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strategy 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

 

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.

A Strategic Approach to Measuring Marketing Performance

By | Advice for Businesses, Resources | No Comments

What value does marketing deliver? This is the number one question any Chief Executive or Chief Financial Officer asks of marketing. Unfortunately, more often than not, the answer is not forthcoming.

This is why marketing is often the first department to be downsized during economic uncertainty, despite logic stating it should be one the of the last. Why is this? Ultimately, it is because marketing has failed to justify its own value.

This situation will not change while marketing follows an execution based approach, lurching between tactics; whether they be social media, content, events; or concepts, like the customer journey or customer experience, which have become so over utilised, they have been severed from any basis in marketing.

This situation is rife across all sizes of organisation; whether for-profit, not-for-profit or government, and yet the traditional approach is rinse and repeat, further eroding the credibility of marketing and its capacity to deliver value.

Since our formation in 2009 we have demonstrated the value that is created through a strategic approach, leading to recognition in the Australian Marketing Institute’s Awards for Marketing Excellence and our designation as Certified Practising Marketers.

Unfortunately, the word strategy has been hijacked by execution led agencies, who have tarnished the term for their own needs. This is despite the fact that the only strategy you will receive for example from a social media agency is social media. This does not provide a marketing strategy that integrates each element of marketing communications and the remaining marketing mix.

In 2016 we want to be able to stop saying we told you so, by preventing the litany of costly marketing mistakes that never should have occurred in the first place.

This is why we developed the Syneka Marketing Performance Methodology , which delivers an accountable and measurable marketing approach that is aligned with business goals. The Syneka Marketing Performance Methodology delivers continuous improvement within the marketing function and brings it back to its core definition of delivering value; the same way other business areas have been expected to strengthen outcomes and returns.

The Syneka Marketing Performance Methodology

The Syneka Marketing Performance Methodology commences with a Marketing Audit, which reviews existing activities through stakeholder consultation and internal analysis. The Marketing Audit defines the metrics required to measure marketing outcomes and establishes the foundations to deliver marketing performance.

The Marketing Forecast considers the external environment, identifying competitive pressures, customer demographics and market potential to achieve campaign or marketing goals. The result are outcomes that are optimised to deliver returns, supported through implementation schedules that identify metrics, outcomes and areas of responsibility.

The Marketing Audit and Marketing Forecast are designed to deliver results within the existing resource requirements. The Marketing Plan, the third component of the Syneka Marketing Performance Methodology , is designed to align business goals with marketing outcomes. The Marketing Plan considers both the short-term opportunities and the positioning that is required to achieve results into the future. The Marketing Plan defines the metrics that are required to measure marketing outcomes over the life of a business plan.

Marketing Execution is the last element of the Syneka Marketing Performance Methodology . This is because tactics and execution need to be guided through a strategic approach and not the other way around.

In the financial world the auditor never undertakes the day-to-day bookkeeping function due to the obvious conflict of interest. Marketing needs a separation between strategy and execution to ensure the delivery of accurate and measurable outcomes.

Our delivery of the Syneka Marketing Performance Methodology is undertaken through consulting services and training to build the capacity of marketing teams. Download our free guide of Syneka Marketing Performance Methodology to discover how we are re-defining marketing.

Aldi - not thinking about the context of their social media content

Another week and another example of poor marketing governance

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

Aldi provides us with the latest example of a social media failure, with its fill in the blank exercise posted onto Twitter.

Aldi - not thinking about the context of their social media content

Aldi – not thinking about the context of their social media content

While the resulting media coverage joked that ‘Aldi’s social media intern is about to get fired’, the joke should be the way social media is not seen as a communications tool and therefore part of the marketing mix.

Over the course of 2015 there was no shortage social media failures. In April we saw Woolworths‘ poorly planned attempt to associate itself with Anzac Day, followed by the Victorian Taxi Association not only misspelling Remembrance Day, but also failing to consider the ramifications of asking Twitter users their thoughts on the taxi industry.

These are all examples of where marketing governance has failed. The ability to publish externally viewable content has become disconnected from campaign planning and strategy, causing mistakes that can result in reputational damage.

Yet, these mistakes are not new. Had Woolworths, Aldi, the Victorian Taxi Association and many others, actually undertaken research, they would have seen the 2012 example of #McDStories, whereby McDonald’s asked Twitter users for their stories about the McDonald’s experience. The campaign lasted for just two hours until it was realised that asking about the McDonald’s experience via social media was not a good conversation topic.

Commentary through the McDStories campaign - back in 2012

Commentary through the McDStories campaign – back in 2012

 

Social media needs to be seen for what it is, a communications tool that is part of the marketing mix. Unfortunately, this is likely to re-occur until sound marketing governance is developed. Marketing needs the processes, procedures and policies to determine the optimal scope of authority in the marketing mix to prevent mistakes that never should have occurred in the first instance.