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Setting the standard: Why accreditation matters for marketing

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

Imagine, one morning someone enters your office and tells you that they want 20% of your annual turnover because they have a ‘great idea’ to grow your business. They are unable to provide any evidence to support their claims, other than saying they have a ‘great idea’.

It goes without saying, but not many business owners or managers would contemplate making such a transaction.

Unfortunately, this is what marketing often looks like, with far too many decisions made on hunches or guesses, rather than a factual understanding of market needs, positioning and opportunities. As a consequence, marketing consulting and marketing services have a surprisingly low barrier of entry, with anyone able to claim they are a marketing consultant, expert, specialist or even ‘guru’.

Research into business exits often cites the lack of marketing insights as being one of the top ten causes of business failure. This is despite marketing spend often being between 10% and 20% of an annual budget.

The current approach provided by many who claim to provide ‘marketing’ is failing businesses and the wider community.

This is why accreditation matters for marketing, and is why we are so heavily involved with the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI). Accreditation has the potential to uplift the marketing profession and provide a benchmark for the delivery of marketing services.

No business would seek financial advice from someone that lacks appropriate accreditation, given the potential ramifications of bad advice. Yet we as professional marketers, have lost track of the amount of times we have been brought in to fix the mistakes made by pseudo-marketers. It is time to put an end to pseudo-marketers by recognising the definition of marketing (as defined by the Australian Marketing Institute):

Marketing creates value – for customers, shareholders and society as a whole. It does this by creating an alignment between what consumers value and what organisations offer. It offers techniques that help firms better understand the needs, preferences and perceptions of their customers (a prerequisite to adding value to them), and ways of using that understanding to focus the value-creating and communicating activities of the firm into areas where they will be most effective.

Marketing exists to build the capacity of your business so you can achieve your business goals. This is why one of the core marketing concepts is the marketing mix (commonly known as the customer experience):

A strategic marketing approach would have asked the right questions: focusing on all elements rather than just promotions

The marketing mix highlights the areas that marketing needs to consider to enable business growth

The marketing mix shows the impact of marketing across a business, yet pseudo-marketers, the self-proclaimed ‘experts’, ‘specialists’ or ‘gurus’ will often only focus on one or two elements. This leads to disparate tactics that will create inconsistent outcomes, ultimately resulting in reputation and operational risks.

The Certified Practising Marketer - as accredited by the Australian Marketing Institute

The Certified Practising Marketer – as accredited by the Australian Marketing Institute

The Certified Practising Marketer (CPM) designation is accredited by the Australian Marketing Institute and sets the standard for the marketing profession.

Certified Practising Marketer (CPM) accreditation assesses academic and professional experience to ensure that there is an understanding, as well as ability to apply marketing. Accreditation means a commitment to the Australian Marketing Institute’s Code of Conduct and the requirement of continuing professional development to ensure ongoing learning.

A Certified Practising Marketer (CPM) understands that marketing is more than disparate tactics. A Certified Practising Marketer (CPM) realises that marketing is the strategic alignment between business goals and marketing outcomes, resulting in a measurable and positive impact on business growth and innovation.

At Syneka Marketing we are proud of our ongoing involvement with the Australian Marketing Institute. Our founder, Alex Makin is the State Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute’s Victorian Advisory Committee and our leadership team maintains Certified Practising Marketer (CPM) accreditation.

Do not risk your business with pretenders that lack accreditation and industry recognition. Accreditation matters for marketing, just as it does for Accountants, Lawyers and Engineers.

Aldi - not thinking about the context of their social media content

Another week and another example of poor marketing governance

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

Aldi provides us with the latest example of a social media failure, with its fill in the blank exercise posted onto Twitter.

Aldi - not thinking about the context of their social media content

Aldi – not thinking about the context of their social media content

While the resulting media coverage joked that ‘Aldi’s social media intern is about to get fired’, the joke should be the way social media is not seen as a communications tool and therefore part of the marketing mix.

Over the course of 2015 there was no shortage social media failures. In April we saw Woolworths‘ poorly planned attempt to associate itself with Anzac Day, followed by the Victorian Taxi Association not only misspelling Remembrance Day, but also failing to consider the ramifications of asking Twitter users their thoughts on the taxi industry.

These are all examples of where marketing governance has failed. The ability to publish externally viewable content has become disconnected from campaign planning and strategy, causing mistakes that can result in reputational damage.

Yet, these mistakes are not new. Had Woolworths, Aldi, the Victorian Taxi Association and many others, actually undertaken research, they would have seen the 2012 example of #McDStories, whereby McDonald’s asked Twitter users for their stories about the McDonald’s experience. The campaign lasted for just two hours until it was realised that asking about the McDonald’s experience via social media was not a good conversation topic.

Commentary through the McDStories campaign - back in 2012

Commentary through the McDStories campaign – back in 2012

 

Social media needs to be seen for what it is, a communications tool that is part of the marketing mix. Unfortunately, this is likely to re-occur until sound marketing governance is developed. Marketing needs the processes, procedures and policies to determine the optimal scope of authority in the marketing mix to prevent mistakes that never should have occurred in the first instance.

Visit Brisbane ad

Is it Visit Brisbane or Visit Melbourne?

By Government No Comments

As a strategic marketing agency it is our role to assist clients in determining their unique value proposition, which in turn informs their target markets and marketing mix. Over the break I encountered this billboard at Southern Cross Station:

 

At first, I thought that it was perhaps an advertisement for a restaurant at South Warf, given it is approximately 1 kilometre from Southern Cross Station and has almost the exact same look and feel as this advertisement.

On closer inspection, I realised that this was not an advertisement for South Warf, but for Brisbane.

Visit Brisbane ad

Visit Brisbane ad

Brisbane, unlike other areas in Queensland, is the urban centre, with a population of 2.3 million. It doesn’t have the glitzy beaches and hotels like the Gold Coast or the pristine scenery of the Whitsunday’s; and in many ways it is a lot like Melbourne.

Brisbane Marketing is the official tourism organisation for Brisbane, with one of its goals to increase interstate tourism from Melbourne. Unfortunately, this campaign has not understood this target audience.

South Warf Melbourne

South Warf Melbourne

Riverside dining at South Warf Melbourne

Riverside dining at South Warf Melbourne

There is no point creating a tourism campaign that looks like it was shot in Melbourne and then sold to people in Melbourne, when they can get the same experience walking 12 minutes from Southern Cross Station.

Tourism exists to generate a return, and while this campaign goes beyond the typical flora and fauna approach it does not look at how to position Brisbane’s strengths relative to Melbourne.

We encourage Brisbane Marketing to look strategically at their target audiences and start creating campaigns that these audiences with value.

The Launch of Ringwood Realm

By Government No Comments

Ringwood Realm, is a new multipurpose cultural and innovation centre located at Ringwood, providing integral community facilities in the heart of the town centre. Realm, alongside Eastland Shopping Centre, was essential to the urban renewal of Ringwood.

While the launch of Realm took place today, planning commenced many years earlier, with initial discussions beginning in the early 2000s. Planning applications and the identification of key community needs gathered pace between 2005 and 2012, during my time on Maroondah City Council. The advancement of Ringwood was key priority of mine in 2010 when I served as Mayor of Maroondah City Council and this led to a major campaign calling for the redevelopment of Ringwood Station in a modern, accessible transport interchange. Our advocacy, which involved a range of key community groups, was successful in securing the redevelopment of Ringwood Station, which served as the catalyst for further investment.

The vision for Ringwood was many years in the making, with the actual construction phase being just one component. There are many parallels to the business world, where strong foundations lead to sustainable outcomes. While agility has become a buzzword, there is the need for strong foundations and planning to guide successful outcomes.

Unfortunately, many businesses focus on tactics rather than strategy, creating disparate activities that have little ability to achieve a business vision. Any successful venture takes planning and the culmination of Ringwood through partnerships with the community, State and Commonwealth Governments is one clear example of this.

We’ve defined customer experience – now connect it to the customer journey

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

We recently discussed the need for marketing to move beyond buzzwords and to instead re-claim the definition of customer experience, which forms the very core of marketing theory. Our thoughts have now been viewed organically by over 5000 people in just 48 hours via LinkedIn, and continues to be actively being shared across key social media channels.

Interest in this article has demonstrated why marketing needs to reclaim its core remit, so today we are going to exploring another buzzword: customer journey.

In defining the customer experience, we returned to the core of marketing theory through the marketing mix. The overall customer experience is going to be defined by the impact of the impressions that are made across each of these elements.

We need to return to fundamentals to explore the customer journey, as we explore the steps that are taken for someone to become a customer and ideally remain so on an ongoing basis.

Phases in the Customer Journey

There are three interconnected phases within the customer journey:

  • Pre-purchase – where the aim is to raise awareness with your target markets and ensure that your brand is actively considered by these prospective customers.
  • The Purchase phase – where the prospect becomes a customer. This is where they commit to purchasing your product or service and the perceptions of its brand.
  • The Post-purchase phase – where your customer considers the outcomes and value they received, based on their perceptions and the outcomes that were achieved.

The three phases of the customer journey as mapped to the decision making process
The three phases of the customer journey as mapped to the decision making process.

 

The Decision Making Process has its origins in consumer behaviour stemming from the 1960s. We have adapted this model to explore each phase in the customer journey, as viewed through the decision making process. It explores both the rational (such as pricing and function) and perceptual (attitudes and subjective impressions) aspects that influence the decision.

The customer journey is not linear and this particularly true if there is a desire to build loyalty and repeat purchases. The experience you are creating through the marketing mix will impact on the ability to successfully transition your target market through the customer journey. The customer experience relates to their interaction with your business or brand, while the customer journey views this from the customer perspective as they identify the best fit for their needs.

Like other buzzwords in marketing there is a need to return to core principles, a Marketing Manager should have the ability to influence factors that assist in transitioning customers through the journey.  We will be continuing this series as we turn our attention to measuring both the customer experience and journey.

Exploring the customer experience through the marketing mix

By Advice, Advice for Businesses, Government No Comments

Last time we explored the current buzz around the term customer experience. While it is positive to see an emphasis on the customer perspective, in reality this concept is nothing new and is a rehash of the original marketing mix.

While the marketing mix is fundamental to the discipline, it is often an area that many businesses fail to get right, partly due to the dilution of what customer experience actually means.

A successful experience is where all elements of the marketing mix provide consistency, instils confidence in the purchase decision, and mitigates doubt. The marketing mix helps ensure that all aspects of your organisation, from back-end processes through to front-end communications reinforce your value proposition.

The Marketing Mix (otherwise known as the 7Ps of Marketing)

The Marketing Mix demonstrates the intended breadth of marketing:

  • Pricing should be consistent with the value proposition.
  • Distribution channels or placement reflects this positioning,
  • Provision of physical evidence to demonstrate outcomes.
  • Internal processes should facilitate the engagement of customers.
  • Promotion and communications needs to reflect the value proposition to reach the intended target markets.
  • The actual products or services should be designed inline with customer requirements.
  • The people and personnel should reinforce the image of the business and the core value of the brands it provides.

While the Marketing Mix is the cornerstone of marketing, many marketing managers do not have the required visibility or influence across each of these areas. As a result there is a the potential risk of inconsistency, which can tarnish reputations and diminish customer reach.

Kiki K – an example in the marketing mix:

Kikki K is a brand that designs and sells stationery, consistent with Swedish design principles. It challenges its customers to utilise stationery to create the life they want. Ultimately it uses these aspirations to position stationery as the creator of these dreams.

Kikki K’s stores reflect this aesthetic and this is continued through its digital presence, print collateral and the attitude of the staff. The customer experience is further emphasised by Kikki K conducting events that aim to inspire its target markets through the achievement of dreasms.

The business has created a successful stationery brand with a premium pricing model, despite the commoditisation of the sector through competitors such as Officeworks. The reason this works is due to an approach that provides consistency across the marketing mix. Kikki K has a clearly defined target market and has positioned each element of the marketing mix to reinforce this experience.

2015-09-25 Kikki K Store

And another example:

Contrast this to another example: Telstra, which in recent years has been trying to win the hearts and minds of Australians through interconnectedness and personalisation. While its public communications are promoting a friendly and approachable business, this is often not consistent with the experience customers receive through Telstra’s support systems or retail outlets. While Telstra is fortunate to leverage its history as a regulated entity, most other businesses are not so lucky and would suffer reputational risk and loss of market share due to this lack of integration.

Marketing is holistic

Effective marketing achieves outcomes because it is more than just front-end communications. Real marketing undertakes a holistic approach to deliver consistency and confidence throughout the entire customer journey.