Why Australian Organisations Don’t Do It!

Australian Online Businesses

There is a definite disconnect between Australian consumer usage of the internet and the investment in digital from organisations. Despite the many articles promoting the potential of digital – it is only few – mainly the pure play online organisations that are benefiting from the digital phenomenon.

However despite the strong signals of consumers both spending increasing amounts of time and money online, organisations are not slow off the mark to invest in the digital channel. And the statistics prove it.

Australian Online Behaviour & Organisations Online Spend

Statistics from Mike Hall, Director of Holler advised that more than 13 million Australians are online and the digital life survey suggests that as a nation we now spend one-third of their leisure time online, which according to Nielsen is 16.1 hours online per week. But our time online is not just spent browsing, according to Mike in 2008 Australians spent approximately $24 billion dollars online.

The Nielsen advertising report, released in March 2009, demonstrated the significant gap that exists between online promotion and consumer consumption of media. Of the top 10 retail organisations advertising in Australia, only 1% of ad spend is invested online. This same trend currently exists within the beauty & cosmetics sector whilst in the entertainment and leisure sector the proportion is slightly higher at 3%.

But the time spent online by consumers is not matched by the online spend of organisations.

So whilst many businesses will claim that Australian consumers are not likely to buy online, the above demonstrates the lack of investment by organisations.

So why is there such a disconnect?
I believe there are several reasons why organisations are not jumping on the digital bandwagon, these are;

Poor Digital Leadership;
Traditional marketers are not equipped to lead the digital charge and champion the digital channel at a senior level. If senior stakeholders are not truly convinced of the opportunity the channel will not be taken seriously, and the appropriate investment will not be made – leaving digital unable to live up to its promises.

Customer ComplainingBad Experiences;
Mark Freidin from www.internetretailing.com.au understands the impact a bad online investment experience can have on an organisations attitude towards the channel. Mark has witnessed the early introduction of eCommerce by Australian organisations and feels bad experiences in the earlier part of the decade have left a bitter taste in retailers’ mouths. He says “A lot of national retailers jumped on board in the early stages because everyone else was doing it. Instead of trying to understand this new channel and how it would work (and what it would entail to run and manage) many businesses did not tie eCommerce to their master strategy and spent money on the technology without defining what they wanted to achieve and how they were going to market themselves online. 10 years later in Australia many CEO’S are older, and more wary about their online experiences so they steer clear of selling online.”

Lack of client side knowledge;
Whilst there are many digital consultants and agencies in Australia, there is a lack of digital knowledge on the client side at all levels that are continuing to drive the implementation of digital tactics. Organisations looking to invest in digital must not only invest in the tools, but invest significantly in retraining traditional marketers to ensure they are equipped to drive the value from the digital channel.

Lack of local training & case studies;
Australia has developed a strong community of independent bloggers on various digital topics. However Australia lacks the formal nationwide digital training that is required to re-skill traditional marketing professionals. Many traditional client side marketers wishing to up-skill are unsure of where to go both online and offline to gain the skills required to grow their digital knowledge base. As a result marketers are more inclined to use techniques where their expertise lies and those which they can comfortably implement to show return.

In addition, whilst there are many online case studies for brands successfully leveraging digital channels overseas, Australia lacks the local examples to prove that digital campaigns can be successful in the local market. This makes it difficult for marketers to push the digital agenda within their organisation.

Local big boys aren’t leading the way;
If the big retailers are unable to monetise the digital channel, it casts doubts over its potential. Small to medium organisations are not in the position to take risks and invest in a channel without knowing the outcome – thus these organisations are looking for the reassurance that there is money to be made. Thus as this is not currently occurring it casts doubt over its potential for the wider business landscape in Australia.

Lack of understanding of the online influence for offline sales;
Online and Offline IntegrationResearch by Outrider at the end of 2008 demonstrated that many Australian consumers are researching their purchases online before making the final transaction. Whilst the dependence on the internet during the research phase differs greatly depending on the category, 1 in 4 consumers are researching white goods online prior to purchase, nearly 1 in 2 are researching electronics, automotive and telecommunications, and nearly 80% of consumers research their travel arrangements online.

Thus many organisations are failing to see the direct correlation that exists between online efforts and offline transactions. Organisations need to understand that not being there during the initial research phase, may mean the brand is not in the consumers final decision set when it comes to making the purchase. Until organisations can quantify this, uptake and investment will be slower than it should be in the Australian market.

Do you have any thoughts or insight into why Australia is slower on its uptake of Digital? If so share your thoughts below.

Want to expand your digital knowledge base?
If you are interested in learning more about Digital Marketing in Australia, visit www.internetretailing.com.au. This new site has been created as a knowledge centre to assist Australian organisations to learn about how to market themselves online.

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Understanding The Role of Tablet Devices

Australians appetite for technology has been unabated in recent years despite soft economic conditions with tablets becoming the object of affection. More than 5 million Australians now have tablet devices – with 2.4 million tablets sold in Australia in 2012 alone. What’s more this growth is only anticipated to gain momentum in the years ahead with Telyste forecasting this annual figure will rise to 7 million by 2017.

Whilst many organisations are still grappling to understand the role of mobile, fewer are able to dedicate the time to consider the role of tablet. In fact tablets and smart-phones are often lumped into the same bucket – due to a lack of understanding of the differences in device consumption. Furthermore few also consider tablets beyond Apple – even though Android is anticipated to account for nearly 70% of tablet users by 2016 (currently controlling 36% of the Australian market).

Connected Consumer Device UsageBy understanding the profile of tablet owners as well as their usage behaviours in terms of the types of content consumed, brands and publishers have an opportunity to tailor experiences to make them more relevant, engaging and useful.

What local & global research tells us about tablet users

Understanding the “who” and “when” of tablet device consumption
Over recent years, the proliferation of mobile & tablets in Australia has created a more complex digital environment for marketers. Understanding basics like the profile of tablet ownership and time of day usage by Australians can influence media buying decisions as well as support tablet strategy investment decisions.

Tablet ownership by age

Both global and local research suggests tablet penetration is higher amongst a more mature audience. The recent “Nielsen Australian Connected Consumer Report” revealed tablet ownership was highest amongst the 35 – 44 age group whilst smartphone ownership was highest amongst the 25 – 34 age group.

Peak usage time of tablet devices

Tablets like laptops tend to peak in usage terms after work / dinner – as consumers begin to settle down for the evening.

Device Time Usage Stats

Tablet share of user time

The recent Australian IAB mobile advertising landscape report revealed the percentage of time consumers spend interacting with each device – with tablet now commanding 1 in every 5 minutes.

Device Share of Time
A device to entertain and to shop – the “why” of tablet usage

Tablets have been dubbed the new in-home entertainment device as a result of the way in which consumers are interacting with the device. According to the comScore “mobile focus in future 2013 report” some of the most popular tablet based activities include playing games (66.3%), watching video’s (50.9%) and reading books (51.2%).

Tablet UsersBut tablets aren’t solely used for passing the time away. As tablet functionality more closely resembles that of the computer or laptop, the impact tablets are influencing in-home shopping behaviour. The comScore research revealed tablet owners are twice as likely to purchase an item on their device (38%) than smartphone owners (19%).

Mojiva research delved into consumers’ preference to utilise tablets vs. smartphones for key activities and found similar trends with consumers’ preferring to use their tablet to perform entertainment based and shopping based activities. In all demographic segments, watching video/TV and reading topped the list at 63% and 48%, respectively. 45% of all respondents indicated they would use their tablet to make a retail purchase, as opposed to their mobile.

Multi-Screen Computer Device

In a sequential screen context, being able to move cross device and pick up where you left off is crucial – which means device based experiences should not be built in isolation.

Watch: The Mobile & Tablet Advertising Market: 2013-2020

References
SMH Tablets To Reach 70% by 2017
Mojiva Tablet Rule Report
Google Report: Navigating The Multi-Screen World
comScore Mobile in Focus Report 2013
IAB Australia Mobile Advertising Report
Nielsen Connected Consumer Report 2013

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Mobile: Retailer Loyalty Friend or Foe?

Some hail mobile as the saviour of the high street – whilst others are concerned about the impact mobile is having on bricks and mortar businesses as retail stores become showrooms for online retailers. Regardless of which corner you sit in – both points of view speak to the influence mobile is having on retail sales and that influence is only set to grow. A recent Deloitte study, titled the Dawn of Mobile Influence, affirmed the increasingly influential role mobile will play in the coming years with the report anticipating that by 2016 as much as 17-21% of all retail sales will be mobile influenced.

So is mobile a retailers’ friend or foe, and is mobile helping or hindering customer loyalty?

Mobile: A Foe of Retailer Loyalty

Online Retail CustomersOne of the biggest threats mobile poses is the heightening of consumer promiscuity. Price comparison is obviously not new – but the trusty mobile device has made it easier than ever to compare retailer pricing instantly and not just on a local scale. So easy has mobile price comparison become that a recent Telstra study has shown 49% of Australians now use their mobile phones to compare prices in-store. But it isn’t just price comparison that is the problem, traditional bricks and mortar retailers are being subjected to show-rooming – a trend where consumers browse shelves in store to touch, feel and experience the product before venturing online to buy it at a cheaper price.

Rather than bury their head in the sand, smart retailers are embracing the trend and tackling it head on. UK retail powerhouse John Lewis now offers free Wi-Fi in stores to enable consumers test their price guarantee.

Sean O’Connor John Lewis’ Head of Online Delivery and Customer Experience believes “when we supplement the price commitment with good advice, service, trustworthiness and the instant gratification of making a purchase there and then, we believe we have a winning recipe.”

But unfortunately not all retailers have shared the same sentiment to John Lewis. Take Best Buys in the US as an example – as an electronics retailer competition is fierce and comparing like for like products is easier than in verticals like fashion. Initially Best Buys considered how to stop the price comparison phenomenon in-store by adopting unique barcodes so consumers couldn’t easily scan and compare pricing. For Best Buys, price comparison and switching has become a thorn in the retailer’s side and the lack of positive action has led to significant revenue decline.
Regardless however of how retailers are reacting to the trend – price comparison and show-rooming are fuelling brand switching more than ever before – which makes mobile a bit of a retailer loyalty foe.

Dunkin Donuts Loyalty AppMobile: A Friend of Retailer Loyalty

Whilst the always-on nature of mobile is diluting brand allegiance and fuelling a breed of disloyal consumers, mobile is presenting new opportunities for brands to take personalisation to a new level. Best in class retailers are integrating mobile location data with ones social graph and other customer information, such as purchase history and browsing behaviour to build more memorable brand experiences with shoppers to drive repeat purchase and loyalty.

The powerful nature of combining mobile technology and data has resulted in a proliferation of retailers building and experimenting with mobile loyalty apps that;
• Provide personalised local based offers
• Reward consumers for repeat purchase
• Store loyalty program data and preferences to streamline the in-store experience.

Brands like Dunkin Donuts, Game UK, Costa Coffee, Monsoons and a host of others have launched loyalty based apps to better engage their customer base over the past 12 months.

Starbucks Loyalty AppTo date however Starbucks has been the stand out in the mobile loyalty space. Amongst other features, the app stores a virtual rewards card for the “myStarbucks reward program”. By doing so the app has enabled Starbucks to grow its loyalty program to over 10 million members, half of whom have opted in to receive personalised offers which keep Starbucks top of mind and increase shop frequency. The app also seeks to drive repeat purchase at shorter intervals by providing a “free pick of the week” which is a free download of music, content or even a game that can only be downloaded if the consumer ventures in-store. The Starbucks app even allows consumers to store their favourite drinks and pay for their purchase (25% of Starbucks consumers now pay via this method) – which streamlines the ordering process in-store.

By leveraging mobile as a central pillar of its customer management strategy – Starbucks has demonstrated the powerful role mobile can play in building deeper, more engaging relationships with its consumers.

Mobile: A Consumers Friend – Make it Yours

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. As mobile devices are the one item consumers can’t live without – you could say that the way to a consumer’s heart is through their mobile. With the launch of Apple’s Passbook in September 2012 and Google’s continued focus on growing Google Wallet, 2013 is set to be even bigger in the mobile space for retailers. Retailers must start to see mobile as a “friend” and core pillar to achieving CRM and loyalty success – as thinking any other way is a distraction.

References

http://www.deloitte.com/assets/Dcom-UnitedStates/Local%20Assets/Documents/RetailDistribution/us_retail_Mobile-Influence-Factor_062712.pdf

http://www.telstra.com.au/business-enterprise/download/document/business-australian-omnichannel-whitepaper-2012.pdf

http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/starbucks-caffeinates-mobile-payments-with-over-2m-mobile-transactions-per-week

 

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3 Mobile Trends Marketers Simply Can’t Ignore

Mobile Marketing Trend

Australians adoption of smartphones has mobile internet usage growing at a rapid rate. Nowadays the mobile device facilitates communication (talk, text and social network interaction) , entertainment (mobile TV / video & gaming) and provides access to information anytime anywhere – making it the one device that no one can live without.

It therefore comes as no surprise that it’s one of the key channels that marketers need embrace with open arms now and in years to come. But it is not only the sheer amount of time consumers are spending on their devices that makes the channel valuable, it is the context in which consumers are using them that will make marketers stand up and take notice!

Below are 3 key trends which I believe no marketer can ignore.

Trend 1: Second Screen Mobile Usage Is Significant

According to a recent study by YuMe, some 60% of TV audiences are distracted by their mobile phone while watching TV. However according to Nielsen and Yahoo’s research, second screen usage is as high as 86%. Although the 2 surveys present a discrepancy in second screen usage both surveys indicate that the trend is significant and this presents an opportunity for marketers – an opportunity to integrate! Now more than ever marketers therefore need to think about how to transition audiences from a traditional TVC to a mobile device. Strategies include but are not limited to;
• SMS – to find out more or to enter competitions / promotions
• Mobile Search – recommending consumers to search for a particular phrase relevant to the ad content and
• Augmented Reality – A few brands have already experimented with AR to deliver a richer 3D / augmented experience. This might be just what the doctor ordered to reinvigorate dull brand TVCs

SmartphonesTrend 2: Mobile Usage In Store

Not only are mobile phones monopolising the in-home entertainment experience, mobiles are also playing an increasingly influential role in-store. According to research conducted by iModerate Research Technologies more than half of smartphone owners are using their mobile in store to enhance their shopping experience by comparing prices, finding store locations and checking for discounts. Whilst a survey conducted by independent marketing firm IPSOS OTX found 79% of smartphone users utilise their devices in store. In Australia, retailers are already feeling the digital pinch, however trends such as these indicate that the fight for customers is only going to get tougher – as your competitors are only a click away at the point of sale. These new instore consumers experiences are therefore prime territory for marketers looking to inject a brand into a target audience’s psyche at a critical juncture in their decision making process.

Trend 3: Cross-Media Influence

Whilst mobile / second screen usage is distracting consumers, research from IPSOS OTX revealed that traditional media has a strong influence on mobile usage. According to the research conducted, 68% of consumers search on their phones as a direct result of traditional ad exposure. This research comes as no surprise, as mobile phones provide consumers with the immediacy to act upon a relevant brand message. Search is however not the only way in which consumers can act on a brand message. AR has enabled brands like CommBank to engage with consumers in interactive ways – making a simple flat print ad – a 3D experience.

As these trends show, whether it is at POS, on TV or out and about, brands, particularly retail ones, need to consider mobile as one of the cornerstones of their marketing strategy not an after thought!

More on mobile trends:

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Online & Offline Marketing – The Perfect Couple… For A Break Up

Online and Offline Integration

As organizations are beefing up their digital strategies, one of the most challenging issues they will face it integration. As many marketing teams are divided by specialization delivering 1 consistent message can be difficult – particularly in larger organizations.

The importance of channel integration

Integration of your online and offline marketing is critical to maximize results. People no longer consider where a brand message is sourced. To them, they live their lives both online and offline without separation – it’s all just part of their everyday lives now, interwoven into one cohesive experience.

So if they online and offline activities are aligned and well coordinated effectiveness of each channel can deliver maximum impact.

Online and Offline IntegrationA case study on integration

The recent NAB break up campaign, is one great example of integration across online and offline channels.
Whether you like the campaign or not it does seem to be having the desired effect for the bank by getting consumers to switch. According to NAB, in the three-and-a-half weeks since launch the bank experienced a 20 per cent increase in new transaction account openings; a 50 per cent increase in credit card applications; a 45 per cent increase in home loan refinancing, and a 35 per cent increase in home loan inquiries. And whilst the promotional spend has been significant, campaign effectiveness is being maximized through a well planned and executed combination of online and offline activities.
Let’s take a closer look at how online and offline tactics are being utilized in combination to achieve campaign goals and to deliver a consistent message to the market.

A blended launch approach got tongues wagging

The campaign started on Twitter, carried over to print then involved a number of guerrilla marketing stunts, and subsequent release of online videos all in a matter of the first few days of the campaign. By combining engagement channels with those of reach and frequency for the initial launch, NAB captured the attention of audiences which fuelled conversation and buzz within the first few days. If social was used in isolation I doubt that NAB would have been able to gain momentum as quickly as they had by utilizing the integrated approach.

Maximising offline investment online

NAB has invested a significant amount of spend in offline advertising to reach the masses. The campaign has leveraged an array of media from billboards and outdoor, to TVC, radio and in-store promotion to gets its break up message into the market. Investment like this of course delivers strong brand awareness and hopefully some change in brand perception. However aside from this it also drives many consumers to act and this could occur offline in a branch or online.

As graph 1 suggests, Google trends depicts a significant increase in brand related search since NAB launched its campaign. And the bank is ensuring that the effort and value derived from its offline activity is not experiencing online leakage to other brands. Searches for NAB break up reveal paid search ads, which drive users directly to the branded content on a dedicated landing page. NAB has also added “break up” site links within its more general paid search campaigns to ensure consumers looking for campaign content can find it easily. Whilst this may sound obvious many brands fail to do this and a lot of the hard work and spend can be lost.

TVC & Online Video Combo

Online TVTraditional TVCs, which deliver good entertainment value, thrive in the online environment. As consumers discuss campaigns offline or even in social space users will migrate to platforms like YouTube to see what all of the fuss is about. Last year ANZ showed how additional reach and frequency can be had through leveraging TVC assets in the video space but with this campaign NAB went one better. NAB not only released TVCs on YouTube, they also created 50 break up videos for the campaign.

Combining these 2 mediums would deliver far more reach and frequency than adoption of 1 channel. TVCs with good entertainment value can create a pull effect for users to re-engage with the content online and as NAB has created additional branded content – this provides consumers with other digital assets to view and share with their network. In addition by providing access to TVCs and other video content online, NAB is also able to reach audiences who predominantly spend their time consuming media online.

Aside from the benefits detailed above, NAB has also adopted the same rationale to video based search as it has to text based search. Its unique campaign idea and media strategy has driven many to seek out the branded content on YouTube and to ensure brand leakage does not occur NAB has sponsored video’s on YouTube to appear when “break up” searches are conducted.

Watch: Online and Offline Marketing Integration

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The Next Big Thing – Social Search?

Facebook and Twitter Search

There is no doubt that over the past few years search marketers have turned their attention to social media as a key channel to support the viral creation of links and to dominate SERPs onsite and offsite. However whilst most of our attention has been focussed around ranking in Google – many of us have failed to see the search opportunity that has grown within social networks and now many social networks such as Twitter search channels in their own right.

The sheer volume of users on social networks has even Google shaking in their boots and for good reason. Over the past few years Google’s direct search competitors have attempted to take on Google in the search race without denting their share. However in the meantime an unlikely competitor has risen to the top. Facebook has captured the attention of users on the internet and is now dominating the users internet experience attracting more visitors than Google in the month of May. And whilst the primary function of Facebook and other platforms like Twitter is not to search – social search is becoming significant. In fact according to a recent Nielsen study, social media sites such as Wikipedia, blogs, and social networks account for 18% of where searches begin. If this is the case social search is much bigger than Bing and Yahoo search combined in Australia.

Why is this so? In a recent article on Search Engine Watch – Mark Drummond put it nicely – “Facebook brings an entirely new opportunity for flavored search: ranking search results using the social connections between people, as captured in the open graph. What Google lacks is intimate knowledge of our interests and plans to proactively deliver information to us and this is precisely the advantage that Facebook has over Google.

Social Search Facts For Facebook & Twitter

Facebook

Facebook SearchFacebook racked up over 600 million searches in May 2010. Compare this to January 2009 where search volumes were a mere 161 million and it is obvious to see that Facebook search is becoming a sizeable opportunity. A significant portion of searches are obviously related to people search as the average query length on Facebook is 2 words – however search is starting to evolve to cover topics related to fashion, electronics and travel. What is however most interesting is that Facebook are actively focussing on improving search within its eco-system with the launch of Open Graph. By leveraging content from its “LIKE” feature combined with sites actively integrating with Facebook ie like TripAdvisor, Facebook has started to collate content to serve up to users when they search for a particular theme or topic. Whilst still in a very premature stage – get it right and this could significantly move the goal posts in the search landscape as content is served up on the basis of user popularity. For more on Facebook search – refer here.

Twitter

Twitter SearchIt is hard to pin point accurate statistics for Twitter search with reports ranging from 350 million to 18 billion searches per month. Regardless of this, the numbers are sizeable. Combine this with content that finds users – rather than users searching for content and there is no doubt that Twitter presents a significant opportunity for businesses. But this doesnt come without a high level of competition. Twitter reporting more than four billion tweets are sent using the service in a given month – that is a lot of content that could appear within the SERPs thus optimisation is key.

What To Do About Social Search? 

Some of the normal rules still apply such as effectively tagging content, using descriptive keywords and the rest but what else do you need to consider?

Optimisation for Facebook

Facebook has released documentation to effectively embed tags onsite for open graph. By doing so you turn your web pages into graph objects, which will enable these pages to become part of the eco-system. For more information on the important tags that should be utilised refer to the below link;

http://developers.facebook.com/docs/opengraph

Optimisation for Twitter

In the 2nd half of 2010, Twitter is planning to launch Twitter annotations. The full benefits of this feature is not clear however it is believed to provide the ability to augment our 140 characters with other useful information to assist Twitter to more effectively understand the content its users are sharing. With this I expect a series of key optimisation techniques to emerge to improve your visibility within Twitter search. I also assume this will be combined with an improved search engine on Twitter so users can filter and sort information to find what they are looking for.

Have you begun to optimise your site for social search? If so share some of your experiences below.

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Highlights & Low Lights In Politics – Online Of Course

As an election draws near the political discussions, debates and even slagging has already began as this is hotting up to be one of the more interesting elections of my time. Mining tax, emissions trading scheme, growing population, paid maternity leave and the general state of the economy has the pollies battling it out for the publics vote – but who is making most of the online opportunity? In 2007 Kevin Rudd utilised online mediums to connect with the public, but with every vote looking like it is going to count just what are political parties doing online – and what are they not doing. Below is the highlights and low lights that I see from our Aussie pollies.

Low Light – Search Engine No Show

Search Engine MarketingWhilst KRudd and Tony Abbott are building their social presence, the absence of strong search rankings is an obvious flaw in their online political push. The sheer volume of searches surrounding the main contentious topics is significant – yet neither of the Liberal / Labour websites are to be seen within the top 10 results for many search terms related to contentious issues. With real time search, news search and traditional search there is a significant opportunity for either party to take the SERPs by the balls and use it as a key channel to educate the general public on their stance on the big issues.

Aside from this it is interesting that neither party is tapping into paid search of any form to tactically “be there” when new issues break or new legislation is passed. Whilst the pollies are spending millions offline in TV and radio I am surprised they have not taken this online to people with an interest in a particular policy.

Highlight – Liberal Party Site Strategy

The Australian liberal party has built interactivity and personalisation into its website through a range of tools. Two of the key features that sets the site apart from the Labour website are the drop and drag tag cloud and the crowdsourcing functionality. The tag cloud enables users to quickly and easily personalise their experience by selecting the key issues / policies they are interested in learning more about. Whilst the crowdsourcing feature allows users to contribute their ideas and have other users rank and comment on them. This provides the Liberal Party with some very sticky content and also allows the Liberal party to learn from the public and use this information to guide their political campaign by focussing on the issues that are important to their potential voters.

Highlight – Social Media

Social media seems to be one channel that both parties have embraced. Both parties have created Facebook groups, Twitter profiles and even YouTube channels mostly branded as the individuals – Tony Abbott & Kevin Rudd. From a Facebook perspective, the Labour party has used its fan page as a central source of content integrating videos from its YouTube channel and photos from its latest events to provide another hub and place to connect with the public outside of their own website. Whilst the Liberal party has established a similar strategy but utilises a “Get involved” tab to acquire users to their site. From a Twitter perspective KRudd obviously has a significant advantage when it comes to reach with over 1 million followers, which makes Tony Abbots profile look amateur. Both are using Twitter as an information hub and are also utilising the channel to humanise their public profiles.

Low Light – Email Acquisition

Email Marketing StrategyOne of the highlights of Obama’s online campaign in 2008 was the prominent call to action to sign up to the Obama site. By doing so the Obama communications team was able to develop a robust communication strategy to keep Obama’s loyal followers up to date on his views, policies and successes on the campaign trail. Both parties seem to be falling short of exploiting this onsite for different reasons. The ALP has built a somewhat confusing sign up process whereby it is not really clear as to what the user is in-fact signing up to. Whilst the Liberal party on the other hand has hidden its email sign up below the fold on the home page – which would make it very difficult to acquire users. Add to this a lack of sign up features at key touch points on the site (ie within the latest news section) and this signifies a significant opportunity that has been lost to build an ongoing relationship with their potential voters.

Low Light – Mobile Presence

As mobile internet penetration continues to rise, it is interesting to see that neither party has really invested in the mobile space. A quick search online via my mobile browser and search via the apps store shows that the mobile channel has not really been considered as part of either parties strategy. With much talk about iPhone growth, the iPad launch and ever increasing mobile browsing behaviour it will be interesting to see if either party evolves their strategy in this space in the run up to the election.

This is just a snapshot of Australia’s leading political parties online. Have you noticed any interesting campaigns or use of channels by either party? If so please share them below.

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9 Ways Australian Brands Are Leveraging Twitter In Different Ways

Twitter Campaign

Twitter SearchTwitter, within a few short years, has grown to be one of the leading social sites in Australia and the world. In Australia alone, Twitter receives more than 1.2 million unique visitors a month, providing a solid avenue for organisations to connect, engage and build relationships with new and existing consumers. However having a presence on Twitter is harder than just creating a profile and tweeting about how great your product is. Inspired by Brian Solis, 21 Twitter Tips , this article reviews how Australian organisations are adopting some of the different strategies he covers in his article.

If your brand is yet to have a Twitter profile hopefully this article provides you with some useful food for thought. Or if you have a profile but need to refine the strategy this article may provide clarity on the techniques that you could adopt to create a very useful and engaging Twitter experience in 140 characters.

Special Offers

Globally @DellOutlet has generated over $3 million in revenue through Twitter and Facebook via offers. Locally it seems that special offer strategies are one of the most popular tactics to use for a Twitter profile. @VirginBlue, @JetstarAirways and @tigerairwaysaus have established significant followings through their Twitter accounts. And it seems that it is paying off for at least some of them. In 2009 @JetstarAirways offered 1,000 seats for two cents – and sold out in hours (no wonder why). And in August, Jetstar announced a new route launch using Twitter with a “free seats” offer for its new Sydney-Melbourne services. As a result of its success Jetstar has announced a significant shift of its marketing budget towards social media in 2010.
However it is not just airlines that are leveraging the Twitter opportunity. EB Games currently has also adopted a similar approach by releasing special codes and discounts via their Twitter profile.

Word of Mouth Marketing

@Crust Pizza has been leveraging Twitter to spread the word about its pizza through its tweet promotion. Still running, this competition provides the opportunity for consumers to win free pizza on Friday by Tweeting – #CrustFreePizzaFriday. The competition is only open to Crust followers which I am sure has had a big impact on the growth of their number of followers which now stands at 2,530. Whilst quantifying the direct impact is difficult, the CEO of Crust is confident that the promotion has impacted their bottom line.

Customer Service

The Telco’s seem to be all over this one proactively seeking out unhappy customers and fielding direct client customer service issues. @VirginMobileAus is a great example of a brand monitoring the Twittersphere for unhappy customers and trying to right wrongs – see below.
eg @undisclosed Hiya, saw ur tweet RE: VM =( Is there anything I can do to sway ur impression? Pls DM, Thanks! =)

Crowdsourcing & FeedbackCrowdsourcing & Feedback

When Australia’s biggest realestate site re-launched their new platform they dedicated time to reviewing the feedback and actioning issues. And it seems they are not the only ones. Many Australian brands are reaching out to consumers to gauge feedback on websites including @WorldVisionAus @STATravel. However this is one strategy that I believe Australian brands could be using more of. Reaching out to a Twitter network for feedback on new offerings or crowdsourcing new ideas is a significant untapped resource and is a big opportunity for those in the online media / classifieds space as well as those in the fashion / retail space.

Information Networks

Information networks provide helpful alerts, notices and information to help followers avert problems or get up to the minute information. The obvious applications for such profiles include airlines and transport companies however few have taken advantage of this opportunity, however the AFL has. @AFL provides users with quarter by quarter updates on matches and tribunal results. In addition the AFL aggregates other club related information to keep footy fanatics completely up to date.

Employee Recruitment

Marketing to potential new staff through social media provides recruiters with a new way to seek referrals and applications for open positions at a lower cost and can enable brands to really reach out to brand advocates. Amongst other tweets, one of the core strategies for @WorldVisionAus is to do just that. Access their Twitter page and you will see recruitment is one of the core Twitter focuses.

Dedicated & Brand Channels

For some brands with multiple offerings, it is difficult to develop one dedicated profile and it also makes sense to establish exclusive channels or subchannels to share specific information and tap into a niche. @bigpondmovies & @bigpondmusic are examples of sub-brands adopting this kind of strategy. Although both are yet to build a significantly large following the profiles are tapping into niches to provide relevance and interact with users based on interest categories, which is a sensible strategy.

Aggregated Content & Topic Experts

Whilst this is a bit of a combination of Brian’s categories, it is one that has merit. Most organisations leverage Twitter to promote branded content and despite it being targeted and relevant there is a lot of value in aggregating and repackaging content on a particular topic / category of interest. @ABCnews is a good example of doing just this – it has adopted the branded channels strategy and combined it with aggregating content feeds from Twitter profiles to bring together a culmination of different views on the one topic. One good example of this is their @ABCnews/federal-parliament profile which aggregates content from Kevin Rudd, Joe Hockey, Malcolm Turnbull and a host of other MPs.

Supply Chain Relationships

Not only is Twitter providing ways to develop direct relationships with consumers, however it is also providing brands with the opportunity to connect with their distribution channel to ensure they are kept up to date with product updates as well as to motivate distributors and empower them to spread messages through their individual networks. Amway @amwayausnz is one such company doing just that. Mr Coldwell, Head of Operations stated in an article just yesterday that – the use of social media fitted well with the overall philosophy of the Amway group, which saw itself as a community builder as much as a retailer. Their Twitter strategy aims to reach out and recruit new distributors and communicate with existing ones – and with nearly 150 followers and plenty of interaction it seems that it is already making an impact.

If you are about to embark on a Twitter strategy I would highly recommend Brian Solis article – as it definitely provides a lot of avenues to consider before developing a Twitter strategy

Got any other examples you would like to share that fit into the categories above or Brian’s categories? If so please share them below (no doubt I have missed some great Australian organisations using Twitter in unique ways)

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How Offline Activity Presents Online Opportunity

Masterchef Australia

It is often said that retailers are yet to quantify the link between online browsing and offline purchases and it is these trends that are hindering investment in digital. However a similar relationship exists between offline activities and their ability to drive online visitors and conversions and I am not talking about in traditional offline campaigns.

Popular TV series like Masterchef are capturing audiences offline and their love and excitement of this show is being translate into online activity. However is your brand taking advantage of the hype?

How MasterChef Is Driving Online Activity

The latest series of Masterchef has taken Australia by storm with 1.69 million people tuning into the premier of the series. But it isn’t just this 1½ hour slot that people are tuning into daily. Search trends show that at present the terms “MasterChef” & “Master Chef” are attracting 400,000 searches per month online alone.

What is however interesting is when overlaying monthly trends with generic terms like recipes it is clear that increases in food related searches mirror that of searches for the Masterchef show. Combine this with a simple Twitter search for the term Masterchef and it is easy to see just how hooked Australians really are. However whilst this seems like an obvious trend, it seems few are translating this into their online strategy.

Translating Trends Into Traffic

Not every show on TV presents a MasterChef opportunity however following the trends could prove very lucrative online for many organisations who operate in a field related to the latest hit TV show.

At present I believe there is probably 2 or 3 opportunities going by the wayside – MasterChef being one of them. And whilst Coles seems to own the branding rights on MasterChef, there are still many online opportunities to take advantage of – particularly if you were one of Coles biggest rivals. One of the other notable opportunities would be Underbelly which had 2.2 million people tune in to its series premier. Such programs could drive searches and interest in Australian crimes movies and books which could prove particularly beneficial for brands such as Borders.

Online Tactics Not For The Faint Hearted

Online TVWhilst planning tactics and initiatives around popular shows is not a completely new, this is not only relevant to offline TV activity. The rise of social media has meant that real time search is becoming increasingly more important as consumers react to their surroundings and move online for instant information gratification related to shows or events or world news.

Earlier this year I covered this very topic in an article about real time search and highlighted how Amazon re-acted to Michael Jacksons demise – with a full micro-site and digital strategy up within hours of his death. As a result of their swift action Amazon had cashed in on the opportunity before their competitors had even considered how to leverage the opportunity.

To build strategies around “pop search & social media culture” is of course not an easy task and requires flexibility in systems, processes and also a change in mindset for planning and reacting to news and fads. However those that do will gain a distinct advantage over their competitors in the coming years and are more likely to gain an advantage over their competitors online.

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Coles vs Woolworths – Round 1 On The Digital Court

The 2 biggest supermarket chains in Australia have been battling it out for years. Over the past few years we have definitely seen Woolworths / Safeway go from strength to strength but digital may change this. Over the past year or so the supermarket chains have shown interest and investment in the channel, but just who is winning the digital war. This article puts the 2 head to head on the digital court to see who is winning the online grocery war.

Search Marketing

Whilst Woolworths seem to rank for some important terms in number 1 position, Coles seems to rank for a larger range of broad volume terms. In addition it seems that Coles is actively combining its organic search strategy with paid search activity to provide them with greater share of voice in the SERPs.

Coles 15 / Woolworths love

Onsite Experience

Coles Digital MarketingMy user experience on Woolworths was unpleasant from the get go. I tried to locate my suburb, by typing in my postcode but the suburb drop down remained empty. When I was finally able to find my suburb I landed on the online shopping home page. Amongst other elements, the page had a banner stating “Our Great Weekly Specials”, so I tried to click on it to check them out however the page didn’t go anywhere. Locating items was also not an easy task, with sub menu’s a little invisible initially. Overall a disappointing site, one that does not match Woolworth’s in-store experience.

The Coles online store proved far more enjoyable. The express shop is a great tool allowing consumers to type in what they are looking for and then the system returns relevant matches. This combined with the product navigation menu’s provide consumers with different ways to shop. The site’s navigation make it easy to locate products in various categories however my only gripe is that the specials sit at the bottom of the search results rather than at the top of the page. Grocery chains spend a lot of money trying to promote specials – why would they not want to promote them online to increase impulse purchases?

Coles 30 / Woolworths love

Mobile Marketing

Coles Online have delivered a great iPhone application to provide shoppers with the ability to create shopping lists to reference in-store, search for recipes on the move, and identify local in-store specials. What I like about the application is that Coles has not just replicated its site, but rather considered what shoppers need on the move. Coles still seem to be however serving up their regular site to my blackberry so there is still some work to do on this front (as their site didn’t work well on my handset) but at least the mobile strategy elements that they have delivered are to be commended.

Woolworths don’t have an app that I could find but I was able to access their mobile site. At first glance I was pleased to see a mobile site – until I clicked on local specials at which point it served up specials in NSW, as my location was set to the Town Hall in Sydney. After resetting my location the site served up more relevant information. Overall I still think Coles have a very slight advantage in this area (you could almost say the ball was on the line and the call could have gone either way.)

Coles 40 / Woolworths love

Social Media

Woolsworth Digital MarketingIf all of the above wasn’t enough, it also seems ColesOnline is providing customer service help and responding to general feedback via Twitter (positive and negative) and promoting their latest competitions. At present they have over 1000 followers and the discussion seems to be thriving so they are obviously seem making an impact.

Game Coles

With a fresh new brand and pleasant in-store experience, Woolworths have some work to catch up online. Although recent statistics suggest online sales for Woolworths have grown 40%+ I think their onsite experience is probably hindering higher volumes of sales. I anticipate that Woolworths is probably working on its site and digital strategy so it will be interesting to see if there are any interesting developments in this space.

One thing however is for sure the match is not over – there is still a lot of game time. As a Woolworths shopper I do hope to see them move quickly in the space to compete on a level playing field with Coles.

Got any thoughts on Coles vs Woolworths online? Share them below.

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