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business partners Archives - Syneka Marketing

Australian Computer Society

Australian Computer Society’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation SIG: The Entrepreneurial Journey – Challenges and Rewards

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

The Australian Computer Society is the professional body representing the IT profession. This evening I was invited to the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Special Interest Group, to discuss the role of marketing in enabling an entrepreneurial journey.

Marketing and IT are more closely related than they first appear. Both perform a support function for many organisations, enabling them in turn to deliver their core products or services. In addition, marketing insights are enhanced through IT’s role in data collection and analysis.

With a growing emphasis on tech startups there is a tendency to romanticise the industry, with people forgetting that companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Google or Facebook were not overnight sensations. While their products were part of their success, it was the execution of their marketing plans and direction that made these products relevant.

Developing a new App or IT based innovation is the first stage of the entrepreneurial journey, getting it to market and maintaining relevancy is what leads to ongoing success.  During my presentation, I outlined the role of marketing and highlighted a number of areas that are often overlooked by entrepreneurs.

In particular, there is a need to understand market segments and the potential userbase.  No product is relevant to everyone and it is important that you take the time to understand your key target markets.  In addition, you should consider your supply chain, investors and business partners, so you have a strategy that considers the value they receive from your innovation.

Furthermore, competitors are another area that is often overlooked.  It is factually incorrect to assume that a new product has no competitors. While there may not be other direct competitors (those offering the same product or service), there will be indirect competitors (who offer similar products) and other forms of competition that will compete for your target market’s time and money. Understanding the competitive landscape is essential to developing a successful innovation.

One of my aims is to educate communities on the importance of undertaking a strategic approach to marketing. The presentation at the Australian Computer Society’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Special Interest Group works towards this vision.

City of Yarra

Networking@6 – A business event with a point of difference

By | Advice for Businesses, Government | No Comments

Networking@6 is a new initiative, created by the Business Development Team at the City of Yarra. Unlike traditional business events that follow a formalised presentation, or speed networking, which restricts in-depth conversations, Networking@6 is designed to facilitate discussion and the sharing of information.

Alex facilitating the inaugural Networking@6 Session

Alex facilitating the inaugural Networking@6 Session

I had the pleasure of facilitating the inaugural Networking@6 session, which encouraged participants to consider the point of difference they have for their business. Just as Networking@6 has a clear point of difference, each business needs to differentiate itself from competitors.

Being an informal conversation, the discussion was able to incorporate the experience of participants, as we considered a range of
marketing and business topics
. Every business has competitors, so we discussed how a point of difference, or unique value proposition, can be leveraged to attract and retain customers.

Competition not only includes direct competitors, but also businesses that may indirectly impact on a decision made by customers. For example, direct competitors for Networking@6 include other business networking events, while indirect competition considers competing demands for time, such as social events or other business resources. Understanding your value proposition enables you to utilise key messages that resonate with your target market and encourage purchase decisions.

We also considered how a point of difference can be promoted through the supply chain, ensuring that suppliers, distributors and employees can reinforce this sense of value. Suppliers need to view their distributors as partners and understand that their success, is in part, reliant on the outcomes achieved by their customers. Similarly, employees need to understand and appreciate the point of difference so that they can be valued and assist in the ongoing viability of your business.

A point of difference is essential for any business and it must be something that is considered to be of value to customers, as well as business partners. Networking@6 was able to articulate its value as an informal session with free-flowing conversation and knowledge.

The attendees at Networking@6

The attendees at Networking@6

Many participants also commented on how important community is to their business. It was great to see the realisation that business owners can work in partnership with the wider community. One of the broader aims of Networking@6 is to foster a sense of community through networking to build upon the conversations that were initiated at tonight’s session.

Networking@6 is definitely worth attending and congratulations to the City of Yarra’s Business Development Team for creating the concept. Details on future sessions are available at www.yarrabusiness.com.au.

Why business partnerships are important

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Meaningful business partnerships can lead to ongoing growth. A well functioning business partnership should be one that is built on mutual trust, where both parties benefit.

The best partners are those who have complementary skills. A business partner needs to add value to your business. There is no point setting up a partnership with a business that simply acts as a supplier. Focusing on building partnerships that expand your offering may mean that you are able to take on projects that require a wider skills base.

The best part about finding business partners is that you can focus on what you do best and use your partners to deliver what they do best. Being able to do what you do best means you can focus on building your business around your core offering and demonstrated expertise.

It is important to be on the same page as your business partners. Working collaboratively to align goals ensures you are heading in the same direction.

Business partners can also be used to pool capital around projects that offer mutual benefit. For example, if you both wanted to target new customers through a direct telemarketing campaign, you and your partner can share costs around administering a campaign that would provide mutual benefits.

It can sometimes be hard to look objectively at your business, a good business partner will generally want you to succeed. They can often serve as a valuable conduit to share ideas and be used to crystallise the dynamics behind your internal processes and policies.

Business partnerships can build the capacity of your business and lead to new opportunities. Partnerships are well worth considering when looking at ways to grow your business.

Rotary Club of Ringwood

Marketing and Rotary – Presentation to the 2013 Rotary District 9810 Conference

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

The Rotary Conference is an annual event designed to bring clubs across District 9810, covering Melbourne’s eastern and south-eastern suburbs, together for networking and knowledge exchange.

The conference was held in Wangaratta, and despite replacement coach services it was enjoyable weekend filled with a range of Rotary projects.

The weekend conference covered new initiatives and projects undertaken by clubs within the District. One of the sessions included Marketing and I had the privilege of presenting an overview of strategic marketing to the assembled Rotarians.

Alex Makin on stage at the Rotary District Conference in Wangaratta

Alex Makin on stage at the Rotary District Conference in Wangaratta

Rotary, like any other organisation, needs effective marketing to achieve its goals. Marketing enables individual Cubs to identify their target markets and the objectives they wish to achieve.

Marketing is broader than member recruitment and needs to encompass all potential markets of a Club, including business partners, community organisations and public support. Each of these target markets will have specific reasons for becoming involved and Clubs need to develop consistent messages to ensure a positive interaction.

Individual Rotary Clubs possess their own strengths and these should be used to develop a competitive advantage relative to other organisations. Rotary Clubs are ultimately competing for people’s time and resources. The value proposition needs to demonstrate the benefits from being associated with Rotary.

Key messages should reinforce the strengths of the Club and articulate this value proposition. For example, Clubs could demonstrate the professional skills that are gained through assisting with Rotary projects and the benefits this provides for career prospects. Similarly, Clubs can demonstrate the benefits for business partners in aligning themselves with a globally recognised brand and potential customer base.

Every form of contact someone has with the Club, whether it be through bulletins, brochures, meetings or correspondence is a form of a marketing; since an impression is left with every encounter. All marketing tools need to reinforce the key messages and develop a consistent brand image for the Club.

Alex and the presentation slides at the Rotary District 9810 Conference

Alex and the presentation slides at the Rotary District 9810 Conference

Similarly, a Club’s website and social media presence needs to complement existing forms of communication. A club should utilise a number of tools and evaluate each of them to measure their reach with the desired target market.

Inconsistency creates confusion and diminishes the ability to encourage the target market to interact with Rotary.

Rotary is a high involvement product, it requires a significant commitment from individuals and a consistent image helps to ensure top of mind awareness. In addition, encouraging involvement in projects can assist in recruiting members for specific tasks and to demonstrate the outcomes they can achieve.

The District Conference is a great opportunity to meet fellow Rotarians and to discuss ideas, it is great to see marketing being considered as part of the program fixture.

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Successfully Planning and Promoting Events – Training Workshop

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

Eastern Volunteers is a volunteer resource centre located in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, which assists community organisations in recruiting and training volunteers.

This month I conducted a training session on planning and promoting events; following the success of a similar workshop that I held last year. The half-day workshop covered the following topics:

Developing a marketing approach

Events are a marketing activity and as such they need to align with organisational goals. All forms of interaction, such as attending an event, receiving promotional materials or customer service, results in an impression being formed. It is imperative that these impressions reinforce the key messages that an organisation wishes to communicate.

Events need a clearly defined purpose so that the organisation and participants are aware of the outcomes they wish to be achieve. Clear expectations also assist when evaluating the effectiveness of an event.

Do you wish to raise funds, or are you planning to raise awareness for your organisation? While there may be a crossover between purposes, there will typically be an overriding priority that defines the aim of the event.

Like any form of marketing, there is a need to understand the target market for your event. Who do you wish to attract to the event and why is it is important to reach this target market? Knowing the target market will assist in understanding the best communication tools that can be used to reach these attendees.

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Breakfast with the Lions Club of Vermont

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

Lion Clubs are service based organisations providing members with opportunities for community service.  The Lions Club of Vermont holds regular business events with the aiming of linking these businesses with the Club and its activities.

This morning I was invited to speak to the Lions Club of Vermont, discussing marketing and my experiences in developing marketing strategies and executing campaigns for businesses and not-for-profit organisations.

My presentation covered the fundamentals of marketing, guiding the audience through the initial development of a marketing plan.  I began by discussing the importance of consistent messages and understanding the needs of your customers or stakeholders.

Businesses support community organisations through workplace volunteering programs.

Businesses support community organisations through workplace volunteering programs.

There are common similarities in marketing for businesses or not-for-profit organisations, but there are some differences that make not-for-profits unique.  Businesses will typically have a defined target market, knowing their current and potential customer base.  This is somewhat true for not-for-profit organisations, but often there’s a need to target not just clients, but also volunteers, funding bodies, business partners and other organisations.  The need to cover a wider range of stakeholders provides unique challenges for not-for-profit organisations and it is important that each of these target markets is considered when developing a marketing plan.

Knowing the characteristics of the target market will assist in knowing how best to reach these potential customers and stakeholders.  Customers may respond best to a particular medium and it is important that messages can work across marketing tools.

Marketing tools, regardless as to to whether they are brochures, advertising, websites or social media should have a clearly defined call to action.   The call to action is what you want someone to undertake when they respond to the marketing messages.

Often a combination of tools is required to generate awareness and to prompt someone to recall the messages when they are able to respond to the call to action. This is why major advertisers, such as large retailers, use a combination of TV, radio and print – they want potential customers to think of their store when they are ready to make purchases.

Smaller businesses and many not-for-profit organisations have limited marketing budgets so it is imperative that marketing is utilised as efficiently as possible.  Understanding your target markets and knowing the most effective methods of communication to reach these potential customers is essential.

Use the right tools to reach these target markets and ensure a consistent message to prompt recall and action.  The need for consistency is particularly important when there is a long lead time to generate sales, such as booking holidays or purchasing furniture.

Marketing is an essential activity for any business or not-for-profit organisation.  This is particularly true in difficult economic conditions, where there is a need to foster ongoing customer loyalty.

Questions included a discussion on marketing volunteer opportunities, particularly for service clubs, where I discussed the need to focus on projects and the outcomes that volunteers can achieve through their efforts.

Business Breakfasts help businesses develop networks and gain valuable insights.  It was particularly pleasing to see a large number of businesses participating in today’s breakfast.

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