And now for something completely different

Please share this with everyone you know as we would really like Richard Branson to hear about it and say ‘YES’.


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Yipeeeee, I graduated on Friday the 8th of November and am now the proud possessor of a Foundation degree in Marketing. The past two years needed to acquire this, were at times extremely stressful, but on the whole both enjoyable and very worthwhile. I am now in my forth month at Liverpool Victoria, working with a great team and learning a lot. Really looking forward to starting my final at Bournemouth University in September 2014.


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Personal digression

Social media

I am now in my 3rd Year at university and my degree course requires me to undertake a one-year Placement within the Marketing industry. I have been successful in obtaining a position within one of the many marketing departments at the Liverpool Victoria LV= ) insurance company. Having completed my first month with this company, I have realised that I have been very lucky with this appointment. I have been made very welcome, my team and everyone else I have met there have all been very friendly and very helpful and I feel sure that the experience I will gain over the next year will be invaluable to my future career. The knowledge I have gained at the Bournemouth University in the last 2 years is now being put into practice, and I am also learning how things are done in the ‘real world’ as opposed to theory.

In my last post, I admitted that I am not particularly attracted to the Digital world I have blogged about. However, possibly against my better judgement, I have decided to continue my blog in the academic style that has been set from the start. As my posts begin to flow, I will attempt to stay objective and provide as much scope and information as I attempted in my previous posts.

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An Academic Reflection

This is the final blog post about my learning path within the digital world.  This post will concentrate on my personal experience through this journey, as well as reflecting on how the digital world has moved yet further ahead.

When starting my journey back in September, I was quite oblivious of the fact that there is another world, a digital world where companies enhance their brand images by utilising social media and other channels to engage with the public. Interaction and content that are used by more companies allowing them to create an environment where consumers “share their experiences” about products and services with one another, “express their approval or disapproval” and also “give their recommendations” regarding products and services (Laudon and Traver, 2012). I can see the digital world moving the way companies like Barclays do business as they introduced their “Barclaycard Ring” which allows customer interaction with the company combining social media and on-line banking. The DCS unit gave me a vast amount of knowledge of the digital world, however I have found that this world has very little attraction for me.

I was also unaware of the fact that 50% of consumers in the UK who own a smartphone and 42% of consumers who use social networks as a communication tool (Key Note, 2013), and all those people I see on a bus or in a café who are addicted to their mobile phones, are using digital mediums such as Facebook and Twitter to socialise with their friends, and are therefore exposed to constant advertising by marketers. Mobile marketing has created an opportunity for companies to filter the right types of advertising to serve and target the consumers on social networks.

An important element of this activity is consumer “location” as it determines the relevance and context of messages sent. This is supported by Chahal (2013a) who states that “location” has become important to consumers as nearly 50% of searchers are expecting search locations to be within driving or walking distance. I believe advertising on smartphones will be utilised more and more by companies in the future and targeted ads with the relevant content will lead to a higher purchase rate from consumers which will bring potential returns to mobile marketing and also assist in more understanding of the benefits of mobile optimisation (Mobile Marketing Watch, 2013a).

Yet another aspect of the change we are all witnessing is the change in the High Street and the on-going adaptation of Fashion within the digital world. The High Street is undergoing a drastic restructuring, as some of the retailers fail to adapt to the digital innovations to meet the needs of the consumers who are starting to embrace social window shopping. The “Global Market Insite” supports this by stating that 27% of consumers turn to social media to get ideas for future purchases (Sarma, 2013). This is a somewhat different shopping experience unlike, in former days, when consumers would purchase something once they have tried it on. Today, however, consumers want multi-channel brand experience, this means that in the future we might see more of “show-rooming”, meaning consumer browsing in-store but buying online (Chahal, 2013b).

Fashion has also been affected by digital change as social media has played its role in making fashion more accessible and instantaneous for consumers. Perry (2013) states that nowadays “fashionistas” get access to images and what is happening during fashion week within minutes, as this can be seen across all social platforms from Twitter to Tumblr. Blogs have also moved fashion as it allows the creation of fashionable outfits on any budget from anywhere in the world.

I have found that the digital world revolves around consumers in the social media as businesses use the social media channels to advertise and reach the right target audience, in order to generate revenue. Businesses have been embracing blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other online media channels. Facebook’s Graph Search is a potential for revenue generation as it allows businesses the incorporation of commercial searches (Ghosh, 2013), Twitter’s keyword targeting in timelines allows businesses to make advertising targeting more accurate for consumers, the YouTube channel is utilised by some companies using “YouTube Partner Programme” and Affiliate marketing to promote their business, whereas LinkedIn allows businesses to generate the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate (Cohen, 2013).

All the above is intended to be of help in generating revenue for businesses, however, after attending a TFM&A seminar in London, I have realised that the companies struggle to measure the “Return on Investment” (ROI) and therefore, this leads to questioning whether or not social media is actually helping the companies to generate revenue from utilising the different channels. Varini and Sarsi (2012) also highlight this and agree on this point by stating that companies do have difficulties measuring the ROI.

In conclusion, I feel that my journey through the digital world has been both a journey of discovery and an educational experience, however I find myself undertaking a role more of an observer rather than active participator in this digital change. I accept the fact that in the work place, especially in marketing, this is a strong and evolving force and is implemented by most businesses, however, I can state that social media has little impact on myself as a person and I will only use it within the professional environment.


Chahal, M., 2013a. Brands should be using local relevancy in mobile ads. Marketing Week, 10 April 2013. Available from: [Accessed 29 April 2013].

Chahal, M., 2013b. Open all hours: the future of the high streets. Marketing Week, 13 February 2013. Available from: [Accessed 30 April 2013].

Cohen, H., 2013. LinkedIn: Where the Money is (and 11 facts to prove it). Heidi Cohen. Available from: [Accessed 30 April 2013].

Ghosh, S., 2013. Facebook search to generate revenue, no rival to Google. USA: Thomson Reuters. Available from: [Accessed 30 April 2013].

Key Note, 2013. Digital Communications Market Report 2013. Teddington: Key Note. Available from: [Accessed 18 April 2013].

Laudon, K.C and Traver, C.G., 2012. E-commerce: business, technology, society. 8th ed. Harlow: Pearson Education.

Perry, C., 2013. How social media changed the face of fashion. Durham: Palatinate. Available from: [Accessed 30 April 2013].

Sarma, S., 2013. S-commerce: “social shopping” means browsing but not buying. Retail Digital. Available from: [Accessed 30 April 2013].

Varini, K. and Sirsi, P., 2012. Social Media and Revenue Management: Where should the two meet? Journal of Technology for Growing Economies, 3 (1), 33-46. Available from: [Accessed 30 April 2013].

YouTube, 2013a. Barclaycard Ring How It Works.  Available from:! [Accessed 29 April 2013].

YouTube, 2013b. Mobile Video Marketing for Business | Mobile Marketing Statistics 2013. Available from: [Accessed 29 April 2013].

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E-commerce and Mobile Marketing

E-commerce, a term used to describe transacting and facilitating business over the Internet (Shaw, 2006). Information architecture and SEO are critical aspects of an e-commerce website, allowing customers to get to relevant product pages as quickly as possible.

Online shopping is one of the most popular forms of e-commerce. Essence magazine offers a new “Beauty Matchmaker” tool helping women find make-up from different retailers by skin tone and colour preferences. Products can be added to an on-site shopping cart and women can check out without leaving the magazine’s website. By allowing customers to shop across a range of retailers and check out using a single form without leaving the website making it easier and more convenient for shoppers without registering and checking out at each website (Indvik, 2013).

Essence check-out form

The emergence of mobile marketing has had a significant impact on the digital communications market. Mobile marketing and advertising is one of the fastest growing industries (Sands, 2013), where 50% of UK consumers own a smartphone and communications via social networking sites are used by 42% of consumers (Key Note, 2013). Social media advertising is one of the tools marketers use to drive more sales.

Mobile marketing growth

Twitter has taken social media advertising to a higher level, introducing a feature of keyword targeting in timeline (Mobile Market Watch, 2013). This enables advertisers to find the right customers for the right products and services, also allowing marketers to reach users at the right moment and in the right context.



Indvik, L., 2013a. “Teen Vogue”, “Essence” Magazines add online shopping carts. Available from: [Accessed 18 april 2013].

Indvik, L., 2013 b. Essence check out form. Photograph. Mashable. Available from: [Accessed 18 April 2013].

Key Note, 2013. Digital Communications Market Report 2013. Teddington: Key Note. Available from: [Accessed 18 April 2013].

Mobile Marketing Watch, 2013b. Twitter Touts Keyword Targeting in Timelines. Available from: [Accessed 18 April 2013].

Mobile Marketing Watch, 2013c. Twitter Touts Keyword Targeting in Timelines. Photograph. Mobile Marketing Watch. Available from: [Accessed 18 April 2013].

Sands, J., 2013a. Mobile Marketing and Advertising: Explosive Growth and the Companies Driving it. Available from: [Accessed 18 April 2013].

Sands, J., 2013b. Mobile Marketing Growth. Photograph. Seeking Alpha. Available from: [Accessed 18 april 2013].

Shaw, M., 2006. E-commerce and the Digital Economy. USA: M.E.Sharpe. Available from: [Accessed 18 April 2013].

YouTube, 2013a. The future of eCommerce. Available from: [Accessed 18 April 2013].

YouTube, 2013b. Mobile Marketing 2013 – 12 amazing facts. Available from: [Accessed 18 April 2013].

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Revenue models

Companies use various online revenue models in order to attract customers to a wider range of products and services through which they generate profitability from interaction with customers. According to the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB, 2013), digital advertising expenditure in the UK grew 12.6% to £2.59 billion in the first half of 2012.

To generate revenue online, companies use advertising models such as display ads on Yahoo, search and text ads on Google, promoted content on Twitter, Recruitment ads on LinkedIn and many more.


However, there are implicating factors in this model such as a correlation between an individual’s online behaviour and advertising exposure, and actually having a positive effect on buyer behaviour (Ekimov, 2013). Google’s interactive advertising model can be used to achieve more desirable results.

Subscription revenue models allow customers to subscribe for a sum of money for a certain period of time (daily, monthly or annual). Typically this model was used by newspapers and magazines, however, others also embraced it. According to International Business Times (IBTimes, 2013) Sony Play Station 4 due for November release will charge users for its online features through offering a premium subscription, enabling users to access thousands of games for a monthly fee.

The revenue model benefits businesses providing them with constant revenue from subscribers. Subscriptions are paid in advance, meaning reduced risk and uncertainty for the businesses.

“Affiliate”, another form of revenue model is commission based, providing purchase opportunities wherever people surf (Slideshare, 2012). This can be done, offering financial incentives in the form of a percentage of revenue to its affiliated partner sites.


This model offers merchants a wider area to sell their products and services, whereas for affiliate marketers it proves to be an easy way of creating additional income for their websites. However, by implementing this model, merchants may suffer from costly set up and high commission costs, and affiliates can be cheated by merchants when dishonest ones close down programs without informing the affiliates, and leaving them without paying commission (Bandyopadhyay et al., 2009).

Amazon, for example offers an affiliate program for those interested, by encouraging people to promote the Amazon website in return for payment.



AVC, 2012. Web and Mobile Revenue Models. Photograph. AVC. Available from: [Accessed 28 March 2013].

Bandyopadhyay, S., Wolfe, J., Kini, R., 2009. A critical review of online affiliate models. Journal of the Academy of Business & Economics, 9 (4), 141-148. Available from: [Accessed 28 March 2013].

Ekimov, G., 2013. How to build successful internet advertising network. Available from: [Accessed 28 March 2013].

International Business Times, 2013. Sony PlayStation 4 to force premium subcsriptions similar to Xbox Live. Available from: [Accessed 28 March 2013].

Internet Advertising Bureau, 2013.  2012 H1 Digital Adspend Results. London: Internet Advertising Bureau Available from: [Accessed 28 March 2013].

Slideshare, 2012. Business and Revenue models in e-commerce. Available from: [Accessed 28 March 2013].

WordPress, 2010. Affiliate Marketing. Photograph. WordPress. Available from: [Accessed 28 March 2013].

YouTube, 2013. Playstation 4 News: Subscription Models and all games are digital. Available from: [Accessed 28 March 2013].

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The Internet as a vehicle for revenue generation

The Internet is used to increase exposure to a larger number of people creating a larger customer base, enabling businesses to generate revenue.

According to the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB, 2013), UK businesses spent £814 million on affiliate marketing and lead generation activities, generating £9 billion in 2012. Online Performance Marketing (OPM) operates on the basis that advertisers will only pay once someone makes a purchase or submits their contact details because of the advertisement. Comparison sites such as USwitch or CompareTheMarket, voucher sites –; loyalty/reward sites – Nectar; and cashback sites – Quidco are all examples of OPM.

Types of OPM

In 2012 OPM drove 5-6% of e-commerce retail sales, resulting in 100 million consumer “direct transactions” valued at £8 billion as a result of affiliate marketing, and 70 million submitted enquiries (IAB, 2013).

Affiliate marketing “connects online merchants with an affiliate” (Birkner, 2012), allowing retailers to spend less, generate sales with payment only required when sales are made. However, the complex structure of an affiliate network and lack of education in industry makes marketers cautious of implementing this method as a customer acquisition and revenue generation tool (Shields, 2013).

Some companies embrace subscriptions helping reduce customer acquisition costs, inventory requirements, and generate a steady cash flow (Business Week, 2012). YouTube is planning to sell subscriptions to some of the channels on its video platform (Financial Times, 2013).


“Pay-per-click” is another online advertising model, directing more traffic to the website.  Search engine marketing platforms, “Google Adwords” and “Bing Ads”, allow businesses to buy listings in their search results.


The Perfume Shop used a YouTube Video Targeting Tool in conjunction with Mercury technology to “overlay adverts for celebrity perfumes targeting matching celebrity videos” (Moth, 2013). The agency targeted thousands of YouTube videos with 100% relevance to the viewers. The PPC achieved a 236+% return in investment on a view through conversion.


ASL, 2013. Organic search results. Photograph. Canada: ASL Internet. Available from: [Accessed 20 March 2013].

Birkner, C., 2012. The ABCs of Affiliate Marketing. Marketing News, 46 (10), 6. Available from: [Accessed 20 March 2013].

Financial Times, 2013. YouTube to switch on paid-for video. London: Financial times. Available from: [Accessed 20 March 2013].

Gupta, A., 2012. YouTube Pay-per-view. Photograph. Available from: [Accessed 20 March 2013].

Internet Advertising Bureau, 2013. UK’s “hidden” £814m online economy. London: Internet Advertising Bureau. Available from: [Accessed 20 March 2013].

Klein, K.E., 2012. Making the Web’s subscription economy hum. Business Week, 12 June 2012. Available from: [Accessed 20 March 2013].

Moth, D., 2013. Six examples of effective PPC and SEO campaigns. London: Econsultancy. Available from: [Accessed 20 March 2013].

Shields, R., 2013. Despite the big number affiliate marketing still has lost of convincing to do. Marketing Week, 23 January 2013. Available from: [Accessed 20 March 2013].

YouTube, 2013. Exclusive chat with Christina Aguilera. Available from: [Accessed 20 March 2013].

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Public relations and branding

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations defines public relations as the state of a company’s reputation, acquired by, what the company does, what they say and what others say about them (CIPR, 2013). Branding on the other hand is used by businesses to influence consumer perception of particular products or services. Brands can be associated with a consistent set of attitudes, beliefs and emotions (Marketing Minds, 2012). Branding can also be described as the image or idea of specific products or services that customers connect with. A particularly good example of what Branding represents is given by the Norwich Business School (YouTube, 2011).

So, what is the relationship between public relations and branding ? Branding allows companies to convey messages of their products in potential consumer’s minds in order to connect with them, public relations, are used in order to strengthen that relationship with the company and what it has to offer. According to Prindle (2011) integration between the two lies in building brand trust where public relations is a vital element.

Some companies use celebrity endorsements to build trust with customers, make the brand easier to remember and attract new customers. “Chanel” for example, uses Keira Knightley to endorse their product to convey the message of a luxury brand. To be able to do this and also to attract consumer attention, they have used sensual stimuli in their advertisement to excite and hopefully encourage consumers to purchase the product.

In order to strengthen consumer’s perception of a luxury brand image, the advertisement shows that the brand and celebrity have similar personalities and are therefore connected. This shows how brands try to increase consumer desire for products advertised by using a successful and attractive celebrity.


CIPR, 2013. About PR. London: Chartered Institute of Public Relations. Available from: [Accessed 12 March 2013].

Marketing Minds, 2012. Brand basics. Australia: Marketing Minds. Available from: [Accessed 12 March 2013].

Prindle, R., 2011. A public relations role in brand messaging. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 2 (18), 32-36. Available from: [Accessed 12 March 2013].

YouTube, 2013. Keira Knightley in “Coco Chanel Mademoiselle” ad 1080p. Available from: [Accessed 12 March 2013].

YouTube, 2011. What is branding? Available from: [Accessed 12 March 2013].

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Brand effectiveness within the new media landscape

Web 2.0 provided consumers with communication power through social media, meaning that companies had to “join the conversation”, learn to listen and communicate with their audience and engage their brands (Shields, 2008). 


Web 3.0 (Semantic Web) allowed brands to further engageme through personalisation, not just by style and format, but also content (Koren, 2012). Brand engagement becomes critical as trust is the crucial medium to relationship building with consumers. 


Facebook introduced “Graph Search”, meaning that the integration of social elements and the semantic web enables users to have a more connective and smarter web experience (Fine, 2013), allowing a better search experience for users which is “more intuitive and yields better hits” (Fine, 2013). Brands also have access to more accurate data that mirrors the searches being done for their products (Schepke, 2013). 


Web 3.0 allows brands to be much more engaging as brands use their powers of persuasion along with old marketing techniques to change consumer behaviour. The Guardian suggests desired behaviour can be achieved through visual, emotive and social nudges (Shea, 2012). 

The Web 4.0 era will be more about the online customer assurance. It will also mean more powerful interfaces, such as ambient and artificial intelligence. Brands will have to replicate customer experience online as it is offline. 

bigstock_usb_brain_slots_947847 (sized)

Massive Dynamics will unveil a first Web 4.0 computing tablet which will operate on Google’s Android platform. This device will give the company priority access to the potential  210 million tablets forecasted by Digitimes to be sold in 2013 (Marketwatch, 2013). The device can receive information and instructions from its user without the need to touch the tablet, or utilise voice input or involve any external peripheral device (Marketwatch, 2013). 


Blanchard, O., 2013. Introducing Graph Search. Photograph. Available from: [Accessed 28 February 2013].

Blogspot, 2010. The future of artificial intelligence. Photograph. Available from: [Accessed 28 February 2013].

Fine, B., 2013. Web 3.0, Facebook Graph Search, Bing: What it means for brands. USA: Bob Fine. Available from: [Accessed 28 February 2013].

Flickr, 2009. Web 3.0 Presentation World Cloud. Photograph. Available from: [Accessed 28 February 2013].

Hinchcliffe, D., 2007. Web 2.o Concept. Photograph. Available from: [Accessed 28 February 2013].

Koren, J., 2012. What is Web 3.0? USA: SlideShare. Available from: [Accessed 28 February 2013].

Marketwatch, 2013. Massive dynamics tentatively schedules unveiling of new Web 4.0 Table. USA: Marketwatch. Available from: [Accessed 28 February 2013].

Schepke, J., 2013. Facebook Graph Search: How multi-location brands & local marketers can capitalize USA: Jon Schepke. Available from: [Accessed 28 February 2013].

Shea, L., 2012. Nudging the nudgers: brands, persuasion and sustainable lifestyles. The Guardian, 19 October 2012. Available from: [Accessed 28 February 2013].

Shields, L., 2008. How Web 2.0 is changing the World of Marketing. USA: Slideshare. Available from: [Accessed 28 February 2013].

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Online brand PR

Nowadays in order to succeed online, companies have found they need to build an interaction with consumers. As Mintel (2012a) reports, 75% of online consumers widely access social networks, therefore companies are able to build their relationships online through social media like Facebook, Twitter, Google+,  LinkedIn etc.. According to Webmoghuls (2012) Facebook reached 1 billion users in 2012, equating to 1/7th of the world’s population, providing a powerful facility for companies to reach consumers on the Facebook website.

63% of consumers visit Facebook daily (Mintel, 2012b). This should enable companies to build a strong presence and promote their brands. Branding through social media allows companies to reach the masses worldwide. Online public relations can be an important part of any brand, allowing companies to answer adverse comments, and design campaigns, to counteract negative publicity. It also allows monitoring of customer’s positive responses.

Many thousands of people love Oreo cookies, many like to separate the cookie from the crème. The company used social media to monitor debate on Twitter and Facebook as it has 32 million fans on Facebook across 200 countries and 76,000+ followers on Twitter (Mashable, 2013). In order to expand their “Cookie vs. Crème” campaign, the company posted videos on YouTube showing new innovative ways of eating Oreo’s. This example shows how Oreo engage their brand on social media sites, taking it a step further with fun video interaction with their consumers.


Mashable, 2013. Social media darling Oreo looks to boost YouTube following. USA: Mashable. Available from: [Accessed 26 February 2013].

Mintel, 2012a. Digital Trends Winter – UK – December 2012. London: Mintel. Available from: [Accessed 26 February 2013].

Mintel, 2012b. Social Media and Networking – UK – May 2012. London: Mintel. Available from: [Accessed 26 February 2013].

Webmoghuls, 2012. Online brand building through social media. India: Webmoghuls. Available from: [Accessed 26 February 2013].

YouTube, 2013. Oreo separator machine #1 – Creator: Physicist David Neevel. USA: YouTube.  Available from: [Accessed 26 February 2013].

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