AuthorTracey Martin

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Don’t blend in

In a world filled with disruption, are you standing out from all the other options out there and receiving your share of the pie, or is your business missing out? If you are worried about the increase of competition within your industry now, then look out, because within the next two years your competitors are likely to increase as Gen Y continues to fearlessly start new business and take more risks. Competition is everywhere – in every industry. Does your business have what it takes to combat a new offer? And while we are at it… where the hell has customer loyalty gone? 

Our mantra at The Factory is ‘don’t blend in’. What we are trying to convey is for businesses to stop the ever-so-tempting desire to follow industry trends, in order to fit in. As young people, we chose to fit in order to be accepted and not be singled out or picked on. We were guided on fashion by celebrities and the cool people on TV. I can’t even begin to tell you how many clothes in my closet were part of some very short-lived fashion trend. If Kylie Minogue wore an off-the-shoulder top, then let me tell you, so did I! Fitting in was about survival. Now that we, who as kids back then wanted nothing more than to be accepted, have grown up to be adults running businesses, we need to realise that we are fighting against an engrained ideal to fit in. Blending in! Hopefully this is making sense.

If only we knew back then as kids, that being different is a wonderful gift. It allows us to easily get noticed and demand immediate attention. Now, we’re not saying go out and do something absolutely crazy in business, but what we are suggesting is that businesses that have the ability to be unique, possibly a bit weird, get noticed and remain memorable. Interesting thing is, every business has unique qualities, you just need to recognise them, or create them, in a way that your customers can’t look past and want more of. 

Now, think of all the amazing brands that you choose as part of your weekly shop. Why do they make it into your trolley? What makes them so special?

There are 101 ways (or more) to differentiate your business from competitors and establish your purpose and fit within your industry. Sometimes the answer is obvious, and other times you need to dig deep and get a little creative. One of the easiest ways to understand your points of difference is to chat to your existing customers. Ask them why they choose you and let’s hope it’s not because you are the cheapest! Competing on price is a really tough game. Your profit margins are going to be smaller forcing you to sell more of whatever it is you can sell to make any sort of decent money. And remember, there will always be someone else out there that will be prepared to sell it cheaper. 

The key to all this investigation into finding and promoting the ways you are different is to not spend too much time focusing on what your competitors are doing. Doing so will take your focus away from your own business and consume valuable time. Instead, hone in on your customers and relish those difficult times when you receive negative feedback. Look beyond the initial feelings you have to your crushed ego, or battered soul and hunt for the real message and reason this complaint may have been initiated. So many lessons can be learnt from these times, and as crushing as they are they can serve great purpose as this gives you an opportunity to take a good look at your processes and fill in any gaps or address any underlying issues. 

We understand that when you are living and breathing inside your business, it can be difficult to see your uniqueness. The first step is to look at your business through someone else’s eyes. Our friendly team would love to get to know you and your business and share your special qualities. 

‘Don’t blend in’ – join the movement with us. 

One of the most important things in business, is establishing your point of difference. Here are a few tips to help you find your uniqueness:

• What are you offering that your competitors don’t?
• Do you offer unique product/service lines that you can’t get anywhere else?
• Do your products last longer, work faster, use less energy or are sustainable?
• Is your business part of a social enterprise?
• Do you have specialist knowledge?
• Do you have a proven track record of success, or are you well known and trusted?
• Do you offer training or a guarantee?
• Can customers easily contact you?
• Do you offer more payment options?
• Do you offer exceptional after sale service?

Marketing for survival

Have you recently struck hard times? Is the term ‘profit margin’ a term you remember using some time, a long time ago? Are you waiting for the ‘bad times’ to end and a magical unicorn to come prancing towards you, carrying the solution to all your problems?

In business, we can all dream of a magical unicorn appearing making all the bad stuff go away, but then reality hits and we wake up to realise that we need to act quickly to get ourselves out of this mess – because no one else will.

Whether you have just realised that your business is no longer sustainable or you have seen a decline in your revenue, it’s not too late to turn things around.

A fascinating thing I always enjoyed playing with as a child was Play-Doh. Firstly, the smell (ahhh the memories) and then all the colours; you could roll it out or squish it up and basically mould it into whatever form you wanted. Nothing ever turned out quite like you had visioned (well clearly none of my creations anyway) but still Play-Doh would keep me occupied and intrigued for hours. 

Why am I writing about Play-Doh? Well, just like Play-Doh, small businesses can be moulded to take the shape of whatever a business owner would like it to be. Sometimes these shapes form without us even realising, but the important thing is that small business has the agility to make quick decisions and act upon them. By the time a large corporation has identified that it is trading insolvent, there is sometimes little that can be done to turn the big machine around.

If you didn’t’ know it already, owning a business requires you to be a great planner. Plan in the good times for the bad times. Downturns in business are likely, so ensuring your business has what it takes to survive the tough times takes a broad outlook and a clear plan. 

So what can you do right now to ensure your business survives?  

Keep a close eye on your revenue
Even if numbers aren’t your thing, if you notice a change or a drop in your revenue, go about understanding what has caused this change. The same applies if you see a rise in revenue. A savvy business owner is fully aware of what contributes to the ups and downs of its operation. 

Ensure your business still has a point of difference
Did you start your business a long time ago? Have things changed since then? (I’m guessing the answer is ‘yes’.) Do you have more competitors, or fewer? That simple analysis will tell you if your industry as a whole is increasing or decreasing. Nationwide, the Transport, Postal and Warehousing industry accounted for the largest growth in business; while Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing has continued to have the largest total decrease in the number of businesses. (Source: abs.gov.au) 

Has what your customers are looking for changed? And do you have the products or service to meet their new needs? 

Often in business we go about our day-to-day without allocating enough time to ensure our business is still fulfilling the need or purpose it set out to do. Take this time and involve your entire team to inform and guide you into a new era for the business and you might be surprised by the opportunities this presents! 

Increase your communication – with everyone!
Often the easiest way to generate more sales is to sell more to your existing customers. So how are you going to do that? Communicate with them! Regularly communicate with your database of customers (yes we are going to assume that you have one), making sure that the people that already choose you, know all about the full range of products and services you offer. Just because someone stopped buying from you doesn’t mean they won’t ever again. Contact people you provided quotes to and let them know you are still around and want their business. Everyone wants to be desired, so get out there and show them some love. Keep your eyes and ears open for new opportunities and let everyone know you are open for business.

Know when to ask for help
A helping hand [and mind] is not far away. Don’t be shy to seek outside advice. Holding things tight to your chest will only lead to further angst. 

Our final take out is – don’t give up. You can bring a business back from the brink. Our team has been turning businesses around since 2007 and we thrive when tasked with a good challenge. Give us call, we would love to learn about your situation and help wherever possible. 

 

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Trust – The key to building your tribe (and keeping them)

Trust is the foundation of every relationship. It’s hard to build, hard to hold and even when you have it, trust does not always last. This is especially true for customers’ relationships with your business.

Just like an initiation ceremony, customers aren’t going to commit long-term to be a part of your tribe if they don’t trust you. They might know your brand in the marketplace, they may know how to find you, and yes, they may even like you – but do they trust you enough to ‘join your tribe’?

Now more than ever, customers rely on their trust in a business to influence their buying decisions. In this digital age, finding another supplier for their needs is as easy as jumping on Google and typing a service or product into the search bar. So how do you develop trust in your brand and your business to ensure long term loyalty from your customers?

Be Authentic
Authentic brands and businesses are the key to building a loyal tribe of followers. Authenticity is not for everyone – think Danoz Direct and the knife king – but if you plan to succeed in business than it should be! Authenticity starts with a strong mission statement and core values that you and your staff understand, believe in, and live by. Showcase your authenticity on social media, on your website through video, and in real life at events and networking activities – look for every opportunity to highlight your business’ authenticity by getting to know your target audience and letting them get to know you too.

Make a connection
Every day, we are overloaded with advertising and media – it takes a twentieth of a second for them to decide what to let in and what is just noise. To build trust and authenticity, you need to make an emotional connection with your customers, something beyond a catchy tagline or a snappy jingle – tell the real story of your brand in a genuine and human way. Be transparent about what you stand for – your customers will relate to the honesty and integrity you express, and you will create a foundation for long-term advocacy and loyalty.

Deliver on expectations
Overpromising and underdelivering is a big ‘no-no’ when it comes to customer satisfaction. Know your business’ strengths and play up to them. Don’t try to cater to everyone – do what you do well and stick to it. Understanding your customers’ expectations clearly and knowing what you can and can’t do for them is a big factor in building trust. Don’t get ahead of yourself by promising to deliver those things that you can’t. In fact, live by the rule ‘under promise and over deliver’ so that your customers will be pleasantly surprised when they get more than what they expected in the first place!

Seek customer feedback and take it on board
How many times as a customer have you given feedback and been pleasantly surprised when that feedback is taken on board and service or product delivery is improved because of that feedback? Now as a manager or business owner, why wouldn’t you use an easy cost-effective tool like customer feedback to improve your customer relationships?

Getting customer feedback doesn’t have to be difficult – tools like Survey Monkey make it simple to put together an online survey that can easily be distributed to customers to find out exactly what they think about your service.

Get published
What better way to show your expertise in a particular field than by writing about it? Research shows that customers who read educational content from a brand or business feel a greater trust towards it and are more likely to invest in their product or service. That fact that a business is getting published exposure over other businesses in that field is in itself a tribute to their knowledge and experience on a topic that customers resonate with. Make sure the content is relevant and useful – if your expertise is providing legal advice, don’t start to explain the ins and outs of corporate banking. Keep the information simple, direct and factual – talking to your audience the way they want to be spoken to is essential for building trust. When customers feel they are getting something useful out of a piece of content, they are more likely to give back to the business that wrote it.

Trust is hard work and it takes commitment, consideration and investment to maintain. In the long term, if your customers have trust in you and your business, you are building a loyal tribe of followers who will stay with you through the good times and the challenging times.

Now more than ever, take the time to listen and respect your current customers and continue to build trust in your existing relationships to develop new ones.

The big tips for 2018

The marketing world is in a time of intense change. Gen Z, the demographic that has spent their entire lives on the internet, are now in their early 20s and how do they communicate? In #hashtags and on SnapChat. We keep seeing the words ‘blockchain’ and ‘cryptocurrency’ in our newsfeeds, and suddenly voice-activated home operating devices (sorry, Alexa – she has a name you know!) are replacing breakfast shows, news reports, iTunes, ATMs and, well, everything else.

So where to from here? Based on what we’ve seen in 2017 and the expectations for 2018, The Marketing Factory team sat down to identify our top marketing predictions for the year ahead.

 

1. DigitiSe or die!  

It’s 2018. The internet has been around for 20 years. So, enough with traditional versus digital – it’s all marketing now, and a truly integrated marketing campaign will cover everything. The biggest change we have seen in our industry in the past 20 years is the way we market – the challenge now is to embrace it. Invest in upskilling your staff, outsource to a consultant, but whatever you do, make sure you’re doing something in the digital space. The reality is, if your marketing people can’t handle the digital side of marketing, then they need to get on board quickly – it’s not going anywhere, and it’s getting more complicated every day.

 

2. Facebook changes will impact business

We already know that Facebook is going back to meaningful interactions and personalised peer-to-peer content in its newsfeed – this will mean a huge drop in organic reach, video watching time and traffic for Facebook business pages. Specifically, Facebook users are going to see more posts from people they’re connected to in their news feed and less content from the pages they follow. Content ranking will be prioritised by the number of shares and popular talk topics among friends, not hits on pages. Our advice? Post inspired content that will get your followers talking, engage in group chats to keep conversations flowing, and produce quality, share-worthy videos and advertise.

 

3. Everybody wants an “experience”

In this digital age, we literally have the world of consumer goods at our fingertips. Despite this, there is still the ongoing expectation that each transaction will be a ‘personalised experience’. And why not? With a plethora of rival brands available at the click of a button, a negative customer experience may mean no second chance for your product. The trick to this ‘personalised experience’ will be the careful integration of technology and consumer information to deliver a seamless customer-focused transaction. Collect meaningful information about your customers at every touch point – website, social, email – and make sure this data is easily transferable to other systems. Invest in new technology that supports this data collection and use it to provide a fast and personable customer experience across all platforms. Amazon’s entry into the Australian market will highlight one organisation’s effective use of technology to enhance the buying experience – and sadly those that can’t match that level will be left behind.

 

4. AI, AR and VR 

A huge part of enhanced customer transactions will be the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) to increase the consumer experience and automate anything repetitive and remote. Think Amazon’s Echo or Google Home; these handsfree voice-activated devices connect you to their operating system and play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more – instantly. Creative marketers will find ways of doing this outside the home through VR/AR applications and AI – like Estee Lauder’s “lipstick advisor” chatbot on Facebook Messenger that lets users ‘virtually’ try on different shades and use their phones to scan colours in real life and find a shade online that matches. Wow!

 

5. Video content is still King 

Video is still king of the content world – it’s easy to share, tells a story, and generates an emotive response in the consumer to a brand or product – all in 30 seconds. At least, it used to. The end of 2017 saw the growth of the six second ad and long form video, challenging the status quo of the traditional 15 and 30 second spots available through mainstream media. This trend will continue in 2018, and the task for creatives and marketing alike will be to effectively communicate their product message in video short form, maintain audience engagement in long form, and efficiently manage audience insights, distribution and how the video intersects with consumer needs at the relevant time.

 

6. Corporate trust and brand integrity

This one isn’t new, but it’s certainly gained in importance. Consumers want to trust the brands they’re passionate about – trust that is built on positive interactions, ongoing relationships, delivering on promises and offering full transparency. In 2018, consumers will continue to support organisations that have a voice on societal issues and produce their products and services ethically. Forget clever one liners and catchy jingles about your product – base your marketing on authentic brand-building storytelling campaigns that highlight the integrity of your product or service and the transparency of your organisation.

 

7. Tell me what I want before I want it 

The key ingredient to a successful marketing strategy is to market to people before they need your product or service. Having a good vision of your industry and the ever-changing needs of your customers has never been more important; 2018 is the time to go beyond the personalised experience and to the predictive personalised experience. Customers want you to tell them what they need when they need – it’s up to you to determine the relevant moment and address your customers’ needs with accuracy, speed and efficiency. And how do you do it? Data, data, data. We can’t emphasise enough how important collecting consumer data is. Invest in CRM software and use it. Now!

 

8. Voice activation is here 

Techonology has surpassed touchscreens
and QR codes – 2018 will see a huge uptake in voice search as a result of smart speakers and voice activated systems, completely changing how we interact with our mobiles and smart devices.

According to research by ComScore, search by voice will account for half of all internet searches by 2020. The impact of this on the marketing industry is huge and multifaceted; solving real, daily problems will be reshaped in the home with an opportunity for brands to do the same in the minds of all Australians. Start doing your research and thinking ‘outside the square’ in how your company can get on board with this change in technology.

 

Need advice about some OF these predictions? Want to get into the digital space but aren’t sure where to start? At the Marketing Factory, we take a holistic approach to your business’ entire communications strategy, blending your message with our own special brand of quirkiness and our market knowledge to create a business personality for you that your customers will love. Developing an effective marketing campaign is all about connecting your message to the right people, using the right tools, in the right way, at the right time. Basically, we connect the dots for you. Contact us today and discover how we can help your business reach its full potential. 

Sign of the times

With the number of signs we are faced with each day, it is easy to take for granted their effectiveness, until we are actually looking for one. Can you recall a time when you were that person holding up traffic simply trying to find a business? I think we have all been lost at one point or another, wishing that the business we were searching for had invested in some decent signage.

“Signage has always been an effective, silent salesman critical in enabling customers to find you…”

Signage for your business exists way beyond your logo and interestingly, the International Sign Association has developed a guideline they call the ABCs of signage. They state at a minimum, your sign should Attract new customers, Brand the business and Create impulse sales.

Signage has always been an effective, silent salesman critical in enabling customers to find you, so here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding whether your signage measures up:

Size – consider the area you have to work with for each sign. You do not need to utilise all the space available and shout your message to the road; just ensure it is visible from where your customers (and prospective customers) will be looking. Location – this is critical in getting your sign noticed. Too high and it will be out of eyesight. Too low and it will be hidden amongst or behind trees. Check each signage placement’s line of sight to ensure it is captured from many directions.

Luminance – a great way to extend your brand awareness is to illuminate your signage. If your trading hours extend into the evening then this is a must.

Contrast – ensuring your sign stands out from its surroundings is an essential part of its recognition, so try not to place a green sign next to green trees to avoid a case of blending in.

Design – using the right media for
the right purpose will extend the lifespan of your signage. Ensuring your signs
are protected against harsh UV rays
and constructed with cyclone standards in mind will save you money in the
long run.

The more senses you can connect with and/or stimulate, the closer you are to striking emotion and driving potential customers to act. My tips for developing your sign’s content are simple.

Clear – keep your sign’s background clear so as to not distract from your key message. Less is always better in signage.

Concise – say what is necessary and keep your text limited to one message. The most effective signs are often the most simple.

Relevant – know the purpose for your sign. If it’s a directional sign, use visual cues like arrows. If it’s a sales advertisement, keep the message simple.

Practical – think about what your customers are doing as they view your sign. Most billboards for example have no use for a phone number, as your prospective customers are often passing by at 80km/hr and have no time to capture that detail.

Legible – ensure all text can be read at the distance you require it. Large format signage requires a different design approach than print or digital advertising. We recommend using a qualified marketer’s advice in the wording and content of your signage to ensure all fonts are legible and suit your purpose.

If you are wanting more, head over to our website and watch Episode 16 of #BuzzTMF for more tips on signage to help customers find you.

Who am I?

Seems like a simple enough question to answer, but it often leaves business owners and managers fumbling for words. Understanding who you are and what makes your business truly unique can open up a world of opportunities. And just like a clear vision keeps your team heading in the right direction, a clear understanding of who the business is will attract and keep the right customers coming back for more.

 

“We haven’t met a business owner yet who has plenty of time on their hands”

 

Many business people understand the ‘what’ of their business; where they are located and what products or services they offer. The ‘who’ of the business is defining its personality, the tone, language, image and the experience you create for your customers. A clear projection of who you are will ensure your suppliers know what specials you might be interested in; your current customers will know about the range of products or services you offer; and potential customers will have an idea about what to expect from you.

So, where do you start when trying to uncover who you are in business and ensure that your business is projecting the right message? An experienced marketer with a proven track record in building brands is likely to take a look at your entire footprint with an audit. This involves all customer touch points, including your logo and all the places you would find it represented, whether that is on your stationery, branded items, flyers, vehicles, signage etc. This audit would also comprise of how your business presents online, across all those social media platforms, and directory ads. One thing that can be overlooked is how your customers interact with your business, from how they are greeted, whether that is in person or by phone or website. It really is amazing how much variety you can uncover once you start exploring.

Another great outcome of an audit across your marketing, is determining how your business is positioned in relation to its goals. Realising the effectiveness of your marketing can sometimes be challenging, but ensuring that all your attempts are working together is something you can control. Determining where the problem areas are and where opportunities exist, will allow you to develop an action plan that will improve the marketing position of the business. We haven’t met a business owner yet who has plenty of time on their hands, so having the ability to stop and reflect isn’t always the most critical job on the to do list. Someone in your team who has really great organisational skills may be able to assist you here to reap the benefits of this process.

Remember, some of the most important questions in business can be the who, the what, and the why. Have an answer for each of these and you will be sure to have your marketing singing the songs of your future success.

 

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Traditional vs Digital Marketing

At the Factory we are often asked where a business should be spending their marketing dollars — on traditional or digital channels. This is never a one-word answer. We always recommend a combination of both.

Whilst we are in a digital era, it is very easy to get caught up on concentrating on online platforms only, but what we must remember we cannot forget about the human element in our marketing, that while people are still driving cars, walking into businesses, making telephone calls and reading magazines like you are now, there remain incredible opportunities to communicate with potential customers and keep your brand front of mind when they need your service or product.

Customers simply have not shut off from traditional forms of marketing. When was the last time you received a hand written letter or card in the mail? Traditional or “old fashioned” marketing when applied today in the digital era can in fact achieve cut-through and make you stand out from the rest. The businesses which have continued to do this are few and far between. If your continual efforts online, through keyword targeting, harvesting email lists, social media advertising are not working, it might be time to review your current marketing strategy and approach.Depositphotos_56882239_original_web

It’s important to note that it’s not about pursuing one or the other — traditional or digital — it’s about getting the right marketing mix for your business and your specific goals (and budget), at this point. You can spend a bucket load of cash on digital to achieve a lot of clicks but no or few conversions, or with a different mix you could spend the same dollars and generate more real customers and conversions.

It can be overwhelming when you aren’t familiar with the options, the results or the right approach for your business, and that’s where an agency comes in. Marketing agencies (like us!) live and breathe marketing, and we genuinely enjoy customising the right mix to fit your business. The biggest kick we get each day? Seeing the results for your business.

 

“We must remember we cannot forget about the human element in our marketing.”

 

For more info check out episode #8 BuzzTMF for tips on how to use old and new school marketing as delivered by our national columnist Andrew Griffiths:

• Combine old and new to enable multiple touch points.

• Customers want engagements not only transactions.

• Word of mouth, not just word of mouse – it’s no time to be shy.
• Combine old and new to enable multiple touch points.

• Customers want engagements not only transactions.

• Word of mouth, not just word of mouse – it’s no time to be shy.

• Get your team involved with you.

• Don’t make it hard for people to give you money.

• Have great promotional material.

• Look for partnerships and collaborate.

• Present good corporate karma to the community.

• Think like a customer.

• Don’t have a spray approach to marketing – who is your target market and how do they interact with your brand?

 

 

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Starting a new Business

As Brand Manager for The Marketing Factory, Tracey is passionate about delivering solutions for business and developing long-term relationships with her clients.

So you’ve decided to start a new business. Firstly, congratulations! It’s a big leap of faith to leave full-time employment and back your own ability to start a new venture. It takes courage, but once the decision has been made, the future success of your business is dependant predominantly on how it is setup from the beginning.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 60% of small businesses cease operation within the first three years.

Also interesting is the top three reasons why businesses fail;

• Poor strategic management

• Inadequate cash flow

• Trading losses

This highlights the importance of developing a great relationship with your business accountant and creating budgets so your overheads and costs are kept at a sustainable and results driven level. Prior to launching your company, ensure that you have conducted due diligence researching the industry you are about to break into, and that there is room for your business to not only exist but thrive within its geographical area.

If your business is online, establishing a clear and distinctive point of difference is essential to stand out in this highly competitive arena.

Developing an outstanding brand that is recognised, stands apart from competitors and engages interest is what businesses ultimately aim for. In this edition, we would like to showcase a company that our team has proudly bought to life, being KLP Family Law.

KLP Family Law has successfully established themselves as a leading family law firm and you would have to agree that their branding and messaging is like no other typical law firm. Founder and Principal Collaborative Family Lawyer, Kate Pateman started the business focusing on servicing a niche and never swayed from offering this specialty service. Kate backed herself and her team, and last month they celebrated five years in business. All involved can truly be proud of the successful foundations that were laid at the beginning that created a business that has achieved five strong years and is positioned to succeed through many more.

Remember, starting a business, developing a brand and taking it to market, can be attempted by anyone. But, when done by professionals with a track record of producing results, gives your new business the best chance of success.

It is also a great idea to check out the many resources available online to set you on the right path and ensure you have all your bases covered. And above it all, be positive and only align yourself with partners and suppliers that share your vision and have the ability to take you far beyond where you ever imagined.

 

 

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Feel the BUZZ – #BuzzTMF

#BuzzTMF
Every day, our team of marketers and creatives make it our business to create defining moments for our clients and have now decided to expand our offering. It has been our desire to use our combined talents to assist as many businesses as possible and now we are proud to launch a new concept aimed to reach out and explore the marketing questions that surround those in business and aim to answer them… Say hello to #BuzzTMF

#BuzzTMF is a weekly vlog (video blog). Each week we will be discussing a topic/question that you would like answered about the wondrous world of marketing. It could be anything from what elements make up a good logo, to what to do if my advertising isn’t working.

adobestock_89519551As long as we feel we are qualified to answer it, we will! No question is too silly, so get on social media and ask away!

There are multiple ways you can submit your questions. Like us on Facebook and simply write on our wall or send us a private message. Make sure you use #BuzzTMF. If you are more of the emailing type, then email us at
buzztmf@themarketingfactory.com.au

In 12 months’ time, we would have answered more than 50 questions and be well on our way to assisting as many people as we can in business. Marketing isn’t all smoke and mirrors as some may claim. It is a calculated field that is best tackled by those who are passionate and proficient at it. #BuzzTMF is here to inspire, motivate and also help dispel fears and put to rest inaccuracies you may have heard elsewhere. We are local people with local knowledge helping local business thrive and succeed.

Stay tuned each week to our Facebook page and website for our #BuzzTMF videos. Join us and follow our journey with the view to creating marketing excellence for our region.

 

 

 

Making the Most of Your Presence Online

For most businesses, if you don’t have an online presence today, you simply don’t exist. Well, that is in the eye of your potential customers. Statistics show that more and more people are making purchasing decisions online. They are researching websites, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and comparing your offer, against your competitors. They are relying on referrals and experiences from their friends and no longer are businesses building trust through their own marketing messages alone.

Expanding your business presence online can be daunting, so the team at The Factory has put our heads together and developed a few things to consider.

Decide What You Can Manage to Maintain
The old saying, “anything worth doing is worth doing well,” really applies to the digital space. It is really important to determine what the resources in your company allow for keeping your digital presence current. Having a website that is not up-to-date is not a good sign, nor is having a social media page for the sake of it. Potential customers will be quickly turned off by outdated information and they will start looking elsewhere. Deciding what you can take on and commit to updating every week is important.

Optimised WebsiteOnlinePresence
The need for a fully responsive and optimised website is critical to being found online. You can do two simple checks to see if your website ticks both these boxes. Type your businesses industry followed by the town you service and see where you rank in Google. If you can’t find your business name on the first few pages (depending on your industry), then it’s likely your website isn’t coded or optimised. Then view your business website on a mobile phone or tablet. If you have to scroll left or right, then your website is not responsive, meaning that it doesn’t adjust the size according to what device it is being viewed on. This is the time when you could consider developing a new website.

What Is The Right Social Media For Me?
Choosing the right social media for your business and your region is like choosing the right person to fulfill every individual role. Getting it right will lead to greater rewards. Here is a brief outline of social mediums and their best use;
•     Facebook – good all round option for most businesses
•     Twitter – good if your business is connected interstate, nationally or internationally
•     Instagram – great for businesses with a visual product, such as food, clothing, homewares etc.
•     YouTube – great if your businesses produces a lot of videos, TV ads etc.
•     Pinterest – great if you have sensational images of your business such as tourism providers etc.
•     LinkedIn – great network for business people and professionals

Create A Strategy
Gather and find all the resources that you can access to generate interesting and educational content from. It might be industry groups that you are part of, facts you can share about the business and the people within the business to name a few. Most importantly, remember that social media is ‘social’, so be sure not to drive home sales message after sales message, as you will soon find yourself being unfollowed.

If your business decides that tackling the digital space is all too much, then appointing a social media manager is a great strategy! We welcome you to give us a call at The Factory; we would be happy to assist.

Marketing goals for your business

As Brand Manager for The Marketing Factory, Tracey is passionate about delivering solutions for business and developing long-term relationships with her clients.

It’s true, every business needs goals to strive towards. The more goals set, the more results achieved. The more a team is actively involved in creating and developing business goals, the likelihood of these goals being achieved doubles. So what do you have to lose? With a new year comes new opportunities, so in order for your business to capitalise on the opportunities that present themselves, we have compiled a list of goals to assist you look your professional best.

Your Website
Ensure you have a responsive website, meaning it can be viewed on a mobile device. If you Google any kind of research calculating the amount of internet use on a mobile device, you will see that it trumps laptops and PCs. Simply having a static online presence is no longer enough and businesses need to make the shift now before they are left behind.

Start Filming
The consumption of online video has been increasing for years and is such a powerful tool to tell your brand, business or product story. Videos can be easily shared across social media networks and if you remember to keep them short and snappy, you will be surprised with the reach they can deliver.

Get Social
If you would like to engage in a different level of conversation with your current and potential customers, having a social media presence is ideal. Remember that social media is mea

MarketingGoals

nt to be just that… social, so don’t be the pushy salesman that no one particularly likes. Rather grow your fan base by providing great content about your industry that people just can’t seem to do without.

Commit to a Relationship
Who do we all like doing business with? The people we like of course! Relationship marketing is building trust from reviews of others on their experience with your business. With the amount of opportunities customers have to comment on your business, ensure it is a positive one by creating ‘wow’ moments and delivering beyond their expectations. Not only will it foster a ‘customer for life’ strategy, the word of mouth will spread and generate new business leads.
It’s All About the Content
The old saying goes ‘Content is King’ and rightly so. It’s great to have a website, make a super cool video and be tweeting every day, but if the content you are publishing is crap; then it’s all a waste of time. With major search engine networks looking to expand their capabilities, ensuring you own your industry and create leading content has never been more important. Business perceptions are created by what people see, hear and read so pay particular attention to finding a hidden wordsmith in your team.

Plan and Budget
Create a strategy and set yourself limits. It’s no good to ask what happened with the marketing funds once they are spent. Plan your marketing activity over a 12 month period and align a budget amount to each item. Make sure you review after each activity or each month to ensure you are on track or if anything needs adjusting. Trialing new ideas and concepts, reviewing and measuring their success or failure and adjusting until it works. Some businesses give up after one failed attempt and this is only the beginning of the journey.

If you decide these things are beyond your team’s time and capacity, please feel free to give us a call at The Factory to arrange a catch up where we can discuss bringing your goals to life in 2016.

A Client’s Journey: KLP Family Law

At The Marketing Factory we work to position our clients as leaders within their field through creative campaigns. It doesn’t require a large budget to get great results! Let’s take a look at KLP Family Law for example;

Case Study: Positioning your brand / Marketing with a difference

The brief:

I have worked with the KLP Family Law brand since inception. From the beginning, Director Kate Pateman was firm on what she wanted her brand to stand for. She wanted to be known for her point of difference within family law and she wanted to stand out in the market. I spent time getting to know Kate and her team and the vision that they were working towards. I learnt family law can be quite an emotional industry, putting huge amounts of strain on the employees and their clients. Ultimately they are there 100% for their clients to deliver a service when emotions are high and tensions are rising.

It was Kate’s passion to ensure that her clients felt at ease and trusted her to deliver on a result to suit, without the long drawn out procedures. Don’t get me wrong, all cases are dealt with individually and unfortunately some cases are more complicated to settle, however Kate and her team are focused on making the journey as stress free as possible. Hey they might even throw in some humour here and there just to help make you smile and catch a glimmer of better times ahead.

KLPBranding

The process:

As a new business we were conscious of the budget we allocated to get the KLP Family Law brand out into the market. Market research was carried out in the local target area to see how their competitors were positioned and what they were doing to sell their points of difference. Establishing KLP Family Law’s strong points of difference was the easy part.

The partners at KLP have quite the sense of humour and this allowed us to get creative with campaign concepts, all whilst upholding the serious side of the industry to get our message out there. Dealing only in family law, they are results-driven, proactive, supportive and most importantly there for you every step of the way.

A marketing plan was devised and implemented using a diverse media platform to deliver. Magazine advertisements and editorial established a branding base for the KLP Family Law brand and was supported by TV advertising. To create interest in between all of this? We designed creative vehicle graphics that drew on emotions and had you thinking.

KLP Family Law is well established in the Townsville market and has gone on to attract clients from surrounding regions. This success was the result of a clear expectation and vision. It was also from trusting in the team at The Marketing Factory to deliver a branding campaign that tested the more conventional way of advertising a message.

The result:

We have worked with The Marketing Factory since we began KLP, in particular Bree. We didn’t realise at that initial stage how beneficial our relationship would be. In fact at one stage we did have to have a serious conversation with Bree about how much work we were picking up from the great work she was doing for us!

With the marketing strategy and plan, Bree worked out for us, we were getting new client calls to the extent that we were being booked out two weeks in advance! We wanted something very different for our marketing from all the other law firms – we wanted to be fresh, innovative with a splash of humour. We didn’t want to have the usual boring law firm type of marketing. Bree understood that and what we were trying to achieve straight off the bat, which was refreshing. In fact some of the proposals that Bree and Amber gave us as jokes actually made it to final cuts! And that is what we love about TMF – it is not just a business relationship, it goes beyond that. TMF is a part of the KLP team: we really couldn’t see our business without Bree’s input into our marketing direction.

Kate Pateman
Director
KLP Family Law

Magazine Masters

Continuing on our celebration of showcasing our team’s achievements, in this edition we highlight how we think outside the box and present new ideas to clients they never considered.

The brief:

Re-design our current communication brochure

The Cowboys Leagues Club is the social home to the NRL Toyota Cowboys and NBL Townsville Crocodiles. The Cowboys Leagues Club prides itself on its role within the community and the support it provides organisations across a broad range of categories including sporting, charitable, service and education.

Their aim was to develop a communication piece that would include engaging editorial, with some great articles, updates on the sporting clubs, as well as promotions of their varied events and dining options available. Their original multi-page brochure was an envelope size which was distributed through Australia Post directly to members.

The club was interested in creating a communication piece that not only appealed to members, but also the broader community and lifted the profile of Cowboys Leagues Club. The client engaged the services of The Marketing Factory to assist with launching a new concept to help them achieve their goal of updating their current ‘look’. The Marketing Factory proposed with the idea of launching Cowboys Leagues Club’s very own magazine as well as pitching a refreshed name, logo, design and style.

The process:

Momentum Magazine Launch

Understanding that we needed to develop a totally new look for their communication brochure our team developed the design and page layout of a 20-page magazine, with the title Momentum Magazine. The name of this piece was particularly important, to ensure it was a reflection of Cowboys Leagues Club and also is a direct correlation between the club and football. Momentum was created to be a stand-alone brand that is engaging, informative and personable and something that Cowboys Leagues Club can be very proud of.

It is also very different to what any other club or restaurant is currently providing as a promotional marketing tool. At The Marketing Factory we like to push the barriers of brand identity, ensuring that no matter what business you are in, you always stand out from the crowd. Since the initial launch of Momentum in January 2014 it has received some exceptional feedback from club members, the wider community and supporters. It has also recently increased its distribution to 30,000. Published quarterly, Momentum retains a shelf life so that you are always up to date with what is happening at Cowboys Leagues Club.

The result:

“Seeing our new magazine come to life was exciting. With the club undergoing a substantial redevelopment, we wanted to revitalise our previous booklet into something really special that would engage with our readers. The Marketing Factory brought our vision to life with Momentum and we couldn’t be happier with the end result.

Momentum is a great publication that connects with our patrons and guests, highlighting all the benefits, promotions and stories that our celebrated club has to offer. We never imagined having our own magazine, but thanks to the expertise and knowledge of The Marketing Factory it became a possibility.

With each edition they bring fresh ideas, proficiency and the results we desire. They even successfully sell our advertising space for us. Feedback from our readers has been nothing but positive and we look forward to continuing the ‘Momentum’ with our magazine and The Marketing Factory.”

Clint Williams

General Manager

Cowboys Leagues Club

Like what you see? Let us know on our Facebook page. We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences if you have embarked on a similar journey with your business or know someone that has.

If you don’t ask, you won’t get!

I’ve always been an easy going kind of gal. Ask me to pick a restaurant, a movie or a weekend destination and I’ll tell you “wherever you want” or “I don’t mind”. Naturally, having this vague attitude towards everything has left me with some undesirable consequences. Like the time I went to the hairdressers and told them to go nuts – I was ready for a change. Turns out I wasn’t. My unfortunate experience of bright pink foils taught me an important lesson. I had engaged this service and expected them to deliver me something fantastic without giving them any idea of what I wanted. Looking back, it was inevitable that it was going to end less then favourably. Contrary to popular belief, designers do need some form of direction. If you consider that every project starts with a blank canvas, it’s easy to see how daunting a task can be without a well-defined brief. And frustrating for both the designer and the client when targets are missed (which is almost certain without clear, decisive direction).

As they say, if you don’t ask for what you want, you probably won’t get it. So how do you convey your project objectives effectively to ensure you end up with a winner?

  • Be clear and constructive
    • If you haven’t worked with the design team before, share as much as you can about your company culture, products and services and target market.
    • Define your goals clearly, with as much detail as possible.
    • Think about what you want to communicate to your audience. Messages? Emotions? Everything counts.
  • Think about functionality
    • You might have a stunning project in mind, but how will it work? And for whom?
    • Take time to think about what platforms you want it to carry across (websites, t-shirts, brochures etc). Will you print internally or professionally? Will it be fixed or editable on your end? These are fundamental details that may affect how your job is designed and what is possible.
  • Get visual
    • Finding reference material is a great way to illustrate your vision in a language that designers know best.
    • Set up a mood board – aka a collection of colours, pictures, layouts and anything else that inspires your project. If you’re having trouble deciding on what you want, this process will help you fill in the gaps and build clarity.
  • Utilize feedback periods
    • The drafting period is your opportunity to evaluate the direction your project is heading and tweak the areas that aren’t quite there yet. Speak up!
  • Express what you ‘don’t want’ 
    • Defining what you don’t want is just as important as defining what you do. Dislike the colour yellow? Not a fan of a certain trend? Let us know!
  • Accept advice and have a bit o’ faith!
    • Sometimes we make suggestions. Or tell you that what you want isn’t conceivable. Believe it or not, we’re not being difficult. We want your project to succeed just as much as you! So take a moment to consider our input.
    • Like a builder or a banker, design is our jam. Sometimes it’s hard to put trust in something, especially if you’re having trouble understanding unfamiliar jargon and processes. But we know what we’re doing! And we’re always here to help – so if you’re unsure all you need to do is ask.
Continue Reading

A client’s journey

We’re all about delivering results here at The Marketing Factory and think it’s time we shared some of our team’s achievements. Over the next few editions of Success Business Magazine, we are going to be showcasing through a series of case studies, some of our proudest moments.

Clients employ The Marketing Factory for a variety of reasons. We fine tune brands, assemble campaigns, build presence, polish images and produce results. And we do this through an always evolving list of services thanks to the amazing technological world we live in. We can deliver just about anything and we’re proud of it.

When we are first engaged by clients we let you do the talking. Tell us about your business, what stage your business is at and what you are looking to achieve. After we have captured your needs and wants, we head off and create a personality that represents your business and connect it with your target market.

CastleBranding

Case Study: Rebranding

The brief:

To set the business apart from its competitors.

Two local established businesses, NQ Pest Management and Townsville Building and Pest Management have been operating in the Townsville region for the past nine years. They wanted to amalgamate both brands and freshen up their existing looks.  The client engaged the services of The Marketing Factory to assist with logo development, stationery design, social media, marketing collateral, signage, uniforms and website development.

The process:

Launch the new brand: Castle Property Inspections and Pest Management.

Through a collaborative approach, our team created a unique brand that was easily identifiable within their industry, while still retaining a link to their previous brand through the use of existing logo colours. When rebranding a business, our team is conscious of holding onto any brand integrity that exists, while developing a new look that matches the business vision.

The result:

“We love our new brand, with a big thanks to The Marketing Factory. We wanted to bring the two sides of our business together effectively, and The Marketing Factory has done this so professionally and seemingly effortlessly. They are handling everything from business cards and a website to new signage for the cars and business shirts. The feedback from our clients and colleagues has been fabulous and we really look forward to growing our business with this brand. We are so impressed with the quality of service from The Marketing Factory and are very happy to recommend them to other potential clients.”

Simon and Charmaine Read,
Castle Property Inspections and Pest Management

Understand your target market

Today, companies that continue to perform well know their target market. They send the right message to the right people at the right time. If you’ve just started out in business, you’ve obviously made the first step in creating a unique product or service that is ready to be marketed to the world. You’re excited and ready to tell everyone. But before you start trying to get your message across to the entire population, you should start thinking who the most likely users are of your product or service.

Often in a cluttered market place, your product or service however unique it is will be compared to similar offerings. Consumers today are spoilt for choice, and not only are you competing locally but internationally with more and more consumers choosing to shop online. What are you doing to make people see your product and say ‘I need that in my life right now!’

Starting your business with clearly defined goals on who you are and who you are talking to will prevent you from trying to be everything to everyone. Along with a strong business plan, understanding your target market will help you determine exactly what communication channels and key messages to use to best market your product or service offering.

Without some idea of who you are targeting you run the risk of alienating potential customers, keeping in mind that the purchaser may be different to the consumer of your product or service.

For example, you may own a toy store. Your target market is children as they will be the consumer of your product.  However the group purchasing these items would generally be parents or grandparents, so that is who the message needs to target.

There are some easy steps to follow that will help you determine your target market. You can choose to engage a marketing professional to can assist identify your typical customer and tailor a marketing plan and budget accordingly to build a solid foundation for your business.

Get started!

Check out your competition

Who are your competitors targeting? Don’t just be restricted to the same market, discover a market they may be overlooking.

Analyse your product/service offering

Write a list of all your products and services, next to each write the feature and benefits they provide. Once your benefits are listed you can then determine who will need that benefit fulfilled.

Think Local, Buy Local, Be Local

How many of you have purchased something online from a company that operates outside of our region or even overseas? Don’t feel bad, most of us have.

Through networks and social media platforms we are exposed to online opportunities every day, taking money away from our region. Going local does not mean shutting out the rest of the country or world. What it does mean though is supporting locally owned businesses which use local resources, employ local workers and serve the local community where you can. It means we make the choice to become less dependent on imports and allow for the control of product and service offerings to be in the hands of the community where it belongs.

Many of us have felt the effects of having a local business close their doors, often seeing them walk away with nothing but a loss. It opens up an opportunity for us to quickly pass judgement on what we think went wrong. After all, they had a great product or service offering; I loved going there! But when was the last time you actually purchased something from them? Do you remember the time you drove past thinking, I must get in there soon. But by the time you eventually got around to it, they’d closed their doors.

Often unless you are a business owner yourself you may not understand the real importance of supporting local businesses that rely so much on the support of the local community. Small businesses are the vital cogs in the local economy wheel and they have the opportunity to grow if they have the support from the local community.

Unfortunately, the perception out in the world is everything is cheaper online. We are quick to forget that we instantly lose the customer service interaction and allow the locals to showcase their unique offering. Before you know it the cost of the delivery on top of your goods or services has far succeeded the price of it locally. And online shopping is something that is only going to increase. If you are a business owner it may be worth opening up an online store that will assist in driving sales.

I also encourage local business partnerships to promote your local support through advertising and marketing platforms. Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk. And if you’re a consumer I encourage you to stop and think next time you’re about to click on that online purchase, and ask yourself, “can I get this from a local business?” Make a promise to yourself that you will go out and visit the local shops in search for what you are looking for; you may be surprised at what you find!

Support local business and they will support you.