Dr Brian's SmartaMarketing 2

Smarta Marketing Ideas for Smarta Marketers

Category: Strategic Thinking

The Eight Ancient Asian Elements of Success

Dr. Brian Monger

Lear the ancient wisdom of success from China

The ancient eight essential elements of success are:

  • Tao: Moral standing, ethics, righteousness. The product and the company culture need to be in line with Tao, righteousness. Without Tao, a short-term profit is attainable, but long-term success is not possible.
  • Tien: Timing of your products and your marketing strategy needs to be in line with the social timing and the universal timing.
  • Di: Utilize your company’s assets and liabilities, as well as, each individual understands their everyday work and quality of life.
  • Jian: Leaders relate to their staff, customers and suppliers according to five qualities: wisdom, trustworthiness, benevolence, courage and discipline.
  • Fa: Effective executive’s actions will result in keeping the revenue coming in rapidly.
  • Xu, Shi: Paradox of the real versus the unreal.
  • Qi, Zheng: Innovation and tradition.
  • Know thyself, Know others:  know yourself, your product, and your customers.

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)

Diffusing Traditional Buyer-Seller Roles

When customers have been brought into your business as residents in your sales database and when you have penetrated their businesses in depth, breadth, and height, the traditional distinctions between buyer and seller will become diffused.  Their basis, which lies in the absence of mutual objectives, will have disappeared.  Win-lose sales strategies will have no place.  Because your customers must win if you are going to have a growing market, and because you must win if your customers are going to have a growing improvement in their profits, Your combined need for win-win relations will foster a new union in your roles.

The line between selling and buying will grey out.  The zone where customer interests conflict with your interests will thin down.  Your need to overcome them will be converted to a need to come over to their way of assigning priorities to their problems, defining the kinds of solutions they can most readily accept, and together with them, implementing the solutions inside their businesses.

You will still have to compete to serve them.  But once accepted, you will become their partners in profit.  Your common objectives will be identified in your penetration plans; both of you will have signed off on them.  The strategies will be known to both of you and approved by your customers so that they can work together with you to achieve shared objectives.

In such a scenario, which is commonplace in Consultative Selling relationships, who is buyer and who is seller-and what difference does it make?  Your role will be that of a customer extender, acting as an extension of your customer’s own people and their capabilities to solve their problems.  Thus you can become positioned as a true adder of value.  Your contribution is perceptible; it is also quantifiable.

The essence of role blending is your combined ability to achieve the dollar objectives of your account penetration plan.  This is your pivot point in moving away from vending toward consultation.  If you fail, you fall back to being a vendor.  You separate out of the partnership and become a supplier once again, perceived as having your own self-serving objectives that are bound to be inconsistent with-indeed, they are adversarial to-the needs of your customers.

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)

Guanxi – Learning something very useful from Chinese culture?

A word about which is probably the most known Chinese word in the business sphere,  ‘guanxi’.  Anhd how you might use the concept, not only in International Marketing, but in Western business – as a strategy.  It will fit in very well with relationship building I think

 

This word merges a lot of ‘social rules’. From the western point of view, it has been usually understood such as some kind of corruption. Of course it could be, but ‘guanxi’ not only means ‘give a favour back’ but also means some kind of mutual help. The Chinese societies, including those who are living abroad,  have been using ‘guanxi’ for starting their businesses for centuries. The Chinese people’s guanxi is related to their social relationships, and they spend a lot of time in order to improve their ‘guanxi’, and it’s not only about their professional sphere but also about their personal one.

 

Making things happen ‘step by step’ is also related to their social relationships and their personal ‘guanxi’. You know, ‘guanxi’ is a really wide concept and condensing this word just such as a kind of corruption is a miscalculation. Western cultures usually think that our lifetime is linear, Eastern cultures think that their lifetime is circular; it’s a holistic point of view. It could sounds like an ‘easy philosophy’, but it’s much more besides this, it’s a whole way of living and way of thinking, where everything is related to one each other, where you are not always allowed to do a borderline between your personal life and your professional life, where the ‘harmony’ rules everything and where the Chinese history comes into play. It also happens in our western cultures, it’s not only property of the Chinese culture, but going into this culture usually means start from scratch because our cultural bases are completely different.
Chinese culture is worth to knowing, they are borrowing many things from our western cultures and they are adapting them in order to make them match to their reserved culture. Maybe we should do this as well. Learning a different way of living can offer a totally new way of working.

Interested?  You might want to check out the new Doing Business in Asia group on LinkedIn

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)

Effective Planning

The Requirements of Effective Planning

The major requirements for effective marketing planning can be classified under three broad headings:

  • strategic requirements;
  • managerial requirements; and
  • operational (tactical) requirements

Strategic Requirements

Strategy comes from a Greek word, referring to the office of a general. It refers to the big picture.   It is the broad direction, the way we think we can succeed in a competitive environment

The Stakeholders

In the construction of the business strategy, there are 3 main stakeholders;

  • The Organisation.
  • The Market.
  • The Competition.

There are also many subsidiary players involved in the environment who can at times exert influence on planning;

  • Suppliers
  • Government Bodies
  • Employees
  • Action Groups
  • The public
Information – Research.

Good decisions are based on good information.  The first source of information will be your own records (internal information).  A Marketing Information System (MIS) will provide Market Intelligence, Market Research

Planning – Managerial Requirements

The major requirements of planning from management are:

1.         Commitment at all levels of management from chief executive down to individual line staff.

2.         Creativity and innovative thinking.

3.         Experience and sound organisation judgment:  planning cannot replace these – it can, and should augment them.

4.         The ability to analyse and synthesis data, information and events.

Operational (tactical) Requirements

Major operational (i.e., administrative and systems) requirements are:

1.         Good information and sound research procedures.

2.         Co-ordination and integration of data, people and resources.

3.         Standardisation and simplification of planning systems, wherever possible.

4.         Clear designation of responsibilities for planning and consequent action points.

Build Your Personal Brand

Dr. Brian Monger

Branding is not just for products. ‘Personal brand’ has become an increasingly common phrase. Just as traditional product branding helps organisations to draw market awareness, public recognition and customer loyalty to them, building your own personal brand can have a positive effect on employers’ and clients’s attitude to you as a professional. Let’s take a look at how to build your brand

Your personal brand needs to show in everything you do and are involved in.  It’s about your value (offer) to others.

Your personal brand represents what you mean to others.  How they feel about you and how they value you

Focus on who (your target market/audience) you want to connect with and impress.

You don’t need to impress everyone (you never will BTW) You want to impress and be meaningful to who matters to you.  You need to understand your audience/target market(s) in-depth, so you know what will make a positive impression.

Your brand should reflect authenticity and the value that you have.

Focus on what you can deliver; what you want to deliver.  Do not try to be what you cannot be or what will be too hard for you to deliver.

In your personal brand, highlight what value you believe is needed in the market and that is pertinent to you.

Use your brand to demonstrate to clients and employers what benefits and value (that’s what people want and buy)  you’d be adding for them (first) to their organisation (second if they choose to go with you.  Be clear in your understanding of the market and their need for people like you and for what it is you can do for them.

Differentiate your personal brand from other offerings

From a long-term (strategic) point of view, personal brand effectiveness will only work if your audience/target market(s) can differentiate you from the competition.  If they cannot differentiate you from everyone else in the same market you become just like any commodity.  You will not be noticed or appreciated.  You can compete only as a low price commodity.  So don’t use the standard terms everyone else is using about themselves.  Here again it is vital to really know and understand your market/audience.  And if you are being truly authentic as well you will of course be different.

Consider the right medium/media for conveying your brand message.

The digital world is prominent these days, but it is certainly not the only, or even necessarily the best medium for your message.  First you need to know what media your audience/target market(s), use and fight credible.  And do not forget face to face is often the best media.

Think as professionally as you can to develop your personal brand and your brand message 

Your personal brand is about presenting yourself in an effective and professional way, so act like one.

Dr. Brian Monger is a marketing specialist with over 4o years experience.  He is a recognised expert on branding and social media.  He can advise and assist in developing effective personal branding. His professional profile and recommendations can be found on Linked In (Dr. Brian).  Contact him via info @marketing.org.au.

See more articles on marketing and management – smartamarketing.wordpress.com.  Add visit our website http://www.marketing.org.au  or our groups on Linkedin – MAANZ Smartamarketing and MAANZ International

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

Power and Strategy

It is not enough for a leader to know the right thing.  He must be able to do the right thing.  The … leader without the judgment or perception to make the right decisions fails for lack of vision.  The one who knows the right thing but cannot achieve it fails because he is ineffectual.  The great leader needs  the capacity to achieve.

Power, is simply the capacity to bring about certain intended consequences in the behaviour of others

Power is the opportunity to build, to create, to nudge thing in a particular direction.

Those who do not understand what power is and why it is necessary will not have the ability to get things done.

Power is about the ability to influence things

Prioritising in Planning

Dr. Brian Monger

Prioritising skills are the ability to see which tasks are more important at any moment and to give those tasks more attention, energy, and time. The focus is on what is important at the expense of lower value activities.

Prioritising is about making choices and decisions of what to do first. To prioritise effectively there is a need to recognise what is important, as well as to see the difference between urgent and important.

An organisation’s implementation capabilities may be:

  • time specific: it may gain or lose the competencies needed for execution over time, so implementation capabilities change;
  • culture specific: no two organisations using similar marketing strategies are going to implement them the same way – because they are culturally different;
  • partially capable: an organisation may be well equipped to undertake certain functions needed for effective implementation, but not all the necessary functions;
  • latent: an organisation may have the technical and human resources required but not the ability to use those resources through lack of experience;
  • internally inconsistent: some parts of an organisation may be better equipped to execute a strategy than others;
  • person specific: implementation capabilities may rely on specific managers.

Establishing Strategic Goals, Objectives and Performance Targets

Dr. Brian Monger

Goals are the broad, primary results that management seeks to achieve in the plan.

Objectives are the specification and quantification of those goals.

The result of Objectives, Performance targets cannot be set on the basis of whatever management decides would be “nice.” If goals and objectives are to be something other than “pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking,” and if, at the same time, they are to serve as a tool for stretching the enterprise to achieve its full potential, then they must meet the criterion of being challenging but achievable.  Satisfying this criterion means setting objectives in the light of several important “inside-outside” considerations.

Criteria of Performance.

Achieving the Set Goals.  Obviously the primary criterion is to achieve the goals set by the organisation.  Profitability is usually the most important area of performance, however in Not for Profit organisations it is replaced by “positive margins”. Both guarantee the flow of capital necessary for new value offering development and expansion.

Effectiveness.  The degree to which our strategies are working.  Includes Competitiveness and Efficiency

Competitiveness.  Competitive strength is really a substitute measure of long-run success in achieving goals.

Efficiency.  To ensure long-term profitability, organisations must maintain certain kinds of short-term efficiencies -usually in terms of cost savings.

Flexibility.  Because organisations operate in a very uncertain environment, well-managed organisations should try to protect themselves from significant negative events by remaining flexible, both externally and internally.

Corporate objectives should be developed and performance evaluated in each of these areas.  Accordingly, assessing the organisation’s strengths and weaknesses for purposes of strategic planning should identify strengths and weaknesses in each of these areas.

 

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