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The Montague Street Bridge: a tale of how marketing fails to understand risk

By | Advice, Advice for Businesses, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities | No Comments

Nestled in Montague Street, South Melbourne, approximately ten minutes from our office, is a low clearance bridge of three-metre height. The Montague Street Bridge entered notoriety on the 22nd of February 2016, when a charter bus failed to observe clearance signs and slammed into the bridge.

The driver failed to consider risk, but how did the company respond? Tape, to hide the brand, but clearly not to resolve the issue.

“We are out to protect our brand and make sure we don’t tarnish our brand, it doesn’t mean any disrespect.” (Gold Bus Ballarat)

Hiding rather than avoiding Risk (Photograph: Hamish Blair)

Had Gold Bus Ballarat viewed this action from a viewpoint of risk, they would have realised the consequences of the resulting scrutiny. Unfortunately, marketing often fails to assess risk factors, resulting in an extensive list of campaigns that have caused reputational damage, as well as financial loss:

This year has proven to be no different:

  • In March, Coopers failed to assess sponsorship risks when it was forced into a public apology when the Bible Society used its beers to film a poorly scripted debate on marriage equity.

On behalf of the Coopers Board and seniors staff, we’re incredibly saddened by the impact our involvement with the Bible Society has had on our valued Coopers drinkers and our extended family,” (Coopers Brewery)

  • A month later, Pepsi blew an estimated $100 million, plus a history of corporate social inclusion, due to its doomed campaign featuring Kendall Jenner and the trivialisation of social justice movements.

Each of these campaigns (and many others) would have never seen production, let alone public viewing, had there been suitable oversight and consideration of risks.  Despite these reputational, legislative and financial failures, history is likely to repeat itself with more examples likely to join this list.

Just like the Montague Street in South Melbourne, which has been hit at least six times so far in 2017.

History repeating itself: When Marketing (or road users) fail to consider risk

How do we prevent history repeating? We need to elevate marketing into the domain of governance, so that risk, as well as oversight, is embedded into decision making.

Join us as we explore Brand, Reputation and Risk: Managing Marketing Governance in partnership with the Governance Institute of Australia on Wednesday the 26th of July 2017 in Melbourne.

Registration details available at www.governanceinstitute.com.au/education-training/calendar-of-events/eventdetails/E00693/brand-and-reputation-marketing-governance

Workshop: Brand, Reputation and Risk: Managing Marketing Governance in Partnership with the Governance Institute of Australia

By | Advice, Advice for Businesses, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, News | No Comments

We are pleased to announce our workshop: Brand, Reputation and Risk: Managing Marketing Governance in partnership with the Governance Institute of Australia.

Marketing governance reinforces good governance by ensuring your marketing performs a strategic role, fulfilling its purpose of delivering value to your organisation and your customers. This workshop will utilise the Syneka Marketing Governance Framework to align marketing with good governance.

Topics include:

  • The role of governance within a marketing context
  • Assessing risk within marketing activities
  • Determining appropriate roles and responsibilities within marketing
  • Suitably allocating budgets and resources to marketing activities
  • Evaluating marketing performance across activity chains.

Attendees will learn how to apply the marketing governance framework within their organisation. Outcomes include the ability to evaluate marketing performance against organisational direction and the touchpoints required for their target stakeholders.

Register online through www.governanceinstitute.com.au/education-training/calendar-of-events/eventdetails/E00693/brand-and-reputation-marketing-governance

Revisiting the Sounds of Silence

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Our six-month experiment where we were absence from content led to very interesting and positive feedback. Several as comments focused on how ‘brave’ we were in taking this risk.

“And the vision that was planted in my brain still remains within the sound of silence”

We undertook this experiment because we knew the result. We know what generates a return from our marketing activities based on our strategic direction and impact on client decision making.  Optimising marketing and understanding marketing metrics is not brave; it is common business sense as reflected through good marketing governance.

The Sounds of Silence: What marketing activities matter?

By | Advice, Advice for Businesses, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities | 5 Comments

Since the start of 2017, we conducted an experiment: What would be the impact of a six-month absence from our social media, blog and eNewsletter?

Why did we do this? Content is the current marketing fad, with copious amounts of text, images and video produced in the vain attempt to be noticed. We thought it would be useful to undertake a live example to demonstrate our pursuit of marketing metrics that matter.

‘Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.’

Content (and social media) more broadly is often an example of where marketers are often shouting into the darkness, creating activities to look busy, but with tenuous pathways towards tangible outcomes.

‘People talking without speaking, People hearing without listening’

Instead, content like any marketing tactic needs to be considered as part of a chain of activities:

  • The Input: ‘how much content have we published’
  • The Output: ‘Who has read/seen/viewed this content’ and are they aligned to our target market?
  • The Outcome: ‘Has this content led us closer to a purchase decision?’

Very rarely does one marketing tactic alone lead to a purchase decision. Furthermore, the user could be distinct to the purchaser or influencer, requiring the ability to engage and motivate multiple stakeholders.

Content that does not reach its audience, or is not part of the decision-making process, will not lead to a purchase intent.

Is your content aligned to the decision-making processes of your target stakeholders?

Does content have a role in marketing? It does, if there is an understanding of where it supports the journey from acquisition to commitment and through to retention. Treat social media with similar caution; it is extremely easy to spend resources on social or content and not generate a suitable return.

‘And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement hall” and whispered in the sounds of silence

What impact have we had from a six-month absence from content? Nil, in terms of project commitment and deployment.

What role does content serve for us? Our marketing metrics highlight (and this experiment now verifies) that content is part of our broader stakeholder engagement. Our role for content is public relations through supporting our position on Marketing Governance.

Always understand your market before executing marketing tactics. How do you use content and what gaps exist? Complete our short two-minute questionnaire to find out.

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Redefining Marketing through Business Victoria

By | Advice, Advice for Businesses, Government, News, Resources | No Comments

Relevancy is a significant challenge facing the marketing profession. There are low barriers to entry, resulting in sources of contradictory advice, which causes confusion, as well as the potential for poor outcomes.

Business Victoria is the State Government’s Economic Development Department, responsible for supporting business growth. Business Month is held each August, culminating in the Small Business, Big Marketing Event held at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre.

The Australian Marketing Institute's marketing specialists: Alex and the team

The Australian Marketing Institute’s marketing specialists: Alex and the team

Even though this event is focused on marketing, it has historically lacked any involvement from the Australian Marketing Institute until this year.
The Victorian Advisory Committee of the Australian Marketing Institute worked in partnership with Business Victoria to embed Australia’s peak marketing association within Business Month and the Small Business Big Marketing Event.

Nine members of the Australian Marketing Institute were invited to provide half-hour marketing clinics to participants, with the aim of demonstrating the depth and breadth provided through qualified marketing advice.

The attendees at Small Business, Big Marketing

The attendees at Small Business, Big Marketing

The event attracted approximately 700 participants on the day, with approximately 50 attendees visiting the Australian Marketing Institute and arranging a session.

Business failure delivers an economic and social cost to Australia as a whole, as well as communities and individuals. Inadequate marketing and lack of strategic insight are the top ten contributors to business failure within Australia.

It is incumbent on the Australian Marketing Institute to define the profession so we can mitigate the prevalence of bad marketing advice, that not only has a cost to individuals but also our economic potential.

It’s time we focused on Redefining Marketing

By | Advice, Advice for Businesses, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Government, News, Presentations, Resources | No Comments

Marketing faces the unenviable position of having low barriers to entry, meaning anyone can call themselves a marketer, without having either the credentials or experience to support these claims.

As a consequence, there is a significant level of bad advice, leading to poor results that not only jeopardise client outcomes, but also the industry as a whole. The prevalence of design and digital agencies purporting to offer marketing, is leading to misinformation and a rush towards ill-considered tactics. The association of tactics with the word marketing, including content marketing, social media marketing, telemarketing and direct marketing, is creating an environment where tactics are undertaken without the required research and strategic insights that are required to achieve the desired results.

We are in an environment where it is very easy to spend on ‘marketing’, but a lot harder to generate a return.

Meanwhile, brands are being created without the insights required to correctly determine market segments and stakeholders. These brands ultimately fail due to a lack of connectivity with the market context. Similarly terms like brand equity get thrown around, without an understanding of how it should be measured and evaluated to enable performance monitoring.

Marketing needs to elevate itself and reach the Boardroom. It cannot do this while it fails to speak the language of the board and absconds from responsibility.

Marketing is often one of the first functions to be downsized during times of economic uncertainty, simply because it has failed to demonstrate value, due to poor and incorrect reporting on outcomes.

Marketing needs a governance framework that provides the capabilities and capacity to engage the Board, maintain accountability and deliver measurable results. Our White Paper on Marketing Governance provides the framework for marketing to embark on this journey.

The Syneka Marketing Governance Framework

The Syneka Marketing Governance Framework

No longer should marketing be considered a silo that is immeasurable and unresponsive. Marketing Governance provides the toolkit to enable:

  • Strategic rigour and alignment with organisational goals.
  • Evaluation and assessment of risk, both internal as well as the external context.
  • Financial accountability by correctly budgeting cost centres and revenue generation.
  • The relevant roles and responsibilities required to plan, manage and deliver marketing outcomes.
  • Accountability through metrics and evaluation, ensuring that relevant inputs, outputs and outcomes are correctly identified across the customer lifecycle and measured.

While there is the impression that these issues may be limited to smaller businesses, the fact remains that marketing is significantly underdeveloped within Corporate Australia and government agencies, as much as not-for-profit organisations and new enterprises. Some of the most evident examples of marketing governance failure come from larger companies or organisations.

Time, money and reputation is being eroded due to poor marketing governance. Marketing Governance enables Marketing to reach and engage the boardroom, by stepping up and identifying that it needs and should do better.

Download our White Paper at www.synekamarketing.com.au/syneka-marketing-governance-framework/