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marketing mix Archives - Syneka Marketing

Collaboration – exploring the role of intermediaries in the marketing mix

By | Advice, Advice for Businesses, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities | One Comment

The role of intermediaries and distribution channels seems is often neglected when considering the marketing mix, yet these channels can assist in achieving marketing objectives, including reach into target markets and value adding of client based solutions.

Collaboration and the fostering of partnerships applies equally to business, not-for-profit organisations and government. Collaboration, however, will not work effectively when it is poorly defined. When this occurs collaboration can quickly become in effect a client/supplier relationship or a partnership in name only, with the terms being one-sided.

The latter is surprisingly common in the not-for-profit sector, causing sector wide advocacy to become splintered, limiting reach and effectiveness. As a result, the not-for-profit sector lacks the industry wide voices that exist for businesses, whereby fierce business competitors will work together through associations to advocate on common issues, delivering a unified voice to government and other stakeholders.

All partners need to have a shared understanding of how each participant will deliver mutual value, meaning there should be alignment between the respective marketing plans. Ensure that each partner understands the desired outcomes, as well as timeframes and the resources that will be provided to work towards these results.

Collaboration can fail at all levels. The recent referendum in the UK, with the majority of voters indicating a desire to leave the European Union, is an example of where the perceived value of the collaboration did not meet expectations, despite economic evidence to the contrary.
Be clear on the purpose of the collaboration and what you aim to achieve. Make sure all partners understand that they need to invest resources into making collaboration work and that they have a genuine understanding of the need for shared success.

Ultimately the aim is to grow the pie, rather than fight over crumbs. Any collaboration that spends time fighting over what they currently have, rather than working towards what they should be achieving, is not going to deliver clear value.

Brand and marketing – how they fit together

By | News | One Comment

There is an increasing level of confusion between branding and marketing, with the two terms often being used interchangeably to communicate the visual or strategic objectives of a business.

We have come across many businesses and organisations recently, that have undertaken branding and marketing in the reverse order. This has resulted in a brand being created without a marketing plan, often then requiring the brand to altered when the strategic rigour provided within the marketing plan identifies misalignment.

Branding is a potential output of the strategic marketing planning process and not the other way around. At the base level, a brand enables the differentiation of one business from another, providing a conduit that builds common ground between stakeholders and personnel within the business.

The marketing planning process determines the overall marketing direction of the business. Branding and identity is a potential output and tactic that may be considered. If this is the case then a brand strategy is created which determines the attributes and essence of the brand, as well as guideline around the brand name, presence and brand promise. From this comes the visual identity and complementary creative materials that support the communication of the brand.

With marketing being ill defined, it can be easy for businesses to become confused between the two terms. This is compounded by the fact that Australia is dominated by tacticians of marketing such as the digital agency, creative agency or advertising agency.

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For non-marketers, particularly those on boards, it can be easy to take the branding option first rather than to invest in a marketing plan. Often a marketing tactician will show visual examples of their work and draft concepts, causing boards and other decision makers to often ask the wrong questions and hence confuse branding for marketing.

The strategic insights through marketing should always be the first aspect you consider when you look at your marketing mix. Once this step is undertaken, you can then consider what is required to develop a brand that resonates with your marketing direction.

Do not overlook your products and services

By | Advice for Businesses | No Comments

The marketing mix, or customer experience, forms the foundation of a strategic marketing approach. Each element within the mix needs to be considered from a strategic perspective to ensure alignment between business goals, market value and marketing outcomes.

While many businesses understand the core of what they offer, they often overlook the other attributes that consist of their product or service. A product or service will typically have three core components:

  1. The Core  – the fundamental need you provide. The core is the generic need that that is fulfilled by utilising your product or service. For example in hospitality you are satisfying hunger, or shelter for accommodation. This is often cited as one of the reasons for the failure of Kodak, since it failed to consider that its products provide story telling or memories, not photography.
  2. Actual product – the tangible components that customers interact with. This is the physical configuration of the product or service, including packaging, staff interaction and the product itself. Hospitality incorporates the setting of the restaurant, cuisine selection and attitudes of staff. In the case of Kodak, the product included the film quality, packaging and store interaction. Had Kodak considered its product as storytelling or memories, then the actual product would have encompassed digital storage, cameras and photography sharing.
  3. Augmented product – additional components you can offer to differentiate yourself from competitors, which reinforce your value proposition. A fine dining restaurant may incorporate an additional course in a degustation menu for regular customers, while a hotel may offer valet parking or extended check outs.
Product components

A product consists of many components – all of them need to be part of the marketing mix

Failing to incorporate a holistic view of your products or services will cause fragmentation within the marketing mix and diminish outcomes. Marketing needs visibility and influence into product development and service composition to ensure alignment across each element of the marketing mix.

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.

Online retail – just another channel to market

By | Advice for Businesses, News | No Comments

With the growing popularity and proliferation of the internet, there is an increasing perception that online shopping is the key to success in retail. Retailers such as ASOS and The Iconic have achieved mainstream success, and have often been targeted by retailers as the reason why they are losing both sales and relevance.

An online store, from the surface can seem like a simpler, more cost effective way to run a retail operation. Visual merchandise, hiring competent customer service staff, securing the right location and gaining customers can often seem like an afterthought when running an online store but are often still necessities in the online space.

Running an online store does not guarantee success, particularly when there is a single channel and tactics based approach to marketing. It is worth noting that ASOS and The Iconic invest in offline communications, including PR and outdoor advertising.

Running an online store has its own challenges. While some operational costs can be minimised, running an online store attracts its own costs across the supply chain, including warehousing, distribution and freight charges. An online store also faces the issue of attracting the right target audiences to its store and enticing them to commit to a final purchase. This is critical given how easy it is for an online consumer to compare prices of the same product across a variety of channels, including bricks and mortar stores.2016-04-29 online or bricks and mortar

Furthermore, pricing is not always a key incentive, given that some bricks and mortar retailers, actually charge more for some of their products when purchased online.

The reality is an online store is one component of the marketing mix and should not be viewed in isolation. This is why retailers such as Coles and David Jones are encouraging their customers to return to their bricks and mortar stores to pick up their online orders through a “click and collect” system. A bricks and mortar store provides the ability to engage the five senses, and for the customer to develop brand loyalty that goes beyond price comparisons.

Engaging a customer across the marketing mix means that a business has the ability to establish its point of difference, and develop ongoing relationships with its customers. Digital should be viewed as a tool that assists in this success rather than the ultimate solution. Digital needs to reinforce the overall customer experience rather than be considered the only channel to market. Virtual shopping assistants, online communities and digital activations can help bridge the gap between the bricks and mortar presence and online store.

Successful retailers understand the role of place and distribution in the marketing mix, as well as the need to engage customers throughout the journey. A single channel approach, whether physical or online, is destined to fail.

The problem is not your brand – it is marketing

By | Advice, Advice for Businesses, News | No Comments

The confusion between branding and marketing with the terms often being used interchangeably, often results in poor outcomes due to the wrong questions being asked. As a result, there is a tendency to design new brands, rather than addressing the fundamental marketing aspects that should strengthen market positioning.

What is Marketing?

We have defined marketing on several occasions, including definitions adopted by peak industry associations. In summary, marketing exists to deliver mutually beneficial value; to your customers and stakeholders, as well as to your business. If marketing is not delivering value, then it needs to be reviewed.

Defining branding

Your brand is the internal and external representation of your business, as well as your products or services. Brands encapsulate the value and perceptions that you are seeking to create, through visuals (logos, packaging), audio (music, sound), tone, style and potentially other senses. Consider brands like Coca Cola, Dulux or Bunnings and the perceptions you have towards them.

Your brand is the image and identity that you seek to create with your relevant target markets.

The connection between branding and marketing

A brand is the outcome from your strategic marketing plan and not the other way around.  Unfortunately, many start with a brand and then try to shoehorn marketing around logos and values that may not be relevant to their products or target markets.

Determining your brand is premature if you have not identified the following:

  • Your Target markets, who are targeting and why?
  • Your core products and services, what are you offering to your target markets and why?
  • Your value proposition, what value do you provide to these target markets?
  • Core elements of the marketing mix, or customer experience. In particular, make sure that pricing points are relevant and you have identified key distribution channels.

Your brand needs to reflect your strategic direction so you can deliver a consistent experience that builds customer acquisition and loyalty.

Successful brands are those have ensured a consistent marketing approach, Apple across its product lines is a typical example of a brand that is known for innovation. This creation of innovation as a value proposition, was defined through its marketing direction, ensuring that products, their design, function and communications reflected this positioning.

A brand refresh is more than a new logo or colouring scheme; it needs to be considered from a marketing context. There is little point developing or refreshing a brand that does that have relevance to your marketing direction.