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by Alan Hargreaves

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Entries in marketing (8)


The power of simply connecting

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Why you need to get out more

About thirty years ago, my hometown, Sydney, built a monorail. It was revolutionary at the time. It connected the city to museums, an exhibition centre and a few tourist spots. Trouble was, it didn’t connect to anything else. The city’s main rail terminal was a kilometre away from the nearest stop. Nor did it venture downtown. 

Sydney is harbour city. Tourists want to go the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and their associated ranks of bars and restaurants. They’re all at Circular Quay, where trains, buses and ferries collide in a transport hub. It was easy to get there from anywhere, except by monorail. 

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Gold medal sponsorship

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Make it last longer and matter more

Sponsorship chews up a lot of dollars. The London Olympic Committee raised around one billion dollars for the 2012 event. All the big global names were there – Pepsi, Samsung, MacDonald’s – but so were domestic brands and smaller firms, even local businesses.

The principles of sponsorship apply at all levels. For large corporations, it’s a given. It extends name identification and keeps a brand entrenched. Research suggest that firms engaged in sponsorship grow net income more quickly than those who don’t.

It also boosts valuation. The value of brands like Coke, IBM or Microsoft is estimated to be in excess of $60 billion.

Is it a game worth playing?

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Surviving tough times

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Plus ca change…...

Last week, I spoke to a father and son team who run a home furnishing store. Business is tough. There’s plenty of competition. Retail is suffering globally. Yet, in the last two years, turnover is up; so are profits.

What are they doing right?

A walk through the mall throws up some answers. Virtually everyone has the “Sale” sign out. Prices have been slashed. Inevitably, some shops are closing. Staff are disinterested. Showrooms lack feel.

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Staying simple in complex times

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Does rapid change call for big shifts in strategy?

It’s all going quicker. Product cycles are shorter. So is time to market. And, so the logic goes, marketing strategies and selling propositions need to change as well. Is that right?

On the contrary, refocusing on your core message can guide you through the complexity and overthink that characterizes rapid change. It keeps the business grounded and the firm’s identity intact.

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The most powerful profit lever

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We need to talk about prices

Price is the most powerful profit lever. The arithmetic is simple. If costs are $9 and you sell for $10, your profit margin is 10%. Raise your price 10% to $11 and your profit doubles to $2.

It’s also the loss lever. Cut that price by 10% and profit disappears.

Price is the quickest thing you can change in the margin equation. Reducing expenses requires careful planning and execution. Prices can be shifted overnight. Want to move idle stock? Put it on sale.

Price is also the most flexible marketing tool. It can be bundled with other offers. It can make a statement about your quality, attract customers or build loyalty.

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