Coronavirus, stock exchange losses, countries going in to lockdown, businesses being shut down, stock shortages in the shopping centres.
We live in unprecedented times with the business models of decades’ old organisations quite literally changing overnight.
The radical changes we have seen over the past few weeks have demonstrated the speed at which market dynamics can change, and the need for businesses to respond quickly.
Boards and management teams are needing to respond with urgency to scenario plan and make decisions with imperfect information as the situation unfolds.
The markets that we operate in and the customers we serve are always changing. Whilst the speed of change is not necessarily what we have seen recently, now is a time not just to focus on the immediate crisis at hand, but to think about how to structure management and board meetings so that market changes form part of the regular and ongoing conversation.
From our experience, we observe that management reports typically fall into one of three different categories:
Activities completed or in progress in the week or month.
Business KPIs which are typically backward-looking and reviewed to ensure the business metrics are on track, trends can be identified and corrective actions put into place. e.g. finance, HR, work health safety.
Progress against the strategy which is often a table that lists out the: goals/objectives, comments on the status against them and an indicator (e.g. traffic light).
As part of aspiring to best practice, any discussion of the strategic plan and, in this case, progress against the strategy, is worth including an item to identify and (as required) discuss any changes to the market conditions.
The review of market changes can often be addressed simply with a few bullet points and identifies by exception, any material changes in the market environment since the last report. It is important to identify both what is going on in the external environment and the potential impact on the business.
Sometimes, where a significant change is occurring or has occurred, it might be appropriate to include a white paper or an article talking about the change, or set up a special meeting to consider those changes. A major technology change; action such as a significant merger or acquisition by a supplier, customer or competitor; or change in government/stakeholder funding might lead you to establish a separate meeting of the Board or a sub-committee like risk/finance.
Within the disability sector, we have seen changes every few weeks or months that impact on organisations. Changes to the NDIS price guide, the Royal Commission and new quality and safeguarding requirements are just a few recent examples.
Making a report on market conditions a regular part of the board reporting template can help to keep the Board and management team coming back to the important strategic matters, and not to just be stuck in the operational issues.
Next month we will share more about some tools that can be used to analyse and better understand your market.
If you’d like any assistance with reviewing your market environment, please contact Andrew for an obligation free consultation.
If you’re someone who doesn’t have a professional online presence, you could be missing out on some valuable career or sector information. To keep in touch with the latest news, what your contacts or competitors are doing and to join discussion groups with like-minded individuals, consider having a LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn isn’t just a place to find a job. Its importance goes further than that. It has been specifically designed for the business community, so if you’ve been hesitant to be part of it, here’s a couple of reasons why you should reconsider.
You’ll be amazed at what you can find out
It’s a great way to get the latest industry news. Your connections, generally from your current industry or sector, will be posting articles and updates, and sharing content from the people or organisations that they are interested in. These appear in your news feed so it’s an excellence source of current information.
More connections could mean more opportunities
The more people that you connect with, the more business opportunities can arise. A business may advertise a tender or one of your connections might post an article about a project they are working on or a training program they’re involved with. Any of these could mean opportunities for you and your organisation.
Find out more about prospective employers
LinkedIn is also a great place to research organisations. Most companies will have a page where they post updates and company news. You can also find out from looking at their connections who is employed there.
Sharing your point of view and teaching others
There are many public and private LinkedIn Groups that you can join. Think of these as virtual meeting rooms (or forums). These groups are great for people with shared interests, so you can share and grow your expertise and extend your network.
We’ve put this into practice with the launch of CBB’s NDIS Success program. NDIS Success aims to increase the supply of NDIS services in communities and will be delivered via webinars and online resources.
The NDIS Success LinkedIn group will allow participants to share their thoughts and ideas, offer assistance and ask for help from their peers. Following each webinar during the program, registrants will also visit the NDIS Success LinkedIn group to ask questions and share ideas on what they’ve learnt or need clarification on. This peer networking is a very valuable way to progress everyone’s knowledge on the provision or expansion of their NDIS services.
If you’re now convinced you should have a profile, head to Linkedin.com and enter your email address and set a password. We recommend using your personal email address instead of your current work address. This will save you having to update your profile if and when you change jobs.
Follow the prompts to setting up your account. It’s not an arduous process and won’t take long to set up.
When your profile page is activated, it will start prompting you to more information about yourself and to build your network. Depending on the information you added when you first registered, LinkedIn will make suggestions about who to follow. It’s up to you what to include.
LinkedIn’s research has shown that some people chose not to include a photo because they are worried they will be discriminated against, however their data shows that profiles with a photo are more likely to be viewed by others. If you’re looking to promote yourself, a photo is a good idea.
Hot tip – when you click to view someone else’s profile, they will be notified that you viewed it. You can turn this off by going to “Me”, Settings & Privacy, and Profile Viewing Options.
And now you’re set. This is a basic introduction to LinkedIn and Groups and their purpose, but there are many different options for privacy and viewing so log in and look around. Visit your home page regularly (news feed) to see what your connections are up to. The more you use it the more beneficial you’ll find it.
During the analysis you’ve realised that hardly any existing customers visit your reception, so the cost per result of doing the activity is very high compared to the other options. Therefore, you’d decide not to do it.
However, the other two ideas come at a relatively low cost compared to the potential gain: a combined cost of $1,800 vs the potential of an additional $100,000 in revenue (20 enquiries at $5,000 potential revenue each), so you decide to add them as lines to your budget.
Measuring the ROI
Not only does this analysis help you decide what activities you should do because you have looked at the potential results, it also allows you to measure the return on your investment. By measuring where your engagement, leads or customers have come from throughout the year or per campaign, you can measure which of your marketing activities were effective.
Here’s the same example but we’re measuring the ROI:
As you can see, the results you expected weren’t the actual outcomes but if it’s your first year of doing this or if there are changes in the market, then your expectations are unlikely to match the results exactly. But what it does do is give you a benchmark for the next year so when you go into the planning phase again, you use the data from this year to refine your predictions for next year, to be more accurate.
Benefits of a zero-based marketing budget
Not only does a zero-based budget help you justify your marketing budget recommendations, it also helps you prove the ROI of your investment; something a lot of organisations struggle to articulate.
Whilst you can argue for hours whether to use a first touch or last touch* attribution method to decide where to credit the win, the truth is, unless you have sophisticated systems reporting and analysis, you’ll never know.
A zero-based marketing budget will get you to challenge why you are doing some of the existing marketing activities, and whether they are still worthwhile.
The important thing is by using the zero based budget, you are planning for success and learning to monitor your results which will help you improve your future activities and lead to marketing dashboards that help drive your organisation forward.
If you’d like any assistance, please contact us on 1300 763 505 for an obligation free consultation with one of our Business Consultants or book an appointment here.
*First touch – where they first found out about you, the new service etc. OR Last touch – what was the final thing they saw before they acted.
Do you feel fully on top of the business-side of running your organisation? You might be delivering outstanding social impact, but are you confident that your business practices are fit for purpose?
We work with hundreds of not for profit organisations and we see first hand the challenges of juggling the operational realities of delivering community services with the management and planning needed to run a purpose driven business. We know that many organisations do not have the time – and sometimes don’t have the in-house skills – to invest in adequately planning ahead, managing corporate functions, and continuous improvement.
As part of our commitment to reinvest some of our own funds into supporting the sector to build its business capability, we are offering a series of Community Business Grants in 2019/20. Grants will be offered on a staged basis through 2019/20 and will take the form of pro bono consulting projects in areas such as understanding your market opportunities, and financial management.
The first round will open to applications soon. Sign up for news and updates on our Community Business Grant program here, including announcements as rounds open, and access to the grant guidelines.
You’re better off running a quick survey often, instead of a long survey once a year. If you’re willing to pay people to respond to your survey then you can make it longer.
Ask the right person
The person who decides which services to purchase with what organisation may not be the service user. For example if your organisation provides support to children, the child may be able to tell you what would make their experience more enjoyable. But they will not be able to help you define the key drivers that makes a parent allow you to support their child.
Focus on one thing at a time
Before you start to write questions make sure you understand why you are doing this survey. Focus on what it is you need to know. Make sure you write the answer down so you keep referring to it. It’s easy to get side tracked as different ideas pop into your head.
Know what you are going to do with the answer
Sense check the questions you’ve written, by asking yourself if the answers will help you improve your organisation/service/customer experience.
If you want to find out more about how you can connect with your existing customers and / or potential customers, you can book a free consult.
Instagram launched donation stickers in America earlier this year. Whilst this new way of getting people to donate hasn’t been released in Australia yet, it’s the perfect time to start using Instagram in preparation for the launch, especially if you’re looking to engage with 18 – 34 year olds.
In the middle of July Instagram turned off their like count in Australia. So you can no longer see the number of people that like a post (unless it’s your own).
Mia Garlick, the Director of Public Policy for Facebook and Instagram in Australia and New Zealand told the ABC “We know that people come to Instagram to express themselves and to be creative and follow their passions. And we want to make sure it’s not a competition.” This is an advantage for new pages, as a low level of engagement as you build your Instagram presence won’t be visible to users. Although people can still see how many followers you have on your account, people can no longer see that you only have two or three likes on a post, so they can make their own mind up if they like the post and act accordingly, rather than wondering why it’s only got a few likes and then not wanting to stand out.
Engage with young adults
64% of Instagram users are aged between 18 – 34 . Whilst this age group supports crowdfunding activities, it’s less likely to give to charities. Instagram donation stickers will allow organisations to receive donations via the Instagram app on people’s mobile phones and tablets. This is important as 80%  of crowdfunding donations are made via mobile devices, so this is a platform where people are happy to provide donations.
Whilst the primary purpose of your Instagram page is to connect with customers, there is also the potential to increase your volunteer base. Although 43.7% of adult Australian’s volunteer, this number drops to only 37.7% of 18-34 year olds. Instagram provides an opportunity for you to connect with this demographic and encourage volunteering.
Start your Instagram page now
If you don’t already use Instagram the sooner you start the better. Don’t wait until the donation sticker feature is released in Australia to get started. Building an audience on Instagram will take time. By starting now you’ll get time to learn and develop a style that your audience engages with, whilst still reflecting your mission. You’ll have time to build a relationship with your subscribers and build trust, so when donation stickers become live, they will want to support you and advocate on your behalf with their followers, by putting stickers on their Instagram stories to raise money for you.
Things to remember
Before you start an Instagram account you need a strategy. Review your marketing strategy to understand which target segment you are appealing to and what your position to this segment is. Build your Instagram content strategy around this and decide what story you’re going to use Instagram to tell, and what solution you are going to offer people. You can’t just copy your posts from Facebook or LinkedIn over to Instagram. They are different environments and people expect different things.
Instagram is image focused, so start to collect images. The best way is by using your smart phone (so if employees are banned from using their phones at work, you may need to revise your organisation’s policy to get the best results, or consider other options). The best photos will be ones taken in the moment, not staged, so make sure people involved with your organisation know what sort of photos you want to take. You may have sensitivities around taking photos of the people you support, in which case you can decide to take pictures from their point of view, to show what they are seeing.
Maximise your chances of being found. Your ‘name’ and ‘bio’ are the only two searchable fields in Instagram, so make them count. Don’t repeat your organisation name in your bio as space is limited, instead use search insights from your website and weave the most searched for terms into a sentence.
Free help to improve your images is available
There are various apps available that can help you improve your images, even if you’re not skilled in Photoshop. Apps like ‘Snapseed’ allow you to tweak your image at the press of a button, so search for image editor in your app store and find one that works for you.
If you want to brand your images or always have a certain colour as a border that ties back into your brand, you can find apps like ‘Canva’ by searching for graphic design apps that need no creative skill to use.
Live video and Instagram Stories (images or videos that disappear after 24 hours) are very popular with the younger demographic and ‘Unfold’ is the go-to mobile app to allow you to add text and design features to your story. Like the other apps, this needs no design skill and if you’re like me, you’ll soon start using these apps for your personal account too. If you’d rather create stories from your desktop, ‘Stories Creator‘ allows you to convert images (not videos) into stories from your web browser.
If you want to provide people an overview of what an hour or day with you looks like, you can use an app like ‘Life Lapse’ which allows you to do time lapse photography for free. The result is a video made up of individual photographs.
Track your results
A simple spreadsheet may help you track results like the number of followers and the engagement (likes, shares and comments) of individual posts. Once you get over 1,000 followers tools like this one can be used to generate reports showing your audience demography, follower growth and important audience insights to allow you to generate relevant content.
As a benchmark according to Phlanx (a social media marketing platform), the average engagement rate on Instagram based on the number of followers is:
1k to 5k = 5.6%
5k to 20k = 2.43%
20k to 100k = 2.15%
100k to 1m = 2.05%
>1m = 1.97%
New to Instagram and completely confused?
What is it? It’s a social media platform, much like Facebook or LinkedIn, but heavily based around photos and videos. You can like and comment on posts in much the same way as on other platforms. It’s mostly used by 18-34 year olds, so is a good platform to use if they are your target age group for buying your service, donating or volunteering.
Bio: your bio page gives background information about you and your number of posts, followers and the number of Instagram users you are following.
Stories: are Instagram pictures or videos that disappear after 24 hours.
IGTV: in addition to posting to your page and stories, videos can be posted to IGTV. These advantage of posting to IGTV is that the videos can be longer than on your page or stories, which are restricted to 60 seconds and 15 seconds respectively.
If you need any help creating a marketing strategy to understand who your stakeholders are, what your positioning is and creating measurable objectives; or creating an engagement plan to communicate with them, you can book a free consult.
Over the past months the news has been filled with public figures who have lost their jobs due to posts or comments they’ve made on the internet.Whilst some were recent posts others were in the distant past, but it still came back to haunt them. An organisation is just like a person, over the years comments, news stories and customer reviews leave a story on the internet. So what can an organisation do to protect or improve their organisation’s reputation?
With more organisations moving their core business to consumer directed funding models such as NDIS and My Aged Care, change is in the air – for providers and their clients and beneficiaries. For the first time, clients hold the purse-strings – and with them, the chance to exercise true choice and control over the services they receive. For the first time, individuals – not the government – are the customer.
For a customer-driven market to thrive, there must be sufficient choice available from a range of providers, offering services that fulfil genuine community needs in a way that’s sustainable,ethical, and generates positive social impact.