Thursday, 31 March 2016

How good decisions enhance your business and bad decisions undercut your business

Credit: Rawpixel/Shutterstock

Business decisions have a deep impact on business success and growth. A right decision at the right time can bring you ultimate success where as one wrong decision can make you regret for a life time.

Let’s see how good decisions can enhance and help a business;

 ✓ A well researched decision will not let you down
If you perform sufficient research before making a decision, then the chances of loss are minimised. When you are updated about the recent financial market changes and your decision is based on the current business trends, then it will surely bring you success and growth.

✓ Decisions made on expert advice always bring success
It might happen that the decision you are going to make has already been implemented in the past, but you might not be aware of its outcomes so, in this scenario, an expert’s advice can help you. They can predict the outcomes of any decision and due to extensive experience they can advise intelligent decision steps that can increase your business growth.

✓ Quick decisions in times of need can prevent business loss
Some business situations require a quick and intelligent decision at a perfect time. When you know business conditions are according to your decision, then a smart decision can save you from business loss.

✓ Decisions made on consideration of employee opinion often prove fruitful
Your employees are your well wisher because their success is dependent on your success, so taking their opinion and incorporating them with yours would bring you your desired goals.

Every entrepreneur or businessman once in a life makes a bad decision, but with proper planning you can make up for it. Now, let’s see how bad decisions can undercut a business.

 ✘ Hiring the wrong employees will lead to loss
Your success depends on your employees’ efficient performance and hard work. If you hire unprofessional people, then due to lack of desired skills and talent they can tatter your business.

✘ Ignoring cash flow can decrease your growth
Whether your business is on a small or large scale, a close eye should be kept on its cash flow. Cash is your asset and you must be aware about where it goes and from where it comes. Ignoring the cash flow can result in business destruction as you cannot operate without it.

✘ The decision to expand rather than to make a profit can lower your progress
Many entrepreneurs want rapid growth and to achieve that they take decisions of rapid business expansion involving new hiring and resources, but often these decisions do not meet the objectives and they suffer in profitability. Choosing expansion over business profitability is not a wise decision and often results in lower progress.

✘ Skipping marketing strategies
If you don’t create effective marketing strategies, then there will be no increase in your sales. A wise decision is to allocate a team to work for your product marketing.

If you can avoid the above mentioned bad decisions, then you can keep up with the business market and by practicing smart decisions, you can bring growth and future success to your business.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Marketing metrics: How much are your tweets actually worth?

Who do consumers trust when it comes to purchasing decisions? That’s right you guessed it, social influencers!

Influence marketing is not exactly a new phenomenon, but has increased rapidly with the rise of social networks in the past ten years. Influencers themselves could be potential buyers or users of a product, or even third parties such as journalists or industry experts. The key to influencer marketing is that the influencer holds the power to shape and change the behaviour of others within their network. This is typically achieved by creating engaging promotional content to a wide and loyal audience of followers.

In a world where customers are increasingly using online recommendations, influencers hold a lot of power in the social space. Recent research has shown that 74% of customers rely on social media to influence their purchasing decisions. This week, Twitter is celebrating its ten-year anniversary with over 320 million active users. So how much are your tweets actually worth?

A fantastic new tool from the company Webfluential allows users to gain an estimate of the potential monetary value of their tweets. Using a special algorithm to analyse your following, the Influence Estimator tool gives a rough approximation of how much you could charge per tweet. In order for this to work accurately you will of course need a following of at least 500 people in order to sufficiently monetise your 140 character tweets.

For those of us who sadly don’t have a large Twitter following, the Webfluential tool can be used to seek out influencers, searching by market type, age and location. Identifying influencers in new markets can be a tricky process, so tools that simplify this process can be incredibly useful for marketers. Interestingly it can also be used to calculate the potential tweet value of the world’s most followed Twitter accounts.


The current queen of Twitter, Katy Perry, has a worldwide following just short of 85 million. To put that number into perspective, that’s more than two and a half times the population of Australia following her handle @katyperry. Should she wish to monetise her postings she could look to pocket up to $70,425 per tweet. Lenardo Di Caprio may have just won an Oscar, but with only 15 million followers by comparison he could potentially earn up to $45,035 for each Twitter post. These numbers may seem relatively small to the uber-rich celebrities with millions of followers, but social influencers with large followers can use metrics such as Wefbluential to gauge their own value and connect with potential clients.

However, changes to Instagram this week may potentially limit brand exposure through the use of influencers. New algorithms used by the popular photo and video sharing app means that posts will no longer appear in chronological time order. Mirroring the parent company Facebook timeline, posts will now be based on the likelihood that you will be interested in the content. This move will essentially see more power and control being given to Instagram in selecting which articles it should surface. Endorsements from social influencers that were once relatively inexpensive for large brands may soon come with a much bigger price tag as the company takes its slice of the promotional pie.

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

Monday, 21 March 2016

USYD Lions make gold history

We came, we roared, we conquered!

The members of The Masters of Marketing would like to say special congratulations to our classmate, Madeline Rosenthal for being part of the victorious win last Sunday the 13th of March. The Sydney University women’s water polo club has made history winning their first ever National Water Polo League (NWPL) women’s title after defeating the 2015 champions, the Brisbane Barracudas, 12-8.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

More choice is always a good thing right? Wrong!

As a consumer and marketer I always naturally assumed that more choice was always a good thing. Autonomy and free choice are important to the well being of humans, but could too much choice actually be a bad thing?

I have always been a big fan of the brand Levi’s. Growing up in the early 90’s the classic button fly Levis 501 was my jean of choice. Levis Stratus created the iconic 501 jeans style in the 1890’s, which later became one of the best selling clothing items of all time. Of course back then Levi’s predominantly came in one colour with only a limited number of styles. Fast forward to 2016 you can buy jeans in every colour of the rainbow with a plethora of styles, features and fits. With so many choices to make, the simple decision to purchase a pair of jeans just became a lot more challenging.

Increased choice has its obvious benefits, but there are also some major negative effects that must not be ignored. An almost unlimited number of choice options can lead to what’s known as analysis paralysis. This is a state caused by over-thinking and often occurs when a person is presented with a large number of options. A trip to the supermarket can become overwhelming when products come in such a wide number of varieties. This has serious implications for marketing practice since increased choice can cause paralysis and increased anxiety for customers. This is particularly prevalent for today’s consumers who are continually making choices not just on what they purchase but how they live their lives on a daily basis.

For customers who are able to overcome the paralysis, research has shown that they will in fact be less satisfied with the result of the choice than they would have been with fewer options available. On the face of it, this may seem very strange and illogical that increasing choice could make you less satisfied. Imagine the case of purchasing a pair of Levi’s jeans online and later becoming dissatisfied, given the huge amount of variety on offer. It could be easy to imagine yourself being satisfied with one of the many other options available. Post purchase dissonance is the regret or unease in the mind of the consumer that can occur in such an event. Opportunity costs also subtract from the satisfaction that we get from what we choose, even when it is actually a good choice. Increasing the number of options available to consumers inevitably causes the expectations of customers to also increase.

So how much choice is the right amount? This is almost impossible to answer, but it is a question that all marketers should consider. We have all heard of the expression less is more, although this is not a hard and fast rule that can be applied to every situation it is useful to remember. When P&G went from 20 different types of Head and Shoulders shampoo to 15, they experienced a 10% increase in sales. 
Increasing clearly defined categories can also help consumers to make less stressful decisions. Market research often shows that customers want more choice, but actually this many mean that they want a better choosing experience. Too much choice is not a good thing and should not be ignored.

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

Monday, 14 March 2016

A “Wonderfilled” Australia

41 million likes on Facebook, 802K followers on twitter, and 1.4 million followers on Instagram: There is no doubt that the Oreo brand is doing something right.

Whilst most of us have spent a lifetime twisting, licking, dipping, dunking and eating the cherished Oreo cookie, many don’t know that since their introduction in 1912, the Oreo cookie brand has grown to be a social media powerhouse. Just to break the brand down into platforms:

Twitter is the home to Oreo’s agile marketing strategy and has further supported the brand's many social campaigns over the past six years. In particular, the 2012 Super Bowl put Oreo centre stage, generating over 280 million impressions. The simple tweet would become one of social media’s most successful real time responses, paving the way for the current real time marketing trend.

Home to over 41 million followers, the world's favorite cookie has been stunningly successful at transferring its real world popularity over to Facebook. Much of the company’s success over this social platform is a result of positivity, high engagement, involvement and co-creation between both themselves and their fans. In celebration of its 100th birthday, Oreo has been posting photos along with the name and locations of fans across the globe. Oreo’s social presence isn’t about Oreos but about people who love Oreos. Blogger, Christine Geraci states “When you put your fans at the forefront, they will stick with you. And when you put your fans first, they keep coming back”.

Recently concluding their hugely successful 100 year anniversary campaign that won the company numerous awards and garnered significant attention in social and traditional media channels, Oreo has gone out with a BANG, launching their new global “Wonderfilled” brand platform in Australia through a 15 second animated ad. The philosophy behind the Wonderfilled campaign is based around Oreo’s belief that the world is full of wonder and positivity, two concepts we need a little more faith in.

A 15-second TV commercial ‘World Leaders’ officially launched the new brand platform. Shaped around the global creative 'I wonder if I gave an Oreo to...', it has been reimagined for the Australian audience, encouraging them to dream and join together to crate a world of harmony.

Throughout the remainder of the year, Oreo will continue to spread the Wonderfilled Story on and offline with influencer engagement, demonstrating different interpretations of what “wonder” means to them. Senior Marketing manager at ANZ Biscuits Mondelez International stated “Oreo is one of the world’s most loved cookies, known and loved for its playful imagination. We’re thrilled to bring the Wonderfilled philosophy to Australia, re-creating it for our engaged audience and highlighting how sharing something as small as an Oreo can brighten our perspective on the world”.

Creative Agency - AJF Partnership
Animation - XYZ studios
Media Agency – Carat
Digital – SapientNitro
PR – One Green Bean

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

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Internal Marketing 101 – Lessons from MKTG6207

“You don’t build a business, you build people, and then people build the business” – Zig Ziglar

What is an internal market some might ask? This concept is quite foreign to most but remains to be one of the most fundamental aspects of any organization resulting in either their success or failure. To put it simply, Internal Marketing is when organizations think of their employees as their first market, their internal customer…and so they should! It is when all employees are customer-oriented and work collaboratively together as a team, no matter whom their “customers” may be; B2B, B2C, professional service clients, donors, students... You get the picture.

It is apparent that a company can have fantastic marketers and marketing plans but how do we get them to work? At a basic level trying to think about and understand some of the issues that arise within an organization that actually stop us from being able to make our marketing plan effective could prove to be a good starting point. 

The purpose of having and practicing successful internal marketing helps ensure that employees are effectively carrying out the organization programs and policies. From what I have realised in my professional career is that the more informed a staff member is, the more engaged and invested they are in the organizations outcomes, so at the end “Happy Employees = Happy Customers”.

In the discussion run by Dr. Pennie Frow it was the success of ones internal marketing that creates an environment that enables organizations to focus on whatever needs changing internally so they can enhance their external marketplace performance. It should further help organisations deliver better customer service by aligning, coordinating and motivating employees.

A particular point that resonated with me was the insight gained into the different customer markets affecting a brand, product or service, and yet again …majority of the time is comes down to relationship! It was said that the QUALITY of service that reaches the customer begins with the quality of service people inside the organization give each other. These to me are powerful and ever so important concepts that must not be surpassed! No matter what industry sector you might belong to, it is paramount that all stakeholders involved in a company’s fabrication feel valued, acknowledged, satisfied and motivated otherwise you will quickly enter the cycle of failure. 

An exercise that may prove to be beneficial is to undergo a Customer Market spider map in relation to the organization in which you are researching. Several elements of the Customer Market is rated in relation to its current environment and again in relation to where it is perceived to be in the future. Each of these seven components (New markets, existing markets, Supplier markets, referral markets, Recruitment markets, Influence markets & Internal markets) all have direct correlations and depend on one another to ensure a businesses success and futurity within its market position.

Many elements of a companies “Customer Market” further affect the climate and culture of a business, ultimately influencing the employee, stakeholder and consumer satisfaction. The concept of culture that was discussed related to more of a company's customs, values and beliefs whereas the climate relates to the atmosphere that employees “perceive” is created in their place of work by the policies, practices, procedures and rewards to the firm. 

Some might say that managing an online kitchenware company from the comfort of my home has a long list of benefits, and yes, you’re right! However, it also means there is very little culture I am surrounded by. As a friendly and extremely social person this sits as a slight disadvantage for me as it stops the collaboration, innovation and sharing of ideas, which are important qualities that define me both as a person and a professional. It is just my luck that I service a number of clients outside my everyday job enabling me to co-creative value for them and their business.

So, How do you foster an increased sense of culture within an autonomous role? Even though I am empowered to make most of the marketing and operational decisions within the company, an increased culture might perhaps give me a greater sense of “belonging” or opportunity to grow. Food for thought perhaps?

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

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

House of Cards: Netflix marketing genius

On Friday last week Netflix released 13 new episodes of the much anticipated fourth season of its hit show House of Cards. The American political drama has been both a critical and commercial success for Netflix since it premiered in February of 2013. The show follows the story of Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey and his rise to power as member of the South Carolina State Senate all the way to the White House, becoming the President of the Unites States.

Besides being a fantastic Internet television series the hit show is a triumph of excellent marketing practice. In fact, the timing could not be better with the United States currently heading into its next presidential elections. With Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump regularly grabbing the headlines in recent weeks, the House of Cards audience are primed for the political messaging which accompanies the shows main theme.


Campaigners and fans of the show have been urged to show their support for the President by tweeting the hashtag #FU2016. Using Frank Underwood’s initials is a subtle yet clever double entendre, which brilliantly mirrors and reflects the aggressive attitude of the shows main character.
The microsite for the show even allows you to download your own media kit with Frank Underwood themed branding. This includes Facebook and Twitter covers, a poster, sticker badge and even a bumper sticker for the car. The Frank Underwood brand really comes alive through the use of patriotic colours that you would expect from a real political candidate.


Although this is all just for entertainment purposes, this level of attention to detail makes the show feel very real indeed. It is a marketing campaign fit for a real presidential candidate, not just one being played out for drama.  On Twitter this week the President even issued a pardon to House of Cards fans to miss any important meetings they may have until they finish watching the fourth season.  Of course, those who defy the President's orders would be met with zero tolerance for betrayal to the show.


There are many reasons why House of Cards has become such a successful series. You could point to the slick production skills or the heavyweight actors and actresses who star in the show. But I think the main reason why it works so well is because it gives political insight into what happens behind closed doors whilst weaving in drama and fiction. The level of detail shown in each episode is equally supported with marketing that is as sophisticated and nuanced as the show itself. Netflix have developed a reputation for consistently creating unique content with their shows becoming somewhat of a hallmark for quality. But I think equal recognition must be given for the fantastic marketing that accompanies these shows.

But that’s enough from me for this week, it’s time to start season 4!

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

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Spice of life you say?

The concept of connection said to be the new “Spice of Life” for the new Masterfoods dinnertime campaign.

If I asked you, “if could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?” I am sure most of you would say socialites and intellects such as George Clooney, Einstein, John Lennon, Hemmingway and so forth. Well that is the exact question Mars Food is asking Australian families for a new Masterfoods campaign created to prioritise and celebrate dinner again, particularly after much of the research revealed the meal created important connections between families. 

The new campaign named “Lets make dinnertime matter” has been created around findings that imply 78% of Australians obtain a deeper connection from sharing a meal with loved ones than they would usually do through any other activity. Putting the findings aside, almost 75% of the people surveyed said they would change something about their dinners. So the question stands to be rather conflicting if you ask me?

The process of creating the video that accompanied the campaign involved Mars Food touring the nation, filming at a diverse range of venue’s and community locations. In the way in which the video was constructed, the ads further feature real Australian families connecting over dinner.
Ensuring its hits a wider plethora of social channels, the campaign is implementing social media outlets including Twitter and Facebook by further encouraging conversation around the hashtag #makedinnertimematter.

A report commissioned by Mars Food Australia called “Lifting the Lid on Dinnertime” supported the recent campaign and further went on to research how food shared with company contributed towards our emotional well-being. As stated in a recent article the results suggested that “when it comes to dinnertime in Australia, more people put greater emphasis as to what is going on around the table, rather than what is actually on the plate”. Since its launch on February 15th, the video has been viewed over 8.5 million times. Now that’s what you call viral!

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

The golden rules of student marketing

The long wait is finally over, it’s the end of the summer holidays and the University is back in full swing!

In the last week, thousands of new students descended upon The University of Sydney campus for fun and festivities. The start of OWeek provides a great opportunity to make new friends, join new clubs and societies, and of course we can’t forget about all those fantastic promotional freebies!

Today’s student is tomorrow’s customer; so marketing towards students is crucial for many businesses' long-term success. In the past few years working in youth marketing I have learnt some golden rules to successfully connect with the student audience.

Perhaps the most important rule of all in student marketing is to first understand that there is no such thing as a typical ‘student’. The student body is not a homogenous group, so marketing that is not targeted simply will not be successful. Brands hoping to connect to the student audience must take the time to fully understand how they think, feel and behave. While there may be some shared similarities between student groups it is important to also recognise that there are also many differences. Even narrowing down students to those of University age presents a vast plethora of different nationalities and cultural norms.

Although there is a vast array of differences between students, one thing is very clear, students are clever, involved and aware. This means that marketing needs to be genuine and truthful if it is going to resonate with this audience. Students are also well informed particularly when it comes to issues such as the environment and human rights. Therefore brands need to be transparent, open and honest in the ways that they interact with the student body.


 Warren Buffett once famously said, price is what you pay, but value is what you get. While price may be a very important factor for many students value must not be forgotten. Value must be demonstrated in ways that are tangible and easily recognisable. Therefore for campaigns to be successful they should look to educate student customers on value and not just price alone.

Brand image is also incredibly important when looking to attract the student population. However, for many brands the default option is often to try and look ‘cool’. Unfortunately, this sometimes backfires resulting in the brand looking too contrived or simply just trying too hard. Hijacking trendy Internet phenomena and memes is a sure fire way in which many brands try to be ‘down with the kids’. But this begs the question, should everything be cool? For example, many banks and financial services in recent years have attempted to take on a ‘cool’ persona to attract younger customers. However, it’s worth considering if this is really an image you want to portray in your product or service.


One thing that cannot be underestimated is the role that social media plays for the younger generation. The digital natives of today embrace new technologies and digital channels quicker than any generation before them. Experiences from these technologies are becoming seamlessly integrated into the lives of these consumers. However, it is important not to forget the multiple offline marketing channels that can also be utilised to connect with the student audience. 

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