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value proposition Archives - Syneka Marketing

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.

Visit Brisbane ad

Is it Visit Brisbane or Visit Melbourne?

By | Government | No Comments

As a strategic marketing agency it is our role to assist clients in determining their unique value proposition, which in turn informs their target markets and marketing mix. Over the break I encountered this billboard at Southern Cross Station:

 

At first, I thought that it was perhaps an advertisement for a restaurant at South Warf, given it is approximately 1 kilometre from Southern Cross Station and has almost the exact same look and feel as this advertisement.

On closer inspection, I realised that this was not an advertisement for South Warf, but for Brisbane.

Visit Brisbane ad

Visit Brisbane ad

Brisbane, unlike other areas in Queensland, is the urban centre, with a population of 2.3 million. It doesn’t have the glitzy beaches and hotels like the Gold Coast or the pristine scenery of the Whitsunday’s; and in many ways it is a lot like Melbourne.

Brisbane Marketing is the official tourism organisation for Brisbane, with one of its goals to increase interstate tourism from Melbourne. Unfortunately, this campaign has not understood this target audience.

South Warf Melbourne

South Warf Melbourne

Riverside dining at South Warf Melbourne

Riverside dining at South Warf Melbourne

There is no point creating a tourism campaign that looks like it was shot in Melbourne and then sold to people in Melbourne, when they can get the same experience walking 12 minutes from Southern Cross Station.

Tourism exists to generate a return, and while this campaign goes beyond the typical flora and fauna approach it does not look at how to position Brisbane’s strengths relative to Melbourne.

We encourage Brisbane Marketing to look strategically at their target audiences and start creating campaigns that these audiences with value.

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 can deliver value – even during economic uncertainty

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

Australia has faced several years of economic uncertainty and the latest trends appear to be indicating that a recession is on the horizon. Marketing is often one of the first areas to experience downsizing during economic uncertainty. This is largely due to a lack of measurability, resulting in marketing being seen as a cost centre rather than revenue generator.

This cycle is perpetuated through an execution led approach to marketing. Operating marketing as a silo, results in a lack of consistency between business goals and marketing outcomes. Agencies will typically take carriage of specific functions, such as design, content or social media, but there is a failure to fully appreciate the marketing mix, and the need to align execution with the identified strategic direction.

It is time to change this paradigm. Marketing needs to return to its core definition of delivering value, as per the definition adopted 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.

The creation of value through marketing is what enables a business to expand its capacity. While economic conditions will have an impact, the role of marketing is to rise above these challenges and deliver ongoing value creation.

Proctor and Gamble is one such example. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, consumer goods were hit hard. Rather than cutting its marketing function, Proctor and Gamble, shifted its focus to essential household items. The solution came in the form of Oxydol, one of its soap brands, which made it easier to wash clothes, in an era where washing required extensive physical labour. After defining the product and its value proposition, Proctor and Gamble focused on how it could reach its target customers.

In an era where other companies were slashing marketing activities, Proctor and Gamble rehoned its approach to take into account the difficult economic conditions. Initiatives included a re-orientation towards commercial radio broadcasts, reaching consumers through a medium that was affordable to consumers, while offering positivity in an otherwise negative environment.

Pioneering both personas and content, Proctor and Gamble personified the product through the creation of Oxydol’s Own Ma Perkins and created the genre of soap operas along the way.

The Great Depression could have easily been a time of despair for Proctor and Gamble, but instead it re-examined the market context and gained a deeper understanding of its consumers. The marketing execution was the output of a strategic approach that ultimately saw the company achieve growth during times that many others failed.

If marketing rose to the challenge and re-connected with the need to demonstrate value, then marketing would be seen as the function that enables businesses to build capacity. It is time for the marketing profession to not repeat past mistakes, but instead to re-align itself with value and the delivery of metrics that matter.

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.

Business over Breakfast – Continuing as Acting Chair

By | Advice for Businesses | No Comments

Business over Breakfast meets each fortnight at the Docklands, with businesses being able to build rapport between and expand their networks.

I continued my role as the Acting Chair for today’s session where I encouraged participants to discuss their ideal clients and potential opportunities for collaboration.  The discussion helped attendees identify their target markets and unique value proposition.

Business over Breakfast meets each Wednesday fortnight at the Docklands to foster business growth and collaboration.