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Russel Howcroft on the Power of TV

By Advice for Businesses No Comments

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.

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

By Advice for Businesses, News, Resources No Comments

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.

There is a need to redefine marketing based on definitions adopted by peak marketing associations.

Marketing isn’t Dead, but it does need to be redefined

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Last week The Harvard Business Review Online published an article ‘Marketing Is Dead, and Loyalty Killed It’, which, due to its sensationalist headline was quickly circulated via social media.

While I normally wouldn’t respond to such content, the fact that it has been published on a reputable online platform, and came up in several conversations over the week, has led me to revisit how marketing does need to be redefined.

There is a need to redefine marketing based on definitions adopted by peak marketing associations.

There is a need to redefine marketing based on definitions adopted by peak marketing associations.

While the author claims that the Chief Marketing Officer should be replaced by the Chief Loyalty Officer, there is a failure to recognise that loyalty is created through a brand, which is executed through a marketing plan.

As a result, the premise is incorrect, given that the author defines marketing as “selling products”, and not the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large (American Marketing Association, Definition of Marketing, Approved July 2013), which is a viewpoint shared by the Australian Marketing Institute.

Furthermore, the case studies, which cite Chioptle and Apple, fail to recognise the role of marketing in creating the value proposition that fosters ongoing customer loyalty.

Apple has strong consumer loyalty, due to its disruptive approach to technology, which encompasses quality, design, ease of use, as well as an ecosystem that serves to cross-sell and support complementary products. This loyalty was fostered through a marketing approach that executed each of these elements in a consistent and seamless manner. What Apple has done well is determine its strategic marketing direction and follow this through with execution. The few times this execution has been underwhelming, there has been a negative reaction to its overall brand value. As an example, the replacement of Google Maps, with Apple Maps, which at the time did not meet the perception of quality, demonstrated how an inconsistent approach adversely impacted the brand and marketing approach.

Loyalty is not created, it is initiated through a strategic marketing plan that recognises the importance of customers. These customers serve as evangelists, and in turn stimulate repeat purchases, as well as support complementary products or services. Apple in devising its approach to the iPod and iPhone, would have recognised that its customers, and in particularly its niche in design, were an existing strength.

The narrow viewpoint of marketing is unfortunately far too common. What is unexpected, however is when a reputable platform, such as the Harvard Business Review, publishes such views.

Marketing begins with strategy. This strategic direction identifies the value proposition and the marketing mix that is required to achieve these outcomes. For many businesses loyalty is a direction that is part of this mix.

Marketing does need to be redefined, primarily because far too many people have been able to claim that they are ‘marketers’, without adhering to a professional standard. The author of ‘ Marketing Is Dead, and Loyalty Killed It’ is a clear example of this.

Google For Entrepreneurs – Female Founders Event

By News No Comments

Today I attended an event that was specifically aimed at women in the technology sector. As a marketing agency, we are passionate about innovation  The technology sector provides great examples of new platforms and applications that can transform the way that we live our daily lives.

Often many events that are aimed at the technology sector are male dominated. It was inspiring to see so many female technology entrepreneurs attend this event and actively work to build their networks.

Sally-Ann Williams from Google spoke about Moonshot thinking which involves picking a problem, and offering a radical solution that is based on evidence. Disruptive technologies are examples of using Moonshot thinking. She also discussed the importance for women in the technology sector to engage in networking and marketing.

Marketing is an important part of ensuring that a business remains sustainable, particularly when a business has developed an innovative product that is unfamiliar to the market place.

With the right planning any business can be innovative

What does it take to be innovative?

By Advice, Advice for Businesses, News One Comment

Innovation is a term that is often coupled with success. Large billion dollar technology providers such as Apple, Google and Samsung strive for continuous innovation by developing products and brand experiences that are often described as cutting edge. However, any business of any size, can be innovative.

Innovation is more than developing new products or services. It extends to your whole business, from the ground up. It is about being dynamic, and developing strategies that meet your customers needs, while also providing your staff and stakeholders with a vision of where you want you take your business in the future.

All businesses can benefit from innovation

All businesses can benefit from innovation

Undertaking innovation is an investment that should provide a future return. The way you innovate should increase levels of efficiency and effectiveness within your business.

Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, indicates that larger businesses tend to be more innovative. Barriers to innovation, included a lack of skills, development costs, as well as the cost of introducing innovation based activities.

Cost should not be a barrier for small and medium businesses. We have worked with countless businesses, to develop strategies that make them more innovative and meet budgetary requirements. Even small changes, such as changing the colour of your product, or changing the way your staff interact with your customers, can make a lasting difference.

One of the simplest ways to start to become more innovative, is to incorporate an innovation strategy within a marketing or business plan. Having a plan, enables you to have some certainty around when you should anticipate making a return on investment on innovation based activities. Planning, also enables you to measure your success and provide staff and stakeholders with goals. If innovation is not your expertise, it may prove effective to use an expert.

Innovation is all about differentiation. It can be achieved by undertaking activities, such as developing products and services that better meet the needs of your customers, branding your business in a way that shows that you are innovative, or developing processes that can help you stand out from the crowd.

With an understanding of of their customers needs, and a focus on providing value, innovation is something that any business can work towards.