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THE DEMISE OF “DOOR-BUSTER” SALES

Artificial, self-indulgent sales events like End-of-Financial-Year, Boxing Day and Stock-Take have lost their appeal, relevance and income producing capacity.

To resonate, all marketing initiatives need to relate to consumer and clients, needs, aspirations and drives, offering them advantages, benefits and rewards. 

A change of focus will provide a change of fortune. Read on. Enjoy. Learn. Like. Share.

Barry Urquhart
Marketing Strategist
Marketing Focus
M: 041 983 5555
E: urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au
T: (08) 9257 1777


BOUNDLESS. BORDERLESS. TIMELESS

Artificial, largely meaningless parameters impinge on business performance and market appeal. Moreover, they have little relevance to, and influence on consumers, clients and buying patterns. The exceptions are, typically, bureaucratic and government operations, which are allocated funds on annual bases. Most evident is that many parameters have little advantages, rewards and benefits for targeted consumers. Little wonder then that “End-of-Financial Year” sales events are recording decreasing interest, traffic and sales. That is a construct whose currency is limited to a business operation, and has marginal relevance to consumers.

Likewise, promotion of “local” is increasingly less effective. Geographic considerations are marginalised in the contemporary, global and digital marketplaces. Access and responsiveness are fundamental points of appeal.
Australians, and people at large, have progressively become less tribal and parochial. Self-interest and financial gain do overwhelm many emotions.
To shatter another commonly-held myth, size does not count, in most instances. Being, thinking and acting big can imply abundant resources, capacity and competitive advantage. It is also reason enough to dislike entities, products and services. Examples are self-evident in banking, telecommunications, social media and the public service.

The underlying and key message is the need to cast off barriers, filters and impediments. Supply chains in the future will not be determined by, or service physical business networks alone.

Personal assistants will not occupy offices and desks adjacent to the manager’s suite. Indeed, they may not interact physically at all.
Thus, the present - and the future - for business are boundless, borderless and timeless. The limiting factors are the mind, perceptions and past experiences. In many instances, those are the factors which are holding business back.  

Barry Urquhart
Business Strategist
Marketing Focus
M:     041 983 5555
T:      9257 1777
E:      Urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au
W:     www.marketingfocus.net.au
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How ironic! With an ageing population, ageism is stll alive in business, marketing, advertising and sales.

Revenue, customers and loyalty are being lost.

Read on.

Enjoy. Learn. Profit. Share.

AGEISM – AN OLD, ENDURING TALE

Well intentioned, but potentially ill-advised

There is an initial and superficial appeal in the drive to reconfigure products and services, to be modern, young and youthful.

Millenniums and females aged 25 to 44 years remain high in the rankings of desirable, high-spending target audiences. The two sets of characteristics are aligned.

However, ignoring or neglecting older age consumers can be, and are expensive practices. This subgroup tends to be more brand loyal, stable in expenditure in patterns and have the greatest capacity for discretional expenditure.

Those in the younger sects are generally more promiscuous, price-driven, less loyal and suffer greater instances of debt-stress.

Thus, repositioning brands, products and services can come at a a cost, including losing key, established customers – and greater volatility in demand.

AN ALTERNATIVE

Modern, young and youthful is narrow-focused. More engaging and open are the alternatives of refresh, relevant and resonating. Retaining existing customers while attracting new ones is appealing and financially rewarding.

Certain marketing fundamentals should be recognised and respected. Numbered among those is the life-time value of customers. Repeat and referral business are consistently six to eight times more profitable and enduring than attracting new customers.

Older customers determine many purchase decisions on fulfilment of needs and underpin such with valuing continuing, mutually rewarding relationships.

NOT EITHER, OR

Effective contemporary market segmentation is not binary. Targeting one consumer group to the exclusion of others is appropriate in some, but not all instances.

Inclusive and embracing strategies have proven to be effective in countering or minimising the effects of seasonal and cycle trends.

Better understanding of all consumer subgroups or segments avoids often unintended discrimination and stereotyping.

For example, there is no digital generation. Many post-war baby boomers who are only now entering their 70s are astute, adroit and selective users of on-line channels, digital marketing and social media.

THE LESSONS

The key point to be made is that is possible, probable, appropriate and desirable to broaden, rather than to change the market positioning of products and services; Mercedes, Volvo and Lexus have been able to do so very successfully, ... ah, so refreshing.

Barry Urquhart
Keynote Speaker
Marketing Focus
M: 041 983 5555
E: Urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au
W: www.marketingfocus.net.au
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Amazon’s pending arrival will impact all businesses, and consumers.

Be prepared – and profit.

Attached is a link to a podcast of an interview which was broadcast last Saturday on the topic by Barry Urquhart of Marketing Focus and Warren Moore of top rating Radio 2GB, Sydney.

https://omny.fm/shows/saturday-night-with-warren-moore/the-arrival-of-amazon-with-barry-urquhart

Listen. Learn. Enjoy. Profit. Share.

Barry Urquhart
Managing Director
Marketing Focus
M: 041 983 5555
E: Urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au
W: www.marketingfocus.net.au
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The next big trend – more store closures. Many existing business models are antiquated and a burden.

Action is needed now.

Enjoy. Learn. Profit. Share.

FUTURE RETAIL TRENDS – INCREASING STORE CLOSURES

Evitable.

The physical consequences of the growth and increasing omnipotence of on-line business, plus the ever-continuing cascading effects of the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) and mining sector down-turn are becoming more conspicuous.

Store Closures. Behind the headline and statement is the stark reality of significant and strategic changes in supply chains, logistics and distribution networks (call them what you will).

The United States of America present as a striking case study. In the current calendar year, up to 6 April, a total 2,880 store closures of publicly listed and high profiled entities have been announced. Countless (unannounced) smaller outlets have fallen to the same fate.

In Australia and New Zealand the Liquidators and Administrators of failed groups have typically reviewed operations, and in a large percentage of cases, have immediately and progressively begun closing unviable retail outlets.

The probable and unfolding future for retail precincts and certain sized shopping centres is writ large and loud.

Scenario planning and strategic audit, workshops have identified the need for the recalibration of business models, supply chains in particular. The era of on-line businesses has tempered and qualified the need for local physical presence.

Hub stores, within a 30 minute access radius of target audiences, have been isolated to a be a preferred and desirable feature.

Business leaders need to recognise, and increasingly do, the necessity to reorient their thinking, perspectives and planning away from the physical, to a primary focus on access, regardless of the channel.

In the future, terms like global and national will not necessarily be determined by the number of physical outlets.

On-line will become integral to omni-channel and multi-channel operations. So too will decreasing margins (Amazon in the USA is reported to have effected a 9% reduction in the profit-margins of competitors, including Wal-Mart) and the costs of delivery – which will be central to consumer expectations.

Productivity, and its optimisation, will be foremost among operating KPIs (key performance indicators).

Having had the pleasure to facilitate many strategic planning workshops, I am encouraged by the creative, innovative nature and focus of some many executives.

The challenge exists. The rewards will be plentiful. And the casualties will be numerous, for those who do not recognise, isolate, analyse and address the need for change .... and to possibly rationalise and reduce physical presence.

Barry Urquhart
Marketing Strategist
Marketing Focus
M: 041 983 5555
E: Urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au
W: www.marketingfocus.net.au
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Fads come and go. So too do customers. Sometimes, like now, the need exists to introduce cash-flow generators. Fads could be an answer.

Enjoy. Learn. Profit. Share.

FABULOUS FADS – THE SAVIOURS

Insipid.

Prior to Christmas and during the first quarter of 2017 the broader retail sector, Australia in particular, has languished.

It has lacked direction, focus, an underlying driving force and, as a consequence, sales revenue and profits.

New products, services and applications have been scant. Therefore, gift selection was difficult.

To many consumers the offerings have been same ol’, same ol’.

Perhaps what the sector, and commerce in general need is a
Fad-led Recovery.

Discretionary expenditure is down, noticeably. Induced purchases have become more important. Scope exists for further use of the means.

Fads stimulate interest, generate energy, and above all, are short-term accelerators of revenue. There have been in the past, and could be in the future, direct sales for specific events and periods ... like Christmas!

Post-war baby boomers will remember, generally fondly, the seeming bi-annual launches of Yo-yos. They were so popular. Many models were sponsored by entities like Coca-Cola. The colours of the units were influenced, if not determined by the sponsors. It was a fashion statement and early evidence of the importance and influence of branding.

They’re back! Yo-yos are becoming more evident in the streets and in the parks throughout Australia.

Similar case studies abound.

Hula-hoops were popular, and the gyrations of the hips did wonders for the body shape and self-images.

Through the decades, fads, as is their nature, have come and gone. The products’ life-cycles are typically measured in weeks. They fulfil wants, but lack the capacity to satisfy and to sustain longer-term needs.

Football “Swap Cards”, featuring what would now be AFL (Australian Football League), NRL (National Rugby League), A-League (Soccer) sporting legends, were a staple annual promotion initiative for newspapers, which enhanced circulations with tied offerings, that were readily taken up by an adoring and supportive public.

Rubik cubes were a fixation for a short period of time. So too were Cabbage Patch Kids and the collectible packaging of the now politically incorrect FAGS (cigarette) lollies.

More recently, the conspicuous presence and practices of Pokémon Go fanatics created widespread comment, annoyances and frustrations, not to mention accidents and injuries.

Significantly, over the years the appeal of fads has broadened. A recent national study in Great Britain conducted by Hambley’s, the upmarket toy retailer, found that some 35% of adult respondents declared the purchase of fads was for their own use, indulgence and pleasure.

BALANCED EVALUATION

Introductions, promotions, marketing and the selling of fads will not correct the structural deficiencies of the global, regional, national or local economies. These initiatives are essentially transactional, (that is a business strategy that focuses on single, “point of purchase” transactions) and therefore, short-term. They will however, improve cash-flows and consumer traffic counts.

In many instances they will be directed at, and taken up, by children and youths. That in itself is an attractive marketplace. Pester-Power purchases - that is, those initiated or influenced by children – is estimated to be currently worth around $120 billion per annum in Australia. That presence extends beyond the $300 billion p.a. mainstream retail sector.

If nothing else, fads have the potential to reintroduce FUN into the lives of kids, consumers and – importantly, to business owners.

Significantly, Woolworths, which is well advanced into its 5-year recovery competitive strategy has just concluded a deal with Disney. Marvel Hero Super Disks are now available in some 980 Woolworth stores throughout Australia. Alas, a new fad.

ESSENTIAL PHASES

Successful fads require fundamental disciplines to be formulated, documented and implemented.

Six phases are readily identifiable, being:

1. Identify a product – usually small, interactive and inexpensive.
2. Seek out a sponsor – fast moving consumer goods are appropriate, because of regular repeat purchases.
3. Collaborate with a retail network – being readily accessible is imperative.
4. Involve a media group – publicity and exposure are self-generating demand inducers.
5. Maintain a small inventory – prepare for rapid decline in sales.
6. Promote product ambassadors – high performance individuals create challenges.

Barry Urquhart
Consumer Behaviour Analyst
Marketing Focus
M: 041 983 5555
E: Urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au
W: www.marketingfocus.net.au
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Discount Fatigue.

It’s exhausting, not profitable, nor rewarding.
Get off the treadmill.
Offer, promote and applaud value and relationships.
Read on, for a different point of view.

Learn. Enjoy. Profit. Share.

Barry Urquhart
Marketing Focus
Mobile: 041 983 5555
Email: Urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au
www.marketingfocus.net.au

DISCOUNT FATIGUE

Overindulgence. The consequences can be, and often are, appreciable, long-lasting and a burden.

In recent times and currently, an over-emphasis and deployment of discounts, sales and bargains offers are proving to be ineffective.

In many instances, the practices are indicative of a loss of competitive edge and relevance. In short, consumers find it difficult to consume all that is on offer, find the offers irrelevant and unappealing, ignore the marketing, advertising, merchandising and promotions, and dismiss the businesses.

The accelerating pace of businesses being placed in administration, liquidation and bankruptcy is proof-positive that a laser focus on sales and the like, result in the outcome that the one thing that gets discounted is the integrity of the brand name.

A plethora of such events is now recognised by consumers. They know (and act accordingly) that if they miss out on this sale, many more will unfold in the ensuing days, weeks or months.

Be assured, many consumers know that the power resides with them. They will not miss out.

Accordingly, sales events and discounts no longer determine what people will buy, and from where. It simply influences when they buy ... - with little evidence of brand preference and loyalty.

It is imperative that, for many businesses, the need exists to get off the treadmill. For some it will be challenging, if not difficult – but not impossible.

Casting away the shackles of reliance on discounts, can involve formulating, documenting, implementing, developing and sustaining a new business model, with an emphasis on productivity, velocity and volume.

What beats discounting, consistently over time? Everyday Lower Prices.

Consistency and continuity of all aspects of a business, prices included, represent and promote a sense of value. It provides consumers choice and control. They quickly appreciate and sub-consciously quantify the worth of the truth in, and integrity of the brand.

A key component of that mindset is the absence of any need to chase bargains, sales and deals. In short, no fatigue.

Barry Urquhart
Consumer Behaviour Analyst
Marketing Focus
M: 041 983 5555
E: Urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au
W: www.marketingfocus.net.au
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To excel, remember .....
More important than excellence...... maintain it.
In pursuit of digital era transformation, fundamentals are forgotten.
Go Hi-Tech
But never forget Hi-Touch
Hi-Tech, Hi-Touch, the cornerstone of service excellence.
Read on.
Learn. Enjoy. Profit. Share.

Barry Urquhart
Marketing Focus
Keynote Speaker – Service Excellence
Author
“Serves You Right!”
“Service Please!”
Mobile: 041 983 5555
Email: Urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au
www.marketingfocus.net.au

HI-TECH, HI-TOUCH (AGAIN)

Some things in business never go out of fashion.

Personal contact, interactions and service excellence are three aspects of a single philosophy, Hi-Touch. The recent and continuing thrust and rush to the uni-dimensional introduction of the Hi-Tech elements of digital, social media and on-line communication have been found wanting.

Considerable investments in terms of capital, time, people and resources are generating questionable and spasmodic returns. Cost-benefit equations have been, and remain, difficult to quantify.

Measures of cost savings, including general overhead costs and recurring wage bills have been, in many instances, substantial and impressive. Concurrently, justifiable concerns exist about the rising instances of revenue downturns, loss of custom, increasing lack of loyalty, and of repeat and referral business.

Internal and external attitudinal climate studies are consistently reveal significant and disturbing changes in client and customer satisfaction, and commitments to relationships.

The downward spiral is not being primarily driven or influenced by season or cyclical economic factors. Rather, the principal cause has been identified to be structural changes in operations, interactions and engagements between service and product providers, and those whose needs they seek to fulfil.

In essence, the introduction of Hi-Tech, including digital, social and on-line communications has been found to be efficient, but impersonal. Indeed, some people contend that the technical nature of transactions is alienating and inadequate.

Alternatives are being sought, and found.

A trend is emerging, or possibly re-emerging. Recognition is being given to the importance of:
Hi-Tech, Hi-Touch

The integrated concept that was in vogue during the 1980s, never really changed, or lost its currency. What changed was the new generation of business owners and managers. They didn’t know, or understand.

And so it is that these business leaders are learning, embracing and beginning to appreciate what their immediate predecessors valued just 30 years ago. That is, high technology, when it is not supported and complemented with a high measure of personal contact accounts for little sustainable competitive advantage.

Investments in Hi-Tech should not correspond to disinvestments in Hi-Touch (that is people). Interactions with Smartphones, iPads and computers are typically cold and impersonal.

People and service do cost. However, it is and can be a false economy to cut both. Just ask those lost clients.

Barry Urquhart
Consumer Behaviour Analyst
Marketing Focus
M: 041 983 5555
E: Urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au
W: www.marketingfocus.net.au
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Brands, localism and parochialism are potentially immense and sustainable marketing advantages.

Optimising the value of a brand requires focus, discipline and persistence.

Those details, and a stairway to success, are outlined in the attached concise text.

Read. Enjoy. Learn. Share. Like.

Barry Urquhart
Marketing Focus

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

We’re all happy little vegemites.

News that the Vegemite brand has been secured by Bega Cheese (Australia) from Mondelez (USA) attracted a lot of attention and supportive statements throughout the nation on the eve of Australia Day.

Nationalism lives on .... Loyalty doesn’t.

Consistently around 78% of adult Australians declare they prefer and would intend to buy Australian -owned products. The sentiment is commendable, but qualified with when all other things are equal. It is often a subjective rationalisation of why at point-of-purchase these buying intentions fall from 78% to the low 40s.

Price competiveness, availability and packaging options are consistent contributors to the detriment of what represents value.

BRANDS MATTER

Recognisable, trusted brand names are important in attracting attention and generating floor traffic. They are effective magnets, even when sales are modest, isolated and declining.

It is those that are typically featured in categories, television and print advertisements. Generic and house-brands simply do not project the lure.

However, respected high profile branded products, simply do not walk off the shelf. They need to be creatively merchandised, promoted and sold.

In short, marketing and advertising a product like Vegemite as being Australian- owned simply opens the door. It does not close the sale.

Competitors, substitutes and alternatives abound.

So, make the most of establishing, exploiting and reinforcing a parochial local brand name. Then capitalise on the enhanced potential with direct, active and original sales activities.

Do that and we’ll all be happy little Vegemites. But don’t spread it too thin. Food for thought!

Barry Urquhart
Marketing Strategist
Marketing Focus
M: 041 983 5555
E: Urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au
W: www.marketingfocus.net.au
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It’s time.

We all profit from reengaging with existing, prospective and past clients.

Reconnecting needs to effected on multiple channels.

An integrated strategy is attached.

Enjoy. Learn. Share. Like.

Barry Urquhart
Marketing Focus

THE BRIDGE FROM DISENCHANTED TO ENGAGED

Disenfranchised.

A key and fundamental issue in commerce, politics, religion and society at large is the disenfranchising of consumers. The consequences are profound and diverse. Lack of loyalty, increased price sensitivity, less tolerance and more assertiveness among existing and prospective clients are relentless in business.

In politics the new realty is more conspicuous. The Brexit vote in Britain, Donald Trump’s ascendancy in the U.S. Presidential election and the resurgence of Pauline Hanson and One Nation are evidence of a widespread change in the mood of the people at large.

Explanations for the phenomena, whether based on marketing, behavioural or psychology tend to conclude that the underlying driving force is one of push, rather than pull. That is, people are being pushed to seek out alternatives to the status quo.

Psychology disenfranchisement leads to annoyance and frustration. Awareness of what people do not want, expect or need becomes very apparent.

Ironically, the alternatives to the status quo tend to not satisfy or fulfil expectations. Therefore, support, patronage and consumption of such tend to be short-term, fractious and volatile.

Whether it be consumption, voting patterns, media listening or viewing, a significant percentage, often between 25% and 33% of target audience, appear to be uncommitted, oscillating and inconsistent in their intentions and actions.

ENGAGEMENT

Effective, mutually rewarding engagements inevitably lead to long-term commitments. The initial steps are to recognise, respect and respond to individuals.

On-line communication and friendships on social media are inevitably single-dimensional and, significantly, declining in number.

People respond best when they believe they have been acknowledged, heard, valued and supported.

Mass Customisation is a great marketing concept which addresses and redresses the impersonal commodisation of people and market-segments. However, in reality, it is still somewhat distant. The human quotient is the most effective means to overcoming a disenfranchised target audience and achieving personal relationships. And that is good for business.

Barry Urquhart
Consumer Behaviour Analyst
Marketing Focus
M: 041 983 5555
E: Urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au
W: www.marketingfocus.net.au
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Philosophically, and practically, Aristotle got it right!

Effective words must appeal to audiences on three levels.

At present much communication, marketing and advertising is deficient.

Read on for some invaluable insights and sage advice.

Enjoy. Learn. Share. Like.

Barry Urquhart
Marketing Focus

LOGOS. PATHOS. ETHOS.

I get the message.

It all sounds Greek to me.

The philosopher Aristotle, who happened to be Greek, contended that to be effective words must appeal to audiences on multiple levels: logos, pathos and ethos.

As a marketer I exercise some latitude in presenting the order of the argument.

PATHOS

Most marketing communication seeks to elicit responses, largely based on emotions, recognition, trust and integrity.

Abbreviated attention- spans dictate the need to project a message, capture attention and to stimulate positive responses within 2 seconds – that is around 5 words.

In short, think headlines.

It is an artform and its importance is being progressively and rapidly accelerated in digital era.

ETHOS

Selective perception is a discriminating reality for marketers and those in commerce. It is compounded with the emerging recognition of post-truth and fake news.

Achieving message cut-through and resonating with targeted audiences is optimised by those whose presence, values, beliefs, performance and integrity are recognised and respected. A laudable character is the essence of on-going, mutually rewarding relationships. Whom do you believe?

LOGOS

Logic and reason are often applied to justify and to rationalise decisions that are founded on the subjective values inherent in pathos and ethos.

Rational man was a popular construct in the study of organisation behaviour in the 1930s. It has been eclipsed for some time.

Facts alone seldom generate demand, particularly at a time when the newly installed Leader of the Free World is happy to present ‘alternate facts’.

So, there it is, in order and emphasis, the framework for effective communication in the commercial sphere. Through that prism the deficiencies of much of the prevailing information- exchange is apparent.

Philosophically, and pragmatically, it is a timely message.

Barry Urquhart
Conference Keynote Speaker
Marketing Focus
M: 041 983 5555
E: Urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au
W: www.marketingfocus.net.au
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