Dr Brian's SmartaMarketing 2

Smarta Marketing Ideas for Smarta Marketers

Category: Promotion

Successful Student Recruitment Strategy – Part 2 – Written Promotion

Contents

How to Recruit and Attract Students

The W’s of Effective Marketing Communications Messages

Questions to be answered

General Advice – How to Develop Effective Recruitment Messages

Features

Always start with a great opening

How to make your Communication BELIEVABLE

Stimulate action

Present for easy reading

Things to avoid because they turn readers away

 

How to Recruit and Attract Students

How does one influence the mindset of prospective students to view the university as valuable?

How does one effectively highlight the unique features of a university, going beyond the act of plastering a generic message?

How can you win their trust and translate the marketing campaign into generating actual numbers?

What are the digital marketing must haves?

What is the expected impact of deregulation – what this means for student recruitment and how can you best respond?

Education is a very competitive marketplace, where standing out from the crowd can be hard. Here are some general guidelines, which can significantly improve your campaign to attract students.

 

Keep in mind that not all potential students are alike. To communicate effectively you need to (deeply) understand your target market(s) – see the first article in this series – Marketing and Education – Student Recruitment – Part 1

 

Virtually all candidates are used to on-line technologies, thus you must effectively use digital media (Websites, Social Media, Mobile – smartphones, pads etc) as well as conventional methods and media (TV, Print, Outdoors, Transit, Radio etc). Adapting to the new methods is crucial in any campaign these days.

 

The W’s of Effective Marketing Communications Messages

The key to a successful student recruitment strategy is thinking about “why, what you communicate, to whom, when and how,”

 

“Why” – your strategic and tactical objective(s)

“What are you offering?” If it is not immediately clear what you are offering, expressed as a benefit your marketing message will almost certainly fail

“Why” should they enrol?

“What” the message – based on broad strategic elements like Brand as well a situation specific tactical messages. For example, the content of the message should be dependent on the stage the person is at

“Whom” – the target audience (target segments)

“Where” will you find them?

“Where” are you speaking to them? – Media

“When” – timing of the message(s). This can be long-term messages, as may appear on a website as well as situationally specific messages in the general or social media.

 

Before you write a word or draw a picture…

 

– Compare your offer with your competitions. Are they basically the same?

– Isolate the areas where you win and lose

– Translate features/attributes into benefits

– Look for a unique benefit or combination of benefits.

 

Questions to be answered:

 

1.) To whom are you offering what benefit?

2) Is the offer unique/differentiated in the market?

3.) Why should they grasp it?

4.) How should you speak to them?

 

Basically, effective Marketing Communication is about communicating:

 

The RIGHT information

in the RIGHT way

to the RIGHT people

in the RIGHT place

at the RIGHT time

 

General Advice – How to Develop Effective Recruitment Messages

The key to effective Promotional Communication for Student Recruitment is: Successful messages come in only one language – BENEFITS!

 

Prospects want to know – “What’s in it for me?” (W.I.I.F.M.?)

 

A benefit is an advantage or satisfaction the prospect will gain – or the loss avoided – from the item, proposition or service you sell. Do not leave it to the prospect to discover the benefits he or she will gain from the offer. Spell it out, as simply as possible. Prospects cannot get more out of promotional message than what you put in it

 

Features

Effective Marketing Communication must balance stated benefits with component realities (features). They provide the rational reason why the offer will work and help create conviction.   Benefits must be supportable.

 

Create interest and desire by stressing benefits of using your service or owning the resultant building.

Demonstrate the value of your particular product by detailing benefits and features.

Try to make it sell for you alone

 

Always start with a great opening

(1) Involve the reader. Address him/her directly.

(2) Put direct suggestion or question.

(3) Use words that stimulate

(4) Appeal to pride and self-interest

(5) Appeal to current or local issues.

(6) Beware overly clever language and technical terms.

 

Present your proposition quickly and clearly. Once you have gained the prospect’s attention with your opening, give your selling proposition quickly and clearly.

 

A “sale” is made at the moment the prospect decides he wants the benefits to be gained from your service more than the money they cost.

 

How to make your Communication BELIEVABLE:-

(1) Present the main idea at least three times during your message

(2) Tell of popularity (use testimonials, and quote authorities.)

(3) Convey value. Demonstrate the benefits are worth more than the cost.

(4) Give assurances and proof. Overcome objections. Guarantee satisfaction when you can.

 

Stimulate action:

(1) Give the reader good excuses and reasons for enrolment

(2) Make enrolment – tell how, when and where. Offer help

 

Present for easy reading

Content is more important than how you say it. Observing the basic rules, however, will help make your selling message easier to absorb.

 

(1) Start with enthusiasm and involve the reader.

(2) Use short words, sentences and paragraphs.

(3) Be direct, writing in second person, present tense.

(4) Be concrete, specific, honest – in the reader’s vernacular.

(5) Use visual words, lively words. Be informal, friendly, caring.

(6) Be complete, but concise. Give a message, not your life story.

(7) Ask for the desired action.

 

Things to avoid because they turn readers away:

(1) Puns, play on words, clichés, and foreign phrases

(2) Over-statement (that kills credibility)

(3) Long words (use short words)

(4) Formalism

(5) Banalities and platitudes

(6) Looking like everyone else. (Be distinctive.)

 

If you are interested in this subject, you may be interested in this forthcoming event in Sydney in early December

Marketing and Communicating for
Student Recruitment and the
Australian Higher Education Sector

One-day connected forum with two half day workshops
3-4 December 2014, Rydges Sydney Central

http://www.arkgroupaustralia.com.au/events.htm

Listen, network and learn from your peers:
Macquarie University
Australian National University
Charles Sturt University
University of Technology, Sydney
University of Southern Queensland
University of Melbourne
International College of Management Sydney
University of New England

 

Did you find this article useful?  Please let us know

These articles are usually taken from notes from a MAANZ course.  If you are interested in obtaining the full set of notes (and a PowerPoint presentation) please contact us – info@marketing.org.au

Also check out other articles on https://smartamarketing2.wordpress.com

MAANZ International website http://www.marketing.org.au

Smartamarketing Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

Join Dr Brians LinkedIn groups:

Marketing – Dr-Brian’s-Marketers-Network  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Dr-Brians-Marketers-Network-Number-2650856?trk=my_groups-b-grp-v

Management/Project Management – The Project Management Information Network.  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Project-Management-Information-Network-Practical-6618103

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The Unique Selling Proposition – USP

Development of this “central idea,” or what is often called a unique selling proposition, is one of the copywriter’s most difficult tasks, The USP (as it is often abbreviated) originated at the Ted Bates advertising agency in the early 1940s; as its famous originator, author, and agency vice-president, Rosser Reeves, has indicated, however, it has been picked up by hundreds of agencies and has spread from country to country. Unfortunately, it has also become a very misused concept; frequently, it is applied loosely and without understanding to slogans, clever phrases, unusual pictures or sound combinations-in short, to almost anything deemed “different” in copy, layout, or production. We hope our interpretation of the USP will come close to the one intended by Rosser Reeves, but every student of advertising creativity must ultimately develop his or her own.

A USP, Reeves claims, gives leverage to an advertising cam­paign-that extra tug that pulls consumers over the line of indecision or confusion to specific product preference, and then to brand loyalty. Now consider the three words individually.

 

“Unique”

“Unique” refers either to a unique feature of the brand itself  or to a claim not currently being made by competing brands (even though they could if they so desired!).

It is important to point out that today’s Federal Trade Commission does require substantiation of advertising claims, and may take issue with anything presented as “unique.”

 

“Selling”

“Selling refers to sales value. The claim-whatever it is-must be strong enough, important enough, relevant enough, believable enough to convince consumers that it is in their own best interests to try  the brand in question. Consider vegetable juice again, and suppose that V-8 had been developed by a person named Valdimir Van Vaulkenburg! Unique? Certainly-but the consumer’s reaction will merely be: “So what? Who cares?”

There is no sales value in the name Vladimir Van Vaulkenburg. Even if he represented a well-known company, it is doubtful in this day and age that consumers would buy his juice without some idea of its taste and/or nutritional value. On the other hand,  a number of factors motivate consumers today, such as health, convenience, and the desire to care for loved ones; these are the kinds of qualities copywriters should latch onto and develop in the food and beverage line.

 

“Proposition”

“Proposition” refers to a promise: that if the consumer buys a certain product, with the unique feature or claim attached (selling point), he or she will receive a specific benefit. In other words, the USP matches a selling point with a consumer benefit, and does so in a unique way. 

USPs are often difficult to grasp and apply-but they make or break most advertising campaigns. They are really so crucial to creative (and overall communicative) success that they should pretty well fill their respective advertisements. A maxim for copywriters is: one solid USP per ad-and if “additional” selling points and benefits are included, they had best be few in number and relatively minor in importance. (Otherwise, they overpower the USP.)

 

Did you find this article useful?  Please let us know

These articles are usually taken from notes from a MAANZ course.  If you are interested in obtaining the full set of notes (and a PowerPoint presentation) please contact us – info@marketing.org.au

Also check out other articles on https://smartamarketing2.wordpress.com

MAANZ International website http://www.marketing.org.au

Smartamarketing Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

Join Dr Brians LinkedIn groups:

Marketing – Dr-Brian’s-Marketers-Network  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Dr-Brians-Marketers-Network-Number-2650856?trk=my_groups-b-grp-v

Manangement/Project Manangement – The Project Management Information Network.  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Project-Management-Information-Network-Practical-6618103?

 

 

Is Marketing the Same as Selling? Are Marketing and Sales Different?

Dr. Brian Monger

Is Marketing the Same as Selling?

Only is a broad, somewhat simplistic concept, where “selling” is thought of as the exchange activity. Marketing is an overall Organisational activity (the planning, pricing, promotion, packaging, advertising and selling of any Value Offer (Product. Selling is therefore only a part of the overall Marketing of any Product and therein lies the difference.

Are Marketing and Sales Different?

This is a perenial topic in forums and will get lots of responses – particularly I have found from sales folk.  Their basic message is that Sales and Marketing are different.  Marketers don’t understand Selling.  Sales people are important and underappreciated.

The basic problem with the topic and discussion is that very few participants understand or use the terms correctly.  They only think of “sales” and “marketing” as organisational departments, not as functions.

 

It is difficult to have a useful discussion if the key terms are not understood and agreed

So here are a few useful definitions to help (I hope) the discussions

Marketing

The process of exchange of value between Provider (Seller) and Customer (Buyer).  Involves creating and providing what customers want in return for something they are willing to give (money, time, or membership)

The systematic planning, implementation and control of a mix (see Marketing Mix Strategy) of business activities intended to bring together buyers and sellers for the mutually advantageous exchange or transfer of products (Sale, Hire, Acquisition) for some form of Payment. The process of planning and executing the conception, Product Pricing, Promotion and Place (Distribution) of offers (ideas, goods and services) to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organisational objectives.

(1) The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements while achieving organisational objectives (including profitably).

(2) Fundamental policy-forming activity devoted to selecting and developing suitable products for sale – promoting and distributing these products in a manner providing the optimum return on capital employed. (Teach Yourself Marketing, John Stapleton, 1975.)

(3) Marketing starts in the market place with the identification of the customers’ needs and wants. It then moves on to determining a means of satisfying these needs and of promoting, selling and supplying a satisfaction. The principal marketing functions might be defined as Marketing Information and Research, Product Planning, Advertising and Promotion, and Distribution.

Marketing is generally thought of as one of the three or four basic activities of all organisations.  Thus – Marketing; Finance and Operations (or Production and HR)

Marketing Department

A division within a company with responsibility for the planning and coordination of all marketing activities

Marketing department marketing/Marketing department orientation
A term used to refer to the orientation of an organisation which has established a separate department to look after its marketing activities, but which is not totally imbued with the marketing philosophy. An orientation in which all marketing activities are brought under the control of one department to improve short-run policy planning and to try to integrate the firm’s activities.

Sale

A sale relates to someone or some organisation buying something. Sales are often confused with the process of Selling. Result – or pinnacle activity involved in selling products (goods and services) in return for payment (money or some other compensation of value to the seller).

The amount of Products (both goods and services) sold in a given period of time. Sales are operating revenues earned by a company when it sells its products.

Sales

The amount of Products(all forms) sold in a given period of time

The simplistic term to mean the “Sales Department.  This is OK except where it confuses the overall activity of the organisation in the Marketing function

Sales department

Sales department is the division of a business or an organization accountable for selling services or products. The department responsible for planning, organising, controlling and evaluating the activities of the sales force.

Selling

Process of persuasion leading to an exchange or trading arrangement.

Personal Selling

One of the possible activities of the Promotional Mix\

The process of making oral commercial representations during a buyer/seller interview situation. Direct, face-to-face communication between buyer and seller. Personal selling is a basic activity and is old as marketing itself . Colloquially referred to as face-to-face selling. Sometimes known as buyer/seller interface.

 

Dr Brian Monger is Executive Director of MAANZ International and an internationally known business consultant with over 45 years of experience assisting both large and small companies with their projects.  He is also a highly effective and experienced trainer and educator

Did you find this article useful?  Please let us know

These articles are usually taken from notes from a MAANZ course.  If you are interested in obtaining the full set of notes (and a PowerPoint presentation) please contact us – info@marketing.org.au

Also check out other articles on http://smartamarketing.wordpress.com

MAANZ International website http://www.marketing.org.au

Smartamarketing Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

Guerrilla, Viral and Ambush Marketing

Dr Bian Monger
Guerrilla marketing is unconventional marketing activities intended to get maximum results from minimal resources. It is more about matching creative idea and wits than matching budgets. Rather than marching their marketing dollars, guerrilla marketers snipe away with their marketing resources for maximum impact.
Undercover marketing is a subset of guerrilla marketing where the buyer doesn’t realise they’re being marketed to. For example, a marketing company might pay an actor or socially adept person to use a certain product visibly and convincingly in locations where target segments congregate. The actor will talk up the product to people they befriend in that location, even handing out samples if it is economically feasible.

Undercover marketing is also know as buzz marketing or stealth marketing.

The goal of any undercover campaign is to generate buzz. Spontaneous word of mouth, or buzz, is free, can reach consumers isolated from all other media, and unlike conventional media, consumers tend to trust it. Marketers find it very hard to predict buzz let alone generate it on demand. However when it works, undercover marketing does exactly that: an ideal consumer from the example above will not only begin using that product themselves, but will also tell their friends about it, inciting a planned viral marketing campaign that looks spontaneous.

Viral marketing refers to marketing techniques that seek to exploit pre-existing social networks to produce exponential increases in brand awareness, through viral processes similar to the spread of an epidemic. The term “viral advertising” refers to the idea that people will pass on and share cool and entertaining content; this is often sponsored by a brand, which is looking to build awareness of a product or service. These viral commercials often take the form of funny video clips, or interactive Flash games, images, and even text.

Ambush Marketing refers to the strategic placement of marketing material and promotions at events that will attract consumer and media attention. It has been defined as “the practice whereby another firm, seeks association with the sponsored activity without payment to the activity owner”. This company attempts to deflect some of the audience attention away from the sponsor to itself.

 

Did you find this article useful?  Please let us know

These articles are usually taken from notes from a MAANZ course.  If you are interested in obtaining the full set of notes (and a PowerPoint presentation) please contact us – info@marketing.org.au

Also check out other articles on https://smartamarketing2.wordpress.com

MAANZ International website http://www.marketing.org.au

Smartamarketing Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

Join Dr Brians LinkedIn groups:

Marketing – Dr-Brians-Marketers-Network  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Dr-Brians-Marketers-Network-Number-2650856

Manangement/Project Manangement – The Project Management Information Network.  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Project-Management-Information-Network-Practical-6618103

Come on over and share more great information and ideas.

To tweet, or not to tweet, that is the question

The Great Social Tweet

By Brian Swinden
To tweet, or not to tweet, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the ‘Net to send out
The slings and arrows for outrageous fortune,
Or to make posts of cats against a sheet of bubbles
And by clawing pop them: to ‘Like’, to tweet
No more; and by a tweet, to say we brave
A heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a communication
Devoutly to be wished. To ‘Like’, to tweet,
To tweet, perchance to stream; Aye, there’s the rub,
For in that tweet of mirth, what trials may come,
When we have shuffled off this wi-fi band,
Should give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes Calamity of paltry life:
For who would share the whips and scorns of time,
The Oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s Contumely,
The pangs of despised Love, the Law’s delay,
The insolence of Office, and the Spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his Quietus make
With a YouTube vid? Who would followers bear,
To drink and whine of thumb-typed weary posts,
But that the dread of something after login,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather share those ills we have,
And fly to others that we know not of.
Thus dissociation does make experts of us all,
And thus the native hue of communication
Is sicklied o’er, with the vivid lack of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard their intentions turn awry,
And lose the name of Action. Soft you now,
The fair Tweeter? Not in your mobile be
All my sins remembered.

 

 

Brian Swinden is the Owner of Brian Swinden Productions Winnipeg, Canada

Marketing and Advertising

Top ways to slim down flabby copy

Shorter, punchier copy is more readable and more memorable than obese copy. You can test this in your own life. Why do we like top ten lists, for example? The claim is also supported by experimental data; such as Jakob Nielsen’s research. So how do you put your copy on a diet?

1. Zap filler text. Just get straight to the point and delete the run up. For example, most press releases contain this kind of waffle: “In order to demonstrate our commitment to cutting-edge technology, innovation and customer service…” It’s what the delete key was invented for.

2. Cut paragraphs before you cut sentences. It’s better to change the structure of your piece by deleting low priority content than it is to try to make all your points but with fewer sentences.

3. Don’t lock down the word count before you start. A fixed word count is a guarantee of maximum verbosity (as the old Infocom games used to say). If you commission 500 words from a writer, that’s what you’ll get. Better to say ‘up to 500 words’ or ‘between 350-500’ and make sure that the writer focuses on the message and the quality of the writing. Similarly, ‘lorem ipsum’ copy on websites gives designers way too much influence over the copy length. Better to get a writer involved from day one, perhaps by using wireframes.

4. Delete hype words, clichés, adjectives and adverbs. Accurately chosen perfect words make this sentence the most beautiful one ever written. Or not. All readers have an inner cynic that discounts any hype word they read so using hyped-up words has the opposite result to the one you wanted. D’oh! See Words to avoid for more. They just sit around watching TV and eating your food like unwanted house guests. They don’t even do the washing up.

5. Shorter sentences. Breaking down a long sentence into a series of short ones, sometimes even using the machine gun style to spit out a sequence of very short sentences, can make a paragraph much shorter. In other words, short sentences rule. Use readability tools to provide objective feedback on your sentences.

6. Use ‘you’. It’s fine to address your reader directly. It’s also okay to say ‘I’ or ‘we’ to describe the person or company who’s speaking. This gets you out of a world of pain when struggling to find the subject of a sentence and avoid the passive voice. It also leads to shorter, punchier copy.

7. Give instructions. ‘Don’t run with scissors’ is shorter than ‘surveys by leading analysts suggest that velocity and cutting implements don’t mix.’

8. Write with information. If a sentence doesn’t include a fact or make a strong, clear point, it’s a candidate for deletion.

9. Use a bigger font. Sounds daft, but it’s much harder to write lots of words if your screen fills up quicker.

Dr Brian Monger is Executive Director of MAANZ International and an internationally known consultant with over 45 years of experience assisting both large and small companies with their projects.  He is also a highly effective and experienced trainer and educator

Did you find this article useful?  Please let us know

These articles are usually taken from notes from a MAANZ course.  If you are interested in obtaining the full set of notes (and a PowerPoint presentation) please contact us – info@marketing.org.au

Also check out other articles on http://smartamarketing.wordpress.com

MAANZ International website http://www.marketing.org.au

Smartamarketing Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

Marketing ideas from the dark side

Marketing ideas from the dark side.  How to spot them

“Marketing and marketers” can often take criticism from outsiders who see the methods we use as “evil”. Often both the “good guys” and the “bad guys” use the same methods to succeed.  If you aim to be a good guy marketer you should know the tricks used by the bad guys – and learn to be wary when you use them – if you seek credibility

Here are some ideas used for selling junk products – ideas, services etc

Tie your appeal to the customer’s fears and their hope of something better.

Tie your appeal to popular culture, fashion, tends.

Have a well known/respected personality support your product. Otherwise someone who looks credible and preferably looks good

Have multiple options to sell.

Use social proof rather than scientific proof.

Cite non-existent authorities and spurious research.

Have statistics to quote. Preferably in graphical form

Use actual statistics selectively

Argue from a position of perceived credibility or authority rather than fact.

Use emotion and spread it as thickly as possible.

Treat any questioning of your position as an attack on wider (social) issues

Treat real science as junk science.

Trot out success stories/testimonials

Use gullible reporters to get your message out.

 

Any additions? Comments? Examples?

 

Like these ideas?  Please comment

And visit our other blogs/articles http://smartamarkeketing.wordpress

And the MAANZ website (home of the worlds largest marketing/business glossary http://www.marketing.org.au

Also the MAANZ Slideshare site – http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger

The Benefits of Socially Responsible Branding

Adding Cause to Branding

The benefits of being perceived to be socially responsible are varied and many. Understandably brands want to be perceived as socially responsible. Being associated with a good cause is a quick way for a brand to be gain the tag of being seen as ‘socially responsible’. This shows the brand to be responsible and caring and these are indeed good qualities for a brand to have. While some brands are inspired by a genuine sense of social responsibility many brands look at the image of being socially responsible as helping in building brand stature. The conscious employment of resources by a brand to aid charitable causes in order to develop image, associations and identity benefits is called cause related branding.

There are 5 main reasons why brands associate with charitable causes other than from a socially responsible perspective:

Builds brand preference: Marketing sense states and some research studies confirm, that ceteris paribus, consumers would prefer buying a brand that is associated with a good cause than from other brands.

Justifies a premium: Consumers often do not mind paying a premium for a brand that is known to be generous to a well-known charity as consumers feel that the brand deserves the premium. The knowledge that a part of the money paid to a brand is going to a good cause adds to the positive emotional component of the brand.

Reduces negative connotations associated with the brand: Liquor and tobacco brands often associate themselves with causes as a means of negating a part of the disrepute associated with their industry.

Provides the brand with desirable values: Brands that are seen to possess a very commercial and greedy image may wish to develop a softer image by showing a softer nicer side by donating to charitable organizations.

Useful for raising money: Brands that plan to approach the money market for raising money from the public often show the warm side of their personality by publicly supporting charitable causes. Investors who are not doing extensive research on the brand may invest because they believe a brand with good intentions can be trusted.

As is obvious from the advantages mentioned above, cause related branding has a lot to offer brands and therefore this route is being used by many brands. There are several successful examples cause related branding working wonders for brands it must be understood that a poorly developed cause strategy will lead to no little or no benefits for the brand. The days when a brand could merely tie up with a well-known charity and earn brownie points are over and the intricacies involved in making cause related branding work are worthy of careful consideration.

In branding, adopting a strategic perspective is critical. In cause related branding it becomes even more critical as the process of establishing an association with a cause takes significant investment of time, effort and money. Reaping the benefits of the association takes time and delinking from a cause can have strong negative repercussions for a brand and the involvement of the highest echelons of management need to be involved in decisions involving cause related branding.

There are three levels of decisions that brands need to look at and the implications of each category of decisions is to be understood before planning for any kind of cause related branding:

Deciding the category: There are a wide range of categories of causes ranging from care of deprived children to restoration of dignity of seniors. Categories are wide and can encompass a wide range of sub categories. Within the cause category of care for senior citizens there are sub categories addressing issues such as care for abandoned elders, medical treatment of senior citizens, etc. It is important to choose the right kind of category and sub category as a prelude to deciding a relevant issue to back within this category.

Deciding the specific issue: Categories of causes consist of different issues. Issues are specific such as programmes to aid restoration of dignity of senior citizens that feel deprived of dignity following their old age. Focussing on specific issues is important for brands as it helps fine tune the values that flow from the association.

Deciding the specific institutions: Unless the brand is willing to create a trust that handles the responsibilities of the cause it will have to depend on institutions to run the operational aspects involved in the execution of cause related activities. Aligning with an institution that caters to a specific cause can provide a brand with strong associations however there are times when brands need to ensure that they are not overshadowed by charities that are stronger brands than their sponsors.

These are some of the aspects that need to be studied before a brand decides to associate with a charitable cause.

What is the relevance of the cause to the brand’s consumer segment?: Association with a charitable cause does not immediately mean that consumers will immediately hold the brand in high esteem. Consumers must find the cause relevant to their value system before the brand receives any approbation. For example: Not all consumers may be equally supportive of a cause that looks at providing food and shelter to immigrants/refugees. These consumers may be more supportive of causes that benefit their countrymen.

How different is it?: Many people are inured to causes and even associations with a good cause like Cancer Care may neither draw much attention to the brand or to the cause nor would the association be very memorable. Finding a cause that is relevant and yet different would help in enhancing the memorability of the brand and cause. For example: A trust that looks after veteran entertainers suffering from terminal diseases can be seen as a worthy cause to support as it appreciates people who once entertained and gave others happiness.

Can the cause be owned?: It is normally difficult to own a cause as this would require immense investment of resources. A niche cause like the one mentioned in the above example may not require huge investments and may not see many other brands supporting this cause. The task of guarding the cause associations may not be very tough nor may the cost of running such a trust be very high.

Will it hold enduring relevance with this segment?: Some causes are contextual. These causes appear to touch a sensitive chord with consumers and then suddenly seem to lose their appeal. Often charities in India catering to cyclone victims suddenly find their support waning in the wake of a fresh new tragedy in a different part of the country. Public sympathy often veers towards the more current tragedies.

How will the relationship be positioned?: The nature of the brand’s relationship with the cause can influence consumer perceptions of the brand. A brand that extends it relationship beyond the financial support to also provide investments of time and talent would most likely stand to gain greater credibility from the relationship than would a brand that only provides money. Brands that appear to only offer financial support may be seen as ‘forced’ or ‘insincere’ and this could in some cases prove counterproductive.

Controversial issues: Brands need to be careful while handling causes associated with controversial issues. For example: A ‘euthanasia’ support foundation campaigning for change in legislation towards euthanasia may be seen by some as a worthy cause but association with this cause may lead to the brand supporting it being embroiled in controversy at some stage of its association if public opinion suffers from the occasional mood swing. While some brands court controversy through short term associations with controversial causes this could be risky as well as counter productive as the issue could turn ugly and taint the brand or it could grow far bigger than the brand.

Cause related branding works best when it is driven by the core values of the brand. Like anything else that is forced, cause related branding could prove counterproductive if it is not a ‘natural’ facet of the brand. When it is not ‘natural’ to the brand then the cause related activities are de-prioritised and lose focus often with corresponding effect on the brand.

In an increasingly cynical world, the value of genuinely sensitive acts is extremely high. There are several cries for brands to show greater responsibility and to share a small part of their wealth with the less privileged. The current economic strife created by schizophrenic brands that show dissonance between their different actions has led to lower levels of consumer belief in brands. Cause related branding performed with genuine intent can help restore consumer trust and build brand equity

Like this short article?  Please comment.  And have a look at other articles  in our sister blog http://smartamarketing.wordpress and checkout the smartamarketing posts on SlideShare. (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

George Orwell’s writing rules Good thoughts for Social Media

George Orwell suggested 5 golden rules for effective writing:

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

Does the phrase “Low hanging fruit” mean something to a layman? Can’t it be better written as “non-performing employee”?Now, how many people recognize the words and the sentiments behind them?

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

In the entire world, XYZ is selling like hot cakes and gathering a lot of revenues for the company”… Imagine if we write this as “XYZ is the company’s universal best-seller”. Many writers adopt the beating round the bush approach to increase word count or achieve the desired keyword density. This is a strict no-no as it insults the reader’s sensibilities.

3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

Well, same as above (yea that’ a shorter one. No need for another example!)

4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

“The man who was old was bitten by a cat”. While there’s no rocket science behind the logic, still this is an oft-disregarded adage. You can always replace the longer sentence with a shorter and effective “The cat bit the old man”

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

Keep your content easily accessible to the average Joe. Readers will simply block out the content if they come across a lot of technical jargons that they can’t comprehend

 

What Should you Charge Clients?

Charging What You’re Worth for Professional Consulting Services

Two of the perennial problems that many consultants face are how to set their prices, and how to convey to potential clients the value in working with them, buying your service product.

Lack of clarity as to what you are worth to clients will undermine your confidence and often lead to trying to compensate by over delivering and over promoting.

Here are some simple ideas to help you get clear on the value you deliver, and to charge fees that are in line with that.

1. Not all clients (customers) are the same.  Your value to them will be different.  That is why it is important to think like an effective marketer and segment/target.  And segmentation needs to more than Demographics/Firmagraphics.

Value is specific (and perceptual) to each market/segment and situation.  You need to create a market segment profile for each target market.  The more detail, the better your understanding.  If it is only a few words, you do not understand your market well enough.

If you are struggling to make a useful segment profile (it takes a bit of knowledge and time) – seek help.  Also check out http://smartamarketing.wordpress.com for ideas about effective segmentation.  You will find other useful and free ideas in the many ideas there as well

2.  What value do you offer? An effective exercise is to list 30 results that your clients get in working with you. Your Product is both goods (tangibles) and services (intangibles). Be sure to list the tangible as well as the non-tangible. Dig deep. If you’re new to your business, then look at the results that are typical of your particular profession or industry, and ask yourself how you can help people create that.

If you are struggling to make a 30 list (it takes time) – seek help

3  Once you have made your basic list, look at it from a client’s perspective.  What benefits are there for them?  Clients/customers buy benefits (intangible services – supported by tangibles).  Put yourself in their shoes and ask “What’s in it for me” (WIIFM).

4. Determine a Price.  Determine not what you think you are worth – but what your prospective clients are prepared to pay.  What clients think may be wrong, but that is what you need to work with.  If you think they should see you as being worth more, then you need to work out how to persuade them of that fact.  While your costs are important in determining an asking Price, Clients don’t care about your costs except where it offers them some advantage.  Adopt a good marketing approach when looking at your cost decisions.  Ask “How can this benefit my clients in such a way as I can add it to my value offer”?

Create Price Lines – that is different asking prices for different segments and offerings.

Price different offerings (Products) differently

4. Don’t stop researching, thinking and planning about your offering. Be sure to ask your clients (frequently) what they value most about working with you or your competitors.  Don’t just assume that what you think is goog is good for your clients – find out.

5. Think strategically as well as tactically.  Tactics – short term plans and action to suit the particular situation are needed, but to get ahead consistently, you need to also think strategically about your business. Look for (and create) value offerings that will differentiate you from your competitors.  If your offering is undifferentiated, it is a commodity.  Commodities only compete on price – or luck.

Thinking strategically means looking at the whole Marketing Mix (eg. 4 P’s) not just Price.  It is also about establishing an effective Brand in your market place.

6. Do your prospective clients know about you and what you can offer them?  Now that you know what you should offer to clients, it’s important that they become aware of it too. How you can let them know is another (important) topic. This is also where knowing a lot about your target segment will pay dividends.  You will know what media they use; what key ideas they want to know about – and how you can effectively communicate with them (not just to them)

Check out the other articles on the SmartaMarketing blog (http://smartamarketing.wordpress.com and https://smartamarketing2.wordpress.com); visit MAANZ International (www.marketing.org.au) and look at the short courses on offer.  Or contact me for specific advice and projects you are looking at

It is how you can build your business/consultancy

Dr. Brian Monger

info@marketing.org.au

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