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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Latest Digital Statistics Compilation Australia

Digital Media Users

Since it has been a good 6 months since I have compiled a summary of Australian digital statistics, I felt it’s a good time for us to reflect on the second half of 2010. Enjoy!

Social – Facebook Usage

1. In December 2010 there were 9,361,520 Australia’s actively using Facebook.
2. In December 2010 – users by age group were as follows – 35% or roughly 3.2 million subscribers fell into the 20 to 29-year-old category. At 21% or nearly two million users each are the 30 to 39 and 13 to 19 age bands. More than 1.2 million users are in the 40 to 49-year-old band that makes up 13% of the total. And about 732,000 people between the ages of 50 and 59 form 8% of the total. The remaining 210,000 are aged 60 and above.
3. Facebook represents almost 1 in every 5 pages viewed on the web by Australians during September 2010. Facebook’s 19.3% share swamps Google.com.au’s 7.4% share of page views.
4. The average session time for a user visiting Facebook during September 2010 was 28 minutes and 58 seconds.

Sources
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/email-is-so-passe-for-facebook-generation/story-e6frg6z6-1225981885878
http://weblogs.hitwise.com/alan-long/2010/10/12_things_you_need_to_know_abo.html

Video Content StrategyVideo

5. More than three quarters of online Australians (77%) watched video content on their computer at least once in September and a further 26% watched video on their mobile phone.
6. In October 2010, Australian video viewers consumed an average of nearly 8 hours of video.
7. Males spend a significantly longer amount of time viewing online video than females. On average, males watched just over 10 hours of online video in October, while females averaged 5.2 hours. Males also consumed a higher number of videos on average at 113 videos per viewer, compared to females at 72 videos per viewer.

Sources:
http://www.nielsen-online.com/pr/OCR_GOS-oct10.pdf
http://www.comscore.com/

Mobile

8. According to the AIMIA mobile survey, the proportion of respondents who own a Nokia or Motorola handset has declined over the last few years, while those owning an Apple handset has increased. The top handset brands of respondents this year were Nokia (41%), Apple (21%), Samsung (12%), Sony Ericsson (9%), LG (6%), Motorola (3%) and Blackberry (3%).
9. 24% of respondents used their mobile phone for banking at least on a monthly basis, compared to 19% last year.
10. 12% of respondents used their mobile phone to buy things for their mobile phone at least once on a monthly basis, compared to 10% last year.
11. 9% of respondents used their mobile phone to buy things not for their mobile phone, at least on a monthly basis, compared to 8% last year.
12. In September 2010, one third of Australians (36%) accessed the Internet via their mobile phone in the past 30 days and 13 percent accessed the Internet via a handheld media device other than a mobile.

Sources;
http://www.aimia.com.au/home/news/member-news/aimia-releases-sixth-annual-australian-mobile-phone-lifestyle-index
http://www.nielsen-online.com/pr/OCR_GOS-oct10.pdf

Online Shopping

13. In the past year, shoppers have spent $10 to $12 billion online, about 5 per cent of total retail sales of $250 billion.
14. Market researchers Frost & Sullivan predict that online spend will grow to $18 billion by 2014.
15. Online spending grew 12% in Australia in 2010

Sources;
http://www.smh.com.au/business/switchedon-consumers-signal-sea-change-in-retail-20110107-19iq7.html

Mobile AdvertisingOnline Advertising

16. According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Media and Entertainment Outlook 2010 – 2014 report, online advertising in Australia is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15.4% every year for the next four years. While the same forecast for print growth is 1.9% and for free TV is 3.9%.
17. In Q3 2010, general display and classifieds advertising accounted for 26.5% and 24.6% respectively, of total advertising expenditure, while search & directories advertising comprised of the remaining 48.9%.
18. CPM based pricing continued as the dominant expenditure type with 75% of advertising expenditure allocated to CPM buys whilst 25% was on a direct response basis.
19. Finance, motor vehicles and computers & communications continue to be the dominant industries using general display advertising, comprising 44.3% of the general display spending. Motor vehicle (manufacturers) was the largest subcategory at 10.5% of general display spending for the quarter, marginally down from 10.7% in Q2 2010.

Source;
http://www.iabaustralia.com.au

Video: Digital Media In Australia – Facts & Figures

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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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A Social Step Up For Customer Service In Oz

Twitter Strategy

For years marketers have debated the positive and negative impact word of mouth can have on a brand. Negative customer experiences and word of mouth offline has always been a concern, but fast forward to today’s day and age and very quickly a negative customer experience projected through social media channels can cause a PR disaster.
Unlike offline negative word of mouth a poor customer experience captured online is;
• Real Time – Customers do not have time to reassess the situation, venting their frustrations immediately without further thought
• A Digital Footprint – A bad customer service experience is retained online for others to view for years to come
• More Widespread – It is largely believed that consumers tell 7 or 8 people about a bad experience – but online such a broadcast could be cast to hundreds of contacts.

However despite all the draw backs, one of the big benefits of social media is that organisations can identify unsatisfied customer experiences and nip them in the bud. And if dealt with effectively these consumers may radiate their positive experience to their wider online network.
Thus as social media usage has exploded in Australia, some Australian organisations have taken the brave step into the social media customer service space. So whose doing it and what can we learn from some of the social media customer service case studies in Australia?

PANASONIC

Just last month, Panasonic Australia launched support services through both Twitter and Facebook to enable customers to log queries related to products such as Viera televisions and the new Limax Life camera.

 

Panasonic Twitter Strategy

Their approach

Through social platforms, Panasonic has been able to launch its new camera Lumix to enthusiasts and have proactively offered support, to new Lumix customers, which from a customer service perspective is quite forward thinking. In addition Panasonic have made it clear that their strategy will not just focus on one channel but rather support consumers across some of the most popular social media platforms in Australia . However how can Panasonic improve their customer service offering through social media?

The Facebook presence seems to be largely unattended to by its customer service staff. Whilst only a few customers have requested assistance, it seems their questions have either been answered via a direct message to the user or not at all. In the customer service sector obviously delivery is key so this is an important consideration for Panasonic.
In addition Panasonic could consider promoting their new customer service options via their site to encourage more consumers to ask questions because at this stage the service is experiencing some demand but not high volume of take up. Whilst a strategy of inviting more people into the social space to raise their customer service questions or complaints could be risky – it will enable Panasonic to meet changing customer needs as consumers can interact with the brand by their preferred method of communication.

OPTUS
Telecommunications is one industry that suffers from a high level of customer service complaints, therefore it is no wonder that both Optus and Telstra have invested in social media customer service. If you spend 10 minutes searching Twitter there is no wonder why such a strategy is important for both these brands – with many unsatisfied customers venting their anger, a social media customer service strategy is crucial to maintain at least some credibility in the market.

Their Approach

Optus seems to monitor its online Twitter presence very carefully and by doing so it seems they are in at least in some cases turning customer informants into advocates.
Whilst Optus is changing many customer experiences from negative to positive ones, one in particular stands out. In a recent article published in Marketing Magazine, it seems Optus has been able to turn around one #badoptus customer to a satisfied one, who told his 4,268 followers that;

“You may have seen some of my past #badoptus tweets. Thanks to Scott at @Optus social media response team I can now say thank you #goodoptus.”

But have Optus got it 100% right? As Optus only entered the space in the past 4 – 6 weeks, one of the biggest downfalls for their strategy would have to be timing – with so much bad consumer PR being posted online, Optus should have entered the space sooner to effectively manage its reputation and attend to consumers needs.

For Optus coverage may also be an issue. For any brand moving into the social media space it is important to not just to concentrate on the platform but rather consider where consumers are passionately expressing their views, whether it be social networking platforms, forums or even blogs to determine how the customer service strategy can most effectively reach the large pockets of consumer complaints and customer service issues.

For Optus Facebook is another area where consumers are passionately expressing their dissatisfaction about the brand by joining or creating “hate Optus” groups, and this is probably just the beginning. However despite the negative feedback on Facebook, for Optus Twitter may have been the most important channel to tackle first, as the brand had been inundated with negative PR.
Regardless of their approach, for those considering social media customer service it is important to monitor the web and determine where conversations and complaints are occurring about their brand before determining the best approach.

Business Brand Twitter Strategy

Overall despite some of the improvements that can be made I believe Panasonic, Optus and even Telstra should be applauded for taking the bold step into the social media space.

Got any other examples of Australian organisations who are using social media to improve customer service? If so add them below.

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Top 20 Most Interesting Australian Digital Statistics For 2009 So Far

Search Engine Marketing

Trying to locate Australian specific internet usage and user behaviour trends is often difficult. With a lot of new research circulating the web, Digital Marketing Lab has summarised the top 20 most interesting Australian Digital trends/stats which have been recorded in the first quarter of 2009. If you have any others that we have missed please feel free to add them.

Online Behaviour

1. Aussies spend a total of 16.1 hours per week on the internet – Nielsen Online
2. Australians now spend one-third of their leisure time online – The Digital World, Digital Life Survey
3. Australian internet users are ditching desktop computers in favour of wireless technology with laptop ownership jumping from 49% to 63% by the end of 2008 – Nielsen Online.
4. Australians who shopped online in February 2009 spent an average of $760 compared to the global average of $3160. – The Digital World, Digital Life Survey

Search Marketing

Search Engine Marketing5. Top 3 search terms in Google at present are find a job, how to write a resume and how to survive the recession – AustralianIT
6. Google Australia search volumes have risen 20% from January 2008 to January 2009 – Search Engine Room
7. Google’s Marketshare reached 89.6% in February 2009 with Yahoo at 2% – Hitwise Australia
8. Australian search success is 71.1 per cent in February of 2009 from 70.1 per cent in February of 2008. Search success is measured by if a user goes to conduct another search straight after visiting the page from search results. – AustralianIT

Mobile Marketing

9. 97 per cent of Australians surveyed used their mobile phone for more than just voice. – m.Net Corporation
10. 31 per cent of Australian mobile users have used their mobile phone to make a purchase like movie tickets – m.Net Corporation
11. Mobile advertising growth is poised to treble in 2009 with Telsyte forecasting that mobile advertising spend will grow to $20 million this year – Digital Media

Social Media

Social Media Marketing12. 1 in 2 Aussies are now using a social network – The Digital World, Digital Life Survey
13. On average Australians are registered with 2.7 social networks – .2 higher than the global average of memberships on social networking sites – The Digital World, Digital Life Survey
14. Australian Twitter Subscribers Reached 250,000 in February 2009, up from 149,000 in January – Ninemsn
15. 7.5 million Australians visited consumer-generated media websites in January 2009, up 17 per cent on 2008. This compares to 8.3 million Australian visitors to the news/information mainstream media that month. – Nielsen Online
16. More than 5 million (1/4 of Aust popn) visited Facebook in January (up 100 per cent on 2008) & 2.4 million MySpace (-17 per cent) – Nielsen Online
17. Many Australians (83%) are aware of virtual worlds such as SecondLife., but only 26% have viewed or contributed to these sites – The Digital World, Digital Life Survey
18. 2.3 million Australians visited blogger blogs which is up 21% on 2008 – Nielsen Online
19. CGC has become a mainstream activity for Australian internet users with 57% admitting to publishing opinions online – Nielsen Online CGM Report
20. One in three (36%) Australians have friends or contacts that they met online with whom they regularly communicate demonstrating the impact of Web 2.0 on online relationships – The Digital World, Digital Life Survey

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5 Key Considerations When Choosing a Digital Agency

1. Who has got your back?

How many times have the “big wigs” rolled in to present you with a proposal to win your account. Only to find when it is all said and done that you’re just another unimportant client handled by one of the many account coordinators.

When selecting a digital agency – whether that be search, online advertising or mobile marketing it is important to understand who will be managing your account and in particular what their level of experience is.

You should also consider if the agency is best placed in the field to handle your account. With the online being so diverse, it is difficult for an agency to excel in every area of online – so drill down and find out what their true specialisations are.

2. Validating Their Track Record

Client logo’s and case studies are often presented during the pitch phase, but what is of key importance is to go beyond the information presented. It is important to;

1) Understand the outcomes achieved and what role the agency played within the process
2) Determine whether or not the client is still working with the agency, and if not why not
3) Not take their word for it, speak with some of their clients directly about the information presented within the case studies and the overall level of service.

3. Size Does Matter

An age old rule to choosing an agency is to match the size of your organisation/budget with an agency of a similar size/used to working with similar sized budgets. If you are a small to medium sized organisation chances are you will not be a priority to a large agency – thus will not receive the attention your account deserves.

Terms and Conditions4. Transparency

One of the key benefits of online marketing is measurability – but will your online agency be open and transparent with your account. For example on the paid search side will they provide log ins to your Google account so you can see what is going on? On the organic search side will they be honest about the techniques that they are adopting and on the email marketing do you have the ability to log in and see real live stats? Will your agency provide you with the transparency to understand what their resources are spending their time on – after all you are paying them by the hour.

5. Have you read the fine print?

If you do decide to use the agency make sure you are aware of where the intellectual property lies. For example if you want to move your paid search account, does your agency own your keywords and the bidding strategies? Does your agency have a conflict policy to ensure your digital agency does not work with competing brands?

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4 Digital Weeks In Review

Online Content Strategy

Here is my latest edition of what has made Digital Headlines over the past 4 weeks;

1. Google Phone Goes Onsale – From the middle of February, the new Google powered HTC’s Dream phone will go on-sale. The phone will initially be sold only on Optus with 4 plans available – offering up to 3GB download. This will boost Australian’s already strong appetite for internet access on the move.

Other phone manufacturers such as Motorola and Samsung are also
planning to also launch phones in 2009 on the android platform which will bring stiff competition to its rival the iPhone.

For the full article on the release visit;

http://www.smh.com.au/news/digital-life/mobiles–handhelds/articles/first-google-phone-aims-to-ring-the-changes/2009/02/05/1233423373213.html

2. Optus’ Mobile Advertising Platform – In December 2008, Optus trialled its mobile advertising campaign with McDonalds. Optus’ new mobile platform which was then subsequently launched in late January, and has been built to provide targeted advertising opportunities through mobile phones. The mobile advertising platform will utilise user data from the Optus Zoo mobile portal to deliver targeted opportunities to advertisers. To ensure the new mobile advertising network delivers, Optus is launching a major campaign in February to increase subscriptions / data capture on Optus Zoo – to provide even more opportunities to advertisers.

Niche Social Media3. Battle of the Social Networks – It seems Facebook has continued to increase its popularity in the Australian marketplace. According to web traffic monitor Nielsen Online, Facebook had over 4.5 million unique visitors whilst MySpace only registered 2.3 million in December 2008. Businesses looking to benefit from friendvertising may start to re-think directing efforts towards MySpace over the coming months particularly those in SME’s where resources are limited and decisions are made based on placing effort into areas with the highest potential for return & exposure.

For full details click here:

http://www.smh.com.au/news/technology/web/australians-ditch-myspace-for-facebook/2009/02/05/1233423387206.html?page=2

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