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Events for students – Mark your calendars now!

28 March

Revision Tips Teleconference – just dial in and get exam revision guidance and assignment advice

3 April

Closing date for receipt of postal entries to the June 2008 exams
9 April Closing date for completion of online entries to the June 2008 exams
25 April Studying Members event, ideal for those taking exams or assignments
9 May Student Support Group Syllabus Revision workshops begin. Ideal for self-studiers, distance learners, re-takers and anyone preparing for success
May Certificates issued to those who have completed and passed a Chartered Institute of Marketing qualification in December 2008
1 - 5 June June exams take place
28 August June exam and assignment results posted

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Nine top tips for writing a better blog

There’s almost as many types of blogs as there are bloggers. Some are focused on personal interests; others are concerned with the latest trends – whether those are in digital marketing, the financial arena or shoe styles. Blogs connected to websites give businesses a forum to discuss new ideas or debate changes. Hewlett Packard offers its customers a wide range of resources and support at their blog. megaphone

Blogs that get the most traffic are listed on Technorati. But there’s one thing all successful blogs have in common – writing that engages and informs a targeted audience. So here are seven tips to get your own blog rolling. And, if you want to try out some new ideas, or respond to the opinions of others, the GLR now has its own blog, so join the debate.

1. Spend some time on design

Sophisticated or simple, you can find software and designs that work. Pictures can make a difference and thumbnails of contributors are a good idea.

2. Think inverted pyramid

Start by making your point and mentioning your most important ideas. Use you body copy to fill in the details.

3. Use a headline that summarises your main idea

Don’t be canny, coy or cute. Your headline functions as micro content and should work as a stand alone or in an RSS reader.

4. Use the first person

Blogs work because they’re personal and authentic. Using ‘I’ is more direct, simpler and more personal. Many bloggers post a bio and a photo so visitors feel they know them.

5. Stick to your subject

If you’re writing a business blog, don’t suddenly switch to movies, family issues or music. Your visitors have expectations of what they’ll find and going off on a tangent will ensure they don’t come back.

6. Post often

At least once a week if not more. New content keeps visitors engaged and encourages search engines to crawl your site.

7. The first link is the most important

Most people click on the first link, so it should be the main one for your blog.

8. Brevity is key

Try to keep your posts short – less than 300 words. And break up your ideas with bullet points.

9. Short sentences

Blogs are written quickly and read in the same way. So don’t waste time on long and complicated sentences.

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Marc Duke talks Twitter, tweets and customer relations

twitter
Twitter is a microblogging platform that allows users to send short messages (tweets) to people who share their network.

Marc, why do you use twitter?

“I use it to find out what key influencers think. I work with people who express their opinions on vendors and other issues using short, sharp tweets. One person I track has 4,000 twitter followers. His business model is completely digital. He’s also well-known blogger. At a recent event, he twittered regularly and all his followers knew what he was thinking in an instant. I got into a conversation with him about one of his earlier tweets. He asked me to send the tweet back to him so he could use it as the starting point for a new blog. And that’s exactly what happened. A short idea turned into a longer opinion piece with a potentially new and different audience. Twitter is a useful tool for sharing ideas or information, and one people are definitely engaging in. It’s also a tool that can connect to other applications, like blogs.”

blackberryWhat other tools are important?

“The whole marketing landscape is changing, and new tools are introduced all the time. People talk about Facebook or blogs and they quote some impressive numbers and statistics. But the real question is - How do we make the most of them? I think it’s a matter of integration. Some clients may want emails. Others prefer to be contacted through a social network that they use regularly. Generation Y, for example, is completely conversant with social media and they don’t particularly want to be emailed. For them, it’s faster and more efficient to communicate through a different tool. Social networks also create trust. I know people find jobs through their Linked-In networks. After all, if the candidate shares your community, you may feel more comfortable or even positive about meeting them. A personal recommendation from someone you know carries weight. iPhones and Blackberries are becoming increasingly popular. They give people access to a range of applications and networks – connected to both work and private life. You can easily visit Facebook from your mobile. The key is finding the best way to build relationships with all your different customers.”

What do you see as the outcome of these new platforms?

“Better customer relationships. We shouldn’t get too hung up on tools and instead just learn to use them. There’s no short-cut to good relationships, you need to invest in them. Twitter can tell you if people don’t like your products, and so can a company blog. Knowing what your customers think can give your business a genuine advantage – and that’s especially important in the current climate.”

marc dukeMarc graduated from Imperial College with a degree in Chemistry with Management. He’s a Chartered Marketer with a Chartered Institute of Marketing Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and an Advanced Certificate in Marketing; he speaks French and Hebrew fluently.

With more than nine years marketing experience working both in-house and with agencies, he has developed and implemented strategy; organised events and devised evaluation models for UK, European and Global campaigns. He’s now a marketing consultant helping technology firms improve their marketing. Outside of work he enjoys singing and voluntary work. Visit his blog.

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Fight the recession with the right messages

Sales down? Advertising that worked a year ago may not be so successful right now. Developing a message that’s relevant and meaningful is the first step to engaging consumers. What do they want? Have their ideas or values changed? What are they looking for now? Consumers are still spending money, but companies have to work harder to make sure their offering and their message is right for the changing economy. Communicating value is the key. Here are five proven approaches.

asda1. Comparison shopping

Cheaper. Better. Faster. So much of advertising is built on comparisons. And, when money is tight this is a direct way of gaining share. If you can prove you’re selling the same product for less money, people are sure to listen. ASDA, Tesco, and Boots are in this arena with strong, copy led ads that point directly to prices. An ideal approach for business-to-business.

m&s2. Taking a new position

Premium. Budget. Introducing a new category helps people see products in a new light. On the one hand, a premium product can offer quality for a new low price. On the other hand, a product at the value end can make the jump to quality. M&S is showing us budget-friendly quality and Aldi is showing us premium quality for a better price. Both will help keep customers loyal.

ikea3. A change of scene

Security. Stability. Comfort. Home isn’t just where the heart is, it’s where we want to go when times are uncertain. By showing customers that the benefits of a product are connected to the comforts of home, consumers may be inclined to buy. If products that were previously just for you are now for the whole family, will they gain appeal? Just look to Ikea’s home-focused advertising for an answer.

hovis4. Nostalgia, again

Heritage. History. Wholesome. Sometimes, it’s reassuring to look to the past. After all, it really wasn’t so bad…you knew your neighbours and people were a lot friendlier. Hovis is probably the best example of a brand that understands the hold history can have on people. For a business with a solid history this approach could be effective.

kelloggs5. Keep it simple

Straight. Simple. Understandable. It’s easier to respond to a clear message than to one with too many buttons and bows. Kellogg’s latest 10p per bowl ad is a great example of how effectively a single statement works. Mobile phones are also definitely using this sell and so are a host of other organisations.

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Case study: Bausch & Lomb – how social links build careers and business

Social networking isn’t just a tool for people who share interests or hobbies, and it isn’t simply another way to send messages or spread information. Businesses can create networks to strengthen their internal communications – and share information that would improve relationships among their teams. A network can be a tool that unites a business community.

bausch & lombChristine Harris is a Sales & Marketing Coordinator at Bausch & Lomb, one of the world’s leading eye care companies. She describes how a new internal portal improves communication – and makes her busy schedule a little easier to manage. It’s helped her and her colleagues to find new and better ways to contribute to the success of Bausch and Lomb.

“Our internal portal was implemented roughly three months ago and has proven to be an invaluable tool for all roles. My input is largely on our marketing promotions. It’s important that Sales and Customer Service Teams know exactly what is happening. We are already witnessing the benefits in our Customer Service Department, with improved communication and interaction between Customer Services, Management and Marketing.

The portal provides a central source of information, from product details to online training. Marketing materials, such as clinical information, product promotions and POS are posted on the site. The site is constantly updated; people using it know that it is the latest information - ideal for employees working in a fast-moving business!

Streamlining information into one central location helps people to feel like they’re part of a wider community, and having the knowledge available allows employees to be more confident when talking to customers. One manager already uses a magazine format to communicate with the team, and there are plenty of improvements planned for the future, as the portal is developed.

A discussion board is available for employees to post ideas and questions. This really helps people to share ideas and learn from one another. It’s made a difference to my job; I have found that I’m no longer re-sending e-mails out the team, or find myself tracking back through long e-mail trails to find information. In that respect, it has helped me and the team to be far more efficient, cutting down on interruptions and duplication of work.

Being an intranet site, it also links to other internal websites (including the Bausch & Lomb University) – and ultimately links us to the global network.”

Unexpected plus

eyeway“The US website ‘Eyeway’ – led me to the Innovation Place. This is open to all Bausch & Lomb employees.

Employees can post ideas or make suggestions to improve our products and processes. Last July, I put forward my own suggestion to improve the way we label our products. It turned out to be a good idea as it was very relevant to our compliance messaging.

I’ve now been given the responsibility to work with the development team in the US and local Market Research teams to conduct research to test the market, before going to the next phase of production. It’s been a great opportunity for me personally, as it’s allowed me to put into practice the theory I have learnt from The Chartered Institute of Marketing Professional Diploma.”

A better business

By giving people a new way to communicate, Bausch & Lomb encourages individual employees and their teams to share information and ideas. When people know and understand the business they work for, they’re in a much stronger position to contribute to the business, such as helping to refine processes.

christine harrisChristine Harris

Christine is currently Sales & Marketing Coordinator at Bausch & Lomb. She’s the bridge that links Customer Service, Marketing and Sales. It’s a challenging role that sees her schedule and manage weekly meetings to discuss marketing initiatives with representatives from the Customer Service and Sales Teams. If there’s new material or literature, she’s there to make sure people have access to the information they need. A combination of creativity and tenacity keep her moving forward. Previously, Christine worked in Customer Services, supporting Key Accounts. When she’s not busy with Bausch & Lomb’s latest project, she’s studying for her Diploma in Marketing from The Chartered Institute of Marketing.

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Spot light on: MediaTrust

media trustBased in London, MediaTrust is the GLR’s newest charity partner. Its aim is to harness the skills and resources of the media industry to help charities and voluntary organisations. Media matching is one of the organisation’s core programmes. Using an online system, a charity can put in requests for anything from a press release to a strategic marketing plan. They are then matched with a volunteer adviser ready to supply a solution. MediaTrust also organises speedmatching events that bring together ten or twelve charities and an equal number of advisers. Like their speed dating counterparts, every charity gets five minutes with each adviser. At the end, they’re welcome to get in touch with their favourite suitor.

Being an adviser doesn’t have to be taxing. It’s something that’s flexible and easy to fit around your other commitments. Help out once a year, or take on a longer project that requires several meetings. MediaTrust also offers training that encourages charities to develop new skills and resources. All it takes is a few hours of sharing your expertise. Working with a charity makes a great addition to your CV, and gives you a chance to make a difference where change is needed most. Find out more.

To get involved as an adviser, please contact Felicity Lambert on 020 7217 3771. Or email felicityl@mediatrust.org.

case studyCase study: Guardian exec helps London youth

At a recent speedmatching event, Hannah Diddams, Digital Agency Sales Executive at the Guardian, met her match. The lucky organisation was Envision, a charity supporting16-19 year olds in developing community projects that tackle issues ranging from street crime to climate change.

Hannah only needed to spend a few hours with Envision, but it made a big difference. Hannah explains; “Talia from Envision met me for coffee shortly after the speedmatching event. We discussed the ways I could help Envision and the challenges facing the medium-sized charity determined to continue growing.” After the first meeting, Hannah attended one of Envision’s events and the rest was done via telephone and e-mail.

Sharing knowledge and contacts was the key to this match. “The match worked because we needed Hannah’s expertise. She’s so personable and genuine. We got on well straight away”, says Talia.

Hannah comments, “My marketing degree and background as a Business Development Manager for a not-for-profit youth media organisation combined with my media experience meant I could advise Envision on strategies for the future. My focus was on building an improved profile through communications and finding additional funding”.

The charity used Hannah’s suggestions and made changes to their event strategy: “I acted on Hannah’s advice and included additional stakeholders at a recent event, it worked beautifully,” enthuses Talia.

Hannah is keen to continue her work with Envision. She comments, “I hadn't realised how much of a difference our meeting made. This has been a great experience and I’m even more committed to working with Talia and the team this year."

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Win an easter hamper full of chocolate

chocolateChocolate and spring go together like Easter and bonnets, chicks and eggs, bunnies and ... Anyway, to celebrate the season, we’re giving away not one but two lovely baskets of chocolate. The first is a classic combination of Cadbury’s finest and the second is from Green and Black, a company famous for bringing us the best in organic.

win

To enter the prize draw, all you need to do is fill in a very brief questionnaire by 31 March 2009.

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GLR charities

Run the British 10k in London for Paralympics UK

July will be here before you know it. If you’re already in training or getting ready to start, a 10k run could be the challenge you’re looking for. So mark you calendar for Sunday, July 12, and get out in the spring sunshine and start running.

charity 10k

Mark Ganellin, Chartered Marketer and long-time GLR member has already committed to the race. Follow his story on the GLR Blog. Even better sponsor him by visiting the bmycharity page.

ben nevisTry summit new with the Prostate Cancer Charity

The Prostate Cancer Charity isn’t afraid of a little challenge. Or a big one, for that matter. This summer, they’re planning not one but two climbing trips to raise funds for their projects. Both are great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and do something that will help thousands.

Ben Nevis Trek, May 22-24

At 4406 feet (1343 metres) Ben Nevis is Scotland’s highest peak and a must for anyone with a sense of adventure. This weekend promises to be one you’ll never forget. All you need to do is pay a £50 deposit and raise at least £375. In return, you’ll have accommodation for two nights, food and experienced guides to take you safely up the mountain.

3 peaks challengeThree Peaks Challenge July 10-12

This is for people ready to take on even more of a challenge: the highest mountains of Scotland, England and Wales. You’ll start by scaling Ben Nevis, continue on to England’s Scafell Pike and end at Mount Snowdon in Wales. To make a start, all you have to do is pay a £50 deposit and raise at least £585. Your accommodation, transportation, food and guides are all included.

If you’d like to take part, contact Gemma Cornwell on 0208 222 7630 or Pauline Angus on 0208 222 7134. You can also email events@prostate-cancer.org.uk.

media trustGive some time to the MediaTrust

Our newest charity partner gives GLR members the chance to help charities overcome their marketing challenges. It’s a great way to make a difference and it could give your CV just the boost it needs. Have a look at their profile and a recent success story.

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London calling...

Wanted: GLR Members for the West London Team!

When you’re part of a great team, you can achieve even more.

The West London and Heathrow Branch of the GLR has exciting plans for the future. To make those plans a reality, the team now needs volunteers whose energy and enthusiasm will succeed in bringing like-minded professionals together.

Roles with this kind of potential don’t come along every day. Join us and you’ll be involved in delivering and hosting a wide range of exciting events. Even better, you’ll be in a position to meet some of the most dynamic people in marketing. So, if you’re looking for a better way to build your own professional network, you’ve just found it.

Interested? We hope so. To find out more, please contact Louise Elliott, West London and Heathrow Team Leader, at louise.elliott@mouchel.com.

Be a mentor

mentoringIf you’re looking for a new way to get involved with the GLR, consider becoming a mentor. Our free mentoring service matches people who need guidance with professionals who have the experience to give it. Mentors don’t need formal qualifications, but most have around ten years experience or more. If you’ve been awarded Chartered Marketer status, so much the better.

You can claim up to 21 CPD hours for a year of mentoring. There’s no exacting schedules and you can meet in person or work over the phone. An hour a month or whenever you’re needed, it’s up to you.

If you’d like to find out more, get in touch with Philip O’Brien, philipobrien@usa.net.

Blogs about town

blogsMove right down inside the train

Have something to say about the Circle Line? Need to let off steam about the general want of good manners? There’s a site that will let you get every transport related moan, groan or suggestion off your chest. It’s a little corner of London in cyberspace called Together for London.

From Beijing to Blighty

The Olympics and Paralympics are hot topics among marketers in London. How much will they cost? Who will profit? Find out on the official blog.

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For your eyes only – info for studying members

student support groupMake exam terminology work for you.

We’ve all done it - answered the exam question we thought was being asked. No matter how much you know or how well you have studied, if you overlook the language used in a question, you can waste time going off on a tangent. Or worse, simply not answer the question at all. Here are words you’ll want to watch especially when you’re taking a diagnostic quiz.

One of these can help you understand what you’ve achieved and where you need to focus in the future.

Advise - explain then conclude and finally recommend
Briefly - keep it short and concise
Compare - stick to the differences, advantages, disadvantages; then conclude and make recommendations
Criticise - provide the accepted theory or model and discuss positive and negative; offer evidence and examples
Describe - do so with details
Discuss - give arguments for and against, examine implications and deliver a conclusion
Evaluate - appraise, weigh up, determine the usefulness
Explain - give the exact reasons something has happened
Illustrate - clarify by giving explicit examples
Outline - provide the overall structure without investing in detail
Relate - demonstrate connections, show similarities and how they could have an impact on each other
Summarise - Offer a brief account of the main points without details

Don’t forget to sign up for How to pass your qualifications, 25 April 2009, London Metropolitan Business School

28 March

Revision Tips Teleconference – just dial in and get exam revision guidance and assignment advice. To reserve your place, call Caroline on 01784 463 057 by the end of Thursday, 26 March. She’ll give you a phone number and PIN to use for log in. The conference begins promptly at 10:00 am and at 10:02 further entries will be blocked. The hour-long session is designed to help you pass your Chartered Institute of Marketing qualifications with the least amount of stress and the best possible results. From looking at common mistakes to understanding the latest changes to the syllabus, this could be just the push you need to organise your study schedule.

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