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consistency Archives - Syneka Marketing

Marketing Governance: Mitigating reputational and financial risks

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

Good governance needs to underpin all aspects of a business or organisation and this holds true for marketing. Unfortunately, marketing governance tends to be substantially underdeveloped, with blurred responsibilities and a lack of sufficient oversight.

The most evident examples are seen in social media, where a lack of oversight and a failure to link execution with strategic direction, has resulted in significant public mistakes by businesses (including large businesses like Woolworths and McDonalds), as well as not-for-profit organisations (as evidenced through the failed YourTaxis campaign).

Marketing Governance defines the roles and responsibilities of the marketing function, by considering three core elements:

2016-02-29 Levels

  1. Level 1: Executive – Leadership and Direction – Marketing leadership and strategic direction needs to be established at an executive level. This is often the Chief Marketing Officer and the Executive Team, or a combination of the board and Executive Officer within not-for-profit organisations. The strategic marketing direction needs to be consistent with the organisation’s vision.  In particular, the entire marketing mix needs to be considered, to ensure that marketing has visibility and suitable influence across the organisation. Suitable structures should be developed to support the need for marketing to be integrated into other business areas.
  1. Level 2: Management – Accountability and Oversight – Management is accountable for delivering the strategies that will achieve the goals established through the marketing plan. Management should determine the appropriate activities and tactics (within budget and resource parameters) that will collectively achieve the identified direction. Management is responsible for oversight across these activities to ensure consistency and to evaluate results. Management should be empowered to not only measure marketing performance, but to adjust these activities if the expected outcomes are not being realised. As a result, management must be able to measure marketing performance and be fully aware of the customer journey and sequencing that is required to motivate action.
  1. Level 3: Implementation – Execution – Execution is where relevant marketing tactics are undertaken based on the decisions made by management. The execution layer can involve internal teams, external partners or a combined approach, but should always have a clear understanding of the outcomes required. It is imperative that execution activities are briefed correctly and that inputs and outputs are not mistaken for marketing outcomes. Management needs oversight over execution to ensure that outcomes are consistent and delivering anticipated results. Measuring marketing performance enables adjustments and to ensure that all execution elements are working as intended.

Marketing Governance is an area that is far too often overlooked, but is required to ensure the evaluation of marketing performance and to reduce reputational and financial risk.

Marketing, as a function, and organisations overall, need to develop capabilities in marketing governance so we can finally see an end to mistakes that never should have occurred in the first place, had oversight and direction been suitably established.

Marketing Metrics for Not-for-profit organisations

By | Advice for Businesses | No Comments

Marketing is only effective when it is measured and evaluated, as this ensures that outcomes are being achieved. The need for measurability is particularly important for not-for-profit organisations due to the mix of stakeholders involved.

This morning I facilitated an interactive workshop with not-for-profit organisations, in partnership with Xponential and Morgan Stanley.
The session explored the role of marketing and the need for alignment with organisational goals. We explored the need to engage and understand key stakeholders, as well as the need for consistency across the marketing mix.

We also focused on marketing governance, through the board maintaining its role in setting direction and evaluating outcomes. Management should deliver against these requirements to ensure that desired outcomes are being achieved, while being supported by teams that deliver relevant tactics.

Building marketing capacity is critical for the not-for-profit sector as it needs to diversify revenue sources and strengthen the demonstrable impact.

Asking the wrong question: The Taxi Industry receives feedback via Twitter

Ask the wrong questions, get the wrong answers – Exploring the YourTaxis Campaign

By | Advice, Advice for Businesses, News | 2 Comments

It is unfortunately for too common for businesses to ask the wrong questions when seeking marketing support. This perpetuates the ineffective tactics led approach to marketing, which ultimately diminishes returns due to a lack of consistency with the desired strategic direction.

We often see this when a business is seeking website modifications, social media content or a branding refresh. There is the assumption that these isolated tactics will result in business growth, rather than the question being ‘how do we ensure consistency across the marketing experience and throughout each stage of the customer journey’.

Social media in itself will not foster customer loyalty or engagement if the customer base is not receptive to this medium. Similarly, a website will not result in new business if the processes behind the site are cumbersome or unwieldy.

Often there is need to dig beyond tactics to discover the broader marketing questions that need to be answered. Specifically, there the need to consider how each tactic should reinforce the customer journey to culminate in an experience that fosters outcomes.

We saw this earlier this year with Woolworths failing to consider the ramifications of its Fresh in Our Memories Campaign, and more recently with @YourTaxis, a social media campaign that failed in its attempt to shift public perceptions of the taxi industry.

Woolworths asking the wrong questions: The Fresh in Our Memories Campaign

Woolworths asking the wrong questions: The Fresh in Our Memories Campaign

While Woolworths should have had the resources, foresight and capability to think through the ramifications. The client of the YourTaxis campaign was a not-for-profit membership organisation that would have limited resources and failed to ask the right questions.

The Taxi industry, which has traditionally had few direct competitors, is now under significant pressure from Uber, despite the ride sharing service being somewhat legally ambiguous under current Victorian legislation. The Taxi Industry has responded by been undertaking advocacy efforts to review Uber given current legislation.

Uber has significant strengths in social media and strong online loyalty, aspects that are not shared by the taxi industry. A tactics based approach resulted in the YourTaxis campaign simply replicating what had worked for Uber, despite the high element of risk. The campaign failed on any discernible metric, with Twitter users complaining about Taxis and many complementing Uber within the same Tweet.

Asking the wrong question: The Taxi Industry receives feedback via Twitter

Asking the wrong question: The Taxi Industry receives feedback via Twitter

The question that should have been asked was ‘how do we improve the perception of taxis to assist in influencing the political debate?’ Had this question been asked, a social media campaign focused on soliciting public views would have never been considered.

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

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

Answering the right question would resulted in a substantially different campaign:

  • There would be a focus on service delivery, highlighting improvements, such as driver training and standards, as well as streamlining the complaints process.
  • Promotional campaigns would have focused on the role of taxis as a form of transport to an audience of State MPs and other decision makers, rather than end users.
  • A public component could have been explored through the hopes and aspirations of taxi drivers, with the aim of building personal rapport with the sector.

Answering the right question would have resulted in a campaign focused on the entire marketing mix, with stakeholders including passengers and policy makers. Alignment between each element in the marketing mix, particularly the service, processes and people elements would have enhanced the industry’s standing.

A strategic approach to marketing ensures the right questions are being asked, so you can reach the right answers. Unfortunately in this case, the wrong question was asked twice, with a second campaign on Remembrance Day resulting in further criticism through social media.

Asking the wrong question twice: The YourTaxis Tweet on remembrance Day

Asking the wrong question twice: The YourTaxis Tweet on Remembrance (not Rememberance) Day

The end result is an industry that now has a harder time influencing debate and decision makers, as well as a not-for-profit membership based association that most likely has diminished standing with its members. It is a shame when time, money and reputation is thrown away simply because the wrong questions were asked.

PS We attempted to reach out to the Agency that initiated the YourTaxis campaign to explore their perspective. We received no response.

Measuring Marketing Performance – Don’t confuse inputs for outputs

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Last time we explored the customer journey, returning to the decision making process, as a potential customer begins at a pre-purchase phase prior to a purchase and then post-purchase considerations. We also explored the customer experience, to ensure that the term returns to its core definition within the marketing mix.

Both of these concepts demonstrate the need for consistency, as well as multiple contact points to reach customers and influence decisions. As a result, there is a need for a holistic view of marketing, since running disparate tactics will result in diminished outcomes. Furthermore, undertaking a holistic approach enables a greater degree of confidence in decisions and the ability to measure overall impact.

Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation in regard to the measurement of marketing performance. Firstly, offline content, such as product factsheets, print media, radio and TV can be measured and should be evaluated to understand overall performance. Secondly, many digital metrics, such as website visitations, social media interaction are in fact inputs rather than outputs.

Far too often, we see marketing managers that report on website visitations, Facebook likes or Twitter followers, without providing metrics that consider the end outcomes, namely conversions into customers or repeat purchases. The key is to use these inputs and map the contact points that are required across the customer journey to achieve the end result, such as a purchase or repeat purchase. Similarly, the customer will have differing forms of interaction with a business, beyond promotions, such as a direct interaction with staff, or a visitation into a store. Each of these aspects form part of the journey and need to be measured, as an adverse experience across any of these areas can deter purchase intent.

Begin by assessing the channels that you use to raise overall awareness and then consider the next steps that a customer takes once there is general awareness. Is your prospective customer visiting a website and then following up through email or phone, or do they undertake further research, prior to returning? Is the first point of contact a broadcast medium or referral, rather than a website?

Pre purchase purchase post purchase

Each of these components form an input into the end goal, so consider overall reach, followed by identifying customers that have taken a subsequent step along the next contact point. Benchmark and evaluate these results so you can make informed decisions on the rate of marketing return and the effects of any modifications. As a result you can identify the relevancy of website visitors, whether event participation is reaching the target audiences and overall number of contact points and timing required to achieve purchase intent.

Exploring the customer experience through the marketing mix

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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.

Marketing can deliver value – even during economic uncertainty

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Australia has faced several years of economic uncertainty and the latest trends appear to be indicating that a recession is on the horizon. Marketing is often one of the first areas to experience downsizing during economic uncertainty. This is largely due to a lack of measurability, resulting in marketing being seen as a cost centre rather than revenue generator.

This cycle is perpetuated through an execution led approach to marketing. Operating marketing as a silo, results in a lack of consistency between business goals and marketing outcomes. Agencies will typically take carriage of specific functions, such as design, content or social media, but there is a failure to fully appreciate the marketing mix, and the need to align execution with the identified strategic direction.

It is time to change this paradigm. Marketing needs to return to its core definition of delivering value, as per the definition adopted 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.

The creation of value through marketing is what enables a business to expand its capacity. While economic conditions will have an impact, the role of marketing is to rise above these challenges and deliver ongoing value creation.

Proctor and Gamble is one such example. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, consumer goods were hit hard. Rather than cutting its marketing function, Proctor and Gamble, shifted its focus to essential household items. The solution came in the form of Oxydol, one of its soap brands, which made it easier to wash clothes, in an era where washing required extensive physical labour. After defining the product and its value proposition, Proctor and Gamble focused on how it could reach its target customers.

In an era where other companies were slashing marketing activities, Proctor and Gamble rehoned its approach to take into account the difficult economic conditions. Initiatives included a re-orientation towards commercial radio broadcasts, reaching consumers through a medium that was affordable to consumers, while offering positivity in an otherwise negative environment.

Pioneering both personas and content, Proctor and Gamble personified the product through the creation of Oxydol’s Own Ma Perkins and created the genre of soap operas along the way.

The Great Depression could have easily been a time of despair for Proctor and Gamble, but instead it re-examined the market context and gained a deeper understanding of its consumers. The marketing execution was the output of a strategic approach that ultimately saw the company achieve growth during times that many others failed.

If marketing rose to the challenge and re-connected with the need to demonstrate value, then marketing would be seen as the function that enables businesses to build capacity. It is time for the marketing profession to not repeat past mistakes, but instead to re-align itself with value and the delivery of metrics that matter.