Learning from marketing communication and M&S project

22 Jan

I still remember that in the first lesson, we watched a video about two babies chatting together.I was funny and it also made me realize that communication is not all about words or information. It is all about feelings and emotional connection. It is true in marketing communication as well as in daily interaction with people. So for the M&S project, our team is not merely a team for work.We talk together, solve problem together and learn together. There are six people in our group, two English, three Chinese and one guy comes from Ukraine.We have different cultural background and different way in communication. Although we met many challenges and problems,but we did our best to achieve the goal.

(1) Group work and Challenges

The first step we took is create name and color for our agency. We decided use BLUE for our agency because blue stands for stability and can leave people an impression as professional. We named our agency as FINGERPRINT because each fingerprint is unique and we regard every customer is unique. After having the name, we started to do some research about M&S. Here, I met my first problem. Actually, it was a problem for all us three Chinese girls. Because there is no M&S in China, we do not know much about this British company. But it was not a big problem for us. We searched a lot of  articles online about M&S in order to know its history and its current situation. Meanwhile, our British colleagues gave us a lot of help. After having a basic knowledge about M&S, we decided to really go into the M&S stores and talk with its customers. We think this should be the quickest way and most effective way to know what do they think and what do they want. Then, Based on the information we obtained from our interview and the data from its annual report. We finally created a new marketing plan for M&S. During this process, everyone provided their own idea. But many of them have been rejected because of target market issue. The biggest problem we met was the budget breakdown. None of us was familiar with that. We searched online but did not get much useful information and we talked with other classmates via Facebook and they were facing the same problem. So for the budget part, we just based on how much did M&S spend in 2011 and 2012 and then made a brief budget breakdown. As for the presentation, we agreed that everyone need to take a part of it. It shows that we are a team. We created it together and present it together.

(2) Learning and Future

I should say that it was an amazing experience. From this project, I gained a deep understanding about marketing communication. I got a brief idea about the whole process of marketing plan creation. Additionally, as we are digital marketing, apart from traditional marketing, we should think everything in digital first. Besides TV and press, website and social media are two areas that we should pay more attention on. Moreover, working as an agency improved my teamwork skill. There are essential skills for me in my future marketer career path.


Job hunter–skills!skills!skills!

13 Nov

It is no doubt that we will face a big task one year later–get a job.Although I have a bachelor degree from a top-20 university in China and a master degree from a renowned university in UK,it does not mean I can get a job easily. Nowadays, employers expect more than degrees. Here is a term,employability skills,which means these skills can make us standing out of the crowd. I searched several job search websites to find out what kind of skills do companies need in marketing field.I browsed some British websites as well as Chinese ones. I will list three here.

First one:

  • Marketing Manager
  • Company: Red Square International
  • From: www.reed.co.uk


  1. 3-5 years marketing experience.
  2. Knowledge of UK business culture.
  3. Fluency in Russian and English.
  4. Relevant industry experience.
  5. Communication skills and ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  6. Highly motivated and well organised individual.
  7. Professional attitude and demeanour.
  8. Strong contacts with either HNWIS (High Net Worth Individual) or corporate clients are desirable.

second one:

  • Digital marketing Manager
  • Company: Jackson Rose
  • From: www.reed.co.uk


  1. Be able to work closely with a variety of internal departments,external agencies and stakeholders.
  2. Strong project management skills.
  3. The ability to take ownership of projects,supported by the digital team,from idea phase through to reporting.
  4. Proven extensive knowledge of a range of applications and software including social media platforms.content management systems,image-editing software,MS windows, audio editing.
  5. Experience of content creation and syndication via digital.
  6. Experience of positive blogger and influence outreach.
  7. Experience of digital activation of events.

Third one;

  • Marketing Manager(digital)
  • Company: ONLY Clothes
  • From:www.51job.com (a Chinese job search website)


  1. Positive work ethic with a willingness to engage with and love our brand.
  2. Confident,passionate,enthusiastic about digital.
  3. Excellent project management skills.
  4. Demonstrated ability to be both a strategist and strong act driving execution.
  5. Strong collaborative problem solving and analytical skills.
  6. Good relationship management skills and good team player.
  7. Creative flair and enthusiasm for new idea and concepts.
  8. Commercial awareness.
  9. Proven experience with segmentation and online test and learn.
  10. Degree (Business/ Marketing preferred)
  11. Minimum 5 years of marketing experience in China. Minimum of 3 years digital marketing experience.

These skills could be divided into two categories: marketing skills and personal skills.Just according to these three position requirements,marketing skills include working experience, knowledge of business culture, knowledge of some applications and softwares, management skill and analytical skill.Personal skills include team spirit, passionate, language skill,communication skills,attitude and enthusiasm.

For me, two biggest obstructs are language and culture. If I want to get a job after graduate, I need to do my best to improve my English. As for culture, I think  it is not only about history, current affairs or daily routine. It concerns more about mind,by that I mean, the way of thinking. The way of thinking influences the ideas we create,the action we take and the future we will have.  Additionally, communication skill and team spirit are also essential for us.These skills can not be obtained from text books. We are learning these skills from all kinds of social activities and work experiences.Even if I am not working now, Southampton University also provides various career activities for us. So I should make use of all sources to perfect myself. For instance, Digital Literacies Workshops are designed not only for digital students but also for all the people who are living in the Internet age. There are variety of topics such as ‘building your online profile for career development’ and ‘social media for researchers’,which are entertaining as well as educational. Career Destinations arrange various workshops that we can learn lots of essential skills such as leadership and critical thinking.

In terms of the professional knowledge, actually, English education system is totally different from Chinese education system.It is more creative,more independent and more initiative.As a postgraduate student, what professors do is setting up a structure of the knowledge,we need to explore and fill the content by ourselves. Honestly,it is a bit difficult for me but now I am getting used to it.And I am sure I will enjoy it. Nevertheless,no matter where will I stay,UK or China, what do I need to do now is cherish this opportunity to learn in a foreign country and make myself more employable!




New DNA Marketing Model, New View!

10 Nov

My first degree was Project Management. Except the principle of marketing, I did not  have many courses about marketing. But I like marketing, I enjoy dealing with people. I did several internships during the summer vacations when I was doing my bachelor degree. These internships were all about marketing. However, what I learnt and what I did before were both traditional marketing. I have to say that thanks to the Internet, marketing nowadays goes beyond a traditional one to a digital one. And not merely doing the traditional marketing on an electronic way, new marketing is a timely, interactive, smart way to get closer to customers.

From Dr Bev Hulbert’s lecture, I learnt marketing has experienced three evolutionary periods: ‘to market’,’marketing to’ and ‘marketing with’. The logic of marketing has also transformed from goods dominant logic(GDL) to service dominant logic(SDL). So instead of putting so much attention to marketing itself (such as 4P and SWOT analysis), contemporary marketing puts more emphasis on the customers. In the new DNA  marketing model, organization plays a ‘response’ role while customer plays an ‘ambassador’ role.

In a customer-led marketing, customer insight is the key(Harrigan and Hulbert,2011). That means company needs to find out what customers are feeling and whether they have a good experience. For this purpose, social media is a perfect platform to reach customers. Just as a quote in Harrigan and Hulbert’s article says “the Internet has opened up the whole area of managing the customer experience across channels, and it isn’t easy.”

Value is another key word for new marketing. It is a two-way thing which means companies provide value for customers such as good products,reasonable price and after-sales service, they want value from customers as well. These can be loyalty and WOM effect.

Data is the third indispensable element in new DNA model because it is an essential part in customer insight. It is closely related to Customer Relationship Management(CRM) and Customer Experience Management. As the data storage costs is declining. Companies are willing to do more data mining and statistic analytics to know their customers better.

As I just said, marketing is now in a ‘marketing with’ stage. I do like the word ‘with’. It makes me feel getting involved. Customer is no longer mere a target for marketing, they are a vital part of the marketing. I think it is not overstated that customers have become a key link in companies’ value chain. It is an excellent way to attract and maintain customers. There is a professional term for this– cocreation.

IKEA does a very good example in this aspect. They are not just produce ready furniture and sell them. What they do is making customers to assemble their own furniture. With doing this, customers create value for their home and value for IKEA at the same time.

Another case for cocreation is LUSH(https://www.lush.co.uk/).

LUSH asks their customers to send their photos of using the products to them, with a note of their comments. Then LUSH puts those photos in their magazine,which is called LUSH TIMES, to introduce the products. These notes ,which are about user experiences, just like a kind of recommendation(WOM).

There are so many examples on Facebook. For instance, OREO(http://www.facebook.com/oreo?fref=ts)–Birthday of  the Day.COCA-COLA ZERO(http://www.facebook.com/cocacolazero?fref=ts)–Unlock the 007 in YOU.

In my point of view, value is kind of two-way thing. It is not only ‘create or gain’, it should be ‘create with gain’.

New DNA model shows me a new manner of marketing.


Harrigan,P. and Hulbert,B.(2011),’How can Marketing Academics Serve Marketing Practice? The new Marketing DNA as a Model for Marketing Education’,Journal of Marketing Education,33(3),pp 253-272.

Access to a new world—-through these links!

8 Nov

From Facebook to Twitter,I get to know that social websites are not only a tool to know what is going on around me but also a stage to present myself. They just like a diary (but update much more frequently) to record everything I do everyday. Moreover, it is also a platform for us to sell ourselves. We could add the person who we want to work for as a Facebook friend. Then we comment at his/her feeds and leave messages to introduce ourselves. They get to know us so maybe we could be friends in real world someday and they can offer us a job! That is possible!

In addition to a new user of Facebook and Twitter, I am also a marketer. There are tons of websites which are very useful. Honestly, I did not know them before I came to UK. I would like to share them with you and it is also a good start for me to get familiar with them.

1 Google Docs: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G3_DfVckaOanqTfsD-i1p4a-OWeUQ-e9OERcHBdYUuo/edit?pli=1#

Google Docs is a web-based document. It enables users to create and edit documents online and other users can get the information in real-time. The link above is an example document and it is exactly the one we used in our lecture.

2 LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/ 

LinkedIn is also a social networking website. But unlike Facebook or Twitter, LinkedIn tends to be more professional. We post what we did with friends on Facebook but we share what we obtained from today’s lectures on LinkedIn. We add our friends on Facebook or follow a super singer on Twitter, but on LinkedIn,we link some people ‘on purpose’. By that I mean, they could be someone you admire or someone could be your potential employer.

3 Social Media Examiner: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/

  Just as its slogan, Social Media Examiner is our guide to the social media jungle. It is a very successful blog and very user-friendly. You provide your email address and they will deliver the latest articles via email!

The latest article is just about the WordPress–‘How to speed up your WordPress site‘.

Besides Social Media Examiner, there are far too many websites for us to catch up what is happening in social media world.For instance, the Mashable, the Alltop as well as the MarketingWeek(this one is focus on news about marketing).

4 Seth Godin : http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/ 

Seth Godin is an American entrepreneur, author and public speaker. Honestly, I do not know much about him. Our professor recommended the book Linchpin to us on the first day we started our course. So it must be very useful and well worth reading.

The similar blog is from Mari Smith. She is a marketing expert and social media though leader.We can get a lot of  knowledge by following her blog as well as her Facebook and Twitter.

In short, social media is more than a way to share your interesting photos with your friends.For me ,a student and a future marketer, it is a new area of marketing and there is a long way to go to get familiar with this fantastic new world!

Digital Marketing,Social Media—-More than Facebook!

5 Nov

When I first heard the digital marketing, the first thing came to my mind was eBay and Amazon.But after my first two weeks,I knew that I was wrong. Digital marketing is more than B2B or B2C online shopping websites. It is a new channel for companies to keep in touch with their customers and maintain a good relationship with them.

Digital Marketing is a promising field. With the increase of the web-population, companies put more attention to this area. Companies adopt digital marketing to reach their customers on a global scale.Take ‘Kit Kat’ as an example. When we search ‘Kit Kat’ on Facebook, what we get is not just ‘Kit Kat Japan’ but also ‘ Kit Kat Canada’,’Kit Kat Spain’ and ‘Kit Kat Arabia’. I have to say that Facebook and Twitter have become the two most popular ways for companies to contact their customers.By searching on socialbakers.com, I find that just in UK, there are 1756 pages on Facebook and 357 profiles on Twitter.

According to the data from socialbaker.com, the total number of Facebook user in UK is 33 190 940.So it is a bit behind the times if someone does not have a Facebook account.I joined in Facebook two months ago. I realize that Facebook is just like a name card. However,it tells more–which brands we like, which songs we share and even what lifestyle we have. Now I have 57 friends and be a member of three groups on Facebook. Due to the fact that Facebook is not available in China, now I need to manage two profiles–Facebook and Sina weibo(the most popular social media in China)–at the same time. But this makes me find the differences between Facebook and Sina weibo.I will lay out those differences later.

For companies, Facebook is a good way to get more information about their customers. Many companies use Facebook as a tool to build their brands.They launch various activities on Facebook such as ‘get a free sample by clicking the advertisement'(by VICHY UK & IRELAND) and ‘my perfect latte photo competition'(by Starbucks).It is the same for Chinese companies. They launch their new products on Sina weibo or hold a lucky draw on this website to make more people follow them. Those social websites also enable companies to hear the voice from their customers. Customers can leave a message on their pages and comment on their feeds.

But there are many differences between Facebook and Sina weibo. I am not saying the layout or the applications they have.I mean, the attitude.For instance, I follow both the L’oreal UK on Facebook and the L’oreal China on Sina weibo. I find that on Facebook, they reply to their customers’ comment. Not all, just part of them. But they do that. On the contrary, on Sina weibo, L’oreal seldom replies the comments. I even not sure if they read them or not.I think it is because Chinese marketers have not realized the importance of social media. They regard social media as a one-way communication channel. It is a problem but also an opportunity for all Chinese marketers.

Now,I am getting used to this new social website. However, there are still many challenges I have to address. First of all, I need to build my online connections from nothing to everything. All my friends are using Sina weibo. I cannot find them on Facebook. On the other hand, after one year, when I graduate and go back China , I cannot keep in touch with my Facebook friends anymore! It is very annoying. Secondly, culture knowledge is another weak aspect for me. When we were discussing a local brand during class, I found myself even never heard it before, let alone giving my own idea about it. But I am doing my best to catch up. They are both challenges and opportunities. By addressing these problems, I am sure I will gain many benefits for my career. There is a saying that ‘methods are always more than problems’. I can solve my problems step by step–set up Facebook account as well as Twitter account, manage them carefully, read more books and newspapers and ask more! For my English problem, which is the basic problem, I know there are many good sources online such as BBC NEWS and EPA toolkit. So it can not be my excuse to fall behind.

Besides Facebook, I also get to know other useful websites, for instance, Twitter, LinkedIn and Slideshare. Those websites are good channels to obtain latest information and also a stage to present ourselves. It is essential for us to build our own brand online. It seems a big task. We need to set up our brand from nothing. But actually ,it can be as simple as keeping a record of our online life. I mean, we need to make use of online sources as well as the social media to help our careers. LinkedIn with the person you want to work for, follow the person who may offer you a job on Twitter and like the page of the company you want to work at.

It is simple but not easy. Let us build our brands from today!