Marketing: how do you stand out from the crowd?
No matter how great your product or service is, the heart of your business’ success lies in its marketing. I caught up with the Blokes About Town to discover the strategies they use to make their business stand out from the crowd.
Joining me for a delicious lunch at the Sands Tavern, Maroochydore was Sunshine Coast entrepreneur, author, publisher and investor Mark McRae; Director of Think Investment Realty and property specialist Jack Childs; talented chef and owner of The Canapé Project catering company, Matt Yurko; Profile’s May cover star and co-owner of Fertility Solutions, Ob/Gyn Doctor George Bogiatzis; and last but not least, Alex Rigby, successful developer and co-owner of Altum Constructions, a local company specialising in residential developments and construction.
profile: How do you market your business to stand out from the crowd?
george: By trying to provide a service that is personal. It’s such an emotive business, particularly the fertility side of what I do. People want to know they are not just a number and that we genuinely care about them. We are a small business not owned by a bigger company, so we have that personalised feel. We try to make it as homely, friendly and welcoming as possible.
mark: I like to use the analogy of opening a burger bar or restaurant, and thinking about where you would open it if you had unlimited resources. You need to find the starving crowd. Not the other way around. You don’t open a restaurant based on the location and try and attract people to it; that’s why they fail. Regardless of your business or where it is, you don’t try and reinvent the wheel – you try and find the starving crowd to sell your service. Then you look for the host / parasite relationship. Find someone who is 10 times bigger than you and offer them a service to leverage their database to help build your business.
jack: Couldn’t agree more with that analogy Mark. We had a similar business in Rockhampton but it wasn’t until we moved to the Sunshine Coast for lifestyle reasons and rebranded our business that we really took off. The people of the Sunshine Coast are so positive. They are always thinking about the future and striving to do better.
alex: We rely a lot on word of mouth, we are a very personalised service. We also work on repeat business. When we sign the contract with a client, that’s not the end of the relationship – we still provide service to the buyer for years to come. We believe if we are doing it right, there will be a percentage of our customers who will be repeat buyers.
profile: How important is testing and measuring as a marketing tool in your business?
jack: It’s essential. You have to keep experimenting. I worked with a chap for more than 27 years who was a great mentor to me. He taught me about the importance of testing and measuring. There was never a phone call that came in that he didn’t know where it came from. We didn’t have computers back then, but every phone call was recorded in a book and no one called in without being prompted to say where they had heard about the business. The amount of people I have seen in business, big and small, who have no idea what their advertising dollar is doing for them, because they don’t ask the question, is incredible.
mark: I agree. The father of testing and measuring was a guy called Claude Hopkins, who wrote a book called Scientific Advertising. It’s about 50 or 60 years old now, but it’s still one of the most-read books in advertising and a must-read for anyone in business. A good rule of thumb is if you can’t measure it, don’t do it.
jack: You have to keep your mind open to trying new things too. Just because something didn’t work in the past doesn’t mean it won’t work next time. It might just need a slightly different approach.
george: I simply ask my patients why they have chosen to come and see me. Mainly, I find it’s word of mouth or people have done their research online. Word spreads fast in my industry and the Sunshine Coast is particularly connected, so if you treat your patients well, it comes full circle.
profile: How important is social media in your marketing strategy?
mark: Ask yourself what was the last electronic good you bought. Did you look on the internet? Most people have. It doesn’t matter what you are selling, people will go to another tab to learn about you. If you are in business now, you need to be able to put yourself out there. Previously, there was a wall between the customer and client; now, people want to know all about you. However, 99 per cent of it is wasted because people are not measuring engagement. When it’s done well it can be phenomenal. We have one client we work with who we got to 77,000 likes on Facebook in 30 days with the right campaign. It’s great to have a good following, but you have to get them to take action.
matt: Facebook is a big one for us. Every event we do we take photos of the food, the location, etc and we put them on The Canapé Project Facebook page. We always get a few hundred likes and some referrals. We are starting to use Instagram more too.
mark: Research tells us it’s harder to sell to someone now than it ever has been, but once they have committed to the first sale, they are more loyal than they have ever been, because they have done the research. Australia has the highest number of Instagram users.
People want to know they are not just a number and that we genuinely care about them.” – Dr George Bogiatzis
profile: What has been your biggest challenge when it comes to marketing your business?
matt: I don’t have a shop front or foot traffic, so I rely 100 per cent on word of mouth and digital leads. I did a tally recently and about 95 out of 100 of our jobs come from word of mouth.
george: As medical practitioners we are terrible marketers! We go to medical school, not business school. I don’t think of it as a business – it’s my passion, my profession. I like to think if I look after my patients, the business will sell itself.
A good rule of thumb is if you can’t measure it, don’t do it.” – Mark McRae
profile: How much time do you spend on marketing your business?
mark: I spend about 80 per cent of my time on marketing. Studies have shown the average is around 10 per cent. I think of a business like a car engine, if it runs well, it’s a beautiful thing.
jack: At least one full day a week. I spend that day at home. It’s amazing how much you can achieve without the distractions of the office.
mark: It’s all about recognising opportunities to grow your business too. Remember the 30 per cent rule. McDonald’s coined the marketing phrase after they recognised that their profits went up 30 per cent overnight when they asked their customers if they would like fries with their burger. Once a customer has made a commitment to buy something from you, if you offer them an add-on, around 30 per cent will take it.
The amount of people I have seen in business, big and small, who have no idea what their advertising dollar is doing for them because they don’t ask the question is incredible.” – jack childs
The good old Aussie pub has long been part of our laid back culture. Sometimes there is nothing better than a great steak, a cold beer and some friendly banter at the local, and that is exactly what you will get at the Sands Tavern.
Located right in the heart of Maroochydore, it’s the perfect place to pop into during the week for lunch or dinner. Kids are also well catered for at the family-friendly venue, with its affordable kiddies menu sure to keep little diners happy.
The Sands Tavern first opened its doors in 1981, but underwent a full renovation late last year to include the new Roadhouse Grill, offering delicious hearty food and friendly service.
During the day of our visit, the Blokes About Town and I were more than impressed at the diverse four-page selection on offer; from steaks and seafood to pizzas, burgers and salads, there is something to suit all tastes.
Not surprisingly, the majority of the lads couldn’t resist a good old fashioned steak. Cooked to their liking, just about every cut is available including eye fillet, fillet mignon, rib fillet, t-bone, the list goes on. Using only the highest quality Australian meat, all steaks are char-grilled and served with the tavern’s famous Caesar salad, coleslaw, and your choice of sauce and jacket potato or straight cut chips – delicious.
My grilled fish of the day (hoki), served with a fresh delicious garden salad and chunky chips, really hit the spot and the grilled Tasmanian salmon, served with garden salad, chips, béarnaise sauce and lemon got the big thumbs up.
Pop in for a counter meal or treat the family. You won’t be disappointed.
Roadhouse Grill, Sands Tavern
Plaza Parade, Maroochydore
Ph: 5443 7944