What we can learn from VIVID

I recently visited the VIVID festival in Sydney and all I can say is “Wow” – I don’t think there’s anything comparable anywhere in the world. The lights, colours and creativity are truly spectacular. It’s an amazing experience that started fairly humbly with a light show in 2009, and has since exploded into an international festival.

This year more than 2.5 million people attended various events at locations around the city to view light shows, lasers, music, water shows and fireworks. Over 3 weeks it brought in more than $20 Million revenue for the state of New South Wales. This is a major tourist attraction. Not only is it bringing in international tourists (Pippa Middleton and Prince Harry visited Sydney during the festival!) but it’s also attracting international talent and some big headline acts.

It certainly didn’t start off like this. I remember visiting years ago and seeing a few lights dancing around the Opera House with some laser projections in the vicinity. What has been accomplished over the ensuing years is truly remarkable … and now has the backing of some major sponsors with serious money invested.

I think that this should serve as inspiration for marketing events and activities. I’m not talking about an international event.. I’m talking about a local event that you may be planning for your business. Your event may sometimes start out small, and perhaps not even very impressively. But with consistent improvement and investment they can flourish…and grow to become significant events within your industry sector. We’re in the midst of a social media explosion. You can promote your business/product/service by putting on an event that will have people reaching for their phones to capture moments and pictures for Instagram, Facebook, Vine videos, You Tube and a host of other sites. It’s about being clever about what kind of event you create and the photo ops that can be generated.

Creativity is playing a more important role now than perhaps any other time in the history of corporate marketing. Big budgets just aren’t available sometimes, and it’s up to the Marketing Director to create an event concept that will attract and appeal to your target market.

Some considerations:

  • Star attractions – are you able to attract any high-profile industry figureheads to attend your event?
  • Have you created selfie photo opportunities at your venue? (This could be something as basic as a photo booth)
  • Location – the backdrop and setting is important. Additionally – make sure your venue is easily accessible and centrally located. Venue hire costs can be negotiated based on contra deals, cross promotion, minimum spend, etc – explore how you can save money here.
  • Catering – this is often where the bulk of your budget will go, but don’t skimp here. Don’t order excessive varieties of beverages and canapes – stick to a few varieties in adequate quantities.
  • If yours is likely to be an annual event, you can improve every year – learn as you go.

Send me a message if you think one of our Marketing Directors that specialise in events can help you plan yours.

What I’ve learned from Wonder Woman!

Just watched the new Wonder Woman movie and boy have things changed since Lynda Carter cartwheeled on screen as the original WW doing her own stunts, back in the day. These days Diana Prince is flying unaided and doing all sorts of death defying feats – some with the help of stunt people, some with special effects and the green screen. How things have progressed – everything from the costume, the nature of the character’s skills and cinematic effects. What hasn’t changed is Wonder Woman’s fearless nature and commitment to the cause. Read more

Happy EOFYs!

It’s almost time to celebrate the end of another successful year! It’s that time of year when accounting professionals get most excited and all of our finances come under scrutiny. Its definitely time to evaluate what’s been working and what’s not with regard to your marketing activities.

In the mad dash to finalise all accounts by the end of the month, it sometimes comes to light that there are still outstanding projects and budgets that haven’t been spent. This is an ideal time to think about your business finances and decide what you want and need to invoice as part of the 2017 financial year and what services should be allocated to the next year. Timing can be an important factor and this particular month is a significant one for businesses every year. Your Finance Manager or Accountant should be your new best friend (at least for this month). Sit down with them and discuss budgets – not merely plans for what comes after 1 July, but how best to allocate and spend the funds currently available to you. Some services can be paid for in advance with delivery scheduled for later in the year. If this is something that is financially advantageous to you right now, then you should take advantage of the timing.

And while you may be deciding the best ways and means to spend your remaining budget allocation over the next 30 days, it’s also a time to reduce your debtor days and to try and get all your outstanding invoices paid. If you aim to discharge all of your supplier debts and still have outstanding invoices with clients, then you could run into cashflow difficulties.

Marketing and sales are intrinsically linked and quite often when we get involved with client’s businesses we learn that there are several opportunities for them to be more profitable simply by managing their cashflow. Sometimes our role involves more than just developing marketing strategies to boost sales. We are able to call in representatives from our sister companies the CFO Centre and the Sales Director Centre to give our clients a holistic service that results in more efficient sales processes, sales growth, increased brand awareness, market engagement, increased revenue and bottom line results.

Visit our website – send us a message or call us to learn how we can help you grow your business and boost sales through effective marketing and sales strategies.

The rise and rise of fidget spinners!

The latest fad that’s taking the world by storm is the fidget spinner. Its trending on social media, in classrooms, playgrounds and boardrooms around the globe. The humble fidget spinner – who would’ve thought it would prove so popular amongst kids and adults alike? When asked by a mother at the school gates if I objected to it, I replied that I couldn’t see the down side. (Memory took me back to the bay bade craze a few years ago). Fidget spinners are comparatively smaller, cheaper and don’t make a noise. I’m on board!

I’m not sure that I personally get the appeal of sitting in a meeting or classroom spinning something on one’s finger, but as long as it’s not distracting to anyone else, it’s certainly more polite than checking one’s phone in a meeting. I’ve seen people in the airport lounge spinning with one hand and working on their laptops with the other. That’s multi-tasking at its finest for a mere male.

Such is this global phenomenon that teachers in Australia and the UK are banning the gadget from classrooms. A client based in the US advises me that they are still spinning on site in American schools.

Who knows how long the popularity will last. Interest and demand will peter out at some point… to be replaced by the next big thing. In the interim retailers are charging a premium where they know the market will bear it. They’re selling for $10-$15 in Australia, but are available for $1 in China. If there’s one thing to be learned from global trends, it’s to make the make the most of it/as much money from it as possible, while its hot.

Remember the ice bucket challenge? People couldn’t wait to pour a bucket of icy water all over themselves and post it to social media. I’m particularly grateful to have escaped that one… my children and Marketing Directors cannot say the same.

From a marketing perspective trends are important. In order for clients and businesses to appear relevant there are certain trends that should be adopted or adapted while they’re hot. Timing and relevance is crucial. In the case of fidget spinners, businesses might like to give them out as end of financial year (EOFY) gifts. As with all trends if you decide to jump on the bandwagon, then strike while the iron is hot – make your mark or make your money and get out.

Visit our website – send us a message or call us to learn how you can piggyback on the latest trend or even start your own.

Calm before the storm

After what seems like an endless summer the weather has changed this past week – a cold front is sweeping across the country and there’s even been snow in some areas! A fortnight ago we were at the beach celebrating Easter and hitting the waves… now we’re bundled up in coats and sweaters and we’ve turned on the heating. It almost seems like there was no warning … the cold front hit so suddenly. We should’ve perhaps gotten out the woollies ahead of winter, but there seemed no need. All of a sudden I find myself scrambling to find last year’s warm gear as I brace for the ferry ride into work every morning.

We know that the cold weather is coming, but we get lulled into a false sense of enjoying an extended period of warm weather and then we get caught out, unprepared. This is exactly the sort of thing that happens to our clients sometimes. They can see that a traditionally quiet period looms ahead (for example December-January-February) yet they fail to adequately prepare and plan for marketing/sales activities that will enable them to generate sales/revenue during this period. When things are busy and orders are coming in it seems like the last thing clients want to think about is generating more sales and work for their teams. And yet that’s exactly the time to plan for the quieter periods because often with full teams to meet the requirements of a boom period there needs to be enough work to sustain the salaries for people during quieter months.

This is often when a documented marketing plan is a boon. When a company has a plan that has been well thought out and contains projects that meet with the overall vision and strategy for the business, with pre-approved activities, potential outcomes and budget allocation, it prevents you from scrambling when things quieten down. The value of a plan is that it has ideally been developed with input from the key players within the company and the projects have all been discussed and deliberated ahead of time. Its then up to the Marketing Director or Manager to implement the plan throughout the year. As any MD will tell you it’s important to plan ahead and to have sustainable marketing activities and campaigns running even during busy periods, so that the results are generated in time for the traditional “down periods”.

Visit our website – send us a message or call us to ask about how one of our Marketing Directors can assist you to develop a marketing plan that will help you achieve your vision.

Getting over Easter…and getting free of that dog lead!

Easter is over, the bunny is out of the hat and the eggs have all hatched… some of us have consumed waaaay too much chocolate! The Easter break is always a good time to catch up with family and one of our young masters is currently into magic tricks and escapology. I sat there watching him trying to escape from some concoction of bicycle chain, plastic handcuffs and dog’s lead (No child abuse suffered he managed to rather impressively free himself within minutes). It brought to mind some of my clients. They seem like they’re all tied with various sorts of hindrances in their business. Their chains are inefficient/wrong staff, their handcuffs ineffective processes and the dog lead is usually their marketing practices. If only it was as easy for them to break free…

Having been in business myself for the last couple of decades I can relate to all of the issues facing businesses large and small. The one area I can help with is marketing. Some of the other problems take a significant investment in time, energy and money to address. Breaking free of tired marketing practices that no longer yield desired results is far easier than some realise.

The first thing to do is to conduct an audit of the previous 12 – 24 months. What marketing has been done, how much has been spent on each activity and what results have been achieved.

Evaluate the results objectively – compare the results generated for the spend on the activity and then discuss whether the money would best be spent elsewhere.

Sometimes long standing relationships and contracts are in place, but there’s no point consistently throwing good money after bad in the hope that things will improve. Change things or make a break.

Fewer marketing activities on your plate will make it easier for your marketing staff to manage.

What’s your digital footprint looking like? You need to consider your online presence and digital marketing practices that will work for your business.

Beware of the pitfalls. Advertising spend is definitely one of these. Clients get excited about being offered distress advertising rates or special offers on continuously running ads – but will it work for your business? Advertising should only be undertaken as part of an overall marketing strategy and not because someone calls you at 10 minutes to 4pm and offers you a great deal on an ad placement if you can submit it within the hour.

Call us and ask us what marketing practices we would recommend for your business and budget. It doesn’t cost anything to have a chat or meet for a coffee (although if it’s my brain you’re picking, then you can shout the coffee and chocolate!).

Back from school camp – What have we learned?

Last week my son went to school camp. He’s in high school now and so he’s self-sufficient. But it took me back to a time when he was in primary school and going to camp was quite a different experience. There was much more preparation and perhaps even anxiety/apprehension involved in those days, not unlike trying out a new marketing method or activity.

There are several similarities with both scenarios.

Preparation is key – I suppose this is true with most things, but somehow going to camp as a youngster seems to involve endless forms, emails flying back and forth with the school or other parents for clarification, and lists upon lists of do’s and don’ts and things to pack.

When engaging in a new marketing activity, preparation is definitely key. Whether or not you pursue any market research prior to launch, this stage of the process often sees more time and effort invested than the implementation.

Buy or source what you need – The lists of things to source and pack for school camp are endless – everything from head torches to all weather sleeping bags.

When you’re about to embark on a new marketing activity your Marketing Director will most likely recommend materials, skills and services that are required for the project. These fees, often questioned by clients, are definitely worth the investment. In order for a marketing activity or technique to be effective, you need a set of skills and materials to support the project.

Pack your own bag – There’s nothing worse for your kid than getting to camp and finding out that the all important raincoat is still in their bedroom at home. Kids should pack their own backpacks (with parental supervision of course!) just so that they know what’s in there.

The role of external Marketing Directors is to ensure that we develop strategies that work for our clients or assist them to solve a particular problem within their business. But we never envision ourselves as being a long-term solution for our clients. Therefore, it’s very important for us to ensure that our clients understand what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and what results are likely to be achieved. We want to coach our clients through the set up and implementation of a new marketing activity, so that they are able to run it themselves in the future.

Follow the leader at camp – In every camp task there’s always a group leader who knows what they’re doing. The kids may be tremendously excited about undertaking new activities, but the leader will decide on the timing and the order of participation. No one wants to curb the excitement, but the leader needs to ensure that everyone is safe as well as having a good time.

Your marketing project needs a competent leader. Often this is the Marketing Director, even if they are consultants and not a member of staff. Your CEO or General Manager may authorise payments, but a qualified marketer needs to head the project and manage the implementation. This is because things sometimes crop up during the course of implementation and they need to be dealt with immediately. Trial and error costs money – experienced marketers can tweak mid-operation.

Sort your things out at home – What is it about camp that enables kids to come back with missing bits and pieces and an extra 2 kilos of mud? Sometimes it takes a good scrubbing and liberal spray of Glen Twenty before I’ll allow mine back into the house!

A thorough vetting and analysis is required for a suitable period after implementation. This is to evaluate the process and the results. These discussions are crucial because they will enable you to fine tune the process to make it more cost or time effective for the future. This is also the period to scrutinise/monitor and measure results. While marketing is often accused of being an intangible science, it still needs to yield tangible results.

And while we endeavour to ensure that the experience (of camping) and of working with our Marketing Directors is pleasurable, it more important to us that we are effective and that we all learn from the experience.

Call us to learn how we may be able to assist.

What 25 years of marriage has taught me

My wife and I recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and I’m sure you’ll forgive me this indulgence as I focus on what has seen us through the last 25 years and beyond – 3 children, many pets, hundreds of visitors and moves across 2 continents. The same attributes that have carried me through 3 decades in my personal relationship are necessary when dealing with clients and marketing practices.

  • Patience – Most often when dealing with people – staff, clients and suppliers alike. But also when implementing new strategies or processes. There are usually initial hiccups with anything new and untested and I find that a little patience in the fledgling stages often makes the initial implementation that much easier.
  • Perseverance – Sometimes even the best thought out practices and processes take a while to generate results. If I had a penny for every time my clients wanted immediate results from something we’ve implemented, I’d be a rich man. My wife would probably also be a lot happier as she did promise to stay with me for richer and for poorer and I’m sure she’d rather be richer-!
  • Flexibility – In relationships I’d call it compromise; in business its flexibility. When something new is implemented it may require some ‘tweaks’ before it’s successful and generates results or sales. With marketing practices we often have to tailor a campaign based on initial feedback and results. While I do recommend persevering with a project created and implemented by an expert, I would suggest that any practice should be monitored and tweaked/tailored/customised after launch. Getting it right in the initial stage is crucial and going to market is the only way to measure the feasibility and success of any venture.

There of course going to be instances along the way when clients disagree with the ideas or path presented. No amount of explaining my logic or viewpoint will convince the client otherwise. In this circumstance, I resort to the one thing that has seen me through 25 years unscathed – Don’t give up, just give in. Let them have their way and say, “Yes, dear”.

For assistance with your marketing needs please call us on 1300 384 733.

Sensationalist Marketing – LOOK AT ME NOW!!!

Whenever I read articles (or rather, skim through the headlines) of Daily Mail or a similar online rag, or I pass a newsstand and see the glossies – the headlines are always sensationalised. NIC WEARS NUDE DRESS TO OSCARS, instead of Nicole Kidman merely wearing a flesh coloured dress bedazzled with sequins and fully lined, by the way, on the Oscar’s red carpet, along with hundreds of other actresses wearing far more revealing outfits. Beyoncé isn’t just expecting twins, BEY’S DOUBLING HER EMPIRE!!

And, it’s not just the headlines that are sensationalised. The articles that follow are often full of sensational claims – Nicole Kidman is never just an actress starring in the movie Lion; she’s drawing on her experiences of mothering her own adopted kids whom tragically she doesn’t see anymore and who are potentially going off the rails.

When it comes to marketing, we need to ensure that we don’t fall into the trap of “sensationalising” claims and facts just to get attention. There’s a definite line between making inaccurate (and sometimes outrageous) claims and promises about your products/services, and articulating what’s unique or different about your business.

In a world where everything flashes, pings and shouts for attention the challenge is to make your brand/product/service stand out from all the noise. The way to do this is to find what is truly unique about your business and highlight that. Headlines and “creative” marketing copy will certainly get you attention, but if your brand/product/service can’t deliver then you’ve dug a hole for yourself because you’ll lose more than customers… you may lose your reputation.

The next time you review or develop any marketing copy or materials for your business – make sure that you can back up all the claims made. Showcase how fabulous you think your business is, but ensure that you’re promoting the real value of doing business with you.

As marketers, we’re well aware of our innate tendency to make everything sound better than it is, but we need to ensure that while making claims about our clients’ brand and business we stick to the facts… and find a way to make them appear exciting!

Our team of marketing experts would love to discuss how we can help design and implement marketing strategies to grow your business. Contact Us today.

V Day is over-Time to break up and find love again!

Love is in the air. Everywhere you look there’s hearts and flowers and ribbons and romance. Who would’ve thought that a single day dedicated to love would spark an entire month of advertising and commercialism?

Falling in love is an interesting time… While in the initial throes of romance it’s all about learning everything you can about your love. This gives way to long term love, which is where we are comfortable enough with our love – without even considering if it’s still working for us. Often marketing is exactly like this. You are introduced to a new marketing activity and you try it out – it works for your business and it yields results. You love it! You tell everyone about it. 5 to 10 years later, you’re still doing it. You are not sure if it’s still working for your business quite as effectively as it once was, but it’s yielding some results. You’ve been doing it for so long that you don’t see the need to stop. Why fix it if it’s not broken?

When you adopt this attitude, what you’re missing out on are the range of more effective marketing and sales strategies you could employ in your business, which would generate the results you want and often need, more effectively.

Ours is an evolving world and marketing trends change constantly. While our customers’ needs may not radically change, the way we go about achieving results (i.e. the strategies we employ) for our clients should change. We need to evolve our marketing techniques… or get left behind. If we stick with old marketing techniques just because we’ve always done it this way, we’ll inevitably get left behind – and those once-loyal customers will eventually turn to our competitors. And it will be our own fault for being complacent.

With the advent of social media, digital marketing and online marketing – marketing avenues have never been as accurate, expedient or as cost effective as they are right now. Not only could re-evaluating your current marketing projects save you time and energy, it could also save you thousands of dollars in marketing spend every year.

Valentine’s day is officially over… time to let go of those age-old marketing practices that you’ve grown so comfortable with. Evaluate, innovate and try something new. Who knows? By this time next year, you may have something new to love!

Contact us today

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