Thursday, 27 June 2013

What Is Integrated Marketing

Visionary are strong advocates of Integrated Marketing – it allows us to adopt new methods and practices and implement it right throughout our business and our client businesses. We also love to talk to people about Integrated Marketing and impress on you the need to implement the theory in your business and with your marketing strategy.

Integrated marketing is putting customers in control of the type of messages they see, how they see it, when and where they see it. It ensures that all of the marketing activity you undertake will achieve the objectives that is set. That activity is measured in terms of the return on investment.

It is important to recognise that there are hundreds of ways that consumers interact with a business. To ensure success your marketing strategy needs to employ a range of techniques. To maximise the impact of your marketing each needs to be complimentary – and pull customers through your marketing process to make a sale.

Integrated marketing is also known as ‘Conversational marketing’ (you are opening dialogue with your customer) and also the use of ‘Pull Strategy’ (you are pulling them through your marketing and sales process rather than pushing). It is about putting customers centre, having them recognise that they can control the type of messages they see, how they see it, when and where they see it.

In essence integrated marketing aims to create happy customers and in turn will create happy brands.

Visionary has created a marketing process that effectively ensures that all marketing undertaken by an organisation is integrated over the coming weeks we will explore this.

Do you want to find out more on Integrated Marketing? Become a Visionary Member

Saturday, 15 June 2013

What is e-business?

By Craig Allan
e-business

"e-business is essentially any business activity that uses technology as an enabler... in modern business environments it's almost all business activities. This is, however, many Small to Medium Enterprises (SME's) that can use e-business principals in their operations - saving time and money in the process!"

Some simple e-business activities are:
  • Email communications - to customers, suppliers and more
  • Selling or Ordering online - to and from businesses and/or governments
  • Internet based searching for products and services
  • Networking on the internet - industry associations or social media
  • Publishing information on the internet
  • Financial transactions online

As businesses expand, additional e-business tools and processes can be adopted; the advantages to business are:
  • improved communications betwen team members and business units
  • key performance indicators can be identified and in many cases seen in real time
  • integration between tools can streamline processing times, especially using open standards
  • exchange of knowledge is increased and shared within central repositories, less 'gatekeepers'
  • team members can operate more independently, management can still measure performance

While metro-based businesses tend to utilise e-business more readily, we have found that regional and rural businesses experience a number of barriers toward adopting e-business and being able to experience the efficiencies that their business could have from some basic e-business automation methodologies - for more details see our research.

Visionary Group has worked with client companies in developing cost effective, high performing technologies and related practices that have enabled SME's to compete with larger companies, often located in metropolitan centres within Australia and also within international marketplaces - contact us now to see what we can do for you!

For more information regarding e-business, please visit the following links:
- Australian Government Austrade website: eBusiness vs eCommerce
- Australian Government Online Business Portal: business.gov.au
- Wikipedia eBusiness page: Electronic Business

Friday, 14 June 2013

The Time Has Come To Talk Direct To Your Customers

Do you want to find, attract and win new clients? Nurture and retain existing clients? Entice former clients back? You can do all of this while reducing your marketing and client service costs.....it is called relationship marketing!

The time has come to talk directly to your customers, build long term relationships and provide personalised communications.

Relationship marketing is derived from direct response marketing campaigns focusing on customer retention and satisfaction, rather than on sales transactions. It recognises the long term value of customer relationships and extended communication beyond intrusive advertising and sales promotional messages.

Technology is evolving and relationship marketing opens up more collaborative and social communication channels. Internet and mobile platforms are the prime drivers in the future of relationship marketing.

There is plenty of evidence that websites that are fully optimised and functional do work and are a essential item for any business. Mobile ready websites are also rapidly becoming a must. There is also plenty of literature that talks about the benefits of social networking as a tool to build relationships with clients – Facebook, Twitter and Linked In amongst the most popular and effective platforms.

Effective relationship marketing utilises all of the new methods with the old traditional forms of marketing, blending them to create cost effective strategies that strengthen your customer base. In many cases the strategy that you undertake will cost you no more than just your time, once you have the system in place. 

Here are some simple effective methods Visionary uses to create and strengthen our client relationships:

Newsletters: Produced regular and distributed to an updated and opt-in database of previous, current and potential clients, supporters and suppliers. Links are placed on our website for archival viewing and also on our Facebook page. Once we have the template for the newsletter and the database it is time to write relevant articles and update the database.

Social networking: Visionary has a Facebook page which we post a status update on at least 3-4 times per week. We keep our fans updated on activities in the business; new clients; events coming up and at times we even ask for referrals to potential clients or suppliers to help us deliver projects and events. This Facebook page is linked to our Twitter account and also Linked In and some industry blog sites. We also have a Weddings fan page and also pages and groups for events and projects that we are involved in.

Websites: Visionary has a main web page – www.visionary-group.com.au covering all aspects of our business, plus individual URL’s for each of our business areas. These sites are all intertwined with clear navigation through the various sites. The websites are all optimised and made functional, with elements including shopping carts and event booking systems that ease the administration time on staff.

Networking: Visionary and its team are active members of a number of networking organisations and industry based associations. We attend networking events and we participate in activities that the groups are undertaking.

Media Releases: When Visionary is involved in something that is newsworthy we produce and distribute media releases to local and regional media and also through numerous online sources.

Blogs: Visionary actively participates in relevant blogs, most commonly in the weddings industry. Blogs help to place team members and the company in a position of expert status and therefore creates trust in potential new clients.

Cards: Personalised cards are sent to clients to promote new products or services, to thank people or to celebrate. We use a cost effective system and can send cards for about $1 per card.

Relationship marketing attempts to transcend the simple purchase-exchange process with a customer to make more meaningful and richer contact by providing a more holistic, personalised purchase, and uses the experience to create stronger ties.

Visionary can help develop a strategy that will work for your business; create the systems to implement the strategy and we can even undertake the tasks for you. E-mail us to see how we can help you build strong, long lasting customer relationships.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Will Google Glass Revolutionise Social Media?

By Craig Allan
India Times - 10 features of Google Glass and ways to use it Canadian Awareness Network - 10 features of Google Glass and ways to use it
Over the past few weeks, commentators in the Digital Marketing field have lauded the pending arrival of Google Glass (when they were given a pair to preview) and how search is going to change the way people use online search - it’s not going to be for everyone but at least users won’t look a silly as those who wear those Bluetooth thingys in their ear!

Basically, Google has developed a pair of glasses containing a video screen, camera and speakers that will connect to a mobile device wirelessly, thereby offering a more immersive, immediate and interactive experience for users - see promo video below.

Business owners may say ‘this is just another technology fad’, but think of where online search and advertising has evolved over the past few years; we at Visionary Group believe that it’s going to stand Digital Marketing on it’s head!
The latest marketing trend that we’ve seen emerge is SOLOMO, essentially it’s the convergent effect of Social Media, Local Search and Mobile Technology... it’s the ultimate in how hardware, software and use of technology has synergised into a new way of using the Internet.

For businesses who have already have a Digital Marketing Strategy which is working, then this is a natural evolution of what they are already doing, however for those businesses who are yet to invest in this area, they have two options; work hard to secure your position in the online marketplace, or slowly (perhaps quickly) become obsolete...
At the time of writing, Google isn’t expecting Glass to be available to purchase until possibly early 2014, so the focus for firms should be to cater for existing technologies such as smartphones and tablets - ask yourself how easy it is to find your business on these devices, also how rich is the content being delivered and will it support a potential client’s purchase decision?

Personally, I’m still not sure if I would like to wear a pair of Google Glass-es, however I’m going to try to get my hands on a pair soon or when they go on sale... I ride a motorcycle and I’ve always thought of using something like this in my helmet, even if it’s just to get directions, traffic conditions and the where to find the closest motorcycle parking.
The ‘take-away’ message to this is for business owners and managers to become more aware of SOLOMO - engage an experienced professional and develop a Digital Marketing Strategy - more importantly, don’t palm this off to a Gen Y junior just because they ‘use Facebook’!!