Are you sick and tired of marketers who just don’t seem to care?

October 1, 2011

Australia felt the effects of the GFC most from December 2008 well into the first quarter of 2009.

With the volatility of markets in the US, the debt issues with our European cousins, the effect of natural disasters in Queensland, Japan and to our Tasman cousin, New Zealand, consumer sentiment and business confidence is at best shaky at the moment. While turnover is up in some industries, the average spend per customer is down so businesses are finding they have to work much, much harder and smarter to convince prospects and existing customers to keep buying from them, as opposed to their competition.

At the moment I receive regular calls  from prospects who had engaged  other marketing consultants who didn’t really seem to understand what their business is about and persuaded them to invest in strategies and tools that, at the end of the day, didn’t deliver.

It concerns and astounds me that people out there just don’t seem to realise that ‘experimenting’ with other’s businesses puts not only their brand and hard work in building the business at risk, but also the lives of their employees.

When the economy is ‘sick’, businesses tend to grab at straws to find solutions, but they need to be very careful about who they trust with their enterprise.

Some marketers work on symptoms alone. I prefer to consider the symptoms but discover the root cause of a business’ marketing problems or challenges.When researching the issues, I commonly find that there’s been a fundamental shift in what their clients are looking for now, but sometimes those new  or existing clients have not recognised this and are still marketing ABC when they need to be marketing BCE, for example.

If you’re feeling pain in your business, don’t go to a marketer that works like your mum and is more likely to prescribe a bandaid  or aspirin to solve your problems. Work with marketers who care enough about your business, you and your workforce to discover the root cause of a problem (which can become more noticeable over time) to prescribe a solution that will overcome the overall problem AND remove the pain.

If you feel your marketer hasn’t invested enough time to get know you and your business intimately, how well could they fix your pain? If they don’t seem to care enough, switch to one who does.




What exactly is marketing anyway?

June 12, 2011

There’s still a lot of confusion out there about what marketing is, especially now that social media is an integral part of the mix.

Here’s one of the best ways to distnguish what it is… Credit goes to Colin Hardcastle, the founder of the Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra:

If the orchestra has an upcoming event and we paint a sign and display it on St John’s Cathedral saying” BPO performs here this Sunday at 2.00pm” and pay St John’s for the spot, that’s ADVERTISING.

If we paint the same info on a parachute and attach it to Colin as he skydives into King George Square, that’s PROMOTION.

If the police arrest Colin for skydiving through restricted air space and endangering lives and a local television channel captures it on the evening news. that’s PUBLICITY

If the BPO lobby the police to releaae Colin saying he went off course and that’s the truth and he’s released without charges, that’s PUBLIC RELATIONS

And if the whole exercise to tell the public about the upcoming performance using all these tactics was planned and we know that’s where the BPO’s major market is based and that these ways of communicating really appeal to them and they took note, that’s MARKETING.


You’ve given yourself a break- why not your business?

February 24, 2011

Many business people have come back from a well-deserved break re-energised and with some great ideas for their business. Some people may have given themselves a personal makeover during the holidays and now want to ‘makeover’ their business, armed with great ideas and renewed passion.
Before you get out the red pen and start making changes just remember not to compromise your branding and to make sure the changes you want to make with your business are consistent with what clients expect from your business or indeed mirror how they really see it. If you’re business has evolved organically maybe your web site and online marketing really could do with a major face lift to ensure it ‘fits’ with who you are now and what you’re actually delivering. All I suggest is that you don’t ‘throw the baby out with the bath water’. Find out what works well first with your clients and customers who are also probably excited about the new business year and don’t forget to also ask your suppliers and those who strategic alliances who refer businesses to you. Most importantly if you want to grow, don’t just address things cosmetically, engage a business management or improvement consultant who can help you develop the business systems and foundations you’ll need for manageable growth and efficiency. Just because something worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it’s the best solution for your particular circumstances, capability and resources. Remember delivering above expectations is always far better than under-delivering and disappointing or losing valuable clients.


How well do your customers do business with you online?

October 25, 2010

Was reminded the other day how badly many small to medium businesses neglect an important part of their sales channel. They continually invest good money in sales teams and managers, marketing materials and training but forget to update their web site content, look and feel and relevance. Unfortunately, your web site is probably the most critical component in the buying process once initial contact has been made. It can be the difference between a customer calling you with further enquiries and deciding to buy through your opposition, just because it doesn’t work effectively. All the SEO and luring in the world is useless if the site is ineffectve and prospect-unfriendly. If you haven’t updated your site in months or years,, there is no doubt you have lost thousands of dollars in business because of it. And it shouldn’t be a straight copy and paste of your printed materials because that’s not how people navigate the net. You wouldn’t do that for print advertising, radio or TV advertising so don’t do it for the net! If no-one’s audited how effectively your site interacts with, satisfies and sells to your prospects and customers, maybe it’s time to do that and get yourself back on track with making this often overlooked sales channel pay dividends.


Smart businesses recognise that customers wants are constantly evolving ….

September 7, 2009

I recently had the pleasure of being the only marketer in the room where Australia Scan revealed some amazing market research about the average Australian and how attitudes have shifted, especially since 2000 and more so, since the GFC. In a nutshell, businesses need to recognise and acknowledge that people and businesses are doing it tougher.  Holden did this very well with its recent suite of television commercials. The most important thing is to recognise HOW they’re feeling. In times of uncertainty people are turning to what was previously safe and comfortable for them – they’re looking for businesses that demonstrate good, old-fashioned values and virtues – a guarantee is a must!

When consumers and the marketplace are feeling a little shakey they want to deal with companies that are still visible and actively trading – they want the reassurance of dealing with familiar faces and well-established businesses. Basically they’re yearning to have relationships with people they know they can trust. It’s all about keeping it simple, focussing on what you do best and communicating your value proposition clearly.

Here are Australia Scan’s top ten tips from the past that have seen great businesses prosper, irrespective of economic environments:

1. don’t panic – focus on what are the right things to do. Breathe and then plan.

2.  Stick to basics

3. Watch changing customer values – seek feedback and adjust your marketing appeals accordingly

4. Evaluate your brand/product portfolio

5. Focus on your core audience and the attributes of your business

6. Cut costs, not life support to your business

7. Innovate – your audience is changing

8. Watch relative perceived value, not just your actual price

9. Keep talking – your customers and clients will think you’ve gone bust if they don’t hear from you

10. Position for recovery – and be ready to take off in mid 2010!


Editorial space – a casualty of the GFC

August 8, 2009

I was talking about how to get your news into the media to a group of food manufacturers, suppliers and distribution businesses on Thursday and one thing struck me. A couple of them mentioned that there was very little space now for editorial in most major newspapers, especially for food product news, as opposed to restaurant reviews and recipes which seem to be flavour of the month everywhere thanks to Masterchef. (By the way that’s not meant to be ‘punny’.)  Anyway, it just correlates with the fact that if your PR consultant is getting you published, they’re doing a damn fine job as there is less editorial space all round, not matter what the section of the paper. This is reality since the global financial crisis struck Australia.

With advertising revenues down across certain media, most publishers are reducing the amount of editorial space accordingly so appreciate your PR person if you’re getting your message out there in the mass media – they are working very hard and very smart for you! And remember, in most cases, the ‘free’ editorial space is really paid for by the advertising revenues.