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Introduction to marketing assignment.

Friday, October 24, 2014
by Ben Cahill

As a way to introduce the marketing topic, I get my students to research and present an example of an interesting and / or innovative marketing campaign. As well as providing some great examples, it gets them thinking about some of the key terms that we will use as we progress through the unit. 

To start off with, I show them a couple of examples of an innovative campaign. The first is a campaign for Duracell in which holding hands with someone else in a bus stop causes it to provide heating. The video for this can be seen below.

Another example which is not video based is Google's own campaign for its search app. This can be seen here.

We talk about what these businesses are trying to achieve with their campaigns, who the target market might be and an estimate of the cost involved. I then explain that I want them to find something similar and present it to the class. My only stipulation is that it can't be a TV commercial - I want something a bit different. It could be video based like the Duracell campaign or one or a series of pictures like the Google campaign. The following questions should be answered.

- what did you like about the campaign?

- who is the campaign aimed towards (target market) and what are the likely objectives?

- what are the likely costs involved and how might this compare to a TV advertising campaign?

It is not meant to be a major piece of work, although it could be scaled up as much as you like (for example it could be done at the end of the marketing unit). I work with a maximum of 3 slides on the answers plus whatever they need to actually show the campaign.

Another example that I have used in the past is the Invisible Mercedes, see below.

Trick or Treat Business Challenge

Monday, October 20, 2014
by Jim Riley

A seasonal quiz challenge for your business students here courtesy of @tutor2u_jon in the tutor2u Learning Lab.

You'll need some suitable treats handy before you start.

Each student must choose one of the pumpkins on screen. If the student is lucky the pumpkin will have a smiley face and the student simply receives a treat. If they are unlucky the pumpkin will have a wicked face and they must correctly answer the business question to earn a treat!

We've provided 10 questions ready to go. You can edit this PPT file to add your own.

Download Trick or Treat Business Challenge

Manufacturing - Energy Costs and Competitiveness

Friday, October 17, 2014
by Jim Riley

Surveys of manufacturing businesses in the UK often ask what aspect of government policy would be most helpful to manufacturers. High up the list of priorities come a better-trained and educated workforce, lower taxes and greater financial incentives to invest in R&D. However, there is one factor that nearly always comes top - energy pricing.

A new survey from the EEF (the manufacturer's trade association) has highlighted the crucial link between energy costs and the competitiveness of manufacturers in the UK.

There is some gold-dust research evidence in the survey and accompanying report for students building their understanding of the factors that determine how competitive manufacturers are - particularly those that are trying to compete in global markets with production based here in the UK.

Some key findings from the survey include:

73% of manufacturers say a projected 50% rise in electricity costs in the UK (by 2020) would have a noticeable impact on profit margins – over half (53%) say it would hit their competitiveness

Energy already accounts for 6% or more of turnover for 27% of firms – affordability is a key concern for 83% of companies

While a third (32%) say the UK’s lead in setting ambitious climate targets drives innovation, 41% say it risks undermining competitiveness

The EEF is calling on the next Government to ensure that energy policy supports ambitions for a better-balanced economy - i.e one that is less reliant on services (and in particular financial services) for economic growth.

The EEF report and survey highlights a dilemma facing policymakers in government. They want to do all they can to support manufacturers in the UK to be competitive. However, they are also committed to policies that promote a low carbon economy, including the imposition of a range of "green" taxes on energy.

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