Digital Marketing Tutorials for Tourism and Services

Digital Marketing Tutorials and the Application of Digital Marketing

How can small or medium sized businesses take advantage of digital marketing benefits i.e. economic and effective for sustainable customer centred strategy over long term?

This is opposed to short term and one-off marketing strategy based round costly and low analytic conventional channels such as print, radio and television focused upon indirect ROI or KPIs, especially digitally literate generations?

Advantages of Digital Marketing

The advantage of keeping marketing in house and using digital versus outsourcing include:

  • Requires market research into consumer behaviour, with focus upon and directed by existing, prospective customers and stakeholders
  • Unique to your business or organisation and target market with your website as ‘shop front’ being visible online locally, regionally, nationally or globally for market reach and penetration
  • Analytically rich through variety of channels during search and purchasing process while customer feedback can confirm KPIs as valid
  • After initial front loading of technical resources, marketing content and including financial, a living system has been created which can be maintained, reviewed and adapted following the SDLC systems development life-cycle (versus one off strategy or campaigns although not precluded e.g. ‘Best Job in the World’ dependent upon social media)
  • The system can run organically through inbound digital marketing techniques attracting targeted traffic through SEO search engine optimisation and customer generated (social) media
  • Allows customer and stakeholder input, ownership to inform system and an increased likelihood of success due to authenticity and grounding, or ‘bottom up and lateral’ digital communication channels

Some years ago, the ATDW Australian Tourism Data Warehouse developed the award-winning ATDW Marketing e-Kit downloaded several hundred thousand times, especially offshore.  The kit summarised below is pitched at sole, small or medium businesses who cannot and should not commission large advertising or marketing companies to promote their business, and do not require high level expertise.  Further, larger marketing bodies e.g. Tourism Australia, should have no need to commission global advertising giants for marketing strategy when they have a highly visible shopfront or website already?

 

  1. Who is this document designed to assist?

These ATDW tutorials have been put together to help small and medium Australian tourism operators successfully market their business online. If you don’t have a website for your business or have one that is not performing to your or your customer’s expectations, these tutorials are for you.

Further, the same can be replicated across other sectors or industries whether goods or services, the principles of good (digital) marketing strategy are the same.

  1. Roadmap to success

What do I need to do and in what order? Each tutorial can be read independently and no
technological background is required to understand their content.
You will find a list of all the tutorials organised in different sections on the following:

a) The basics
b) Website
c) SEO Search Engine Optimisation
d) e-Marketing
e) Online booking e-Commerce
f) Analysis and statistics
g) Online distribution
h) Social media

 

  1. Why the Internet?

The Internet is a network of computer networks, which anyone can access and participate in using a web-enabled computer. Users turn to the Internet to search for information and interact with other users such as friends, peers and communities. It comes as no surprise that travellers use the “net” extensively to plan and organise their trip. Latest international research shows that more than 80% of travellers do so.
This signifies that- as a tourism business – you need to move your Internet strategy to the centre of your business model. Having a website that sits “on the side”, a Facebook page that isn’t managed and no social media strategy will not allow you to compete in the online world.

Business and organisations need to move beyond the notion of digital (channels) being an added budgetary item for any advertising or marketing spend and leverage their own customer base for feedback, generation of marketing content, transmission or sharing and visibility.

For more blog and articles related to services and digital marketing click through.

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International Education Marketing – Conventional versus Digital

Traditional International Education Marketing

 

There have been criticisms for some decades regarding the effectiveness of universities’ and related education institutions’ international marketing and their ability to identity what the market needs and communicating effectively (Nicholls et al., 1995).

 

Anecdotal complaints from within larger institutions, whether faculty or administration, is that even with high enrolment numbers, there is little understanding of ‘how’ students came to be enrolled, let alone those prospective students who did not, with indirect or invalid KPIs (key performance indicators).

 

This is compounded further in large entities by organisational structures on large campuses, leading to potentially sub-optimal co-ordination between international marketing, admissions, web marketing team, suppliers or agents and students; resulting in silos impacting analysis of communication and information sharing.

International Students - Digital Marketing

International Education Digital Marketing

(Image copyright Pexels)

Conventional Marketing or Sales?

 

Marketing strategy emerging in the 1980s relied upon travel to physical recruitment events, distribution of brochures or ‘marketing materials’ by hand, appointment of agents; mostly short-term sales and ROI model or basic ‘4Ps’.

 

This latter financial and physical ROI method of evaluation e.g. numbers of brochures distributed, and students recruited, may not be highlighting the important factors or process leading to enrolments, or missing many factors altogether e.g. WOM (word of mouth)?

 

The assumed positive outcomes from such strategies may be correlated with other factors such as ongoing WOM with peers, suitable course availability or online visibility.  Previous research had already highlighted critical factors of significance including need for innovation, quality staff and image, service culture, good use of information technology (IT), healthy financials, technical excellence and broad range of courses (Mazzarol, 1998). There is focus upon internal human and technical resource factors required as inputs for good marketing and communication, but not behaviour of those seeking relevant information.

 

Meanwhile, over ten years ago formal research recognised and confirmed in decision making of a student sample, it’s course first, over reputation and destination, along with creating awareness through search engine optimised (SEO) visible websites to be found directly and easily (Gomes & Murphy, 2003).

 

This latter study is one of the few formal research articles related to international student purchasing behaviour available in the public domain, yet emphasising the importance of SEO and digital over ten years ago.  However, Australia’s pre-eminent and university owned student marketing and recruitment vehicle IDP, like most and according to formal job description, does not view analysis of enrolled students or other prospective students as important or essential (IDP, 2016)?

 

There has been little if any related or formal research on how students find information except some industry groups, mostly in Europe about ‘how’ prospective students behave and interact.

 

For more articles or blogs on education, training, marketing and society, click through to Academia profile of Andrew J. Smith.

Introduction to Digital or e-Marketing for Small Business – Instructional Design

Topic:  Introduction to Digital or e-Marketing

for Small Business

 

Goal:

Small business owners and/or managers understand the concepts, resources and actions for a digital or e-marketing strategy.

Subject Matter Expert and/or Target Market:

Have the SME covered personally, however I would potentially approach a local business chamber of commerce looking to support local businesses in their marketing and sales.  It could also target a specific sector, like has already been done below, i.e. travel and tourism, or international education sector.

 

Rationale:

Worked in education and training small business related to study abroad in Australia developing a digital marketing strategy covering Central Europe, Turkey, UK and Australia; conventional marketing was too expensive, not transparent and ineffective.

Self-taught using available online resources, became familiar with many techniques and actions, with formalisation of learning through recent MBA course subject ‘e-Marketing’.

In my professional experience, in addition to state university and vocation school marketing managers, many small private colleges precluded any effective digital marketing strategy in favour of expensive conventional advertising and promotion via travel to one off events for international student recruitment; not financially viable in new markets nor medium term market development.

Generally Australia has low very digital literacy amongst managers and owners, including small business, due to legacy industries preferring existing processes, sub-optimal education curricula, demand for immediate simple solutions and lack of innovation.

However, the travel and tourism industry, with state agency support, have had access for over 10 years to an e-Marketing kit, designed for small travel operators to leverage their marketing and sales digitally, both locally in Australia and internationally with global network; it’s been quite successful as world’s best practice.

The advantage is that small businesses with good digital strategy can increase their target market, analyse well, work with their and gain insight into their own customer base and have more significant profile than physically larger organisations.

 

Content Delivery &/or Presentation:

Can be introduced, presented, learnt and assessed via basic understandable steps, requiring participants to bridge differences between conventional marketing or sales, with digital.

 

 The design would include:

 

  1. What is marketing? How do your customers find you? What do they say about you?
  2. Website appearance, design and management and content management systems (CMS)
  3. Social Media how does it work? Which blog and social media?
  4. SEO/SEM How to reach new audiences and markets?
  5. How to evaluate any strategy or system?

 

Teaching and learning resources would include examples of good (and bad) practice via following or analysing a business from its website (social media, blogs, customer feedback etc.), feedback from participants relating to their own business examples.

This should be leading to them being able to assess needs, develop strategy, implement and evaluate, continually.

Outcomes are assessed by learner input, producing a strategy or approach, resources and media e.g. how to create a Facebook page, open a Twitter account, find useful resources etc.; using own PC, laptop, tablet or mobile.

After this overview, e.g. even presenting to actual target audience, could lead to being commissioned for more of the same, and higher-level training courses.

Adult Learning – Andragogy not Pedagogy

Adult Learning in Context for English Teaching and Digital or e-Marketing for Small Business

How to teach English as a Foreign Language in the UK, teacher trainers designed a good quality program with right mix of theoretical input, teaching, learning and assessment activities, discussion, observations of practice, lesson plan design and observed practice lessons with immediate feedback.

The issues were then going onto work in the English teaching sector in Turkey for over a year, but missed the essential post course development from qualified native speaking DELTA director of studies e.g. expert  and/or peer observations.

Adult training and learning with andragogy

Andragogy for Adult Learning

Image Copyright Pexels.com

  1. Adult Learning Theory:

Andragogy includes need for knowledge, motivation, willingness, experience, self-direction and task based learning.  Transformational Learning is exemplified by identification of an issue, personally relevant and application of critical thinking or reflection. Experiential learning, via Kolb, revolves round concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization and active experimentation (Gutierrez, 2016 & Pappas, 2013).

CELTA trainee teachers are motivated, must be self-managing after training when they may not have expert support.  Teaching adults, one can use their input to guide lessons for local needs and ‘personalise’.  Kolb’s experiential learning theory is most relevant in English language learners taking on new language structures or functions in the classroom through presentation, practice and production or fluency, then applying outside the class room.

  1. Principles of Andragogy:

In the (Australian) international education sector marketing, need for ‘Introduction to Digital or e-Marketing’; few if any related personnel are motivated to learn.  Many international education marketing managers dismiss digital marketing as ‘technical’ for web team, in favour of ‘approved’ travel to international student events.

The solution is to find a senior institution leader who can support the same CPD in digital marketing with marketing managers i.e. motivated marketing managers being involved in planning and evaluation, informed by experience, relevant and problem centred, which can then be applied in the field (Ibid.).

 

Reference List:

Gutierrez, K. (2016) Adult Learning Theories Every Instructional Designer Must Know. Available at: https://www.shiftelearning.com/blog/adult-learning-theories-instructional-design (Accessed on: 20 November 2017).

Pappas, C. (2013) Instructional Design: The Adult Learning Theory – Andragogy of Malcolm Knowles. Available at: https://elearningindustry.com/the-adult-learning-theory-andragogy-of-malcolm-knowles (Accessed on: 20 November 2017).