Best Event and Destination Management Company in Australia

The concept of Event Management in Sydney has gone far beyond imagination and expectations. No longer is it just organizing some gala event or business conference properly. Experienced and established event management companies are coming up with more and more exciting and innovative ideas to combine fun with achievement of corporate goals. There are lots of ways that it can be done depending on what exactly you want, your timeframe and budget. They specialize in business event management; destination management all over Australia; team building activities; incentive packages Australia wide; conference solutions, exclusive weddings; accommodation; and tour options in unique Australian destinations. But to deliver the best of all this, you need a leading Destination Management Company in Australia. Continue reading Best Event and Destination Management Company in Australia

8 Ways to stand out at a Tradeshow

When it comes to running a successful booth at a trade show, there is a big difference between standing out and wasting your time. When people visit a trade show, they are looking for something interesting to grab their attention. The difficult part for business professionals is that they have a hard time determining exactly what an interesting trade show attraction is. As you prepare to invest a great deal of your time and money in a trade show, there are eight ways you can stand out and get everyone’s attention. Continue reading 8 Ways to stand out at a Tradeshow

7 Ps of Services Marketing – Framework Limitations

The 7 Ps of services marketing is indeed a popular framework used by marketing professionals to design the critical dimensions of the strategic blueprint while marketing a service. The services marketing mix is dominated by the 7 Ps of marketing namely Product, Price,  Place, Promotion, People, Process and Physical evidence. In fact, the 7 P framework is one of the most popular framework for deciding a marketing strategy for services in domains like banking, information technology enabled services or hospitality and tourism, right from strategy formulation to actual implementation.

However, one needs to be aware of the limitations of this framework while applying it in a business context. So in this article, we will discuss some of the major limitations of this services marketing framework.

One of the major drawbacks of the 7 P framework is that it does not address issues related to productivity in terms of both quantity and quality of service delivery. In integral services management, improving productivity during service is a requisite in overall cost management; but quality, as defined by the customer, is essential for a service to differentiate itself from other providers. These two deliverables are essentially opposite to each other in terms of goals. A firm would want to pursue a strategy involving cost minimization but still quality maximization. Hence a strategy that manages trade-off between such conflicting goals is needed to be optimized.

Similarly, another major important issue is managing the core competencies embedded within a firm. Services are essentially intangible in nature, by its very definition. Processes like service delivery address only a small part of the larger cake. Drawing from the resource based view, the organizational competencies are not matched through this framework, which is one of the building pillars of developing strategic frameworks which are external in nature. The viewing of internal resources in silos is somewhat a barrier for this framework, if used to develop an actionable strategy.

Another limitation of this framework is that it does not provide a mapping between the pricing strategies that needs to be followed, vis-a-vis the productivized version of the service. That mapping is often one of the most important drivers that can create or break the adoption of a service. A mapping of pricing to the critical dimensions (features) of the productivized service draws its theories from the pricing of services, which are often done in silos, since dimensions cannot be identified which are in unision but not over-lapping to the main delivery. Over-lapping dimensions create a perception of fluctuating utility among the consumers, and since these are intangible, the overall valuation of the importance and value of a service, gets impacted in a major way.

Understanding the limitations of any theoretical framework before applying it to practical scenarios is crucial for the success of the strategic plan. Please let us know, what you feel about this article. By the way, did you read about the 8 Ps of marketing, the new age marketing mix?

Marketing Theory – CCDVTP

CCDVTP stands for “create, communicate, deliver the value to the target market at a profit”, a term that has been popularised by Philip Kotler. It is being considered as an emerging lingo amongst marketing professionals ever since it was coined. This has caught the attention since it connects three ideals that are often existing in silos in marketing organizations. This has been identified as the value chain in marketing, among the other important marketing theories and today, surprisingly has become a buzzword in many interviews for marketing and sales jobs.

Creating value is synchronized with product management, whether the product or service is tangible or intangible. The product is what is the core of value creation, for your customers and also for your firm. Product life cycle management is thus one of the crucial activities in product management. Today, services and products need to be managed so as to deliver quality value consistently. There are many frameworks which enable the product management team create consistencies across delivery of the same. However, creating the best product or service offering will result in no value for the producer, unless the same can be communicated. This is where branding exercises are conducted.

Communicating the value of a product or service is branding and brand management. A highly valued product or service which a producer company may perceive, must also be conceived by the user as having similar value or more. Otherwise the whole exercise of creation of the offering through proper product management strategies, falls flat. Branding enables a firm to rely on the pull strategy rather than on the push strategy, and it has been observed that firms generate higher profitability from the pull strategy than from the push strategy.

Delivering value is synchronous with customer management. Value is generated at the point of consumption of any offering, be it a product or a service. Customer value management is the process by which this value may be tapped successfully to create value for the firm. This is the process by which the results of all the effort taken in creation of value is actually realized by the firm and directly affects the top-line of the firm’s financials. It has been seen that through proper customer management, customer satisfaction increases substantially which in turn reduces churn rate and increases revenue from increasing customer satisfaction.

So what do you think of this new mantra in marketing? We would love to know your thoughts.

4 Cs of Marketing – The Marketing Mix

R.F. Lauterborn (1993) proposed a 4 Cs classification to address the growing focus of marketing strategist on the consumer. While the 4 Ps framework for defining the marketing mix has been popular for decades, the four Cs have gained in terms of importance, considerably in recent times.

The 4 Cs consists of CONSUMER, COST, CONVENIENCE and COMMUNICATION.

4Cs_Marketing_Mix_L

The roots of the 4 Cs of marketing can be traced back to the classical 4 Ps marketing mix. However, with the onset of database marketing, the focus has shifted in marketing from a consumer transactional view-point to a consumer relationship viewpoint (and very recently consumer engagement). However, the basic focal strategic issues remain unchanged at its very core.

The details which a manager designing a marketing mix using the four Cs needs to focus on are as follows:

  • Clients / Consumer (customer) is the king. No longer can products be developed and pushed to the consumer in the hope of conversion of a purchase decision. Gone are those days when consumers had to buy products to satisfy needs for a simple lack of substitute. The market is over saturated with great products. Consumer behavior needs to be studied thoroughly from the product development phase itself. The attributes of any product should be almost built-to-order in current times, and substantial inputs should be taken from primary market research.
  • Pricing is crucial. The pricing strategies undertaken by any product development company should keep the perceived value of the product, to the consumer, in mind while deciding a pricing strategy.  Effort should be made to estimate a customer’s  tradeoffs  among  multiple attributes in a product so as to arrive at the perceived total value while  pricing  a  multi-attribute product.
  • Convenience of the service delivery or product purchase location is crucial. The place utility often is a differentiating factor in the success stories of many a promising product. It becomes extremely important especially if the product purchase is a low engagement decision making process, like that of purchase of day-to-day products.
  • Communication is crucial.  As opposed to the initial focus of brand promotion, communication of the brand personally so as create a brand awareness and brand cognition is extremely crucial for a sustainable pull strategy.  Every brand is perceived to have a personality. Communicating the same using proper communication channels becomes crucial for the success of any marketing campaign.

4-Cs-Marketing

While the focus of designing a marketing mix has shifted from the 4 Ps to the 4 Cs, it is extremely crucial to understand that the underlying core remains the same. The major shift has been due to a paradigm change of focus from the product or service design to understanding the customer. This is where a 4 Cs strategy scores over the 4 Ps or 7 Ps strategy.

By the way, did you read our article on the 7 P’s of Services Marketing?

Top Social Media Marketing Channels

In an independent survey conducted by Business Fundas, the top channels as perceived by social media marketers were identified and ranked. For this study, the over 20,000+ twitter followers (and also other social media marketers on twitter) were presented with a questionnaire for understanding the perceived importance of the various media for these marketing experts with a conversion of 1034 respondents for the study. Based on the results, the following results were obtained:

The top social media marketing channel based on our survey results was search engine. It performed extremely well as a channel to improve brand or service or product awareness, as well as a channel to improve conversion rates from potential leads to actual customer engagement.

The results for the best channel for creation of awareness for the service or products are as displayed in the graph below:

As these results indicate, some of the more popular and initially perceived important social media channels like Twitter, Digg, Reditt, Stumbleupon received lesser votes in confidence when it came to actual performance in terms of a channel to increase service or product or brand awareness.

Similarly, the top social media resources to convert potential customers to buyers are as follows:

As is evident from the results of the graph, the top resource, as perceived by the social media marketers in both cases are search engines. This was closely followed by Facebook and Youtube. However, some of the more popular and initially perceived important social media channels like Twitter, Digg, Reditt, Stumbleupon received lesser votes in confidence when it came to actual performance. Maybe since these are perceived as more of a media for capturing interesting sources of stories and / or multimedia, they are losing their importance as channels of social media marketing.

Do let us know what are your feedback about the social media marketing channels. How do YOU draw traffic to your blog? Is that a sustainable source of traffic or does that depend on daily marketing efforts and link exchanges amongst colleagues to promote your content? Do let us know.

Benefits of Social Media Marketing

In an independent survey conducted by Business Fundas, where we sent a questionnaire to our 20,000+ strong twitter followers consisting mainly of social media marketers, we tried to find the perceived benefits of social media marketing. The responses of the questionnaire were analyzed for understanding the perceived benefits of social media marketing and the responses of the same are demonstrated in the diagram below.

The survey was administered through not only our twitter followers but also to numerous followers and subscribers of our mailing list and finally 534 responses were collected on our questionnaire, all of who are marketing experts on social media websites and have their own online marketing venture.

The responses clearly portray the perceived benefits of social media marketing campaigns by the marketers.

From our personal analysis, it appears that today, social media marketing can become even more fruitful to reach out markets for small businesses targeting social consumers and probably investments on marketing through social networks like Facebook are more likely to generate better results. Also targeted advertisements in search engine (since that is where most consumers first turn to for information query) are also more likely to impact sales conversion figures.

However, bigger firms are more likely to benefit from greater brand awareness, greater brand recall and greater brand association from investments in social media marketing. So purely from a Branding Exercise,  social media marketing makes sense to larger consumer focused service providers or product marketers.

By the way, did you read our article on how to attain success in Social Media Viral Marketing?

Marketing Plan – Blueprint for Marketing Strategy

Today when so much investments are dependent on the outcome of a marketing plan, the same needs to be scrutinized very deeply so as to minimize the risks of non-performance. One such way is to ensure the proper implementation using a marketing strategy plan or a blue-print of implementation for your strategy. So what is a marketing strategy plan?

Basically, it encompasses all the activities in details that needs to be done to ensure that a campaign is successful.

  • For a marketing plan to be successful, the primary importance is understanding whether its adherence to the main marketing mix (4 Ps) is done in a well planned manner. If your objective is to deliver a service, then the 7Ps of Services Marketing needs to be checked out for planned adherence.
  • If you are focusing on extensive usage of technology, are you having ample focus on how you are leveraging the usage of technology vis-a-vis the competencies within your team? Did you take care of the Basics of Digital Marketing Strategy?
  • Have you given the implementation a thought? Is there a structured sequential blueprint to your Marketing Plan which you are planning to operationalize?
  • What is the targeted returns you are expecting from your campaign? Do a cost vis-a-vis outcome-benefit break up for the entire blue-print stage wise. Does each stage commensurate the Expected Returns on Investments (ROI) figures?
  • Last, not the least, does it go hand in hand with the internal competencies of the team that will be implementing your strategy? A great strategy may fall flat without due importance given to the implementation and the competencies of the team.

Do let us know if you need any clarification. Hope you enjoyed reading our articles. By the way, do check out PrintmeIt.com, they create wonderful flyers and brochures which you can you for your advertising campaigns.

Did you read these related articles? They have drawn a lot of attention from readers of similar articles as this one and had been shared extensively in professional networks like LinkedIn.

Advertising and Marketing Programs for Small and Medium Business

Small and medium sized enterprises typically have very different requirements and capabilities to engage their target audience through Advertising and Marketing programs.  Typically, most of these firms are limited by a heavy constraint in budget and cannot rollout the kind of marketing campaigns as MNCs do. Immediate returns on investment becomes crucial in considering not only the success of the advertising and marketing programs, but also a question of survival for small and medium businesses.

Here are few things your business may benefit from while planning on such a program. Give some thought to them.

  1. Have you selected your target audience? What is your estimated penetration (both maximum and minimum) of the total size of the target consumer segment? What is their estimated consumption pattern. What scope is there in repeated consumption and at what rate?
  2. Have you decided the marketing mix for your program? If not, you should read our article on the The 4 P’s of Marketing – The Marketing Mix strategies as a starter. If you are providing a service, do go through this article on services marketing.
  3. How do you differentiate with your advertising from that of your competitors? What incremental value do you provide to your customer segment? What is the comparative pricing scenario with your competitors and substitute products/services?
  4. Have you done any market research to find out the gaps in the needs of the target segment? Have you designed your product based on the needs of the target segment? A market research is a good risk mitigation strategy, and in very helpful, especially for small businesses, and needs to be done in house.
  5. Have you decided the budget and target returns on that expenditure on the marketing program? Is the estimated expenditure clearly demarked under multiple over heads? Do the estimated returns stand in accordance to your estimated penetration level post program implementation (point 1).
  6. Have you chosen the mediums such that there is a connect between the targeted segment while they are using the medium? Using a medium like Facebook while you are promoting an online dating website may work wonders, but if you use the same for a B2B (industrial) product or even a B2C product like local food joints/products, the same will not work.
  7. Have you thought of the implementation plans such that the intent to purchase may be converted to actual purchases? Many websites showcase items which the consumer gets interested about, but ultimately sale conversion doesn’t happen since the payment/check out options are not easily available on the website.
  8. What kind of strategy do you want to use? Would you prefer a PUSH strategy rather than a PULL strategy? Is your strategy sustainable and scalable in the long run, if you have similar plans. A PUSH strategy by increasing incentives at the point of sales (maybe at the shops/retail outlets) may work best if the target segment is local or the consumption point is locality specific. Expenditures on branding may not be necessary in that case since brand loyalty does not have incremental benefits.
  9. Is your strategy imitable? Can your competitors do what you are doing, better, and beat you at your game? Are you utilizing any capability/resource which is essentially core to your business and which your competitors may not have access to? Have you thought of customer retention services post sales?
  10. Last but not the least, is your marketing strategy in sync with the social and legal framework within which your business is expected to function. Have you checked out the legal requirements.

We hope that these simple guidelines help you to develop a great successful marketing and advertising program for your business. Do write to us if you want any suggestions.

The Most Profitable Consumer Segment

Today, the youth within the age gap of 20 – 30, commonly called the twentysumthing has become the most profitable segment for marketers. After all, this slice of the larger young adult market is nearly 38 million strong (and growing), spends more than $150 billion annually, is predisposed towards early adoption, and the bulk of its brand loyalties are still in a state of flux.   Outperform your competition and you’ll generate immediate gains to the bottom line while building lasting brand loyalties.  Miss the boat and you risk giving away a priceless competitive advantage.

TODAY’S TWENTYSOMETHINGS

To be successful, packaging must address the unique mindset and leading behavioral drivers of today’s young adults.  The market’s psyche is driven by several key factors:

Rapidly Evolving

Young adults are evolving at warp speed in language, lifestyle, usage, consideration set, and attitudes.  What’s cool today, may be passé tomorrow: brands can become obsolete faster than a speeding train.

Market Savvy

Today’s young adults are acutely aware that they are a highly desirable target market.  In a time when advertising has infiltrated pop culture, twentysomethings are well versed with the dynamics of marketing and sales: they’ve “been there, done that”.  Don’t be fooled… the market may look naïve, but it’s composed of highly experienced and enlightened consumers.

Cynical

Having been touched by crime, AIDS, drugs, corporate downsizing, and an endless parade of political scandals, twentysomethings expect to be mugged by marketers.  (Sad, but true.)   Product claims are instantly interpreted as hype and greeted with intense skepticism.

Time Crunched

Packaging can, and should, help facilitate faster decision-making.  Young adults live in an accelerated culture where time is a precious commodity.  No matter what their age or socioeconomic status, they are struggling to balance work and leisure.   Products and services that deliver increased productivity or improved quality of life will be duly rewarded.

“Adventure Seeking”

With the advent of the Global Village, young adults are taking full advantage of what the world has to offer in music, food, culture, fashion, travel, ad infinitum.  They love to “adventure seek” and have the financial resources to do so.  Except for a few lucky brands, young adults typically brand surf from one product to the next.  As such, this audience is usually the first to adopt a new product, brand, or line extension.

Culturally Diverse

Today’s young adults are the most ethnically diverse group in American history.  Remember, folks, this is the “MTV Generation”.  A gangster rap video here, an alternative rock video there, Tommy Hilfiger in the inner city, FUBU in the suburbs have blurred the lines that once formally separated one ethnic group from another.  The implications on packaging strategy have yet to be fully understood.

Sophisticated (Sometimes)

The market is incredibly sophisticated across a variety of product categories, but by no means all.  The average young adult may be quite knowledgeable about high involvement categories such as fashion, electronics, music, computers, and entertainment.  In fact, in such categories, their role as Early Adopters and Influencers is nothing short of profound.  Conversely, peripheral categories (read: MOST product categories) are low involvement and, hence, call for split decision making.   “Um, I’ll take that… ah, THAT piece of gum please.”  Packaging can play an instrumental role in young adult purchasing because the market is NOT as sophisticated about most product categories as it would like you to believe.

Also, this segment is strongly categorized for having a very strong network value. Social networks play an important role in this segment.

If you do have a product for this segment, do ensure that you consider these factors while developing your marketing mix and designing your 4Ps or 7Ps as the case may be.