The Common Marketing Mistake Businesses Make
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I took one of my interns out to a meeting yesterday and afterwards we got talking about the most common marketing mistakes businesses make. I’d have to say that over the years, the most common mistake I’ve noticed is that people fail to appreciate just how hard effective marketing actually is – and that it’s just getting harder every year. Sure, we now have a ton of technology that enables us to do things we couldn’t do in the past – but your competitors also have access to that same technology. And yet, time after time, I come across business people who seem to think that all they need to do is build a website and a brochure and customers will beat a path to their door. It’s what we call the Field Of Dreams Delusion – build it and they will come.

That might work once out of a thousand cases. The rest of the time you have to work bloody hard and bloody smart to get your message in front of the right people at the right time for your business to succeed. That’s why most surveys say that after running out of cash, the most common reason SME’s fail is a lack of attention paid to their marketing. And it’s not something you can afford to kick down the road. It starts on Day One of the business. Too many business people don’t invest in marketing until their sales take a hit, at which point it is often too late, because building a brand takes time.

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Today’s Branding Lesson
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It doesn’t mean much to us in Australia, but the lesson is still relevant. U.S. start-up Bodega launched yesterday to “internet outrage” (according to the LA Times) and obviously didn’t do the right market research before coming up with their brand.

According to one of the co-founders they did do some research:

“We did some homework — speaking to New Yorkers, branding people, and even running some survey work asking about the name and any potential offense it might cause. But it’s clear that we may not have been asking the right questions of the right people.”

So what’s the lesson?

I’d guess they must have known that the brand would cause some controversy and their innocent act is just that. An act. So perhaps they were planning on the outrage as a tactic to win free media coverage, hoping that the negative vibes will dissipate over time and they will be left with brand awareness. Or possibly they underestimated the negative reaction and didn’t plan a response. If I’d anticipated a possible backlash, I’d have been sure to have my response ready in the form of external brand advocates who could swing into action to provide the counter-narrative. Nice idea for a business though.

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Three Magic Words That Will Make You A Better Marketer
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I hate clickbait more than anyone and I rarely click on it. The very fact that a “news” site is using a clickbait title is enough for me to know I don’t want to read whatever they have to say.

THAT SAID… this is an interesting study that we can all learn from.

“The folks at Buzzsumo decided to crunch the numbers. From a meticulous analysis of 100 million different headlines published between March 10 and May 10, 2017, they derived several fascinating insights into the elements that make up a viral headline.”

The clear winner? Using the three little words (or ‘trigram’) “will make you” in your headline. It had TWICE the engagement of the second best phrase  “this is why”.

Why is “will make you” so powerful? It helps sell the BENEFIT of reading the article. This shouldn’t surprise anyone in marketing, where our mantra is always “sell the sizzle, not the steak”. People don’t care about your product or service – they care about how it will make their lives better. And this is more proof.




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The Decline Of Yellow Pages
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My mate Jim, who runs an SEO firm in Melbourne, posted this image to Facebook today. It’s from Google Trends, showing the decline in searches for Yellow Pages over the last decade.

So should you buy an ad in Yellow Pages? It depends, of course, on the answers to a number of questions that form the basics of writing your marketing strategy: predominantly, who is your market and what are the ways you have of getting your brand in front of them? But on the surface, I’d say Yellow Pages is going to the way of print, television, radio advertising, and horse-drawn buggies. Hey – don’t be like that – buggies still work. Or, at least, I’m sure buggy salespeople have nice looking charts to prove they do, based on surveys they have conducted recently and for which they will be reluctant to show you the underlying data or research methodology – just like radio, tv and print publishers.

So what are the alternatives? Usually we find it’s a combination of direct marketing (i.e. sending marketing assets directly to your key prospects and customers) and internet marketing or digital marketing (i.e. a combination of digital advertising and content marketing). We still look at print, tv and radio and we still look at Yellow Pages, and billboards, and hell, we’ve even look at sky-writing – but direct marketing and digital marketing is where most small-to-medium businesses are getting the bulk of their marketing results today.

In 2005, Sensis – the company responsible for producing the white and yellow pages, was valued at AU$12 billion.  Sensis was seen as a ‘Golden Egg’ producing rivers of gold in advertising revenue. Nine years later, Telstra sold off a 70% stake in the company now worth only AU$649 million.

I often tell clients the story of how I found myself presenting to the senior management team of the Sensis business some time around 1999, while I was working at Microsoft. I asked them what business they thought they were in. The replied “phone directories”. I challenged this and suggested they were actually in the business of connecting people to people, people to businesses, and businesses to other businesses – and, if they didn’t understand the true nature of their business, and address the way technology was chomping its way into that business, Google (or someone else) would eat their lunch. They snorted in derision – an earlier version of their later retort “Google Schmoogle“.

And here we are nearly 20 years later, with the directory business in free fall.


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Net Promoter Scores vs Customer Satisfaction
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Help me make sense of this. According to a recent Roy Morgan survey, Big Four bank customer satisfaction is high – unless you look at their Net Promoter Scores, which are all in the toilet. How does that make any sense? If I won’t recommend you to a friend, how can my satisfaction be high?

I’m a big believer in NPS. If you’re not familiar with Net Promoter Scores, they ask the customer a single question: “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend?” and ask them to pick a number from 1 to 10. Those who respond with nines and tens are considered “promoters”; sevens and eights are “passives”; and everyone else is a “detractor.” Subtract the percentage of detractors from the promoters and you have what’s called your Net Promoter Score.

Most businesses will score in the 10-20 range. The Big Four Australian banks are in the negatives. And yet their customer satisfaction is high. How does that work?

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It’s Not About Your Product
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It’s natural to want to talk about your product or service. But as I was recently explaining to someone, nobody cares about your product or service. They really don’t. What they care about is what your product/service will DO for them. So why not talk about that instead?

Here’s Apple’s first iPod commercial from 2001. How much time do they spend showing the product?

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Mother Marketing Brisbane are happy to welcome new client Land Solution Australia.
Robotics, AI and Surveying
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Imagine an intelligent camera that can look at a construction zone and deliver 8,400 measurements and tens of thousands of observations every day. Imagine public stakeholders can access all of them via the web portal and key people regularly access it 24 hours a day to analyze the data for specific purposes. This is just one of the services that our latest client, Land Solution Australia, do for their clients (including Watpac’s Southpoint Development at Southbank Brisbane) which is setting a new benchmark in the way construction sites can be monitored. They are on the cutting edge of using the latest technologies in surveying and we’re very excited to be helping them with their marketing strategy.


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Motherlode Marketing Brisbane - The Principles of Scientific Management
Man vs System
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Here’s something we co-wrote with our client, enable advisory, mining planning consultants in Brisbane. They wrote the guts of the article, we just provided the top and tail for “colour”. But it lead me to read Frederick Taylor’s work again, and I can highly recommend it. Very entertaining. Here we are, a century later, trying to get clients to understand scientific marketing. Hypothesis. Test. Measure. Analyze. Adjust. Repeat.


So wrote Frederick Winslow Taylor, often called the father of management consulting, in the introduction to his 1911 seminal classic “The Principles Of Scientific Management”.

Taylor, born into a wealthy Quaker family, whose ancestor was one of the original Mayflower Pilgrims, turned down going to Harvard University to instead become an apprentice patternmaker and machinist. His passion for scientific management was motivated, he wrote, to help America prevent what he saw as “our larger wastes of human effort, which go on every day through such of our acts as are blundering, ill-directed, or inefficient.”

Read more.

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White Out
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Labor’s Australians First ad is a classic example of what can happen when you create a campaign without having a strategy behind it.

The strategy would have asked important questions, like:

  1. Who is our target audience?
  2. What message do we want to communicate?
  3. What are the risks of such a campaign that we want to avoid?

Somewhere in there, someone would have said “make sure they aren’t all white people”.

Lesson: Marketing without strategy = danger.

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The New Shandonvale Station Website
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We launched another new website today – Shandonvale Station.

Shandonvale is a working outback station based out in central Queensland that is opening itself up as a unique luxury accommodation destination. I was invited up there by owner Deon Stent-Smith a month or so ago to check it out first hand and it was a great experience. I flew a couple of hours from Brisbane to Longreach, where Deon picked me up in his truck and we drove a couple of hours east to his station. Over the next few days I got a glimpse of what life is like on the land – mustering a few thousand sheep, chasing roos in a small R22 two-seater chopper, firing a rifle, feeding the pigs, and staring down a ton of camels.

The design of the site tries to capture the experience of being in the outback – using lots of photos, video and wide open spaces.

They didn’t have a site or a logo before this, so we designed both from scratch as well as writing the copy.

[FinalTilesGallery id=’1′]

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