Global Inequality in Tech: Part Two

Earlier this year, I wrote what turned out to be a fairly depressing post on how jobs around the world and across many industries are slowly becoming automated, resulting in massive job losses and a resultant ever-increasing gaps in equality.

Much of the focus so far has tended to be on manual jobs, being replaced by robots, and causing a gap between those with digital skills and those without. Yet, while that’s absolutely true, a lot of digital and office jobs are slowly being replaced too. Front-line customer service is being replaced by chatbots. Last time, I mentioned an insurance firm using computers to automate customer quotes. There have been a lot of other examples in the past few months – it feels like we’re finally starting to reach that long-predicted AI point.

There are advantages to the rise of the computer.

This was my first reaction to the Venturebeat article linked above – that systems that can do calculations for me, sort emails, take notes etc. could potentially massive increase my productivity. In fact, in my current job much of the technology to do that certainly already exists, though not necessarily widely or cheaply (so we know that it soon will be.) This article from Digital Trends predicts that:

AI alone could double annual economic growth rates for some countries by 2035

However, the new technology simply doesn’t translate into new jobs. So not only will there be massive job loss, I wonder what will happen to the entry-level and graduate jobs of many positions. If there is no more need for the Marketing Assistant level-type roles, where is the traditional stepping stones, in my career area, at least, and many others? If people can’t gain  work experience in those low level roles, they may have to spend a lot longer in higher education to gain the skills necessary to actually advance, and even in the most developed nations that is a path increasingly only open to those with money and supportive families.



Marketing Essentials Notes Part 3

I ended up writing two very short, but very different posts today, rather than one longer topic. The first one is here.

I’ve been making a few more short notes from the marketing textbook Marketing Essentials as I work through it – here’s part one and part two.

In this section, I was looking at Consumer Buyer behaviour.

Marketing Essentials outlines four different types of buyer: Routine Response Buyer, Limited Decision Maker, Extensive Decision Maker and Impulse Buyer.

Often, this has less to with with the buyers themselves than with the product. For example, you are more likely to put more thought, time and research into buying a new car (Extensive Decision Making) than into buying a pint of milk. Milk would be a Routine Response purchase, as you are likely to go to the same place (the supermarket) to buy your usual product, and if that wasn’t available (perhaps it’s not your usual brand, or there’s only semi-skimmed, not skimmed) then you would buy the next available similar product without really thinking about it.

Limited Decision Making covers both products that the consumer only buys occasionally, as well as when they need to research an unfamiliar product or brand.

Impulse buying, however, involves little or no research at all. Impulse buying is encouraged both in physical stores and online through more elaborate POS (point of sale) displays. Research has suggested that this is becoming more and more common as a form of buying behaviour, and as a result companies are much likely to use add-on items or prominent displays at check-outs etc. However, over time this can backfire somewhat for the company, because people are much more likely to regret their purchases and don’t develop loyalty to a company and brand. It generates better short-term income, but may not create repeat sales behaviour.



Notes: Marketing Essentials Part 2

Whilst setting up to start studying Hootsuite academy, I found in my notebook some further comments that I’d written on Marketing Essentials (my first set of notes are written up here.) Recently I’ve been trying to go back over old blog posts and refresh what I’ve learned, so I thought I’d better get these notes down before I forget about them!

Marketing Strategies

Few organisations can take advantage of and address every marketing opportunity that comes along and they simply won’t have the time, staff and resources to do so. Therefore organisations have to use market research to know how to focus their marketing programme, and the specialist skills that they will need their staff to have. Staff and their skill sets are particularly important in this area.

The marketing strategy is different to the corporate strategy – this defines the overarching agenda for the whole organisation, whereas the marketing strategy lays out the best way for an organisation to use it’s resources to achieve it’s goals.

This is broken down into specific areas which Marketing Strategies refers to as Strategic Business Units or SBUs. The exact definition of an SBU is according to this book is:

A division, product line or other profit centre within a parent company


So, having gone over that I’ll need to jump back into the rest of that book chapter and make enough notes for a part three post, but firstly it’s back to the Hootsuite course. Much of the course seems to be videos-based, which much like my Google for Business posts during last year’s Blaugust should mean that I’ll also be able to do a few reflective blogposts soon enough.


Updates from France

So for the past week I’ve been in France, and wifi hotspots have been few and far between at times. Instead of keeping up on social media-related reading, I’ve mostly been catching up on the insane amount of political news that I’m scared to miss out on. (Also, dear society, what is wrong with you?!)
My only other internet-based activity is that I have been starting to relearn French, a language I have always known a few basic phrases of but haven’t studied properly since I was around fifteen or so. For this I’ve been using Duolingo, which I’m totally here to recommend even though I’ve only been using it for a few days. It relies on simple repetition in different ways, but every day, with little virtual rewards for each day that you reach your target xp (amount of practice). It’s the perfect example of gamification in action, and it definitely works on me. Plus, you get a shiny badge to put on LinkedIn, which can only help me in all sorts of ways. World events have made me want to commit to being a better global citizen (yes, I went there…) and improving my language skills is a good start.

Notes from starting to study Marketing Essentials

To try and improve my overall understanding of marketing and business, I’ve decided to start going through some degree textbooks (borrowed from my sister’s bookshelf) and making notes on some of the important principles. I’ve also starting some more FutureLearn courses soon.

The book that I’m starting with is Marketing Essentials Second Edition by Sally Dibb and Lyndon Simkin. My basic notes, points etc. are below. (I’ve always found that I learn better from initial handwritten study notes if I type them out and make sure that they’re in a coherent format). I haven’t got very far into the book yet, so there will be a fair few posts after this one, possibly in their own category and round-ups as with my FutureLearn work from the summer.

What is marketing?

Marketing is a complex set of processes

  • Creating Content
  • Communicating with customers and managing relationships
  • Delivering value
  • Providing insights and direction to the overall organisation

So, lots of different but interconnected strands.

The main focus is the understanding and ongoing satisfaction of targeted customers. ‘Targeted’ is the most important word here, it encompasses all the of the audience understanding that goes into marketing so that you can get your product in front of the people who want it, and continue to ensure that you do this as  your customers and/product evolve and change.

Challenges to Good Marketing Strategies

  • Too much of a focus on short-term results, meaning that there is less time spent building customer relationship/loyalty, and no clear long-term aims and goals.
  • Consumer apathy – due to failure to understand and cater to your audience, and lack of ‘big ideas’, especially at management level.
  • The change to consumers lives due to the internet – something that has happened very quickly over the past few years. Marketing and actual purchasing have both moved online through a range of channels – often two-way channels.

Marketing needs to be the ‘radar’ of an organisation, not just to understand the needs of the current customer base but to identify new and emerging markets and their needs. Marketers need to understand purchase behaviour and changing environments, and also have an appreciation for what their competitors do – their strategies and ideas – as well as wider mainstream marketing trends. This is what will make an organisation marketing oriented.

Kickstarter – Regular Pledgers and Regular Failure?

Recently, I made a few tweets about the number of Kickstarters and other crowd-funded projects that I get advertised to me on social media. I sometimes doubt the success of some of this advertising, especially when I see what is being advertised to me, but that’s not the thing that grabbed me (some were definitely being targeted well.) What interested me was the overall success of Kickstarters as a whole, both those that are and aren’t funded.

The term that I used, ‘super-users’, isn’t really the correct one (the term super-user refers something totally different) but I’m not fond of the correct term, a ‘whale’, which comes from the mobile app/gaming world and means the tiny fractions of users who put down a most of the money that keeps a micro-transaction based system going. Anecdotally, there seem to be people out there who pledge to kickstarters all the time. I imagine Kickstarter is aware of this frequent userbase and relies on it – that’s why you get projects recommended to you when you log in or once you’ve pledged to something. Since most Kickstarter users have probably pledged once or twice and then never again, the proportion of regulars – people with disposable income who like to be a part of new projects and feel a sense of ownership in a product – is probably very small, worldwide.

So while it’s passed off as minor, the statistics quoted in the Kickstarter Fulfillment Report might be quite alarming for them – 9% of funded projects failed to deliver on promised rewards. 9% might not sound like a lot, but for regular pledgers, 1 in 10 of their rewards won’t happen.

In it’s earlier days, Kickstarter was rocked by some fairly high-profile failures in various areas (heavily in the gaming sector) but thankfully these didn’t bring the website down as a whole and it’s gone on to produce some fantastic stuff. But they will have to be careful with attrition rate – if regular users have one failure too many.

Blaugust 31: A Whole Month of Posts

I’m done! Across one month, thirty-one days, I’ve produced one (sometimes more than one) blog post per day! This is my second year doing the Blaugust challenge, and while both time I succeeded and finished the month, this time felt a lot easier. Mainly, that had to do with my Future Learn courses, which gave me plenty to talk about, and meant I didn’t need to crawl around various websites trying to find a topic that was relevant and inspired me to write something meaningful about it.

What I learned from this year’s Blaugust
As I mentioned above, having a topic to start with definitely helps, and also gives this blog some kind of continuity, rather than just bouncing from subject to subject, or (something I’ve been frequently guilty of!) planning to go back to a topic and then not doing it.  

Also, posts really don’t have to be that long. Back in university, I remember reading a book which claimed that the best posts should be no more than 200-300 words in length. Of course, I never stuck to that back then, because I felt it would never be enough to articulate what I want to say. Sometimes it still isn’t, but if I’m just writing about a single subject, it’s enough space to make my point without starting to go in depth to the point where I have to write an awful lot to make sure everything makes sense. 

I frequently wrote several posts at a time, rather than one per day. While this might not be entirely in the spirit of Blaugust, they were all written within August and it definitely took some pressure off for days when I was busy, or travelling etc. This also helped with the planning side of things- I could write several posts on a similar topic and schedule them. 

But perhaps most importantly, I really got the learning bug over this month, and I think maybe it’s time to look for something for long term and formal as my career progresses. I’ve already started getting in contact with some organisations and if I do decide to go ahead, I’ll make sure to post my notes here! Posting my Future Learn course notes turned out to be a free learning aid, as I had to totally understand what I was writing about to order to make something that would be understandable to others and I’d like to continue with that.