A “No Deal” or “WTO” Brexit: How much will it cost you? And why?

By Geoff Pugh, Professor of Applied Economics

The pro-Brexit Daily Telegraph has made a case, based on serious evidence, for a “No Deal” or WTO Brexit. Yet at least some of its articles acknowledge that this Brexit outcome will impose substantial costs on UK business, arising from “the initial trauma of an exit on WTO terms” (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, 3rd Apr 2019). Below, I offer a “back of the envelope” indication of how large these costs are likely to be for typical individuals and families. I use the Daily Telegraph’s judgement on the likely costs, because these are least likely to be exaggerated. Most other sources suggest higher costs. 

My point of departure is an article by Allister Heath: “It’s a complete myth that a no-deal Brexit would cripple the British economy” (the Telegraph, 6th March 2019). Mr Heath claims on the basis of serious, although somewhat selective, evidence that “a so-called no-deal … would probably cost just 1-2 per cent of GDP”. We can agree that this might not “cripple the British Economy”. However, two per cent of Britain’s GDP in 2018 amounts to somewhat more than £42 billion or a little over £1,200 for every member of the working age population.

This is calculated as follows (all the data is easily accessible from the Office of National Statistics website):

  • UK Gross Domestic Product in 2018 (at market
    prices): £2,114,627 million (i.e. somewhat more than £2 trillion);
  • Two percent of UK GDP in 2018: £42,292,540,000
    (a little over £42 billion)
  • UK working age population in 2018: 34,300,000
    (somewhat more than 34 million)
  • Cost per member of the UK’s working age population:

For a family with two wage earners then, a cost in each year of around £2,500. Even if we accept Mr Heath’s lower bound of one per cent of GDP, this still greatly exceeds even the highest estimates of Britain’s net contribution to the EU. It is getting on for half of total UK annual public expenditure on education.

This does not mean that the typical wage earner will suddenly lose more than a £1,000. What these calculations indicate is that over time – possibly over many years – the typical wage earner will be more than £1,000 a year worse off than he or she would otherwise be. If the economy is booming, growing at, say, 2.5% or 3% each year, then the cost of Brexit will hardly be noticeable as collective and individual prosperity continues to increase. Conversely, if the economy were to stagnate, or move into recession, then the costs imposed by Brexit will be burdensome, especially for the least well off.

Typically, the economic costs of administering large policy shocks take rapid effect whereas benefits (if any) accrue only after many years and are uncertain. Hence, even in the most favourable scenario, Mr Heath’s claimed reduction of “1-2 per cent of GDP” in our individual and collective prosperity will recur for many years. Over five to 10 years, these cumulatively enormous costs will translate into business failures, continued downward pressure on wages, lost jobs and homes, and additional stress on the public finances, prolonging austerity.

How might Brexit yield benefits in the long run? It is hard to be definite. On the one hand, administering a huge shock to an institution, firm or whole economy might prepare the way for radical reform and renewal. This is what Nigel Lawson hopes for:  “Brexit gives us a chance to finish the Thatcher revolution” (Financial Times, September 2nd 2016). This perspective is shared by many of the more hard-line proponents of Brexit, for whom the EU is an obstacle to thoroughgoing deregulation liberalisation and globalisation. On the other hand, shocks imposed by poor policy choices can destabilise institutions, firms or whole economies. This can lead to stagnation and relative decline in the long run (even absolute decline in extreme cases).

Much of the debate has centred on trade. Few on either side would dispute that the UK’s future economic well-being is greatly dependent on the ability of its firms to export goods and services. Yet, there are few reasons to believe that the effects of a “No Deal” or WTO Brexit will yield trade benefits sufficiently substantial to offset the almost certain losses detailed above. These are some of the points to consider.

  1. Many of the most productive firms in the UK, and especially in the West Midlands, both export to the EU and form integral parts of supply chains based in different EU member countries rather than having a purely national base. Cross-border trade friction will thus not only restrict direct exports but also disrupt such supply chains. This will damage many of our most productive firms, which are those most capable of paying high wages and generating new jobs. Indirectly, the whole economy will be damaged.
  2. Membership of the EU and its Customs Union is not what stops us exporting more to emerging markets. Germany not only exports hugely more to China than does the UK but even exports more to India (in spite of our inherited advantages). The barriers to UK firms exporting are to be found at home rather than with the EU.
  3. The UK on its own is unlikely to be able to strike more favourable trade deals than those negotiated by the EU.
    1. The US, for the first time since 1945, has both Congress and a President sceptical of free trade. President Trump’s “America first” policy does not bode well. As for the “special relationship”, this is unlikely to survive the loss of our (considerable) influence as a leading member of the EU.
    2. A Sovereign but economically medium-size UK is unlikely to exercise the same bargaining strength as the economically (very) large EU.
  4. Potential trade partners either account for too small a proportion of our trade to make much difference (most Commonwealth countries) or are not well disposed towards the UK (Russia; China – the Chinese have long memories when it comes to national humiliation). Even if favourable trade deals could be struck with other countries, impossibly large proportionate increases in trade would be required to offset the loss of trade with the EU. (This is a matter of arithmetic rather than of economic analysis.)

Other long-term effects are foreseeably negative. (i) Adverse impact on the financial sector will reduce the tax base, reducing both the scope for ending austerity and government’s ability to finance much-needed public investment. (ii) An end to the free movement of labour will damage firms dependent on certain types of highly skilled labour as well as other firms dependent on the unskilled end of the labour market. And (iii) the exclusion of UK researchers from EU research funding will damage our national science base and, hence, reduce innovation and growth in science-based industries.

In conclusion, a “No Deal” or “WTO” Brexit will almost certainly impose substantial economic costs while the claimed benefits are either speculative or predictably small. 

Professor Geoffrey Pugh, Professor of Applied Economics, Staffordshire Business School (personal capacity); 20-05-2019

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

Adjaou Mohamed Adesola, MSc Digital Marketing student

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

Image Source: Beboom

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Image Source: Imfnd


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

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

Image Source: Imfnd


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

Image Source: Social Report


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.


LinkedIn: https://t.co/rAg1jZKEzi

Some Recent Activities by Staffordshire Business School Students

Dr Tolu Olarewaju, Lecturer

It is a really exciting time to be studying at Staffordshire Business School. Staffordshire Business School is at the heart of an ambitious and vibrant institution with one of the most ambitious agendas in Higher Education in the United Kingdom, Staffordshire University. Recently, our students have been extremely busy. I have highlighted some examples to showcase some of the activities they have been engaged in.


The first activity relates to enterprise activities by our students who were at the prestigious Hult Prize Regional Finals in London this year. The Hult Prize is an annual, year-long competition that crowd-sources ideas from students around the world after challenging them to solve a pressing social issue around topics such as food security, water access, energy, and education. The challenge this year was on how best to tackle the Youth Unemployment Crises and below is a write up from one of our students:

Staffordshire Business School, Staffordshire University Students at Hult Prize Regional Finals 2019

“The experience was amazing overall and has yet to truly finish as I look toward the wild card option. I would recommend anyone to partake in the Hult Prize especially if you have never presented outside of a classroom. It also helps you to understand the standards that are expected inside the working world. That being said my team would not have been able to achieve so much without the support lectures of the business school. I would like to thank Dr Tolulope Olarewaju for his guidance and advice as everything he predicted would happen, happened and we were ready for it. I would also like to thank Dr Bharati Singh for her feedback on our presentation style and finally the Business School Senior Management Team for taking the time to give us useful feedback on the contents of our pitch.” – Marlone Judith (MSc International Business Management).

Staffordshire Business School Students with other Contestants at Hult Prize Regional Finals 2019

Innovation and Business

Our MBA students have also been busy working on business ideas. Recently, they pitched an innovative games console idea that is set to take the business world by storm. Don’t forget, Staffordshire Business School launched the UK’s first Esports degree. This synergy between business and entertainment is truly remarkable and is one to be watched as the Avengers Endgame has showed.

Staffordshire Business School MBA Students after a Business Pitch on Game Consoles.


Of course one gets tired after such high minded intellectual and business pursuits. It is only natural that fatigue sets in and when that happens, we like to recharge our batteries by engaging in informal activities. Recently, we engaged in a potluck and asked students to bring food items from their home countries. Staffordshire Business School has a vibrant international community and the food on offer was both varied and delicious – yum.

Staffordshire Business School Potluck

There are a lot of interesting courses available if you are thinking of joining us. Take a look at our undergraduate and postgraduate courses. There are also part-time courses for those who want to top-up their business management qualifications or for beginners.

How to Use TikTok to Fuel Your Content

Xinyu Zhang, MSc Digital Marketing Management student

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

Statistic from TechNews.

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

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

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

Content quality is an essential item for the positive project

Create your account

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

Content curation

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

How to get the most out of your content?

Original content

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

Keywords and soundtrack

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

Skilled use of technology

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

Best time to upload a video

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

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

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

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

Why Traditional Marketing Is Dying But May Never Go Away

Andrew Rizvi, MSc Digital Marketing Management Student

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

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

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

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

Traditional Content Is Only Temporary 

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

Traditional Marketing Is Not Targeted   

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

Traditional Marketing Is Hard to Track  

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

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

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

Why Implement A Sustainable Supply Chain

Marzena Reszka, Lecturer, Staffordshire Business School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Free tool for Purchasing and Supply Chain Management:


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

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

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

© 2003 Richard Tapper, Environment Business & Development Group

The Benefits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Useful links

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

Dr Samanthika Gallage, Lecturer, Staffordshire Business School

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

Source: Adopted from Kotler et al. (2002)

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

Downstream interventions

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

Source: www.drinkaware.co.uk

Midstream and upstream interventions

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


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

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

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

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

Dr Samanthika Gallage

Staffordshire Business School

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

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

Volunteering at the British Travel and Tourism Show

Laura Walker, Tourism Management Level 6 student

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

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

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

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

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

British Tourism and Travel Show

Visit Stoke

Why Google Analytics are a Digital Marketer’s Best Friend

Ben Hocking, MSc Digital Marketing Management student

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

Know who your customers are

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

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

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

Use Google analytics to improve your SEO performance

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

What can’t Google analytics do?

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

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

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

Are Google analytics the answer?

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

Experiencing International Confex

Lia Bover Armstrong, Event Management student

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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