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end result Archives - Syneka Marketing

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

By | Advice for Businesses | No Comments

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.

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

By | News | No Comments

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.

Aligning business goals and marketing outcomes

By | Advice for Businesses | No Comments

A business plan identifies what you want to achieve for your business, while a marketing plan will look at how to achieve these outcomes.

Unfortunately, it is far too common for businesses to view marketing as a series of tactics, where the ability to measure outcomes is diminished. The danger with this approach is that often the wrong questions are being asked. For example, a business may want to increase website visitations, but fails to ask the right question in terms how do I gain value from website visitors? Who is it needs to visit my website and why?

An execution or tactical led approach to marketing also fails to encapsulate the entire customer journey, as well as the role of others who may be influencing the purchase decision. While there may be an attempt to shoe-horn a strategy into a tactic, it will still fail to understand the overall marketing approach adopted across your business.

Execution led approaches fail to understand the real definition of marketing, and the alignment it should have with the strategic direction of a business.

services

A strategy led marketing approach ensures there is an understanding of each of the touchpoints required for your business to interact with initial prospects right through to becoming a repeat customer. This approach provides the ability to define the overall experience that is required to achieve customer acquisition and retention, as well as the metrics required to measure tangible outcomes.

In addition, a strategy led approach understands how best to utilise marketing resources to achieve the direction identified in your business plan. This ensures that marketing outcomes are consistent with your value proposition to build the capacity of your business.

The end result is marketing that is measurable and enables you to evaluate outcomes and consider the overall return on investment.

Define your metrics

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

Marketing is only effective when it is measurable, enabling you to evaluate outcomes and compare this to your expectations.  The ability to evaluate marketing outcomes begins through a marketing plan. Your plan needs to articulate your strategic direction and then identify the outcomes you want to achieve.  Part of this process should include identifying the metrics you will use to measure these outcomes so you can evaluate progress and the end results.

Metrics exist for most aspects of marketing and it is important to look at the real elements that you want to measure.  For example, measuring the number of hits to your website is meaningless, when the real value is in the number of website visitors that then interact with your business or respond to your call to action. Begin by understanding the value of what you want to measure and the reason why it is important.

Customer acquisition and retention is often a particular area of focus. Begin by understanding the number of customers that you have and make sure you avoid double-counting, particularly if there are multiple users but just one purchaser.   Once you have identified an accurate number you can then identify the frequency and recency of their purchases and your overall client retention rate.  This data provides an insight into the lifetime value of your customer. As a result, you are able to gain an understanding of the customer attributes that are required to provide a greater return to your business.

Furthermore, using these metrics you can then explore the cost of acquisition and orientate your approach to customers that provide a greater level of return. Consider the time that is required to convert leads into customers, as well as the number of touch points and key steps that are required.  Very few businesses can rely on one channel alone to generate customers, so it is important to consider each step that is required to achieve these outcomes.

Understanding and embedding metrics into your marketing plan ensures you are able to evaluate your results and make informed decisions. For example, without these metrics you may have a sound acquisition approach, but could end up spending far too much time and money on customers that generate too little return. Ensure that you have the ability to understand where best to invest your marketing outcomes.

Taking the time to develop the right metrics enables you to establish a benchmark and evaluate performance over time. As a result you are able to measure the impact of your marketing outcomes and work towards the strategic direction you have identified.

Alex and each of the Mayors of Melbourne's Central Activities Districts, signing a collaborative agreement.

Five essential tips to foster effective collaboration

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

Government funding has been encouraging collaboration for several years, with grants strongly favouring applications that involve multiple partners. Increasingly businesses are also seeing merit in collaboration to recognise respective expertise, and to achieve shared outcomes.

Collaboration should be nurtured and encouraged, but unfortunately there are also plenty of businesses that talk about collaboration, but do not follow through in practice.

As a strategic marketing agency we often work with other specialists to support our clients in achieving their goals. We thought it would be useful to share our advice on how to foster collaboration.

  1. Agree on the outcomes. Before considering any form of collaboration, ensure that there is an agreement on the outcomes that are to be achieved and the impact that this will create.
  2. Ensure you work with partners who share these outcomes. A supplier is not necessarily a collaborative partner, unless they are actively involved in sharing the agreed outcomes.
  3. Recognise expertise and responsibilities. Make sure that all collaborative partners are aware of their roles and the specific expertise that is required. Each partner should recognise each others expertise and not attempt to overreach.
  4. Collaborative partners need to be treated as equals. While money and time commitments may vary, there should be an equitable level of involvement to ensure that everyone is contributing to the outcome.
  5. Review partnerships and revise when required. All partnerships should be periodically reviewed and revised if needed. Identify what is working in the partnership and what need to be improved.

One of my highlights in working collaboratively was during the time I was Mayor of Maroondah in 2010. Ringwood, had been identified a Central Activities District, which meant it was to be strengthened as a residential and commercial hub.

One of the challenges, however, was the need to encourage the State Government to commit to the redevelopment of Ringwood Station, given it failed to meet accessibility standards and was perceived to be unsafe. While Ringwood was clearly in need of funding, the broader issue was the lack of Government involvement in its own transport and planning policies.

One of my highlights in developing a collaborative approach was during the time I was Mayor of Maroondah in 2010. Ringwood, had been identified a Central Activities District, which meant it was to be strengthened as a residential and commercial hub.

One of the challenges, however, was the need to encourage the State Government to commit to the redevelopment of Ringwood Station, given it failed to meet accessibility standards and was perceived to be unsafe. While Ringwood was clearly in need of funding, the broader issue was the lack of Government involvement in its own transport and planning policies.

One outer suburban council on its own, lacks direct influence with a State Government. As a result, I worked with Bill Pemberton, the Mayor of Whitehorse and Christine Richards, the Mayor of Frankston, to form an alliance so we could advocate for greater support for our respective Central Activities Districts (Box Hill, Frankston and Ringwood). We then expanded this alliance into a formal arrangement that incorporated every Central Activity District in Melbourne. While each individual Council had its own priorities, this group succeeded in developing joint advocacy by focusing on common issues.

Alex and each of the Mayors of Melbourne's Central Activities Districts, signing a collaborative agreement.

Alex and each of the Mayors of Melbourne’s Central Activities Districts, signing a collaborative agreement.

The end result was a greater level of investment and interest within each of Melbourne’s Central Activities Districts, including a commitment to redevelop Ringwood Station.

Before considering a collaborative approach make sure there is a common understanding, so you can work together to achieve your agreed outcomes.