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success Archives - Syneka Marketing

Online retail – just another channel to market

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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.

Significant Women's Network

Significant Women’s Network – Beyond the Business Card October 2015

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I attended the October Significant Women’s Network Beyond the Business Card event.

Beyond the Business Card is an event series that has been developed by the Significant Women’s Network to foster creating meaningful connections. The event series is open to women holding senior and executive roles and is limited to 12 participants.

The event was held over lunch at Pei Modern. There were women at the event from a range of different industries and backgrounds. It was great to learn about what they were passionate about and their professional success.

This event was the first after the completion of a Marketing Plan we developed for the Significant Women’s Network earlier this year.

For information about future Significant Women’s Network events please visit: http://www.significantwomensnetwork.com/events

We’ve defined customer experience – now connect it to the customer journey

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

We recently discussed the need for marketing to move beyond buzzwords and to instead re-claim the definition of customer experience, which forms the very core of marketing theory. Our thoughts have now been viewed organically by over 5000 people in just 48 hours via LinkedIn, and continues to be actively being shared across key social media channels.

Interest in this article has demonstrated why marketing needs to reclaim its core remit, so today we are going to exploring another buzzword: customer journey.

In defining the customer experience, we returned to the core of marketing theory through the marketing mix. The overall customer experience is going to be defined by the impact of the impressions that are made across each of these elements.

We need to return to fundamentals to explore the customer journey, as we explore the steps that are taken for someone to become a customer and ideally remain so on an ongoing basis.

Phases in the Customer Journey

There are three interconnected phases within the customer journey:

  • Pre-purchase – where the aim is to raise awareness with your target markets and ensure that your brand is actively considered by these prospective customers.
  • The Purchase phase – where the prospect becomes a customer. This is where they commit to purchasing your product or service and the perceptions of its brand.
  • The Post-purchase phase – where your customer considers the outcomes and value they received, based on their perceptions and the outcomes that were achieved.

The three phases of the customer journey as mapped to the decision making process
The three phases of the customer journey as mapped to the decision making process.

 

The Decision Making Process has its origins in consumer behaviour stemming from the 1960s. We have adapted this model to explore each phase in the customer journey, as viewed through the decision making process. It explores both the rational (such as pricing and function) and perceptual (attitudes and subjective impressions) aspects that influence the decision.

The customer journey is not linear and this particularly true if there is a desire to build loyalty and repeat purchases. The experience you are creating through the marketing mix will impact on the ability to successfully transition your target market through the customer journey. The customer experience relates to their interaction with your business or brand, while the customer journey views this from the customer perspective as they identify the best fit for their needs.

Like other buzzwords in marketing there is a need to return to core principles, a Marketing Manager should have the ability to influence factors that assist in transitioning customers through the journey.  We will be continuing this series as we turn our attention to measuring both the customer experience and journey.

Exploring the customer experience through the marketing mix

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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.

Uncovering Content; One angle at a time

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As the peak association for professional marketers, the Australian Marketing Institute provides ongoing opportunities for professional development. This evening we continued our exploration of content, discussing digital based campaigns and the latest learnings in emerging social media technologies. Tonight’s event featured three speakers who all aspects of a digital campaign, including development, education and the role of digital in influencing the decision making process.

While content might be the current emphasis in marketing, it is imperative that it is viewed as one component in a marketing approach. Successful campaigns depend on identifying the right target markets, articulating key messages and aligning the communication channels with this audience.

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.