Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Marketing Trends for 2016

Marketing practices are constantly changing, growing and evolving. With the rises in new technology these changes are happening quicker than ever before. In the past few years alone we have seen digital marketing undergo radical changes to keep pace with new emerging technologies.

It’s not enough to just spot a trend these days and then jump on the bandwagon. It is about looking beyond what we currently know as marketers and trying to stay ahead of the curve rather than behind it. With that in mind, in this week’s blog I will be looking at the top trends in 2016 to look out for.

Relationship marketing
In my very first module in the Masters of Marketing I learnt about the power of relationships in marketing practice. As smartphone proliferation continues to grow in many markets around the world, so do the opportunities for brands to engage and connect with customers.

Relationship marketing is not a new phenomenon but it is becoming increasingly important for many companies. In fact, the brands that are able to make the most rich and meaningful connections are usually those who are the most successful. So think carefully about your customer relationships and how they can be strengthened to create new brand advocates who shout loudly and positively about your business. 


The rise of the CMT
CMT is short for Chief Marketing Technologist. With the rapid rise and dependency on technology in marketing many firms are looking to recruit CMTs to their organisations. So what exactly does a CMT do? They are part strategy, part creative, part technology and part teacher, in short their role is usually to align marketing technology with the business goals of the organisation. CMT work to bridge the gap between marketing and IT, and must be able to seamlessly work between both groups. Many roles with this title will be appearing on the job market in 2016.


Virtual Reality
Earlier this year I wrote a blog about the new technology, Oculus Rift, that allows users to immerse themselves into a virtual world. While it would be silly to predict that virtual reality will be mainstream in the coming year, it will certainly be growing in popularity. In fact, in early 2016 we will finally get to see the first consumer version of the Oculus VR, otherwise known as “The Rift” headset available for sale.

The implications of this new platform for marketing are going to be immense. In the same way that companies such as Facebook have changed the social space, Oculus Rift is looking to change the virtual space. It just so happens that Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook paid $400 million in cash and $1.6 billion in Facebook stock to acquire Oculus last year.


Ephemeral and video marketing
What is ephemeral marketing I hear you cry? Ephemeral simply means to last for a very short time. It is usually content that is exclusive or has a very short expiration date. Snapchat has already successfully used this technique in its platform to continue its impressive growth this year. We are now seeing growth in other platforms such as Periscope, Facebook Mentions and Meerkat, which have become popular with the younger generation.

In a world where people have less time and are on the go more often, this ‘less is more’ approach appears to be cutting through. The opportunity for advertising and promotion in live news or broadcast feeds has also gained pace this year. Video ads are beginning to dominate with companies such as YouTube hosting billions of ads each day. With consumers becoming increasingly accepting of video advertisements, the trend of them appearing in unexpected ways on the web looks likely to continue.


Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Merry Christmas from the Masters of Marketing

I would like to wish all of the readers of the Marketing Matters blog a very merry Christmas. To celebrate the holiday season, this special blog is all about festive advertisements. It may not be snowing outside but let the countdown begin!

Monty the Penguin
Since this ad was launched in the build up to Christmas 2014 it has gained a staggering 26 million views. The advert tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a little boy named Sam and his penguin friend Monty. The soundtrack to the ad was a cover of John Lennon’s song ‘Real Love’ sung by Tom Odell.

The advert costed £1 million pounds to produce with the total campaign cost coming in at £7 million. The group used to create the CGI animation of Monty the penguin was the same team used in high budget movies such as Planet of the Apes and World War Z.

As soon as the advertisement came out, the stuffed toy version Monty instantly sold out in stores and were being resold online for more than six times their face value. Monty-mania drove John Lewis to have one of their most successful Christmas trading periods in their history.

WestJet Christmas Miracle
If you want a great example of how businesses can engage with their customers in a fun and unique way at Christmas, then look no further than the WestJet Christmas Miracle.

Upon boarding their flight in Ontario passengers were asked what gift they would like for Christmas. As soon as the plane takes off there is a mad dash from the WestJet employees to buy and wrap the presents for the passengers. A few hours later in Calgary the gifts are waiting on the baggage carousel for the unsuspecting customers. Everything from TVs, toys and even socks were delivered to the amazement and joy of the customers.

43 million views later, this advert still continues to spread some fun festive cheer.

Toys R Us
What says Christmas more than toys? This iconic advertisement first came out in 1989, which made me just 6 years old when I first watched it. Since that time it has been remade and updated, but always with the same catchy theme song.

I think it is a testament to really good consistent marketing that I can still remember every word to this ad over a quarter of a century later! There’s a magical place, we’re on our way there, with toys in there millions all under one roof, it’s called Toys ‘R’ Us!

Man on the Moon
If you cry easily, it’s time to look away now!

After the success of Monty the Penguin in 2015, John Lewis has done it again this year with the Man on the Moon. The story shows a young girl named Lily who is looking through her telescope at the man on the moon. Seeing the old man going about his day all alone she decides to send him a give to show him that’s he is loved this Christmas. 

I think this sends a really strong message at Christmas time to remember those who may be unable to speak to anyone. John Lewis partnered with the charity Age UK to help raise awareness and donations to this cause.

Man on the Moon: Parody
The budget retailers Aldi were quick to produce their own cheeky spoof of the John Lewis Man on the Moon Christmas ad. It features an old man sitting on a bench on the moon choosing between two telescopes. Of course the telescope he prefers is the cheaper one from Aldi!

Delivered in a fun way, the advert really captures Aldi’s commitment to offering quality products at low prices that shoppers will be over the moon with!

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Coca-Cola: The King of Christmas

If there was one brand that really captures the magic of Christmas it must be Coca-Cola. Who would have thought a drink simply made from corn syrup and water would evoke such emotion and have such ties to the festive holiday?

When you think of Santa Claus you usually picture a jolly old man in a red and white jacket with a fluffy white beard. What many people don’t realise is that the origin of this Santa was actually painted by the illustrator Haddon Sundblom and has become the image that we are most familiar with today.  While Coca-Cola had previously commissioned pictures to be drawn, it was Sundblom’s vision of Santa Claus that has become the most iconic. He continued to draw these pictures for Coke for over thirty years. 


Coca-Cola has been featuring jolly old Santa in their ads since the 1920’s and has even helped to shape his very image. Some even go as far as to say that Coca-Cola were instrumental in dressing Santa in the traditional red and white clothing to mirror the brand image of Coke. While this may be a disputed claim, there is no doubting that the Santa and Coke history has been intertwined for almost a century.

For so many of us, the flashing lights of the Coca-Cola Christmas trucks are an essential part of getting into the Christmas spirit. The classic TV ad first appeared over 20 years ago on our screens but fell into disuse in 2001 after a restructure that meant all advertising campaigns would be produced locally for each country.

The ‘Holidays are coming’ campaign featured the famous red Coca-Cola delivery trucks decorated with Christmas lights driving through the snowy hills of Germany. As the truck passes through the town it causes the Christmas lights to turn on and shine with people watching in amazement. By 2007, Coca-Cola reintroduced the campaign back on to TVs around the globe. It is really quite amazing how successful this relatively simple advert has been and still stands the test of time today. In fact, in the UK, the truck has its very own nationwide tour, handing out free samples and opportunities to take pictures with the iconic vehicle.


Last week, Coca-Cola released its newest packaging which allows the owner to transform the bottles label into a festive bow. While these are limited edition and only available in selected markets I think it is another ingenious way to strengthen the products ties to Christmas.  The new packaging has already created quite a buzz on social media with users posting their festive bows adoring their Christmas trees.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 11 December 2015

Twelve Key Marketing Metrics (Part II)

7. Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction (CSAT) is a very important metric to measure for a number of reasons. CSAT is a primary indicator of a consumer's future intentions and loyalty to a brand for repeat purchase. For many successful companies CSAT can also act as a point of differentiation in a crowded market place. High levels of CSAT also help to reduce customer churn, which is the turnover or loss of clients. It can also help to increase CLV by retaining profitable customers since they are often cheaper to maintain than acquire new ones.  Finally, good CSAT helps to reduce negative word of mouth, as customers who are unhappy are likely to tell others about their bad experiences.

8. Net Promoter Score
The net promoter score (NPS) is a metric which can be used to consider the loyalty and happiness of customers and how likely they are to recommend your company to others. Customers are surveyed and fall into three categories depending upon their NPS. Promoters are customers who consistently recommend your company and may include strong brand advocates. Passives are reasonably neutral and would neither recommend nor deter anyone from your company. Finally, detractors are individuals who would discourage people from buying from your company. The NPS is actually calculated by taking the percentage of people who promote your company and subtracting those who detract from it.


9. Share of Customers
Share of customers is also sometimes known as share of wallet and is the amount of a customer's total spend that a company captures through its business operations. By increasing the share of customer, organisations can boost revenue cheaper relative to efforts to increasing market share. The typical way to increase the share of customer is to offer new products or services to existing customers of the business. For example, Nike may capture a higher share of customers by bringing out new lines of trainers to increase its share of wallet.

10. Market Share
The market share metric is useful for marketers to better understand the overall size of a company in relation to the market as a whole and its competitors. Market share is the percentage of a market in total sales that is earned by a company over a specified period of time. It is a relatively simple calculation by taking the sales of the company over the period specified and dividing them by the total sales from the industry as a whole over the same period.

11. Bounce Rate
The bounce rate is an online metric used to analyse web traffic to a particular destination. It measures visitors who enter a website and then leave rather than continuing to click through to other areas. While this metric can be misleading, it can also give you vital information into the success of a campaign. Websites with a high bounce rate usually indicate that the website is not performing well in continuing the interest of visitors. However, Wikipedia pages would often have a high bounce rate as users may land on the page, find what they were looking for and then leave. Therefore, bounce rate should not be evaluated in isolation but can often be revealing.


12. Online Visitor Behaviour
Online visitor behaviour to a website can be analysed in a number of ways. For example, you can consider the number of users and visitors to a website by counting page views. Metrics can also be used to measure the length of time on a website and the number of users who return to that page. In converting behaviour to action, metrics such as click-through rate (CTR) can be used to measure the ratio of users who click-through to a particular page including the conversion of page views leading to a purchase.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Twelve Key Marketing Metrics (Part I)

Gone are the days when important marketing decisions were made on a whim.

Marketing has become increasingly scientific over the years with marketing performance measured and evaluated to assist decision-making. In this weeks blog I will be detailing twelve key marketing metrics to increase insight and overcome unpredictability in decision-making.

1. Customer Lifetime Value
Customer lifetime value (CLV) is the measurement used to predict the net profit of all future relationships with customers. CLV is an incredibly useful tool businesses use to analyse who are their most valuable customers. Knowing which customers are the most profitable is just as important as knowing which customer segments are less desirable to retain. Calculating CLV helps businesses manage their customer relationships as assets to the company and monitor the impact of marketing investments.


2. Retention Rates
Retention in marketing is often used to count customers and track their activity over time. The retention rate is the ratio of customers retained by the company vs. those customers who are potentially at risk of leaving. While driving sales and engaging customers is important, failure to build a loyal customer base and retain the most important customers can undo all your business's hard work. After all, it is always cheaper to retain profitable customers than to acquire new ones.

3. Customer Acquisition Cost
Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is measured by calculating the costs associated with convincing a customer to purchase your product or service. The reason why this is such an important metric is that it is used in calculating the value of the customer to the company and how many resources should be used to attract a particular customer segment. CAC is particularly useful for established businesses that may be considering targeting new markets and customers.

4. Profit Margins
Profit margins are simply a measure of profitability. Today's marketing managers are often asked to evaluate the profitability of their campaigns. A campaign with a high margin reflects high levels of profitability, whereas a campaign with a low margin reflects low levels of overall profitability.

5. Return on Marketing Investment
Return on marketing investment (ROMI) calculates the contribution that marketing spending has made to profit. This metric can be used to measure the overall effectiveness of a campaign and help aid marketers in their decision making for future investments. ROMI is calculated by comparing revenue gained against a business's marketing investment. It is often useful to compare effectiveness across many marketing activities in percentage term, which makes ROMI particularly useful.

6. Internal Rate of Return/Net Present Value/Payback Period
The internal rate of return (IRR) metric is used to measure the profitability of potential investments. When considering if a marketing project is worthy of potential funding the IRR can be used to better evaluate the decision.

The internal rate of return is actually the discounted rate that makes up the net present value (NPV). NPV is a metric used to evaluate long-term projects and is also a key part of determining ROMI.

Payback period is simply the length of time that it takes to cover the cost of an investment. The length of this period can help to determine if a project is viable.

These metrics are key for marketers in order to justify new campaigns internally to other departments. It is also a useful practice to measure these when considering if a campaign has been a sound financial investment in the long term.

Be sure to check out part II tomorrow for the following six marketing metrics!

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Video Becoming An Effective Marketing Tool

It has been made apparent that we are all consumers within this mass digital age. With a plethora of platforms to use, a large percentage of marketers are moving their brands and organisations into branded content especially considering that digital video is becoming more of an important component of omnichannel strategies.

Whist we have the more traditional television viewings decreasing, the consumption of video on other devices is steadily growing. In reference to the recent Q2 2015, Australian multi-screen report released by Nielsen, 12% of all video viewings across the nation’s population take place on screens other than television.

This can be seen as super exciting times for marketers, especially the new generation of marketers. However, we need to ensure that we learn the best way we can operate in the new, rapid and constantly changing digital environment. Considering consumers are using more than one device, research is increasingly showing a decrease in the impact for television advertising.

Gone are the days when you could commission a big glossy TVC, place it in primetime, and wait for the results to pour in. Depending on who your consumer base is these days, they now might be busy on their iPhones while TV ads are playing in the background, or perhaps there not even watching traditional free-to-air TV at all considering we have all become so time poor.

The trend for shopping behaviour has also moved online, and consumers are now accessing various channels to search for particular products or product information. A retail customer today might find out about a certain product online, find more information about it on other sites via their mobile device and should they wish to go ahead, eventually purchase it in-store.

“The marketing funnel no longer flows in a linear pattern,” Nielsen’s report explains.
“We are in a new era of marketing, where the consumer decides their own path from awareness to consideration to purchase, hence the need for an omnichannel content strategy.”

Video is one way your brand can communicate its point of difference and communicate meaningfully with your customers and prospects. Even though text and photo-based ads are inevitable to creating a strong online presence, video has found itself an important place within the digital marketing and e-commerce world. YouTube channels and video platforms like Ad words for video always help businesses promote products in the best manner. However, on e-commerce websites, videos have to be used in a more interactive and educational manner to create a greater shopping experience.

Some interesting facts regarding the impact of video on sales can be seen in the info graph below.

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 4 December 2015

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: A Marketer’s Perspective

Black Friday is an annual tradition observed in the United States on the day following Thanksgiving. This day officially marks the beginning of the shopping season and sees retailers slashing prices and offering “special deals” to customers. Cyber Monday occurs on the first Monday after Thanksgiving and was first coined in 2005 to encourage shoppers to purchase online. Since then it has become the busiest online shopping day for many countries around the world.


In recent years these flash sales have seen shoppers spending increasing amounts in a feverish attempt to snap up the very best bargains on offer. This often results in chaos, crashed websites and unfortunately, even tragedy. However, more than 13 billion dollars was spent in the US between the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. The growing trend in recent years has seen increased spending online rather than physical in-store sales.

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales that originated in the United States have in recent years spread to the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, Portugal, Germany, Colombia and Japan. While not as commonplace just yet, Australian retailers have begun to embrace the tradition and jump on the Black Friday bandwagon. An estimated $329 million has been spent this year, which is almost double the previous years spending.

So is this all simply just hype? Or a clever “marketing” term to create artificial demand. Consumers these days are more perceptive than ever and are easily able to spot a bad deal from a good one with online comparison tools. With the rise of social media, consumers can easily spread that message loud and clear if they feel they are being mislead. One of the most interesting developments I have seen this year has come from companies shunning the tradition and declaring themselves against these flash sales. In fact, in the UK retailers such as Jeep, Aldi and John Lewis have used this stand as a marketing tool to promote their own on-going price reductions.


One thing is however undeniable, Black Friday and Cyber Monday represent a fantastic opportunity for companies to sell products before the busy Christmas period and is somewhat of a marketers dream. For retailers, this is a time to send emails fearlessly to their databases offing smart discounts and activating their top customers. It also offers a chance to be active on social media and engage with customers through clever ads.

Mobile devices are making this instant flash sales shopping even easier for consumers with “shopping on the go”. In 2014, more than 60% of Amazon's US customers purchased using a mobile devise. The increased ability to shop online has made it significantly easier for shoppers to search for and stay connected to the deals that they are most interested in.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School