Thursday, 31 October 2013

Live Webinar: Master of Marketing at the University of Sydney Business School

If you are interested in the Master of Marketing you can join our live webinar to find out how it can help take your career in the right direction. 

Join us for a webinar on November 6 2013 at 12:00PM AEST.

Hear from our Program Director Associate Professor Pennie Frow and current students about the extensive benefits of the program and how it can challenge you as a marketer. Find out more about: 
  • Course content and structure 
  • Practical and applied learning approach
  • Industry-based project options 
  • International project option 
  • Student learning experience 

You will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar following registration.

Elena Sveshnikova

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Movember already!

Can you believe that we are already at the end of October? For some Master of Marketing students, we are at our last two teaching weeks of the degree. A mixture of stress, joy and anticipation fills the air. Along with the warm Sydney weather, November also brings moustaches. Yes that’s right – Moustaches.

Since 2004, The Movember Foundation Charity has been raising awareness for men's health through international and local campaigns. They take a very serious issue, and communicate it in an unexpected, fun and engaging way. Considering their target market, I’d say their communications are spot on! It’s difficult to talk about topics like prostate cancer, but Movember has been changing the way men think about their own health.

This year moustache superstar, actor Nick Offerman is back again to promote Movember. Released last week, the ‘mo-cumentary’ is already gaining traction in the viral sphere. It’s funny, it’s high quality, and it’s for a great cause. Offerman also starred in 2012’s Movember video, one of the top 10 most watched charity videos with 1.9 million views.

In addition to this video there is the micro site, filled with very manly things. Mainly original content, with a few sponsors here and there, Movember have created a campaign that not only drums up interest, but also adds value.

Although I can’t grow a mo, I’ll be sure to give it a try in the mouth of November. If I’m looking hairier in December I’ll be blaming it on Nick Offerman and his majestic moustache.

Find out more information at

Hongi Luo
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 25 October 2013

Not-to-be-missed! 'Marketing Innovation in the Digital Age' panel

The Master of Marketing Program is hosting a not-to-be-missed event for Monday 18 November at the Business School’s CBD Campus. Invitations will go out next Tuesday 29 October. 

The event will bring together current students, teachers and alumni of the Program and a number of outstanding marketing industry executives and will feature a panel discussion chaired by Professor Donnel Briley on the subject of “Marketing Innovation in the Digital Age”.  The event will feature two award winning companies to the panel.  They are Komosion and CTD. Komosion will be represented by Managing Director, John O’Neill and Georgie Scott will represent CTD. Georgie is Marketing Manager at CTD and is a Marketing Major from our Business School. 

Associate Professor Terry Beed, the Master of Marketing outreach manager says “This will be another example of the continuing engagement of our program with leaders of the marketing industry. Earlier this year, the Master of hosted Jodie Sangster, CEO of Australian Data Driven Marketing Association (ADMA), James Butcher, Sales and Marketing Director of Microsoft MSN, Mike Read, Director of HR and Culture at Starcom Media Vest and other leading industry figures to events, providing great networking opportunities and feedback about current opportunities in the marketing profession. The 18 November event promises to deliver these benefits and insights to our student group once again, a significant value-add in the Business School’s Master of Marketing experience”.   

Kate Charlton, who also teaches the advanced integrated marketing communications subject in the M Mktg Program, will bring her considerable agency experience to the panel in what promises to be a lively and dynamic session. 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Big Data vs Real Insights

One of the most powerful lessons we have learned from our intense Integrated Marketing Communication class is that big data does not substitute the human aspect in marketing and advertising. Instead, we need to go beyond data by penetrating the exterior of every single customer to understand them on a very personal level; marketers and advertisers will then generate strong insight that makes their products or ads even more desirable.
With so much data, however, marketers are given an amazing tool to manage and justify every marketing campaign’s decision with less guesswork and risk-taking than ever before. No one can deny that data does offer a very thorough picture of certain social networks or even of an exact individual.  It also gives a greater understanding of customers’ decision-making. But, with so much data available is it extremely easy to get almost blinded by big data, and thus to miss the customer’s real story.

In critically evaluating various commercials in our Marketing Integrated class, the matter of real insight becomes clear. Data has to be connected to someone unique, someone who will be at the end of marketing and advertising activities.  Metrics alone are not always comparable to real insight. One of the case studies we went through proves that while analytics were showing that “mums want protect their babies from wetness,” the whole story was about “mums who want to do the right thing.”

There is no doubt, big data is a fantastic tool that can improve marketing performance as we have gotten to the stage of the digital era in which consumers almost expect a highly personalised experience. However, there is always a challenge for marketing and advertising practitioners to step beyond what is easy to measure, and to find out what people care about and what motivates them the most. It seems to me that to attain powerful insight, we need a mixture of hard data and personal interaction.

Elena Sveshnikova
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Google our Lives

Did you know that Google is making us more forgetful? According to research, and a recent survey the ease of simply “Googling” something is making the connections and links in our brains that form memory weaker. 

Instead of racking our brains, we reach for our devices.

It’s not all bad news though. Google is also changing the way we live for the better, and have come up with some clever stories. Remember the Superbowl ad for Parisian Love, highlighting what a clever little assistant Google Search can be? It’s smart, simple, original, and inexpensive. Who says you need a big budget to make a good ad?

I am a big fan of Google. Especially Google Search. But I recently realised that not everyone searches the same way. The Parisian Love story isn’t as relatable to some people, not because of its geographical distance, but because some people would just not think to ‘Google’ certain things. You see, I don’t use Search for when I can’t remember things, I use search when I have questions of the unknown. “Why do I get coffee breath?” “Why does garlic turn blue?” “Is it okay to eat uncooked cocktail sausages?” “What time does the sun set?” When working on a group assignment, a classmate pointed out how peculiar she found it; being dissatisfied with not knowing, and Googling everything.

Some people, perhaps those who are still getting used to our ever tech-infused world, still only use Google to ‘search’ in the traditional sense. Asking Google “Where is the best place to get coffee in Newtown” simply does not cross their mind. This may be why certain products, like the Google Glass, just seem to absolutely baffle people – they simply cannot understand the need for such a device. In this instance, I can’t help but wonder, does innovation match behaviour or dictate it?

While I can’t answer for sure, I did feel a deep connection with the recent Google Maps ad released last week. This is because it completely reflected my personal behaviour, something I thought no one else did. A behaviour that could have only been made possible with the innovation of Google and Maps.

Saroo Brierley found his way home using Google Maps. This technology not only makes navigation a breeze in our contemporary lives, it also breaks down barriers in space and time. 

The Maps video was so poignant for me because a year ago, I had done the same. Although I never went further than my screen and keyboard, my search was a similar one. I was born in China, and moved to New Zealand when I was five. Only glowing snippets of memory remain of my formative years. While I couldn’t simply Search for my missing memories, I used Maps to go back to my hometown, stroll its streets, and get a glimpse of faintly familiar sights. It was reassuring to know it’s still there.

Google is more than a search engine. And although we can argue about concerns over privacy, it would be difficult to say that Google isn’t trying to enrich our experience online. And although I can’t predict whether having Google infused with life is a positive or a negative, I can say that I will try to spend more time racking my brain when I forget.

Hongi Luo
Current student in the
Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Everything Is Samuel L. Jackson's Fault


This advertisement is for an independent US nonprofit organisation called Common Sense Media . According to their website, their goal is to “help parents make informed media decisions for their children” relating to movies, television, games, music, books, websites and apps.

Do you think this advertisement is effective in communicating the key message to the target audience of parents?

A friend shared this advertisement on Facebook last week with the comment – “This really made me laugh…. so true”. From this Facebook post, it would appear that the advertisement has been successful in evoking an emotion (through the use of humour). They were motivated to share this advertisement with their social network, which is no easy task for an advertiser. On initial review, this advertisement seems do be doing the trick. But let’s go beyond initial reactions to critically evaluate the advertisement using the S.C.O.R.E method:

SIMPLE: Yes – Parent’s should take responsibility for making informed decisions about what their children watch.

CREATIVE: Yes – Impact is delivered through many elements: humour, exaggeration and celebrity (Samuel L. Jackson). The message is told to us in an entertaining way and holds the viewers attention as the story/message unfolds.

ORIGINAL: Yes. – A very unique approach for an organisation that is generally regarded as ‘conservative’. Unexpected for this category.

: Yes – This advertisement is relevant to the target audience of parents. Through the use of humour and exaggeration, they have successfully mirrored the behaviour of parents who do not take responsibility for the movies their children watch. They have put the spotlight on the exact behaviour they are aiming to change.

ETHICAL: Yes – Although the ad features strong language, the swear words have been bleeped out and it is contextually “ethical” based on the message being communicated to the target audience of parents.

Overall, I believe this is a very strong and effective advertisement.

Samantha Jang
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

You are where you advertise

Lots of eyes seeing your ad is not necessarily a good thing. This was a lesson learnt by big names Telstra and Qantas when their banners appeared  on the Mongol’s website. The international motorcycle club has been making their mark on Australia, and spikes in visitors to their website has seen them top advertiser’s lists.

Advertise on a website with lots of traffic, right? Not always. Although you want to drive up clicks to your website, you want these clicks to translate into meaningful interaction with potential customers. Just like sponsorships and affiliations, where your online advertisements show up, will also transfer attributes to your brand. For example, if you are brand selling beautiful high-heeled shoes, what attributes will your customers think of your brand if they see your ads on a website selling cheap hot dogs? Okay… that example is a bit of a stretch. But consider the consequences of attributes from a motorcycle gang, known for their violent tendencies, transferring onto a brand like Qantas?

In this case, both Telstra and Qantas blamed their online publishers for letting their banners slip through the cracks. Bulk buying media online can be a risky practice.

I decided to visit the Mongol’s website and see if their high traffic was still pulling in big name advertisers. I found ads for a discrete adult service company, Harley motorcycle parts and what seems to be a very trustworthy Bail Bondsman.
When advertising online, you have to know where you customer will be. You are where you advertise!

Hongi Luo
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Thursday, 10 October 2013

PepsiCo's Strategic Focus

Today’s blog post is a repost from Evaluate Market Performance Lecturer, Geoff Fripp. Geoff has 25 years marketing experience working for organisations such as Telstra and St George Bank. During his distinguished corporate career, he has worked hands-on in most specialty areas of marketing, as well as holding senior strategic roles. He has also held several adjunct teaching appointments since 1988, with the Australian Institute of Management, the University of Sydney Centre for Continuing Education and the Business School.

I've just finished writing a case study for the recent launch of Pepsi Next into Australia in September 2012. No doubt you've probably been touched by some aspect of their Australian launch, ranging from guitar-playing babies with inept parents, to taste-test challenges across 300 outdoor locations, to heavy in-store promotion and discounting.

[image courtesy:]

By way of background, Pepsi Next is best described as a mid-calorie cola beverage, consisting of a half sugar and a half artificial sweetener formula. Upon first consideration you would think that this new product would find itself in no-man's land as it violates the first rule of modern marketing; appeal to a target market. And at first glance, the Pepsi Next product appears to be a good 'bad example' of how not to do this, by offering a product mid-way between the needs of two segments and probably appealing to neither very effectively.

However, my first glance at the product wasn't quite accurate. According to PepsiCo, this new product has a very defined target market - lapsed cola drinkers. Since 2005 in the US, the soft drink market has been in early decline with unit volumes slightly decreasing each year. Research has identified that sales are being predominately lost to bottled water and, to a much lesser extent, to energy drinks, sports drinks and juices and teas.

This shift in consumer drinking preferences isn't too much of a concern for PepsiCo across the board, being the second largest food and beverage firm in the world (behind Nestle) and boasting 22 brands that each generate over $1 billion in sales per year, including non-soft drinks brands such as Gatorade and Tropicana.

However, the concern at PepsiCo is more related to their flagship brand, Pepsi itself. Only last year it lost its long-term second place in the US market, with Diet Coke sales now exceeding Pepsi. In fact, Pepsi has lost about four market share points in the last ten years in the now declining US carbonated soft drink market.

[image courtesy:]

Hence, they introduced Pepsi Next in the US in February 2012; a brand that they hope will become the 'choice of the NEXT generation' and lure lapsed cola drinkers back into the market by providing a lower sugar alternative and to help re-energise the overall Pepsi brand.

But while all this sounds like a pretty straightforward strategic response to a more challenging marketing environment, where PepsiCo stands out in this case is with its incredible strategic focus. This is a firm that has tried and failed a number of times before with the same product concept. In fact, this is their fifth stab at a mid-calorie cola beverage; starting with a version Pepsi Light in the 1970's, Jake's Cola in the 1980's, Pepsi XL in the 1990's and Pepsi Edge as recently as the mid-2000's.

Many firms would have got the message from the market and walked away from such a troublesome idea. However, PepsiCo's persistence and commitment to their strategy has paid dividends throughout the corporation. Despite previous setbacks and failures with mid-calorie beverages they introduced Gatorade G2, which became the most successful food and beverage new product entry into the US market in 2008. This was followed by Trop50 in 2010, a mid-calorie version of Tropicana, which now generates over $150 million in annual sales in its own right.

While it's too early to determine whether Pepsi Next will survive in the highly competitive soft drink market, the commitment of PepsiCo's to this style of product provides a very important strategic lesson for all firms.

I think it was WC Fields who said, "If at first you don't succeed, try again, if you still don't succeed give up - there's no point being a damn fool about it". And it appears that this is a motto that many firms adopt and there are even firms that don't even try again the first time.

This style of approach to the market is going to lead to an organization being too flexible and inconsistent in their strategy development, as they lack the courage to pursue the market as they see it. But, of course, there's a fine line between strategic commitment and strategic stubbornness - the skill is in not only knowing the difference, but also convincing everyone else on the team that we should 'keep going'.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

What can the Master of Marketing offer you? Alumni, Samara Davie

Samara Davie is an alumnus of the Master of Marketing. She is now Sponsorship Specialist, Corporate Marketing at Telstra. Hear what she has to say about her experience as a student with the University of Sydney Business School.

If you are interested in the Master of Marketing, why not attend our Postgraduate Information Session next week? The Master of Marketing is an invaluable opportunity to become an expert in marketing as well connecting you with real industry professionals

Have the opportunity to speak with lecturers and current students. 
Date: Wednesday 16th October 2013
Time: 6-8pm
Level 17, Stockland Building,
133 Castlereagh Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Register and find more information here.

What SHAPES a brand?

Throughout the Masters of Marketing program we have covered the subject of branding quite extensively, from building a strong brand (Innovative Marketing Strategies), measuring its effectiveness (Evaluating Marketing Performance), through to leveraging it internally (Internal Marketing).  But what does a brand manager actually do?  I caught up with a senior brand manager from Arnott’s to give us a little bit of insight.

Pizza SHAPES were my main source of nutrition as I travelled Australia back in 2003, and I have been a big fan ever since.  So you can imagine how happy I was to randomly bump into the senior brand manager for the entire SHAPES range. I had a lot of questions that needed answering. Why do I love pizza SHAPES so much? Why are they my ‘go-to’ snack? Why do I consider them healthier than other alternatives in the category? Why do I care that I can see flavour? Can I have a job please?

The answers lie within the marketing of the product and how the brand is mapped in my mind.  For me, pizza SHAPES are associated with: Australia; fun; treat; tasty; travel; friends; health (they are baked!); reward; snack; youth; box; purple; fresh; pizza dust; inexpensive.  These links to the brand are strongly connected, ensuring that pizza SHAPES are frequently at the front of my mind. Positioning is important, as it is a fast-moving good that requires low consumer involvement. This means it is important for brands to occupy a clear space in consumers’ minds and offer a consistently positive experience. Some of the associations are based on my experience of the brand, but the majority of them are due to effective management of the marketing mix. A brand manager is the person pulling all of these strings.

Central to any brand manager’s role is the strategy for the brand. Marketing activity will be SHAPED by where the brand is today, and where you want it to be in the future. This vision is determined by the brand manager and, for the SHAPES brand, realized by working closely alongside agency partners; product development; production (factory); sales teams and advertising. A brand manager needs to know their product, consumer and category inside out. In addition, they need to leverage this knowledge to manage internal and external parties to successfully deliver on the strategy. The diagram below illustrates a few of the parties that the SHAPES senior brand manager touches in their role.

As you can see, the brand manager’s role is very broad, spread internally and externally, and penetrates most aspects of the business.  They have to keep a lot of plates spinning and ensure all of these elements work together to ensure consistency and success within the market. Product development (within project management) is key to the long-term success of any brand, particularly within fast moving consumer goods. It keeps it fresh and exciting and ensures an ongoing dialogue with consumers. An example of this is the recent release of the SHAPES Soundz range, a new product development that epitomizes what Shapes is all about: fun and flavour!

So just as I am trying hard to kick my SHAPES habit, I can now add anything musical to my list of associations, giving me even more reasons to explain how an empty purple box ended up in my bin.
A prize to anyone who can use the word SHAPES more times in a blog post. Now go out and buy some of the new SHAPES Soundz!

Adam Kennedy
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 4 October 2013

Integrate fried chicken into your life

We’ve been learning a lot about Integrated Marketing Communications lately in our Master of Marketing. It’s been an eye opening experience, and now I see the world around me so much clearer. Maybe ‘clearer’ isn’t the right term… I see the world around me with a critical eye; constantly trying to decipher what is being communicated to me through subtle techniques, suggestive words and semiotics. I had become adjusted to the idea that advertisers are very clever with their ‘selling.’ This was until I turned on the T.V one night, and it all caught me off guard…


From 7pm, Channel Nine turns into a station dedicated for KFC. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a bit. The TVC’s at every break of Big Brother is pretty standard when you are trying to buy up a primetime spot for your brand. But it was the conclusion of the episode that really made my jaw drop: after being on a restrictive diet, Big Brother rewards the housemates with KFC. Housemates go wild! KFC sales skyrocket?

I did a quick Google search, and since KFC were also the sponsors of last year’s Big Brother, there are endless moments where housemates enjoyed large amounts of fried food on screen. A conversation for another time is what about the ethical issues surrounding children seeing these fit, good-looking people on TV consuming large amounts of low nutrient, high-calorie food?

I understand this is pretty typical for sponsors to be integrated into shows – Top Gear does it, X Factor does it, but I couldn’t help but be irritated. The TVC’s were fine, they were executed with quality, I simply just got bored of it all – and having the episode close with another bucket of chicken really hit the nail in the coffin for me. I don’t usually watch Big Brother (or much of any reality T.V really), but I certainly won’t be tuning into KFC hour again.

Then it made me think: is this doing the same thing to other potential customers? Perhaps oversaturation can be just as detrimental to your brand as a lack of presence?

This idea of oversaturation can apply to amazing and inspiring TVC’s too. In our Integrated Marketing Communications class, we talked about how the most clever and original ads can lose its effect if audiences get bored of it quickly. It’s about walking the fine line of being interesting and being irritating.

I think it’s smart to sponsor a high-rated and popular T.V show. But I think it’s smarter if you can create a campaign that isn’t so transparent and will inspire your audience embrace your brand.

Hongi  Luo
Current student in the
Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School