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Inside Small Busines

Inside Small Business: Make sure you review your marketing

By Advice, Advice for Businesses, News No Comments

No marketing plan remains static.  It is imperative that you can conduct at least an annual assessment of your marketing direction. This annual review will ensure you are achieving your expected results.

Our discussion on marketing audits was recently featured in the Spring 2014 edition of Inside Small Business, discussing the need and outcomes from an annual marketing review.

What is a Marketing Audit?

A marketing audit is designed to provide a review of your marketing activities, with the aim of identifying cost savings and new opportunities. A Marketing Audit supports the direction of your marketing and business plans, by measuring performance against your goals and suggesting refinements where needed.

Market conditions change and a marketing plan needs to be regularly reviewed to remain relevant. Business directions can also change and the marketing audit ensures an alignment between operations and marketing.

The end result ensures efficiency savings by aligning your marketing direction with your business goals.

Undertaking a marketing audit

The first phase of a marketing audit is a self assessment. Consider your current operations and whether this is consistent with your expectations. Compare your sales figures against forecasts, as well as other factors, such as profitability and staff involvement.

Next, consider the marketing tasks that you undertake. What marketing activities do you undertake and why? What return are you gaining from these activities and what resources are required to deliver these?

A marketing audit explores all aspects of the marketing mix, for example:

  • How are you pricing your products or services?
  • What are your competitors doing?
  • Who are your target markets and why?
  • Do you use the right intermediaries to support your products or services?
  • How are you reaching your target markets?

Each of these aspects contribute to the overall marketing approach undertaken by your business. For example, a high value service that caters to a market niche, is going to have a completely different marketing approach to a generic mass marketed product.

The Marketing Context

Understanding these components is essential to conducting an effective audit. One of the most important queries to answer is whether your marketing activities reach the right target markets. If you are not connecting with the right markets then you will need to reconsider your marketing activities.

Similarly, you need to ensure consistency across all forms of marketing. An inconsistent approach will create confusion and make it difficult for your target customers to understand your value proposition.

External advice can often identify inconsistent messages that may not be immediately obvious, or to assist in determining the right target markets.

Make Refinements

Your marketing self assessment and the corresponding marketing audit enable you to make refinements to your marketing activities. Actions that may have been relevant one year ago, may no longer be needed, or you may need to respond to actions being undertaken by competitors.

A Marketing Audit lets you make informed decisions that will strengthen your marketing approach and uncover new opportunities for growth.

September in review as we explore Innovation and Marketing

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

Spring (and the warmer weather) has appeared fleetingly in Melbourne. As we enter October, we thought it would be worth reflecting on the topics we covered over the previous month.

Our focus in September was innovation, and the use of marketing in fostering an innovative approach. We explored how it is important for you to identify your ideal customers, as these attributes form the target market that you want to pursue.

Presentation delivery, whether to a wide audience, or just a few people, is a skill that is required in many facets of business. Given the range of presentations we have delivered, we shared our advice, including the need to understand your audience and to focus on key points, rather than every word. Effective communication, both written and verbal, is critical in being able to convey and share ideas.

The need for innovation is also a critical element of any business or organisation. There is a need to consider new methods, so you can identify opportunities that both reduce costs and increase revenue. Marketing is and should be a key element in fostering innovation, given that it provides the opportunity to identify new target markets, as well as strategies for products and services.

Innovation is a key element that we utilise in marketing and this was shown in our work with Governance Mentors and HomeGround Real Estate. Both projects were assessed by the Australian Marketing Institute, where we were recognised as Finalists in the Awards for Marketing Excellence.

To succeed there is a need to continually innovate and these projects are a great example of how the right marketing strategies can create new opportunities.

Inside Small Business

Inside Small Business: Success Starts With a Marketing Plan

By Advice, Advice for Businesses 2 Comments

Syneka Marketing is featured in the April edition of Inside Small Business, where we discuss the importance of
marketing plans
and why they are essential for businesses.

Every viable business needs a marketing plan. A
marketing plan
shows you how to achieve the goals you have set to grow and develop your business.

Marketing is one of the most misunderstood words in business. Marketing is more than sales, advertising, logos, promotion or processes – it is about leveraging these tactics to achieve your goals.

Marketing starts with strategy
. A marketing plan considers your business and sets goals that are realistic and achievable. Marketing lets you identify new opportunities, as well as grow revenue. A marketing plan identifies potential target markets and the best methods to reach these customers. Once you understand your potential customers,
the plan
will identify what tasks need to be undertaken, the budget for these activities and the outcomes to measure success.

A new logo, brochure or social-media presence is not marketing. Marketing is when the logo is used to create a brand, providing an identity that can be reinforced with brochures, websites or Twitter accounts. Marketing is created through the strategy that identifies the right communication channels, messages and visual identity to reach your target markets.

Marketing also considers how you can scale your processes and operations to accommodate future growth. There is little merit in starting a new sales campaign if you are unable to respond to these potential customers. Ensure that staff can accommodate new demand and can assist potential customers who may be unfamiliar with your products and services.

Marketing activities must be measurable and a marketing plan allows you set the outcomes you want to achieve. For example, if it recommends that a brochure reaches your target market, then the response that it generates must be measured. Likewise, measure how people navigate through your website and the items that generate the most interest. If something doesn’t work then you have the option of refining these activities to achieve the outcomes you want.

A marketing plan creates a positive return on investment so you can achieve revenue growth. Before spending money on marketing or sales, make sure you have a marketing plan that shows you how you can achieve your goals and grow your business.

Introducing HomeGround Real Estate

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

Organisations within the not-for-profit sector often experience challenges due to funding uncertainty. For many organisations, government, across Local, State and the Commonwealth, is a significant funding contributor, but this is not keeping pace with changing needs.

Attendees at the launch of HomeGround Real Estate

Attendees at the launch of HomeGround Real Estate

As a result, many organisations are seeking Strategies to diversify their income to complement existing funding sources. We’ve been working with HomeGround Services, one of Melbourne’s leading housing and homelessness providers to deliver HomeGround Real Estate, Australia’s first not-for-profit real estate agency.

HomeGround Services has managed hundreds of properties over the past 15 years. HomeGround Real Estate extends this existing expertise through the formation of a social enterprise that will deliver property management services to the wider community.

The launch of HomeGround Real Estate at Deakin Edge, Federation Square

The launch of HomeGround Real Estate at Deakin Edge, Federation Square

This morning saw the official launch of HomeGround Real Estate at Federation Square. The launch featured speakers who discussed the impact of the organisation, and vision of HomeGround Real Estate.

The real estate industry is a highly competitive sector, with many entrants and a low level of differentiation. HomeGround Real Estate, however, has a clear point of difference, being a social enterprise that reinvests funds into the services provided by the organisation.

Vicky from the Council to Homeless Persons, discussing the impact of HomeGround Real Estate

Vicky from the Council to Homeless Persons, discussing the impact of HomeGround Real Estate

The agency will specialise in property management and offer three options for landlords. The first includes the ability receive market rental returns, reinforced by demonstrable property management expertise. In this instance, HomeGround is comparable to other agencies, but with the knowledge that utilising the agency provides an opportunity to assist HomeGround through new revenue sources.

In addition, there is the opportunity to support HomeGround’s Affordable Housing Initiative, by offering properties at below market rates or through philanthropy. Under this initiative, HomeGround provides support to ensure ongoing care of the property.

Each of these options provides the opportunity to support the aims of HomeGround Services, with the knowledge that the income provided through the agency is supporting the wider community.

HomeGround Real Estate is an example of innovation in a sector that must identify new opportunities that can provide funding certainty. In addition, HomeGround Real Estate enables landlords to make an ethical choice that can transform the perceptions that people may hold of the real estate industry.

For details please visit www.homegroundrealestate.com.au.

Property Management for Socially Conscious Landlords

Property Management for Socially Conscious Landlords

Melbourne Entrepreneurs

Melbourne Entrepreneurs – March Speed Networking

By Advice for Businesses, News, Snippets No Comments

Today I attended a speed networking session organised by Melbourne Entrepreneurs and held at the Hub Melbourne. The event brought together a diverse group of business owners, entrepreneurs covering a range of industries.

The atmosphere was relaxed and participants had the opportunity to speak about what they did and exchange business cards.

Networking has always been important to us, in meeting not only new clients but also potential alliance partners.

Speed networking provides the opportunity to speak to more people, when compared to traditional events. A speed networking event enables participants to speak to each other within a strict time limit, meaning there is a need to be succinct and to find points of mutual beneift.

I enjoyed the discussions and meeting the participants. Many attendees had just started in business and are excited about developing new opportunities.

Strategic Marketing is important when you start a business as it provides you with a guide to achieve your objectives. We looked forward to meeting participants from Melbourne Entrepreneurs and fostering new partnerships.

Why business partnerships are important

By News No Comments

Meaningful business partnerships can lead to ongoing growth. A well functioning business partnership should be one that is built on mutual trust, where both parties benefit.

The best partners are those who have complementary skills. A business partner needs to add value to your business. There is no point setting up a partnership with a business that simply acts as a supplier. Focusing on building partnerships that expand your offering may mean that you are able to take on projects that require a wider skills base.

The best part about finding business partners is that you can focus on what you do best and use your partners to deliver what they do best. Being able to do what you do best means you can focus on building your business around your core offering and demonstrated expertise.

It is important to be on the same page as your business partners. Working collaboratively to align goals ensures you are heading in the same direction.

Business partners can also be used to pool capital around projects that offer mutual benefit. For example, if you both wanted to target new customers through a direct telemarketing campaign, you and your partner can share costs around administering a campaign that would provide mutual benefits.

It can sometimes be hard to look objectively at your business, a good business partner will generally want you to succeed. They can often serve as a valuable conduit to share ideas and be used to crystallise the dynamics behind your internal processes and policies.

Business partnerships can build the capacity of your business and lead to new opportunities. Partnerships are well worth considering when looking at ways to grow your business.