Students have long been thought of as being a cash strapped low income group. Our research suggests that those days are gone (for those who didn’t know already), in fact over the last decade a silent student revolution has been happening. By 2011 students and the higher education sector were already contributing 2.8% of GDP (Universities UK). There are now being well over 2 million students in the UK and this is a group that deserves more attention.
In various city centres buildings are popping up that illustrate the immense size of the student market. Student accommodation has become big business, with London in particular being heavily focused on, making up 36 per cent of the entire investment in UK student accommodation sector (Cuff, 2015).
Students demand quality, modern accommodation, far away from the cramped, standardised rooms that have previously been synonymous with student living. Students are now willing to part with large sums of money each week with rents for rooms starting near £200 in London (Cuff, 2015). The student accommodation market is booming and expected to continue to grow due to an increase in the number of enrolments combined with a shortage of student accommodation.
Investment is being poured into the student property market with over £4.2 Billion being invested in the first 5 months of 2015 alone (Property Wire, 2015). Due to the enormous sums of money involved it is more important than ever that property developers and managers listen to the voices of students. Considering the huge amount of investment in the sector and the fact that properties are kitted out with gyms, cinemas, it must be asked “what do students really want from their accommodation provider?”. According to the National Union of Students (2014) the most important factors when students are choosing accommodation are the location (56%), affordability (37%) and ease (32%).
Other sectors are also realising the opportunities that exist in the student market, with it being reported that students spend on average of £925 a year on takeaways (HungryHouse), as well as there being over £2.6 Billion in opportunities for the retail and leisure industry (Briggs, 2014). There has been a large drop in students use of alcohol, with student unions reporting a 50% reduction in revenues from alcohol over ten years from 1997 (Shepherd, 2007). A survey by Topman showed that 33% of students spent over a third of their loan on clothing (Briggs, 2015). Applying a stereotype to students will miss these key changes in consumption, with research being the only way to gain a real insight into the potential of these consumers.
Having just graduated myself it was a shock how quickly student accounts would become empty and then overdrawn. My peers thought nothing of going out on spending sprees, with my flatmate buying a MacBook within days of receiving his first loan payment.
Record numbers of students will be starting university in August and MP David Willets predicts that demand for university education will grow by another 25% in the next 20 years. The levels of non EU students who demand luxury accommodation and contribute heavily to the economy through spending are also rising, with off campus spending by this group reaching £3.4 billion in 2011/12 (Universities UK, 2014)...
Article by Pete Viney
Wouldn’t it be great if a magical crystal ball existed that could reveal all the secrets of what your customers want, as well as the secret to getting them to keep coming back to your business and help to increase profitability? It does exist, only there’s nothing magical about it — it’s solely scientific.
Keeping customers satisfied and retaining them is vital to continued success. Often, employees who work face-to-face with customers are the ones who determine their levels of satisfaction, keeping them content with the company and preventing them from looking elsewhere for someone to meet their needs.
Employee satisfaction can have a tremendous effect on customer satisfaction and loyalty. Studies have shown that customer satisfaction plays a key role in the health and future success of any company and that when customers are satisfied, they keep coming back and what’s more, they invite their friends to do the same.
Any company that is truly interested in customer satisfaction must first meet the needs of its employees; otherwise, it’s putting the cart before the horse. Employee satisfaction is essential to the success of any business. A high rate of employee contentedness can normally be related right back to a lower turnover rate. Thus, keeping employees’ satisfied should be a major priority for any and every business.
JetBlue—an American low-cost airline—came to realise in 2007 that the business wasn’t doing a good job satisfying its employees when it stranded thousands of its passengers, because of a mere New York City ice storm. As a result, employee morale dropped and with it, customer satisfaction.
Up to that point, the company surveyed employees once a year looking for feedback. It needed to do more than just conduct surveys. Consequently, it implemented ‘Net Promoter,’ a scoring system that calculates how many employees are actively promoting the company, both as a place to work and as a place to do business. Once it began to look at employee satisfaction, department by department, it was able to deliver programs that put everyone on the same page, and great results followed.
What was learnt from JetBlue is that improving customer relations and, of course, profits a business must also survey its customers. As with employee surveys, customer surveys are invaluable if they are scientifically sound. Not only a 5-item questionnaire, but rather a comprehensive, carefully worded instrument designed to measure both obvious and subtle influences of customer behaviour.
Once you are knowledgeable about the root causes of your customers’ overall satisfaction and intent to return, you will have the “secrets” of increasing business and profits. The next part is taking action on these root causes and improving employee performance.
How then, does a company improve employee performance? By measuring it!
Businesses that are effective at monitoring and modifying employee behaviour are able to enhance customer satisfaction. According to Bill Gates, “your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
A customer is satisfied when they feel they have received at least as much from a buying experience as the effort they put in, and when they reach the conclusion that their buying experience was as good as they believed it would be.
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, the world’s biggest online shoe retailer states that “customer service is about making customers happy, and the culture is about making employees happy. So, really, we’re about trying to deliver happiness, whether it’s to customers or employees.” This winning attitude may have contributed to Amazon’s acquisition of the business for $1.2 billion in 2009.
Employees are the face of any business. The quickest way to destroy brand equity is to disrespect them. Once you’ve lost trust, it’s only a matter of time before you lose customers, too. Without customers, you have no business!
All businesses depend on employees to deliver quality service. For most businesses, improving customer service levels is more important than providing a good product. It is wise to remember Sam Walton’s (founder of Walmart) famous adage: “There is only one boss, the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
We all know that customer satisfaction is vital to the success of any business. So, satisfied employees are more productive, innovative and loyal, which in turn leads to customer retention, which means that employee satisfaction plays a strong, central role in predicting profitability and organisational effectiveness.
If you would like further information about how we could help your business better understand your customer needs and improve customer experience, contact us at email@example.com
When you look at virtually any consumer based industry and you’ll see how changes in digital media are fundamentally changing the way that people engage with brands before, during, and after a purchase.
Today we expect to browse, research, provide and get feedback, evaluate, and push the ‘buy’ button at our own pace and place—and through the platform—of our choosing.
We continue to engage with brands online after a purchase and share our experiences with one another. Much of this behaviour is beyond the direct control of companies and marketers are sprinting just to keep pace with the ever adapting trends.
Professionals and consultants in Digital Marketing can mine the ‘big data’ stores and analyse consumer behaviour, the effectiveness of a campaign and also make pretty accurate assumptions on how improvements in approach and enhancements in design can deliver positive results, enabling the business to adapt with the customer.
Building a powerful and meaningful customer experience, sometimes requires a brand to operate outside their comfort zone. For example, a business must be agile and adapt within much shorter cycle times, with more rapid and frequent iterations, and through a broader ecosystem than the traditional advertising agency process.
Customers increasingly demand marketing offers to be highly personalised, relevant, and targeted. If a company misses the mark, they are at risk of losing them forever.
In this era, companies know they need new capabilities to succeed. In a recent USA survey with the Association of National Advertisers and Korn/Ferry, 72% of marketers said that building capabilities in the area of digital marketing is vital. Companies must identify what kind of marketing approach they need to make their strategy a success, choose a digital marketing model based on their strategic objectives, and then focus on developing a handful of marketing capabilities that will allow them to bring that model to life and consistently excel.
Digital marketing isn’t done in the dark. When a company sets out to enact a digital marketing strategy that leverages digital platforms to increase activity, brand awareness and revenue, there is almost always a business like Amplify who support in creating a road-map guiding those tactics and operations.
This road map is typically referred to as a marketing model, and it is far from throwing darts: most mainstream marketing models have been developed by experts and refined by research, case studies and real-world evidence that the components of the model are likely to generate success.
Digital marketing models can be broken down into four different stages:
• Digital Branding. This type of marketing model is all about developing and selling the brand, and particularly the brand-consumer relationship. Customer engagement and the customer experience are the primary focal points for this strategy, and companies investing in this type of marketing model typically target strong brand loyalty as a means of generating repeat business. Such companies are shifting their investment towards more immersive digital multimedia experiences that can connect consumers to the brand in new ways.
• Customer Experience Designers use customer data and insights to create a superior end-to-end brand experience for their customers. Typically, these companies—such as hotels, and retailers—build their business models around customer service. By reinventing how they interact with their customers, and wowing them at multiple touch points, these companies hope to create an ongoing dialogue and build a loyal customer base.
• Demand Generation. This approach primarily focuses on driving traffic to a business through any and all digital means. All elements of the digital marketing strategy—website design, search engine optimisation, mobile connected apps, and engagement in social communities—are tailored to boost sales and increase loyalty.
• Product Innovators use digital marketing to identify, develop, and roll out new digital products and services. Such companies employ digital interactions with consumers primarily to gather insights that can shape the innovation pipeline. By helping nurture new sources of revenue, the marketing group increases the value of the company.
It’s virtually impossible for most companies to be great at all of the digital marketing models mentioned above. That’s why each company must focus only on the capabilities that align best with its digital marketing model. There is a link that connects the company’s strategy, the digital marketing model it needs, and the marketing organisation and marketing capabilities required to succeed with that model.
The capabilities necessary to succeed as a ‘digital brander’ will be different from those required by a demand generator. This is not an ironclad relationship — there are multiple paths to success, and even companies pursuing the same demand generator model, for instance, may choose to emphasise different capabilities. But in general, certain models require that a business has to have a specific set of supporting capabilities.
Coca-Cola is a perfect example of a ‘digital brander’. Teens and young adults are its biggest consumer segments, and to keep its brand strong with these consumers, Coca-Cola is hyper-focused on finding ways to embed itself in popular culture. With this in mind, the company continues to invest in differentiated capabilities including ‘optimized content’, as well as ‘social influence and advocacy.’
This means that Coca-Cola identifies experiences that are consistent with its brand, creates content around those experiences, and then encourages its community of users to share additional content that they create via social engagement. Although not all of this material goes viral in the communities that Coca-Cola is targeting, the company is far more successful than others, thanks to the development of these specific capabilities.
Much of today’s customer journey happens in the digital realm — a place beyond the direct control of companies, but highly sensitive to efforts to provoke and amplify social engagement. As a result, marketers need to adopt digital marketing models to better engage customers before, during, and after the purchase. They need to ‘pull’ consumers into an ongoing conversation about the company’s products and services. There is no one right way to accomplish this engagement, and there are many possible pathways to succeed as a business. It’s critical that companies begin the digital journey as soon as possible to keep pace with shifting consumer expectations and behaviours.
Whether you seek a specific digital marketing model or simply want to figure out which one is best for your present needs, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help you to build the right strategy to help your business thrive.
80% of consumers are more inclined to buy from a business because of their presence on social media.
Social media has changed the way businesses and brands communicate and engage with customers. A recent study by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK found that nearly 80% of consumers would be more inclined to buy more often in the future because of a brand’s presence on social media.
Speaking of the social media revolution, managing a flexible presence on each of the ‘big four’ (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+), has become a must for brands and marketers striving to bring their business up to speed. What better proof than 665 million of daily active users on Facebook and over 500 million registered accounts on Twitter. Moreover, not having a social profile on platforms that your customer base are using—such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Reddit—would be a strategic miss for those companies looking to reach greater exposure in the digital market.
It’s all about understanding your customers. Five years ago we would have told a team of accountants to avoid Facebook and focus on LinkedIn and Twitter… now Facebook has become a great tool to engage with people in and out of the professional world.
Social media is ever-evolving, most companies now have a presence on at least one social media channel and are interacting directly with consumers. By engaging with these consumers on social media, brands almost always see more website traffic, increased brand recognition and (if managed well) improved customer satisfaction.
For small businesses, knowing how to capitalise on this is crucial. Emerging social media platforms are also making a huge difference to how small businesses market themselves.
Social media continues to evolve and brands have an ever increasing need to understand the ways in which consumers use various platforms to achieve social media marketing success. Different demographics, attitudes, and behaviors affect which social media platforms consumers will use, how often they check them, and how engaged they are on them. Some brands and organisations are aware of their targeted audience and which social media channels they (consumers and potential customers) use—and how—to shape their social media campaigns for success.
Social media is a huge opportunity for any business looking for an audience, but it isn’t just another advertisement space. You have to earn people’s attention. This isn’t something you can buy. Social media isn’t a ‘modern billboard’ where brands post something and everyone has to see it. People can ‘unfollow’ in an instant. Companies/brands have to earn their trust and get them to agree to be part of the conversation. To succeed you must walk the walk, as well as talk the talk.
Social media is a highly valuable tool for retailers and has, arguably, proven to be a significant direct sales channel. Though it cannot be tracked in traditional ways, social media is indeed valuable to retailers for engagement, brand awareness and influence that unquestionably affect sales. With the advent of social media companies now get much broader, deeper data and can find out more about how people are using their pharmaceutical products in a different way from the past, and it’s useful for such companies to have that unstructured data.
For retailers, it is no longer a case of simply stocking shelves with desirable goods and waiting for shoppers to flock through the doors. Rapid developments in technology are changing the game. Consumers are becoming more demanding and less willing to tolerate failure. They want a seamless shopping experience however they interact with a retailer. They may check out the company’s products on their mobile on the bus back from work, then wish to continue on the same page on their tablet or PC at home. That requires considerable technical prowess in managing the customer journey on different devices.
Social media marketing will continually evolve as more networks are added, revised, expanded and changed. Social media will continue to grow in popularity as more people become active.
How various brands (whether or not) take advantage of the advancements in social media will shape future enhancements and the success of many businesses for years to come.