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purchase decision Archives - Syneka Marketing

Exploring the customer experience through the marketing mix

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

Last time we explored the current buzz around the term customer experience. While it is positive to see an emphasis on the customer perspective, in reality this concept is nothing new and is a rehash of the original marketing mix.

While the marketing mix is fundamental to the discipline, it is often an area that many businesses fail to get right, partly due to the dilution of what customer experience actually means.

A successful experience is where all elements of the marketing mix provide consistency, instils confidence in the purchase decision, and mitigates doubt. The marketing mix helps ensure that all aspects of your organisation, from back-end processes through to front-end communications reinforce your value proposition.

The Marketing Mix (otherwise known as the 7Ps of Marketing)

The Marketing Mix demonstrates the intended breadth of marketing:

  • Pricing should be consistent with the value proposition.
  • Distribution channels or placement reflects this positioning,
  • Provision of physical evidence to demonstrate outcomes.
  • Internal processes should facilitate the engagement of customers.
  • Promotion and communications needs to reflect the value proposition to reach the intended target markets.
  • The actual products or services should be designed inline with customer requirements.
  • The people and personnel should reinforce the image of the business and the core value of the brands it provides.

While the Marketing Mix is the cornerstone of marketing, many marketing managers do not have the required visibility or influence across each of these areas. As a result there is a the potential risk of inconsistency, which can tarnish reputations and diminish customer reach.

Kiki K – an example in the marketing mix:

Kikki K is a brand that designs and sells stationery, consistent with Swedish design principles. It challenges its customers to utilise stationery to create the life they want. Ultimately it uses these aspirations to position stationery as the creator of these dreams.

Kikki K’s stores reflect this aesthetic and this is continued through its digital presence, print collateral and the attitude of the staff. The customer experience is further emphasised by Kikki K conducting events that aim to inspire its target markets through the achievement of dreasms.

The business has created a successful stationery brand with a premium pricing model, despite the commoditisation of the sector through competitors such as Officeworks. The reason this works is due to an approach that provides consistency across the marketing mix. Kikki K has a clearly defined target market and has positioned each element of the marketing mix to reinforce this experience.

2015-09-25 Kikki K Store

And another example:

Contrast this to another example: Telstra, which in recent years has been trying to win the hearts and minds of Australians through interconnectedness and personalisation. While its public communications are promoting a friendly and approachable business, this is often not consistent with the experience customers receive through Telstra’s support systems or retail outlets. While Telstra is fortunate to leverage its history as a regulated entity, most other businesses are not so lucky and would suffer reputational risk and loss of market share due to this lack of integration.

Marketing is holistic

Effective marketing achieves outcomes because it is more than just front-end communications. Real marketing undertakes a holistic approach to deliver consistency and confidence throughout the entire customer journey.

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 Marketing Institute Breakfast Workshop – Is Content the Game Changer?

By | Advice for Businesses | No Comments

The Australian Marketing Institute is the peak association for professional marketers in Australia, with a particular focus on building the professional development of its members. This morning we hosted a breakfast and panel discussion exploring content and its role in marketing.

The session discussed the role of content, particularly in the use of B2B purchase decisions, where the demonstration of expertise can provide a significant advantage. In addition, prospective clients will often undertake an extensive information search using the Internet, rather than discussions with potential vendors.

The workshop highlighted the need to understand the decision making processes, where many individuals can be involved. Content, like other marketing activities, needs to provide a consistent experience that understands the processes undertaken by prospective clients.

Victoria has hosted several prominent events, promoting the role of connecting business acumen with marketing outcomes. Our next event will be the Awards for Marketing Excellence Gala Dinner to be held on the 22nd of October.

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.

BCG Growth Share Matrix

Use Metrics to Grow

By | Advice for Businesses | No Comments

Peter Ducker, is considered as one of the founders of modern management. One of his often quoted insights states:

“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”

And yet for too many businesses marketing is often the area to face scrutiny when there are costs pressures.  This is largely due to marketing not being correctly understood and perceived to be difficult to measure.

The definition of marketing, as we have said on a number of occasions, needs to be strengthened. Marketing is about creating value and through this you are able to expand your capacity to deliver on your strategic goals.

Last week we explored metrics relating to customer insights, particularly in regard to purchase frequency and recency.

Metrics also exist to measure market share and awareness, both of which can assist in understanding overall positioning.

BCG Growth Share Matrix, Source: Elquens

BCG Growth Share Matrix, Source: Elquens

Relative market share has been popularised through the Boston Consulting Group’s market growth matrix.  This matrix divides products or services into four quadrants based on market share (strength) and market growth (potential):

  • Stars, which have both high market growth and market potential. Stars need ongoing investment to maintain their edge in a competitive market.
  • Cash cows, which have high market share, but low growth potential. Cash cows are stable income generators and should enable investment in other areas.
  • Question Marks, which have high market potential, but a low relative market share. Question Marks may need significant investment before they become immediately profitable.
  • Dogs, which have low market potential and low market share. Dogs may be breaking even in terms of profitability.

Awareness is often the first step that is required for a purchase decision. A potential customer needs to be aware of your existence, before they can even consider a purchase. Awareness can be prompted, where someone is asked whether they have specifically heard about your brand, or unprompted where they are asked to suggest the first name in a brand category.

In both cases, the level of prompted and unprompted awareness is determined through research into your target markets. Both of these metrics are useful in determining your presence in your relevant marketplace.

Metrics validate the role of marketing and its ability to create positive outcomes for your business. Identifying the metrics you should use will enable you to make informed decisions for your business.

Inside a Marketing Plan – Your Strategies Set The Direction

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

Last week we discussed the importance of capturing the right information when developing a marketing plan. The Capture Phase lets you gain insights in your business, markets, competitors and other aspects that will influence demand.

We’re continuing the exploration of our marketing methodology, by exploring the Strategy Phase. This component is the second part of the marketing methodology and builds on the information you gathered during the capture phase.

The Strategy Phase considers what strategies will achieve your marketing goals

Begin by analysing the information you captured

The strategies for your business should be informed by the findings from the capture phase. You need to understand what the data is telling you to identify where there may be merit in developing specific strategies.

For example, if you wish to introduce a new product, consider the target demographics and the motivating factors that would influence purchase decisions. One of your strategies would specifically develop this market, with the aim of delivering sales and revenue growth.

Understanding the information you have gathered will ensure that your strategies are relevant and will deliver positive results.

Be open to engagement

The Strategy Phase should be open to collaboration and there is merit in involving stakeholders and staff to ensure that they are able to contribute their observations.

Several methods exist to encourage engagement, including workshops, interviews or surveys. Often you may need to use several of these methods to reach all relevant stakeholders, depending on their level of engagement. Often you can involve staff in an internal workshop, hold selected interviews with key customers and then conduct a survey seeking wider input. Each of these methods are valid and should have a consistent foundation to ensure that you can compare results. Furthermore, consistency will enable you to benchmark future results to identify trends and measure performance.

Consider all options

You need to consider all possible options during the strategy phase. The aim of this phase is to think strategically about your business and its possibilities. Subsequently, you will be able to identify the strategies that are the right fit for your business and which will be included in the final marketing plan.

If you have a seasonal product, such as ice cream, one relevant strategy would be the introduction of complementary food, such as waffles, that may be more suitable for winter. This would be a sound strategy, as it would reduce seasonal fluctuations, but may not be suitable if you are planning on being known exclusively for ice cream.

The final strategies that you select for your marketing plan should be consistent with the research, validate the engagement that was undertaken and reinforce the strategic direction of your business.

Your strategy sets your direction

The Strategy Phase is where you begin to explore future options and possibilities. Taking the time to identify the right strategies ensures that the resources you allocate will achieve results.

The Strategy Phase establishes the criteria you will use to measure the success of your marketing plan.