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Opportunity Knocks for Postman Pat & You?


Australia Post is innovating to realise its vision ‘that connects the digital economy and the physical world’


The iPhone 5 launch last year was not the only thing happening in the global digital economy and being talked about last year.  At a VECCI luncheon on 9-11-12, Ahmed Fahour, Managing Director & CEO at Australia Post shared a few innovations from Australia’s own Postman Pat and his hologram friend in the digital economy who we are going to get a lot more familiar with in years to come.  Ahmed shared a few statistics that made me go “Wow” like that 400 billion emails are sent per annum, 98% of which are spam.  It’s hard to fathom that the iPhone was only released 4 years ago in 2008 and already 6 out of 10 adult Aussies have a smart phone, or that the iPad was released only 2 years ago in 2010 and yet by the end of this year one in three Aussie households will have one.


Not to mention that over the past four years, Facebook has gone from 90 million accounts to 900 million, and ‘tweets’ sent, each day, have grown from just 1.1 million to 140 million.  Digital technology has already transformed the music industry, book publishing, and the photographic industry and news organisations and is clearly changing the nature of retailing.  Australians might have been slow to pick up on things like online retail by global standards but they are catching up fast and its having a dramatic effect on how Postman Pat delivers the mail.

Australian Post mail volumes reached an all-time peak in 2008 of 5 billion items and have fallen by almost 20 per cent in the past 4 years.  This year Post will deliver the same amount of letters as they did back in the mid-1990s.  However, it’s not all ‘down down’ in the mail business with parcel volumes growing by around 8-10% a year driven by online shopping and 70% of those parcels are now generated by an online transaction.  All the research is predicting double-digit growth in Australian online spending through to 2020.  Of that online retail 70–80% is generated by Australian e-tailing sites and it’s really the new breed of online retailers (e.g. Catch of the Day, Ozsales, Deals Direct and Greys Online) that are dominating the market.  A recent study released by nab showed that over 70% of sales transactions are on Australian websites and that less 2% of total sales value is from off shore retailers.


Australian Post is innovating to catch up and realised their vision of ‘connecting the digital economy with the real world’.  Two recent examples are the postcard app which is free in the app store taking pictures from your iPhone or library and turning them into a physical postcard – and then delivering it within Australian for $1.99.  Post has also been installing Smart Parcel lockers around the country that are accessible 24/7 enabling customers to collect parcels when it suits them – day or night.  Customers simply register online and when their parcel is ready for collection Post send them a text message or email.  Trials at several sites around the country have received an overwhelming response with ambitious roll out plans to be announced later this year.

Another example of how parcel service is changing is ‘Delivery Choice’ where Post is working with online retailers to offer their customers the ability to nominate a day, time or an alternative location for delivery of the items that they have bought online.  They can even re-direct their parcel while it’s in transit.  Catch of the Day, Crazy Sales, ePharmacy and Chemist Warehouse where the first online retailers to integrate “Delivery Choice” into their website giving their customers real control over when their items are delivered.


Another big digital service innovation Post is developing is the Digital MailBox.  The Digital MailBox will be a free service that’s available to all adult Australians.  You will be able to use it to receive and store important documents (like bills and statements) and make payments.  Your own secure online vault with one-touch log-in with one password accessible anywhere anytime on any internet enabled device.  If you are thinking of equivalents in the physical world, this is effectively your letterbox, your filing cabinet and your payments card or bank account – but seamlessly combined in a secure, online environment.  No spam, no clutter, no junk mail and it will help businesses to cut the cost of delivering their essential communications by up to 70 per cent. Telstra, AMP and Westpac are on board already and government agencies and businesses will be announced in October. Australians can trust that their information is safe, stored securely in an Australian based cloud, provided by Telstra.

The Australia Post Digital MailBox will allow Australians to:

• Connect with service providers they have a relationship with – such as banks, utilities and government entities.

• Receive statements and bills, set reminders and make payments online, using any PC or mobile device, anywhere, anytime.

• Use the Australia Post Digital MailBox as a personal digital vault to upload and easily find important documents.

For businesses the system offers:

• A flexible range of integration options to help businesses connect securely to their customers through the Australia Post Digital MailBox.

• A secure digital delivery service to consumers and a range of payment options.

• Better value for money than any other singular service.

Australians can register for an Australia Post Digital MailBox at www.auspost.com.au/digital-post

In closing Ahmed noted that these kinds of innovation are not new to Australia Post who have been early adopters of both transport and communication technologies.  They have been around long before the telegraph, the car, the telephone, the aeroplane or the fax machine.  It was the colonial postal services – for instance – that built the telegraph in the 1870s that connected Victoria to other Australian colonies and the world, slashing the time it took to send a message from Melbourne to London from months to just minutes.


You might be sitting back and thinking how does this affect me as a business owner or entrepreneur or someone planning my own start up?  It’s yet another demonstrable example of how the digital economy is integrating with the real world to make online business models easier to reach mass market Australians.  With the trust and support of Australian Post the floodgates of eCommerce and eTailing businesses are about to open if in fact they are not already experiencing a torrent of transactions already washing over their spillways from the physical world.


Rest assured, if you are fearful your local Postman Pat will not round the corner on his trusty push bike or Honda, Ahmed assured reporters afterwards that you will get your mail every day on his watch.  Of course in the future who is not to say Postman Pat might be in a completely different delivery vehicle and you might be receiving a whole lot more than a couple of letters or bills. 


Time to sign up for your free digital mailbox www.auspost.com.au/digital-post


Dermott Dowling @Creatovate is an Innovation & International Business Consultant with a passion for building great brands, businesses and teams with extensive experience and achievements across cultures, countries and companies.


7 Steps to Conquer the Web like a Giant Spider Killer!


In a year where Fairfax announces 1,900 redundancies and News Ltd announces restructures and right sizes (read redundancies) James Tuckerman (founder of anthillonline.com) hosted a series of seminars on conquering the Web with a guest list of Giant Spider Killer entrepreneurs.  Here are their 7 secret steps of web marketing I learned in a day:

1)       Remember the Commanders Intent! (Your Mission Statement)


Just like when a platoon tries to take an enemy position your business needs a mission statement to guide you when you hit the marketplace and bullets fly in all directions?  In the internet the commander’s intent in the top right box of your mind must always be:

  1. Make it Measurable (if it can’t be measured don’t do it, it’s that simple)
  2. Findable (otherwise your wasting your time)
  3. Shareable (maximise the value of word of mouth and social media)
  4. Manageable (use tools and systems to reduce the workload and focus on value creating activity vs. ‘rinse and repeat’ tasks that can be outsourced)

2)       What’s your Pitch and does it make sense to your 15 year old nephew?


Anthony Gaddie shared his wisdom on breaking down your business value proposition into simple, easy to understand language your 15 year old nephew understands and your target market.

  • Who is your target market?
  • What we do…
  • Benefits (to target market)
  • Feelings
  • Problems

When you verbalised your ‘elevator pitch’ it should come across like:

You know how…target market & problem

What we do…benefits & feeling

In fact…evidence from past work or client experience (NB: In 30 seconds or less – jargon removed)

Then, Part 2: Set Measurable Goals e.g.

1) Get qualified sales leads

2) Sign up for my blog

3) Click and download a shareable piece of knowledge (Product for Prospects) e.g. YouTube video

3)       Who is Wang Xing? He’s China’s Mark Zuckenberg and here is what he wants to tell us?


Xing says, “Too many entrepreneurs sell vitamins instead of selling headaches. “  What does he mean? Put simply, what is your customers’ pain point? It’s no good selling them benefits when they are healthy.  Be there when they have a migraine with your aspirin (value proposition).  Be top of mind when they type ‘“help me” into Google.  Do this by giving them relevant small doses of business information in advance of the migraine.  For example which of the following two offers is more effective?

1)       20% off Folate Web Ad or,

2)       Ten Things a Pregnant Mother should not eat with a tear off coupon on the bottom (for 20% off Folate)

Market to the ‘headaches’ of your target market and remember the 7 deadly sins or Maslow hierarchy of needs in understanding their migraine points.

4)       Your Website is Your Home Planet – bring them home!


What is your website purpose? If it’s not one of the four below you are wasting your resources:

I.        Sales

II.        Pre-qualified leads

III.        Coupons

IV.        Out-going clicks (advertising)

Use Measurement tools to measure your website effectiveness, for example.  They are widely available and many are FREE! Examples include:

  • Google analytics
  • Crazy Egg
  • Unbounce

5)       Don’t try and bed your customer on the first date.  Charm him/her slowly, Barry White style.  It’s a funnel not a tunnel on the Internet.

sales funnel

  • 1000 visits =>
  • 100 email registrations =>
  • 40 surveys =>
  • 10 sales

6)       Even Dummies can do Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Hire the celebrity chefs and not the lawyers of SEO and by that, they mean do not be fooled by the mystery and mastery of the 142 secret steps you need to get a Google #1 ranking.  Hire the celebrity chefs and pay for their implementation.  Understand how search engines work.

It’s the number of links and the quality of links on your website.

Understand how ‘spiders’ & ‘bots’ work and how they like the size of the site and ease of navigation, plus SPEED & RECENCY count.  Don’t forget Keywords.   Update ‘title tags’ on your page

  • Home page
  • Permanent pages
  • Posts

Use “about 60 characters”, and lead with the Noun for title tags and if you use a Content Management Systems utilise the headings under the paragraph drop down to maximum effect.  Last but not least, create measurable shareable content i.e. ‘retweetable’ headlines that are interesting and sharable.

7)       Facebook: Like us like Lorna Jane and play by the rules.


It’s a virtuous cycle and it goes like this: Acquire => Engage => Convert => Engage => Acquire…

Some Facebook tips for newbies from Sam Zivot @LornaJane that will help you on your way include:

  • Learn by doing (there are no experts out there, we are all learning social media)
  • One thought per post (reduce redundancy & duplicated links, etc.)
  • Aim for >1% engagement ratings (comments over likes over fans)
  •  People don’t read Facebook posts, they skim, make your post clear, simple and stand-out from the crowd
  • Only 11-23% of your fans on Facebook will actually see your post
  • Use authorised 3rd party apps for competitions or risk being banned from Facebook
  •  Use simple multi-choice options e.g. like A or B or like or dislike this prototype.  Do not ask open ended questions
  • Follow the leaders to learn e.g. George Takei

Bonus Step & Guiding Principle: Consumers only care about themselves and content relevant to them self

Marketing has changed…from… rent the eyeballs…to….own the eyeballs e.g. twitter


How often do we spend all our time trying to convince other people and our customers what we have is of value to them?  When if we step back and think what they care about, what is relevant to them and how can our knowledge and the freely and widely available tools and systems at our disposal enable us to put that aspirin within reach so when their migraine hits and they stay calm and Google it, our business comes up trumps!  Thanks James, Anthony, Sam and Pete for sharing your 7 secrets to personal mastery of the tinternet!  This Luddite is convinced it’s time to start practising what I’ve learned.

Dermott Dowling


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