Disabled students

Students who suffer from a physical disability receive help with the practical learning issues. To study effectively their study is affected by their home and that can be helped with some careful adaptations.

You may find this site useful as it offers a service that will show you how to adapt your home to help to minimise any barriers to your study.


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Best marketing exams revision guide

Marketing exams soon? If you are worried then help is here.  I have lectured marketing for many years and find that students struggle to see how marketing fits together and confuse the concepts. They spend hours on revision with often poor exam results.  This revision guide will help to give you a clear structure for the exam. If you look at the Marketing Exam page there is help to show you how to structure a marketing exam question.

This will help you to revise quickly and effectively.

A simple step by step guide to the key marketing tools for less than a text book. It contains all of the key points you need to know and is easy to remember. If you just want to understand marketing jargon this is the easy answer.

This will give you a simple structure so you can see how the marketing tools relate to the marketing plan. How segmentation links into strategy. Once you easy see where the product life cycle and marketing strategy all fit, it will make revision so much easier

If you are a marketing student and want a quick revision guide then simply hit the Buy Now button and follow the instructions, it is only £10 much less than text books and much quicker than spending hours trying to understand how all of the marketing concepts fit together and what the marketing jargon means. It will help you to see all of the key concepts for your next marketing exam

”Thank you for the marketing exams help, wish I had found this before, marketing now makes sense” Lisa

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Marketing Exam Questions and Answers

Having really good feedback about the help I offer on the exam questions.  The way in which a structured exam answer is worked through with examples helps you to see how to pass your marketing exam. The stages of writing an exam answer shows you how to allocate and manage your time in the exam and to gain the best marks

It would be really good if you could add a comment and let me know which marketing exam topics I should include. It maybe a general question about exam technique or a specific question you need help with. Either way simply post a comment and I will outline an answer. You can chose if it is a written outline as a structure or a brief video. This will show you how to approach the question and then you can add the key points

Look forward to seeing your top questions

Customer Service- Why Bother?

Many companies spend a huge amount of their budget on attracting new customers. Just look around at the number of promotions you see everyday. There is pressure on business to reduce costs and marketing is one of the departments guaranteed to be hit. It is a matter now of looking at the breakdown of the business and examining how the marketing budget can be most effectively spent.

It is well known in marketing that it is much more expensive to attract a new customer than to keep your existing customer.  Examine everything that your business does and ensure that it focuses on the customers and their needs. Really understand what they want and follow this up. Make sure that the product is delivered on time, it is what they wanted, it lives up to expectation. Focus on building the relationship, customers will tell others and that is so much more powerful that your promotions.

The marketing lesson is to really get under the skin of your customers and build that relationship. So how to do it?

Understand their needs, make the most of any customer interaction, use customer service teams to find out as much as possible about the need and how well your business is meeting that need.

Ask your customer to compare you and your competitors.

Build a benchmark of good performance.  Such as delivery in 5 days or call back in 24 hours. Opportunity to up grade, learn more, build your own are all examples of how businesses have adapted and changed.

If we look at examples of really good customer service and then examine the performance of the business. You would not be surprised to learn that companies that score well on customer service are keeping customers, up selling to them and performing better.

Recent winners of awards are First Direct that scored highest in the banking sector in a survey conducted bySatmetrix. First Direct scored 42% satisfaction compared with an industry norm of -4%.

Virgin and Sky scored well in the ISP business. Still in mobiles O2 did the business. Apple iPhone was miles ahead of the industry with a score of 67% compared to the industry average of  18%. This is a really good example of marketing practice

Customer service is so much more than dealing with complaints. It offers business the chance to really understand their customers, analyse their needs, build new products or services. It will also reduce costs and focus on making the business more effective.

So deliver and build the level of customer service. Do what you promise and make sure you know what to promise

Free Marketing Course

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I am offering a free short marketing course. The course will cover the basics of marketing and help you to understand the key marketing ideas in a really simple way.

If you are studying for a marketing exam it will help you to revise and check your understanding of the marketing environment and how the economic factors can affect a business. It will show you how to plan for the future and understand the key parts of a marketing plan. It is in easy to follow and will help you to understand the marketing template more easily.

If you are working in marketing and trying to find that little extra insight to help your organisation to compete and deal with the challenges facing business today. It will show you the key models and the way in which your business can develop and focus on building value for the customer. The better the customer needs are met the greater the chance that the business will be successful.

The course will be delivered to you by email over a a few weeks.

Social Media Marketing meets Politics

The results are in Nick Smith was elected as MP in Blaenau Gwent for Labour. As you will have seen in the media this was against the tide of Labour loses. The previous election saw a loss by 2,500 votes and this time a majority of 10,516 votes.  The swing to Labour was 29.2%, a success by any standards.

So how was it done?

The key point in any communication and political campaigns is who get the message over in the simplest way possible. The art of cutting through the noise from other parties, masses of media coverage and voters who maybe switched off, is a huge challenge.

The starting point is the message, simple and give the voter a reason to vote, sounds easy but in reality very difficult to do. There are lots of ways of achieving this and as many commentators have said the role of social media is important.

Nationally, there were acres of newsprint, hours of TV, masses of radio and yet millions of people who had not made up their mind until the day of the election.  In Blaenau Gwent the campaign used lots of traditional tactics, leaflets and connecting with small groups in meetings, in public events, by walking the streets and door knocking.  Visibility of campaign material such as traditional posters and garden stakes as a reminder was important. It also created momentum but the number of posters was much lower than the final vote.

Social media connected via Facebook with 744 friends. That is creates a ripple effect as their friends will see the updates and comments. That increases the coverage and multiplies the effect. These friends then share the links, the stories, the photos and videos. 

Given that there are a defined number of voters. Every friend that votes takes their vote from the opposition. This doubles the impact of that vote.  So of the friends, 700 voted, that is a 1,400 swing and that in political marketing is huge.

The key here is to engage with the friends. That is critical as it increases the turnout of the vote. In political marketing the threat is from the other candidates but also from the sofa, just not bothering to turn out to vote

The connections into Twitter and Utube really worked well. It integrated the campaign and gave it life. This enabled short, quick updates and showed current activities. It involves people so they can feel part of what is going on even if they are not there. It is the social interest that increases engagement.

Using Social Media in Politics

This is a quick post to update you all on my latest consultancy project.  It is  using social media for the 2010 UK Election. The first major use of social media in politics was the highly successful campaign to elect  Obama. The same principle are now being used in the UK Election.

The consistituency is Blaenau Gwent in South Wales. It is is a seat with deep historical and political significance for the Labour Party. For those of you with an interest in politics it was the seat of Aneurin Bevan, who set up the NHS and  then came Michael Foot, with massive Labour majorities. It was lost to an  Independent candidate and has been controversial since 2001. Labour have been fighting hard to win it back for the first time since 2001 and it is not an easy task.

The campaign has a very limited budget. My role has been to run and manage the social media and the results so far have been amazing. The starting point was a Facebook group which has grown hugely with a regular following. This is really important as these people are engaged with the group. That is a major difference as it is two way communication, so much more powerful than one way communications.

This is linked to a blog. This has a different function. It offers more of an in depth analysis of the issues and attracts new readers, who are directed back to FB.  Twitter plays a role and is connected to the blog and also to a FB page. The political candidate already had a page so Twitter was linked into this. The blog tracks back to FB and then of course there is Utube. That has also been a huge boost to the campaign. Simple enough to upload a video to Utube and then link in to the site.

 One of the big advantages of social media in the campaign is immediate feedback and measurable outcomes. In best marketing practice that is key. For those of you in business it is something to focus on. For marketing students sitting marketing exams it is an interesting case study to show you understand what is happening in marketing at the moment.

Within hours you can see the results of a post, the hits on the website, the sources of traffic. This permits immediate response and the ability to change and adapt quickly.

Check it out here and watch the results of the Election to see if it is successful.




Changing Car Industry- Strategic Alliance

In marketing practice, one of the key srategic decisions revolves around building relationships. Today Daimler, Renault and Nissan have announced a very interesting alliance.  They aim to share production but also to keep exisiting relationships with Volkswagen. This means that costs of development and generate common parts and technology given the green agenda.

The challenge for all car companies is to meet the challenge of the environmental pressures. This is costly and incurs a high level of risk. Good marketing practice suggests that reduction of risk is key.  Therefore this alliance has a number of really positive potential benefits.

This will build scale and offer huge opportunities for the future. Marketing practice suggests that this in difficult to implement in terms of brand. It will help the partners to increase competitiveness given the costs of innovation. This will push volume and generate lower costs.

“If you have scale but you don’t make scale work for you through sharing platforms and sharing engines and making smart decisions locally, geographically, scale is just complexity and confusion,” Ghosn the CEO of Nissan told a news conference in Brussels.

The brand of Mercedes needs to maintain quality and the use of Renault engines could confuse the market. So the alliance will need careful managment to avoid the problems Daimler encountered when it merged with Chrysler, which ended in 2007

Marketing Practice-Competitive Strategy and Brand Position

Good marketing practice tells us that the foundation for a marketing strategy  is to position clearly in the market. This is something that determines the whole of the marketing tools. If your business is positioned at the top end of the market, consumers expect more. The market size maybe smaller,  more value must be added. This will determine the price and that requires careful calculation to ensure that the costs of adding the value are not higher than price the consumer is prepared to pay.

The market dynamics are  also  ever changing. Using  Starbucks, as an example. They orginally occupied the top end of the market. Then moved into the mass market with lattes on every street corner. That market looked attractive and along come the likes of MacDonald who repositioned to compete by offering lattes and healthier options.

So how does Starbucks respond? They are now testing the top end of the market and offering more value adds. Interesting to see how that is received and how the competitors respond. Best marketing practice suggests that clarity and being able to differentiate is key to success.

Consider how your marketing practice in your business can use this idea. Think about the way in which the current assets are used. You might want to offer a streamlined version e.g express, or essentials.  Marks and Spencer, Waitrose are examples of businesses that have offered a simpler version of their main business as an example of good marketing practice.

Another example is Only Men Aloud, the popular Welsh Choir who won a television competition and have gone onto enjoy successful concerts and record sales. They are now offering a slimmed down version for special parties and events. Not everyone has the space for a full choir so Only 4 Aloud. Clever use of the brand and being able to tailor the assets of the business, in this case the choir to the needs of the customer. A really good example of marketing practice at its best

If you are sitting a marketing exam this is a really good example of competitive strategy, positioning and branding. It shows how marketing practice builds the profitability of the business