The (r)evolution of business

The revolution of business


The combination of globalisation and the dizzying rate of technological advancements means that the corporate world is on the brink of a Fourth Industrial Revolution.

At a luncheon recently, The Executive Connection discussed how this new environment has evolved and how its challenging leaders to rethink traditional revenue streams.

The catalyst of this revolution has been the increase in the volume of international trade and cultural interaction that we’ve seen in recent years. This means that goods, services and ideas are flowing across borders now more than ever before.

Ainkaran Krishnarajah, Director, Strategy, Optus summed it up perfectly when he said, “Established enterprises want to grow and innovate in new areas but are challenged by the drug of traditional revenue streams and profit margins, which steers thinking closer to the core and to shorter term objectives.”

The scale and force of change is impacting businesses across all industries and as a result, is driving companies to reassess whether their current business model is now the best approach; from processes to people the shift in the landscape is fundamentally changing the way businesses operate.

Not only does this challenge organisations to rethink how they structure their workforce, but also the way they approach their business processes. Companies with inflexible structures will struggle to compete and the knowledge economy will see skill diversity triumph.

Businesses that recognise the need for change and react accordingly will ensure they’re building a business ready for the future of now.


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The key to successful change management for CEOs

Throughout Fortune 1000 companies, change management has been estimated to only have a 50 percent success rate. Some estimates even place success rates at as low as 20 percent.  Acquisitions, mergers, down-sizing — all of these are critical events expected to happen throughout the organisation. With the fast-paced evolution of technology, employees will experience change constantly. Whether it’s the introduction of a new service offering or implementation of a sales tool, the success of change within an organisation often lies in the hands of its employees. Change is inevitable, but successful change can be evasive.

Transparency and consistency

More than anything else, employees value an open line of communication with upper management. When employees believe that they can easily reach out to the management team, they become 54 percent more likely to be engaged. On the other hand, when employees do not feel that their management is open and approachable, engagement is only 2 percent, while 65 percent are actively disengaged.

All of this underscores the importance of transparency and consistency. Employees are concerned about the ramifications of changes at work as it can impact their lives. Organisations may be concerned about expenses and income, but employees worry more about how it can impact their families, their health, and their personal time. As this change occurs, this type of uncertainty can translate into poor work performance.

Before, during, and after change, communication needs to remain active and transparent. Often, this will require a communication management plan.

Introducing employees to the change

The initial communication between you and your employees will set the stage for further interactions. Organisations must be able to communicate change clearly, honestly, and empathetically. They must explain why change is occurring and how it will be occurring.

Everyone absorbs information differently, as well as at different rates and this is something you need to consider. Although you can communicate the mechanics of the change in multiple ways, it is best done face-to-face as an announcement or in a meeting. You’ll need to highlight why this is necessary, how it impacts you, and more importantly, how it impacts them. Be transparent about the potential effects and address their concerns right away by outlining your contingency plans. At the end of the meeting, send out a wrap up email to solidify the discussion and highlight important points clearly.

At the beginning of the change management process, CEOs must not only clearly communicate the facts of the change to their employees, but also give employees information about how to further connect with their supervisors and discuss their potential concerns.

Communicating the benefits of change

At all levels of an organisation, concerned parties will be wondering why the change is occurring. It’s imperative that stakeholders understand the direction that the company is headed in, as well as upper level management. Don’t overstate or over promise. Instead, inspire, motivate, and be honest.

Benefits should always be emphasised that may directly or indirectly impact employees. Remember that information will trickle down from the top. Apart from company-wide communications, information will transfer from executives to managers and from managers to employees. Each time, some of that information may be lost to misinterpretation and only the major talking points will remain.

The organisation as a whole can transition more smoothly towards change if everyone views it as a positive experience. If individuals within the organisation feel that change is unnecessary or even potentially harmful, they will be less eager to participate.

The impact of change

In addition to the positives, you also need to be realistic about the negatives. Part of being a leader involves quickly and directly addressing issues that may arise before rumours circulate and they go out of hand. Don’t try to hide the negatives; if this is what will happen, it will come out eventually. Be honest and empathetic and let all employees know what they are in for. It is important to build an atmosphere of trust with your employees. They will be better prepared for the negatives to come and will most likely weather through it if they are properly advised ahead of time.

Employees understand that negative issues can arise. They simply need to know that they are under solid, confident, and honest leadership. By being honest, you can inspire your employees to work harder. Discuss the complexities of the change and what they will have to endure, and then tie it into the rewards and benefits that they can expect as soon as the change is complete.

Prepare your contingencies in advance

Not all negatives and drawbacks are certain. There are a number of complications that could arise that must be planned for. Communicate these potential complications as well as the contingencies in place to address them. All parties involved will rest easier knowing that their concerns are being addressed, and they will be better prepared should these possibilities become a reality.

Open lines of communication are important: if there are contingencies that you have not considered, employees and management must feel as though they can report them to someone higher up and have them addressed. This is critical to success, as it ensures that employees will feel comfortable addressing any potential blind spots.

Following up after success

Your job isn’t complete after the change has taken place. You must also make sure to celebrate the success. You owe it to the employees to reward them for their hard work and trust. The next time change arises throughout your organisation, your employees will remember this and be more willing to pitch in.

Organisations able to manage change successfully are 350 percent more effective than their peers. Managing organisational change is often a matter of knowledge, skill, and experience. With a tremendous number of moving parts, change management requires both logistics and social skills. If you want to improve upon these skills, you may need the help of peers and mentors. Contact TEC to find out how monthly meetings with a CEO peer group can help you deal with different types of organisational change.

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The employee retention strategies used by Australian CEOs


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32 percent of CEOs now believe that talent is harder to retain. Businesses are now competing for the top talent, both acquiring it and retaining it. CEOs must focus not only on obtaining staff but also retaining them. Not only do talented employees add value to the organisation, but the costs of rehiring and retraining employees can be considerable. Replacing an employee costs, on average, six months of salary for the position in question. Investing in employee retention can be an excellent way to improve profitability.

To that end, CEOs are attempting to make their businesses more attractive to their employees. Their strategies include:

  • Improving training

Many employees find themselves leaving otherwise fulfilling positions because they feel that they don’t have any opportunities for growth. Improved training along with a transparent process for promotions can give an employee goals to consider. 33 percent of CEOs believe that improving training will lead them to the right path towards drawing the right talent.

  • Adding benefits

Benefits can be added as an employee gains seniority to reward them for their loyalty. Employees with the company for a long time could be rewarded with additional vacation days, health benefits, or flexible working hours. 32 percent of CEOs are adding benefits, compared to 17 percent who are increasing wages.

  • Increasing wages

A regular increase in wages is often necessary to keep the best employees, especially in industries where they may be considered by competitors or where salaries are advancing quite quickly. Salaries aren’t the only way to retain employees, but a lack of salary increase can make employees feel undervalued even if they otherwise enjoy their work.

  • Company culture

Employees often find it easier to work with a business if they identify with its culture. Businesses should establish their company culture quickly and make it a point to invest in employees that are a good fit.

  • Acknowledgement

In addition to salaries and benefits, there are many employees who simply want to be acknowledged for their contributions to the business and their hard work. Setting up employee reward systems and regularly acknowledging employee input will show employees that they are appreciated by the business and that their work is not going unnoticed.

A business that is able to retain its employees will have lower churn and a greater sense of stability. Not only will it reduce its hiring and training expenses, but it can build upon employee knowledge to develop more innovative and well-optimised business processes.

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4 relationship marketing strategies

Building relationships with customers is a way to increase customer lifetime value, improve customer retention, and reduce marketing costs. Just a 5% increase in customer retention can improve the profitability of a business up to 75%. Through relationship marketing, businesses are able to establish strong bonds with their customers, leading to customers who are more willing to engage, purchase, and advocate.

Even businesses unlikely to have repeat purchases and return customers can still benefit from the promotion, referrals, and brand awareness acquired through loyal and satisfied customers. But how do you get started? Relationship marketing isn’t a single strategy. Instead, it’s a type of marketing strategy. By learning more about the strategies available, you can find the strategies most applicable to your business and brand.

Strategy 1: Train and promote effective sales support.

Support is an incredibly important aspect of a business, so much so that positive support interactions can mean more to a customer than the quality of a product or a service. Sales support should be responsive, transparent, and ultimately focused on promoting customer satisfaction. This strategy puts customer support and satisfaction at the forefront of a company’s marketing strategy.

Implementation: Train staff members from the ground up to promote a ‘solution-focused’ form of customer support, in which employees attempt to find resolutions to a customer’s problems and effectively address their emotions. Sales support teams should be dedicated to identifying a customer’s needs and fulfilling them, and should be aware of when to escalate calls or when to provide additional benefits (such as discounts and refunds).

Strategy 2: Keep your lines of communication open.

Modern customers expect to be able to communicate through multiple channels: email, phone, live chat, social media accounts, and more. The more accessible your business is, the easier it will be to forge long-lasting relationships with your customers. Additional lines of communication will improve brand reach and awareness among multiple demographics.

Implementation: Invest in software that makes it easier for your customers to reach you. The appropriate CRM solution (discussed below) will give your employees easy access to customers through live chat, email, and voice calls — and will encourage your customers to contact you when they have questions or concerns. Every time you interact with your customers one-on-one, you build your relationship and develop further trust and loyalty. Make sure your employees are available when needed and respond promptly to customer communications.

Strategy 3: Invest in the right ERP and CRM technology.

Enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management suites work together to improve customer service and retention. Through this technology, employees are proactively given the information that they need to best serve customers — in addition to identifying top customers quickly. Through ERP and CRM, support staff can see a customer’s history, appropriately score leads, and follow up with customers who may have issues to resolve. 

Implementation: From comprehensive cloud-based solutions to smaller, on-premise software, there are dozens of popular ERP and CRM solutions. Companies should explore the solution that best meets their needs, supports their specific industry and targets them based on their company size. For many companies, a subscription-based cloud solution will be the most versatile tool available. Once setup, employees will be able to take notes about customers, consult customer information, and contact high scoring customers to check-in.

Strategy 4: Boost your loyalty and customer referral programs.

Getting customers to come back can be as easy as creating a rewards program. 79% of customers look for loyalty and reward deals before they commit to a purchase, with 26% looking for these types of promotions while shopping. Reward and referral programs show customers that you care about their business and that you appreciate their support. It also promotes and monetises their word-of-mouth efforts, potentially creating opportunities to develop brand ambassadors.  

Implementation: Many point-of-sale systems today have built-in tracking for loyalty, rewards, and referral programs. Test out new programs in specific markets, with different forms of reward (such as 10% off discounts, points towards merchandise, or free rewards). Promote your reward and loyalty programs through your social media accounts — especially referral programs. Referral programs are most useful for businesses that don’t expect a lot of customer retention, such as businesses that sell one-off luxury products.

Attain and retain with relationship marketing

These are only a few of the relationship marketing strategies that may be applicable to your business. For each individual business, different strategies may be necessary — and it may not always be possible to tell which strategy will be most helpful until tested.

If you want to learn more about the advanced marketing strategies driving consumer marketing today, you need to connect with other like-minded professionals. TEC can provide an exclusive, advanced network of entrepreneurs, CEOs, and other professionals, who are experienced and knowledgeable about the changes being made. Contact TEC today to find out more. 

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Does paying the price lead to winning the war for talent?


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As companies look towards improving their profit pictures, many CEOs are considering the adoption of leading talent. Talent reduces the cost of business processes, improves customer satisfaction, and perhaps most importantly — drive innovation. But procuring the right talent isn’t always easy. CEOs in 2018 are considering:

  • Higher wages

Higher wages aid in employee retention, which reduces training costs. Higher wages may also lead to the hiring of better talent — and since 23% of CEOs are considering higher wages, it may become a way to remain in step with the competition. Nevertheless, higher wages can also be seen as throwing money at the problem, and ultimately, may not actually retain talent. Higher wages don’t necessarily lead to a better working environment, which is a critical aspect of employee acquisition and retention.

  • Social and online channels

Networking is one of the leading ways to find top talent, as many talented employees are not actively looking for new positions. Word-of-mouth, active social media channels, and industry-related groups can provide the business with excellent leads on talented professionals who may be interested in new opportunities.

  • Additional and non-traditional benefits

If companies cannot compete based on salaries alone, they can compete in terms of benefits. Traditional benefits such as retirement funds and medical plans can make a substantial difference when employees are comparing positions. Non-traditional benefits such as flexible time and work-from-home can attract those looking for work-life balance.

  • Advanced training

Modern employees are looking for ways to build upon their careers. Advanced training and seminar programs add to their value as employees, not only making them more useful to the business but also drawing in the most motivated and driven employees.

  • Employee referral programs

Employees can often identify talented individuals who would excel in a working environment. Many times, they have already established a network with others in their industry. An employee referral program can bring these talented individuals directly to the business with limited time invested.

38 percent of CEOs believe that hiring is getting harder. A formalised talent management process can make it easier for businesses to attract and secure the right talent. With increasing wages and benefits, CEOs must also consider their cost-benefit analysis, identifying each hire’s direct value to the organisation. Through a structured talent management process, CEOs will be able to identify and secure the employees most beneficial to their organisation’s bottom line.

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Using social media to improve customer engagement

Facebook, Instagram, and — of course — LinkedIn. From connecting with colleagues to finding old friends, social media provides a valuable and ubiquitous role in our daily lives. But it isn’t just about personal communication; it’s also about connecting with consumers. 88% of businesses are now using social media for marketing. LinkedIn, Yelp, Facebook, and even Instagram now play a vital part in connecting customers directly with brands. By using social media strategically, companies can not only increase general brand awareness but also customer retention and engagement.

Choosing the right platforms

Social media platforms change year by year. Platforms such as Vine shut down, while Twitter radically alter their platforms with continuous feature upgrades. Each platform has a different core demographic and is useful for different industries. To create an effective social media campaign, you need to understand the different platforms available and select the most appropriate one for you.

  • Facebook. Restaurants, bars, and nightlife venues frequently find their customers turning to Facebook first — and it’s easy to see why. Creating and promoting events on Facebook is an easy way to get in local traffic. But Facebook pages aren’t just for food and drink service; nearly every business should maintain at least a Facebook page where reviews can be posted.
  • Yelp. Yelp has easily become the go-to for customers looking for businesses in their area. Customers will look for everything from general contractors to retail outlets on Yelp and posted user reviews have become extremely important.
  • Google Places. Google Places is extremely well-integrated with the Google Maps service, and consequently having reviews and your business information up is extremely important. For example, when customers search using the keywords “interior painting near me” or “sports good stores,” they’ll often be directed to Google Place information.
  • Instagram. Instagram is popular with restaurants, shopping outlets, and recreational facilities; anything that will give you fun and engaging pictures. Whether your business runs outdoor excursions or sells antique jewellery, Instagram can be a great way to quickly increase brand awareness through solid, unique content.
  • Pinterest. Pinterest tends to have an artsy audience focused on cooking, crafting, fashion, and other creative pursuits. Businesses that are either selling creative products or selling hobbyist supplies will find Pinterest extremely useful.
  • Twitter. Twitter is rapidly becoming a go-to place for business-related information, as well as one of the first places that many customers look to for customer support. Because of that, Twitter is now becoming non-optional for many larger businesses.
  • Tumblr. Companies that want to reach out to a more youthful demographic would do well to consider Tumblr, as the platform is commonly used with demographics aged 15 to 25. Other platforms, such as Facebook, are primarily focused on the 25+ audience.
  • LinkedIn. With nearly half a billion users, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional and business networking platform. It is a vital networking tool that also aids in both customer retention and talent acquisition, making it a critical component in every company’s overall networking strategies.

It’s not possible for most businesses to run comprehensive advertising campaigns on all of these platforms. Instead, companies need to drill down and identify which platforms their customers are using the most. Youthful, modern brands may find their core audience on Tumblr and Instagram, whereas B2B companies may want to focus on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Optimise each channel

It’s easy enough to automate your marketing so that content is replicated across all platforms — but it’s usually not the best strategy. Every platform and its audience is different, and consequently content has to be optimised for each channel.

Word limits, hash tags, embedded links, image filters, and more are all different across platforms and impact how users may interact with your content. Content on Twitter or Facebook may have vastly different hashtags than content on Instagram or Pinterest. Similarly, some types of content such as video or images may be better suited for other platforms.

Building a strategy

  1. Develop your social media goals. Is your organisation attempting to build brand awareness? Increase sales? Bring in website traffic?
  2. Investigate platforms. Which platforms are more likely to be of use to your organisation? How can they be integrated together?
  3. Create a content calendar. Use an automated system to schedule your posts and connect your chosen social media platforms.
  4. Set the tone. When posting to and interacting on social media, put your content first — and avoid being overly promotional.
  5. Build relationships. Social media isn’t a one-way street. Build relationships by interacting with customers one-on-one.

Analyse and optimise

It isn’t always possible to have the correct social media strategy right out of the gate. Instead, you’ll need to analyse your audience behaviour and optimise your strategy to their needs. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which posts are garnering the most interest? Try to take advantage of popular content by promoting it and following up with similar posts.
  • When do we get the most interaction? You may find scheduling your posts at different times and days of the week will get better reactions.
  • Where are our followers coming from? By identifying the sources of your followers, you can see which platforms are most useful to your strategy.
  • How many followers are we retaining? If followers are frequently leaving, you may not be delivering the content that they expected.

Find the value in social media engagement

Through social media, you can effectively build your customer relationships and increase customer engagement — but it does take a lot of work. With no one-size-fits-all solution, each business must find their own path. Your social media strategy will depend on a lot of factors, including your organisation’s industry and its primary audience. But once you’re able to develop a solid social media strategy, you’ll find yourself connecting and engaging with your customers more directly.

Modern businesses are finding that the way that they do business and market is changing very quickly. From recruiting brand ambassadors to improving brand awareness, companies must always be cutting edge if they want to remain competitive. With the rise of new digital trends, many CEOs, entrepreneurs, and managers may find themselves needing advice and guidance. At TEC, we provide world-class mentoring from an experienced and successful network of professionals from different industry sectors. If you want to build connections, enhance your business or get help in navigating the ever-changing corporate landscape, contact TEC today to get started.

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Marketing technologies to support your sales strategy

Marketing strategies are growing in complexity every day. From social media advertising, mobile advertising, and content marketing to paid advertising and email marketing — how are today’s organisations keeping up?

It’s all about the technology. Through automation, data collection, scheduling, tracking, and big data analysis, companies are able to leverage new advertising strategies without a significant increase in costs. Marketing technology, also known as ‘Martech’, gives companies everything that they need to create and optimise comprehensive marketing campaigns from scratch. This new buzzword isn’t just a fad or a trend — it’s here to stay.

Analytics: get the most out of your organisation’s current strategies

Modern businesses thrive or die according to their data. A complete analysis of your marketing data can be used to identify which strategies are working and how effective they are . Collecting and analysing data is often the only way to truly quantify how effective your marketing tactics are. Through analysis, you can track how many new users you’re capturing, how many users return, how active they are, and how interested they are in your brand and your products.

Often, analytics is the first sign that something has radically changed within the marketing environment. A sudden decline in traffic could indicate a problem with the corporate website — one that needs to be fixed quickly before the damage becomes permanent. Conversely, a large increase in traffic could indicate a viral piece of content, which the company must move swiftly to capitalise on.

A popular example of analytics in action is Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free platform for the analysis of the company’s website as well as online advertising strategies. Through Google Analytics, businesses are able to track everything from user demographics to real-time user activity. For more information about what metrics to look at, check out our blog ‘The guide to marketing metrics that matter’.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

Companies are increasingly moving towards content management systems (CMS) rather than developing their own websites from the ground up. Content management systems are pre-built websites that can be customised in look and feel and are designed primarily to post content with ease. The benefits of a content management system are significant:

  • Reduced maintenance and development time.

Rather than having to design and develop a website, a company can instead deploy a CMS and then customise it to suit their needs. This CMS is updated and maintained by other companies.

  • Improved search engine optimisation and social media sharing.

Content management systems are developed with improved SEO in mind from the beginning. IT also comes pre-loaded with easier features for social media sharing — making it easier to kick-start a campaign.

  • Advanced eCommerce and analytic services.

Whether built-in or included through add-ons, content management systems have eCommerce and analysis functions that can be deployed with the push of a button. These systems are extremely complex to develop from scratch.

  • Tools for marketing automation and optimisation. 

Rather than having to post content regularly, marketing automation provided by content management systems can schedule your posting and automatically update social media accounts.

WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are all popular content management systems. Squarespace and Shopify are also other additional eCommerce-focused systems. It is important that you do a thorough research on these platforms and seek recommendations on which works best for your business. Moving to a CMS can be time-consuming and costly, so it is important that you choose the best fit for your business.

CRM and marketing automation

Customer relationship management (CRM) suites are designed to track the interactions between a customer and a company — in other words, it creates a chart of the relationship that the customer has. CRM solutions are designed to collect and analyse large volumes of marketing data, and they can also be programmed to react to this data. A few examples include:

  • Emailing customers who haven’t made a purchase in a while.
  • Sending important data to customers who make the most purchases.
  • Automatically scoring leads who have not yet engaged.

While customer relationship management suites collect information, marketing automation uses this information to reach out to them. Together, CRM suites and marketing automation saves time, prioritises efforts, and improves upon efficiency. SalesforceHubSpot, Adobe Suite, and Mail Chimp are all examples of customer relationship management and marketing automation solutions.


In addition to general relationship management solutions, there are also marketing technologies that help to create paid advertising campaigns and manage it from start to finish. These include GoogleAdwords, Facebook advertising, LinkedIn advertising, and much more.

Companies need to get on board with martech if their digital marketing campaigns are to be successful. With the current technological improvements such as AI and machine learning, martech is becoming non-optional for those who want to remain competitive. If your company isn’t using martech, your competitors likely are.

To avoid the risk of getting left behind, you need to become aware of the strategies and technologies being used today. And this is where your peers can step in. TEC gives you connections throughout the industry that can help you explore new techniques that can improve your marketing strategy. Contact us today.

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Australian SME Outlook: Confidence Index Highlights Q3 2017



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According to the Confidence Index report, CEOs are exceptionally confident in the domestic economy and expect to see an increase in both sales and profitability in the year to come. This optimism is likely to have a direct impact on the market and will drive the strategy for many Australian businesses in 2018.

Sales revenue and profitability are leading targets.

By 2018, 76 percent of CEOs believe they can increase revenue while 73 percent believe they can increase profitability. However, this change isn’t being seen as driven by price increases. If revenue and profitability are to be improved at the same price points, companies will need to expand into new markets, grow their operations, and innovate. A potential barrier to this may be the increasing difficulties in both acquiring and retaining top talent.

Confidence in the economy will influence operational strategies.

CEOs confident in the economy and in their own profitability will be more likely to expand their businesses, purchase inventory, and invest in assets. In so doing, they will also be strengthening the economy and improving upon the very same market factors that they are relying upon as indicators. CEOs in 2018 are likely to continue investing in growth and expansion as their confidence increases.

CEOs should be aware of the bright outlook in the Australian economy and the consequences of current perception. Many companies are likely to begin expansion now, which may increase competition in certain sectors. As CEOs will be more willing to take risks, all businesses will need to improve upon their own fundamentals to remain competitive. CEOs looking towards improved profit and revenue will also need to create a strategic plan to work towards this growth.

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Inbound marketing: A new way of marketing

63 percent of businesses now report that generating traffic and leads is one of their top marketing challenges. A few decades ago, it was commonplace for consumers to rely on advertising that was sent to them — television and radio advertisements, physical mailers, and even billboards. In the early days of the Internet, marketers sought to replicate the impact of this type of advertising through pop up ads, banner ads, and interstitial ads.

But very quickly, an entirely new way of marketing has emerged — inbound marketing.

In inbound marketing, customers are targeted with great content so they are directed to the business themselves, given that it can provide them with the information and insights they need.


What is Inbound Marketing?

Commercials, physical mailers, and magazine ads are all forms of “outbound” advertising. Companies send these highly promotional advertisements to customers with the express purpose of getting them to commit.

Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is marketing that promotes great content and makes it available to customers in a way that points them back to the company. Inbound marketing encompasses corporate websites, social media accounts, blogs, and other content repositories. Inbound marketing is notable primarily because the consumer is entirely in control of the whole interaction. Brands give them the data they need so they can choose the brand themselves.

Let’s check out how inbound marketing works when buying a car.

Decades ago, consumers were fed with various advertisements for local car dealerships — this is how they got to decide which dealership to go for and select from the cars they have available.

Today, a consumer is more likely to google different car models first before deciding on what car to buy for themselves. They will then do an independent research on car dealerships available in their area, read online reviews to check for trustworthiness and reputation, and then check if they have the car of their choice available.

To appropriately capture inbound marketing, modern companies need to be aware of both buyer personas (representatives of their key demographics) and buyer journeys (the process of purchasing that a buyer undergoes). Learning more about your buyers personas and supporting them as they go through the buyer journey is a key way to improve conversion and engagement.


The stages of Inbound Marketing strategy


Attract: In an inbound marketing strategy, the goal is to attract consumers at the very first stages of the buyer journey. When looking for new products and services, 65 percent of smartphone users search for relevant information first — regardless of where it comes from. In real estate, a real estate agent may want to attract buyers who are looking into home financing or sellers who are looking into remodelling a home for sale.

Convert: Once you’ve successfully attracted the consumer’s attention, the need to promote great content is essential to drive them to convert. Through a great content strategy, marketers will want to showcase how their product is superior to others. From the scenario above, a real estate agent can do this by establishing trustworthiness and authority through timely and valuable content.

Close: Marketers are often only able to directly engage with consumers when closing. All content must be tilted towards a clear and concise call to action. The call to action directs a consumer further along their buyer journey, ultimately leading to closing a deal. Using the same example, a real estate agent would urge ready buyers and sellers to connect with them directly.

Delight: With consumers given more control, retained customers have become even more important. After closing a sale, marketers need to get in touch with their clientele to make sure they have everything they need and check if they were fully satisfied with the process. By driving customer loyalty, you ensure repeat business.


Channels used for Inbound Marketing


Social media: Consumers enjoy interacting with brands directly. Social media accounts can be used to distribute content, engage with consumers, and actively respond to any questions and concerns.

Blog posts: Blogging is an effective way for companies and professionals to build up a repository of great content. 53 percent of marketers report that blog posts are their top inbound marketing strategy.

Word of mouth: Consumers often ask friends and family for advice when looking for big ticket purchases. In fact, 64 percent of marketing executives believe word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing. An effective word-of-mouth strategy nearly always come from previous clientele.

Search engine optimisation: Consumers need to be able to find a business to interact with it. When consumers have questions in mind, SEO directs them to the right answers. An SEO campaign relies upon keywords and high-quality content to promote brand and businesses.

Online video: There are many third-party platforms dedicated to online video, which provides a mix of social media engagement and an engaging video content.

Email marketing: Consumers are often interested in further information from brands and companies they trust. Signing up for an email newsletter provides consumers the opportunity to learn more about the brand and in turn, gives companies direct access to consumers on a regular basis.


Building an Inbound Marketing strategy

There are many types of inbound marketing strategy — and different types of strategy work well for different companies, industries, and demographics. Building an effective strategy that is universal and can be used in a massive scale is impossible. Everything needs to be tailored to the customer’s needs. Marketers, instead,  need to ensure that they have a strategic plan and that they are able to adapt to this plan as needed.

A marketing plan should consist of a clear goal, solid metrics, and methods of optimisation. Goals may range from improving engagement to building sales revenue, depending on the company’s current advertising strategy. Metrics must be directly related to goals to track the performance of the strategy and optimisation must be completed on a regular basis to ensure that the strategy remains effective.


Not sure whether your business is in need of an inbound strategy?

  • Do you use your website to sell your product or service?
  • Does your target audience use the internet to research topics related to your product or service?
  • Do you want to expand your customer base beyond your company’s geographic location?
  • Do you have expertise to share?

Marketing is continuously evolving and businesses need to keep up in order to stay relevant. CEOs, entrepreneurs, and high-level professionals must be well-versed in these new marketing strategies if they are to survive the technological disruption and consumer revolution that is to come. Modern consumers are now looking to make more intelligent choices on their purchases, giving tech-savvy companies an opportunity to grow and an opportunity to outpace slower competition.

But when something as intrinsic to a business as marketing strategies change, there may be a myriad of other adjustments that need to be made as well. Consulting with other key stakeholders within your industry is one of the best ways to learn how to adjust your strategy and avoid common pitfalls.

TEC provides access to a strong peer-to-peer network of executives, entrepreneurs, and professionals that offer peer-to-peer consulting on the massive changes that are impacting businesses today. Contact TEC now to find out more. 

Innovation and diversification: Lessons from REDARC

Anthony Kittel has taken REDARC Electronics from operating out of a tin shed to a multi-million dollar company with its own purpose-built advanced manufacturing facility. Purchasing the business and taking over as CEO and Managing Director in 1997 after its founder, Bob Mackie, sadly passed away, Anthony’s business journey is one of innovation, fast-paced growth and a huge amount of hard work.

Targeting markets as they emerge

In the late-1990s, REDARC was still making its signature product – a voltage converter that mainly targeted trucking vehicles. However, by 2001 there had been a major technological change, and new products in the market meant that REDARC’s own service looked like it could become obsolete. Taking into account this considerable risk to the business, Anthony decided to look at diversification.

He started to develop products for the four-wheel drive and caravan industry, which at the time was just beginning to take off in Australia thanks to the start of the retirement age for baby boomers. What product did REDARC come up with? A solar-enabled battery management system that allowed people travelling around Australia to charge their batteries without having to go to a powered site.

Realising the need for constant innovation in business, Anthony decided to set up a research and development (R&D) business called REDARC Technologies in 2002. Each year, Anthony invests 15 per cent of REDARC Electronics’ sales into this business. “We’ve gone from one engineer to 35, and that R&D investment has been a significant factor in our success. It helps us design and manufacture the best products, not only in Australian markets but globally as well,” explains Anthony.

The next big milestone for Anthony was building REDARC’s own purpose-built manufacturing facility in Lonsdale. Investing $5 million in it at a time when REDARC’s overall revenue was only $5 million, it was a big step. “It was a significant risk for us – we only had 34 employees at the time – but I had confidence that it would succeed.” This was certainly the case – REDARC now has 175 employees, turns over more than $50 million in revenue annually and has a growth target of $100 million in revenue by 2020.

The three pillars of success

Anthony aims to achieve this growth by exporting to new markets, particularly the US and Europe. As always, R&D will be a key pillar of this. “We want to continue to remain relevant, both at home and abroad, and R&D will help us achieve this,” says Anthony. REDARC will also invest $20 million in doubling the size of their current factory. “We’re going to introduce a whole lot of new, highly advanced manufacturing equipment, so that we’ve got one of the world’s best manufacturing facilities.”

R&D is only the first part of what Anthony believes makes a great business. Developing great people and having the best service in the industry are the other two foundation stones Anthony has built REDARC on. For example, the company funds all of its employees’ training needs. “If someone wants to study an apprenticeship, a degree or a Masters, we’ll fund that for them. I believe that, if we can develop the best people in the world, we’ll be one of the best companies in the world,” says Anthony.

Anthony has also worked hard over the years to build a reputation for great customer service. REDARC’s employees are available across email, telephone and social media at all times, and provide for all their customers’ needs, big and small.

R&D, employee development and excellent customer service – these three foundation pillars have certainly seen success for REDARC. In the past five years, the company has been awarded Telstra Australian business of the year, two gold excellence awards in manufacturing, has won manufacturer of the year and was named in Westpac’s top 20 businesses of tomorrow.

The camaraderie of TEC

Anthony got involved in TEC when he was looking to ramp up REDARC’s growth, seeing TEC membership as a great opportunity to create an advisory and support network. “It can be a lonely journey as a CEO – you don’t have that support that you’ve had before. TEC offers a way of overcoming that. You’re able to discuss complex issues in your business that you wouldn’t share with anyone else, and get feedback from CEOs who’ve gone though it all before,” says Anthony.

He also spoke of the camaraderie of TEC. “I enjoy getting to know everyone on a personal level – TEC isn’t just about business, you develop a strong bond because of that trust you place in the other members.”

TEC are so happy to have people like Anthony on board. His hard work, emphasis on innovation and developing his employees, and the many successes he’s seen as CEO of REDARC are lessons we can all learn from.

Fast Facts:

Established in: 1979 (Anthony took over 1997)

Industry: Electronics manufacturing

Size: Two production sites, $50 million in revenue, looking to expand to $100 million by 2020.

Markets: Australia, US, Europe, New Zealand, South Africa and the Middle East. Over 5,000 customers in Australia alone.

Product range: Sell over 500 products.

Posted in TEC

Tips to better manage your email inbox

4.1 hours — that’s the amount of time the average person spends checking their work email every day. It’s easy to see why: email has essentially replaced many other methods of business communication.

Rather than having face-to-face meetings or getting on the phone, we are now funnelling everything straight into our inboxes in an easily digested format.

Email is essential, especially as a CEO, and there are undoubtedly a multitude of emails that you need to read and respond to every day.

But as critical as email is, it can also be a distraction. Email connects you to every business contact you know 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; if it’s a replacement for face-to-face meetings, it’s like having everyone you know in a single room all the time.

It’s a situation that can quickly spiral out of control without the appropriate discipline. It’s easy to fall into email habits that can make your email usage less than productive. Gaining control of your inbox can often mean gaining control over your day.

Reserve time to respond to emails

An average person checks their emails 15 times a day. Yet research by the University of British Columbia found that checking email only three times a day could reduce stress.

Checking email at the beginning, middle, and end of your work day could be the first step that you take to improving your productivity and your mental energy.

  • Turn off your notifications. If you keep hearing the bing of emails coming in, you’re really just ramping up your stress.
  • Let everyone know you’re trying something new. Once those around you get used to you being available at certain times, they’ll adjust accordingly.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend on emails. In addition to scheduling your email, try to get your work done within a specific amount of time.

Of course, as a CEO, there are times when there are emergencies, but that’s what phone calls and text messages are for. As long as everyone knows that email is not for high-priority activities, you should be able to manage your email more effectively in far less time.

Utilise email features

In just the last decade, email technology has come quite far. Yet most people are still using their email the same as they did ten years ago — and failing to leverage the technology designed to make their lives much easier.

When properly used, email technology can promote higher priority emails, strip out unimportant emails, and take care of tagging and categorisation for you.

  • Star high-priority emails. If there are emails that you need to follow up on or get back to later, set their priority as ‘high’ or star them, depending on the system that you use. This makes it less likely that something will be missed.
  • Label your emails intelligently. Use basic keywords to describe your emails, such as ‘marketing’ or ‘HR.’ This will make it easier for you to sort through your emails later on, especially when used on a department basis.
  • Mark emails Read and Archived when you’ve dealt with them. Keeping your inbox clear of clutter is one of the first steps towards taking control over your communications.
  • Avoid overly elaborate folder systems. Though it may feel as though you’re organising your emails, you’re really just setting them aside for later — and the more folders you have, the more likely something is to be overlooked.
  • Schedule and automate your emails. Systems like Gmail’s Boomerang make it easy to schedule emails automatically and to send email reminders. Anything you do regularly can be automated, such as responding to reoccurring emails.

Know when to pick up the phone

Picking up the phone has become a last resort, but it’s actually the fastest way to have a complex conversation. If you don’t want to email someone back and forth 20 times (or if you’re finding yourself playing ‘email tag’ with someone), you can simply pick up the phone and get the situation resolved immediately.

Phone calls are best for:

  • Immediate responses. If you want to be able to relegate your emails to certain scheduled times of day, you may need an answer fast. A phone call gets you the information you need right away.
  • Details. Any time you need to ask questions and then follow up with additional questions, a phone call is usually faster. This also goes for anything that would be needlessly long to type up.
  • Miscommunications. If the other person doesn’t seem to understand your email, a phone conversation may be exactly what you need. Some concepts are just more easily understood when talked through.

Limiting email within your business

Change has to occur from the top down when it comes to something as ubiquitous as email usage. By requesting that employees limit email throughout your business, you can transfer your own newfound productivity to the rest of your employees.

Encourage your employees to send consolidated emails rather than emailing throughout the day and urge them to use phone calls or instant messaging when they can.

An overabundance of emails throughout a business often leads to workloads being shifted around rather than actually completed. Instead of finishing a document, employees may send them back and forth asking extraneous questions, and while that still amounts to work, it reduces productivity. By reducing the amount of email usage in your business overall, you can increase the amount of actual work product.

Boost your productivity

There’s no doubt that email is one of the best communication tools available today, but it’s also often stealing more time than it should. Email is overused, and it has to be managed effectively. It can easily become a time sink if it’s allowed to spiral out of control.

Once you’re able to reduce the amount of time you spend on emails, you’ll also find that you’re actually getting far more done.

By taking action to reduce your email usage — and your company’s email usage — you can foster more effective communication habits.

But it isn’t going to happen overnight, especially in a world that is as reliant upon email as this one. Through TEC, you can connect with professionals and leaders and court their opinions on better productivity, communication, and business processes.

Sign up with TEC today to gain access to an experienced and global peer-to-peer network for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and leaders.

Posted in TEC

4 types of stress: Do you know what is causing yours?

Globalisation, managing a business in a VUCA environment, and an increased feeling of isolation have made being a CEO more difficult than ever. In fact, two-thirds of CEOs are currently struggling with stress and exhaustion. But they don’t have to be. CEOs need to work harder to rise above it, identify the cause of their stress, and proactively manage it.

As a leader, stress can impact both your mental and physical health. It can also lead to poor decision-making and inefficient work. If you want to be the best that you can be, you need to control your stress effectively and ensure that it doesn’t control you.

This process begins with a better understanding of stress, how it originates, and how you can mitigate it. There are four major types of stress: time stress, anticipatory stress, situational stress, and encounter stress. Each of these has its own nuances, drawbacks, and even benefits.

1. Time stress

The clock is ticking and there’s no way you’re going to be able to accomplish everything that you need to do. As deadlines loom ahead, you start to wonder whether you’re even capable of fulfilling the duties of your position.

Time stress involves the pervasive feeling that there’s never enough time in the day. This type of stress tends to occur as deadlines approach. CEOs are responsible for a tremendous number of deadlines, and realistically they can’t all be met. A CEO may find that they simply cannot achieve all their goals, and this can lead to feelings of failure.

But time stress is also one of the easiest types of stress to handle as it’s related to something tangible and immutable. Though you can change your habits, there’s nothing you can do about time itself. Because of this, being realistic about your goals is one of the most critical aspects of relieving time stress.

  • Brush up on your time management skills. You may not have enough time because time is simply slipping away unnoticed. Pay attention to how you’re spending your time and work to optimise it.
  • Delegate your tasks intelligently. You may actually not have enough time in the day, especially if you have been trying to handle everything yourself. If a task can be handed off, it should be.
  • Be realistic about what you can and can’t do. Don’t take on too much. Part of being a leader is ensuring that you aren’t put in the position of over-promising and under-delivering.

The more control you have over your time, the less stress you’ll experience. After all, you’ll already know what you can and can’t do, and you’ll be able to avoid over-booking yourself. Here is an article on how to effectively delegate tasks in order to free up time in your day.

2. Anticipatory stress

The new expansion seems to be going great, but there’s no way of really knowing until the doors open. Are you going to be prepared?

CEOs may begin to experience stress before a major event, especially if the results are uncertain. This is natural; it’s that fight-or-flight instinct kicking in before an upcoming ‘battle’.

Since you don’t know what you should prepare for, all you can do is wait and worry — and that, in itself, can become damaging. Anticipatory stress is one of the most insidious forms of stress because it can be constant. After all, there’s almost always something new around the corner. Anticipatory stress also conveys no true benefit: worrying about a situation that you can’t change doesn’t help.

  • Prepare yourself. The better prepared you are for upcoming events, the less you will have to worry about.
  • Be confident in your decisions. Though you may not always be able to make the right decision, you should be able to make the best-informed decision. You are, after all, still human.
  • Focus on tangible actions. Rather than worrying, look for something that you can investigate or improve. This allows you to take control over the situation in a functional way.

3. Situational stress

All the data is gone, and the backups are nowhere to be found. Could this spell the end for your business?

Even the best-prepared leaders will occasionally face an emergency. The emergency above — data loss — has happened to nearly a third of all organisations at one point or another. This type of stress is generally blended with panic, and that can lead to exceptionally poor decision-making. Emergency situations often require immediate action, and they can have devastating consequences. CEOs will often feel under pressure to quickly make the right decisions to steer their business out of danger.

  • Take a breather. Even in an emergency, you need to take the time to think things through; otherwise, you could simply compound your problems.
  • Seek out advice. A knowledgeable mentor or experienced business partner may be able to reframe your perspective and give you some useful tips.
  • Remove yourself from the situation. If it’s a specific environment that is triggering your stress, remove yourself from it to fully consider your options.

4. Encounter stress

It’s that time again — downsizing. You know that it’s part of running a business, but that doesn’t make the meetings any easier.

CEOs need to deal with people, and not all of those dealings are pleasant. From employee reviews to firings, there can be many social encounters that are less than pleasant.

CEOs may feel stress when approaching negotiations, dealing with angry customers, or having to censure their own employees. Encounter stress can also simply arise from having to be in constant contact with many individuals, as having to be social and ‘on’ all the time can be exhausting. This can lead to a feeling of brain drain and impact a CEO’s ability to work.

  • Remember to make time for yourself. It’s important to get some alone time in every day so you don’t always feel as though you’re performing your duties as a CEO.
  • Develop your emotional intelligence. Learning more about why people feel a certain way and how you can have positive interactions with them can help put you back in control.
  • Don’t take it personally. You can’t please all the people all the time; learn to accept the fact that sometimes people will walk away unhappy.

Ultimately, you aren’t going to be able to eliminate all the stressors in your life — but you can turn them to your advantage. CEOs need to be extremely mindful when managing their stress levels, as stress can come from all four corners at once. A little bit of stress is motivating, but a lot of stress can lead to poor decisions and negative social interactions. As long as you can identify why you’re feeling stressed, you can work to alleviate that stress.

A supportive network of peers and mentors can help a great deal. For the most part, stress is unnecessary; it only serves to cloud the mind. Through TEC, you can access a supportive CEO peer-to-peer network where you can learn stress management techniques from other leaders. Sign up for TEC today to begin building a path to better decisions.