Final Project: Professional Development by Isman Tanuri


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Final Project: Professional Development by Isman Tanuri

  1. 1. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project Part A Introduction Professional Development Project Objectives This section of the project has been undertaken as an exercise to identify and better understand the author’s key learning competences and personality type. Through discovery of behavioural tendencies, the author will be provided with an opportunity to determine his personal areas of strengths and weaknesses. These insights will provide a comprehensive depiction of the author’s approaches-to-learning and assist him in establishing environments that are optimised for academic excellence and lifelong learning. The next primary objective is to determine the author’s intrinsic personality type and most effective role/s in a team environment. Leveraging on this knowledge will afford the author with advantages in developing employment competences and to confidently chart a successful career path. To achieve the above objectives, the author’s learning competences and personality type will be determined through a series of tests, including the VARK Questionnaire, the Myers- Briggs Personality Type Indicator and the Belbin Self Perception Team Role Profile test. Any implication or impediment to effective learning will be addressed in the reviews of these tests and remedial action will be discussed and outlined. Additional learning and personality insights will be provided by family and friends as further supporting evidence on the author’s persona and learning abilities. Personal Objectives It is important that the value of this professional development project is augmented with a conscious and deliberate effort on the author’s part to determine and refine career aspirations and objectives. Presently employed in a non-marketing business role, the professional development project will serve as a useful platform to provide capabilities and competences insights that will assist in realigning the author’s career towards a marketing- specific role. For contextual purposes and added perspective, this author believes that a career move into the field of digital and online marketing will eventually provide ample professional challenges and career satisfaction. 1
  2. 2. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project Section 1: Who am I as a learner? 1.1 Test Results: Summary and Implications to Learning Analysis Learning Style Tests • VARK Questionnaire The author’s VARK Questionnaire test results (refer to Appendix A1) provided important insights on the author’s approaches to knowledge acquisition and problem- solving. The VARK results revealed the author’s exceedingly multimodal approach towards learning. Two distinct groups have been observed within the sizeable multimodal population (Fleming, 2007). Firstly, the group that exhibits the Context Specific multimodal approach observes the information that is to be attained and chooses learning modes that best suit the circumstances (VARK scores between 16- 25). However, the author, based on test score of 40 points, belongs to the Whole- Sense multimodal approach. Whole-Sense Approach The VARK test originator and researcher, Neil Fleming (2007), explains that whole- sense multimodal learners utilise combinations of learning modes in order to reinforce and achieve ‘complete satisfaction’ in their learning. By accessing multiple sources of information, these learners are better able to trust their understanding of an issue and the outcome of their learning process. This author acknowledges that this is indeed the approach used when confronted with a problem or when information gathering is required on a particular subject. Intuitively, the author always experiences an internal need to corroborate any information provided by another party through deeper fact-finding research. Multiple channels of information are used to gather information, including approaching subject experts (such as oral discussion with knowledgeable friends or family on a particular issue), information search on the internet (read/write mode), visual observation on how physical tasks are completed by experts (for example, the author’s mechanic) and often attempts to solve the actual problem as a means of information gathering. A good example of this was when the author set out to furnish and renovate a newly- 2
  3. 3. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project acquired apartment. A comprehensive learning and research, accomplished through self-help books, internet forums and multiple visits to housing and appliances showrooms, provided the author with a wealth of home furnishing and interior design knowledge. Interestingly, this flurry of activities concluded in the author’s design and installation of the hot water system for the apartment, all these with no prior experience in plumbing. Multimodal Drawbacks and Leverage However, the multimodal approach does have its shortcomings. The author’s constant need for broad learning means that a considerable amount of time is required to address an issue. This may undoubtedly be perceived as hesitation in decision-making. Nonetheless, the author believes that the inquisitive and thorough nature of this learning style offers a wider and deeper understanding of any issue which will almost always provide for an effective and assured decision making. This belief is supported by the research of Marton and Saljo (1976) who argued that the quality of knowledge increase in deep learning is superior to surface learning. Therefore, the author believes that this all-around and constant learning traits must be nurtured and leveraged on to produce a lifelong natural desire for continuous self- upgrade, both in academic learning or professional competences. 3
  4. 4. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project • Honey & Mumford’s Questionnaire In this test, not only does the author’s learning style is identified, a fair depiction of the author’s personality is brought into focus. The author has been primarily identified to have a strong preference within the Activist learner type (see Appendix A2). Key indicators of this learner type include: Enthusiastic learner, prefers full involvement in learning Open-minded to new experiences and always looking for next challenge Activist Learner: The Early Adopter An observable trait of the Activist learner is receptiveness and openness to new experiences. The author’s significant career change at 28 years of age is testament to this trait. This is also the attribute that most likely accounts for the author’s inclination as an early adopter of ideas and technology. Learning Implications and Remedy However, this defining attribute may have an unwelcomed effect on learning and external people-to-people relations. Detrimentally, the author may be susceptible to being easily disinterested in a particular issue or subject matter over a period of time. Therefore, learning subjects that are monotonous or traditional in nature (for example, accountancy or statistics) are not ideal for this author. A remedy to this requires the author to develop a conscious initiative to focus on long-term end-objectives. In a team and working environment, this focus is an absolute necessity and, more importantly, a prerequisite to progress into senior management roles where long-term, corporate objectives must be suitably managed. 4
  5. 5. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project • North Carolina State University Questionnaire Interestingly, the outcome of this assessment provides both balance and affirmation to both the VARK and Honey & Mumford’s test results (refer to Appendix A3). In terms of learning modes, the author achieved an almost balanced score for both Visual and Verbal learning preference, thus confirming the earlier VARK test result of multimodality. The author also displays a balanced preference for both Active and Reflective learning dimensions. The Reflective dimension indicates a likeliness of the author to ‘think through’ and not act prematurely or brashly when making decisions. (Felder and Soloman, no date) Complementary Intuitive and Global Learning The author’s Intuitive learning preference factors strongly in comparison to Sensory learning (9 points on a scale of 1-11). Intuitive learners, as highlighted by Felder and Soloman, are innovative thinkers and excel at understanding concepts and ideas. The author is also assessed to have a moderate preference for the Global learner dimension in contrast to Sequential learning. In this dimension, the Global learning abilities (“getting the big picture”), coupled with Intuitive learning, may produce a leading competence for the author. To achieve this, the author must further develop an inclination to analyse issues or problems from an elevated perspective and be able to succinctly reinterpret the issue at hand and provide innovative solutions. Career-wise, this ability may provide a solid foundation and principal competence in the consulting practice. 5
  6. 6. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project Personality Type Tests Myers Briggs Types Indicator (MMDI Report by Team Technology) The author’s Myers Briggs Types Indicator test results indicated a 74% match in the ENFP personality type. The dominant functions of this type are: • Extraverted Intuition • Introverted Feeling Judgement The ENFP This personality type tends to direct energy towards outer world actions and spoken words and, as comprehensively described by Team Technology (2009), is one who “seeks to develop new potential, explore new possibilities and create situations that yield the expectation of something better” through “work that involves experimentation and variety”. Extraverted Intuition The result of this test uncannily parallels the findings of the earlier approaches-to- learning tests. This test substantiated the dominance of the intuitive nature of this author. Among other aspects that mirror the earlier evaluations are having a global viewpoint and an enjoyment of “change, challenge and variety” (Activist learner). Introverted Feeling Judgement In this function, the ENFP uses feeling judgement to manage his thoughts and emotions, especially in interactions where people are concerned. The ENFP tend to focus his intuition on ideas and possibilities that may benefit others. This predisposition is demonstrable through the author’s passion as an advocate of customers’ rights and benefits. By being able to readily assume the perspective of the customer, the author is able to provide alternative viewpoints in any discussion that relates to marketing or business initiatives that are overly pro-business. 6
  7. 7. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project ENFP in a Team Environment In a team situation, the ideal role for the ENFP is as a catalyst for ideas or a future vision. This recommendation complements well with the author’s Active and Intuitive learning personality and strengths in innovative thinking. However, on the flipside, the ENFP is prone to losing sight of purpose or digression from subject matter. This tendency to change position or evaluate ideas constantly can be easily attributed to the extraverted intuition function that regularly challenges norms. 7
  8. 8. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project Belbin Self Perception Inventory Report In this test to assess most ideal team role profile, the end result is once more a fair reflection of the previously concluded tests (refer to Appendix A5). Plant and Specialist With a 95% inclination towards being a Plant type (recurring traits of ‘imaginative’, ‘creative’ and ‘problem solver’) and 90% preference for Specialist type (‘knowledgeable’, ‘skilful’ and ‘self-starter’), the Belbin test verifies the author’s most valuable contribution in a team situation. In such roles, the author will thrive by contributing subject matter expertise and problem solving skills. Therefore, in group discussions, the author must always be prepared and ready to contribute ideas and perspectives. This will assist in facilitating the general direction and vision of the discussions. This stance will prevent any discussion from being uninteresting and also provide the author with the momentum to be continually challenged intellectually. Completer Finisher and Team Worker In the least preferred segment, the Completer Finisher (‘conscientious’ and ‘careful’) and Team Worker (‘co-operative’ and ‘diplomatic’) team roles appeared to be functions that should be avoided by the author. These roles that the author is unlikely to excel in may require routine and detailed tasks. However, avoidance of least preferred roles is only a measure to provide the author with a most optimum working environment. It is still the author’s prerogative to continue improving areas of weakness such as detailed planning and contributing as a minor team member. 8
  9. 9. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project 1.2 Family & Friends’ Insights and Perspectives Family The main respondent of the author’s family insights is provided by his spouse. When presented with the author’s learning and personality test results, the respondent was in agreement to a majority of the assessments’ outcomes. ‘Obsession’ with Information and Learning The respondent agrees that the author’s consumption of the internet for sourcing of information, reading and learning and keeping up with social technologies (such as Facebook) is comparatively high. This indicates the author’s perpetual search for information and broad learning tendencies, as described in the VARK multimodal theory. The respondent also states that author is prone to ‘tech talk’. This is the sharing of complex technical knowledge which may not interest the respondent, certainly a trait of the Plant and Specialist types. Committed to Long-term Endeavours However, in contrast to the Honey & Mumford’s assessment of “easily losing interest” and “impatient with long term consolidation”, the respondent provided a different perspective to the evaluation. The respondent believes that the author is capable of long term commitment to causes and maintaining complete interest and enthusiasm, as proven through adult learning. However, the author must be provided with new challenges and learning environment to maintain drive and momentum. Hence, the respondent believes that a career in a progressive field, such as digital marketing, where technology and trends constantly evolve will be ideal for the author. 9
  10. 10. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project Friends (Colleagues) The author’s colleagues at his present workplace provided commentary on the author’s learning style and personality type. Commitment to Lifelong Learning and Self-Renewal The colleagues observe that the author is committed to constant learning and always ready for the next academic challenge. This is in reference to the author’s enthusiasm and commitment to part-time study at a mature age. The author is of the opinion that the Belbin description of the Plant (he or she approaches studying “more like an enjoyable hobby”) is an apt description of this attitude. Technology and Trend Savvy The colleagues agree that the author is very comfortable with adapting or learning new technology, including internal IT applications and analysis tools. They are also of the opinion that the author is always savvy and current with business trends, especially in the areas of social networking and desktop computing. This has been demonstrated through real-time sharing of breaking news (an advantage of social technologies) on a regular basis. 10
  11. 11. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project 1.3 Summative Self-Overview Learning Style Personality Type • Multimodal (VARK) • Extraverted Intuition • Whole-Sense Approach • Introverted Feeling Judgment ⁰ • 360⁰ all-round learning • Creative • Intuitive and Innovative • Imaginative • Activist • Problem Solver • Open-Minded • Knowledgeable and Skilful • Challenge-seeking • Strategic and Discerning • Global Learner • Early Adopter 11
  12. 12. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project Section 2: Learning and Personality: Implications on a Career Choice 2.1 Lifelong Learning Strategy Overview In today’s context of employment, this author believes that, over time, an employee’s increasing value of contribution to an organisation is the only measure of an employee’s worth. This can be achieved by periodically identifying skills and competences gap which are then addressed through learning or training. Without actively addressing one’s self- development and skill set limitation, the opportunities to progress into more senior and challenging roles may be limited. The author’s lifelong learning strategy is triangulated by taking into consideration the required competences for his chosen career choice and the author’s learning style and personality type. This will be an effective method of properly addressing professional needs with inherent learning abilities (Duyff, 1999) Learning Insights For this author, previous instances of lifelong learning activities includes computer and software skills upgrades, speech classes, self-learning immersion into the digital marketing domain and, most significantly, taking up diploma and undergraduate studies in order to effect a desired career change. To this author, these learning activities and study programs provided enough breadth, intellectual stimuli and new experiences, consistent with the author’s Activist learning type. In The Works Therefore, the author’s learning strategy, for both in the short and long term, continues in the same manner. In accordance to the author’s all-around, comprehensive and global learning style, the short-term learning strategy will provide the author with opportunities to deeply understand his chosen field in marketing and identify knowledge gaps. Furthermore, the author’s choice of a new career track (digital marketing) provides clear indicators of skills required for domain expertise. The following briefly outlines the short- term learning plan, devised to address current competences gaps and future self- development. 12
  13. 13. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project Short Term Learning and Development • Web analytics skills o Hands-on web analytics skills to gather insights from web users’ data, such as response rate and purchase/behavioural patterns. • Web technology development skills o HTML, Java and other internet authoring languages • Keyword advertising skills o Understand the tools, methodology and revenue model behind keyword advertising • Presentation and communication skills o Communicate effectively in a formal setting, such as public speaking or a high-level executive meeting. Further Afield The long-term learning and development strategy will leverage on the author’s personality type. With assessments such as “able to see a global perspective” and “strategic thinking”, these are potential abilities that should be developed over time. The author’s inclination towards entrepreneurism and independence-in-thought are also good indicators for defining the learning path. The following is a learning and development plan to hone these skills: Long Term Learning and Development • Formal Entrepreneurial Skills Learning A consulting expert who wishes to independently deliver expertise to clients will need to develop business development skills for his practice. Similarly, such skills are also expected of a high-level executive commanding an enterprise-level firm where business growth is closely measured. • Leadership skills This is a set of skills that the author wishes to further hone over time through experience and intellectual reading. The objective is to be able to effectively manage and inspire people towards achievement. 13
  14. 14. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project • Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree The author wishes to pursue an MBA degree in a few years’ time. An MBA degree will ultimately provide the author with an edge in upwardly career progression in the future. 2.2 Transferable Skills for New Career Overview The value of transferable skills must also be recognised and given equal importance in activities that are geared towards securing an ideal employment. The author believes that these skills must be highlighted in context to the type of jobs or career that is sought. These skills can be communicated to prospective employers through a cover letter accompanying the resume. Having been an employed person as well as a small business owner, the author has a ready arsenal of transferable skills that can be exploited in his next career change. Identified Transferable Skills With careful assessment and reflection, the following transferable skills are identified, grouped (Hansen, 2009) and elaborated on based on the author’s personality type and learning skills. Communication Skills • Good command of written and spoken English o As an ENFP, the author is always eager to contribute ideas, so this ability to communicate ideas across clearly to team members is a valuable asset. o Good grasp of language allows for effective communication across cultures and especially suited for regional job roles. Again, the Activist learner’s appreciation of new experiences (including understanding and respecting other cultures) is an ability that is suited for such roles. Research & Planning Skills The following skill set are closely-aligned to the assessment of the author’s personality. These abilities are inherent in the Plant type (‘problem solver’, ‘creative thinker’, ‘single- minded’) and Intuitive and Global learner (‘innovative’, ‘analytical’). 14
  15. 15. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project • Creative problem solving, outside the box thinking o Intuitive ability to creatively solve problems or tasks through non-linear means • Analytical and critical thinking o Able to see different perspectives of a set of data or information and provide critical insights • In depth research o Ability to conduct extensive research to extract information from various resources, especially through the internet Organisation, Management and Leadership Skills • Entrepreneurial skills o The ability to initiate and act on ideas, work with limited resources and optimise available opportunities. These skills are partly the result of having operated a personal business and testament to the author’s single- mindedness and drive towards accomplishments. • Transparency and accountability o This is always important in a business environment where the ability to readily admit mistakes and be accountable for actions or decisions is a strong reflection of ethics and integrity. Stems from the author’s Activist personality of openness and need to share. Human Relations Skills Both of the following skills are closely aligned to the author’s introverted feeling judgement personality. The sensitivity and consideration for others and a strong personal brand instinct are the driving force behind cultivating a ‘people-first’ persona. • Customer-centric attitude o Strong advocate of customer satisfaction, previous experience as a business owner provided opportunity to closely listen and fulfil customers’ expectations. • Team management o The author has demonstrated this ability successfully through managing a cross-regional team operating in various countries. 15
  16. 16. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project 2.3 Justification of Chosen Career Choice Overview As the digital marketer is a relatively new discipline, it can be regarded as a challenging field that requires constant innovation, learning and understanding. The following is a close study on how the author’s learning style and personality type, taking into account the planned learning paths and current transferable skills, will complement and match the demands of this profession. Technology Driven The digital marketer profession is essentially a marketing role with a significant emphasis on the utilisation of the internet and cutting-edge digital tools to engage, communicate and interact with customers and prospects. The author’s learning and personality type suggests that the necessary traits for a technology-driven role are inherent. The Activist learner categorisation supports the author’s penchant for new technology and willingness to be an early adopter of any innovative idea, digital or otherwise. This trait augurs well for a role that requires constant learning and skills upgrade. Furthermore, as highlighted in the Honey & Mumford’s test, a steady stream of these technological challenges will positively keep the author from becoming disinterested. New Rules of Marketing The “rethinking” of marketing and communication strategies, as businesses address the social media phenomenon that has emerged in the last two years, require a new breed of marketers. In the next few years, the author predicts that the marketing discipline will be significantly redefined to emphasise on digital and online interaction. This as traditional media channels, including television and newspapers, continue to lose its influence, with a growing bloc of consumers averting their attention and spending online. Ahead of the Field By moving into the digital marketing field at this point of his career, the author hopes to jump ahead of his contemporaries in the mastery of this domain (an Activist trait of 16
  17. 17. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project seeking new experiences) and, in the process, build a niche of personal influence. This requires an understanding of new marketing concepts and frameworks. The author’s multiple learning abilities and personality traits are assets which are able to support this endeavour. The dominant Intuitive learning ability and Plant/Specialist personality type, as underscored by both the North Carolina State University learning and MMDI personality tests, will provide for quick grasp and appreciation of new concepts and theories. Furthermore, the Active and multimodal learning approach are important tools that will allow the author to further research into this field for complete learning and understanding. Customer Advocacy The social media approach to marketing and communication is underpinned by the greater emphasis on interaction and engagement with communities of people online. To effectively engage in two-way communication with a brand’s community, the ability to empathise and understand the needs of customers and consumers is an important attribute for a marketer. The author’s ENFP introverted feeling judgment disposition matches the required personality type for a customer-centric role. The ENFP’s natural inclination to form decisions using values and beliefs can provide a customer advocacy framework that will counter-balance the downward pressures of corporate objectives and margins (Hirsch and Kummerow, 2008) Creative and Innovative Problem Solving As with any innovative technology or new way of thinking, the adoption and support by the company’s corporate authority may require an indefinite time period for complete realisation. Hence, a limitation to resources may be experienced in pushing and implementation of ideas. Through a strong ability in creative and innovative problem solving, the author will be able to counter the effects of lack of resources or internal support in implementing projects by offering alternative viewpoints and innovative solutions to such problems. This is a strong justification and suitability factor in the author’s choice of a progressive career. 17
  18. 18. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project Part B: Reflective Statement The evaluation of the author’s learning styles and personality types have provided insights and previously unknown information. This is a position of advantage that can assist the author in his personal and professional development. Major Strengths and Weaknesses Identified Among the major strengths of the author that has been identified through this study is the capacity and capability for learning. Knowing this, the author is assured of the ability to continue pursuing knowledge in time to come. The Plant and Specialist assessment from the Belbin test also indicates the author’s strength in being a creative problem solver. These traits will be valuable assets for the author to pursue professional roles that require creative resolutions to problems. However, of concern to the author is his ability to work in a team environment. Without a doubt, this is an important asset to have in any professional situation. Another weakness that has been identified is the ability for long term focus which must be overcome as professional projects might be long term commitments. Career Choice and Implications on Future Career Development The choice of career that the author would like to pursue is one that will allow room to grow and constant innovation. This is true of industries related to technology where innovations are constantly being churned. The implication for future career development is such that, digital marketing will always require skills and knowledge upgrade and this appeals to the author’s learning personality. Also, there will likely to be opportunities to help other parties understand the impact and need for digital marketing and this is something that the author enjoys, which is sharing of learning and information. Topic Choice for Literature Review The author’s chosen topic for the literature review is a reflection of his intention to be as current as possible in a chosen industry. The use of social media in marketing strategies is gaining momentum among marketers because of its innovativeness and its purpose of putting power into the hands of the customers. This appeals to the author’s belief of customer advocacy in commerce. Also, the choice of topic reflects the author’s attraction to both marketing philosophy and the digital domain. 18
  19. 19. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project Literature Review: Role of Social Media in Contemporary Marketing Section 1 1.1 Introduction The sudden emergence of social media in the public realm and the realisation of a powerful and coordinated online consumer-force have raised alarms in corporate offices all over. As consumers increasingly influence each other and share opinionated views on brands and products on the internet, businesses are compelled to rethink and reorganise marketing and communication strategies in order to address this ‘threat’ to traditional ways of doing business. Changed Landscape However, as with any shift in philosophy and trend adoption, understanding the true benefits of leveraging social media in marketing initiatives continues to be a challenge for business organisations. Many question the value of investment in social media and its direct influence on revenue generation. Others question the wisdom of ‘easing control’ over the brand to customers and risking further exposure to public scrutiny. Hence, many early commercial approaches to social media are misguided and flawed as traditional corporate objectives are in disparity with social media’s concept of open and transparent engagement with the marketplace. Nonetheless, this sentiment is beginning to change and marketers are increasingly embarking on social media campaigns in support of traditional marketing efforts. Review Objectives This literature review will attempt to discover whether current social media theories and concepts are relevant and applicable to long-held marketing principles and business philosophies. This review will highlight and critically examine articles and key expert views on the use of social media as a tool in a consumer marketing environment. Through a detailed discussion, the general consensus and established practices of enterprise social media activities will be ascertained and that social media will indeed represent a new frontier that will be beneficial and relevant to the marketing discipline. 19
  20. 20. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project 1.2 Background Social media is currently an evolving ‘phenomena’ in business marketing. Enlightened marketers are beginning to drive the use of social media as a component in their marketing strategy and campaigns to reach out to customers and fans. Among the sub- disciplines of marketing that may utilise social media include promotions, marketing intelligence, sentiments research, public relations, marketing communications and product and customer management. Appendix D provides statistical information of social media adoption across networks and around the world. New Media Channels Social media is described as the “shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content” (Solis, 2007a). People are doing so through the internet in the form of blogs, social networks (eg. Facebook, Myspace, Orkut), news aggregators (eg. Digg, Stumbleupon), video and music portals (eg. YouTube, Last.FM), social bookmarking (eg. Delicious, Reddit), micro-blogging (eg. Twitter, Plurk), online forums and reviews (eg. Amazon, Yahoo Answers!) and other social communication channels (see Appendix E for overview of social media tools). This has been made possible through converging technological evolutions on the internet, dubbed ‘Web 2.0’, the internet as a 2-way communication platform (O’Reilly, 2005). O’Reilly further explains this revolution as the era of participation and of harnessing the collective intelligence, also referred to as the ‘wisdom of crowds’ This surge in consumer online activity and user-generated content is termed the ‘groundswell’ by Forrester researchers, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff (2008) in their book of the same title. As the groundswell began exhibiting collective influence through sharing on the internet, businesses began to take notice and seek ways to participate in the ‘conversations’. Enterprises, such as IBM and Lego, began building their own community forums, and corporate blogs, including Dell’s and Ford’s, began appearing to reach out to customers (Li and Bernoff, 2008). In time, the marketing function also began integrating social media in campaigns. The use of Facebook and Twitter to market products and services are beginning to receive attention from businesses in recent years. Primary to these widespread adoption are its 20
  21. 21. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project relatively low cost-to-implement and the ability to bypass traditional media outlets for advertising and promotional needs. #FAIL However, not all attempts at social media marketing have been successful in implementation. A case in point is Sony’s Playstation Portable (PSP) fake blog fiasco. The seemingly-innocent blog, presumed to belong to a teenager, was uncovered to belong to an advertising firm hired by Sony to promote the PSP (Kingsley-Hughes, 2006). The uproar generated from this proved to be an embarrassing public relation disaster for Sony. Turning Tide Particularly because of its open and connected infrastructure, the internet facilitates the spread of information across geographies and boundaries. This has been a critical factor in the success of viral marketing campaigns launched by businesses. However, social media has also proven to be a handful for companies. When United Airline passenger, Dave Caroll, found his guitar broken by the airline and subsequently endured a less- than-pleasant customer service experience in his compensation bid, Dave decided to write a song about his experience, videoed and posted it on YouTube (, 2009). The video became a viral sensation and has received 5.4 million views to date since July 2009. The Times UK estimated that the bad publicity generated by the video cost a 10% drop in stock prices (amounting to US$180 million) within days of the video’s debut (Ayres, 2009). This powerful effect of the groundswell on businesses is one of many examples of social media’s persuasive influence. Experts and Thought Leaders Due to this being a new field of study, there is a lack of peer-reviewed resources on this subject. Interestingly too, because of its fairly recent introduction into mainstream commercial landscape, many of the recognised experts and key authors in social media today are current practitioners in the social media/marketing space. Therefore, this research is focussed on theories and ideas by these widely-accepted thought leaders in the field. Unlike academia, these experts have emerged and influenced others through the medium they know best: social media. Many of these leading social media experts, including Seth Godin, David Meerman Scott, Mitch Joel and Chris Brogan, are bloggers 21
  22. 22. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project who have build their personal brands and share their body of work or innovations at companies they worked for through online channels and digital word-of-mouth. Their brief profiles are shown in Appendix F. Section 2 2.1 Marketing with Social Media The Engagement Concept In the ‘Groundswell’ (2008), Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff outlined the following as core activities that define the engagement with the groundswell: listening, talking, energising, supporting and embracing. This is the framework that has been developed and proposed by Li and Bernoff to facilitate the transition for companies to understand and engage their customers within the social media space. They argued that social media is predominantly about the people and those relationships and communities must the cornerstone of any social media marketing strategy. Although the framework, as outlined, provides a clear community engagement model, it does not satisfactorily provide an understanding of the long-term value of investment in these activities. Engaging closely with customers and prospects on a broad scale represents a significant cost to most companies. However, Mitch Joel, in his book ‘Six Pixels of Separation’ (2009) makes a clear argument for close engagement. People are increasingly becoming digitally connected to each other via social networks and online activities. With current rate of adoption, the online population will represent a significant, easily-targeted market for businesses. By investing in getting connected with their online market and customers now, companies will have the edge and advantage on competitors in the future. Customers’ trust and rapport built over time are durable business assets that are hard to encroach on by competitors (Godin, 1999). ‘No’ to Social Media Marketing Nonetheless, the consensus on marketing via social media is not universal. Tom Martin (2009), in Advertising Age, is adamant that social media is not a channel for marketing and that any corporate involvement behind a social identity devalues the conversations. Glen Dury (2008) points out the argument that marketing has no place in ‘social’ media and that it ‘destroys social media’s foundations’ by undermining its human elements. This, 22
  23. 23. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project he contends, is because of the very nature of marketing, which is a commercial corporate function. This study however is not in agreement with these views. Even in traditional marketing, engagements with prospects through advertising and promotional channels are activities that involve multiple levels of human interaction, seen or unseen (for an example, an advertising creative devising a copy for an audience). The marked difference at present is that social media allows for reciprocal, two-way communication between advertiser and customer. Essentially, the core marketing principle of satisfying human wants and needs does not change. Marketing in social media is an evolution of commercial practices in tandem with the times. Independent Disciplines Further in this, the prominent blogger and social media expert, Chris Brogan, in his blog post ‘Marketing is NOT social media-Social Media is NOT marketing’ (2007), argues that social media and marketing are distinctive disciplines and independent from each other. His primary argument is that social media is a set of tools that ‘permits regular people access to potential audiences of shared interest’ and that marketing should not ‘own’ these tools. Instead, he suggests that marketers should observe and take advantage of the effect of having the media in the hands of regular people. The same sentiment is similarly echoed by Lee Odden, voted number 15 by peers in 2008’s top 100 list of digital marketers. Odden (2009) believes that social media is ‘no place for direct marketing’ and that people join social networks, and the Web 2.0 space in general, to be social with a like-minded community, instead of being marketed to. Discomforting Truth Herein lies the disconnect. On one end, consumers are empowered by the internet to have their say and opinions on brands, and some, including experts such as Brogan and Odden, believe that consumers should be given total freedom to decide when to engage with brands. On the other end, marketers are desperately trying to leverage on social media to drive their marketing campaigns and to manage perceptions of their brands online. 23
  24. 24. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project The Advocates Supporters of social media marketing for enterprise believe that the right approach can be beneficial for both businesses and customers. Eikelmann, Hajj and Peterson (2007) support the notion that companies should re-strategise and profit from this ‘threat’. They believe that companies should actively seek to engage in conversations with their customers. However, companies must observe a condition of moving away from ‘controlling the message’ and let consumers decide on the flavour of the conversations. Additionally, in their research, they observed that Web 2.0 has caused the fragmentation of marketing channels, in that, communities and websites tend to cater to niches and particular demographics. These should be used to the advantage of companies as they can be efficient through the use of highly-targeted effective marketing messages despite the clutter. This study agrees that the sheer volume of advertising clutter is causing consumers to question the authenticity behind the claims of these messages. It is also agreed that brand recall is suffering from increased consumerism as companies capitalise by developing countless new products and brands. Tellingly, a CBS news report (2006) states that an average person is exposed to about five thousand advertising messages in a day. As such, David Meadows-Klue (2007) argues that, with the explosion of cheap, one-way advertising channels and growing customer literacy in the art of marketing, the impact of traditional marketing communications has been undermined. Therefore, Meadows-Klue is of the opinion that social media is the right channel for marketers to regain attention from customers. 2.2 Influencing with Social Media The Bridging Factor: Influencers Despite the opposing arguments for social media’s involvement in marketing, it is ultimately social media’s creation of a new layer of influencers that will prove to be beneficial for both marketers and consumers (Solis, 2007b). In ‘The Tipping Point’ (2000), author, Malcolm Gladwell, emphasises on the importance of influencers in the transference and spread of any new idea or knowledge. Without these idea facilitators, many commercial successes, such as the Apple, Hush Puppies and Google brands, will 24
  25. 25. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project remain on the peripheral. For consumers, recommendations through peer influence tend to be perceived as highly authentic and objective. For marketers, whose predominant purpose is the influence of customers to their products, the easy creation of consumer-influencers is a vital benefit that can be reaped from the integration of social media in their campaigns. Moreover, many marketing experts agree that word-of-mouth (WOM) is an effective element of promotion. In the Web 2.0 era, the WOM activity can be easily facilitated through the sharing of viral videos, email or peer reviews on Facebook. Trusov et al (2009), in a research on the effect of WOM on social networks’ sign-up, found that the elasticity of WOM referrals is 20 and 30 times higher than that of marketing events and media publicity, respectively. Thus, this study is of the opinion that a major role of social media in marketing practices (if adopted) must be objectively related to the creation of influencers within communities. Return on Influence Another applicable theory in the matter of WOM through social media is the Return on Influence (Brogan and Smith, 2008). The prevailing idea is that marketing must be strategically carried out through identifying and influencing those with the most influence over others. At present, social media is the only medium that allows for such detailed effort. Despite the intricacy of this tactic, the objective of focussing messages to the right audience is in accord with marketing fundamentals of segmenting and targeting audiences for maximum conversion. This tactic is also in agreement to Gladwell’s Law of the Few theory (2000). The influence of a Connector personality (‘Connectors know lots of people’) over an ideology or trend will quickly mobilise its spread and reach until it reaches the ‘tipping point’. This is when an idea achieves critical mass and universal recognition through a sudden exponential growth. Brand Advocates However, traditional marketing philosophies do not explicitly cater for external contribution to a brand by anyone, other than an employee of a company. Commercial marketing objectives are typically aligned to achieve incremental revenue through quality lead generation and brand building. Because of this, no added emphasis is usually given to building external non-sale relations with customers. 25
  26. 26. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project Nevertheless, with social media, the unpaid brand advocates are a reality. In the ‘Groundswell’ (Li and Bernoff, 2008), it is proposed that brand advocates are ‘grown’ through purpose-built community forums for ardent fans of brands such as Lego, Dell and the iPhone. In retrospect, this act of ‘energising the groundswell’ is in effect a controlled and strategised word-of-mouth effort. Stickiness Wins Another triumphant brand advocate campaign was the successful bid to have Barack Obama elected as President of the United States (Lardinois, 2005). The synchronised use of social media channels gave extended awareness and publicity to the Obama digital campaign and a measurable edge over John McCain, the Republican Senator. This was achieved through endorsements made online by Obama advocates which has a lasting and visible impact as the internet retains a level of permanency and transparency. Again, this observation concurs with another of Gladwell’s theory in ‘The Tipping Point’, the Stickiness Factor (2008). This is the study of the strength of a message in a person’s mind that will allow it to be relayed from one person to another effortlessly until it reaches tipping point. From a marketing perspective, the Stickiness Factor is an important criterion in the crafting and testing of marketing messages: the viral effect of ‘United Breaks Guitars’ and Susan Boyle’s 100 million YouTube views (Ostrow, 2009) are evidence that the carefully-crafted message is a powerful tool for the marketer. Conclusively, the use of external resources, who will evangelise a brand to friends, relatives and colleagues for “the most honest form of marketing” (WOMMA, 2009), is similar in effect to an over-achieving direct marketing campaign, at minimal or no cost. The Obama campaign is compelling evidence that social media can assist in achieving marketing objectives if efforts are focussed on marketing through influence and brand advocacy. Permission and Trust Marketing Irrefutably, traditional marketers are grappling with the decline of mainstream advertising and the rise of social media which has deeply affected the media and newspaper industry. Forrester Research, in its 5-year forecast, reports that global advertising budget will decline significantly and this will be supplanted by a 34% growth in social media 26
  27. 27. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project budget (VanBorskirk, 2009). This is a strong indication that advertising is fast losing its effect as a promotions tool. Without a doubt, the works of Seth Godin in the area of permission marketing have influenced a new generation of digital marketers. In ‘Permission Marketing’ (1999), Godin explores the use of interactive technology, such as email and online games, in order to receive explicit customer permission for a brand to initiate direct interact. Godin argues that only marketing messages and approaches that are relevant, personal and anticipated will be readily accepted by customers. Godin’s theory has been proven just as relevant today as customers continue to eschew traditional advertising in favour of word-of-mouth recommendation and peer reviews. With social media, practitioners of digital marketing are able to gain inroads to potential customers through the proven method of permission marketing. Instead of brands pushing and ‘shouting’ their messages across, social media channels allow for consumers to voluntarily ‘befriend’ (via Facebook Fan Pages) or accept communication (via Twitter or email newsletters) from brands. The building of trust through such relationships typically benefits both companies and consumers. As organisations become exceedingly visible through social media, it is therefore notable that marketing of trust is important. Mitch Joel (2007) expounds the theory that if an organisation does not provide value, be open and transparent and create opportunities for two-way communications, the brand will not survive in a time when social media is becoming an accepted platform for brand-building. Joel further states that these ideals are can only be possible through the ‘building of community based on trust’. Based on these arguments, this study therefore has the opinion that modern organisational marketing must involve efforts in social media in order to maintain and increase trust and authenticity from customers’ perspective. The Reality The above arguments indicate that social media can be mutually beneficial for both parties if the boundaries of engagement are specified. In areas where corporate- sponsored social media activities are managed (such as product support forums), branding and direct marketing should be reasonably accepted. In public and closed social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook respectively, permission must be sought for 27
  28. 28. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project marketing messages to be broadcasted or relayed to specific users. Breaching these boundaries is akin to interruption marketing, similar in purpose and effect to untargeted advertising and email spam. 2.3 Social Media and CRM Bernoff (2009) recommends that every organisation must know every single one of their best customers by name. To achieve this, social media can be used to provide visibility and almost real-time direct channels to engage and interact. The argument also extends to the idea that your best customers will always know where to find your company if they have a problem. Meadows-Klue (2007) concurs with this view. He further states that, as customers have been empowered by easily-available social media tools, the expectation is growing that their favourite retailers will engage them in the online domain. Limitation to Resources However, such idealistic views may be contrary to business ethos of efficiency and that close attention on every single customer, even the best ones, may be a resource drain, especially in the fast moving consumer goods industry. The call for companies to be exceptionally frugal in this economic climate resonates clearly among business leaders. Expert advice dictates that the focus must be on spending that generates real returns on investment (ROI), not just in marketing activities but also in operations (Maddox, 2009). New Rules of CRM This is where the argument for social media and customer relationship management (CRM) converges. CRM drives the radical customer-oriented marketing concept (4Cs of customer, cost, convenience and communication) that is slowly replacing the traditional 4Ps of marketing thinking (product, place, price and promotion). As outlined by Dr. Ned Roberto (World Village, 2008), the 4Cs’ emphasis is to approach marketing from consumers’ perspective. In this regard, we can find that both CRM and social media offer the same benefits and end-results for companies and their customers, which is visibility and long term patronage. A recent Forrester survey found that social media is extensively helping companies to deepen their relationships with customers through complementary uses of social tools 28
  29. 29. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project and CRM systems (Karpinksi, 2008). Supporting this view, David Myron (2009), in his editorial in CRM Magazine, also theorises that using social media, in conjunction with CRM tools, provides a new level of customer intelligence. Listening in to customers’ sentiments and gathering attitudinal data via social media will provide business strategists with higher level of confidence in decision making. Real-Time Customer Management Close customer management through social media also translates into an enhanced customer service experience. A good example of this is Comcast’s Twitter service. Customers’ ‘tweets’ sent to its @comcastcares Twitter account are typically responded in full public view. Todd Defren, in his article ‘A Social Media Guide from the Edge’ (2008), enthuses that, in an online world, a company must be seen as responsive by customers and non-customers. This, he believe, will provide for the manifestation of ‘good karma through good service’. This study agrees in that this approach not only provides a level of transparency and genuine authenticity to the company’s profile but will ultimately enhance the efforts in customer retention. The above arguments certainly demonstrate that social media can fulfil the traditional metrics of marketing, which are to limit churn and increase customer retention. More importantly, the CRM practice, coupled with freely available social tools, can be a cost effective activity to any organisation intent on a long-term and sustainable business model, albeit with budget limitations. 2.4 Communicating through Social Media The advent of social media has changed the way companies organise their outwardly communication activities. Companies are also beginning to realise that customers will talk about them, with or without them (Solis, 2007b). As most of the internet is open and unsecured, these comments or sentiments can be easily seen or read by potential customers or clients. David Roth (2009) contends that this is a double-edged sword. Where companies can now observe their customers or competition by listening in to conversations, they are also susceptible to the same reciprocal tactics. This is the challenge that companies and brands are facing in the Web 2.0 and social media era. 29
  30. 30. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project Loss of Control Today’s popular consensus is that companies can no longer control the perceptions to their brands (Eikelmann, 2007). These include control of the company’s corporate message as well as parties responsible for disseminating information from the organisation (Young, 2009). Conversely, any person with an internet connection and a computer is able to review or comment on a brand, either on their Facebook page, Twitter or anywhere else on the internet. This effect of the ‘democratisation of media’ is a vital inducement to re-evaluate how brands and companies communicate (Dury, 2008). Public Relations David Meerman Scott, in his book ‘The New Rules of Marketing & PR’ (2007), fervently suggests that traditional public relations (PR) practices ‘do not work anymore’. Scott cites that, instead of pushing press releases or information to traditional media outlets (for eg. journalists, newspapers and TV stations), companies can now take ownership and independently publish information or news via Web 2.0 mediums. These include official company blogs, YouTube, online news sites and even through direct relations with market analysts and influential bloggers. This study believes that this strategy of bypassing conventional media provides PR practitioners an almost instant access to communication channels, unlike traditional methods. An almost real-time reaction is indeed a timely benefit for companies in dealing with developing crisis' communications. In fact, Li and Bernoff (2008) propose a proactive approach to crisis management. Through dedicated and around-the-clock close monitoring of online social spaces for public sentiments, companies can address minor complaints quickly before they become a public relations disaster. Similarly, Forrester’s social media analyst, Jeremiah Owyang (2009), advocates the hiring of a brand monitoring company to provide regular reports to analyse public reactions to a company’s manoeuvres in the market as a form of intelligence gathering. Based on these arguments, this study believes that the PR practice must evolve beyond press releases and reactive damage control. 30
  31. 31. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project Changing Perceptions In real-life practice, social media has also provided public relations with a formidable tool in altering public perceptions. In a current takeover battle between Kraft and Cadbury (Mullman and York, 2009), Kraft engaged a renown PR firm, Brunswick Group, to connect with Cadbury’s stakeholders via social media. The campaign uses video messages from Kraft’s executives and informative microsites to win over support from Cadbury’s stakeholders to the proposal of being acquired. By developing niche messages and directly targeting and communicating to the audience, Brunswick’s personal approach is likely to appeal the stakeholders (Scott, 2007). From a marketing perspective, this in fact a form of permission marketing as advocated by Seth Godin (1999), communication that is relevant, personal and anticipated. Public vs. Media From the earlier arguments, this study deduces that the public relations role in a company’s brand and perception management has indeed transformed with social media’s arrival. What used to be a function that tries to influence and alter public perceptions predominantly through close media relations, is in fact much more associated now with direct public management and engagement in the Web 2.0 environment. However, such close association with the public is a positive development in the age of increased corporate social responsibility (CSR). Online Thought Leadership David Meerman Scott (2007) also outlines a holistic strategy in marketing a company online. By communicating online thought leadership through content development and knowledge sharing (for example, white papers, e-books and articles), the company will receive recognition for its expertise and an enhanced brand perception from potential clients or customers. The online thought leadership is in fact a long term investment that will ensure a company maintain an extended influence over a community audience (Matthews, 2007). With a loyal community audience, the company may find that it is easier it to push through innovative and revolutionary ideas to its clients and customers. 31
  32. 32. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project Blogging with Authority In purporting thought leadership, Li and Bernoff (2008) suggest that blogging is an effective method of communicating an organisation’s message. Other than being direct and immediate, a blog allows for a two-way dialogue to be established for a customer to provide his views and comments. This activity, as stressed by Li and Bernoff, is a cost effective method to receive feedback and inputs from customers regarding a company’s products or services. However, Seth Godin (2005) provides a different concept to blogging. Godin contends that a blog, as a marketing tool, should be a launch pad for spreading of ideas. Termed ‘viral blogs’, Godin is of the view that a blogging corporate leader or employee must have an authoritative opinion but with a flexible allowance for discussion. This study contextually agrees with such an ideal. However, a focus on content must be exercised. In this case, David Meerman Scott (2007) provides a framework for relevant blogging: companies should not write in an advertorial manner but instead focus on topics that may concern their industry as a general. This lends authenticity and an opportunity to augment a thought leadership persona. CSR through Social Media In this time of increased corporate social responsibility awareness and green marketing, an organisation’s degree of openness and transparency are a sure measure of its serious intention. Sandy Carter, IBM’s Vice President for Websphere Marketing and author of ‘The New Language of Marketing 2.0’ (2009), theorises that CSR and green marketing objectives are best achieved through the adoption of Web 2.0 technology. Apart from efficiency in use of resources (which directly contributes to green credentials), Carter maintains that using social media to promote a company’s CSR and green initiatives can trigger solid word-of-mouth references and drive influencers’ willingness to tell a company’s story. Such viral outcomes are welcomed as most typically, the primary objective of CSR and green campaigns are in the creation of strong advocates that will passionately support a motion or alternative solution to an environment issue (Howell, 2009). 32
  33. 33. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project 2.5 Other Approaches to Social Media Marketing Product Development Other authors and practitioners are equally bullish about enterprises deploying social media as an idea development tool. The academic team of Constantinides, Romero and Boria (2008) are of the opinion that companies should involve the customer in making business decision through the collaborative use of social media. These can be made possible in areas such as product development and service improvement. An example of this is Domino’s Pizza’s customised pizza program, where customers can create their own pizza, name them and make it available to others (Costantinides et al, 2008). Li and Bernoff also touched on this approach in ‘Groundswell’ (2008). In the presented Bearingpoint case study, the company uses a wiki for its effort in cataloguing its information management solutions for its clients and system support information. The significant difference in this knowledge management activity is that the wiki is open and accessible for viewing and editing by its clients, systems users and even competitors, who provides content related to specific information management issues. With a substantial body of knowledge contained in the wiki, Bearingpoint is even able to sell the content of this ‘crowdsourced’ knowledge along with its projects for clients. Li and Bernoff believe that by developing communities where customers are allowed to feedback and contribute ideas, a company can market more efficiently with products that have been evaluated and verified by its own customers. By tapping on the collective knowledge of the consumer and directly soliciting the wants of the customer, such approach deserves merit as it fulfils the prime marketing fundamental of serving the needs of the customer. An Organisational Approach Another remarkable concept that is a result of the social media revolution is the brand organisation. In this approach, the organisation must adopt the philosophy that internal branding is just as important as external communication. Employees must understand and deliver the brand’s promise at all times. This is because customers can easily gain access to online information on the company and its employees and make unaided decisions based on these gathered information (Interakt, 2009). 33
  34. 34. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project Despite its revolutionary concept, the brand organisation approach is a highly visible endeavour in an increasingly customer-oriented landscape. Interestingly and in accord, the author, Tamar Weinberg (2009), proposes that customer service should be a core component of any social media strategy. She argues that ‘customer service is social too’ and favourable impressions in this area will translate and propagate into online and offline reputation for companies. As described, this study believes the organisational approach to social media may encounter considerable resistance in organisations with legacy operational practices. The technological and communication aspect of social media may prove a challenge for widespread adoption within a company, especially one with a mature population. However, Amber Naslund (2009), an advocate of the social media-savvy organisation, outlines the following for senior management buy-in: transparency provides business intelligence in managing internal employee relations, improved customer experience through consistent organisational message and better decision making through real-time operational insights. Catalyst for Change Additionally, this study also believes that social media is the right catalyst for the next era of business, from IT-driven to CSR-driven. In a recent research, it is found that there is an increased adoption in Web 2.0 business efficiency practices in organisations, for example the use of tools such as wikis, blogs, RSS (Bughin, 2007). Therefore, it is only a matter of time before social media is an accepted norm within corporate activities. However, only with early internal and external adoption of social media initiatives can businesses maximise current and future opportunities, ahead of competitors. 34
  35. 35. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project Section 3 Summary The above study has shown that social media do indeed have a significant role to play in contemporary marketing. Although there are dissenting voices in regards to the use of social media as a marketing tool, generally, social media has been proven to have important applications for marketing campaigns, public relations activities and customer relationship management programs. Marketing through Influence A balanced and complementary approach is required to integrate social media into marketing practices. The expert consensus calls for marketers to engage in a subtle and restrained manner when engaging customers in social media. Making inroads through influence and permission, rather than direct selling, will more likely provide the benefits of long-term engagement. Therefore, the objective for social media marketers is indeed to turn customers into brand advocates. Communication 2.0 The significance of social media as a possible corporate ideology cannot be ignored. With open and transparent communication through social media, companies can benefit from the increased level of trust by customers and stakeholders. This is important in an era where corporate social responsibility is emphasised in the wake of corporate scandals, such as Bernie Maddox’s and Satyam’s. Social media has also been proven to be an effective tool for public relations and in the creation of thought leadership for a company. Conclusion Although social media is a recent arsenal to the field of business marketing, its potential as a marketing tool cannot be overlooked. However, further development in its practice and usage is required in order to increase corporate adoption. Also, a study into the measurement of social media’s effectiveness and its return on investment must also be undertaken. Only then can the real value of social media to an enterprise be ascertained. Nonetheless, social media is a powerful tool for any organisation moving in the Web 2.0 space and beyond. 35
  36. 36. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project References Part A Duyff, R. (1999) The value of lifelong learning: Key element in professional career development. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 99 (5), pp.538-543. Proquest [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 25 August 2009) Felder, R. and Soloman, B. (no date) Learning styles and strategies. Available at: (Accessed: 6 July 2009) Fleming, D. (2007) VARK: A review of those who are multimodal. Available at: (Accessed: 6 July 2009) Hansen, K. (2009) Transferable skill sets for job seekers. Available at: (Accessed: 25 August 2009) Hirsch, S. and Kummerow, J (2008) ENFP – the visionary. Available at: (Accessed: 30 August 2009) Marton, F. and Saljo, R. (1976) ‘On qualitative differences in learning — 1: outcome and process’, British Journal of Educational Psychology, 46, pp. 4-11 Team Technology (2009) ENFP personality types. Available at: (Accessed: 6 July 2009) 36
  37. 37. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project References Part B Ayers, C. (2009) Revenge is best served cold – on YouTube. Available at: (Accessed: 30 August 2009) Bernoff, J. (2009) ‘Who Are Your Best Customers’, Groundswell, 11 August. Available at: (Accessed: 30 August 2009) Brogan, C. and Smith, J. (2008) Trust economies: investigations into the new ROI on the web. ChangeThis [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 27 February 2009) Brogan, C. (2007) ‘Marketing is NOT Social Media-Social Media is NOT marketing’, Chris Brogan, 14 December. Available at: media-social-media-is-not-marketing/ (Accessed: 30 August 2009) Bughin, J. (2007) ‘The rise of enterprise 2.0’. Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice, 9 (3) pp 251-259 Carter, S. (2009) The new language of marketing 2.0: how to use ANGELS to energize your market. Massachusetts: IBM Press (2006) Cutting through advertising clutter. Available at: (Accessed: 9 September 2009) Constantinides, E., Romero, C. and Boria, M. (2008) Social media: A new frontier for retailers?’, European Retail Research, 22, pp 1-28 Defren, T. (2008) A social media guide from the edge. [Online[ Available at: (Accessed: 29 January 2009) Dury, G. (2008) ‘Opinion piece: Social media: Should marketers engage and how can it be done effectively’, Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice, 9 (3), pp 274-277 Eikelmann, S., Hajj, J. and Peterson, M. (2007) ‘Opinion piece: Web 2.0: Profiting from the threat’, Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice, 9 (3) pp 293-295 Gladwell, M. (2000) The tipping point. New York: Back Bay Godin, S. (1999) Permission marketing, Reprint, London: Pocket Books, 2007 Godin, S. (2005) Who’s there: Seth Godin’s incomplete guide to blogs and the new web. Do You Zoom, Inc. [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 3 September 2009) 37
  38. 38. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project Part B (Continued) (2009) United breaks guitars singer reprises YouTube airline lament. Available: song-sequel (Accessed: 30 August 2009) Howell, P. (2009) ‘The 12 faces of social media for sustainable green marketing’, 14 April. Available at: social-media-for-green-marketers-and-sustainability (Accessed: 9 September 2009) Joel, M. (2009) Six Pixels of Separation. New York: Grand Central Publishing Joel, M. (2007) ‘Trust economies: the new marketing ROI’. Six Pixels of Separation, 17 March. Available at: marketing-roi/ (Accessed: 9 September 2009) Karpinski, R. (2008) ‘Forrester survey finds social media leading way toward CRM2.0’, B to B, 93 (8), p 15 Kingsley-Hughes, A. (2006) Sony and the fake PSP blog. Available at: (Accessed: 30 August 2009) Lardinios, F. (2008) Obama’s social media advantage. Available at: (Accessed: 9 September 2009) Li, C. and Bernoff, J. (2008) Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston: Harvard Business School Press Interakt (2009) Marketing 101: communications inside out. [Advertisement in Marketing magazine, Singapore]. August. Maddox, K. (2009) ‘Frugality first’, B to B, 94 (1), pp 1-29 Martin, T. (2009) ‘Social media is meant for conversation, not ‘marketing’’, Advertising Age, 80 (6), p11 Matthews, S. (2007) Thought leadership – a long term investment. Available at: (Accessed: 10 September 2009) Meadows-Klue, D. (2007) ‘Falling in love 2.0: Relationship marketing for the Facebook generation’, Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice, 9 (3), pp 245-250 Mullman, J. and York, E. (2009) Does Kraft’s PR play for Cadbury remind you of something? Available at: (Accessed: 10 September 2009) Myron, D. (2009) ‘Social media spawns a new era in customer intelligence’, CRM Magazine, 13 (6), p 6-6 Naslund, A. (2009) Building a social media team. [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 9 September 2009) 38
  39. 39. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project Part B (Continued) O’Reilly, T. (2005) What is Web 2.0. Available at: 20.html (Accessed: 30 August 2009) Odden, L. (2009) ‘How Direct is Social Media Marketing’, Online Marketing Blog, 23 June. Available at: (Accessed: 30 August 2009) Ostrow, A. (2009) Susan Boyle: the biggest YouTube sensation ever? Available at: (Accessed: 10 September 2009) Owyang, J. (2009) ‘Salesforce pushes social CRM technology – but don’t expect companies to be successful with tools alone’, Web Strategy, 9 September. Available at: http://www.web- companies-to-be-successful-with-tools-alone/ (Accessed: 12 September 2009) Roth, D. (2009) ‘When big brands discover social media marketing’, Search Engine Land. Available at: 22887# (Accessed: 30 August 2009) Scott, D. (2007) The new rules of marketing and PR. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Solis, B. (2007a) The definition of social media. Available at: (Accessed: 30 August 2009) Solis, B. (2007b) ‘The social media manifesto – Integrating social media into marketing communications’, PR 2.0. Available at: communications-manifesto-for (Accessed: 30 August 2009) Trusov, M., Buckln, R. and Pauwels, K. (2009) ‘Effects of word-of-mouth versus traditional marketing: findings from an internet social networking site’, Journal of Marketing, 73 (5), pp 90-102 VanBorskirk, Shar (2009) ‘Interactive Marketing Nears $55 Billion; Advertising Overall Declines’, The Forrester Blog for Interactive Marketing Professionals, 7 July. Available at: advertising-overall-declines.html (Accessed: 30 August 2009) Weinberg, T. (2009) ‘Why Customer Service Should Be in Your Social Media Marketing Strategy’, Techipedia, 21 July. Available at: service-social-media/ (Accessed: 30 August 2009) WOMMA (2009) WOM 101. Available at: (Accessed: 9 September 2009) World Village (2008), The 4Cs of marketing explained. Available at: (Accessed: 30 August 2009) Young, T. (2009) ‘Selling social media to the CEO’, PR Warrior. Available at: (Accessed: 9 September 2009) 39
  40. 40. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project Appendix A Learning Styles Test Results A1. VARK Questionnaire Note: The above visual has been adapted from the online test result page on 18 July 2009. A2. Honey & Mumford’s Questionnaire Note: The above visual has been adapted from the self-administered, on-paper test result on 18 July 2009. 40
  41. 41. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project A3. North Carolina State University Questionnaire Note: The above visual has been adapted from the online test result page on 18 July 2009: 41
  42. 42. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project Personality Types Test Results A4. Myers Briggs Types Indicator (MMDI Report by Team Technology) Note: The visual, right, was digitally captured from the online test result page on 6 July 2009. 42
  43. 43. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project A5. Belbin Self Perception Inventory Report Note: The above visual was digitally captured from the online test result page on 7 July 2009. Note: The above visual is a reproduction adapted from the online test result for class presentation purposes. 43
  44. 44. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project B2. Job Advertisements The following are job listings advertised locally in Singapore. Both job listings provide an overview of the ideal professional roles that align specifically with the author’s career aspirations in the functional area of digital marketing B2.1 CRM Operations Executive Employer: BLUE Interactive 54
  45. 45. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project B2.2 Business Catalyst (Digital Marketing) Employer: Oasis Interactive 55
  46. 46. Northumbria University Newcastle Business School NX0315 Professional Development Project B3. Standard Application Form SINGAPORE CIVIL SERVICE APPLICATION FORM APPLICATION FOR DIVISION I – III POSITION 1. This form may take you 30 minutes to fill in. You will need the following documents or information to fill in the form: NRIC/Passport Educational Certificates Certificates of National Service and Employment, if applicable Academic Scholarships/Bursaries/Other Certifications, if applicable Particulars of Parents/Spouse/Character Referees 2. Please read instructions on the back page before you fill in this form. If space is insufficient, please attach additional sheets. 3. Short-listing is based on merit. The personal information in this form is used for administrative purposes only. 4. * Delete as appropriate. (A) MINISTRY: EDUCATION (B) POST (S) APPLIED FOR (In order of preference): 1. New Media Executive 2. 3. Are you prepared to consider posts other than those you have listed above? * Yes (C) PERSONAL PARTICULARS 1. Full Name (Underline Surname): 9. Tel No: ______________ (Home) ________________________ __________________(Office) 2. ID Type: *NRIC(Pink) ______________(Handphone) 3. ID No: _______________________ 10. Email Address (if any): 4. Singapore Permanent Resident : * Yes _________________________________ 5. Present Citizenship: 11. Highest Academic Qualification (Up to Bachelor’s degree): __________________________________ _______________________________________ Year: 2009 ______ 6. Previous Citizenship (if any): 12. * Last/Current Employer : ___________________________ Oracle Corporation __________________________________________________ 7. Address: Blk/House No _ _______________________________ 13. * Last Drawn/Current Monthly Gross Salary (S$) : Street Name ___________ ________________________________________ * Last Drawn/Current Annual Gross Salary (S$) : Building Name __________________ Floor & Unit ____________ No_______ 14. Expected Monthly Salary (S$) : ______________ Postal Code ________ City _________ Country ___________ Expected Annual Salary (S$) : _______________ 8. Correspondence address outside Singapore (if applicable): Earliest date of starting work if offered appointment (e.g. immediately, within one month): __________________________ ___________________________________________________ __ ____________________________________________________ __ . (D) EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS Name in chronological order the schools attended from the Year of Year of age of 6 Highest Standard Passed & Year Joining Leaving School/Institution and Country 56