Category Archives: Marketing Strategy Plan

Spare Ticket announced as AMI National Finalist

Ok shameless plug warning! We’re super excited to see our client Spare Ticket announced as a National Finalist for the Australian Marketing Institute’s Awards for Marketing Excellence in the ‘New Brand’ category. We’re up against some ‘stiff’ competition: Warnie’s underwear brand SpinnersSimplot’s Quorn and Queensland winner Mater Mother’s Private Redland; so fingers crossed!

The awards are a part of the AMI’s two day conference, Focus on the Future, held at the Hilton Sydney from October 19-20. The conference will showcase a number of high profile speakers from Microsoft, Commonwealth Bank, Spreets, Telstra and Nestle, to name a few, bringing together some of the world’s greatest marketing minds.

Will you be going?

Yours in marketing coolness,

SmartClinics opens at Westfield Chermside on September 19

I’m impatient, work long hours and not loyal to any particular doctor – I guess I’m fitting right into the Gen-Y stereotype! But seriously, when I need a basic prescription or need some basic medical care I just want to pop in and out of the doctor’s as quickly as possible – and I’d think many working Australians would be much the same (gee, that was a bit ALP wasn’t it…”working Australians”).

This is why I’m excited about SmartClinics – the new medical clinic run by Nurse Practitioners, opening at Westfield Chermside on September 19. Now full disclosure, SmartClinics is a client of ours and we’ve been busily working on their design and advertising in preparation for the launch, but really I can’t wait until it’s open.

I think SmartClinics is going to be a really great service for those of us who are fed up with trying to sneak out during lunch and then suffer the long wait in reception before our 10 minute appointment (although I love the trashy mags, do we really need to spend 45 minutes in the waiting room?). SmartClinics will open from 7am-9pm, 7 days a week – thank you weekend and night trading! Plus the appointments are quick and cheap – only $28 for a basic consultation. Now they just need to come to the south side of Brisbane!

Clinics like this have been operating in the US and UK for quite some time now so I’m not sure what all the fuss is about but obviously some GPs think SmartClinics is a teeny bit controversial…check out this piece on Channel 10

Check them out at

Yours in innovative health care,

Gamification: How Games are Transforming Marketing

Gamificiation: introducing the new buzz word for a marketing direction that takes cues from games.  Gamification in its basic form is introducing the mechanics of games and combining them with technology to deliver a unique brand experience for the consumer.

These ideas are starting to be used by savvy marketers as some of the traditional marketing strategies are failing to deliver any return on investment. Consumers are looking for and in many cases expecting a level of reward and more engagement with a brand then they ever have before.

These are the five most commonly used game mechanics, as identified by Gabe Zichermann the author of Game-Based Marketing.

  • Points: Points are everywhere, and they’re often used as a way to denote achievement. Points also measure the user’s achievements in relation to others and work to keep the user motivated for the next reward or level. They can even double as action-related currency.
  • Badges: While badges have their origins in the physical world, Foursquare popularized the digital variety with its oh-so-clever set of real-life merit badges that range from easy (Newbie badges are awarded to users on their first checkin) to nearly-impossible to unlock (it takes 10 movie theater checkins to earn the Zoetrope badge).
  • Levels: Businesses are encouraging mobile users for example to level up and get better discounts for becoming more loyal patrons.
  • Leaderboards: Leaderboards rank users and work to motivate and encourage them to become players. Foursquare started with city-centric leaderboards, but now places the emphasis on ranking users against their friends. Earn a few points for a checkin, and Foursquare will show you which of your friends you’ve flown by on the leaderboard. A great strategy for anyone who is remotely competitive.
  • Challenges: These range from the simple to complex and often involve communal activity or group play.  We have utlised this techniques for our client SpareTicket, where a seller can swap a ticket to say a concert for a challenge.

Isn’t it exciting to be entering an age where communication is only going to be limited by our imagination!

Check out Jesse Schell in this video recored at DICE  last year. It will really give you an idea of where Gamification can take marketing. (skip through to half way for the best bits if you are pushed for time).

Remember Social Media was once a buzz word… today it is a marketing phenomenon that is rapidly expanding and taking a larger slice of even the most conservative businesses marketing budget.

Yours in Gamification.


The History of F-commerce

F-Commerce is the term given to the rise of transactions of various types across the Facebook network. The trend began in 2007 when Facebook released their Virtual Gift Store. The Gift Store processed approximately 15 million transactions prior to August 2010, when it was shut down by the social giant.

Now, Facebook stores and advertising are beginning to dominate the online space. The stores are generating large incomes for the proprietors but also are generating so really interesting numbers in terms of users and the all famous Facebook metric, “Likes”.

I came across a great infographic today that shows the history of F-Commerce and has some predictions on it’s future in terms of retailer readiness to accept this type of commerce and their ability to expand across the Facebook network.

Here is a snippet of the Infographic

For the full version visit the Digital Buzz Blog

Yours in F-Commerce,


Embarrassing typo, can you spell Australia?

I would certainly hope so!

Unfortunately, not only the manufacturers in Hong Kong but also, the contractor in Tasmania who outsourced the cloth badges for the Royal Australian Navy uniforms cannot spell Australia!

The uniforms were made for Navy officers serving in the Middle East. The badge includes an extra “L” in the word Australian. The news was reported by Seven News.


This is one of the worst cases of a typo mistake that I have seen recently, but I have seen many throughout my design career! I’ve seen some that make it to distribution and I have also seen typo’s that have been, thankfully, picked up in proofing or printed but not distributed.

Regardless of when these kind of typo mistakes happen, the cost to business can add up to a surprisingly large amount. Think about it. Time is money, wages are paid in return for time. So if time is spent reviewing, correcting, re-reviewing, rewriting, proofing, reprinting proofs, reprinting etc. then it’s not long before the hours add up and in the case of reprinting, then there is also added cost of consumables. If you want to take it one step further then you could also say that human errors have an impact on the environment. Reprints often may not be able to be recycled because of the process they are made, more trees are needed for paper, the paper needs to be manufactured, freighted, reprinted, redistributed etc. It really is a snow ball effect.

In the case of these Navy badges that are spelled incorrectly, they will need manual labour to remove the badges and sew on replacements and the old ones will not be able to be recycled so they will become landfill or incinerated (either way not good for the environment!). All because of an extra little “L”!

Then of course there is the intrinsic value of a brand being damaged by these mistakes. How often have you seen a mistake on a branded item and thought to yourself, “OMG, I can’t believe these people didn’t see this, what fools!” and you cannot see past the mistake to see what the information is about and therefore would not respond to the message. However there are cases where a deliberate typo or mistake is created to build a viral campaign. A recent example of this was when one of the MasterChef contestants posted a Tweet message about the show to be aired that night, the mistake got passed around the social network along with the brand MasterChef, and the ratings for that nights viewing saw an increase! Is that clever marketing or a mistake gone right?!

Coca-Cola have a very infamous advert that was created by an artist that caused considerable expense and embarrassment to the company in the mid 1980s. It was only meant to be a light-hearted joke but it backfired on the artist. He was not only fired, but also sued. If you want to read a bit more about this deliberate mistake (and you should!) read more here:

There is even a website dedicated to reporting mistakes found in various media (mostly American), visit

Have you seen an unforgettable or unforgivable mistake? Please share it with us.

Yours in always being right!


Facebook group chat

At the Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a really interesting announcement about upcoming enhancements to Facebook’s chat capabilities. In particular, he’s announced what’s called Group Chat.

Facebook Group Chat is a multi-person feature which is inspired by the functionality already inside the Facebook Groups chat area. The functionality is rolling out progressively as of now so it should be interesting to see what the take up on this type of chat functionality is. This will also be incorporated into the design of the new Facebook chat.

Personally, I rarely use the chat feature on Facebook. I find that my friends aren’t online when I am or it’s just as quick for me to call them to ask them the same question. In terms of users, it would be interesting to see if this type of enhancement generates more interest in the chat features. It should be noted though that Facebook did announce also that more than 50% of users of Facebook are active in Facebook Groups, so perhaps the enhancements to chat will receive a warm reception?

The thought process behind the upgrades seems as though it is to make Group Chat more accessible to all users and allow more ad-hoc conversations and interactions to take place.

In a business environment, with Facebook becoming more and more prominent in daily operations the introduction of Group Chat may just be what we’ve all been waiting for. A quick and easy way to chat to an industry group, organise an event, even recruit new staff. Also, with the pending release of the Skype powered video chat feature, I think this is a massive solidification of Facebook’s place in any digital or social media strategy.

What are your thoughts on Facebook Group Chat, will you use it?

Yours in Facebook,

The 6 basics of project management

So you’re planning a special event or renovating… to start with, a project must have a dedicated project manager to run, oversee and quality check all aspects of the project in order for it to be a success.

Who are your stakeholders? That’s everyone with an interest or involvement in your project. e.g. Internal stakeholders: employees, managers, business owners. External stakeholders: sponsors, suppliers (utilities, materials), government (applications, approvals), shareholders, boards, customers/target audience.

What is your budget? How much have you pooled together from sponsors, the company’s marketing budget… dependent on your project. It may be the launch of your own business so you’ll need to set aside a start-up amount. Does your project warrant a government grant for funding?

What are your resources? What materials (e.g. skip, paint, soil, signage) are required and when, to tie in with the schedule of events. Who is doing the work? e.g. electrician, artist. Do you need to organise advertising/flyers/eMarketing?

The schedule! Work out your sequence of required activities/approvals and their durations. A project is temporary so must have a start date and an end date. So work back from the actual deadline and map out your deliverables. Think about the relationships of the tasks; which multiple tasks can happen at the same time and also which ones can’t start without another prior. e.g. plastering a wall before painting it. STICK TO THE SCHEDULE!

What are your risks? We’ve all heard of Murphy’s Law. You need to think about what could and can go wrong so you can devise a back-up plan. How will rain affect your project or even the grand event if it rains during the project or even the event on the end date? How will this affect you? What happens if you don’t receive the approvals you were hoping from from the boss, client or even the council building approval.

Most importantly Communication! A successful project requires clear and timely communication amongst all stakeholders – whether it be market research with the target audience at the beginning stages; regular team meetings so everyone is kept up-to-date; phone calls to suppliers to confirm things are running to schedule and materials will be delivered on time; social media to announce a ‘hold the date’ for an event or sending the invites.

Now remember this is just the basics, there are more levels to project management, like the forms which need to be used for recording the accounts, timesheets, waivers, approvals etc. Procedural documentation to ensure quality and safety.

The above are enough to get you started and thinking.

Yours in project management,
Amber van Sloten

Consumer reviews set to create valuable campaign content

Yes, I am one of those people who still like to read the newspaper. And it was through reading the newspaper that I learnt about this new website called We Like This.

We Like This is a website that allows you to review products and services and write your opinions about them. Through writing your review, you are given the opportunity to tell lots of people about your favourite products, good experiences, and not so good experiences.

Also, you will be reading the opinion of others so that you too can make informed choices about the products you are considering buying.

The products and services are listed by categories e.g Automotive, Clothing and Apparel, Computing, Food and Drink, etc. If the product or service you wish to review is not listed, you’re given the opportunity to suggest the new product and write a review for it. A new product page is then created by the We Like This team.

Your reviews may also be used across press, online and TV. This way, reviews influence even more people. A positive review of a product is very powerful in influencing others and customers’ review can make or break a brand.

When an advertiser’s products or services have been reviewed positively, they are offered the opportunity to licence these reviews into a We Like This formatted advertising campaign which might run across press, magazines, TV and the internet.

A certain criteria must be met before an advertiser is permitted to use the We Like This brand or any reviews in an advertising campaign. The product must have a total rating above 3.5 hearts to be deemed positive and must have received a minimum of 15 reviews.

Consumer opinions about products and services are more powerful than advertising in helping other people make decisions. I may even get to read all the good reviews by real people in the newspaper!

I like this. Do you?

Yours in advertising,

Report: How Australian consumers and businesses use social media

Social media is joining more and more Australian business’s marketing plans, a new report reveals. To date large companies have seen the benefits of engaging in social media, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, to develop a more direct and open relationship with their audience. Meanwhile, 14% of small business and 25% of medium businesses currently use social media, and according to figures an uptake in these markets is expected over the next year. This anticipated rise in social media for business use is indicative of business owners and marketers recognsing the benefits of social media and the significant amount of time consumers now spend online (about 5 hours a week on Facebook).

Facebook trumps other social networking sites:

The Sensis report, which explores how Australian consumers and businesses use social media, also revealed that Facebook is the number 1 choice for consumers and businesses. Facebook captures 97% of social networking users and 60% of all internet users.

What consumers want:

This report is a helpful tool for marketers to gain an insight into the consumer’s behaviour within the social sphere. Not surprisingly, when asked what consumers wanted from businesses and brands they followed, discounts was the most commonly sought after item. Giveaways, invitations to events and general product information were also sought by a sizeabe proportion of followers.

Below are some key takeaways from the report:

To access the report in full, click here.

Yours in social media for business,