service delivery Archives - Syneka Marketing

Asking the wrong question: The Taxi Industry receives feedback via Twitter

Ask the wrong questions, get the wrong answers – Exploring the YourTaxis Campaign

By Advice, Advice for Businesses, News 2 Comments

It is unfortunately for too common for businesses to ask the wrong questions when seeking marketing support. This perpetuates the ineffective tactics led approach to marketing, which ultimately diminishes returns due to a lack of consistency with the desired strategic direction.

We often see this when a business is seeking website modifications, social media content or a branding refresh. There is the assumption that these isolated tactics will result in business growth, rather than the question being ‘how do we ensure consistency across the marketing experience and throughout each stage of the customer journey’.

Social media in itself will not foster customer loyalty or engagement if the customer base is not receptive to this medium. Similarly, a website will not result in new business if the processes behind the site are cumbersome or unwieldy.

Often there is need to dig beyond tactics to discover the broader marketing questions that need to be answered. Specifically, there the need to consider how each tactic should reinforce the customer journey to culminate in an experience that fosters outcomes.

We saw this earlier this year with Woolworths failing to consider the ramifications of its Fresh in Our Memories Campaign, and more recently with @YourTaxis, a social media campaign that failed in its attempt to shift public perceptions of the taxi industry.

Woolworths asking the wrong questions: The Fresh in Our Memories Campaign

Woolworths asking the wrong questions: The Fresh in Our Memories Campaign

While Woolworths should have had the resources, foresight and capability to think through the ramifications. The client of the YourTaxis campaign was a not-for-profit membership organisation that would have limited resources and failed to ask the right questions.

The Taxi industry, which has traditionally had few direct competitors, is now under significant pressure from Uber, despite the ride sharing service being somewhat legally ambiguous under current Victorian legislation. The Taxi Industry has responded by been undertaking advocacy efforts to review Uber given current legislation.

Uber has significant strengths in social media and strong online loyalty, aspects that are not shared by the taxi industry. A tactics based approach resulted in the YourTaxis campaign simply replicating what had worked for Uber, despite the high element of risk. The campaign failed on any discernible metric, with Twitter users complaining about Taxis and many complementing Uber within the same Tweet.

Asking the wrong question: The Taxi Industry receives feedback via Twitter

Asking the wrong question: The Taxi Industry receives feedback via Twitter

The question that should have been asked was ‘how do we improve the perception of taxis to assist in influencing the political debate?’ Had this question been asked, a social media campaign focused on soliciting public views would have never been considered.

A strategic marketing approach would have asked the right questions: focusing on all elements rather than just promotions

A strategic marketing approach would have asked the right questions: focusing on all elements of the marketing mix rather than just promotions

Answering the right question would resulted in a substantially different campaign:

  • There would be a focus on service delivery, highlighting improvements, such as driver training and standards, as well as streamlining the complaints process.
  • Promotional campaigns would have focused on the role of taxis as a form of transport to an audience of State MPs and other decision makers, rather than end users.
  • A public component could have been explored through the hopes and aspirations of taxi drivers, with the aim of building personal rapport with the sector.

Answering the right question would have resulted in a campaign focused on the entire marketing mix, with stakeholders including passengers and policy makers. Alignment between each element in the marketing mix, particularly the service, processes and people elements would have enhanced the industry’s standing.

A strategic approach to marketing ensures the right questions are being asked, so you can reach the right answers. Unfortunately in this case, the wrong question was asked twice, with a second campaign on Remembrance Day resulting in further criticism through social media.

Asking the wrong question twice: The YourTaxis Tweet on remembrance Day

Asking the wrong question twice: The YourTaxis Tweet on Remembrance (not Rememberance) Day

The end result is an industry that now has a harder time influencing debate and decision makers, as well as a not-for-profit membership based association that most likely has diminished standing with its members. It is a shame when time, money and reputation is thrown away simply because the wrong questions were asked.

PS We attempted to reach out to the Agency that initiated the YourTaxis campaign to explore their perspective. We received no response.

Writing Grants and Funding Submissions

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

Completing funding submissions and grants are often a necessity for not-for-profit organisations, but similarly apply to businesses that are seeking external funding opportunities. Grants can be very competitive, so we compiled some advice on how to maximise your chances for writing successful grant submissions.

  1. Align the priorities of your project with the funding body. Grants are designed to fulfil a purpose, it is essential that you align the outcomes you are seeking with these priorities.
  2. Read all application criteria and notes. Funding priorities may not always be immediately evident, but can often be elaborated upon in supporting documentation. Take the time to read this information to gain a clearer insight into the funding priorities.
  3. Meet all relevant application criteria. Your chances significantly increase if you can meet the identified application criteria. While some selection criteria might be optional, try and align your submission, so you can meet each of these outcomes.
  4. Use the right keywords. Funding bodies have priorities that they are seeking to support, align your submission with these outcomes. Similarly use the same terminology that is used by the funding body to support your application.
  5. Plan responses and respect word limits. Each question in an application will typically have a word limit, ensure you can convey your points within this limit. Write succinctly and to the point.
  6. Identify any supporting information that is required. Most application forms are now completed online and will often have the opportunity for additional attachments. Ensure that you have sufficient time to collate information that will support your application, including budgets, program plans and other content.
  7. Prepare suitable budgets. Many applications will require a budget to be submitted with the application, make sure this budget is both realistic and sufficiently detailed. A budget that lacks detail will often indicate that the submission may not have been sufficiently developed.
  8. Leverage your value proposition. Grants and funding submissions are a competitive process, you may be competing with other similar organisations, or for funding that may be directed to broader purposes. Leverage your strengths and your value proposition to identify how you will be able to fulfil the application outcomes more effectively than your competitors.
  9. Ensure you have sufficient time. Grant applications can take a significant amount of time, make sure you are prepared in advance so that the application is not sent in haste. Also remember that lodging a submission takes time. Many application platforms will be overloaded as the submission deadline approaches, so make sure you submit your application early.
  10. Identify other opportunities. Grants and funding submissions will often expect a contribution from other sources, make sure that you can identify other sources of funding, including in-kind support, that may be relevant.

Grants and funding submissions can provide a significant proportion of revenue for not-for-profit organisations, but also some businesses. Governments are increasingly moving to a competitive grants system and expecting more for less, so ensure that you are able to consider other strategies to diversify income and provide ongoing service delivery.

Reflections on starting a new business – The challenges and opportunities

By Advice, Advice for Businesses 2 Comments

The 19th of October was Support Small Business Day. Over the past week we’ve been sharing advice for small businesses, through our social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Syneka Marketing was founded in 2009 and while our core business remains strategic marketing, we also offer creative and online solutions to complement our service delivery.

Support Small Business Day provided an opportunity for reflection on starting a relatively new business. The greatest challenge for any new business is when the owner decides to take the plunge and work on their new venture full-time.

There is never an opportune moment to make this decision, as it means leaving the stability of paid employment to venture into the unknown. A business owner, however needs to balance the time required to maintain current projects, as well as to build future sales. If you find yourself not having sufficient time to build a sales pipeline due to work volume, then it is time to consider working on your business full-time.

Begin your business with a solid foundation

Begin your business with a solid foundation

As a business owner it is imperative that sufficient time is allocated to creating new opportunities and sales. If these tasks are not being undertaken then it will jeopardise the future viability of your business.

While there may be short-term challenges in leaving secure employment, it will ensure that you can dedicate time to growing your business.

Time management can also be a challenge. You need to be able to set your own tasks and motivate your performance. Keep a list of the tasks that need to be undertaken and ensure that they are completed in a timely manner. Working on your own business needs to be treated the same way as working for someone else. Establish working hours and ensure ongoing performance measurement and review.

Uncertainty, is another significant challenge and this is why it is important to allocate time to generating new opportunities. Planning is essential to combat business uncertainty. Business and marketing plans should be considered essential documents. While it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of starting a new business, sound planning will ensure that you have a successful framework and the ability to measure outcomes.

According to data sourced through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), poor strategic management has been identified as a cause for approximately 43% of all  business failures. Starting a new business is challenging, but sound planning can reduce uncertainty and help deliver a viable future.

Managing Volunteers - Take the Next Step

Managing Volunteers – Take the Next Step

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

Many not-for-profit organisations rely on volunteers for service delivery and to assist with administration and other functions.

Managing Volunteers – Take the Next Step, was a full day conference hosted by the Shire of Yarra Ranges and Eastern Volunteers. The conference discussed several topics relevant to volunteer management national standards, the steps required to prepare an organisation for volunteers, as well as marketing and promoting an organisation.

I presented a session for the afternoon workshop, discussing the Essentials of Social Media and Marketing.  The presentation discussed the need for a strategic marketing approach, to identify aims and to understand what would attract volunteers to assist with the organisation.

Organisations need consistent messages to demonstrate the volunteer experiences that are created through their involvement.  Messages need to be communicated using a range of marketing tools to reach prospective volunteers through multiple communication channels.

Social media is one of the tools that can be used to reach prospective volunteers and should be considered as a part of a cohesive marketing campaign.  Social media should be integrated with website content, providing the seamless ability to update websites, as well as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites

It is important to utilise the strengths of each tool and one advantage of social media is the ability to share content.  The intent should not necessarily be to develop viral content, but to ensure your target audience is able to distribute content and share their views on being involved with the organisation.  Stories can be very effective and assist in providing content that can be shared.  The sharing of content is the online equivalent of word of mouth recommendations and can help reach the connections of people already involved with the organisation.

Successful volunteer recruitment will use a mix of tools to reach prospective volunteers, supported by consistent messages and a cohesive marketing approach. Marketing encompasses more than promotional tools, such as brochures or flyers, but every form of interaction that someone has with an organisation.

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