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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.

Russel Howcroft on the Power of TV

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This morning the Australian Marketing Institute held an exclusive session held an exclusive session at the Channel Ten studios, featuring Russel Howcroft who discussed the role of ‘traditional media’ in a digital world.

The role of marketing is to use the right tools across the marketing mix to achieve business outcomes. The traditional forms of communications, through TV, radio and print, remain just as valid today, even with the introduction of digital tools. Multiple communication tools are often required to create action, so there is a need to identify how best to reach and motivate your target markets.

At Network Ten

At Network Ten

No mainstream digital disrupter, such as Twitter, Facebook or Google, has been able to achieve its market presence without the use of traditional media. Rather than seeing digital as distinct to traditional, marketers need to view these tools as the means to achieve business goals.

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.

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.

Melbourne Silicon Beach: Redefining Marketing for Melbourne’s StartUp Community

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Silicon Beach is Australia’s leading startup community, providing networking opportunities and support in developing local StartUps. We’re pleased to announce that we are the official marketing sponsor of Melbourne Silicon Beach and we’ll be working with the co-hosts to develop the capacity of the organisation and the businesses it supports.

Our interest in StartUps stems from our desire to redefine marketing. Unfortunately the StartUp space has been heavily romanticised, painting the illusion that tech giants, such as Facebook or Google were overnight sensations. The reality could not be further from the truth, developing the product, whether it be the next breakthrough App or Internet focused disruption, is one element. The positioning and marketing of these developments, is what separates success from failure.

Betamax vs VHS - technology innovations from the 1980s and a case study in how marketing needs to be strategic

Betamax vs VHS – technology innovations from the 1980s and a case study in how marketing needs to be strategic

Many technically superior products have failed to gain traction, due to an inadequate marketing approach. In the 1980s we had the VHS vs Betamax format wars, and this was repeated recently with the battle over Blu-Ray and HD DVD. The key to Blu-Ray’s success was in the support it garnered through studios and distributors, key channels that needed to be leveraged to reach end-customer interest.

Similarly, the whole of experience approach led to the ultimate dominance of VHS, against the strong foothold that Betamax had in the 1980s. VHS had a focus on reaching consumers through multiple channels, which outweighed the technical advantages of the Betamax format.

A lack of suitable marketing is cited as one of the top ten causes of business failure within Australia. Our support of Melbourne Silicon Beach is designed to re-define marketing; so StartUps and other businesses, understand the scope of marketing in the context of their vision.

Viral Marketing - It's All About Context

Viral Marketing – It’s All About Context

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Over the weekend I was catching up on some YouTube only to be confronted with an odd and rather creepy advertisement from Sportsbet entitled “50 Shades of Greyhound”. Designed as a parody of the trailer for the movie “50 Shades of Grey” the ad parodied the original trailer with a twist, having the male protagonist depicted by a greyhound.

In the span of a week, this ad has already amassed over 300,000 views on YouTube. The video has over 10,000 likes on Facebook and has been shared just under 5,000 times.

A rather different looking Mr Grey

A rather different looking Mr Grey

Viral marketing has gained increased precedence amongst well known brands who want to connect with a younger audience. Brands such as Old Spice, Air New Zealand and Metro Trains have been able to gain world wide awareness and recognition through viral marketing. While the impact of some viral campaigns have been questionable, we believe that the most important thing for a viral campaign is its context.

Personally, I found the Sportsbet 50 Shades of Greyhound ad in bad taste. However I can see their context.

The betting market is a mature and competitive industry with many players. While many individuals who engage in betting and gambling are over 50, there is a growing demographic engaging in online gambling between the ages of 18 to 29. Viral videos and an active social media presence are an effective way of reaching this demographic.

Looking at the social media pages for Sportsbet, they have just under 500,000 likes on Facebook, 98,000 followers on Twitter and over 4,000 subscribers on YouTube. Their content is clearly cutting through to their target markets.

Past campaigns have included parodies of television shows such as Wife Swap and Game of Thrones. They have also taken to making fun of their own customers during the cricket and spring carnival seasons through advertisements depicting various customer segments as “bogan”, the “handholder” and the “International”.

In creating this “lad-like” content, Sportsbet has been able to personify itself as a mate to its younger demographic, breaking boundaries and creating engagement.

50 Shades of Greyhound has been designed for those young men, who may have been forced to watch 50 Shades of Grey with their partner. It also attracts the attention of those questioning the significance of this movie. It is an impossible situation that makes a cheeky link back to its offering.

While I clearly did not enjoy it, I can see young men around the country discussing this advertisement, looking at their phones and checking for the next greyhound race!