March 7, 2019

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Marketing your Assets

January 14, 2016

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Designing your Marketing

Designing to grow

Design thinking, or design planning is not a new approach for businesses.  However, a new wave of thinking is applying the processes that what we think of as creative designers and architects go through, to Business Planning.

How can Design help my business?

When a business is well thought through, there is a seamless beginning to end customer experience.  The information on the website clearly explains the product and where to buy it.  The directions are easy, or stores very accessible – and finding the product in store is easy too.

When you get it home, the usage instructions are easy to follow, and the product experience matches the idea you had about the product when you first discovered it, leaving you feeling – satisfied.

It sounds simple enough doesn’t it?  Yet many businesses struggle with ensuring all the elements of their company are designed to fit together.

Let’s use an example of Design around a brand proposition – such as Speed and Ease.

Bank A and Bank B both claim that working with them is fast and easy.

Bank A has developed an online portal for credit card approvals. They have spent time and money on a fully optimised website that they have researched for style approval with some customer focus groups. Everyone loves it! However, their back end processes required that a physical image of the applicants drivers licence is uploaded for approval, and 40% of applicants don’t have a scanner, or means of uploading this image – and another 15% don’t drive! Once the application is loaded, the senior manager has to run a credit check and offer approval.  Typically this is done in 3hrs, but it can take longer, especially if more questions are needed to be asked.

Bank B increases the number of branches it has around the country, by teaming up with a well known supermarket chain and setting up a desk in store which is manned by someone who has the authority to approve credit card limits on the spot.  The local person has a portal into Bank B’s server directly and a hot-line for approvals which are borderline or required additional spend.

Which company has applied Design thinking processes?  Initially, you would assume the Design-focused business is the one with the aesthetic website. However, it is Bank B who have looked through the problem and considered how their brand promise of ‘Speed and Ease’ works functionally in the market place with their customers. Everything from the customer enquiry process through to the approval has been designed both to maximise the opportunity for the bank to grow its business and for the customer to have an enjoyable experience that is in alignment with the Speed and Ease promise.

To be a great business and to find a growth spurt that out paces your competitors, apply the principles of Design Thinking strategy to your business.

January 14, 2016

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Designing your Marketing Strategy

Designing to grow

Design thinking, or design planning is not a new approach for businesses.  However, a new wave of thinking is applying the processes that what we think of as creative designers and architects go through, to Business Planning.

How can Design help my business?

When a business is well thought through, there is a seamless beginning to end customer experience.  The information on the website clearly explains the product and where to buy it.  The directions are easy, or stores very accessible – and finding the product in store is easy too.

When you get it home, the usage instructions are easy to follow, and the product experience matches the idea you had about the product when you first discovered it, leaving you feeling – satisfied.

It sounds simple enough doesn’t it?  Yet many businesses struggle with ensuring all the elements of their company are designed to fit together.

Let’s use an example of Design around a brand proposition – such as Speed and Ease.

Bank A and Bank B both claim that working with them is fast and easy.

Bank A has developed an online portal for credit card approvals. They have spent time and money on a fully optimised website that they have researched for style approval with some customer focus groups. Everyone loves it! However, their back end processes required that a physical image of the applicants drivers licence is uploaded for approval, and 40% of applicants don’t have a scanner, or means of uploading this image – and another 15% don’t drive! Once the application is loaded, the senior manager has to run a credit check and offer approval.  Typically this is done in 3hrs, but it can take longer, especially if more questions are needed to be asked.

Bank B increases the number of branches it has around the country, by teaming up with a well known supermarket chain and setting up a desk in store which is manned by someone who has the authority to approve credit card limits on the spot.  The local person has a portal into Bank B’s server directly and a hot-line for approvals which are borderline or required additional spend.

Which company has applied Design thinking processes?  Initially, you would assume the Design-focused business is the one with the aesthetic website. However, it is Bank B who have looked through the problem and considered how their brand promise of ‘Speed and Ease’ works functionally in the market place with their customers. Everything from the customer enquiry process through to the approval has been designed both to maximise the opportunity for the bank to grow its business and for the customer to have an enjoyable experience that is in alignment with the Speed and Ease promise.

To be a great business and to find a growth spurt that out paces your competitors, apply the principles of Design Thinking strategy to your business.

 

May 11, 2015

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The 3 Google Analytics metrics you must know

What are the most important Google Analytics metrics every SME should be checking?

being-found

Why use google analytics? Why wouldn’t you? Is a more appropriate question..Why would you put up a website onto the wide world of web and not want to know who is looking at it – when, and why? It amazes me how many small business owners invest in a website but fail to either install Google Analytics, or know what to look for, preferring to leave that magic in the hands of a digital or SEO expert.  Yet Analytics is a simple to install and simple to use tool that is essential for anyone hoping to use the web to connect with potential customers.

Analytics will be able to tell you hour by hour who is looking at your website, where they came from (is your social media or tv campaign working) which pages they came in to (great if you are running an Ad words campaign) and which pages switched them off.  You can see page by page which articles they took one look at and thought – yeah…nah.  Leaving you to update, edit or delete parts of your site that aren’t working and promote parts that are.

Is anyone going to your contact page?  Where did they go after that?  Did they submit an enquiry?

Google Analytics is FREE and although it is fairly easy to set up, to get the best out of this extremely useful and intuitive tool, you need to have a bit of in-depth knowledge and a little bit of time. There are plenty of self-help videos on YouTube that will teach you the basics and certainly enough for you to be able to make decisions like a CEO around what is working and what is not.

 

Just spending a little time learning how to work the intuitive user-tool will soon help you understand the interface, the different report sets and how to work with your site to make decisions on what to do next.  Like all good information though, it’s what you do with it that counts. There is a raft of information for the decisioning junkies amongst us, but if you are a typical time-starved owner of a growing business, there are a few metrics that you should have on your dashboard to keep the performance of your site on your radar.

It’s easy enough after a bit of practice to get sucked into the metrics and go back every day to see what has happened the night before. BUT if you are a beginner and just want to grasp the basics – here are the things you want to monitor.

1) Bounce Rates

This is pretty much the one metric to get to grips with asap – it tells you how ENGAGED people are with your site.  The bounce rate will tell you how many people took a quick look at your page and decided not to read it.  Ouch. If you are driving 500 people to your site a week at a cost of $2 per click, and your bounce rate is at 90%, I’m sorry to say that you just poured $900 straight down the toilet.  Check your bounce rates regularly and if they are higher than 50%, review your content and make some changes.  Bounce rates change by industry, and by the nature of your campaign and so it is hard to work out what an acceptable bounce rate is for you.  However, keep on top of this one and always aim to develop a message or site that engages with your target audience.  If you want help with that  – then it’s time to pick up the phone.

2)Visitors and Unique visitors

2nd on the list?  Well obviously it matters how many people are coming to your site each day, and how many of them are returning – how many come back on the same day and how many are brand new.  Analytics will tell you all of this, but what does it mean?  It doesn’t matter if 100 or 10K visitors are coming daily, if your bounce rate is at 100% it’s kinda useless information anyway.  However, assuming your visitors have something to read that motivates them into action, you’ll be wanting to ensure that your daily visitor numbers are going up. You want a nice healthy ratio between those coming back for 2nd and 3rd viewings (meaning they are moving along the sales cycle and increasing their engagement with your brand) and those who are brand new and wanting to be entertained by you.

3) Time on site & pages per visit

How long are people spending reading your stuff?  When crawlers are looking at your site they are making note of the amount of time the traffic they send is spending with you.  Like all good word of mouth people, the referring sites want to only send visitors to sites that will stimulate, engage, and answer the query that they put into their original search.  If your site shows that people are spending time on your site and then going to subsequent other pages, the crawlers and bots will have to assume that your site is valuable – and so will send more traffic your way.

If you are running a Google Adwords campaign, then you will want to look at acquisition tools to find out how your campaign is going, based on your key words and your criteria, and if you changed something on your site recently you may looking at sources, telling you where people are coming from, landing pages – which pages they came into (especially useful for campaigns from other media) and conversions if you have an e-commerce site.  But for now, master the basics and have a play around with your site and your off-site engagement campaigns to see what happens.  Before long, you will become a google analytics junkie too.

If you need help with this or any other aspects of your marketing, get in touch with the team today on 0800 GETMAX or see our plans for more info

 

 

April 10, 2015

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The top 5 mistakes most SMEs make with their marketing

Here’s how not to suck at marketing your small business

Open_SME

 

When you are a small business owner, your business can succeed or fail in a season and mistakes can be extremely costly.  Fortunately, if you know the things to avoid, you can plan ahead and make sure you don’t become one of the 50% of businesses who fail in their first two years of trading.

 

1) Believing everyone is a customer

When we ask a business ‘who is your customer?’ and the answer is ‘everyone’ then we know we are already in the red zone.  This just means you’ve not done the work to really understand who needs your product or service and why.  If you get this wrong and fail to identify the specific groups of people for whom your particular widget is essential and necessary, then you will be ever-pouring your advertising and promotional dollars straight down the drain.

2) Building a website

Building a website is the LAST thing you should do.  Really?  Most SME’s now know that in order to be found and trusted by potential customers, they need a website. Quite right. So they rush into making this the first thing that they put together. Unfortunately, if they have already fallen into trap 1) then the chances are they aren’t even directing this site to the right people – and will spend lots of money on the wrong thing. Also, businesses make the mistake of building a site that tells customers exactly what they are all about, instead of trying to understand ‘What would someone searching for a solution to X need to know in order to buy from me?  Build your website at the end of the process of knowing who you are talking to, what they want from you and how much they are prepared to pay for it.

3) Focus only on leads and not on conversion

Many businesses are so focused on getting new leads, that they forget all about the conversion process of the existing leads.  It’s all well and good to have a promotional campaign, but if you don’t contact those people who have engaged with your business within 24hrs, chances are you are pouring money down the drain again.  One client improved his business by 200% revenue in three months, just by putting in a telesales follow up call to the leads he had already generated.  If you are a B2C business (business to consumer) you need to work doubly hard to ensure that the customer experience is strong at the point of sale.

4) Taking the eye off the customer

It is easier to generate additional spend from a happy, existing customer than it is to find and build loyalty in a new customer. Happy customers will bring back friends, will willingly up-size and add-on. Happy customers will sing your praises and do the job of promoting your business cheaply and with more conviction than promotions can. Many businesses fail to really make an effort to treat their existing customers as if they were brand new customers – nurturing them, checking they are (still) happy and telling them about other existing and new products and services.  a reminder to an existing customer that you also can meet their X,Y and Z needs is 65% more likely to get a response than if you tried the approach on a brand new prospect.

5) Missing out the Call to Action (CTA)

What do you want me to do? Did you ever see a great advertisement and then realise there is no phone number?  Or visit a lovely website and come away without engaging with the company?  Customers mostly do what they are told to do – you need to plant in their minds exactly what it is that you expect them to do and make doing that process as EASY as possible.   If people are coming to your website, make sure you explain on each page what you expect them to do with the information they are receiving and tell them how, when and why to contact you (if this is what you want). KISS – Keep it Simple, Stupid. Make sure your message is easy to understand , easy to follow – and requires little effort on their part to do it.  Make some smaller steps to your main goal if it’s a big thing like driving out to see you, that will start the relationship with them in the right way right from the start.

 

MaxMarketing programmes are designed to help SME’s to make their businesses better with a few small steps. These actions can be the difference between staying in business and doing great in business – so find out more about how we can help your SME here.  You could even qualify for NZTE funding support if your business meets the programme’s criteria.

You can call today on 0800GETMAX or contact a strategist to get in touch for a 2hr free consultation and health check of your business.

Call today – office is open 7 days.

 

 

October 20, 2014

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Words are cheap. That’s what makes them valuable.

Luxor-649-Red-Finewriter-Ball-Pen_9000006622-300x257A successful film director once gave a piece of advice to aspiring filmmakers.

The gist of it was simple: you don’t have money but you do have words.

To put it another way – treat your time as a penniless outsider as an opportunity to hone and polish your script.

Don’t fret about lack of resources. Don’t turn your idea into a draft and then hawk that precious first draft around the industry as if it were the finished product. Instead, focus on making the script utterly compelling. Revise, rethink, polish and refine.

Read full article here

April 28, 2013

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A bit of small-business inspiration

It’s your marathon – run it!

People say to me starting a business is hard.

Starting a business isn’t hard at all – you get an idea, a shop and you put your clever hat on and you build a business. Starting a business is fun, it lifts your energy and you create something that is all your own.

Staying in business is the hard part. Once the creative piece is done, once you have your fabulous products and services and your doors are open and your friends and family have patted you on the back for a job well done, then the hard part begins.

Someone one said to me that running a business should be approached like a marathon, rather than a sprint. Having never moved my perfectly rounded self 42 kilometers in anything other than a car, I did have to speak to a qualified and experienced marathon runner to explain.

He said ‘You just keep going through the couple of km’s that is tough because the fatigue drops away, the pain disappears and then you are enjoying it again. You just push through it. It is a mental game more than anything – your mind controls how successful you are.’

I think the analogy is perfect. What keeps me going for my business is inspiration – the people on the sidelines shouting at me to push through the fatigue and get back to the exciting part of the journey again, or inspiring stories from people who had trodden that path before.

Of all those people, there could not be one more powerful for me than the late Steve Jobs. Here is what he says about being in business, and I hope it provides some inspiration for everyone at whatever stage of business they are in.

written by Louise Maxwell

April 25, 2013

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Can you afford a Marketing Team?

shutterstock_203981407

What is the cost of a Marketing Team in NZ?

Most switched on businesses know that marketing is critical to the performance of their business. It’s not just promotion or telling people about your products and services, but it is how you engage your customers and how they interact with you that goes to contribute to your success.

In a recent survey, MichaelPage assessed the typical salaries of marketing experts in Auckland.
So what do they cost and what do you get?

A junior marketer – probably an expert in social media will likely set you back between $40 – 55k. This is an entry level role and you should expect minimal experience. That said, at this level you can pick up some very bright graduates ready to implement their sharp ideas in your business.

A Marketing Coordinator will have the ability to work on a plan directed by someone else. This is an execution role and you can expect a high standard of work of someone who can procure and execute all your marketing plans. They can manage budgets and send out press releases – setting you back around $55-80k pa.

But what if you want someone to really shake things up? Some marketing managers are little more than coordinators in small businesses and take the career jump but in reality lack the experience to be able to drive a business. You could maybe get an entry level marketing manager for between $75 – 90k in Auckland, but if you are really looking for some genuine experience and advice, you’ll be expected to pay around $110k starting out for a Full Time experienced marketing manager. The range will go up to $150k in Auckland for someone with product and sales knowledge.

If you want to shift your business and ensure that you stay profitable, relevant and continue to grow and engage your customer base, then you need a marketing director. Typically it is hard to get them out of bed for less than $150, but you could easily pay up to $220k for a well experienced Marketing Director to ensure the future of your business.

Of course, generally speaking you will need a team of people – a Digital expert ($90 – $120k) a Brand manager ($90k) and a Social Media marketer ($55-75K) on top of your team of directors, managers and coordinators. If you are succession planning, you’ll be likely to bring in a couple of executives to train them up ready to fill the shoes of your coordinators who decide they are ready to leap into management.

Your marketing team could easily be costing around $1M in salaries for good, experienced staff in Auckland.
So what’s the alternative?

Outsourced marketing is a growing trend in New Zealand and around the world.  Growing businesses are tapping into marketing talent on an ‘as and when required’ basis, instead of employing the staff full time in their businesses. This has the dual effect of keeping costs low and also meaning that experienced marketers are working across various organisations, developing new insights and skills that can be used effectively in a business.

Max Marketing is one such organisation, with an every growing team of marketing specialists available to work on a project or short term basis on your business.

To find out more, go to maxmarketing team