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Marketing books that got me through my dissertation

Bearing in mind that a lot of my friends have been talking recently about their dissertation, I though I’d run through in a bit more detail some of the marketing books that I found most useful when I was writing the dreaded (I actually enjoyed it) big ‘D’.

Principles Of Marketing

Now on its 4th edition (although my copy is the 3rd edition), this was really my go to guide throughout my dissertation and probably my degree as a whole. The entire book is really well structured and offers step by step insight using a host of real world examples and case studies per chapter.

Principles of Marketing 3rd Edition

I still use it to this day if there’s anything I need to freshen up on, and the fact that it is continually updated is a testament to the ever evolving world of marketing and the fact that Brassington & Pettitt strive for completeness to their work. I’d recommend this for both beginners and more accomplished marketers, whether it be for the insight into how Innocent Smoothies used the 4p’s methodology or the importance of analysing social factors in your business environmental.

The Green Marketing Manifesto

One of the most interesting aspects of my uni course was that I was studying at the time when ‘green’ and ‘sustainability’ were the buzz words. We were starting to see real progress and theory behind leading sustainability marketing such as M&S’ Plan A campaign. The interesting point for me was how you could combine two conflicting theories; marketing encourages consumers to consume more and sustainability encourages consumers to consume less and consume responsibly.

John Grant’s Green Marketing Manifesto was key to my Green Marketing & Sustainable Tourism dissertation, and also helped others to develop their own theories relating to green marketing such as Mario Vellandi. The book is a must read particularly for anyone interested in the green wash, and how companies use ethical practice and factor it in to corporate social responsibility – sometimes without success!

Consumer Behaviour

This was probably the book that switched me on most during my course. Consumer behaviour is certainly the most interesting module that I studied, and this book goes a long way to understanding the importance of people’s behaviour.

Consumer Behaviour - Mike Jeffs Online Marketing Blog

Covering themes and frameworks from positive and negative motivation, to the homeostasis see saw, to social and physiological needs of a consumer, and how we can encourage consumers to connect with a brand in order to satisfy the consumers wants/needs and values by adding context to consumption.

The Debate over Corporate Social Responsibility

Perhaps not an obvious selection on many marketers’ list of reading, but in my opinion and certainly for the writing of my dissertation it was vital. Even though we’re a couple of years further down the line, I’m still no clearer as to whether the questions outlined in the book by May, Cheney and Roper have answers, or perhaps these aren’t questions but considerations that will always need to be considered.

Debate over Corporate Social Responsibility - Mike Jeffs Online Marketing Blog

Take the first line of the blurb – should business strive to be social? If so, how social should a business be? This book evaluates the two extremes of the spectrum: from the right, CSR goes against the ethos of free enterprise and trade, while from the left, it helps to control how the business is perceived (fitting in neatly with a PR or communications strategy). Either way the book offers great insight, although be prepared for some heavy reading with few uses of imagery or artwork to be found.

Marketing Concepts and Strategies

This book, similar to the Principles of Marketing is suitable for both newbies and more experienced marketers. In my opinion (and as the title suggests) there is a stronger focus on the strategy behind marketing activity which is key particularly if you’re trying to sell in or justify a campaign.

Marketing Concepts and Strategies - Mike Jeffs Online Marketing Blog

My personal favourite section of the book is ‘Part V’ covering marketing communications/ promotion decisions, and the need to have an integrated communications strategy, taking into account prospecting, approaching and closing.

Kudos to Joe Griffiths who inspired me to write this after his post on marketing process with internal blog content.

WordPress Wishlist Survey 2011 [infographic]

Oh go on then, a couple more infographics before the new year. Those in the know about WordPress will realise that this blog is in fact a Wordpress blog, which is probably my favourite blog platform.
This infographic from Woo Themes, shows some key WordPress facts, including reasons why people choose to use WordPress as their blogging platform; for ease of CMS (content management system) and coding.

via

 

SEO is Marketing isn’t it?

The search engine optimisation (SEO) industry has been growing for some time now. I myself have been an avid marketer for around 6 years and have been involved in SEO for the last 12 months. A constantly recurring theme throughout the last year has been that SEO is an industry all of its own.

Last week saw Search Engine Land announce that they would be launching a sister site Marketing Land, suggesting that in fact the two are a separate entity.

This is something that I find hard to agree with, as marketing in its truest form is about understanding consumer behaviour, predicting it and then meeting the consumers needs. With this in mind surely online marketing is therefore these three steps but translated for the internet.

SEO can be defined as a the practice of increasing the traffic that a site receives via a search engine. The process itself has developed from the understanding that consumers behaviour when using a search engine means that the higher the rank of the site the more users will visit that site.

As more and more marketers become aware of the Google Panda update, what does appear open to debate is how important SEO is to your marketing strategy and equally how long using SEO in your marketing strategy will last. There is no greater lesson to be learned than those sites which have all their eggs in one basket and have been punished by the Panda update.

It is this unpredictability on search engine updates that provides the sole reason why it isn’t recommended to build a business based upon search traffic, and illustrates why SEO should be carried out as part of an overall marketing strategy.

Online Tools – Making Banners, Flash Ad’s & Buttons

A great online tool for producing pretty much any type of online ad banner possible would definitely be worth a look for businesses with smaller budgets, who perhaps can only stretch to media spend and not creative.

Fear not such a tool does exist in the form of Banner Snack. Simply sign up, or if you’d prefer connect via Twitter, Google ID, Flickr etc and then you’re all set.

The functionality is very straightforward to anyone who’s ever resized a photo, written a blog post, uploaded an image et cetera et cetera..here’s what i came up with:

Mikejeffs.co.uk - Banner Snack

Using Negative Space for a Logo

Bison Logo

Bison Logo via Vector Tuts+

Recently I’ve been working on some logo’s for a consultancy firm who are re branding. Although not a designer myself, the concept and ultimately the creation of a logo for a brand is something that really interests me.

Traditionally a brand or branding involved ‘labelling’ your cattle with a stamp, and the term branding has evolved over the years from this to now standing for the identity of something. As written by brandingstrategyinsider.com a brand isn’t simply a logo, it encompasses a number of things: name, sign, symbol, colour, belief, even a slogan. Essentially the brand is the personality of the company, and forms the point at which a consumer can identify the product/ service or company.

How a company chooses it’s logo is key to how that company will be able to use the logo, and I think this is where a lot of SME’s fall down. The significance of the use of a logo when establishing a brand can often be overlooked by people wanting the prettiest or most contemporary design. Not taking into account the effect that a complex image has when reduced in size (as brands often are), it is at this stage when companies should be creating brand guidelines – not once they’ve got the logo/symbol etc but before they brief the graphic designer.

As shown on the Graphic Design Blog it is then the designers job to design something that stands out whilst ticking all the boxes of what the company stands for, something clean, simple and most importantly – memorable. One of the interesting points outlined in the GDB blog post is the running theme of using negative space in a logo to help represent what the brand stands for.

Bacardi Confusion

Without doubt quite a few of you will have seen the latest campaign from Bacardi. The ad encourages consumers to make a status update in person.

Photo from Marketingmasterinsights.com

The version of the ad can also be seen at the cinema, and focuses on consumers avoiding LOL and OMG, by going back to our Homo Sapien behaviour. The interesting thing about the ad is that it suggests avoiding social media – perhaps Bacardi don’t want to join the social media bandwagon? However the call to action at the end of the film is for consumers to visit facebook.com/bacardi. This seems strange as this is exactly what consumers are told to avoid. Confused? Me too….

Watch the Ad at DCM.co.uk

Google Vs Bing – the infographic

This is a great infographic that I found on infogen. I found it relatively impartial….

Google Vs Bing

Reporting Tools – Word Clouds

I’m sure you like I are looking for good ways or tools to liven up client reports and other work related documents. Having been a fairly avid user of wordle.net, I had a little look around for other tools that may be available.

Tagxedo.com is a great tool, almost a step up from wordle and has a few more options. For instance, you can enter a URL and the tool creates a word cloud based on the content of the site. Below is an image based upon mikejeffs.co.uk.

Tagxedo

Word Cloud from Tagxedo.com

As well as being able to choose from a number of colour schemes, you can use a variety of different shapes.

mikejeffs.co.uk word shape from Tagxedo.com

There are a couple of other sites out there, but for me they’re nowhere near the mark: http://www.tocloud.com/, and http://tagcrowd.com/.

Tagxedo has also had good reviews from TechCrunch and donwasteyourtime.co.uk, let me know if you use it, or if you find any other useful online tools.

Trusting Social Media

Intersection Consulting

Image by Intersection Consulting

Yesterday, I featured an article on social media. One of the points raised in the post was the issue of trust, and how reliable information found on social sites was. It is with this in mind that a connection with news can be found. The Drum, have today written about a poll asking participants to simply state through which media they heard the news of Osama Bin Laden’s shooting.
According to the poll, traditional media was used to hear the breaking story – TV and radio. There are a couple of interesting points to be made here: Twitter and Facebook accounted for 15% and 8% respectively, whilst newspapers accounted for 0%. It is these figures which calls into question a consumers trust for social networks, are they seen as an unreliable source, more used for viral humour (be it in bad taste) – we’ve seen numerous trending topics of celebrity deaths only to find out they’re hoaxes.
Equally, the figures also suggest findings contradictory to those in recent posts and info graphics conveying that social networks (in particular Facebook) are more popular than television. Again, is there a trend here in consumers using traditional media for “more important” news, seeing the social networks as less trustworthy?
Seen a good article relating to this? Let me know about it.

The Social Media Bandwagon

Social Media Bandwagon

Image via Flickr Creative Commons - juaniraola

The world of social media has transformed the way marketers interact with their consumers, moving away from previous tools such as email marketing. The idea of sharing something isn’t new these are the the equivalents to ‘word of mouth’ and latterly the ‘send to a friend’ function.

Whilst checking my Twitter feed this morning I was drawn (and subsequently re-tweeted) an interesting article by Econsultancy: “Why your best social media strategy might be not having one.”

The article details the risks involved with adopting a social media presence for a brand. However, it wasn’t long ago that these types of articles were being written about email marketing and online marketing generally. Indeed whilst at a previous job, I experienced the difficulties associated with consumers trust towards email marketing, when personalisation and segmentation of email marketing were at its peak. In fact it would be fair to say that trust was issue with online marketing from the outset. It is only now that we are more familiar with the process that we have begun to trust and in some cases rely on the web.

There is undoubtedly a difficulty in obtaining ROI figures for social media, and as mentioned in the Econsultancy article companies are effectively giving away their personal relationships with consumers, whilst the Social networks develop based on the data gathered. Can this behaviour be attributed to social media as a tool (and perhaps even a weapon) being an unknown entity.

Further from this are we creeping from personalised marketing, where marketers could suggest, to consumer controlled marketing where the brand has little impact on persuasion. It’s easy to see why brand’s are adopting social campaigns, equally it is obvious that brands are adopting them without having any kind of strategy. It may well be a case of jumping on the bandwagon, and the consumers are driving it.

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