“ Human Services Enter a Brave New World ”

  • By Greg Allardice
  • 30 Aug, 2016

Media Futures recently interviewed Leanne Ferris of Ferris Management Consultants about the new order sweeping the Human Services Category.


Here’s a snap shot summary of what Leanne had to say –


1. Question : Has Human Services really become a business?


Response :  Human Services comprises a number of services for the Australian public that are delivered directly by The Government or are Government funded through service delivery organisations. The large majority are Not for Profit or Profit for Purpose (i.e. the more contemporary name) which generate their own income largely through commercial activities, social enterprises or philanthropic activities supported by volunteers


Yes much of Human Services has become a business. They operate under constitutional governance, have stakeholders, a board of directors and invest in the development of products and services. They conduct their finances to be sustainable for their clients or for public benefit and are increasing their investment in brand building and marketing. This is not new.  Religious based organisations have pursued a businesslike approach for decades if not centuries owning and operating hospitals, schools and childcare and more recently are the major players in aged care. Even the government is treating human services as a business. Earlier this year Australian Unity paid the NSW government $114million for the government’s NSW Home Care Service, so we are seeing for-profits buying government human services that has been traditionally been contracted at no cost to NFPs.



 2. Question :  Are Human Services NFPs prepared for a new era when competition is fiercer than ever and the philanthropic dollar is simply harder to get ?


Response: Responding, yes. Prepared, it’s work in progress for most. The JB Were Cause Report for 2016 and ABS data 2013 reports that there are 57,000 NFP’s in Australia. They secure 8 per cent of their income from philanthropy and gift giving which represents 0.23 % of Australia’s GDP. The largest recipient sectors are health and education which are 3 to 4 times larger than any other sector that NFP’s are found in. The interesting thing is that health and education are dominated by religious based organisations and therefore the largest proportion of giving goes to religious based organisations. Yet many of these of these organisations can’t and don’t offer a deductible gift receipt. Schools are funded through taxes and hospitals through Medicare, yet religious based schools and hospitals have been some of the more successful fundraisers because of their long term unwavering strategic focus.


So where is the competition coming from – it’s the immense profileration of charity start ups in Australia. On average there are 10 new charities per day in Australia and we have the highest number of charities per person in the world. This trend has occurred over the past 50 years. The proportion of tax payers who donate has been stable at 36 % which peaked in 1983. The average donation per taxpayer has doubled over the past 10 years. So competition is fiercer. Most Human Service NFP’s are not prepared for the new era, which is evidenced by the fact that unfunded Govt commercial and philanthropic activities has fallen from 63 % to 54% of revenue for NFP’s over the past 20 years. This is because NFP operators have become more reliant on outsourced Govt work and program grants. Whilst this has been good for these organisations the profit margin is small and organisations have not focused on skills and capability growth in response to increased commercial and philanthropic competition. They now face significant capability disadvantage in preparing for the reforms the Govt is undertaking.



3. Question :  How do organisations prosper when Govt funding is turned off?


Response:  Recognition of the challenges and to face commercial reality. NFPs can only do the work of their mission if they have the working capital to support the operation. Traditionally good work was done to the extent that the Govt provided the income and topping up from fund raising. Financial preparation and to be sustainable over the longer term requires the creation of a war chest of working capital to provide for the cost of change. Most NFP’s are fixed asset rich and cash poor. NFP’s must make reserves for capital investment, innovation and maintain responsible levels of liquidity.  


The organisations are typically top heavy with unsustainable levels of management overheads due to inefficient practices and structures. This is supported by the Australian Institute of Company Directors 2016 NFP Governance study reporting 38% of Directors believe that the sector was efficient, that means 62% are reporting operations that are less than efficient. NFPs over the decades have fostered a command and control culture so as to operate under the demanding compliance requirements of government contracts. The early adpoters who make cultural and structual change have a better chance of surviving. This same study concluded that NFP Directors key issue is financial sustainability and reported that  NFP’s Directors top 3 key ways forward were -


1.    Maintain and build income which means being sales focussed in the markets that you can offer a value proposition that meets customer needs.


2.    Being clear about your strategic direction is imperative. Chasing Govt grants and outsourced Govt work has resulted in too many organisations spread too thinly in their operations and market focus. Prospering organisations are more disciplined concentrating on what they do best and who they do it for.


3. Directors say they must diversify their income sources which is a contradition of the two recommendations above. Only those who have navigated the changes and have the working capital available can look to diversification to prosper.



4. Question:   How can they upskill and capitalize on an uncertain future?


Response:   Although there are uncertainties for NFP’s in the new world, what is clear is the move towards models of human services based upon empowered consumer choice.  This forces organisations to put the customer at the centre of their thinking. The command and control top down structural business model and institutional approach is no longer relevant.  Consumer choice models require the contemporay approaches of style (i.e. the way we do things) and experience (i.e. the way we make people feel) for the customer and employee, as the most important elements of culture to have an effective organisation. In an uncertain future, recruiting, training and investing in staff and skills is needed. However, elevate the style element as the key driver for cultural shift. Up-style before up-skilling.


Legacy behaviours are not welcome and if not addressed will be a root cause of organisational failure. Investing in board members and staff to shift organisational style and culture rather than skills development can deliver the collective experience that is needed for the empowered human services customer of the future.


 Media Futures undertook this interview as an update on current trends and thinking.


The aim is to be more predictive and how that effects future media models and audiences.

The payback to companies, organisations and advertisers is to be more precise in how they go to market and be able to operate more effectively.










Contents copyright Media Futures 2016

By Greg Allardice 19 Jul, 2017
Digital radio is generally regarded as an under dog medium and not taken seriously, but the latest GfK ratings July 2017 reveal unique audiences that are worth considering.

The DAB+ summary report shows the cumulative audience for digital only stations, which is the total number of different (unique) people who listen to a DAB+ only radio station in that market for at least eight minutes (one quarter-hour), in a defined period.
The DAB+ only audiences are still small compared to regular radio broadcasts. The biggest cume audience 10+ in the Sydney market for regular radio broadcasts is Nova with 974,000. However, the biggest DAB+ cume audience 10+ in Sydney is 82,000 listening to Coles Radio.
In Sydney, triple j Unearthed ranks #2 behind Coles with Edge Digital #3. There are 20 DAB+ brands measured in the Sydney survey.
In Melbourne there are 22 DAB+ brands jostling for audience with possibly the brand that spends least on marketing, Double J, ranking #1 with 67,000. The biggest commercial brand is Coles Radio with 54,000.
Smooth is the #1 brand in Perth followed by ABC Grandstand and then Double J.
Coles Radio and Grandstand are ranked the top two in Brisbane.
The Adelaide market favours 90s iHeartRadio followed closely by Buddha and Coles Radio.
Southern Cross Austereo reported its combined digital reach is 425,000 people every week. The company’s digital assets reach 26% of the DAB+ only market.
SCA’s Buddha station has added 30,000 listeners and it branded the #1 non-retail aligned commercial station.
Nova Entertainment reports Coles Radio has 192,000 listeners across four cities, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, 32,000 more listeners than its closest competitor. Coles Radio is also the most listened-to DAB+ station overall in Sydney with a cume of 82,000 and Brisbane with 38,000, and most listened-to commercial station in Melbourne with 54,000 listeners. Coles Radio was introduced onto DAB+ in Perth on 10 May this year and will be included in the GfK DAB+ Digital Radio Report from Survey 6, 2017.

If DAB + has never been on your radar then the latest figures reveal a unique audience that is worthy of consideration and especially if you have mainstream AM and FM radio campaigns under plan. 

If your media policy, media strategy, media planning, media buying and media audit have not explored DAB + Media Futures recommends you seek out an independent media specialist. Media Futures presents industry articles in the constant quest for improving return on media investment.
By Greg Allardice 13 Jul, 2017
The subject of media churn is back in the spotlight but its not new. The media industry thrives on change and is inhabited with highly talented individuals who are always searching for more. Also given that media is an intangible product it means that longevity of message and length of tenure is short. This basic structure accounts for the high turn over of media people in agencies, client side and within the media houses. The media agency side is desperately reviewing this issue of staff churn. Research has shown that 70% are preparing to leave and switch jobs in any given year. That is simply too high. The rise of media specialists who work in house with clients and companies is one way of addressing the constant churn within third party suppliers such as media agencies.The media specialist is a professional who is 100% responsible for the media role, is available 24/7, takes responsibility for the media budget and the results it delivers. If media churn is depleting your business and leaving gaping holes in your media output, consider the better way forward - The In-House Media Specialist.

Media Futures presents articles relevant to the media industry. If your media policy, media strategy, media planning, media buying and media audit are not good enough and could improve with a media specialist, Media Futures recommends talking to one today.
By Greg Allardice 26 May, 2017
Code Club Australia General Manager Kelly Tagalan recently spoke with Media Futures about why learning code is important. Code Club was designed for school age children but as Kelly reports there are also applications for business. Here is what Kelly had to say.

Q1 . Why is learning code important


It actually goes beyond coding and we say coding is not the outcome we want kids to be creative thinkers and to solve problems. We want kids to break down complex problems into simple steps and conquer big questions like why is there too much traffic in Sydney.



Q 2. How can business take advantage of Code Club


There are a couple of ways that business can get involved. Firstly by volunteering say an hour a week the other way how are going to find and maintain top talent. Other ways are to come in to Code Club or even bring your kid to work day where Code Club can show and transfer skills and give a look at what it’s like to work inside a technology company. At times businesses become mentors and that’s a great outcome for code club.



Q 3. How can business benefit by building proprietary online systems using code.


When we build proprietary code we own it outright and are able to experiment with it more. From there we learn about the outcomes that the technology is bringing about. Most Australian companies use technology that was brought over from the USA or Europe. Building proprietary technology is how we are going to solve specific Australian issues and having that skill set here is absolutely the key to innovating the country and moving away from outsourcing or replicate business ideas from overseas.

Media Futures views learning code as a component of Media Policy, Media Strategy, Media Planning , Media Buying and Media Audit. If it has not been addressed, talk with Code Club, it might unlock new opportunities for your business.

By Greg Allardice 16 May, 2017
SEO Efficiency covers a raft of options but the two main platforms hinge around your website and Facebook. In other words double your chances. Facebook as an example is good for new offers and new products, it's an easy to read format and users can post comments.  Consider it as a quick stop and look experience.
A Facebook post is easy to do and will go to your current data base or connections.
For more content , deeper explanations and detail of offers your website is the place to be. The richer data and content should be designed to draw in the user and give as much detail as is required for the reader to make an informed decision on whether or not to contact you and do business now or in the future. 

SEO is enhanced by using both platforms. From there add on other online tools and platforms that can assist your SEO and put you at the top of the page.

Media Policy, Media Strategy, Media Planning, Media Buying and Media Audit should include the mix of Facebook and website as a standard practice. Double your impact with this simple rule of thumb. 

Media Futures presents industry articles in the constant search for improving return on media investment.
By Greg Allardice 08 May, 2017
Standard audience reporting across all mediums from an independent third party will ensure a level playing field.
TV, Radio Print / Press and Outdoor have industry recognised audience reporting procedures, though the media category with half the media spend does not. This refers directly to digital audiences which at times are suspect and not the real deal. The industry and particularly advertisers need to have industry recognised comparable figures. In essence a level playing field. Any media owner can make a claim of what their audience is, however this can never be reliable. If there is to a level playing field in audience measurement it is overdue and is a matter of priority. Billions of dollars in media funds cannot go down the drain because the medium chooses not to be audited or at worst fudges it's own figures.
If your media policy, media strategy, media planning, media buying and media audit have not addressed a level playing fielding audience measurement, it's time to force this to occur.
Media Futures presents industry articles in the constant quest for improvement in media return on investment.

By Greg Allardice 28 Apr, 2017
In an age where the internet has made everything instantly global, the "think local" tag is often overlooked. Media started as local entities with the local newspaper, then local radio station, then local TV stations, local outdoor signage and local promotions. However even in a global media market "think local" still applies. People can only live in one place at a time, so local media will never die out. Consumers are looking to connect with local retail, entertainment, restaurants, cafes and leisure in their local area. The view that local media is dead is simply not true. Even online usages are local. Instant messaging apps such as Kakao in Korea and We Chat in China are examples of localised online models that do not have a global user base or presence. "Think Local" makes sense. The media trend to be all things to all people is a misnomer. One size does not fit all in media. It pays to do your Media Policy, Media Strategy, Media Planning, Media Buying and Media Audit around Localism. Then expand your thinking based on the availability of your product, brand or service.  Media Futures presents industry based articles in the constant search to improve return on media investment.


By Greg Allardice 26 Apr, 2017
There is no denying that the smartphone has already changed the way people communicate and as a result also the way that advertisers can communicate. AI or artificial intelligence is the next step in media campaigns and in particular voice intelligence where the consumer speaks to their smartphone and through voice only without visuals a two way transaction takes place. This opens up a new offering for advertisers where the traditional one messaging or commercial is replaced with artificial intelligence via voice. The shift is to assistance based marketing , where the personalisation of the interaction takes over. For example, consumer says to smartphone book my airline ticket from A to B on this day at this time. The machine is programmed to understand the local language, tonality and needs. The machine does the rest, booking the ticket and issuing payment details. Does this sound fanciful? No it's not, as the technology is in it's infancy and over the course of the next few years will be reality. This takes the use of media to a new level of fulfilment. It will be common place and so simple our friend in the photo could use it.
Your Media Policy, Media Strategy, Media Planning, Media Buying and Media Audit can take advantage of artificial intelligence. If you have not addressed AI and if it is suitable for your business, Media Futures recommends you seek out an independent media specialist. Media Futures presents articles in the constant search for improving return on media investment.
By Greg Allardice 23 Apr, 2017
The role of commercial media is to entice you to spend your media budget and spend it all with them. However rarely if ever does the media or the media agency ever say STOP spending your money or simply STOP for a period of time. 

A wise media specialist will be across 2 sets of business conditions, firstly what's happening in your business on a daily basis and secondly what's happening in the media market. Often there comes a time when the media specialist needs to advise you to STOP media spending because your business does not need media at that point of time, there are issues within your organisation that no amount of media will fix, your  future business conditions are mapped out well enough to have a clear picture of the road ahead or that the media market is not right; IE it is not the right time to invest your media budget.  

In other terms knowing the right time to STOP and advise you, the client,  clearly why their media budget should be held back and conserved for a concerted effort at a later date. 

If your media specialist has not got the guts to advise you when to STOP spending in the media  then it's time your media policy, media strategy, media planning, media buying and media audit are due for a re think.

Media Futures presents articles in the search for ever improving return on media investment.
By Greg Allardice 17 Apr, 2017
Longer form lengths of video messaging such as 30 and 60 secs in online settings are on the way out.  They simply are too long in an age of nano second communication. Attention spans are best catered to in short form messages like the six second "Bumper Ads" . This definitely applies to mobile phone video messaging.

These are non skippable and in essence " force " the audience to watch. These come at a premium price but are worth it in your media mix. 
There is nothing worse than an audience who click you off and you still pay for the click.  What a waste of money.  But so many just keep throwing their media budget down the drain. So it pays to go short and pay for the full six seconds.  When linked to remarketing it's a powerful combination.

If your media policy, media strategy, media planning , media planning and media buying have not addressed short form online video it's worth considering. Media Futures presents articles in the interest of improving ROI and best practice in media.
By Greg Allardice 12 Apr, 2017
 Most media consists of one way messages. The viewer or reader sees the message and hopefully they might interact with you product. Now add on Blockchain where the media user can click and be connected to a one to one transaction system from Point A to point B. The money part is completed directly not through third party. The transaction is via an open decentralised database community. Think about the applications for your business. You the advertiser and the buyer are a one to one transaction eliminating third parties. This link came from extending your media technology over and above a one way message.If your media policy, media strategy, media planning and media buying have not addressed Blockchain it's time to include it into you media thinking.
Media Futures presents articles of interest with the aim of always improving media practices.
More Posts
Share by: