5 Marketing Strategies of Successful Australian Businesses

Australia; Known as one of the most rugged, dangerous, unpredictable places on Earth. It’s no wonder that over 60% of our small businesses fail within their first 3 years! Especially with the growing presence of international competition, you need a toolbox of problem-solving strategies to survive. However, not all strategies were created equal! It is one thing to use a strategy, it is entirely another thing to use a successful one. So, how do we identify the most successful ones? Well, it stands to reason that if we look at the most successful businesses that Australia has produced thus far, we can isolate some of the tips and tricks that brought them to where they are.

1. Coles: Smaller Pockets, Louder Voices

It’s hard to get out of your head. The big red hands. The outdated overplayed jingles. The impossibly cheesy smiles. “Down down, prices are down”. We get it, your prices went down. But is there a method for creating this consumer madness? Some would say yes. Everybody knows that the main competitor of Coles in Australia is Woolworths. Yet, Coles is the underdog here. Coles has a lower market share and lower profitability. The strange thing is, is that the general public would be unlikely to come to this conclusion. The general consensus is that Coles and Woolworths are equals. Does this result from pouring more money into marketing than their competitor’s? No. In fact, they consistently spend less. So how do they do this? They create louder advertisements. Catchy ones. Ones more likely to be shared through word of mouth. This strategy isn’t for every business. It does not bring the air of prestige that some other industries depend on. However, it was perfect for Coles. Fighting against an international supergiant such as Woolworths is no easy task. Yet Coles have remained formidable in Australia since their formation in 1914.

2. Bunnings: Lowest Prices are Just the Beginning

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear Bunnings Warehouse? No, it isn’t their delicious BBQs. It’s that memorable catchphrase “We’ll beat it by 10%”. Bunnings has managed to secure themselves as the biggest and most trusted hardware store in all of Australia, as well as successfully expanding into New Zealand. In my opinion, the magic words behind this are: “We’ll beat it by 10%”. Even if consumers go to a different hardware store and find a product that they like, they can go to Bunnings and receive it for a significantly cheaper price. Once they’re under that massive roof containing every product they would ever need, why would they leave? It’s the sort of strategy that builds up consumer habits. Plus, it’s sustainable for Bunnings because, as the biggest fish in the industry, they tend to profit from economies of scale more than their competitors (they can bulk buy in larger quantities, thus receiving products for a cheaper price). Rather than simply receiving the direct benefits of economies of scale, Bunnings reapplies this into the slogan “We’ll beat it by 10%” and uses their size to become even bigger.

3. Myer: A Friend in Need

Myer can be found in almost any shopping centre and contains a multitude of brands. This convenience and variety have led to a lot of its profitability. However, with the rise of online shopping, Myer is no longer the most convenient option, nor does it provide the most choice. As a result, Myer’s most recent release indicating their financial targets reflects a company just trying to knuckle down and survive. To do this, they have isolated the strategies that currently work best for their business. One of which is their loyalty card. The Myer loyalty card is free and converts dollars spent into loyalty points to use in future purchases. It can be used through an app on your phone, thus allowing consumers to, even unintentionally, have it with them at all times. In these competitive times, Myer has decided to use these loyalty cards as a tool. The data coming from these cards allows them to personalise their suggestions based on each consumer’s previous purchases. So, what can we learn here? In times where consumers are offered more and more choice and convenience from a multitude of competitors, forming habits with repeat customers and encouraging loyalty is key to survival.

4. Qantas: Divide and Conquer

It is a common issue. How can a business target both the rich and the poor? Both the white-collar and the blue-collar? Both the high-society and those who just want a satisfactory product for the lowest price possible? By creating cheap items, a brand loses prestige. By creating expensive items, a brand opens itself up to being undercut by cheaper competitors. Qantas famously overcame this issue, and this is how: In 1999 Virgin Australia was founded. In 2000 they launched their first flight. What was their main point of difference? Their prices were miles below that of Qantas. Qantas found itself quickly beginning to lose market share, so in 2003 they came up with a solution – Jetstar. Jetstar was introduced as a competitor to Virgin, with competitively low prices. Initially, the creation of a new brand was not a cheap exploit, however, it allowed Qantas to target the entire market, without compromising on its own quality. This is commonly done on smaller scales with products such as those released by Woolworths. As you can see in the pictures below, the picture on the left (a product of “Woolworths Essentials”) is branded completely differently to the picture on the right (a product of “Woolworths Gold”). These puddings are given different prices, different packaging and different qualities, yet they (secretly) come from the same company. This serves the same purpose as Qantas’s creation of Jetstar; Woolworths is able to diversify to suit the needs of their entire market, without comprising either brand image.

5. Commonwealth Bank: We can!

Research confirms what is probably general knowledge: we don’t trust banks! For years and years, it seemed that the belief of businesses was that they had to overcome this distrust in order to generate more customers. This led to slogans such as “We live in your world” by ANZ. Banks wanted to seem as though they CARED for their customer’s wellbeing, but this was consistently undermined by the actual experiences that their customers were faced with when they interacted with these banks. Commonwealth Bank led the change in strategy. They decided to instead win customers by showing themselves to be technologically superior. Thus taking the approach of “Look what you can do for yourself using our products!” rather than the old “Look how much you can trust us to do things for you!”. This consumer-empowerment approach hit the nail on the head. And remember ANZ? Well, they followed suit. In 2015, their slogan changed from “We live in your world” to “Your World, Your Way”. If that doesn’t reflect a company realising that consumers wanted to control more than they want to trust, I don’t know what does. So, what does this show? Some branding is more effective than others, and it is largely dependent on the industry involved. Whilst branding yourself as trustworthy is super beneficial for a company such as Bunnings, it is inefficient for a company such as Commonwealth Bank. Your branding must not only reflect the desires of your consumers but also their beliefs about your industry.

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