Tuesday, 23 May 2017

How to Give a Killer Presentation

As a marketer, have you thought about the importance of public speaking in your daily life?

Whenever you are doing group work, in an interview, working on your consulting project, or pitching your ideas to your boss, it is so important to communicate your ideas persuasively and with clarity. The art of public speaking is not only about standing in front of a crowd confidently, it’s also about engaging your audience by keeping them hanging on to your every word.

As a student pursuing a Master degree, learning how to present is a crucial skill necessary for communicating the value of your product, brand, service or a message that you want to deliver. More than that, you want your message to resonate, inspire and compel your audience to action. But besides the obvious, communicating effectively and confidently presents you with an opportunity to shine and could even help you stand out enough to finally get that promotion.

With all that in mind, we have invited a pro in the realm of public speaking, Maysoon El-Ahmad, whom you may remember as a guest lecturer from the Internal Marketing course. Maysoon, currently a marketing consultant at Growth Mantra, has agreed to share with Marketing Matters some important tips for giving a killer presentation. Watch the video below to learn how to give a killer presentation.


Maysoon is a Masters of Marketing graduate from the University of Sydney with years of experience across different industries.

Maysoon’s Top Tips

1. Know your topic well

2. Be passionate about your delivery.

3. Make eye contact with your audience.

4. Use visuals to engage your audience (not too much texts or files).

5. Give examples that audience can relate to.

The best way to engage your audience is to create connection with your audience by being passionate about what you are talking about, engaging how your presenting leading your presentation, and behaving as nature as possible.

Normally, we pay attention to when people tell a story with vivid description and specific presentation layout. As study, published in the journal Psychological Science, recommends an approach called “reminders by association”, which means that if you pair your tasks with a visual cue, you’ll be more likely to remember it. Our brain is mainly an image processor, so the most powerful way to give a killer presentation is to understand your topics and then deliver them to your audience with attractive contents and fascinating motivated attitude.

We are here to wish everyone good luck on your coming presentation!

Maysoon El-Ahmad holds a Bachelor of Economics and a Master’s degree in Commerce (Marketing, Strategy and Innovation) from the University of Sydney.

She is currently a marketing consultant working with a boutique management consultancy in Sydney called Growth Mantra where she specialises in finding strategic solutions grounded with a deep understanding in consumer behaviour and motivations.

Bowie Chen and Hazel Chen
Current student from Master of Marketing program in the University of Sydney Business School

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Learn to Fail like a #GirlBoss

Everybody loves a success story. But what’s interesting about Sophia Amoruso’s Netflix biopic ‘Girl Boss’ is that we already know the end of the story culminates with the bankruptcy of her fashion empire.

Have you ever failed? Some people never fail because they’re too scared to try. For others, failing is a weekly, if not daily, event. One can only imagine how much worse it must feel to fail so spectacularly whilst being in the public eye.

That’s what this last year has been like for Sophia Amoruso. Once listed as the youngest Forbes Richest Self-Made Women, Amoruso’s business is in tatters and her fortune decimated. She has been slammed by critics who have been awaiting eagerly for her demise, but like a phoenix from the ashes, the femmetrepreneur will rise again.

The rise and fall of Nasty Gal

Founded from humble beginnings in 2006, by 22-year-old Sophia Amoruso, Nasty Gal started by pure luck when Amoruso started “flipping clothes” on eBay and, later, launched her own e-commerce fashion store that took the world by storm, only to later lose it all to bankruptcy.

You’re probably wondering right now if this is supposed to be an inspirational story. What it’s not is another cliché about women in business. Just keep reading and you will see what it’s all about.

So, what happened?

Nasty Gal’s CEO, Sheree Waterson, confirmed that the start-up was unable to secure capital as the gap between top-line growth and profitability widened. Amoruso had already resigned from her CEO role in early 2015 before Waterson took the reins. Amoruso told Forbes in an interview last year, "I’m a creative. I’m a brand-builder. I’m a rainmaker. I’m a pretty good marketer, but that’s not something I want to do every day."

According to an interview with Collective Hub’s Lisa Messenger, Amoruso described the decision as the most responsible option to prevent closure. However, after years of downsizing and hours spent in court, the inevitable happened. Nasty Gal’s intellectual property was acquired by UK e-commerce site, Boohoo, for a meagre $20 million. Now Nasty Gal continues to operate, but without Amoruso’s input.

Enter Girl Boss, stage left.

But it’s not all gloom and doom. I really do believe that everything happens for a reason and what I’m about to tell you next proves just that. Just think, if Sophia had been busy playing CEO of Nasty Gal, she never would have found the time to focus on the #GirlBoss brand that was built on the back of Nasty Gal’s then success. Now, she has a 2014 New York Times bestseller, a hit podcast, a just-released coffee table book, and a Netflix comedy series, co-produced by Charlize Theron.

Talk about making the best out of an unfortunate situation. Imagine where she would be now if she hadn’t gone down that road.

The rise again of Sophia Amoruso

As an entrepreneur, Amoruso realised that there was no point in licking her wounds. She had a thin window of opportunity with her Netflix series to get herself back up on top. And if I’m going to be honest, her humility in the face of failure makes her story so much more inspiring.

#GirlBoss is so much more than just a clichéd book title. In fact, Sophia has turned a book deal into a media company that enables women to connect across social, digital and experiential platforms. The #GirlBoss Foundation empowers women, allowing them to share knowledge about their careers, finance, relationships and businesses. To date, it has awarded US$120,000 in grants to women in creative industries to help fund their passion projects.

"Were all flailing in different ways and stumbling in different ways, the rest of the world just doesn’t hear about it. But, to us, it feels like that’s all that’s happening. So to see someone who you may have thought had it all ‘figured out’ totally start over is probably very refreshing, and puts your life into perspective in some way.’’- Sophia Amoruso with Lisa Messenger for Collective Hub.

So say what you will about Sophia, but there’s no denying that she’s filled a gap for women who are looking for role models who aren’t afraid to be imperfect. She swears too much, doesn’t wear a powersuit, she doesn’t play golf and she certainly doesn’t conform. She is the businesswoman redefining success in a world that celebrates women in business purely for the fact that they are women. I think we can all learn something from Sophia Amoruso. Don’t you?

Alyce Brierley
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Monday, 15 May 2017

From sales and strategy to social innovation: where Master of Marketing led me

With many Master of Marketing (MoM) students graduating from the University of Sydney’s Business School soon, Marketing Matters is shining a light on some exceptional alumni. Will Wang is the first of two alumni in the graduation series to share where the Master of Marketing Program has led him and how it the consulting project in particular has benefited his career.

Who is Will Wang?

Hi MoM! My name is Xiaole Wang (Will) and I am originally from Shanghai, China. I finished my Master of Marketing degree at the University of Sydney in July, 2016. My early career saw me working as a sales leader at Fortune 500 companies; including BestBuy and Apple.

By undertaking a Master of Marketing, my goal was to make the transition from a sales role to a corporate strategist role. Now, I am an entrepreneur, with a strong strategic partnership with Founders Space for corporate innovation program in China.

The Master of Marketing program has certainly helped me to pursue my professional dreams and enabled me to develop all the essential skills I need as an entrepreneur. Now I am very excited about the prospects of my business’ future and I’m looking forward to all the challenges ahead.

Key learning from the marketing consulting project

One of the most valuable aspects of the program was the ability to conduct a real-world marketing consulting project. My consulting project’s mission aimed to bring business thinking into small charities, in order to amplify their social impact.

My research led me to the idea of connecting small charities with large corporations. Tapping into large corporations’ business capabilities, such as accounting, marketing and HR professional skills would help small charities to build sustainable business models.

The consulting project experience led me to apply my learning to investigate opportunities in China by becoming a Founders Space partner for Corporate Innovation.

The value we offer to large corporations is that we help them to move from CSR (Corporate Social Responsibilities) to CSV (Create Shared Value). So, our SBV (Skills-based Volunteering) programs are strategically designed to align with corporations’ visions and strategies, which not only will benefit the charities, but also help corporations for their employees’ future leadership development and business growth. Therefore, it is a win-win situation for both small charities and large corporations.

How I became a Founders Space partner

My one minute pitch to Steve Hoffman, the CEO of Founders Space was about connecting founders space with large corporations. By helping corporations implement the same innovative methodologies and processes as Silicon Valley startups, corporations would be able to “Think Like a Startup, Innovate like Silicon Valley”.

Steve agreed to collaborate straight away without any hesitation. He took me to his hotel, and we had about 15 minute chat about the idea in the lobby. The next day, I started to work with Founders Space to launch my business project in China.

My strategy creates a win-win situation for both tech-startups and large corporations.

1. For large corporations, they can gain innovation mindsets and new technologies from small startups, in order to innovate their businesses;

2. For startups, they can validate and scale their businesses by leveraging large corporations’ business resources

Silicon Valley innovation methodologies and processes are perfectly aligned with what I have learned from Marketing Consulting Project

The consulting project taught us exactly how to tackle these two issues through the framework of the Value Proposition Canvas and the Business Model Canvas, which is from the first part of marketing consulting project.

The purpose of Value Proposition Canvas is to help businesses to create a perfect fit between your core offerings and the customer needs. The purpose of the Business Model Canvas is to ensure you have a sustainable business model of how to acquire and lock in customers for an ongoing revenue stream in a long term.

By using these frameworks I discovered the top two reasons why startups fail.

1. No product market fit

2. Run out of cash

Silicon Valley Innovation Process: “Don’t fall in love with your product, fall in love with your customer.”
Engaging your customers and gathering customer data is critical for innovation. During the innovation process, you have to fail fast & move fast in order to validate and figure out the Perfect product market fit that nobody else has ever discovered before.
The second part of consulting project taught us how to validate our business proposal through conducting in-depth interviews with your customers. So, we can

- Collect and analyse customer data

- Gain new learnings from the customers

- Pivot your offering

This is the same ongoing innovation process used by Silicon Valley startups. The success of your innovation will be highly affected by the speed and quality of these experiment cycles.

About Founders Space
Founded in San Francisco, USA, Founders Space is one of the Top Incubators and Accelerators in the world. Forbes magazine ranked Founders Space as the No. 1 Accelerator for oversea startups coming to Silicon Valley. Founders Space has over 50 global partners within 22 countries and they have trained hundreds of startup CEOs and corporate executives about the Art of Innovation.

About Founders Space Corporate Innovation Program

Our Mission
To help corporations implement the same innovation methodologies and processes as Silicon Valley startups

Our Innovation Program’s Unique Value Proposition
We are laser focusing on educating & mentoring corporate leaders about 0 – 1 Innovation, which include design innovation, business model innovation and technological innovation, in order to help corporations to achieve radical innovation.

Our Vision
Become the No. 1 strategic partner of the most innovative companies in the world.

For more information on graduation dates, visit this link.

Xiaole Wang (Will)
Graduate of the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Pedal Power

Getting caught in a traffic jam and being stuck on the road for hours is always a nightmare. Not to mention, a waste of our precious time. With the growing population, combined with the increasing number of cars on the road, many countries are encountering public transport issues, as well as heavy fuel consumption and air pollution.

Under the umbrella of “the sharing economy”, ride sharing and bus sharing have already taken off thanks to the flexibility, low cost and convenience on offer. Now, the bike sharing system has followed suite. Let’s take a look at how this thriving trend came to play a part in the game.

Low cost, convenient and environmentally friendly
A bicycle sharing system is a service which offers bicycles for shared use to individuals. Many bike sharing systems offer subscriptions that are either free for the first 30-45 minutes or at a very inexpensive deal (for example, 99c per 0.5 hour). This set-up encourages people to take advantage of a low cost flexible transport system with the added bonus of reducing vehicle emissions, congestion and fuel consumption.

Lots of people find it very convenient and easy to use, especially when they are routinely stuck in traffic jams or going home late with no public transport available. Bike sharing is a very low cost alternative that is the convenient choice for solving the consumer’s “last mile” problem.

Bike sharing company Ofo

Bike sharing goes worldwide
With all the benefits mentioned above, the bike sharing trend has exploded worldwide.

According to Bike-Sharing Blog, there were 2.3 million public-use bicycles globally in 2016, which is more than double compared to 2015.

China, Italy, USA, Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland, Greece, Austria and Japan are the top ten countries with the most bike sharing programs.

With the rapid growth of technologies, many bike sharing programs have introduced new systems, such as electric and dockless bikes to enhance the customer experience. In China, more and more user-friendly approaches can be seen spreading throughout multiple cities. Bikes can be paid using a smartphone and left anywhere, with GPS tracking enabling them to be located via a mobile app.

The world’s first bike sharing service was launched in June 2015 by a Beijing-based start-up called Ofo. The company now has around 2.5 million yellow-framed bikes in more than 50 cities throughout China. Its main rival, Mobike, which only started up a year ago, says it has “several million” of their orange-wheeled bikes spread across a similar area. Another competitor, Bluegogo, has half a million bikes in six Chinese cities, with plans to grow by a new city every two weeks, according to the Economist.

Vélib' is a large scale bicycle sharing company in Paris, France. Fun fact: the French words vélo (English: "bicycle") and liberté ("freedom") were combined to form the name Vélib'. Compared to the metro, it is time efficient, and has gained popularity among Parisians thanks to an easy subscription system, vast number of docking stations, and built-in LED lights for night-use.

Vélib’ automated pay station

In Melbourne, Australia, Blue Share bikes are becoming popular, with unlimited 30 minute rides between stations, and subscriptions starting from just $3 per day. Australia was actually the first country to make wearing bicycle helmets mandatory, so free helmets are provided as a courtesy with Blue Share bikes.

Marketing campaigns
There have been a number of intriguing and fun campaigns launched to attract more users by a number of bike sharing companies.

Bluegogo sent out Santa Claus on Christmas to give gifts to citizens and encouraged people to find the blue sharing bike on that day.

Mobike has found a way to collaborate with external companies by offering up advertising space on the front of their bikes.  You can see an ad for sunsreen products below, encouraging more people be sunsafe while using the bike service.

Although there are still some issues in the bicycle sharing industry, such as theft, vandalism and maintenance, the future looks optimistic. Co-founder of Baas Bikes, Robert McPherson said, “Bikes can be the best partner of the city. If you conduct it well, it will be a big revolution in public transport.”

However, the real question is, how will bike sharing services fare down under? Where, for many Australians, owning a car isn’t a luxury but a necessity. Could this be the answer to all our gridlock problems?

Bowie Chen
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Monday, 8 May 2017

New Printing World

3D Printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM), refers to the process used to create three-dimensional objects by successively layering material using computer controls. The possibilities for creation are endless. But with this future technology now at our doorstep, the question is: how are marketers going to use 3D printing for marketing campaigns in the future?

Although the 3D printing boom didn't take off until 2012, many of you might be surprised to know that it's been around since the 1980's. But up until now, it hasn't been advanced enough to capture the imagination of the business world. Now that our reality has become a lot more Back to the Futuresque, we can expect to see it used for printing homes, bionic body parts and maybe it will be used in artificial intelligence (AI) for humanoid robots just like in HBO's 'Westworld'.

Undoubtedly 3D Printing has already invaded our daily lives and pushed the boundaries of human experience. Let's take a look at some of the current applications.

1. 3D Printed Glass

In 2015, researchers at MIT (USA) unveiled a new process called G3DP – a method that allows for the creation of complex 3D glass structures. G3DP goes to the next level of data transfer efficiency, demonstrated through remarkable artworks which traditional handicraft could never achieve.

3D printed glass structure from Smithsonian design Museum in New York in 2016.

2. 3D Printed Industrial Parts

3D printing in the automotive industry is no longer a technical bottleneck nowadays. General Motors used stereolithography, specialized software that combines mathematical data and laser sintering to build parts out of liquid resin. A process which resulted in breakthrough improvements in the design of the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu. The rapid prototyping proved especially useful for the floor console, which has smartphone holders for the driver and passengers. This technique was also implemented on the front fascia design and front-seat back panels. The lightweight parts make the Malibu not only aesthetically pleasing, but economically sustainable when it comes to fuel consumption.

3. 3D Printed Bionic Ear

In 2013, scientists from Princeton University created a 3D printed bionic ear that can hear much better than the average human's. The bionic ear was printed with cells and nanoparticles to explore an efficient method of merging electronics with organic tissues. This technique has the capacity to bring great benefits to people around the world living with disabilities.

4. 3D Printed Shoes

Sneaker loves will be hapy to know that a few days ago, Adidas debuted its newest shoe, which has a 3D printed sole. 5,000 of the innovative 'Futurecaft 4D' shoes will be available at retail stores in fall and winter this year. Unlike other 3D printed shoes, made from materials that often become rigid or malleable, the Futurecraft 4D is different. The shoe was co-created with Silicon Valley-based startup, Carbon, using a new technology called digital light synthesis. The process enables the material to be springy and able to bounce back almost instantaneously. 
The technology works by using UV lasers to project a pattern for a midsole liquid. The light turns the liquid into a solid and the result is a flexile, but durable, midsole. The technology could save time and money in the production process and tailor physiological data and needs on demand for each individual.

Why 3D printing is more important to marketers than you think.

Global brands such as Coca Cola, Warner Bros. and eBay have experimented with 3D printing, but as of yet, marketers have yet to tap into its potential. The good news for marketers is that 3D printing provides many opportunities to deliver out of the box solutions. The technology provides innovative ways to develop and strengthen relationships with existing and potential customers. According to Steve Heller the figures show that mainstream 3D printing growth in the industry is expected to grow by 31% each year into a $21 billion market by 2020.

As marketers, we are well aware that successful marketing campaigns have one thing in common: distinctiveness. Businesses are now able to actually make and 'print' advertising and promotional products as well as interactive ideas, enabling marketers to offer originality and personalisation for consumers. Something that will be integral for the success of tomorrow’s business. 

3D Printing will not only have an impact on business and marketing, it will change our lives in more ways than we can imagine. It elaborately and seamlessly integrates the internet and digital technology with an extensive consideration of novel construction, combined with innovative materials. 3D Printed products have already been created in the fields of art, product design, interior design and architecture.
The possibilities for innovation are endless, yet the question still remains unanswered. Is it something that will be integral to business campaigns in the near future, or a passing gimmick? If you ask me, 3D printing is here to stay.

Hazel Chen and Alyce Brierley
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Thursday, 4 May 2017

5 Tips For A Successful Consulting Project

For many students, just the thought of doing your first audit can be pretty daunting. It might be hard to believe, but the hardest part is getting the courage to start.

I sat down with The University of Sydney Business School’s Industry Specialist Lecturer Colin Farrell to discuss what makes a great consulting project. Although one would believe that the key is research and analysis, there is, in fact, a lot more to it than just that.

Keep reading to find out how to land a client and get on the road to a consulting success.

1. Ask yourself: what you want out of it?

Before starting your search, you need to sit down and work out what your goals are. Maybe you want to use this project as a platform to launch your career. Perhaps you are looking for a foot in the door to a new industry. Or maybe, you just want to finish your degree and get out of university. Whatever the case, you really need to have a plan of attack.

The first step involves research. Do your homework and look into any potential companies before making contact. Besides making a strategic decision, it will also demonstrate how serious and professional you are.

Look into your network. Ask around and talk to your friends, family, colleagues, or even the bus driver. You never know if they have any interesting contacts that you could reach out to.

Going after a multinational or a larger firm might be the perfect client for some, but don’t count out the smaller firms, start-ups and non-for-profits. They’re likely to have the need for free consultancy work and your research could have a real impact on their business.

2. Approaching your client

Kathryn Minshew speaks at TechCrunch Disrupt NY (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for TechCrunch)
Be confident. What’s the worst they could say? No? You have nothing to lose by getting in touch with potential clients. In a recent interview with Business Insider, Kathryn Minshew, co-founder and CEO of The Muse, says, ‘You are never going to get what you don’t ask for.’

If you need proof that cold-calling or cold-emailing really does work, here is the evidence. The Muse wasn’t looking for a new hire but Minshew received a LinkedIn message from Elliot Bell that changed her mind. Bell was hired as the Director of Marketing a few months later and worked at The Muse for four years. To read Bell’s message click here.

In her book, The New Rules of Work, which she co-authored with her co-founder, Alex Cavoulacos, Minshew breaks down why Bell’s message was so compelling:

  • He included something personal. 
  • He said something nice about her. 
  • He made it clear that he was excited to work with The Muse specifically, and not just any company.
  • He briefly spoke about his background.
  • He mentioned the name of a mutual connection.
  • He made it easy for her to say yes to him by not asking for too much.

3. First Contact

Great, so you hooked yourself a fish, but don’t think that just because they’ve agreed to meet with you that, you’ve already got a client. You have their interest, now it’s time to get them listening.

You need to sell yourself and sell your idea. You may already have done a little research before the initial contact, but this time it’s a good idea to get intimate with your client’s business and their industry.

You will want to “wow” them at the meeting, so prepare a list of well-thought-out questions to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm. You can never be too prepared. Just remember, the initial meeting isn’t about coming up with solutions, it’s more of a diagnostic of sorts. The first meeting is crucial for forming an idea about what the client is asking for, identifying some problems to base your research on, and assuring them of your skills and dedication to offering them value.

4. Establish Trust 

From there on out it should be smooth sailing. You’ve managed to convince them of your capabilities, now all you have to do is maintain the facade. Just joking. Just be (professional) you.

The most important thing at this stage is keeping an open line of communication. That doesn’t mean that you need to send them daily updates, but you will probably need to keep them in the loop whenever you pass a checkpoint or discover anything noteworthy. Just remember that their time is money so keep all contact brief and to the point.

Here are some tips from Colin Farrell about how to handle communications with your client:

  • Keep communications brief, simple and to the point.
  • Demonstrate how you can provide value to their business.
  • Make an effort to always listen to your client with strong eye contact and positive body language (active listening).
  • After each meeting, follow up the meeting with an email thanking them for their time and demonstrate that you have listened to your client by summarising their main points and confirm your next actions with them.
  • Answer questions directly with a good understanding. If you don’t know the answer, say you’ll get back to them.

5. Dealing with your client

Finally, we get down to the 3Cs of dealing with your client, as outlined by Colin in his last lecture. You should use this as a checklist to make sure that you are on the right track in achieving a strong constructive relationship with your client throughout each stage of your project.

  • Stage 1: Co-design. Demonstrate strong due diligence and listening skills. Find out what your client’s business is about and what they stand for, listen to your client’s concerns and goals, and pass on your observations and any secondary research that you have completed.
  • Stage 2: Co-construct. Complete secondary research and discuss these outcomes in relation to your earlier talks. Don’t forget to establish the context and nature of your role as a consultant of providing value to the client’s business.  Again, it is important to listen to your client’s concerns to assist you to work with them to co-construct a management problem or opportunity that will provide value to their business.
  • Stage 3: Co-operate. When you finally have a shared understanding of the business problem and conduct your client’s primary research, keep an open and consistent two-way dialogue with your client, actively listening to what they say. Ask questions along the way and don’t forget to reflect on what they’ve said and incorporate their views in your analysis of the findings and recommendations. If you achieve strong co-operation with your client and establish an environment of trust, they will co-own the recommendations made in your project. An excellent outcome indeed!

Last but not least, remember that research is vital to making strong recommendations. Any advice that you give before concluding your audit is just an assumption. Don’t discredit yourself by making claims that you can’t back up.

The key to a successful project appears to be not the research itself, but how you defend your ideas. Be confident in your ability, your knowledge and education. And if you ever feel like you’re in over your head, remember that you’re not alone. There are many people here to help you out along the way.

Alyce Brierley
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The Disruptor Strikes Down Under

Get ready to have your world changed forever because the Australian Amazon countdown has begun! In case you’ve been living under a rock and have no idea what I’m talking about, Amazon is set to land on Australian shores. This is huge! 

We’re all well aware that Australia may be one of the most beautiful countries in the world, but it’s also incredibly isolated. This can make things tricky for shoppers who rely on online platforms to get the latest goods. Besides having to wait weeks to receive products from overseas vendors, there’s always the threat of quarantine, poor quality or counterfeit goods, even the risk of things getting lost in transit.

If you’re like me, perhaps you’d rather play it safe and go pay full price for something in-store. Lucky for us, things are about to change.

Where does that leave retailers?
It’s been confirmed that from September, Amazon will be launching their retail business in Australia. They aren’t just dipping a toe in the water. No, they’re doing it in a big way. What this means is that Amazon’s scope would cover far more than web services.

Are Aussie retailers ready for the challenge? Surprisingly, according to Commonwealth Bank Retail Insights Report 2017, a third of retailers had no idea Amazon was coming to Australia.

Source: Commonwealth Bank 2017
The key area where retail is falling behind is innovation. While half of Australian retailers were experimenting with new strategies to attract and retain customers, they still lag behind the telecommunications and education sectors. With retail margins being thin, proactivity and innovation in regards to understanding the local market’s needs is crucial for positive change.

Retailers have been warned that, ‘Amazon Marketplace will eat your business’. And with statements such as those from former Amazon employee, Brittain Ladd, retailers are readying their pitchforks.

Ladd was quoted saying, ‘We are going to destroy the retail environment in Australia’. Amazon will “introduce a whole new world of retail and services” to a nation where “entrenched and in some cases duopolistic market conditions have been detrimental to consumers and suppliers”.

While it’s evident that Amazon is set to dramatically impact on the local retail industry, Amazon’s billionaire chief executive Jeff Bezos maintains that he doesn’t want to ‘destroy’ anybody. He just wants to focus on the customers.

“Amazon is obsessed with providing customers with excellent service and choice, and the only way it will be successful in Australia is if local consumers are satisfied with the service and value they receive.”

Did somebody say jobs?

After months waiting for the decision of the US online retail giant’s warehouse location, last Thursday, Amazon finally signed a lease deal for a warehouse in Sydney’s Eastern Creek. The large, purpose-built warehouse will be situated at the Goodman Group’s $50 million Oakdale Industrial Estate.
Bezos spoke of the countless job opportunities he would bring to the area. “We are excited to bring thousands of new jobs to Australia, millions of dollars in additional investment, and to empower small Australian businesses through Amazon Marketplace.”

See this is a good thing! An investment of this scale will generate not only jobs to support its distribution system, but Amazon’s lightening speed delivery times. There will be numerous positive impacts for the companies who partner with Amazon. Not to mention the individuals who will use the platform to sell their own products and services.

We can only hope that the ‘low prices, vast selection, and fast delivery’ concept of Amazon Prime Now will be soon to follow. What’s not to love about one-hour delivery?

Bad news for Woollies and Coles.
Along with electronics and other goods, Amazon Fresh will offer customers same-day delivery of thousands of different fresh grocery items. This is going to revolutionise the way we shop for food.

As of yet Amazon has not made an official announcement, but current market leaders, Woolworths and Coles, should keep on their toes as a dint in their market share and millions of dollars worth of lost revenue. After the invasion of German, low-cost supermarket ,ALDI, Australian retailers would be more prepared to face the threat of global competitors.

Bad news for electronics retailers too.

Traditional supermarkets won’t be the only ones facing challenges. In a report by JB Hi-Fi and Nielsen, a survey showed that 67% of Australians aged over eighteen would likely buy electronic goods from Amazon. As the largest Electronics retailers in Australia, JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman will likely face even more challenges in near future.

What about Amazon Go? 

Can you imagine a store without checkouts or queues? Amazon did exactly that with Amazon Go. Shoppers can simply scan into the store with the Amazon app on their mobile and get tracked while they shop. When they’re done, they just pick up their purchases and the bill is automatically docked from the individual’s account.

The concept of “pick up and go” is a win-win for everyone. The streamlined internal stock systems have the capacity to largely reduce costs for Amazon.

The Sydney Morning Herald revealed that Amazon has plans to open a series of city-based physical stores in Australia and tie in a large TV debut or rollout to hook in local customers. The concept could even combine a drive-through service, which even put fast-food retailers in danger.

As a consumer, you don’t really care about any of this, do you? Let’s be honest with each other. All we want is the convenience of shopping for affordable products from the comfort of our homes while wearing our pyjamas. It’s our hard-earned money and we’ll spend it how we want. So if it’s easier to click some buttons and wait for the knock at the door, than to brave the traffic and drag ourselves down to Westfield. Well, we’re probably going to just click the button. Retailers should be aware of this and plan accordingly. 

Hazel Chen 
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

18 Days and 18 Nights

Have you imagined living at home for 18 days without setting a foot out your door or dying of starvation?

Well, I have good news for you! Now staying at home is easier than ever. With the growing abundance of online home services, you can live happily in your own little cocoon without the stress of going outside, while at the same time maintaining a pretty high quality of life.

The Experiment

Don’t worry, the experiment was not based on the horror movie. The experiment that I’m referring to was recently conducted by QDaily in China. It’s purpose? To see what life would be like for a person to stay at home for 18 days, using only online applications and their services. Surprisingly, during the 432 hours, even with a power blackout and illness, the test subject successfully managed to avoid leaving the house even once. AND she had an exceptionally enriched life.

Here’s what the experiment involved:

- Trialling 103 online applications, and following 61 social media service accounts.

- Using 72 kinds of online home delivered services

- Total spending of $1000

- Without a reserve of groceries stocked in her pantry, friends were allowed to visit but not to bring any products through the doors

Forget boredom…

First, the most obvious need was for food, but with lots of home delivery apps, the test subject got sufficient groceries, food supplies, and even in-house chef services (similar to the CHEFIN in Australia).

Home delivered groceries                                             Dinner with in-house chef service
The next problem was housework. Because she was working from home, she didn’t have the time or patience to do housework herself. However, thanks to on-site services, she got a cleaner, a wardrobe repairer and a launderer to do the dirty work for her.

When she got sick, online diagnosis apps helped her to self-diagnose and self-medicate. Along with the help of medicine delivery services, her products were delivered to her door within the hour.
Delivered medicine
What about leisure time? Yoga trainers, masseuse and hairdressers all provided excellent services for keeping fit and staying beautiful, all from the comfort of her home.

   Hair dresser                                                  Yoga trainer
Still not enough to stave off boredom? She got roses delivered and even found a rental pet to play with for the day.

Delivered roses                                                Rented pet dog

After the 18 days were up, she was still healthy, energetic, well fed, with a clean and neat house that was even decorated with flowers. What’s more, some of the people who provided their services eventually became her friends.

This might sound a bit out there to you, but with the sheer number of digital apps filling up our lives, this is what our world has become. Even though many of don’t yet heavily rely on on-site services, most of us are using at least 2 to 3 apps every day. And that number is sure to only grow.

Online statistics show that the amount of internet users has doubled during the last seven years, and the average time spent online has gone through the roof. With more advanced technology and the abundance of online services available, users are able to live through the internet. Whether it’s to work, play or shop, consumers are able to make decisions simply by clicking buttons on a digital device.

This lifestyle trend has influenced all industries. Consequently, online business have thrived in recent years. New applications have flooded the app stores, and e-commerce companies are fighting to increase their delivery speeds. For example, several years ago in China, where the trend is way ahead of the western word, in most areas the average delivery time was one and a half days. Now it takes less than 24 hours. Some firms with specialised products are competing to deliver in under half a day and in some cases less than one hour!

More and more companies have joined the digital platform, which has in turn created a diverse online ecosystem. They have analysed customer migration pathways in detail and partnered with other firms to cover entire neighbourhoods. In order for the ecosystem to function, consumers have been saturated with ad exposure, attractive content, entertainment interaction, physical shops filled with tempting products and convenient delivery services.

With this level of convenience, coupled with the ever accelerating fast pace of life, it is altogether too tempting for consumers to further simplify their lives by integrating the real world with their digital devices. Let’s face it, you would have to be crazy not to!

Bowie Chen
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.
Bowie has several years’ experience working in FMCG marketing, media, and consulting field.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Fresh in Our Memories

Happy Monday everyone! What’s so happy about Monday you ask? Well for one thing, tomorrow we get a day off because it’s a national holiday. But before you get excited, I should tell you that it’s not the appropriate time for celebration. 

In case you hail from other parts of the world, you might not know that tomorrow is ANZAC Day. Yes, ANZACs are a delicious biscuit that you might have come across in Woolworths, but although Aussies are more than a little eccentric, we don’t love biscuits enough to give them a national holiday.

The Iconic ANZAC biscuit.

Australians recognise ANZAC Day, 25 April of each year, as a day of national remembrance. It’s a time for our country to commemorate all Australians who served and died in war and on operational service. 

Around the country, millions of service goers get up early to attend commemorative ceremonies. I know this is quite somber and I apologise, but I am going somewhere with this.

While it’s still fresh in our memory…

In recent years marketers have tried to cash in on the day with disastrous PR consequences. Some may still remember Woolworths blunder back in 2015 where they called Australians to upload photographs of individuals affected by World War I to their "profile picture generator", which was then watermarked with the Woolworths logo and tag "Lest We Forget Anzac 1915-2015. Fresh in our memories".

Backlash from Woolworths ‘Fresh in Our Memories’ campaign.
I’m hoping that you might see how that could be construed as offensive. Sorry Woolies. You are still my supermarket of choice, but that wasn’t cool. Besides the fact that things will always get complicated when exploiting the loss of lives for financial gain, why would they want to have that kind of negative brand association?

While they are not alone, others have jumped on the bandwagon in a slightly more sensitive way. A spokeswoman from Coles said this year customers could support the Bravery Trust, which helps veterans and their families, by donating at registers or by purchasing a 12-pack of Coles Bakery Anzac Biscuits, Coconut Drops or Choc Chip Cookies.

The launch of the Raise a Glass initiative at the Kent Hotel in 2009. Photo: Darren Pateman.
Image courtesy of Canberra Times.
Back in 2009, Aussie beer giants, VB, took a different route and simply asked Australians to ‘Raise A Glass’ on Anzac Day to remember the Diggers. The ad featured General Peter Cosgrove and the campaign raised money for the RSL and Legacy. 

Who could forget the bugle bungle?

Channel Seven was forced to give an on-air apology, after the network accidentally cut to an advertisement during the playing of The Last Post ahead of the Richmond-Melbourne AFL game.

A bugler was 20 seconds into playing The Last Post for the Anzac commemoration, when the network cut to an advertisement for My Kitchen Rules.

Last year, the Anzac Day bugle tribute at MCG was cut short by ads, leaving viewers at home baffled and outraged.
Image courtesy: The Age
Negative Brand Associations
Besides being ‘one of the most dangerous days of the year for marketers to try to get involved in’, as pointed out by Ben Willee, of Spinach advertising firm, ANZAC day in Australia is a sore topic.

Poppies adorn a memorial shrine for ANZAC Day services.
Image courtesy SBS
Marketing consultant Adam Ferrier said to the Sydney Morning Herald that Anzac Day was a "tough day for retailers to get right as there is very little they offer which fits what Anzac Day actually commemorates.
"Therefore when brands do try and associate themselves with the day it comes across as forced and opportunistic. Most brands prefer to safely quietly revere the day, and leave it as sacred.’’ So fellow marketers, take this lesson and remember that there are other ways of providing value to customers without compromising ethics or harming your brand’s image. And sometimes that way, is to be silent and say nothing at all.

Alyce Brierley
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

5 Ways to Beat the Post-Holiday Blues

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a nice long weekend! We couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather to enjoy the Easter holiday break. But now, for many it’s time to go back to work and buckle down for exams. Life might seem bleak right now, but don’t despair! It’s probably just the post-holiday blues.

Take this quick quiz to see if this sounds like you.

1. You can’t sleep at night and can’t get up in the morning.

2. You have no interest in anything after holiday

3. You want to quit your job and lie on the beach everyday

4. You can’t find the will to exercise

5. You have no focus for the things you need to work on

6. You have become addicted to shopping, surfing the internet or playing video games

If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, congratulations! You may just have the post-holiday blues (otherwise known as PHB). Welcome back to reality! Keep reading to find out how you can motivate yourself to open your lecture notes and get back into the swing of things. 

What are the post-holiday blues?

Different countries and regions have different names for it. Some call it post-travel depression. In other places you may know it as post-holiday syndrome. Essentially this disorder is a type of psychological shift that occurs after coming home and returning to a normal routine after a relaxing vacation. PHB sufferers realise how boring or mundane his or her normal life is in comparison with the excitement of travel and adventure. 

Whether it’s tiredness, lack of appetite or energy or extreme drowsiness, PHB affects everyone in different ways. But the most important thing to get you through the darkness is the fact that you had an amazing holiday with your family/ friends and now you are re-energised to resume your regular life again. 

Ok, so how can we cope with the post-holiday blues?

Unfortunately there is no treatment for PHB. Old routines may feel heavier than the force of gravity after days of weightlessness- a familiar burden that suddenly feels harder to bear. But with a bit of effort and determination, you may find that your batteries have been recharged and in a few days you will feel full of energy to continue your life journey. 

If you are still feeling glum, here are some tips to help you bounce back even faster.

1. Start planning your next holiday in advance.

Look forward to your next trip and avoid the stress of planning last minute. Proper planning can help you and your family to enjoy your moments together and save time and MONEY.

2, Immerse yourself in culture.

Instead of travelling far away, tiring yourself out from driving or hiking, why not just take advantage of Sydney’s cultural scene. You could hang around in the street and explore the most talented buskers, go to a museum or attend a classical concert at the Opera House wearing your most elegant dress/suit.

3. Treat yourself to a spa day.

Daily pressure and fatigue results in low levels of blood flow, which could influence the metabolism of epidermal cells. So, indulging in a spa treatment or a massage are great options to take care of your skin after days of lounging under the torrid sun.

4. Confide in someone.

It’s not good to keep things bottled up. Confiding in someone you trust whether it be your father or mother can help you get issues off your chest. Besides, parents love drama. Apart from regaling them with anecdotes about your life, they should be glad for your company and are probably happy to hear about your life.

5. Stay at home.

Don’t feel guilty about not having the energy to leave the house. Sometimes the perfect cure is pyjamas, popcorn and a good series. It’s good to be a couch potato once in a while. As long as sooner or later you get back to work on the things that matter.

One last thing before I go. It’s not important how you suffer from post-holiday blues or how you cope with the fallout. You can always remember the enjoyable moments you shared with the people you love. Just let those joyful memories light up the road in front of you. You can do this! Open those study notes today!

Hazel Chen
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Hungry for Health

How Consumers’ Power Can Influence an Industry

You may or may not have noticed, but here in Australia, we are a nation of fitness freaks. Think that I’m wrong? I’d wager that at around half the people reading this article would have some form of vitamin or dietary supplement in their home.

A study performed in 2015 by Roy Morgan Research shows that 8.1 million Aussies 14+ (or 42% of the population) bought vitamins, minerals and/or supplements in any given six-month period — a substantial increase on the 6.6 million consumers (36%) who bought them in the year to June 2011.

In Australia, the consumer health market has reached $6.5bn. Within the consumer health market the increase in health related issues has seen the consumer health market skyrocket worldwide. This is a rapid growing trend that is sure to only grow in the coming years.

Purchased vitamins in the last 6 months: men vs women. Source: Roy Morgan Research, Checking the health of Australia’s vitamin market, September 22 2015

What are the key drivers?

It may surprise you, but according to a 2016 Euromonitor Report the vitamins and dietary supplements market segment has gained a value growth of 6% in 2016, driven by booming Chinese demand for Australian-made vitamins and dietary supplements products. 

The insatiable demand from the Chinese market.

With increasing household incomes, raising concerns of the pollution of the local environment, and the growing need for better quality health products, Chinese consumers start to look at the broader market, and make their purchase overseas. 

So where better to shop than next door, in Australia? With our optimal environment and strict quality control over pharmaceutical manufacturing, Australia has become one of the key destinations for Chinese consumers to shop for their dietary needs. 

And so the Health Industry reacts…

In acknowledgement of this lucrative business opportunity, the health industry in Australia has actively changed their strategies to embrace this consumer trend.

Swisse, one of the largest vitamin and supplement manufacturers in Australia, has grabbed the so-called bull by the horns, setting up a Chinese language version of their official website, with clear segment drives traffic to a Chinese e-commerce platform and Chinese social media. 

Furthermore, clear and well-organised displays can be observed in Australian stores, with detailed product information in the Chinese language in order to provide a better understanding of the products for Chinese consumers. 

What are the retailers’ approaches towards the trend?

Amcal, one of the largest pharmacy chains in Australia, is attempting to meet the Chinese appetite for Australian-made products. Going so far as to launch a new version of their e-commerce platform in Mandarin Chinese language.

What was their aim? To break the culture and language barriers between Australian pharmaceutical companies and their target market- Chinese consumers, with the added bonus of offering the convenience of direct shipping to China.

The end-users transition to acting as distributors.

With record growing numbers of social media users in China, students have started to interact in the health community to play the part of Daigou. Daigou are influencers who sell products through their personal network, some making such killing, they often ship a staggering thirty to fifty orders per week to China. Many have been so profitable they have even quit their day job to make this as their principal form of business.

Consumers hold the power.

These days we are witnessing a growing trend of consumers influencing entire industries. The subtle marketing relationships between these interwoven segments means that if the demand from one of these segments changes then a domino effect could see the entire market shift. 

Now that’s what I call influential.

Bowie Chen
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.
Bowie has several years’ experience working in FMCG marketing, media, and consulting field.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

The Five Golden No-No's of Personal Branding

Chances are, when you're looking for a job, you're probably going to want to try and impress whoever it is that's reading your resume.

As Master of Marketing students, we have a pretty good idea of what to do when it comes to personal branding, but how many of us know what not to do? It might seems tempting, but it’s important not to fall into the trap of branding yourself as ‘the best USYD alum, Disrupter, Content Marketer/ Relationship Manager/Office Administrator/ Professional/ Part-time Surfer in Sydney’.

Forbes writer, Liz Ryan, maintains that, 'Praising yourself is beneath you. Let other people praise you. That's not your job! (read the original article here). Keep reading to find out about some of the personal branding choices to avoid before you end up branding yourself as a moron.

1. Branding yourself as a "guru", "mogul" or "expert"

Honestly, it's best to just stay humble. Using praising adjectives like "savvy", "strategic" or "visionary" isn't going to impress anybody. In face, besides landing your CV in the bin, all it's doing is wasting space where you could have written something meaningful. It's much more compelling if you describe yourself in a down to earth manner and not with an inflated view of yourself.

So what if saving you are an expert get you an interview? As soon as you open your mouth, the interviewer will either think you are full of yourself or wonder who wrote your resume. Confidence is great, but unless you really are a guru, mogul or expert, you are just going to look like a phony.

2. Overusing corporate jargon

‘Results-driven Marketing Specialist skilled at evaluating data, making strategic decisions, leading cross-functional teams, driving revenue and adding value by developing game changing marketing initiatives.'

What are you? Are you a human being or a robot?

Using corporate and institutional language is boring. And more importantly, it's very impersonal. Stand out from the crowd and tell your own story with your own words, not a generic template.

3. Boasting

'Elite USYD graduate and alum of McKinsey, PwC and Deloitte.'

Roll out the red carpet! Now you've made it clear that you are elite enough to get into the University of Sydney and work for three big league consulting firms, is that all you amount to?

What's more impressive is to explain how you added value to each of these organisations. What did you contribute and what can you now bring to the table?

4. Blowing your own horn

'I'm the best, the one, the only.'

Calling yourself the 'Best Digital Marketer in Sydney’ or the 'Greatest Marketing Specialist in the Southern Hemisphere’ is a pretty amateur way of branding yourself.
And let's face it, just a little obnoxious too.

The problem with touting yourself as the best is that it shows that you lack the confidence and originality to talk about your career accomplishments in human-speak.

5. Listing everything

It also puts people off from wanting to work with you. Remember, there is no 'I' in team.
I really like lists. But listing all your skills and accomplishments isn’t really the ideal way to describe yourself. It may be a common branding choice, but that doesn’t mean you should do it! Do you really want to brand yourself based solely on the tasks you can perform?

Take this for example:
"Communications, Marketing, Relationship Management, Office Administration Professional Seeking New Challenge."

Besides the fact that there are a few organisations that post jobs of this description, this brand is extremely poorly positioned. Someone who brands themselves in this way is telling the world that they still don’t know what they want to do with their life so they're just putting it all out there.

Who are you? I mean who are you really, what do you want and where do you fit in the market?

Personal branding is easy when you just be you. And with that I'm going to leave you with a quote from the wise author and philosopher, Dr Seuss, "Today you are you, that's truer than true. There's no one alive who is truer than you." Wiser words have never been spoken.

Alyce Brierley
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.