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decisions 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.

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.

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 – Your short-term action need to strengthen your long-term position

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As a strategic marketing agency we work with our clients to align their business goals with marketing outcomes. The end result is a combination of short-term actions that can be implemented immediately and activities that build the capacity of a business over the longer-term. Like personal goals, business goals can take time, perseverance, strategy and dedication to accomplish.

Unfortunately in today’s fast paced environment it can be far too easy to rush into ill-considered short-term actions, which can have a detrimental impact on growth over the longer term. Aggressive pricing discounts are one of the most evident examples of this approach, whereby a short-term spike in sales, will often jeopardise the value proposition over the longer term.  Pricing is one element of the marketing mix and needs to be considered in tandem with all aspects of your business.

A tactics led approach can perpetuate business uncertainty, given that there is little consideration on the overall impact of a business. As a consequence, the wrong metrics are often collated, providing numbers that appear positive, but have little value. Classic examples include website visitations, when the more important metric is conversion and measuring the desire to purchase.

Furthermore, marketing activities do not work in isolation, and there is a need to measure the effectiveness of several activities across the entire decision making process. The evaluation of your marketing activities need to not only look at the performance of each tactic, but also their collective impact.

Unfortunately, it can often be difficult for business owners to view their business objectively, leading to poor judgement around strategic marketing decisions. Marketers need to demonstrate strategic expertise to ensure that all activities are assessed objectively and in the context of business goals.

The lack of objectivity is often evidenced in the rush for the latest trend, where the buzz blurs the metrics that actually matter. Content is the current example, whereby content for contents sake achieves little, but a targeted approach aimed at connecting and engaging target audiences, can have merit.  Social media was previously caught in a similar buzz, with metrics highlighting Facebook likes, but with little consideration on the need to convert these likes into advocates and customers.

A strategic approach looks beyond the buzz and begins by viewing a business holistically. There is a focus on relevant metrics, so that a business is able to measure outcomes and adjust to changing needs as required. As result, marketing activities focus on overall impact, ensuring a consistent experience that motivates purchase decisions.

Importantly there are often compounding benefits to a strategic approach, with short-term initiatives strengthening over time and reinforcing the value proposition of a business.

Business success is never going to be achieved by looking at discrete short-term actions, or rushing to the latest buzzwords.  Focus on your longer-term aspirations and begin by exploring initiatives that can be achieved in short-term while being consistent with your business goals.

Melbourne Silicon Beach Meetup

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As supporters of Melbourne’s Startup community we attended the July Melbourne Silicon Beach Meetup. Our role is to ensure that startups receive the right marketing advice so they can make the informed decisions on how best to achieve their business outcomes.

Unfortunately over 80% of startups do not survive after the first twelve months. The lack of a suitable marketing approach, though a failure to understand market trends, customer demographics and the competitive landscapes, is one of the top ten reasons for this failure.

Our mission of re-defining marketing as a strategic led approach that links business goals and marketing outcomes, means we are working with startups to ensure they receive the right marketing advice.