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Marketability eBulletin

Welcome to our latest fortnightly eBulletin, posted here on 6 February 2018. In this issue:

Universities UK article on international student numbers, and why it matters

In a week featuring several news items on university student stats one article stood out for me, which is that the number of international students enrolling on courses in the UK has been quietly stagnating for several years.

There are three reasons why this is worrying if you work in academic publishing:

  1. This is despite the fact that more international students are applying to study overseas than ever before.
  2. Like all data in this sector the ‘latest’ figures are from 2016-17, ie: before the impact of Brexit started to bite. It seems inconceivable that numbers will have increased since.
  3. The income brought in to a university by tuition fees of overseas students is a vital contributor to the overall wealth of that institution, directly impacting on the library’s ability to buy from us.
‘International students bring economic benefits to the UK that are worth ten times the costs of hosting them’, said Nick Hillman, Director of Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), who with Kaplan International Pathways has just published a major research report.

The article ‘You Say Stability, I Say Stagnation’ is on the Universities UK website. Also includes useful links (eg: to the HEPI/Kaplan report) if you want more detail.

Our Academic Marketing Workshop is the place to be for more like this.


Email Marketing Trends 2018, free report from Pure360 and Smart Insights

Inboxes are awash at the moment with predictions for 2018 trends, but this one will repay you the time it takes to download and scan.

I found myself alternately nodding in approval and frowning in disagreement along the lines of ‘I can’t see that working in a publishing context’. Here are some random topics that caught my attention:

  1. ICO (UK data protection agency) has confirmed that sending emails to dormant subscribers asking them to confirm they’re happy to be mailed IS marketing and therefore carries risks after May 2018. This seems madness to me but has made me question other policies (eg: we email subscribers who have opted out to confirm that we have acted on their request, would that be deemed marketing too?). It makes the need to get on with re-engagement/purging campaigns even more urgent!
  2. We’ll see more interactive features in emails (eg drop down boxes and hide/reveal content) so that readers can engage more without leaving the inbox.
  3. ‘Intelligent personalisation’, predicting relevant content based on past engagement, and more automation or trigger-based marketing. This one in various forms has featured in all trends predictions for years, and no doubt will continue to do so. This report acknowledges that many companies are ‘still playing catch up’.
  4. Subject lines, testing, and analysis of what actually happens next after an email hits an inbox. The recognition that email has a significant role to play in maintaining relationships with potential customers and is often not a simple pathway of ‘receive email, click on link’ is especially useful.
Read more and download Email Marketing Trends 2018 for yourself on the Pure360 website.

Email marketing is a hugely complex area to navigate, though there are plenty of free reports and tips out there, especially on the email service provider websites. Our Email Marketing Workshop looks at the topic specifically from a ‘marketing in publishing’ perspective. What do recipients want from a publisher’s emails? Who’s doing what well, and how can we measure what ‘well’ is?


Revealed: the regional slang terms for 'it's raining' in the UK

The British are famously weather-obsessed, but now the UK Met Office has conducted research into the myriad ways we describe heavy rain, from ‘chucking it down’ to ‘bucketing’. The objective is to try to ensure that the language of weather reports mirrors that of listeners and watchers. The same research also found that there was wide misinterpretation of the symbols used by the Met Office and presumed to be universal.

There are so many parallels here for anyone writing copy and planning creative. Should you really be reflecting language this colloquial in your messaging? (Yes and no.) Do all your readers really understand those icons in your catalogues that are so familiar to you that you don’t spell them out? Do you check your campaign plans with regional offices to make sure they’re culturally appropriate?

Thank you to ex-publisher Alison Wood at the Met Office for knowing that I’d find this story hugely entertaining! This month you can even submit your own three words for weather on Twitter using the #3wordweather hashtag. Read more on the Met Office website.

If you enjoyed this article then our Copywriting Workshop could be right up your street too.


Tip of the week: Time is running out for pre-checked boxes

As we struggle to get to grips with the implications of GDPR in the UK here is one simple thing you could be doing immediately: turn any pre-checked opt-in boxes on your website and in print collateral into open boxes which have to be actively checked by visitors. Post GDPR readers have to expressly opt-in to emailings for your data to be compliant. And if you have any boxes for readers to tick if they DO NOT want to hear from you, update those at the same time as these are not deemed to be evidence of explicit intention.

Our Email Marketing Workshop is the place to be for more like this.




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