PIER Marketing https://www.piermarketing.com.au Your outsourced marketing team Tue, 30 Nov 2021 05:35:27 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.2 https://www.piermarketing.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/cropped-favicon-01-01-32x32.png PIER Marketing https://www.piermarketing.com.au 32 32 Why you need a business plan before a marketing strategy https://www.piermarketing.com.au/why-you-need-a-business-plan-before-a-marketing-strategy/ https://www.piermarketing.com.au/why-you-need-a-business-plan-before-a-marketing-strategy/#respond Tue, 30 Nov 2021 01:55:00 +0000 https://www.piermarketing.com.au/?p=2691 You’ve got a brand spanking new or relatively young business. You have a good idea, a logo and a premises to house your small team of staff (or it could just be you!). All of this means you’re ready for some marketing, right? Not so fast.

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Why you need a business plan before a marketing strategy.

So, you’ve got a brand spanking new or relatively young business. You have a good idea, a logo and a premises to house your small team of staff (or it could just be you!). You can’t wait to start interacting with customers and see the orders rolling in. All of this means you’re ready for some marketing, right? Not so fast.

PIER-Marketing-Business-Plans

Sure, marketing is designed to help target your audience and draw customers — but first, you need to have a business plan. It may not seem like the most exciting activity in the world, but crafting a business plan is absolutely essential to good marketing. Without one, any marketing activities undertaken can be costly, time-consuming and less effective. In other words, marketing success relies on a solid business plan.

The truth is that starting a business requires hard work and careful planning. The good news is that this planning all pays off when your business is up and running and chugging along like a steam train.

Creating a successful and sustainable business is a long game — and it starts with a business plan.

What is a business plan?

In short, a business plan helps determine what makes your business unique, what exactly you’re offering, who your customers are likely to be and how your business is actually going to make money.

Of course, it’s also both much bigger and more granular than that. It begins with knowing your vision, mission and values, which then crystallise into concrete goals. These goals help you formulate your business’s key systems and processes.


Why is it important?

A business plan is the bridge that links your business with your marketing efforts. Without that bridge, you might find yourself exerting far too much energy swimming across a sea of confusion and unstrategic activity when things would be far easier and more effective with a plan (we love an ocean-inspired metaphor here at PIER). You can launch a digital marketing campaign with all the gusto in the world — but if you haven’t thought long and hard about who you’re targeting and why, it ends up being a case of “throw everything at it and see what sticks”.

Also, the systems and processes laid out in your business plan are what make your business scalable, because they create the structure that makes it possible to expand your team (and therefore your business) rather than having to reinvent the wheel each time you grow.

Hence, once a business is established, customer retention becomes both more economical and more powerful than acquisition. And now for the fun part: actual strategies to encourage customer retention.


Crafting a business plan

At PIER, we’re big fans of the Strategyzer’s Business Model Canvas, which lays down nine building blocks every business needs to start with as a foundation. You don’t need to have every block covered off before marketing can commence: marketing activity can actually happen alongside the formation of these blocks, and in fact the first six blocks involve marketing.

1. Customer Segments

Step one: Know your customers and who you’re targeting. Rather than trying to be all things to all people, it’s wise to segment your target audiences so that you can develop your sales offering and market to them more effectively. While some businesses are in “mass market” industries (think, for example, of a supermarket or electrical goods store) most of us are dealing with a small slice of the consumer base and we need to know the needs and wants of our particular slice. Research can be a helpful tool in this step.

2. Value Propositions

While all businesses are unique in some sense, the chances are your industry is flooded with similar offerings. If you’re joining an existing and possibly saturated market, you need to communicate your edge. And even if the market you play in is new, innovative and niche, you need to be crystal clear on your selling point.

This step is about clarifying exactly what you’re offering and what makes your business unique — your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) — which could be something as simple as that you provide prompt and sincere customer service. Again, research is important here (especially research on your particular market and where you sit within it). Knowing this will inform your messaging and marketing strategy.

3. Channels

Channels are the ways in which you reach your customers. They comprise direct channels such as your sales force and website, and indirect channels such as bricks-and-mortar stores, partner stores and wholesalers. There are also “Owned Channels” (that is, channels owned by your organisation) and “Partner Channels” (those owned by an outside organisation). Ideally, your business would employ a mix of both — while Partner Channels lower your margins, they also garner more exposure.

4. Customer Relationships

As the bread and butter of your business, the way you interact with your customers matters. Depending on your business model, customer interaction might involve personal assistance over the phone, via email or face-to-face; self-service; automated service (via the phone or online chat functions, for example); web forums; call centres; co-creation (in the form of user reviews) and so on. If yours is a specialist industry where customers require a high level of guidance then the infrastructure for your customer relationships will look different to a business that provides fast solutions to common problems.

This step also involves customer acquisition and customer retention efforts — that is, your strategy for how you gain new customers and how you hold on to customers once you’ve acquired them.

5. Revenue Streams

There are a multitude of ways in which revenue flows into a business. There are asset-based businesses that sell physical products (books, make-up) or services; those that charge usage fees (hotels, couriers) or subscription fees (Netflix); those that make money from leasing or renting (hire cars) or from licensing (stock photos); those that attract revenue through advertising fees, and so on.

Your business might be a combination of various revenue streams, but knowing where your money will actually come from helps focus your attention and efforts on your most profitable streams (see FranklinCovey’s Four Disciplines of Execution). It wouldn’t make sense, for example, to devote fifty per cent of your time, energy and budget to selling sneakers in-person if your business actually derives 90 per cent of its revenue from the online sale of boots. 

6. Key Resources

This step is about determining and defining the resources that your business relies upon to operate. Resources can mean everything from your production facilities and physical products to intellectual property, finance (funds from banks or investors) and human resources (experts to develop your products, or staff to serve your customers). Again, this will depend on the nature and structure of your business, but it’s essential to work out what the resources are that keep your operation afloat.

7. Key Activities

While certain aspects of a business can be automated, no business is truly “set-and-forget”: it requires maintenance. The Strategyzer folk tell us that key activities fall into one of three categories. Production, which is the main activity in the manufacturing industry, involves designing, making or delivering products. Problem solving is about creating new solutions to customer problems and is a key activity in the services industry. The third category is the provision of a platform or network (think eBay or Amazon).

Whichever category you fall into, your key activities are the things your business must continue to do (and continue to do well) in order to stay relevant and meet the needs of your customers.

8. Key Partnerships

Key partnerships are becoming more and more important to businesses (in fact, many businesses couldn’t function without them). This step includes alliances forged with your non-competitors, strategic partnerships with competitors and relationships with suppliers. Basically, it’s about your contacts, connections, network and relationships.

There are various motivations for these partnerships, which range from optimisation and economy of scale (for example when infrastructure is shared between businesses to save on cost); reduction of risk and uncertainty (pooling knowledge and resources to come up with a solution); and the acquisition of particular resources and activities (outsourcing certain tasks).

9. Cost Structure

Finally, your business plan needs to be solidified through the process of actually going through and working out all of the costs involved in launching and running your business. Many business owners overlook this step and fail to take into account things like the fact that during the first few years of business they might lose money through not paying themselves a salary and having no other form of employment. Of course, it also involves costs such as the purchasing of stock and equipment, the leasing of premises and paying the staff.


Naturally, your business plan can and will evolve as your business progresses, but having the framework provided by a business plan will set you up for a killer marketing strategy.

If you have any questions about which phase of business you’re in and whether you might be ready for marketing, get in touch with PIER today and we’ll be happy to have a chat.

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Why you should be thinking about customer retention – not just acquisition https://www.piermarketing.com.au/customer-retention/ https://www.piermarketing.com.au/customer-retention/#respond Tue, 26 Oct 2021 23:22:27 +0000 https://www.piermarketing.com.au/?p=2583 Depending on where your business is at in its journey, customer retention – the art of holding onto the customers you already have – might even be more important than customer acquisition.

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Why you should be thinking about customer retention – not just acquisition.

It goes without saying that customer acquisition is an essential aspect of any business’s marketing strategy. But customer retention — the art of holding onto the customers you already have — is equally important. In fact, depending on where your business is at in its journey, customer retention might even be more important than acquisition.

PIER-Customer-Retention

For starters, retaining customers takes less time and is less labour-intensive than trying to gain new customers, meaning retention marketing offers more bang for your buck. Existing customers are also far more likely to become advocates and ambassadors for your brand, and this kind of loyalty is pretty much the most valuable kind of promotion a business can get.

But before we get into all that, let’s briefly revisit our beloved friend, the marketing funnel.

The almighty marketing funnel

PIER-Marketing-Funnel

As we explored in our previous blog, the funnel is key to a successful marketing strategy. It maps the journey of your audience from awareness, to consideration, to conversion and then, finally, to loyal customer.

This last phase of the funnel — loyalty / advocacy — is what we’re going to delve into in this blog. It’s the stage at which your customers are transformed from mere one-off buyers to the people who will return to your business again and again, leave glowing reviews, tell their friends about their experience, refer others and share information about your products or services through social media. This kind of organic exposure leads to brand equity, and is really the Holy Grail when it comes to promoting your business (brand equity, as we know, is the often-intangible value ascribed to your business through your reputation and relationship with customers).


Customer retention versus customer acquisition

Basically, acquisition is how you build your customer base, while retention involves strengthening relationships / sales / advocacy with existing customers.

Obviously, you can’t retain customers without first acquiring them. Any business plan needs to begin with attracting customers, and the acquisition of new customers should always be part of your strategy. However, if you become overly focused on gaining novel customers, and neglect to take care of the ones you already have, you’re missing a huge business opportunity and ultimately working harder than you should be. One of the key things to note here is that acquiring a new customer can cost you anywhere from five to 20 times more than retaining an existing customer.*

While first-time customers tend to be tentative and conservative in their buying behaviour (ie. a lower shopping cart amount), returning customers are more likely to feel comfortable spending a higher amount of money on your business. This is because they’ve experienced your product or service, understand its value, and have formed a relationship with your brand. In other words, they’ve been successfully converted.

Of course, this all depends on the nature of your business. Businesses that sell typically once-off products — say, luxury furniture or glassware — will have a different customer acquisition and retention strategy than ones that rely on customer loyalty and repeat visitation (however, those businesses that offer “once-off” services still require the positive brand equity that leads to word-of-mouth, referrals and other displays of advocacy).

Your strategy also depends on whether your business is new or established. As a rule of thumb, brand new businesses will focus 100 per cent of their marketing activity on acquiring new customers; businesses with a consistent flow of customers should devote 70 per cent of their efforts to acquisition and 30 per cent to retention; and well-established businesses should split their activity 60:40 in favour of retention.*

Hence, once a business is established, customer retention becomes both more economical and more powerful than acquisition. And now for the fun part: actual strategies to encourage customer retention.


How to improve customer retention

While the customer acquisition phase is characterised by brand awareness and capturing your target audience’s attention, the retention phase is all about fostering a positive relationship with your customers and deepening their appreciation for your product or service.

A big part of retention marketing involves satisfying the human desire to be recognised and acknowledged, which in turn builds a sense of familiarity and belonging. We all know the feeling of visiting a favourite cafe and having the staff remember our name and coffee order. If you can help your customers to feel seen and valued, and that their needs are understood, they’re more likely to become part of your loyal and stable customer base.

Retention marketing is comprised of activities such as:

Electronic Direct Mails (eDMs).

eDMs help customers to feel that they’re part of your community by keeping them abreast of sales, promotions, new products and general business updates. eDMs can also deepen the perceived value of your offering by providing helpful content. If you’re a seller of sustainable cleaning products, for example, you might send an email that links to a blog you’ve written on eco-friendly cleaning tips.

Membership or loyalty programs.

These sorts of programs might involve rewarding customers for their continued patronage through points being accrued or gifts being offered, or even just a website account that retains their information for a smoother transaction next time. Think of how effective Qantas’s ‘Frequent Flyer’ program has been (or, on a smaller scale, coffee loyalty cards! Simple but effective).

Thank you messages.

Following a customer’s first purchase, you might send a brief follow-up email or message thanking them for their business and inviting them to get in touch with any questions or feedback. This helps keep you front of mind and lay the foundation for an ongoing relationship with this customer by showing that you value them.

Handwritten notes.

If your business sends out physical products, a handwritten note can add a personal touch and create the feeling of being acknowledged.

Deliver excellent customer service.

As well as general friendliness, this includes responding to customer questions and resolving issues quickly, plus exceeding customer expectations wherever possible. Having a live chat function on your website can be helpful here so that customer service is easily accessible 24/7.

‘Returning customer’ discount.

Knowing that repeat customers are likely to spend more money than first-time customers, it can sometimes be worth offering discounts to encourage consumers to buy from you again. These deals might be offered after the initial transaction (for example, a discount flyer that accompanies the customer’s product delivery), or can be used to prompt a repeat purchase if it’s been a while since the customer shopped with you (for example, emails with a “We miss you” or “We haven’t seen you in a while” angle).

Reminder emails.

While businesses are sometimes wary of harassing their customers with too many emails (and rightly so), well-timed emails or messages that anticipate when a client might be running low on an item (for example, coffee beans or facial cleanser) or due for their next appointment can be very helpful. This is especially true if the email makes the repurchasing or rebooking journey simple.

‘Refer a friend’ incentives.

This is a way of inviting your customers to become active advocates for your business — for example, a gym that offers a two-for-one deal for current members that bring a friend to try out a fitness class, or a bank that issues cash rewards for any customers who successfully recommend their services to a friend.


Calculating your customer retention

By now you might be curious as to how well you’re actually doing on the customer retention front. Fear not: for this, there are a few key metrics and formulas you can use!

For businesses in the e-commerce transaction category:

First, you need to work out your repeat customer rate. To do this, work out how many customers have purchased from you more than once over a set period of time. Next, calculate how many different (ie. distinct) customers have made purchases over the same time period. Divide the first number (customers who have purchased more than once) by the second number (unique customers) to get your repeat customer rate.

You can calculate your business’s purchase frequency by taking the number of purchases and dividing it by the number of unique customers over that same time period. If you’ve processed 100 orders over the past year, for example, and you’ve had 50 unique customers, then your purchase frequency is two.

Then, it’s time to work out your average order value, which tells you how much each of your customers is spending when they purchase from you. This involves dividing your yearly revenue by the number of orders placed. If you made $50,000 from your business and processed 1,000 orders, then each customer is spending an average of $50. Whether this is a healthy figure or not depends on the average price of what you’re selling.

If you multiply your purchase frequency (eg. two) by your average order value (eg. $50), you get your customer value. In this example, it would be $100. In other words, each customer is worth $100 to your business.

And the once-off, service natured businesses:

You should focus on customer retention rate (CRR). To calculate this, you need to work out how many customers you had at the beginning of a certain time frame, how many you had at the end of that time frame, and how many you lost along the way. If you started the year with 107 customers (S), for example, and lost eight of them but gained 21 new customers (N), you ended the year with 120 (E).

The CRR formula is: ((E-N)/S)*100

For this example, CRR = ((120-21)/107)*100

CRR = 92.5%

In an ideal world, your CRR would be 100%, meaning that you didn’t lose a single client. But as long as your retention rate improves each time you measure it, you’re heading in the right direction.


At the end of the day, nailing customer retention is really just about nurturing relationships and showing your existing customers that they matter to you — which, of course, they most certainly do! For more tips on how you can boost your customer retention rate, get in touch with PIER today.

Sources

* https://www.shopify.com/blog/customer-retention-strategies

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Building a marketing funnel that drives valuable action https://www.piermarketing.com.au/building-a-marketing-funnel-that-drives-valuable-action/ https://www.piermarketing.com.au/building-a-marketing-funnel-that-drives-valuable-action/#respond Mon, 27 Sep 2021 04:01:51 +0000 https://www.piermarketing.com.au/?p=2483 A marketing funnel is commonly known as the process of converting a visitor or browser into a paying, loyal customer – easy, right? Not so much. We have a closer look at each funnel stage and how you can drive consistent, valuable action for your business.

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Building a marketing funnel that drives valuable action.

A marketing funnel is commonly known as the process of converting a visitor or browser into a loyal, paying customer – easy, right? Not so much. The marketing funnel is a widely used and respected gold-standard inclusion in any thorough marketing strategy. It’s a complex resource that requires persistent effort and close attention to achieve successful return on investment and profit. Let us explain.

There are four main stages of a marketing funnel – awareness, consideration, conversion and loyalty / advocacy. In this article we have a closer look at each stage including how you can build a marketing funnel that drives consistent, valuable action for your business.

PIER-Marketing-Funnel

Marketing funnel stage one – awareness

The art of getting in front of your target audience’s eyes to introduce your brand and raise awareness of your product or service. *On average, it takes five to seven impressions for someone to remember your brand, likely more with the amount of additional digital content people have consumed in 2020 and 2021 during Covid.

Realistically, it’s highly unlikely a consumer will buy from you after the first interaction with your brand. Activity in this stage of the marketing funnel should aim to build brand impressions amongst people in your target audience to reach seven (or more) impressions.

Pop your consumer hat on for a moment and imagine walking past a shop, driving past a billboard or scrolling past an Instagram ad. How often would you make an instant purchase in that situation?

What does awareness activity look like?

  • Search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • Social media
  • Online advertising
  • Email capture pop ups
  • Award entries
  • Public relations (PR)
  • Events and exhibitions
  • Billboards or signs
  • Radio
  • Print advertising
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Tip – the goal of awareness activity is essentially to push traffic to your website, so make sure you have a remarketing code embedded in the back end of your site to capture website users in a remarketing audience.


Marketing funnel stage two – consideration

The aim here is to build trust with your consumers by effectively communicating the value of your brand and product or service. As we know from our recent article, brand equity comprises the way that consumers feel about and interact with your brand – including whether they recognise and trust you and how much they’re willing to pay for what you’re offering.

Creating content to build consumer trust requires a considerable amount of time and effort to put together, but it’s vital to funnel consumers through to the next stage and to strengthen your brand’s equity. It conveys your expertise and knowledge, and helps you become a valuable and reliable source of information.

Grab that consumer hat again and picture yourself visiting a website and “subscribing” to its e-newsletter so you can learn more about the brand (and maybe get a cheeky 10% off or free shipping code). The e-newsletter arrives in your inbox containing some interesting, thoughtful or helpful information, which bolsters your perception of the brand. This may shift you from being simply aware of the brand to the consideration phase.

What does consideration activity look like?

  • Electronic direct mail (eDM)
  • Social media
  • Free no-obligation trials
  • Webinars
  • Video demonstrations
  • Case studies
  • Blogs
  • Whitepapers

Marketing funnel stage three – conversion

Your efforts from activity in stages one and two now comes to fruition where you can expect to see consumers purchase from you. Here’s what we know about the conversion stage – the initial cost of acquiring a new customer is often relatively high but return on investment (ROI) over the lifetime of that customer is where the magic lies. In fact, most businesses will not see a profit until a customer makes multiple purchases (this depends on the cost of acquisition and the cost of your product or service).

Cue consumer hat – you’ve now shifted from awareness of the brand to familiarity, and then you see a Facebook ad offering a special promotion on the exact product or service you’ve been wanting. You’re immediately inspired to make a purchase or enquiry.

What does conversion activity look like?

  • Remarketing through highly targeted online ads
  • Electronic direct mail (eDM) drip campaigns
  • Testimonials
  • Special promotions

To understand more about the cost of customer acquisition, have a read of our recent blog.


Marketing funnel stage four – loyalty and advocacy

The cost of repeat purchases (loyalty) is extremely low, while advocacy (referrals) costs you nothing at all. You’ve put time and budget into acquiring new customers throughout stages one, two and three – now is the phase to keep those customers engaged, purchasing and referring you to their networks. This is more commonly known as customer retention.

Okay, consumer hat time. Remember an occasion when you were treated to amazing service – say you enjoyed an incredible restaurant dinner – or a product arrived much sooner than expected and was packaged beautifully. Did it make you want to and write a good review, tell your friends about the brand or purchase again from this business? That right there is the value of loyalty and advocacy.

What does loyalty and advocacy activity look like?

  • Exceptional customer service (we can’t emphasise this enough)
  • Referral promotional codes
  • Loyalty programs
  • Repeat purchase offers
  • Customer events
  • Newsletters
  • Gifts

Where to next?

There are many different moving parts in a marketing funnel. To start, a considered strategic plan is imperative to ensure you have a clear roadmap outlining objectives, target audience, key messages, channels, key performance indicators (KPIs), tactics, activity and budget.

It’s key to understand the marketing funnel is one continuous stream of integrated activity that requires close monitoring and fine-tuning, and it takes time to gather traction and see success. You can’t expect to achieve successful ROI, loyalty and advocacy by cherry-picking activity and only implementing part of the plan. You must be willing to play the long game.

Have confidence in the thinking and logic behind your strategy and trust the funnel process. It’s a tried-and-true method! Success won’t happen overnight. It comes with consistent effort and activity, month in, month out – but it certainly is worth it when your efforts start bearing fruit.

PIER-Marketing-Funnel-2

Ready to craft a marketing funnel for your business?

A successful marketing funnel starts with a considered strategy and readiness to execute the plan. Let’s talk about how crafting a marketing funnel for your business will drive valuable action and sales.

Sources

* https://www.smallbizgenius.net/by-the-numbers/branding-statistics/#gref

Image* https://www.linkedin.com/posts/jason-andrew_trust-the-process-activity-6822708440348151808-4XHU/

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Improve your customer acquisition https://www.piermarketing.com.au/improve-customer-acquisition/ https://www.piermarketing.com.au/improve-customer-acquisition/#respond Mon, 23 Aug 2021 04:55:58 +0000 https://www.piermarketing.com.au/?p=2368 The shifting sands of the marketplace mean that gaining new customers is an ongoing endeavour. It’s a simple enough concept, and yet the process of customer acquisition is complex and multi-faceted.

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Improve your customer acquisition.

Customer acquisition is art of adding new clients to your business. In other words, growth. Whether your business is brand new or established, the shifting sands of the marketplace mean that gaining new customers is an ongoing endeavour. Naturally, the financial success of your business depends on your ability to acquire customers.

It’s a simple enough concept, and yet the process of customer acquisition — especially in today’s digital world — is complex and multi-faceted. Allow us to demystify it.

Phones connected to each other

The marketing funnel

To drill down a little deeper into the process of customer acquisition , let’s first take a look at the marketing funnel. The marketing funnel is one of the most well known marketing concepts around, and with good reason. It explains how people go from being members of your target audience (potential customers) to your actual customers.

As opposed to using a scattergun approach, the marketing funnel is a way of collecting your target audience and ushering them through a process that, when executed successfully, concludes with a purchase. There are various iterations of the funnel, but it’s commonly described as a four-stage journey of awareness, consideration, conversion and advocacy — or, a process where prospects become leads and then customers. At the final stage of the funnel, you have acquired a customer. But how do you get there?


Components of customer acquisition

In the days of the ancient marketplace, customer acquisition occurred by displaying their wares, calling out to passers-by, and spruiking the benefits of their products as they conversed with marketgoers.

These days, of course, things have become a little more sophisticated. There is now a plethora of options when it comes to promoting your products or services, and marketing in the digital age provides an exciting array of opportunities.

Some of the most common customer acquisition activities employed by modern day marketers are digital marketing services, such as:

  • E-newsletters
  • Social media (organic content and paid ads)
  • Google Ads
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • Content marketing (including activities like blogs, e-books and videos as well as employing the services of influencers or ambassadors)

While marketers report that the greatest return on investment (ROI) comes from emails or eDMs* and Facebook ads, there is still a place for traditional methods of promotion such as print, radio and TV advertising, and research shows that consumers continue to place a high amount of trust in these forms of advertising.


Crafting a strategy for customer acquisition

As we always say here at PIER, all good strategy begins with research. This ensures that you’re targeting the right people in the right way and channeling your budget most effectively. When it comes to customer acquisition, the best strategy is one that thoughtfully employs a mix of activities rolled out across a variety of touch points.

You might work on your SEO so that potential customers can find you on search engines, for example, and then capture their email address by offering a discount when they subscribe to your emails or eDMs. From there, you might send them a welcome email offering some free content in the form of a blog, or suggesting certain products, which will hopefully take them from the awareness to the consideration to the conversion stage of the funnel.

Monitoring your metrics and activities and their success is also an important part of your strategy. It can be tricky to work out ROI when it comes to traditional advertising methods such as print or radio ads (marketers will often use tools like promo codes or URLs in an effort to track traffic from these sources), but the beauty of modern day marketing is that it provides a wealth of in-depth insights into ROI so you can track which of your efforts is paying off.

Facebook and Google ads are particularly helpful in showing you which of your ads are resonating with your audience, as well as serving you valuable information on the demographics of your audience. This helps you to become more specific in your targeting (even on different platforms). The other benefit is that digital methods are flexible and give you the ability to pivot and alter your efforts based on both market trends and what’s actually working.

In other words, a good customer acquisition strategy is one that is varied, targeted and flexible.


Customer acquisition cost

One of the most important factors in your strategy is working out how much each customer acquisition is costing you, so that you can plan and adapt accordingly. The cost of acquiring a new customer is referred to as Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), and the CAC of various endeavours essentially tells you their ROI.

Of course, some digital platforms calculate this figure for you. But to calculate your CAC for each marketing activity yourself, you can divide the amount spent on the activity by the number of new customers acquired through that activity. Your goal should be to maintain at least a 3-to-1 customer acquisition cost.

An example of customer acquisition cost:

If you’ve spent $1,000 on the activity and it’s brought you 100 new customers, you would divide 1000 by 100 to find that the CAC is $10. You have paid $10 to acquire each customer. To go further, you could work out the average amount spent by each customer (eg. $20), multiply this by your gross margin (eg. 50 per cent) and then subtract the CAC (eg. $5) to calculate your profit (in this example, $5 per customer).

Your “spend” might include factors such as sales and marketing wages or salaries as well as outsourced services and software. Some activities are more difficult to track. The use of influencers, for example, can be tricky because it might be hard to quantify how many new customers you’ve actually acquired through their mention of your business (one solution is to provide the influencer with a unique discount code so you can track sales).

Whether your CAC is too high really depends on your business and goals. Some businesses are focused on securing lifetime customers and therefore accept that they might not make a profit off a customer’s first purchase. In some cases, your marketing activities may be part of a long-term strategy where the results are not necessarily seen straight away. However, if you’re consistently paying a high CAC for little reward then it might be time to adjust your strategy.


What comes after customer acquisition?

Once you’ve created a top-notch customer acquisition strategy? It’s time to focus on the all-important task of customer retention. In fact, many suggest that the marketing funnel should be represented in a more circular way (such as a flywheel) to acknowledge that the customer journey is ideally not a linear process, but a cyclical one that sees your customers become advocates and repeat customers.


Want to find out more?

Ultimately, customer acquisition is about creating a customer base or growing an existing one. The goal is to have a strategy for acquiring customers that evolves depending on the market and changes. To gain further insight into how you can bolster your customer acquisition, get in touch with PIER today.

Sources

* https://www.shopify.com/blog/customer-acquisition

* https://blog.hubspot.com/service/customer-acquisition

* https://today.yougov.com/topics/media/articles-reports/2021/03/05/trust-in-media-ads-global-poll

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Brand equity https://www.piermarketing.com.au/brand-equity/ https://www.piermarketing.com.au/brand-equity/#respond Mon, 26 Jul 2021 23:27:26 +0000 https://www.piermarketing.com.au/?p=2309 You might be familiar with the word “equity” from the finance world, but what does brand equity mean? Find out here and read about how you can strengthen your brand equity with our key actions.

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Brand equity

You might be familiar with the word “equity” from the finance world, but what does brand equity mean?

The Oxford dictionary tells us that brand equity is, “The commercial value that derives from consumer perception of the brand name of a particular product or service, rather than from the product or service itself.” Brand equity is the reason we prefer one brand to another, even when the two products they sell might be virtually the same — for example, when you choose the branded medication instead of the equivalent pharmacy version. According to researcher Richard Rosenbaum-Elliot, “It is the simple difference between the value of a branded product and the value of that product without that brand name attached to it.”*

Computer with a bunch of blank post-it notes except for one with the question "Brand equity?" written on it.

Brand equity is tied to your identity

In other words, brand equity is the value that comes from a strong, positive brand identity. It comprises the way that consumers feel about and interact with your brand — including whether they recognise and trust you, how loyal they are and how much they’re willing to pay for your product or service. If your brand equity is strong, consumers will pay a premium for your products and recommend them to others. Poor (or “negative”) brand equity means people are unlikely to recommend your brand. Apple, with its millions of ardently loyal followers, is frequently cited as an example of great brand equity. This is thanks to the consistently and reliably high standard of Apple’s products and services, as well as the time the company has spent cultivating their image and Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

Brand equity is the value that comes from a strong, positive brand identity.

To demonstrate the power of brand equity, imagine that you are a low-cost airline that frequently offers sales of discounted flights. Suddenly, a competitor comes along offering similar or cheaper deals. Whether or not your customer base stays with you or defects to your competitor depends heavily on your brand equity. If you’ve invested in your brand perception and cultivated positive customer relationships, your customers are likely to remain loyal. If you’re known for having poor customer service or unreliable communication, on the other hand, your customers may go running into the arms of the competition. Having strong brand equity means having a customer base that will weather storms with you.


Why is brand equity more important than ever?

Brand equity becomes especially valuable during times of economic uncertainty and crisis. It’s important to spend time working on the awareness and identity of your company when business is stable so that you’ll have the brand equity to carry you through when the chips are down. And while it can be tempting to pull back on marketing spend during times of economic instability, it’s actually during these times that brand awareness becomes crucial: even if consumer buying habits become more conservative, you’ll remain on your customers’ radar. “The equity of a brand is not only a tactical aid to generate short-term sales, but also a strategic support to creating long-term value of an organisation,” writes Professor David Aaker, who’s sometimes called “the father of modern branding.”

It’s also during economic downturns that consumers become more discerning about who they hand over their business to, and pay closer attention to factors such as brand values. Even prior to COVID-19 there was a growing trend among buyers towards conscious consumerism and choosing brands for their authenticity and sustainability practices, and the pandemic has only intensified this change in behaviour.* According to research, 78 percent of Australians report that they are likely to support the retailers that provided them with optimal service during the pandemic.* COVID-19 has also made consumers much more comfortable shopping online than before, meaning there’s a greater need (and opportunity) than ever to bolster your brand identity, awareness and equity through digital advertising and communication.

Mick Pritchard Business Card Design

Components of brand identity

Brand equity is a notoriously slippery topic, and several people have tried to break it down into various key components — including, of course, David Aaker. According to Aaker’s model, there are three main “dimensions” that make up brand equity, and if businesses can tick off these criteria then they’re well on their way to brand success.*

1. Brand loyalty

Brand loyalty is essentially defined as how many repeat customers you have, how frequently they make a purchase and how fervently they’ll recommend you to friends. In Aaker’s view, the benefits of brand loyalty are that it reduces marketing costs, provides trade leverage, helps attract new customers (who are directly or indirectly referred by others), and allows businesses time to respond to the threat of competitors due to their customers’ reluctance to simply jump ship.

2. Brand awareness

This refers to how recognisable and front-of-mind your brand is amongst your target audience. It’s where your brand starts to become visible and familiar to your audience, which hopefully results in your audience developing positive feelings towards your brand and making a purchase.

3. Brand association and perceived quality

These are the things that consumers associate with your brand’s image — for example luxury or sustainability. Aaker says that brand association helps engender positive feelings in your target audience, defines your USP and gives your audience a reason to choose your brand over the competition.

The perceived quality of your brand determines how much value your customers place on your product or service, and whether they’re willing to pay a higher price for it.


Building strong brand equity

So, how do we accumulate more of this illusive, intangible item? Building brand equity doesn’t happen overnight and requires patience, but there are some key actions you can take to start strengthening your equity now.

Consistent branding

As we’ve highlighted in previous blog posts, it’s essential that your branding looks and feels the same across various mediums and platforms, as this helps create trust and alleviate confusion in the consumer. This means ensuring that your logo, colour choices, stationery and tone of voice, for example, are all carefully considered, consistent and complementary — and also that your origin story is successfully woven through your branding elements.

Good communication and positive interaction with consumers

Each time you communicate with potential or existing customers is an opportunity to strengthen your brand equity. This includes email correspondence; social media posts, comments and messages; face-to-face or over-the-phone conversations; e-newsletters and more.

Frequent and consistent communication through social media, blogs and e-newsletters in particular increases brand awareness, helps hone your brand identity and encourages brand loyalty by helping your audience feel as if they’re part of a community. You can further promote brand loyalty through memberships or loyalty programs, offering “sneak peeks” or early sales access to email subscribers; repeat customer discounts; value-adding free content and even small touches like handwritten notes with packaging.

Quality control ensures strong brand equity

Having a good quality control system builds strong brand equity by demonstrating to customers that you care about their experience and it gives you the opportunity to redeem your brand if a customer is disappointed. As well as the quality control measures that you undertake to ensure products are in good condition before customers receive them, this also encompasses activities such as surveys or invitations to review the brand after a purchase has been made or service rendered

Our tip icon

Quality is also conveyed through elements such as packaging, branding, website design and copywriting.

Awareness campaigns

As we mentioned above, brand awareness is the thing that will keep your business afloat even if the economy takes a downturn. Brand awareness campaigns — which might comprise activities such as digital and print ads, events and PR — ensure that you remain on your target customers’ radars whether they’re in the active purchasing phase or not.


Let’s chat about your brand equity.

It pays to think about your brand equity — especially during uncertain times. To find out how you can strengthen your brand through targeted marketing activities, get in touch with PIER.

Sources

* https://www.thebrandingjournal.com/2021/02/brand-equity/

* https://www.bandt.com.au/wunderman-thompsons-future-shopper-report-reveals-how-covid-19-changed-shopping-habits-for-good/

* https://www.marketingmag.com.au/news-c/covid-19-shopping-habits-revealed/

* https://www.prophet.com/2013/09/156-what-is-brand-equity-and-why-is-it-valuable/

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Brand identity essentials https://www.piermarketing.com.au/brand-identity-essentials/ https://www.piermarketing.com.au/brand-identity-essentials/#respond Tue, 29 Jun 2021 05:58:47 +0000 https://www.piermarketing.com.au/?p=2188 Brand identity encompasses how you communicate your values and offering, and the impression you leave on anyone who interacts with your brand. But why is it so important?

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Brand identity essentials

We hear the word “brand” thrown around quite a bit these days — and with very good reason. People might talk about their “personal brand”, or business activities as “on-brand” or “off-brand”. What we really mean, when we talk about brand in this way, is brand identity. Your brand identity is the bridge between you and your customers: it encompasses how you communicate your values and offerings, as well as the impression you leave on anyone who interacts with your brand. It’s both the essence of your operation and the image you project out into the world.

Wooden chair and table in a room

Brand identity is how you make people feel.

While brand identity might begin with elements such as your logo and the colours and fonts that you use, it’s ultimately about the way in which people speak about your business and how you make them feel. Research shows that meaningful brands form the strongest connections with people and make the deepest, longest-lasting impressions. A 2021 Havas Group survey found that 73 percent of people believe businesses should act for the good of society and the planet, and 64 percent of people prefer to buy from businesses that consider purpose as well as profit. It also showed that consumer trust in businesses is at an all-time low.* How do you demonstrate the meaning and values of your brand? By rolling out a considered and consistent brand identity across all marketing touchpoints.

Imagine, for example, that you come across a website where the visual and written tone is quite serious and professional, but the company’s Instagram page is loud and brash. You may not feel that you could trust this brand, or that you knew who they really were. Likewise if a brand frequently mentions sustainability in its content but then posts its products out swathed in plastic. Or, if you were to be handed a business card that used a green and gold colourway, but then the business’s email signature involved red and blue, you might get confused and wonder if you’re dealing with two different businesses.

Of course, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the brand identity you choose, as long as you’re resonating with the right audience (your identified target audience). Depending on your industry, your Unique Sales Proposition (USP) and who exactly you’re trying to reach, your brand identity might be playful, sassy, nurturing, innovative, thoughtful, respectful, brash, modern, traditional, organic, sustainable — or an infinite number of other things. It won’t necessarily reflect your own personality as a business owner or senior manager, but should be driven by research and consideration of your target audience (here at PIER, it all begins with a brand audit).

Sparx van

Why is brand identity important?

  • A solid brand identity helps build trust and credibility with your audience, which is more important now than ever before. One survey showed that as much as 86 per cent of modern consumers say a brand’s perceived authenticity is important in determining their buying behaviour.* Because we’re living in a digital age where a high percentage of business interactions now take place online, businesses have to work harder these days to humanise themselves, build trust and convey its values and personality.
  • First impressions count. The market is competitive, and brands often have only a split second to capture their audience’s attention amid a sea of competitors. You need to ensure your brand has an identity distinct enough to immediately resonate with your audience.
  • A consistent brand identity assists with brand recognition. It takes, on average, between five and seven interactions with a brand before a person recognises it and takes action. The more consistent your brand identity is, the faster people will recognise it and the fewer impressions will be required.
  • Though it takes some time and effort initially, having a strong, clear, considered brand identity will inevitably help streamline, organise and simplify your branding efforts. One you’ve decided your businesses’ brand positioning (who your business is, what you’re about and how you’d like to come across), this identity can flow through and inform all your marketing communications.

Where do we see brand identity expressed?

Brand identity is communicated through…well everything! This will depend largely on your offering and audience, but some examples include:

  • Your logo
  • The colours and fonts used across your logo, website, email signatures, packaging etc.
  • Printed collateral such as business cards, brochures and stationery
  • Digital and print advertisements
  • Your origin story
  • Uniforms and the visual merchandising of bricks-and-mortar stores
  • The tone of voice used in the copywriting of your website, printed collateral and social media
  • The tone of voice used by staff when communicating with customers via email, instant messages, over-the-phone, face-to-face etc.
  • Signage and vehicle decals
  • Packaging and the “unboxing” experiences of customers who open parcels from you
  • Any events you hold or host
  • Brand ambassadors or spokespeople

Evidently, brand identity extends far, far beyond your logo: it’s a thread that’s woven through almost every aspect of your business. Rather than thinking of creating your brand identity as another hoop you need to jump through, consider the process an opportunity. Each of the above touchpoints represents an opportunity to tell your story, share your philosophy, connect with your audience and, in the end, increase revenue.


Let’s dive in.

Interested in finding out more about brand audits and how to craft a brand identity that resonates? Get in touch with PIER today. We’d love to help.

Sources

*https://www.havasgroup.com/press_release/havas-meaningful-brands-report-2021-finds-we-are-entering-the-age-of-cynicism/

*https://stackla.com/resources/reports/the-consumer-content-report-influence-in-the-digital-age/

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Why you need a marketing communication strategy https://www.piermarketing.com.au/marketing-communication-strategy/ https://www.piermarketing.com.au/marketing-communication-strategy/#respond Thu, 27 May 2021 04:35:23 +0000 https://www.piermarketing.com.au/?p=2110 Strategy, strategy, strategy. It’s one of our favourite words at PIER, and with good reason. It boils down to three components: what you’re going to say, where you’re going to say it, and to whom.

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Why a marketing communication strategy is important.

Strategy is one of our favourite words at PIER, and with good reason. This month, we’re talking about why you need a marketing communication strategy.

For the uninitiated, a marketing communication strategy is a roadmap that lays out your marketing objectives and the tactics to help achieve them – reaching your target audience with the right message at the right time.

Basically, it boils down to three components: your message, your medium and your target — or, what you’re going to say, where you’re going to say it, and to whom.

Infographic with the word strategy in the center.

What does a marketing communication strategy look like?

Typically, a marketing communication strategy will include the following elements:

  • Your mission statement and business objectives. Everything begins and ends with your business objectives. We like to say that they need to be SMART: specific, meaningful, achievable, realistic and time-bound.
  • A marketing audit (basically, a look at “where you are now”), including which current endeavours are having the desired results and which aren’t quite working, as well as your current market position.
  • A market overview of current trends and competitors.
  • A definition of your brand identity (your personality and tone). This identity plays a huge part in your marketing communication strategy.
  • A definition of your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) — that is, what sets you apart from potentially countless other competitors. Your USP becomes the central message at the heart of all of your communications, which helps ensure consistency across mediums and platforms.
  • Research that informs your next steps and which direction you are going to take. Primary research is ideal (such as customer surveys), but secondary research from sources such as Google Trends, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Kantar is useful, too. This will help define your audience and their pain points.
  • The plan: the communication channels you are going to use to get your message out there. Depending on your business and goals, this might include TV, radio, Facebook, billboard and print ads; PR, events and sponsorship; and content marketing tools such as blog posts, social media and e-newsletters.
  • A definition of what success looks like, which will give you something to measure when creating your marketing report. You might include metrics around website visits, backlinks, newsletter signups — or whatever is relevant to your business and goals.

Why is a marketing communication strategy important?

You can probably begin to gauge, just from reading the above list, why crafting a document like this is worth the investment of resources. A marketing communication strategy is important for the same reason that any kind of strategy is important: because it saves you time, energy and effort later on. Essentially, it makes your team more efficient, gets everyone pulling in the same direction and means you’re not flying blind.

This is partly because your strategy will be founded on research (another word we love to use at PIER!). If you’re appropriately researching your audience and their pain points, you’re going to be able to target them more directly, meaning a better ROI (as opposed to a “scattergun” approach, where you could end up spending far too much of your budget on targeting the wrong audience entirely). Research takes you from “we think” to “we know”.

“Sure, you can dive in, start printing brochures or getting social media influencers to spruik your product — but be prepared for disappointment before popping the champagne corks,” says PIER General Manager, Alex Stock. “A much better approach, in our book, is to follow a proper planning process.”

"They left no stone unturned..." by Ashely Robertson, General Manager at Mornington Racecourse

A good marketing communication strategy unites, focuses, and educates

A marketing communication strategy gives you the opportunity to hone your brand identity and combine this with research to form your key messaging. In a marketplace where millions of businesses are vying for consumers’ attention, your messaging needs to be clever and considered. If you have an abundance of direct competitors, then you’ll want to communicate what makes your product or service special (this can be as simple as having had four decades of experience in the industry, or a strong focus on sustainability). If your offering is new and unique, on the other hand, then your messaging has the important job of educating your audience around your innovative (but unfamiliar) product.

It will also help integrate your marketing and communication efforts: your content might look or sound beautiful, but if the message is inconsistent then your audience is going to be confused rather than engaged. Likewise, if your messaging is totally divorced from your business goals, it’s probably not going to deliver the results you want.


Ultimately, a marketing communication strategy gives your team a chance to pause, get on the same page and be proactive — rather than reactive — in your marketing activity. It creates clarity around your business objectives and identity, and crystalises your message, medium and audience.

Need a hand?

If you need a hand crafting your own marketing communication strategy, get in touch with PIER. You could say that strategy is our USP!

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How a custom website design affects user experience. https://www.piermarketing.com.au/custom-website-design-ux/ https://www.piermarketing.com.au/custom-website-design-ux/#respond Thu, 22 Apr 2021 03:00:15 +0000 https://www.piermarketing.com.au/?p=2022 Research shows that most users will leave your website in the first 15 seconds of entering if they can't find what they're looking for. This is exactly why it’s crucial to have a well-designed, user-led custom website.

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How custom website design affects user experience.

In the year 2021 and its endless distractions, you can’t afford to underthink the importance of custom website design. Website users (which is to say, all of us while browsing the web) are a busy, fickle bunch with a short attention span and a low tolerance for things that don’t work smoothly and efficiently. If site users can’t find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily, they’ll bounce away from your page faster than you can say “Add to cart” — in fact, research shows that most website users will leave your site in the first 15 seconds of entering*. For those who have poured hours of time and energy into their website, this can be dispiriting to hear. Yet this is exactly why it’s crucial to have a custom website design that captures the attention of your visitors and funnels them through your sales funnel.

A laptop showing a custom website design in the form of a mock-up.

What does user experience mean?

In the 1990s, along with the boom of the internet and technological devices, a man named Donald Norman introduced the term “user experience” into the vernacular. Also referred to as UE or UX, “user experience” basically describes the way we interact with the objects and systems in the world around us.

From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed (and even while you’re sleeping), user experience is part of your life. There is the way your cereal box opens; the experience of using your toothbrush; the process of scanning your train card or using a freeway; the app that allows you to order your lunch. As we know, good design is invisible — if you can do these things without thinking too much about them, this means the user experience is seamless, and therefore effective. Great user experience has the ability to take people from feeling ‘satisfied’ to feeling ‘wowed’ — think about opening a new Apple product and how the unboxing experience is a big part of the thrill.

Another UX pioneer, Peter Morville, gives us seven principles of user experience:

  1. Useful (the product or service fulfills a need or purpose);
  2. Usable (it’s smooth and easy to use);
  3. Findable (it’s easy to find);
  4. Credible (it appears trustworthy and authentic);
  5. Desirable (it’s aesthetically pleasing and resonates visually);
  6. Accessible (it takes into account the experience of those with disabilities or impairments); and
  7. Valuable (it delivers value and leaves the user somehow better off).
Custom website design mock-ups and wireframes

Where does user experience come into custom website design?

When it comes to custom website design, UX is largely about the ease and speed with which the user can navigate their way around the page and find the information they want. It also involves considerations such as how quickly the page loads, the relevance of the information provided, how aesthetically pleasing the page is and how well the copywriting draws them in.

“UX is about making a website really user-oriented rather than simply basing it around assumptions or business goals” says UX-trained PIER Creative Studio Manager Georgia Morrison.

While your goal as a business owner might be to secure bookings or sales, the user’s goal might involve simply finding more information to help them with their problem. The task of a custom website designer is to find the point where these two goals align.

Of course, creating a custom website is also about creating an experience that’s smooth and intuitive — as opposed to clunky — for your unique kind of webpage user. “Clunky” can mean pages that don’t load quickly, 404 errors, overwhelming amounts of information on the homepage, or key pieces of information hidden in strange places, for example.

“The goal with UX is to make the whole process enjoyable for the user, so that they never hit a speedbump, they never get stuck or frustrated and they never end up going to a competitor,” says Georgia.


Ensure your custom website design compliments user experience

User experience in custom website design is about learning and understanding the journey your users take once they arrive on your site, as well as why they’re there in the first place. This means putting aside your own assumptions and expectations, and conducting research (rather than guessing) on how your users operate.

“A lot of websites are designed and built around what people think a user might be looking for on a website, or what they think their priorities might be, or how they think the user might respond to language and prompts,” explains Georgia.

“Researching users early on is vital to plan and identify what it is they’re actually thinking and how they actually respond to content on your website — what pages they’re really looking for,” says Georgia. “It’s usually a lot of interviews with actual users and real life feedback and examples that become your basis for planning the site.”

In practical terms, this involves repeatedly testing and re-testing the custom website design on various users to see which paths they commonly take. The results of this testing can be surprising for businesses who often don’t recognise their own biases or how much of their planning is based on their own background, experiences and technical ability.

Caseware case study of an app with a custom website design

At PIER, our step-by-step custom website design process looks like this:

We’re always advocating for the benefit of marketing strategy and research, which is why we’ve developed a tried-and-true process for custom website designs that you can rely on to excel at user experience.

  1. Conduct a planning session/workshop

    This is where we meet with you to discuss your goals and begin to understand your target audience (or “users”). Depending on the scope of the website, this stage may involve reviewing your existing site and phone interviews with people who fall within your user group.

  2. Create a sitemap

    We pull apart the various pages we now know are needed on your site to create a visual map.

  3. Create wireframes

    We start to plan the hierarchy of the pages, organising the information architecture and functionality.

  4. Design a consistent and accessible style

    The aesthetics: We ensure your branding is consistent across all pages of your site and look at the accessibility of the design.

  5. Build the custom website design

    Our in-house web developer, Josh, builds your custom website so we can begin to test it.

  6. QA test the new website

    We explore how users move through the site and ensure the journey is intuitive. We then check that the site works across various browsers and on mobile and make improvements wherever needed.

  7. Launch the new website!

    We get this thing off the ground, taking it from the testing stage to being a live domain/URL.

  8. Optimize the custom website design for search engines

    We optimise all pages so that the site is “findable” and appears in search engine results.

  9. Train on how to use the new website

    We train you so that you’re empowered to make simple website updates yourself.

  10. Provide ongoing maintenance and support

    We provide ongoing support and maintenance so that your site is secure and working optimally at all times (includes theme and plugin updates and quarterly backups).

The end result is a custom website that your target audience enjoys using.


Ready to dive in?

To find out how PIER can work with you to create a custom website that achieves your business goals and allows for a great user experience, get in touch today.

*Source – https://time.com/12933/what-you-think-you-know-about-the-web-is-wrong/

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How to write a better marketing report (and why you should want to) https://www.piermarketing.com.au/how-to-write-a-better-marketing-report/ https://www.piermarketing.com.au/how-to-write-a-better-marketing-report/#respond Sun, 28 Mar 2021 23:50:58 +0000 https://www.piermarketing.com.au/?p=1967 At first glance, the term “marketing report” may not conjure up the most exciting images. But the truth is that crafting a good marketing report for your business is essential, enlightening and potentially exciting.

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How to write a better marketing report (and why you should want to).

At first glance, the term “marketing report” may not conjure up the most exciting images (memories of doing school reports, anyone?) but the truth is that crafting a good marketing report for your business is essential, enlightening and potentially exciting.

Marketing-Reports

What is a marketing report?

A marketing report is a monthly report that collates data from the previous month’s activities, measures the success of marketing efforts, gives insights into trends and highlights opportunities for improvement. This is where a great deal of your marketing power comes from: monitoring, measuring and tweaking as you go.

What is the purpose of a marketing report?

The main reason for writing up a marketing report is to analyse your marketing efforts over the previous month to see what’s working and what’s not. For example, there’s no point coming to the end of a campaign and realising missed opportunities too late; it’s much more effective to gather data, track how you’re travelling and make the necessary adjustments along the way.

Who is a marketing report for?

Most likely, a marketing report is shared with a variety of people — it could be your team or other stakeholders (other departments within your business). It explains to the reader (and writer) where budget is being spent and identifies opportunities for better investments. A marketing report ensures everyone is focused on common goals and working off the same document — literally.

What’s included in a marketing report?

The content of your marketing report will differ depending on your business, target audience and your unique goals and activities, but typically the report will include elements such as:

  • The overarching goals and objectives on which your marketing efforts are based, as well as predetermined KPIs (key performance indicators).
  • A breakdown of leads/sales including the source (where the leads/sales came from).
  • An overview of social media insights into reach, engagement, impressions, followers, leads/sales etc., as well as that of social media advertising and Google Ads.
  • A more detailed look at each social media channel being used, including the most engaging posts for each channel (if relevant to your marketing plan).
  • A review of your most recent eDM (electronic direct mail) with open-rates, click-through rates, most-clicked links etc.
  • An analysis of website activity — from the number of users and page views to the number of leads/sales and bounce rates. You may want to include SEO (search engine optimisation) here too – domain authority score, top performing keywords, visibility percentage etc.
  • A brief round-up of marketing updates, including any upcoming activity such as events or sponsorships.
  • Graphs and tables to provide a visual representation of the data.
  • Wherever possible, month-on-month or year-on-year comparisons to track growth (or lack thereof).
  • Explanations of the data so the reader can appreciate its meaning.
Marketing-reports-graph

Writing tips

The thing that will elevate your marketing report is your ability to make meaning out of the information presented. Data provides context and adds weight to your conclusions and recommendations, but you need to explain its ramifications. Your team won’t appreciate being handed a report that contains all kinds of analytics with no effort to demystify the information.

Good reports highlight successful marketing efforts and explain the cause behind less successful ones (e.g., if website users were lower in January than February, why could that be?). It should also provide recommendations or an action plan for the following month in an attempt to improve report results.

Marketing-reports-chart

As well as the nitty-gritty of data and analytics, it’s important to include the larger objectives, goals and KPIs of your marketing efforts at the outset of each report. This is immensely helpful for the sake of continuity, keeping your eye on the prize, getting everyone pulling in the same direction and providing broader context as to what you’re doing and why. At the end of the day, a marketing report is for the sake of the person writing it, too. It encourages you to engage with and reflect on your marketing efforts, keeping you agile, responsive and accountable.

From a budgeting perspective, a marketing report can save you money by telling you which activities are providing the best ROI (return on investment) — if 80 percent of your leads are coming from one source but you’re spending a large portion of your budget on another channel, for example, it’s good to know this so you can re-allocate your budget accordingly. Plus, they can also potentially justify an increase in budget because you have the data laid out to support your request.

What to include

There is a huge amount of information that you could include in the report, but that doesn’t mean you should. Rather than providing a comprehensive review of every single marketing activity undertaken and every single metric, the report will be most useful if it’s a summary of the most important, most relevant information.

What not to include

Consider the readers and be careful of including too much jargon — if the person reading the report is not a marketer or not versed in digital marketing, there’s no point presenting a bunch of abbreviations and marketing-speak. A good marketing report is useful and accessible to everyone.

Marketing-reports-harvey-wreckers

Essentially, marketing reports are both a review of where you’ve been and a roadmap for going forward. They provide an opportunity to see how your target audience ticks and what resonates with them. See? It doesn’t need to be a dry and dull document at all, but something brimming with life and possibility!

Need some direction?

To find out how you can bridge gaps, interpret the success of your marketing efforts and better meet your benchmarks, get in touch with PIER. We can help you take your business to the next level.

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What makes good packaging design? https://www.piermarketing.com.au/what-makes-good-packaging-design/ https://www.piermarketing.com.au/what-makes-good-packaging-design/#respond Wed, 24 Feb 2021 00:36:59 +0000 https://www.piermarketing.com.au/?p=1798 In today’s digital world, it can be easy to overlook the importance of packaging design — after all, isn’t everyone shopping online these days? Does the physical, tangible manifestation of a product really matter? The research continues to show that it does.

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What makes good packaging design?

In today’s digital world, it can be easy to overlook the importance of packaging design — after all, isn’t everyone shopping online these days? Does the physical, tangible manifestation of a product really matter?

The research continues to show that it does, with 93 per cent of consumers deciding to make a purchase because of a product’s visual appearance.* 70 per cent of consumers are reported to base their first impression of a brand completely off its packaging design,* and 61 per cent say they’re more likely to purchase a luxury item for a second time if it came in premium packaging.*

93% of consumers decide to make a purchase because of a product’s packaging design.


Small Swedish oat milk company OAT-LY believe so much in the power of packaging design that they poured a large percentage of their limited marketing budget into their packaging, making it one of the primary vehicles for advertising their product and its benefits. They’ve since taken the world by storm. To underestimate the value of stellar packaging design is to miss a valuable opportunity to leave an impression, capture new markets and tell your brand story.

Packaging is often the first way that customers (or would-be customers) interface with your brand — by perusing items on a store shelf, browsing products online or coming across product shots in your digital advertising campaign. Clever packaging design can help you cut through to the consumer and give your product “shelf appeal” (the ability to stand out in a sea of rival products). Think of the experience of trying to choose a bottle of wine among a large array of options around similar price points. What makes certain products jump out at you? What’s different or unique about their design?

It might sound obvious, but as PIER graphic designer Georgia shares over on our brand identity blog, packaging should be designed with a target customer in mind — not by aiming to appeal to everyone. Clean and monochromatic design might work well in marketing a brand of organic muesli, for example, but be less effective in selling a kids’ cereal. It also shouldn’t be informed by the subjective tastes of your team (while you might personally love the combination of hot pink and purple, it may not be the most appropriate option in the packaging design of authentic Italian pasta sauce).

“Packaging should be designed with a target customer in mind – not by aiming to appeal to everyone.”

And yet good packaging design isn’t just about garnering attention: it also tells a story. It forms part of your brand identity by communicating your personality, and it instantly suggests to potential customers what they can expect from your product in terms of quality and price. In a world where people are busy and products are many, this is important. Is your product fun and playful? Clean and simple? Organic or clinical? Economical or premium? What is the feeling or experience you are selling — nostalgia? Authenticity? Luxury? Self-care? Celebration? Combined with a consistent approach across all branding touch points — including logo, website, social media, ad campaigns and collateral — product packaging can become a fundamental storytelling tool.

Your customers’ relationship with the aesthetics of your packaging doesn’t end once they’ve made their purchase, either. 40 per cent of consumers will share a product image on social media if the packaging design is unique or branded.* In this way, shelf appeal extends beyond the commercial environment and into the home. Consider where in the home this product will sit (fridge, pantry, bathroom) and whether it’s worthy of a “shelfie” (an image taken of a shelf displaying appealing items). Think about brands like Aesop, whose omnipresent amber-coloured bottles of hand wash and lotion have become style symbols, or the simple effectiveness of Who Gives a Crap’s colourful, individually-wrapped toilet rolls in brightening up a bathroom.


On top of this, good packaging design is functional. Once a customer has chosen your product off the shelf and taken it home, do they enjoy the way the packaging opens and closes; how it pours or pumps? Does it need to be durable or travel-friendly? Is there an aspect of the design that displays thoughtfulness for the consumer? If your products are being posted to the customer, how is the experience of opening the package at the other end (this is known as the Unboxing Experience)? It’s these elements that can shift packaging from good design to great design and turn customers into repeat customers.

With a growing number of conscious consumers, you also might want to give some thought to eco-friendly packaging. In 2019, Global Banking & Finance Review reported that the percentage of consumers around the world who were willing to pay more for products packaged in eco-conscious materials had grown from 47 per cent to 59 per cent over a seven-year period.* In other words, it’s reached a tipping point. Savvy businesses are responding by using brown paper, glass and aluminium rather than plastic, and sourcing packaging that’s reusable, compostable or biodegradable. Your product may tick every other box, but if it doesn’t satisfy the eco-conscious requirement you could be losing a huge share of the market. This, too, comes back to shelf appeal: if nine out of 10 sunscreens on the shelf are packaged in plastic and one in an aluminium tin, which product is going to stand out?

Last but not least, good packaging design nails the copywriting component. Of course, there are certain legal requirements that must be met here (ingredient lists, safety warnings and advice, product weight or volume), and you also need to grab buyers’ attention, let them know the benefits of your product, communicate your brand and tell your story — all within a generally small space. Given the limited amount of real estate available on most product packaging, a good copywriter will weave your brand’s tone into all aspects of the packaging copy (even in your “directions for use”, for instance). Again, OAT-LY is a great example: The tone of their packaging copy is irreverent, original, playful and conversational, and it also educates consumers about a product that is still gaining mainstream recognition. A good designer will work out the most effective way of displaying the most important product information — this is where clever copy meets clever design.


Looking for some clever packaging design?

If you have a physical product to sell, packaging should be seen as a creative and valuable branding tool up there with your other marketing pursuits. PIER can help you discover your shelf appeal and communicate your personality through clever packaging design — get in touch today.

*Sources – https://www.freelancer.com.au/articles/graphic-design/why-packaging-design-is-important

https://www.packagingoftheworld.com/2017/07/the-power-of-packaging-you-probably-did.html

https://www.globalbankingandfinance.com/consumer-trends-show-its-no-longer-optional-eco-friendly-packaging-is-now-a-must-for-brands-around-the-globe/

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Nurture your audience online with a 5 step Facebook funnel campaign https://www.piermarketing.com.au/digital-marketing-funnel/ https://www.piermarketing.com.au/digital-marketing-funnel/#respond Thu, 21 Jan 2021 04:38:41 +0000 https://www.piermarketing.com.au/?p=1702 Funnel campaigns work hard to nurture an engaged audience over time. Learn how to set up a funnel campaign with our 5 step process.

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Nurture your audience online with a 5 step digital marketing funnel.

What is a digital marketing funnel?

A digital marketing funnel is based on exactly that – the marketing funnel – where ads are strategically served to an audience based on what stage they’re at in their client or customer journey.

PIER-Marketing-Funnel-Campaign

The reality is that the online world is a saturated and noisy space for businesses to advertise, forcing us marketers to be clever and strategic in our approach and messaging. Audiences are savvier than ever and expect to be served information that is relevant and valuable to them, and they want to see this information on their terms. Digital marketing funnels allow you to be in the right place at the right time and work hard to nurture an engaged audience, ultimately resulting in more qualified leads or an increase in sales as your potential customers are “funneled” into actual customers.


Stages of a digital marketing funnel

Not every business will have an identical marketing funnel, but we find the following four stages to be the rule of thumb – awareness, consideration, conversion and advocacy. It’s important to remember digital marketing funnel are a long game, so don’t expect to see leads or sales pouring in within the first week of launch. Have trust in the process!

Stage 1 – Awareness

We know it takes between 5 and 7 impressions* before an individual will remember your brand, so it’s important to understand how critical the awareness stage is to the success of your digital marketing funnel. You want to make sure you’re always filling the top of the funnel with brand impressions from a wide, but targeted cold audience.

Stage 2 – Consideration

This is where people will recognise your brand if they see it and they’ll likely start to interact with your content – browse your website, like an Instagram post or view a video on your Facebook page. We call this group of people a ‘considered audience’.

Stage 3 – Conversion

The lead generation phase! Whether that be ‘enter your email address’ or ‘purchase an item’ (the conversion options are many), this is where your audience takes action. They know your brand, they’re familiar with your product or service offering and they’ve done their research. Keep in mind that depending on the cost of your service or product, it can take up to 12 months (or more) to acquire a client or sale — for example, while a takeaway coffee might involve a 30-second consideration, a customer may take 12 months to consider a brand new car.

Stage 4 – Advocacy

We love this stage; you can expect to achieve significant return on investment (ROI) here. Your clients / customers rave about you, refer you to friends and share your brand on their own social media. Business that comes from referral costs you $0. This is the sheer power of a brand advocate.

Marketing Funnel Diagram

5 steps to a successful digital marketing funnel using Facebook

Step 1 – Identify your client’s journey

It’s important to identify your client’s journey through the funnel to optimise your campaign strategy. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the sources and channels of brand discovery for your target audience? I.e., Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google.
  • What are the important milestones in your audience’s journey? I.e., post engagement, website visits, video views, form submissions etc.
  • What content can you pair with these milestones to match your audience’s intent? Put yourself in their shoes and ask what content would encourage them to engage at each stage of your digital marketing funnel? 
  • Approximately how long does it take for your audience to travel from the top to the bottom of the funnel? Be realistic. Of course, we all want leads / sales as soon as possible, but review your average conversion rate and time to optimise advertising spend and budget for the campaign.
  • Also be aware of leaks in your funnel to understand where you could lose your audience along the way — for example… (eg. slow-loading webpages; broken links etc.) A constant review and reevaluation of each stage of the funnel is important to achieve the best possible results.

Step 2 – Understand Facebook Ads Manager

There are 3 categories and 11 objectives in Facebook’s advertising platform, Ads Manager. To ensure you can retarget accordingly, it’s key to select the right objective when setting up your ads.

AwarenessConsiderationConversion
Brand awareness
Increase people’s awareness of your brand.
Traffic
Send people from Facebook to any URL you choose, such as your website’s landing page, a blog post, app etc.
Conversions
Encourage people to take a specific action on your website, such as add items to a cart, download your app or make a purchase.
Reach
Show your ad to as many people as possible in your selected target audience.
Engagement
Reach people more likely to engage with your post. Engagement includes likes, comments and shares, but can also include offers claimed from your page.
Catalog sales
Show products from your ecommerce store’s catalog to generate sales.
App installs
Send people to the store where they can download your business’s app.
Store traffic
Promote your brick-and-mortar business locations to people that are nearby.
Video views
Share videos of your business with people on Facebook most likely to watch it.
Lead generation
Collect leads for your business within Facebook. Create ads that collect info from people interested in your product, such as sign-ups for newsletters.
Messages
Connect with people on Messenger, Instagram Direct, and WhatsApp. Communicate with potential or existing customers to encourage interest in your business.

Step 3 – Setup and start capturing your Facebook audiences based on your digital marketing funnel

Use Facebook Audiences in Ads Manager to store and manage your audience groups. This allows you to utilise the Facebook Pixel to capture website users, save broad audiences using Facebook demographics (age, location, gender, interests etc.), save custom audiences that have engaged with your content and explore lookalike audiences.

Ensure your primary target audience is at the core here. Tap into your buying personas and try to reach online audiences that resemvble these personas as closely as possible. Think of Facebook audiences as the bones of your digital marketing funnel – taking the time to set them up will be game-changing to the overall results.


Step 4 – Set objectives based on the digital marketing funnel stage

Selecting the appropriate Facebook objectives according to the funnel stage is critical (see table above for guidance).

Top of funnel (TOF)

Select an objective in the ‘awareness’ category and target a broad audience to reach potential clients with an engaging piece of content. A GIF, video, topical blog etc. can work well here.

Middle of funnel (MOF)

Select an objective in the ‘consideration’ category and target the individuals who engaged with the TOF ad by using your pre-set audiences. Desired actions here could be clicking through to a page on your website or downloading a resource. Note: if your overall audience is smaller (geographically) a 2-step funnel may perform better.

Bottom of funnel (BOF)

Select an objective in either the ‘awareness’ or ‘conversion’ category to target users who clicked through and performed the desired action in the MOF ad. Again, use your pre-set audience here. You’ll need an enticing offer to encourage the action i.e., lead submission, product purchase etc.


Step 5 – Analyse and optimise your digital marketing funnel

Like any online campaign, you need to check in and review each ad’s performance within the campaign to make sure relevant benchmarks are being met. We recommend doing this at least once per week. You might need to tweak your audience targeting, budget or captions to ensure the ads are giving you the best results possible. You might have opted to use an A/B test in the campaign — how are the ads performing against one another? Is there a clear winner that needs full budget reallocation? Constant reevaluation of overall campaign performance will ensure your ads are performing to the best of their ability. It’s important to note the relevant metrics to track for each ad objective, and constantly monitor these metrics against industry benchmarks.


Need a hand creating your digital marketing funnel?

Digital marketing funnels allow you to capture and stay in front of an online audience through their entire client / customer journey, giving your ads more cut-through. If you’re interested in finding out how a funnel campaign could work for your business, or if you’d like to be guided through the setup (they do get quite technical!), just get in contact with us. We’d be happy to help you discover and nurture new and engaged audiences in your next online funnel campaign journey.

*Source – https://www.lucidpress.com/blog/25-branding-stats-facts

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We get closer to take your business further… the bottom line of marketing https://www.piermarketing.com.au/business-marketing/ https://www.piermarketing.com.au/business-marketing/#respond Tue, 01 Dec 2020 00:00:00 +0000 https://www.piermarketing.com.au/?p=1604 In the market for better marketing? Read more about our strategic approach, and how we work alongside you to drive improvements to your bottom line.

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We get closer to take your business marketing further.

In the market for better business marketing? Read more about our strategic approach, and how we work alongside you to drive improvements to your bottom line.

Take your business further


Why do we get closer to your business marketing?

The fundamentals of business marketing mean that whoever is responsible for the marketing of your product(s) or service(s) needs to be fully integrated into the organisation to optimise understanding of routes to market, sales processes, identify opportunities and foster key organisational relationships.

Marketing’s function is identifying and satisfying customer demand to make a profit.

So often the term ‘marketing’ is taken to mean advertising and promotion, when in actuality it is further-reaching than only these aspects and a far more integral part of an organisation’s existence. Marketing’s function is identifying and satisfying customer demand to make a profit for the organisation. And sure, promotion and ads are an element of this, but neither works as effectively without a sound and informed marketing strategy in place. Demonstrating marketing’s contribution to an organisation requires a detailed marketing plan that should outline both the marketing objectives but, critically, how they relate to the wider organisational objectives. Hence your marketing function – whether in house or outsourced – needs to be across business objectives and priorities to ensure its effectiveness.

And if business marketing is to be continually invested in it needs to justify its existence. There are so many elements to measuring marketing’s performance (think brand awareness / customer growth / market penetration etc.) but ultimately the function is there to support the sales of the goods or service that you’re offering. Hence aligning marketing with sales is critical: it’s one of the most important relationships within an organisation and one that we take care to foster. Our aim and objective are to get an organisation’s marketing and sales function working together; after all they are ultimately wanting the same thing! For us, that closeness is critical to delivering on organisational goals.

How do we get closer?

Business marketing’s success does not occur in isolation; what worked last week / month / year won’t necessarily achieve success on repeat. The dynamic nature of markets, economies and technologies means that a good marketing function needs to and should continuously question, challenge and re-invent what has been done before to optimise success. For us, this is not only about setting a marketing strategy, but systematically and periodically reviewing that against macro and micro environmental shifts.

A marketing manager, whether in house or external – needs to be a leader.

The closeness that should and needs to exist between sales and marketing is critical for us (and indeed any internal marketing department) to adopt. Getting out on the road and up close and personal with your customers gives us valuable insight into their wants, needs, personal emotional drivers and frustrations that are all ultimately business opportunities. A marketing manager, whether in house or external – needs to be a leader. A leader of their team to deliver the long-term marketing strategy, but also a leader within an organisation: they need the ability to motivate and inspire both individuals and departments to deliver against company goals. This is why we get closer; we consider ourselves a part of the team – whether we’re an add-on to the marketing department, or the sum of it, integration is the secret to success.


Taking your business marketing further

We pride ourselves on our ability to improve existing marketing plans and identify new, untapped opportunities. Delivering success for our clients is not just about Facebook traffic or Google rankings – sure, they form part of the roadmap to success, but we take a more top-line view. Our success lies in the growth of your bottom line and that’s why the important conversations you will have with us will be less about likes, and more about commercial results.

What does this mean for your business marketing?

Getting close is a two-way street: we can’t achieve it without a client’s buy-in. That is why we’re clear about the types of clients that we work with. Our client philosophy is a team-centric approach; we understand that our best work is founded on open, honest relationships and delivered when our clients foster this same approach.

Of course, there are always quick wins that fresh eyes and thinking can deliver for some runs on the board (in the same way that a new marketing manager would) but investing in marketing professionals and your business marketing strategy and plan should be viewed as a long-term investment.


Interested in learning more?

To discuss how we could support your business, please get in touch with Alex on 03 5975 3742 or alex@piermarketing.com.au.

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Give your brand a check-up with our brand audit checklist https://www.piermarketing.com.au/brand-audit/ https://www.piermarketing.com.au/brand-audit/#respond Sun, 22 Nov 2020 04:15:05 +0000 https://www.piermarketing.com.au/?p=1566 Discover new opportunities and touchpoints for your brand with our brand audit checklist. Read more in our latest blog.

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Give your brand a check-up with a brand audit.

As a business, your brand is your personality, your identity and the first impression your clients have as you connect and build relationships with them. Branding is therefore an experience and far more than ‘just a logo’. Branding includes your tone of voice, colours, fonts and overall consistency. These elements lay the foundation for how your audience talk about you to others and the feelings they have towards your brand, and ultimately, your products or services. So, is it time for a brand audit? Let’s give your brand a health check!

Pier Marketing Brand Audit Checklist

As with many things in life, you may feel like your brand is getting stale or outdated as your business evolves (it could be time for a brand refresh?), or perhaps you just want to identify new touchpoint opportunities but are unsure which tactics and activities will work best? Whichever road you are thinking of traveling down, it’s best to start with a brand audit to identify which actions will best suit your business. As strategic marketers, we believe everything should start with  “where are you now” – in this case a brand audit.

Frankston Art Centre poster images

What is a brand audit?

A brand audit, simply put, is a health check that evaluates your brand’s position in the marketplace – its strengths and weaknesses – which highlights opportunities to bolster your brand and ensure it maintains a meaningful identity with your audience. An audit gives you the ability to understand how your brand is being perceived online and offline, including a competitor analysis to see how your brand compares to others. Generally speaking, there are three key areas to a brand audit:

  • Internal branding – your brand values, mission and company culture
  • External branding – your logo, print and online advertising, marketing material, website, social media
  • Customer experience – your sales process and client journey

These areas are important to include in a brand audit so your identity and personality in totality get a thorough review1. When you have a consistent and meaningful brand across all elements and touchpoints, it immediately builds trust and credibility with your audience, showing you understand them and can provide a solution to suit their needs.

One key thing to remember when auditing your brand is to remain objective. Your brand should speak to your target audience specifically – it’s not what you or your department personally like or don’t like. This is an important position to take when executing a brand audit as you want to make sure you are attracting the right people.

Case Study Mockup

Our brand audit checklist

Now that we know what is broadly involved in a brand audit, let’s dive into the details:

  • 1. Brand statement and values – take a look at your brand statement and values to understand how they are used and where they are applied.
  • Opportunity: Do they resonate with your target audience and encompass your brand personality? Are the first impressions of your statement reflective of your values?
  • 2. Logo – review the typography, graphic, colours and versions of your logo (i.e., stacked, reverse, print vs. web).
  • Opportunity: Is your logo consistent with your brand values and statement? What is the feeling your target audience gets upon first impression of your logo? Is your logo consistent across all touchpoints?
  • 3. Marketing material – review all digital and print material. This could include:
    • – Business cards.
    • – Sales packs and quotes.
    • – Stationary.
    • – Email signatures.
    • – Flyers and brochures.
    • – Advertising.
    • – Uniforms.
    • – Newsletters.
    • – Digital and print ads.
    • – Signage / vehicles.
    • – Third party / external touch points.
    • – Displays / trade shows etc.
  • Opportunity: Are all these elements consistent? Ensure you are using the same version of your logo in the correct colour and typography. Consider updating (or creating) your brand guidelines to ensure consistency across all branding.

  • 4. Website and search engine optimisation – your brand statement, logo, contact information, tone of voice and imagery should all be demonstrated throughout your website. Your website is a vital online touchpoint, so it is imperative it is consistent and optimised to its fullest. Taking a snapshot of your websites organic traffic insights (from tools like SEMRush or MOZ) will gauge how your website is performing across certain keywords and metrics.
  • Opportunity: Should you upload photos that better resonate with your audience? Or update copywriting to align with your brand personality and tone? Consider the user experience – what is the journey your audience goes through when on your website? What are you wanting them to do and feel when they first land on it? It is easy to put too much information on your website and appear overwhelming to a visitor. Think about what you truly want them to do – fill out a form? Call? Read your blog?
  • 5. Social media – this includes an overview of your brand’s social media activity – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter or any other social media platform you may be using. Consider the number of followers you have on each platform and your overall engagement rate to indicate how your brand is perceived on each channel.
  • Opportunity: Explore new social media channels based on your audit insights – YouTube and SnapChat are just are some examples. Alternatively, you may want to focus your efforts and exclude poor performing channels based on where your audience most frequently spends their time. Adjusting frequency and establishing content pillars will better position your brand and content online.
  • 6. Sales process – sales and marketing go hand-in-hand. Reviewing your sales process (or defining yours) will ensure consistency and a seamless communication process as a client journeys through your sales funnel.
  • Opportunity: From initial enquiry right through to final invoice and handover, there should be steps outlined with clear action items for everyone involved. How do you nurture your leads? What is your follow up process – email, phone call? Consider a CRM system with marketing automation to streamline your time spent and track where leads are in the sales funnel.
  • 7. Competitor analysis – this is an extremely important element of a brand audit. When you know what your competitors are doing and how they are perceived online and offline, it gives evidence and opportunity for your brand.
  • Opportunity: What is the first impression you get of your competitors’ website and socials? Credibility and trust are key – how do you compare to your competitors? What is the position that they hold or trying to hold in the market? How do they articulate and represent this position? Do you have strong differentiation from this (if that is important for your brand)?
TQ branding guidelines

Considerations to review

Congratulations! You have now completed your brand audit checklist. Are there any opportunities that stood out? Any trends you identified? The most important things to ensure are:

  • Consistency – make sure your brand is consistent everywhere, this will build your credibility and trust.
  • First impression – people are quick to judge based solely on visuals so make sure your first impression counts!
  • Target audience – is your brand statement, logo and tone of voice created for your target audience? Speaking to a specific audience will enable your brand to make a more meaningful and personal connection with your audience, while increasing your chances of conversion.
  • Stand out from the crowd – what your brand’s unique selling point (USP)? Shout this across all your brand touchpoints! Speaking of touchpoints, what could you explore to maximise your brand exposure? Here are a few ideas:
    • Car decals for your company fleet.
    • A sell-in pack for new and potential clients (i.e., branded notepads, pens, keep cups)
    • Digital display or social media advertising.
    • PR, sponsorship or event opportunities.
    • Connecting with a relevant brand ambassador or influencer.

Pursue your opportunities

If your business has evolved from your existing branding or you are yearning to explore new touchpoints, then it’s best to start with a brand audit to identify where the best opportunities are for your business. From there, it may be time for a brand refresh, brand extension, rebrand or just time to pursue the new opportunities identified in your audit. We hope you feel inspired to go forth and dive into your brand audit. But if you need some help navigating along the way, contact us and we would love to help elevate your brand.


Source:

  1. www.score.org

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Effective marketing promotional ideas for your business https://www.piermarketing.com.au/marketing-communication/ https://www.piermarketing.com.au/marketing-communication/#respond Mon, 02 Nov 2020 02:47:20 +0000 https://www.piermarketing.com.au/?p=1085 As a business, your brand identity is a link between the emotional and functional connection people have with who you are, what you do and what makes you unique.

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Effective marketing communication ideas for your business.

Simply put, marketing communication is the seven Ps – product, price, place, promotion, process, people and physical evidence. Marketing communication should influence every single touchpoint your business has with its customers.

Why is marketing important?

Marketing is extremely important – if done well, it can generate brand awareness, interest in your product or service, enquiries and engagement, sales and repeat customers which will help your business grow exponentially.


Components to successful marketing communication
  • Clearly understand and articulate your product or service offering.
  • Understand your target audiences and buyer personas.
  • Look after your current clients/customers.
  • Identify your sales process or customer journey.
  • Plan your marketing activity and implement identified tactics.
  • Consistently review your marketing plan.
  • Ensure continuity between sales and marketing.

Let’s look at these in more detail.

Nail your product or service offering.
It seems obvious, but it’s crucial to remember that in order for people to be interested in your product or service, it needs to solve their problems and serve as a direct solution to their needs. The likes of Airbnb, realestate.com.au and Uber exist today because someone had an idea built of a need that, at the time, no business could meet.

Look after your current customers/clients.
We know that acquiring a new customer costs six to seven times more than retaining an existing one. Wow, right? Investing in customer retention is vital to keep valued customers coming back, grow their value and also to grow your reach. People talk, so make sure you are front of mind when you customers and suppliers network ask for a recommendation.

Identify your sales process or customer journey.
We continue to be amazed by the number of businesses that don’t know what their sales process looks like or the journey their customers have taken to become exactly that, a customer. Identifying this is key to understand what marketing tactics are suitable for your business. This will also help to highlight your bread-and-butter marketing opportunities.

Plan your marketing activity and implement identified tactics.
A well-thought-out marketing promotions plan is born from a great marketing strategy. A considered marketing plan will address tactics to be executed, then prioritise them in digestible tasks making it much easier to take valuable steps.

Consistently review your marketing plan.
It’s really important said promotional plan is reviewed consistently with your overall business objective as the driving force. You may find yourself getting off course, it happens, but a quick check-in with your marketing plan will have you back on track.

Ensure continuity between sales and marketing.
From your customer’s perspective, they don’t see different areas for sales and marketing, they know you as one brand. Each customer interaction should portray the same tone of voice and inflict the same feeling, no matter if they’re talking to you on the phone, looking at your website or visiting your Facebook page. A detailed and considered marketing strategy will help you achieve continuity by addressing things like customer journey, customer care, collateral to support the sales process and customer service experience.


Developing your marketing communication plan.

  • Make sure your marketing activity plan is supported by a marketing strategy.
    A rock-solid marketing plan is an extension of your marketing strategy. While a strategy looks at your brand positioning, the market you play in and sets an overarching business objective, an activity plan outlines what actions you will take in what order to get there. So, it’s imperative that a marketing strategy comes first and is followed by an executional marketing plan.

  • Identify your target audience and buying personas.
    We can’t stress enough how significant identifying your target audience is for purposeful marketing. We’re not just talking about their age, location and occupation – although important – the real magic is found in identifying how they think, behave and interact. Cue buying personas. B2C demographics, B2B firmographics – clarity on defining depending which market you operate in.

    Buyer personas accurately describe your ideal customers, explaining what their days are like, the challenges or problems they face and how their decisions are influenced. This is extremely useful to help understand and empathise with your customers so you can do a better job of communicating with them through messaging that will resonate.

  • Define your marketing goals.
    It’s important to recognise that your marketing goals and your business objective are two separate things. Your business objective (acknowledged in your marketing strategy) is all-encompassing and sets the trajectory for every action that follows. Marketing goals (you will have several) are bite-sized pillars if you will, all working together to reach your objective. Each goal should also have a measure so down the track you can understand if you’ve met that goal or if you need to tweak your approach.

  • Decide on your budget.
    Everyone’s marketing budget is going to be different depending on where your business is at in its lifecycle – are you a start-up or more established? Some other factors include what industry you’re in, your business goals and how you allocate marketing budget e.g. do you include staffing.  Essentially, your budget should help you reach your business objective and support your marketing plan.

    For more on this, read our blog here – How much budget should I allocate to marketing?
  • Set your tactics.
    Tactics are the promotional elements of marketing that you implement to work towards your objectives. Breaking down required tactics by goal is important to make sure you’re addressing each item with care and not overlooking anything. Hold up – before you dive in and create a Snapchat account for your business, build actionable steps to ensure you’re staying on task.
  • Build actionable steps.
    Often a marketing action plan is a beast to look at in its entirety. To make sure you don’t become overwhelmed or feel unsure about where to start, building actionable steps and highlighting priorities is key. Because your actionable tasks will be a direct reflection of your marketing goals, you’ll have comfort in the fact that every step, no matter how small, is edging you closer to your objective.

While a marketing strategy looks at your brand positioning, the market you play in and sets an overarching business objective, a marketing activity plan outlines what actions you will take in what order to get there. So, it’s imperative that a marketing strategy comes first and is followed by an executional marketing plan.


Types of marketing promotion (online and offline).

Digital marketing

We’re sure this is not news to you, but digital channels are huge players in the marketing game. Everything you do for your business that involves a device and the internet is digital marketing – website updates, search engine optimisation (SEO), blogs or articles, social media activity, Pay Per Click (PPC), webinars, eDM sends, database automation, content marketing, sponsored campaigns and online PR are some examples. Read more detail about these digital marketing channels here.

PR

Public relations (PR) is managing the communication while building trust between your business and third parties (customers, stakeholders, journalists, the general public etc.). PR is all about driving a positive reputation through an effective and considered strategy. Media outlets include newspapers, magazines, influencer marketing, industry award recognition and public reviews, just to name a few. The PR world has changed over the last 10 years – now businesses have the ability to better control its PR with owned media, think social media, website content and eDMs, unlike other traditional media outlets. However, there’s a reason that PR is measured at a higher value than owned and paid for content and that’s because ultimately, while you can influence your public relations, they are just that, public and thus not exclusively within your brand’s control.

Events & conferences

For B2B businesses, conferences, seminars, exhibitions and trade shows are places where people with a common interest or working experience gather to learn about trends and discuss common issues. For B2C businesses, events, launches and other PR driven activities can be great for brand exposure and to meet other businesses you could collaborate with. If you’re attending as an individual, they present great educational opportunities, allow you to network with peers, meet new vendors, suppliers and customers and can position you as an expert. As a business, if an event attracts your target audience, you could sponsor and/or exhibit to gain brand awareness and generate potential leads. This should be done with a specific event strategy.

Marketing collateral

Marketing collateral is all about the print and physical presentation of your brand to your audience. It’s everything from your business card and letterhead to your brochure and capability statement. There are a few key components that go into creating a professional and attractive suite of marketing collateral items to make your brand stands out on the kitchen bench.

Copywriting – Copywriting should be clear and communicate your key points to your audience. It should always be written in your brands tone of voice for consistency with other marketing initiatives.

Graphic designGreat design is absolutely key to impress your audience upon first contact with your brand. Design should complement the copywriting and be created in line with your style guide so its easily recognisable as your brand.

Printing – Bring the beautiful design to life with quality printing that appropriately positions your brand in the market i.e. should your collateral be luxurious to touch, stand out with Spot UV or appeal to people at a particular price point?

Video & photography

High-quality video and photography should be used across digital channels. Proprietary visual content lifts the level of professionalism and overall appearance of your brand. Investing in a professional videographer or photographer is essential if you’re after slick brand appeal.

Advertising

Advertising can be highly effective to raise brand awareness, attract attention and engagement, and create a want and need for your product/service. They key to effective advertising is to be clear in what you want to say and the people you want to reach. We talk about this in more detail in marketing campaigns.

Direct marketing

Rather than reaching a much larger audience with advertising, direct marketing is a two-way communication with a pre-selected customer base that relies on exactly that, direct communication.

Sales programs

A sales program is a broad set of coordinated, repeatable and standard activities that drive sales. They generally involve several departments within a business.


Marketing communication campaigns.

What is a marketing communication campaign?

In basic terms, a marketing campaign is a planned communication that promotes your product or service with consistent messaging through different media. We would expect to see some similarities in a business’s marketing campaigns – like branding and tone of voice – but it’s likely they will be different depending on the objective, offer, channels, audience, budget and tactics. One of most important things to understand with marketing campaigns is the marketing funnel. Bear with us, we’ll explain. There are four stages to a marketing funnel – awareness, consideration, conversion and advocacy:

Stage 1 – Awareness
We know it takes between 20 to 30 brand impressions before people will remember a brand, so it’s important to understand how critical the awareness stage is to the success of your marketing campaigns. You want to make sure you’re always filling the top of the funnel with brand impressions.

Stage 2 – Consideration
This is where people will recognise your brand if they see it and they’ll likely start to interact with your content (browse your website, like an Instagram post or view a video on your Facebook page). We call this group of people a ‘considered audience’.

Stage 3 – Conversion
The action starts here. Whether that be ‘enter your email address’ or ‘purchase an item’ (the conversion options are many), this where your audience takes action. They know your brand, they’re familiar with your product or service offering and they’ve done their research. Keep in mind it can take up to 6 to 12 months to acquire a customer depending on the cost of your product or service – i.e. a 60 second consideration for a takeaway coffee or a 12-month consideration for a brand-new car.

Stage 4 – Advocacy
We love this stage; you can expect to achieve significant return on investment (ROI) here. Your customers rave about you, refer you to friends and share your brand on their own social media. Business that comes from referral costs you $0, the sheer power of a brand advocate.

Steps to launching a successful campaign

Plan your marketing communication campaign

Planning your campaign strategy sets you up for success and is crucial to a striking execution. Planning a campaign has many different components – set your objective, identify your target audience, brainstorm concepts, craft the messaging, create tactics, outline KPIs, decide on channels and lock in your budget. Market, message, media put simply.

Messaging

To craft a compelling message with content that will resonate, really think about your target audience and give them a reason to believe in what you’re saying. Change your point-of-view – if functioning from your own point-of-view, you’ll make assumptions and fill in the blanks. Your customers won’t do that.

To help you craft a compelling message, try applying the ‘so what?’ rule. For example, the work boots have a supportive midsole. So what? Your feet are less fatigued and better supported throughout the day. So what? You’ll have plenty of energy to run around with the kids at the end of a tough workday.

Another way of looking at this is with the features, advantages and benefits exercise. For example –

Channels

Selecting your channels to market is a key element to a successful campaign. You could have a great message and really attractive offer, but without reaching your identified target audience the result of your campaign will be compromised. If you don’t already know, do your research to understand the behaviour of your target audience and exactly where they spend their time, online and offline.

Tactics

Tactics are the content you need to create to execute the campaign. Some examples include blogs, videos, white papers, case studies or customer testimonials.

KPIs

It’s best to be realistic about your campaign expectations and KPIs. Remember, the true ROI comes from your brand advocates (refer to our marketing funnel from earlier), so set your KPIs accordingly. Some examples of campaign KPIs include number of leads, total number of people reached, total engagements or number of website landing page users.

Design the artwork

Find a clever bunch of designers (like our friends over at PIER Creative) to bring your campaign to life. To ensure you’re happy with the output and the ads resonate with your audience, you’ll need to provide a detailed creative brief. Your brief should outline your brand guidelines, objective, target audience, channels and artwork requirements, including copywriting and dimensions.

Launch your marketing communication campaign

Launching your campaign is both exciting and nerve-racking. Be patient and trust the process. If you’ve done your due diligence in planning, you should see a positive result.

Monitor & measure results

It’s key to check on your campaign along the way, it’s not a set-and-forget situation, and it’s really simple to do when running ads online. Refer directly to your KPIs to understand how your tracking and make adjustments where you see fit.


Outsourced marketing communication.

What is outsourced marketing communication?

Outsourcing is where businesses call on an external source outside of its organisation to undertake particular tasks. Some businesses choose to outsource all their marketing, while some opt to have both an internal resource and outsource certain projects or elements where the skills and expertise are a better fit. Outsourcing has become a mainstream strategy for businesses to streamline expenditure and create efficiencies to enable growth. Three reasons to outsource: expertise, manpower, shift the risk of employment.

Benefits of outsourced marketing communication
  • Scale your marketing investment depending on what you need.
    You have the flexibility to scale your marketing investment depending on what your business needs at that point in time, giving you peace of mind that you’ll always be adding value to your business.

  • Idea generation is on hand.
    Idea generation runs best on brainpower. With a group of highly skilled and experienced individuals, you’ll be sure if it’s appropriate, it’ll be thought of. An outsourced department will divide, conquer and share across the team so there’s always an expert on hand, and you can lean on this.

  • Access to broad range of skills and expertise.
    Generally speaking, you can have access to a whole marketing department for a year for the same cost as one individual. We know there’s a bunch of different wheels constantly spinning to make a business’s marketing effective, and it’s almost impossible for one person to achieve without support.

  • Reduce cost and shift the risk of employment.
    No recruitment fees, no personal leave and no office politics. The sign of a great outsourced agency is one that takes time to get to know the ins and outs of your business from the get-go to ensure they are equipped to market your brand with clarity. If you find an outsourced agency that’s the right fit, they’ll feel like an extension of your team (just not always in the same postcode).

  • Increased efficiency and productivity.
    You engage an outsourced marketing agency to complete a particular task or achieve a set of goals, so they’ll be super driven to achieve that for you in a productive manner. It’s not to say an internal employee won’t, but they’re more likely to be distracted and pulled in different directions. You can rely on an outsourced team to get the job done proficiently.

Not sure where to start?

Feel free to contact PIER with any questions this content may have posed for you. We’ll happily guide you through the process.

Sources:

SuperOffice: Increase customer retention

• Business Queensland: The 7 Ps of marketing

Klebba Consulting: Just what is a sales program?

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Staying connected through video https://www.piermarketing.com.au/video-production-services/ https://www.piermarketing.com.au/video-production-services/#respond Tue, 20 Oct 2020 04:04:40 +0000 https://www.piermarketing.com.au/?p=778 Using video allows you to connect with your network and community in a personal way, showing your businesses authenticity and building trust. Find out more in our video blog.

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Staying connected through video production services.

Using video production services allows you to connect with your network and community in a personal way, showing your businesses authenticity and building trust. In this video blog, we discuss why video marketing is important in 2021 and beyond, how to create a video that actually connects and resonates with your audience and how to get your video in front of the right people.   

Fascinating, isn’t it? Each platform/channel has its own considerations and types of content that have to be made in order to create content that is engaging to their users. While businesses may have an idea of what content is going to be most engaging and important to their target customer, translating that into the first 10 seconds of a video for Facebook can be an entirely difficult challenge that is best performed by those who specialize in video production services.

Of course, while video is a critical component to any marketing campaign, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. You should always ensure your video marketing is complimentary to the rest of your marketing campaign. All pieces should form a cohesive and highly targeted whole that allows you to have an effective marketing funnel that creates growth for your company.


Need help with your video production services?

PIER called on the expertise of Drover Studios to edit this video. Check out Drover Studios website through the previous link, or you can follow them on socials – Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

We hope you feel equipped to go forth and video and add video into your marketing content plans. If we can answer any further questions, or help you put your own video together, please get in touch.


*Sources:

  1. Ask Wonder
  2. Creately
  3. Digiday

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The ultimate guide to developing an effective marketing strategy https://www.piermarketing.com.au/marketing-strategy/ https://www.piermarketing.com.au/marketing-strategy/#respond Fri, 02 Oct 2020 09:49:05 +0000 https://www.piermarketing.com.au/?p=1191 So, what of a marketing strategy? The way we see a marketing strategy is defining what you are seeking to achieve, what’s important to delivery and how you are going to achieve it. Marketing therefore needs to take a whole-business approach starting with the business’s objectives.

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The ultimate guide to an effective marketing strategy.

If you know anything about PIER Marketing, you’ll have noticed that we bang on about marketing strategy. All. The. Time. Let us explain ourselves…

First up, what is marketing? The most common misconception is that it’s all the activity that a business or organisation undertakes to raise – and maintain – attention and consideration amongst its target market. You know, the pretty billboards and smart social media quips. This is just one, albeit very important, element of the beast that is marketing. According to the gospel that is the world’s largest community of marketers, the Chartered Institute of Marketers or CIM, marketing is “the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.” Put simply, the discipline of marketing is about identifying and generating a ‘market’ in which to profitably sell products or services.

So, what of a marketing strategy? The way we see a marketing strategy is defining what you are seeking to achieve, what’s important to deliver and how you are going to achieve it. Marketing therefore needs to take a whole-business approach starting with the business’s objectives.

Stick with us, we’ll hold your hand through the process…


Plan for success
planning a marketing strategy

A marketing strategy is a significant investment for a business. A marketing strategy is designed to deliver a short and medium view of recommended activity to guide marketing improvements and initiatives over the immediate and medium term. Sure, you can dive in and start printing brochures or getting social media influencers to spruik your product but be prepared for disappointment before you’re popping champagne corks. A much better approach – in our and any marketer worth their salt’s book – is to follow a planning process. Read on…

A marketing strategy is a research-based, best practice and experience-informed process that’s then documented as a roadmap. Done right, it will empower an internal or agency-based marketing team to deliver incremental improvements to how a company takes its products and / or services to market.


What’s in scope?

Where to start?

Not with marketing! A marketing strategy should begin with your business plan. Your business objectives should be included within your marketing strategy to ensure that the marketing team, efforts and budget are pulling in the right direction.

Marketing audit

From there, your first port of call is a marketing audit. A ‘where are we now’ view of your marketing function and efforts. The audit element of your strategy work should evaluate both the internal and external environment you’re operating in. Ultimately you are aiming to paint a clear and concise picture of your starting point; what’s working well, what’s not performing and where there might be more or new opportunity.

There is a myriad of tools, models, books and expert advice out there. The trick is to utilise the best one for your industry, business life cycle stage and budget. If you get stuck, you can always call us for some guidance. In terms of scope, an organisation should consider investigating its brand, the online environment, its marketing processes, systems and resources, competitors and also model relevant criteria (price, product lifecycle, brand positioning to name a few).

Research

As we like to say, research takes you from ‘we think’ to ‘we know’. Research comes in many forms, but what makes it consistent is its ability to give you and your team greater confidence in decision making and direction setting. This kind of clarity ideally comes from commissioned primary research, but insight can be found in existing research, desktop research (e.g. ABS, Google Trends or Kantar) or previous strategies or plans.

marketing strategy research
SWOT

From these insights, we like to provide a SWOT summary (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). This combined with the business objectives will keep your eye on the prize and prevent diversion and distraction.


Marketing strategy cheat sheet.

We’ve made it easy for you and outlined the process and documentation that you would expect to see comprise your marketing strategy. Of course we can always make it even easier and create it for you.

…just give us the nod.
Introduction and mission statement

This is usually easier to write once you’ve completed the strategy proper, but should outline:

  • The essence of your business and should be a practical, clear concept of the business.  
  • Overall strategy.  
  • Key actions or areas recommended to exploit.  
  • Any major factors that will affect the plan. 
Current market position

Extract this information from your marketing audit. Summarise the current position across:  

  • Product – What products do you sell? What is their market position? Who are your competitors?  
  • Place – Where do you sell product? How does this compare to your competition?  
  • Price – What pricing policy do your competitors have? Do you discount? How does this compare to the competition?  
  • Promotion – What types of activities are you currently carrying out?  
  • People – Consider the quality of the human resources available to marketing, your recruitment approach and all training and development.
  • Processes – Review what written procedures you have in place to ensure consistency of service and experience – these are all brand touch points.
  • Physical evidence – What message does the appearance of premises / vehicles / people send out to your customers? Try and be objective. And look for consistencies and inconsistencies. An inconsistent presentation of your brand erodes confidence.
Market overview

Businesses don’t operate in isolation and are affected by competitors, as well as external influences beyond one’s control. This section is about presenting an overview that summarises where key markets lie and considered key changes in those markets. Your marketing audit should provide the ability to answer the following:  

  • What are the major products and markets that are likely to provide the kind of business opportunities suitable for the organisation?
  • And how are these changing?
SWOT

Strengths and weaknesses

These two are inward-looking and should address the following as a minimum:  

  • Distinctive product or company strengths.  
  • Financial resources.  
  • Client base.  
  • Price / fee structure.  
  • Range or level of service.  
  • Distribution.  
  • Promotion and selling.  

Opportunities and threats

These two are external and the key elements should be identified in the audit and summarised here.  

SWOT summary

High importance items only. Keep it focused and easy to digest.  

Key issues and opportunities

From the SWOT, identify the key issues the business faces and detail the opportunity you recommend exploiting.  

Competitor analysis

Summarise audit findings regarding major competitors. Consider where you think they might be during the period of your plan, they’re likely strategies, customers and markets. You can use this information to carry out a mini SWOT analysis on competitors.  

Assumptions

While we can’t predict every movement in the market, every competitive action or every economic factor (we’re talking to you, global pandemics), we can make educated guesses to help quantify some factors or predict what’s likely to happen in the future. This might include assumptions over interest rates, or market size and / or trends.  

Objectives

The objectives should be a realistic statement of what you want to achieve as a result of the analysis you have carried out. The strategy should then detail how you plan to achieve it.  

Objectives need to be SMART (specific, meaningful, achievable, realistic and time-bound). They need to be quantitative (e.g. value / sales volume / market share) and need to cover the period of the plan.

Perhaps you want to generate more volume from existing customers or new business from new customers? Perhaps new revenue from a new distribution channel (online / new route to market).

Work with top-level targets at this stage of the plan (we will break them down into more specific tasks in the Action Plan).  

marketing strategy overview

Strategy.

Brief description of strategy

The strategy statement should state in broad detail how the marketing objectives are to be achieved. It should provide a summary of the more detailed strategies that you will outline later in this section. It might be easier to write this overview statement once you have developed the detailed strategies.

Use your SWOT analysis and statement of key issues and opportunities to help you choose the market segments and determine how to position the company against the competition.

Strategy – target markets

The segment or segments you choose are vitally important as the business can probably only serve a limited number of segments without overreaching itself. Before you choose, consider the following:

• Who are your customers?
• Is there a market niche which is not being catered for?
• Are customers in this market satisfied or are they looking for change?
• Can the business offer them something different to really meets their needs?
• Can the business generate enough business in this segment to survive?
• Is there too much business? Will you outstretch yourself?
• How will competitors react?
• Can you communicate to the market effectively?
• Can you resource the plan?

Strategy – positioning statement

Use the following pointers to help you develop a strong statement defining your approach to your market and how you intend to be seen:

• Do you have a clear understanding of your customer’s needs?
• Do you understand the businesses strengths?
• How will you differentiate your product from competitors?
• Which elements of the marketing mix are crucial to your success?

Strategy – branding strategy

A clear branding strategy for your products, services or the company itself will differentiate the business in the marketplace. It will enable you to charge more for your product or service, provide repeat purchases and make it easier for the sales force to sell and give customers confidence.

Strategy – product

If you offer a service rather than a product, you should consider the service as your product. Is the present product range viable and can it be improved? Which new products need to be developed to meet changing market conditions and how can you do that?

Consider:
• Features benefits analysis.
• Unique selling proposition of the products.
• Proposed new products.
• Include products or services likely to be in demand in the future.
• Consider seasonal demand – how can you maximise the quiet times?
• How does the profitability of each product line compare?
• How does the future potential for each product line compare?


Strategy – pricing strategy

Price affects how much product is sold, to whom, what services go with it and how much profit you make.

Price setting is difficult for new product / service launches, but it can also be hard to adjust price once set in the marketplace; what message does that send to the market? Price should be handled sensitively.

Four factors influence price setting decisions:
1) Cost – Plus.
2) Demand – Sales volume. If there is little differentiation between brands, market price sensitivity is likely to be high. Differentiation can remove price sensitivity.
3) Competition – Benchmark the market, then make your offer different in some way; strive to differentiate.
4) Image – Your price position sends messages to the marketplace about the quality level of your product / service.

Resolve the following four basic issues to set price:
• Why was the product introduced? (Are overheads already covered? Are you using spare capacity?).
• Skimming – If your product is superior to your competitors, you can explore skimming.
• Penetration pricing – The aim here is quick acceptance and market share to achieve high sales volumes swiftly.
• What will competitors do? Consider any countermeasures competitors may take? Are they vulnerable? Will they be forced to defend themselves? Are they secure enough to take long term action to undermine your position?

Strategy- distribution strategy (place)

Customers expect to find the product or service when and where they need them, in quantities that suit them, in surroundings that enable them to choose between products and with access to other services that help them use the product (e.g. after sales service).

When considering product distribution (new or adding on new ones) think about:
• Direct to consumer (retail / online).
• Specialist intermediary (agent / retailer).
• Wholesale.

Strategy – promotion

Promotional activity is needed to make the right targets for your business aware of you, in the right quantity and at the right time to distinguish from your competition.

Promotion is about using a range of techniques (AKA integrated) in the most cost-effective way possible to initiate, increase and maintain awareness of what your business offers. Promotion needs to move potential customers from total lack of awareness to loyalty.

Additional research may be required to understand your customer’s needs, the brand’s perception in the marketplace and how your product / service can be improved. The components that make up the Promotion element of the marketing mix should be referred to as the “Promotional Mix”.

There are four elements: PR, advertising (including direct marketing), promotion and packaging (personal selling often replaces packaging, particularly in the service markets).

PR
Good PR generates understanding of and interest in a business. It should whet the market’s appetite for more information, prompt enquiries, re-establish dormant contracts or customers and reinforce the company’s image with existing customers.

PR is a long-term strategy with a cumulative effect based on the quality of print materials, staff and willingness of a company’s customers to broadcast their good experiences.

Set objectives for your PR so there’s a clear understanding of the message you aim to put across to the market. PR activity should then reinforce those messages in the mind of the public.

Publicity is the part of PR that’s capitalised on ‘newsworthy’ events / opportunities – using the press to send a positive message to the marketplace. This is more tactical.

Managing PR is time-consuming and it’s often easy to miss good PR opportunities because your team is too busy or too close to the story. This is where an agency can be invaluable – it’s our job to extract this content and capitalise on it in the right way. Remember that PR cannot be used to guarantee results because we have no direct control over what is reported, how and when. This is, however, also what makes it more powerful.

Advertising
Basically any paid form of promotion, advertising can be used through the whole funnel: attract attention – attract interest – create desire – prompt to buy.

Be very clear of:
• The message you want to send (keep it simple and consistent).
• The market you want to reach.

Direct marketing
Direct marketing involves a response: a two-way communication developing a relationship between customer and supplier.

Sales promotion
A sales promotion strategy could be developed to support the following activities:

• Introduce or launch a new product (by encourage stocking, purchase or trail).
• Attract new customers (ditto).
• Maintain competitiveness (by providing discounts or special pricing).
• Reduce seasonality (by encouraging consumption out of season).
• Increase the amount of people who use the product.

Sales strategy
The most effective (and expensive!) form of promotion is personal selling.

Consider:
• How will sales activities be supported by the promotional mix? How is the sales force supported by online / socials / PR / physical sales tools / advertising etc.?
• Do you have the right sales force correctly deployed?
• Has enough attention been invested in the customer service experience for good customer care?

Packaging / personal selling
How is the prospective customer influenced at point of purchase and how can that be improved?

Partnerships
Consider brand partnerships (sales channel / same target market with different or complimentary product offer / aligned values / brand ambassadors).

Strategy – service marketing

This element is relevant for either an exclusively service-based business or one that’s product is based with a service element. Customers don’t end up owning a physical item, but leave you having enjoyed their experience. Most product-based companies will have a service element (think retail customer service / product after care etc.).

There are three additional elements that traditionally are relevant only to a service business marketing because the service is intangible and inseparable from the provider of the service. However, they are increasingly relevant for product businesses and worth considering whatever you sell:

1) People – who gives the service?
Good customer service is critical whatever your selling, but if all you sell is a service, this is critical. Consider:
• Selection and training.
• Internal marketing: is a service culture actively promoted within the business?
• Presentation of people.

2) Process – how the service is given.
What processes are in place to ensure consistency of experience to all customers, all of the time? It’s especially important to maintain this regardless of pressure (e.g. busy reception / peak times etc.).

3) Physical evidence – the environment in which the service is given.
Treat this as per packaging – think about how you create or enhance your brand image, this consideration is linked closely to branding (uniforms, décor etc.). Also consider items that clients or customers take home (membership / loyalty cards / receipts / information / brochures / sales or presentation packs etc.).

Resource and budgets

The mini plan
We like to create a one year operational plan – a mini plan if you will. This is all about implementation – what actions will need to be taken in the short term to move towards your long-term objectives? Include budgets against marketing objectives.

Contents:
• Objectives for the year.
• Strategies the business should adopt to meet those objectives.
• Support this with detailed action plans including timings and costs.
• Consider a contingency plan outlining what assumptions you’ve made and what actions you recommend if those assumptions prove incorrect.

Financials – It might be appropriate / necessary to demonstrate the effect the marketing activities will have on revenue and profitability.

Timeline – include a master spreadsheet outlining when key activities should start and finish with dependencies.

Evaluation and control

Outline what measurement templates you intend to use, including format and frequency of reporting. What statistics will you need access to be able to measure success? Some will be readily available (e.g. Google Analytics / social measures) while others will rely on the wider team to develop (e.g. sales enquiry calls and conversions / sales volumes).

Strategy in practice

Simple.

By following this best practice approach, you can be confident that your business will leave no stone unturned in its quest to deliver a considered, informed and effective marketing strategy. And you will ensure focus on the most important elements that will affect your success. Critically, you will avoid marketing guesswork.

We recognise crafting your marketing strategy sounds like a daunting and time-consuming feat. If you would like to discuss how PIER can support the development of your marketing strategy, please get in touch. Or to read more about our strategic approach, check out our services guide.

Sources:

BCG: What is the Growth Share Matrix

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