilities include designing employee training programs, building succession plans and crafting an internal promotion process. To be successful in this role, you should have a solid understanding of full-cycle recruiting along with a strategic mind-set in order to develop a skilled workforce. Ultimately, you will build a talent pipeline that aligns with our hiring needs and business objectives.

Customer Experience Manager – Customer Experience Managers can be in any industry, here are responsibilities for a manager in the leisure and Theme Park Business. You’ll propose and implement strategies to constantly improve customer satisfaction and park development. Additionally, you may also oversee or take sole responsibility for the marketing of the park in order to generate business. You’ll be involved in all areas of the park, including rides, retail and food and beverages. Theme park managers may also be known as guest experience managers, rides and operations managers or attractions managers.

 

If you’re interested in a job of the future our Business and Accounting Degrees prepare you for these roles.

If you’re interested in a career in Leisure why not try the FdA in Visitor Attraction and Resort Management in partnership with Alton Towers.