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strategic marketing Archives - Syneka Marketing

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.

2016-06-03 Pencil 1000px x 1000px

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.

Measuring Economic Uncertainty and its Effects – a Paper from the Reserve Bank of Australia

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

The Reserve Bank of Australia recently released a draft discussion paper exploring the development of an uncertainty index, to measure the degree of economic uncertainty within Australia. The discussion paper identifies a number of variables that provide a potential indicator into the degree of economic uncertainty.

While uncertainty is more likely to occur during poorer economic conditions, the index can rise during better times, if there are unexpected economic occurrences. Factors identified in the report include sudden changes in monetary policy, foreign economic conditions and recessions. Interestingly, Commonwealth elections also appear to create a degree of economic uncertainty, particularly if the potential result is largely unknown.

Uncertainty has a significant impact on Australian businesses, with larger decision being delayed. The index identified a slowing of employment growth, as well as machinery and equipment purchases. Similarly, there are likely to be delays in strategic marketing planning, despite the opportunities that exist during economic uncertainty.

2016-05-13 Uncertainty

We previously explored Proctor and Gamble, which developed a strategic approach to identifying new customer segments during the Great Depression. Their strategic approach, supported by research and insights, enabled Proctor and Gamble to experience growth at a time that many others failed.

Proctor and Gamble was able to experience this growth because it developed a strategic marketing plan at a time when many others hesitated due to uncertainty. Planning is even more essential during uncertain times as it provides the ability to evaluate alternatives and to mitigate risk.

According to the index Australia’s overall level of economic uncertainty is currently below average, but is trending upwards. Rather than enable uncertainty to be an excuse for indecision, it should renew the need for a strategic approach that can uncover market opportunities.

The full draft discussion paper can be viewed through the Reserve Bank of Australia at www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp

 

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.

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.

Setting the standard: Why accreditation matters for marketing

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

Imagine, one morning someone enters your office and tells you that they want 20% of your annual turnover because they have a ‘great idea’ to grow your business. They are unable to provide any evidence to support their claims, other than saying they have a ‘great idea’.

It goes without saying, but not many business owners or managers would contemplate making such a transaction.

Unfortunately, this is what marketing often looks like, with far too many decisions made on hunches or guesses, rather than a factual understanding of market needs, positioning and opportunities. As a consequence, marketing consulting and marketing services have a surprisingly low barrier of entry, with anyone able to claim they are a marketing consultant, expert, specialist or even ‘guru’.

Research into business exits often cites the lack of marketing insights as being one of the top ten causes of business failure. This is despite marketing spend often being between 10% and 20% of an annual budget.

The current approach provided by many who claim to provide ‘marketing’ is failing businesses and the wider community.

This is why accreditation matters for marketing, and is why we are so heavily involved with the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI). Accreditation has the potential to uplift the marketing profession and provide a benchmark for the delivery of marketing services.

No business would seek financial advice from someone that lacks appropriate accreditation, given the potential ramifications of bad advice. Yet we as professional marketers, have lost track of the amount of times we have been brought in to fix the mistakes made by pseudo-marketers. It is time to put an end to pseudo-marketers by recognising the definition of marketing (as defined by the Australian Marketing Institute):

Marketing creates value – for customers, shareholders and society as a whole. It does this by creating an alignment between what consumers value and what organisations offer. It offers techniques that help firms better understand the needs, preferences and perceptions of their customers (a prerequisite to adding value to them), and ways of using that understanding to focus the value-creating and communicating activities of the firm into areas where they will be most effective.

Marketing exists to build the capacity of your business so you can achieve your business goals. This is why one of the core marketing concepts is the marketing mix (commonly known as the customer experience):

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

The marketing mix highlights the areas that marketing needs to consider to enable business growth

The marketing mix shows the impact of marketing across a business, yet pseudo-marketers, the self-proclaimed ‘experts’, ‘specialists’ or ‘gurus’ will often only focus on one or two elements. This leads to disparate tactics that will create inconsistent outcomes, ultimately resulting in reputation and operational risks.

The Certified Practising Marketer - as accredited by the Australian Marketing Institute

The Certified Practising Marketer – as accredited by the Australian Marketing Institute

The Certified Practising Marketer (CPM) designation is accredited by the Australian Marketing Institute and sets the standard for the marketing profession.

Certified Practising Marketer (CPM) accreditation assesses academic and professional experience to ensure that there is an understanding, as well as ability to apply marketing. Accreditation means a commitment to the Australian Marketing Institute’s Code of Conduct and the requirement of continuing professional development to ensure ongoing learning.

A Certified Practising Marketer (CPM) understands that marketing is more than disparate tactics. A Certified Practising Marketer (CPM) realises that marketing is the strategic alignment between business goals and marketing outcomes, resulting in a measurable and positive impact on business growth and innovation.

At Syneka Marketing we are proud of our ongoing involvement with the Australian Marketing Institute. Our founder, Alex Makin is the State Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute’s Victorian Advisory Committee and our leadership team maintains Certified Practising Marketer (CPM) accreditation.

Do not risk your business with pretenders that lack accreditation and industry recognition. Accreditation matters for marketing, just as it does for Accountants, Lawyers and Engineers.