Although many if not all businesses operating today are tempted to pursue clients from every industry and demographic having a well-defined niche whose problems are known to you and your product / service / program can clearly solve can be far more profitable and sustainable than reaching out to clients in multiple industries which is essentially defining and selling to your target market
In this episode I was joined by Geoff Anderson (Founder of Sonic Sight – Video production company) to discuss the best practices for success with your target market. If you want some content on video marketing check out an earlier episode where Geoff appeared.
The episode contained a discussion on;
- Where to start with Target Markets
- Research before pursuing Target Markets
- Geoff’s Target Market – Private Schools
- Other info on Target Markets
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If you want more information from the podcast check out the transcript below.
Welcome to Marketing Show, the 20 to 30 minutes of marketing magic that will help you connect the dots with all the digital, social and old school marketing and sales options available today. Our aim is to give you practical, effective tips and ideas so your business or professional practise can get more prospects and nurture those prospects to becoming long term customers. The show is sponsored by the Marketing Strategy Company who help B2B organisations develop winning marketing strategies and sales and marketing automation systems to turn their sales and marketing efforts into new customers and dollars through their marketing. Check out the Marketing Strategy Company’s planning and marketing services at themarketingstrategy.co. That’s themarketingstrategy.co.
Kym Heffernan: Hi and welcome to The Marketing Strategy Show. The Marketing Strategy Show is all about getting the right marketing for your business, marketing to help you get more clients, convert those into customers and build long term relationships. Now normally, we give you some instruction on the best marketing tactic to use, whether that’d be email, SEO, video, but today, we’ve got something a little bit different. We’ve got a business owner who is going to talk about how he used marketing more effectively, in particular something called niching, which you may have heard about, to help grow his business and the journey he took along that path. His name is Geoff Anderson from Sonic Sight, one of Sydney, Australia’s leading video production companies. Geoff, are you there?
Geoff Anderson: I’m here, Kym. It’s wonderful to be here. Thanks for having me.
Kym Heffernan: Yeah, thanks very much. If you’re interested in video marketing, which Geoff is a guru at, even though we all hate that word guru, I’d check back some of our earlier episodes. Geoff was on there talking about video marketing, but today, we’re not talking about video, Geoff, which is unusual for you.
Geoff Anderson: Well, I’m always a businessman as well as a video producer. I think I’ve had an interesting year this year, which has been really, I guess, transformational for me. I had some wonderful insights for it and I thought I’d be happy to share that with your listeners on how to make business just flow a lot easier than it has in the past.
Kym Heffernan: That’s fantastic. Well, we might just go back, I guess, a little bit as to what got you to that point in time. It’s interesting you mentioned before we started that it was your 25th anniversary. Happy silver anniversary, Geoff.
Geoff Anderson: Thank you, Kym. I’m waiting for the jewellery.
Kym Heffernan: So you were an overnight success in 25 years.
Geoff Anderson: Well look, I’ve got to say this has been the easiest year I’ve had in my business and it’s been one of the most financially successful as well. Yeah, I mean, prior to this, there was lots of ups and downs, the typical small business rollercoaster ride of working hard when you’re busy and then not having time to do the marketing. Then coming out of that and realise oh no, I’ve got no one in my funnel for the next lot of work. I’ve got to pedal really fast now, get out there, get more business in the door, and then busy again and forget to market because I don’t need to market now. I’m so busy, and then oh, I’ve got no business again.
Geoff Anderson: I think it’s covered quite nicely in the [inaudible 00:02:58] myth, but it seems to sum up 24 years of my business, but yeah, this year’s been a bit different for me.
Kym Heffernan: Yeah, I call that the revenue rollercoaster, slow climb up the hill and then you do the work and bang, you go and you’re at the bottom of the hill. My god, I’ve got to get up there again, right?
Geoff Anderson:Yeah, I’m sure a lot of businesses can relate to that.
Kym Heffernan: Well yeah, I think my business is certainly like that. Very often, a lot of businesses are like that. So tell me, what changed for you? How did it go about? What brought about the change? Why did you even start thinking about change?
Geoff Anderson: Well, I don’t know if I was actually thinking about change. I was thinking about how to make this work a bit better. That was certainly about it, but look, I guess if we look at the end, the end, the situation I’m in now is I have eight clients that are paying me a monthly retainer to make their videos for them, and it’s all from the schools niche that I’ve managed to fall into. That means now I’m getting a guaranteed income every month which is quite considerable and it suddenly just shifted everything. It’s taken the pressure off. I’ve got guaranteed income and guaranteed work, but I still got time to foster other relationships, to keep working with other clients.
Geoff Anderson: So, it’s really just made life a lot easier. It’s a lot more enjoyable, and I can see how I can scale this a bit more if I want to. I’d actually been somebody who never been really that fussed about growing a big business. I’ve actually wanted to enjoy the ride along the way, so I’ve always, I guess, tried to keep things manageable. That’s really important to me not to burn out along the way, so this is really working for me now. I’ve got happy clients and I’ve got steady work flow, and I feel like we’re flowing. I’ve got to touch wood. I don’t want to jinx this.
Kym Heffernan: placing tables, but it’s interesting though you say it. I think the other important point that I picked up from what I’ve seen about what you’re doing as well, that’s your perspective, but I think from the client’s perspective, it’s also good value for them too, isn’t it?
Geoff Anderson: Oh absolutely, and that’s how I pitched it to them. So to take you back, what’s happened is I’ve really immersed myself in this niche of private schools. The way that came about was well, a few years back, four years ago, so I enrolled my two kids into private schools at the same time and I was welcomed with the school fees that I was going to have to be paying. I literally wrote on the back of a coaster, did the maths on how much … if I’m paying this much, how many students do they have? I realised these were $30, 40, 50 million operations, these schools.
Kym Heffernan: Yeah, so they’re business not a school. We tend outthink of them as schools, right, but they’re $40 million businesses though really.
Geoff Anderson: Well, they are, significant business, yeah. I realised wow, and I’ve done videos for schools in the past and I’d worked with them and stuff, but I looked at it differently. I thought well actually, they’ve got all this money that they need to spend. How can I help them? And so-
Kym Heffernan: But also too, you raise an interesting point there when you talk about money to spend, but an average customer to them is $10, 15, 20,000 a year, right?
Geoff Anderson: Oh yeah, per year, it’s $25, 30,000.
Kym Heffernan: But them times six years for high school for example.
Geoff Anderson: Yeah, and that’s the thing to consider too is their one customer is not worth $25,000 for a year. It’s worth $150,000 for [crosstalk 00:06:15] over seven years.
Kym Heffernan: Yeah, because they’re there for six years, yeah.
Geoff Anderson: By the time fees increase, it’s probably $200,000, so when you understand that one sale for them is worth that much money, spending $5, 6, 7,000 on videos at a time is not a big deal in this perspective.
Kym Heffernan: Yeah, because it’s a lifetime investment, isn’t it? I mean, not quite lifetime but has significant legs. It’s not a one off thing, is it?
Geoff Anderson: Plus also then their siblings come along as well, so there’s ongoing revenue for them. So my key point with all of this was, this was a niche that had budget and could afford my services and would appreciate the value and the quality that we could provide. I see a lot of people go out there and perhaps try to develop themselves in a niche, in an industry but perhaps haven’t done the research first to actually ascertain whether or not that industry is really going to be able to afford them or pay them the value that they’re really worth. I think it’s really important, at the start, to have a good look at that industry that you want to immerse yourself with or that you’re currently immersing yourself with. Is it really sustainable? Is it one that’s really going to reap the benefits for you down the track?
Kym Heffernan: I guess you talked before about you test a whole lot of different industries, don’t you?
Geoff Anderson: Yeah. Well, and I think having one niche, people go oh, you’re niching that industry. It didn’t just happen that way. I spent time playing with different industries, different sectors, government sectors, corporate. I was involved with a local business chamber and doing a lot of work with the local businesses in that area because I thought well, that could work. They need my services as much as anybody.
Geoff Anderson: Yeah, the ones that are local.
Geoff Anderson: Yeah, and there was plenty … I’m in the North Ryde, Macquarie Park area. There’s some really solid businesses there, Optus and a lot of others. So there’s plenty of opportunities there for me, and I still do work with companies in that area. That’s the other thing. I think just having a niche, a lot of people worry that oh, I’m going to lose a whole lot of business. The reality is the pharmaceutical companies I know that I work with don’t need to know that I work with schools. They don’t say, “Oh, we can’t work with Sonic Sight anymore because you’re working with schools.” They don’t know. They don’t need to know. As far as they’re concerned, I’ve worked with them before. I can work with them again because I still provide that quality of service that they’re looking for.
Geoff Anderson: So people get really worried about oh, but if I focus all my energy in one niche, I’m going to miss all these other opportunities. That’s not the way it works. You can still market to other areas. You can still be perceived by other people as available to help them, but what happens is that niche that you’re targeting very much sees you as somebody who’s got the right solution for them in particular. So, don’t worry about losing work. You actually get more work when you can focus.
Geoff Anderson: So yeah, I was working with the local chambers. I was doing tenders for government organisations. I was doing work with not for profits, and I was starting to spend some time with the school industries. It was over several years that I was doing this and nothing had really shone out as oh yeah, this is where I’m going to go, but what worked for me is I got immersed with an association that worked with the schools. I was involved with an association for the local Ryde businesses and that’s been great.
Geoff Anderson: I still am a member of them, and I enjoy that, but with the schools, I was able to really … This association, it wasn’t the principals. It wasn’t the teachers. It was the marketing managers and the fundraising managers and the enrolment people from the schools, and they were the ones that I needed to be speaking with, so this was a gold mine for me of the right people. So, I think if you can find an association that has the right people you need to engage with, that’s phenomenal. That can make a really big difference, so I really immersed myself with that association. I sponsored them. I was able to present at their conferences. I’m presenting at their international conference coming up in New Zealand shortly.
Geoff Anderson: So that was a real shift as well just by … and then doing that over years and over years, they get to see me. They get to see me turning up again and again. They get to know me. They get to trust that I’m serious about this, that I am interested, that I’m supportive. I would attend as many events as I could of theirs, not to sell, but just to understand what are the issues they’re going through, what are the concerns they’re having when they’re fundraising, because that can help me provide better advice and better service for them whist we’re making productions for them.
Kym Heffernan: So how would you help them? Obviously you’re not going to be selling your services straight away to them, so what sort of content did you provide to them or advice did you provide to them?
Geoff Anderson: One of the things I have on my website is a list of 30 videos your school should make, which I love because what it does-
Kym Heffernan: Is it your purpose?
Geoff Anderson: Well, it is my purpose, but it very much gives them some inspiration on oh yeah, because I think the conversation about having video and the need for video I think is not something I need to have with them anymore. I think people get it, yeah, video is important. It converts. It’s got a great ROI. Yes, we should be using it, but for a lot of people I was dealing with, they’re going, yeah, we know we should be dealing with it, but what do we do next? Where do we start? So well, here’s a list of 30 you could look at and they go, “Oh, that’s great.” Plus I’d create other content that was related around perhaps how to get your bursar to see the value of video.
Geoff Anderson: So something like that where you could show an ROI for them, so the marketing person can have that conversation with the bursar to say hey, this is why we should be investing in video because we’re going to get this many more students, or we can use it this way or that way. So, that information that can help them with their conversations they need to have as well.
Kym Heffernan: That’s really good because it shows you understand their market and understand them, right, because you know what are the things the marketing manager or the sponsorship manager at the school has got to deal with to get funding from the finance guy, which is the bursar of course, in the school. That’s no different than a company. If you understand the industry and the structure and the people you’re selling to, you know who the influencers are in that decision, right?
Geoff Anderson: Absolutely. Also, the beauty of having a niche is you get to understand the patterns that go in that industry, for example, what time of the year they’re doing the budgets for the next year. That means great, I need to start talking to these people now and let them know, give them some helpful advice, show them some tips, show them some examples to say, “Hey listen, are you thinking about using video next year? Here’s some packages that might be useful for you.”
Kym Heffernan: Yeah, and what other ways do you communicate with them? Do you have a special page on the website? What are the specific things you do for them?
Geoff Anderson: Yeah, I do. I have a schools page on the website, so it’s sonicsight.com.au/schools. It’s easy to send people to. That’s got an array of example videos of my clients. It’s got a link to download the 30 list of videos they should make, as well as my other lists which are 30 ways to share your videos and 30 ways to maximise your video ROI. So, that takes them there and it showcases 20 or so schools that I work with so they can see okay, Geoff’s in this space. It’s got some testimonials from my clients. Sonic Sight really is in this space, because it’s not just one or two but there’s quite significant players, schools in the industry are there on showcase.
Kym Heffernan: It’s interesting, you talked about the website and video content but really, the old fashioned building relationship, not just joining the association and saying I’m on the membership, you’re actually going to the conferences, pressing the flesh and saying hello to people.
Geoff Anderson: That’s something I actually really enjoy doing, and it comes easy for me. I think people sometimes sponsor something and then expect right, I’ve paid $4, 5,000, where’s the phone calls? I’m ready. I’m waiting. I went to a conference years ago, I think in the media events industry and they spoke about sponsorship. They said you have to spend four times as much money promoting your sponsorship as you spend on the actual sponsorship. That’s why you see the World Cup soccer, the people marketing the fact that they’re a sponsor of that. The sponsorship gives them the right to market their connection and to leverage it.
Geoff Anderson: So, when I first sponsored this schools conference, I gave 500 delegates a copy of my book. The print run per copy was costing me about $5 out of pocket cost, so that was $2,500.
Kym Heffernan: Decent investment, yeah.
Geoff Anderson: It was. So, that was given out in their packages they got when they arrived, and people came up to me later and said, we throughout all those flyers that we get in there, we threw them all out, but we held on to your book because it was just-
Kym Heffernan: Yeah, it’s got some value to run just a pamphlet, right?
Geoff Anderson: They could see the value of it, so I felt that was a worthwhile investment to give them something back, give them something useful, position my expertise and build some connection with them.
Kym Heffernan: Yeah, so you give them a variety of materials. It’s having those multiple touch points too, isn’t it, because yeah, you build a relationship with somebody that’s going to spend that amount of money. It’s a significant investment. They’re not going to just write out checks straight away, are they?
Geoff Anderson: Oh no, like with any business to business arrangement, they need to trust that you’re able to deliver what’s required. They want to see examples of your work, and ideally, if you can get a referral from someone else in the industry, that’s great. That’s where we’re at now after several years where someone will ask another school, “Hey, who do you recommend for video?” and they go, “Well, you should talk to Sonic Sight because we’re working with them and they’re doing a great job.”
Geoff Anderson: Or in fact, one of the referrals I got was somebody who hasn’t worked with me, but because they were involved with this association quite a lot, knew of me, knew that I was … Knew me and had seen me at work with some other things we’d done and was happy to recommend me even though they hadn’t actually worked with me directly. So, I think that was … As I was saying, I’m very much one who likes to just have conversations and relationships, so when I attend a conference, there’s an opportunity there to set up a booth and get people to come by and you sell your wares.
Geoff Anderson: I really don’t like that. I’m much more comfortable just to go and sit in the sessions, strike up a conversation with the person next to me and just get to meet as many people as possible that way. They’ll know other people they can introduce me to that during the course of the conference, I get to have more conversations, and those I’ve converted into customers.
Kym Heffernan: It’s interesting, that whole sponsorship of exhibitions and events. I notice the trend used to be that the people running the show will 12 and 1 or whenever the lunch break is or the afternoon break, try to funnel people through the exhibition. There’s no chance to speak to someone anyway. You’ve got two people standing in the booth, and three people walking past. You just don’t get a chance to build that relationship, and they’ll try all sorts of things to incentivize. I think you’re right, just getting out and meeting the people [crosstalk 00:16:34].
Geoff Anderson: It’s very transactional, that booth stuff and unless your product is something they’ve come there to buy and they’re ready to buy or really interested in knowing more about, I think it’s a hard one. I mean that’s just me. I know a lot of people get success with it. They have a bit more strategic around that, but for me, I’m just happy to chat to people and get to know them and not sell my services. Just talk to them, find out what’s going on for them, and then hopefully in the conversation it will come up, “Oh, what do you do?” I say, “Well look, we specialise in making videos for schools.”
Kym Heffernan: How do you actually … What’s your prospecting strategy, I guess I call that, in terms of doing that? So private schools is the niche in whichever state you’re targeting. Do you then build up a prospect list, email them? How do you reach out to people?
Geoff Anderson: Well look, as a sponsor, I get access to a database of the people who attend the conference, so I can go and re-target them and talk to them. My preference is to actually pick up the phone and call them and say, “Hey listen, I was one of the sponsors you may have noticed.” So, I felt that’s just being upfront.
Kym Heffernan: 100%.
Geoff Anderson: Basically, I’m a sponsor, which I think there’s a respect for that. Okay, you’re supporting our industry. You’re supporting our association. Yeah, I can take a minute to have a conversation with you on the phone, and just talk to them about, “Listen, we’re doing a lot of work with schools and video is really important and valuable. Is this something that you’re currently using or looking to use? Can we have a conversation and see where it goes from there?”
Geoff Anderson: But what I’m looking to do more of now and I actually haven’t yet, I must say. I’d like to sound like I’m more on top of this but I’m a work in progress as well as any, is there’s a few schools I specifically want to target that I don’t have a contact. I don’t have a warm contact that I already had there, so what I want to do is I want to go to my current clients and say to them, “Hey, do you know the right person that this school?” and see if they can give me an introduction, because I think that’s going to have more value than me going straight to them.
Kym Heffernan: So, before you make contact, are you going on their LinkedIn and looking at their profiles? What are you doing to research the school before you call them, or you’re just really using that sponsorship link that you have?
Geoff Anderson: Oh look, for a lot of them, I already know who the schools are. Generally, I’ll go on to their website and have a look and see if they’ve got any video content already. So, if I see they’re all over video, they probably already got a good relationship with a supplier, which is great and good on them, so I probably won’t necessarily bother them if I can see that. If I look at it and see they’ve got a lot of video but they’re three years old, I might think yeah, looks like that relationship might have dried up. It might be worth a call.
Geoff Anderson: Having said that, there are some schools I’ve met that have got great videos and they ended up being clients of mine because that relationship has dried up, and I’m in the right spot at the right time. So, we do put our own limiting beliefs on what’s possible apparently.
Kym Heffernan: Absolutely.
Geoff Anderson: But it’s worth just having a crack. I mean they can say no or they can say yes, so just ask.
Kym Heffernan: I guess the interesting thing I find about that is you found a way to what I call open the door, because instead of ringing and saying, “I’m Geoff the video guy.” There may be 10 of those a year, who knows and where they get. You’re actually ringing and saying, “Hey, I was a sponsor, didn’t get a chance to connect with you but I’d love to have a discussion with you.” Do you send them your 30 tips guide? What’s the next step from that?
Geoff Anderson: Well, as I say, I like to do it on the phone because I-
Kym Heffernan: After that, after you’ve spoken to them, what’s your next step?
Geoff Anderson: After I’ve spoken … Well, my next step is hopefully to get an appointment to meet with them, but what might be an intermediate step is sending them, yes, some lists or sending them some examples of works we’ve done. So, what I tend to do is just send them links to our clients’ videos and say, “Look, this is some of the stuff we’ve done this year and you can see …” And I can show a whole array of different styles of videos. Some might be highly scripted, some might have some really cool special effects, some might be highlights of an open day or something. So, it gives them an example of different [crosstalk 00:20:29].
Kym Heffernan: A broad spectrum of product that you can do.
Geoff Anderson: Yeah, and some impressive schools as well, so they go, “Okay well, if they’re using them …” It’s that brand credibility association situation, so they can see … It enhances my credibility if I’m associated with other schools that are highly credible.
Kym Heffernan: So, what did you do at the very beginning though? It’s okay because you’ve been doing this for a couple of years. Now, at the very beginning, you maybe have done one or two schools. You don’t have those big names, so what does someone do in that situation? Is it just going out there and saying, “Hey, we’re a sponsor and we do this?”
Geoff Anderson: Well, I think initially, you need to sell your services to one customer based on simply what the solution is you’re providing. So you don’t have a niche to start with, you have a customer. Then when you can get more customers in the same industry, you start to develop that niche. So to start with, you’ve just got to get some customers on board, and if you’re being strategic about it, you’ll get a few from the same industry. Then over time, you can start to be seen as that person in that space.
Kym Heffernan: I guess the other thing I picked up on there too was when you said how do I choose this niche, you talked about your own situation, the calculation on the back of an envelope about how much each student is worth, which is a really important thing, that you understand what the value is you’re bringing to them. Whereas for [inaudible 00:21:51] or even some of the corporates or not for profits, it’s hard to quantify that value, isn’t it? When you’re trying to offer a product or service, it’s the cost, unless they get some return for it, right?
Geoff Anderson: Yeah, I guess I was in an interesting situation there because I was an end customer. I was able to understand where all the money flowed and how it all fitted. Plus schools are fairly transparent. They’ll have a profit and loss statement and you can see that 60% of their money goes out to wages and whatever else. So there’s all sorts of things going on there, but I think if you understand the price point that people are playing at, it’s really useful, so the more research you can do …
Geoff Anderson: Or simply depending on what solution you’re offering, ask the question how much is an ideal customer transaction worth to you, so that you can gauge oh okay, if it’s $20,000 as an ideal customer, then if you can get 10 of those, then blah, blah, blah, let’s work backwards from there or whatever it is. So it just gives you a ballpark, or if you’re talking to somebody and they said, oh well an ideal customer is worth $50, okay, well that’s a big difference.
Kym Heffernan: In your conversations with them, do you actually talk about the fact that, to build that person because you have kids at private schools. Just interested in that to see, [crosstalk 00:23:09] come up with that.
Geoff Anderson: Look, I don’t … Look, it comes up naturally for me because I-
Kym Heffernan: That’s what I mean there, but-
Geoff Anderson: I tend to talk about my kids and …
Kym Heffernan: So you can talk about how you connect with video, how you connect with content and the school’s communication personally?
Geoff Anderson: A couple of my clients are schools I went to, and so I’m able to help them with their communication because I truly understand their ethos. I understand where they’re going. My kids are at those schools as well, so I know I’m getting the information that’s coming through as a parent, and so I’m able to steer some of their marketing people in the right direction and say, “Actually this is the message that you’re [inaudible 00:23:43].”
Kym Heffernan: Because they’re too far removed from the parents perhaps?
Geoff Anderson: Or they’re needed at the school. That happened the other week where I was saying well, that building is now called this name. It got changed a few months ago, and they’re, “Oh, okay, good to know.”
Kym Heffernan: So, that’s an interesting thing. You often hear stories about people … You started the business because technical, which is the whole [inaudible 00:24:04] ting, which is your business I guess and mine to a certain extent, but you often hear people who started a business because they saw a market need. They had some personal problem that hey, no one is solving that problem. That’s sort of what you’ve done here.
Geoff Anderson: Well, to get back to the beginning of our conversation in terms of what shifted this year for me, I think schools have been using videos. I’ve been making videos for schools for 25 years. Back in 1994, one of our first clients was a major school that we did videos for, and we did some more shortly after that private school’s. So, we’ve got a long history with that, but where things switched for us was getting the product right. So, rather than going video per video with them, we then packaged all this up into what we call our video partner packages.
Geoff Anderson: This provided the client an option 6, 12, 20 or 40 videos a year on a monthly retainer basis, and it just streamlined the whole purchasing process for them. I had conversations with clients who would say, “Well, we need a fundraising video.” I said, “Great, no problem. This is the cost, but by the way, we’ve got these packages. Is that something you’d be interested in?” So, the conversation started about one video, and they said, “Oh well, we’ll take six.”
Geoff Anderson: Admittedly, there’s a significant saving for them if they do it that way, which we’re prepared to wear because it just streamlines our cash flow. It locks in the client for the year, and hopefully, our strategy with this is to totally overwhelm them with the quality that we do and the service we provide so that it’s a no brainer for them to say yes please, we want to do that again next year, maybe want to increase the package that we do next year.
Kym Heffernan: I guess also too if you’re an organisation like a school, and most organisations that aren’t solo operators, having that budget certainty if you hear how much you’re going to spend on it and budgeting for it is big for them as well. If they have to do project by project, they’re not 100% sure of what it is. They’ll pick a number out of the year at the beginning of their financial year and stick that in there, but if they know it’s X amount per month and they can do these six or eight videos or whatever for that time period, it gives them certainty and works for them.
Geoff Anderson: I’ve been amazed at how easy it has been to sell this. This is what I mean about it’s been a real shift in my business. Previously, I’d be going back and forth trying to do what I thought was the right thing by them by offering the right package what I had to do was I had to suck it up a little bit and say okay, I’ll take a bit of a hit on this to lock in six videos, whereas before, I might have only got three from them for the year. But it means we’re going to get the continuity of work. They’re going to get a great relationship.
Geoff Anderson: I’m really enjoying it because we’ve positioned it as a video partner package, so it’s a very much … I think that’s important to say look, we’re not here to get you to pay a monthly retainer. We’re here to work with you as a partner. We’re here to solve your problems. When you’ve got an issue with this, you just pick up the phone. You say, “Geoff, what do we do about this?” Yesterday, one of the clients said, “Can you give me the screen grab of one of the videos?” I was like, “Absolutely.” There are all these little things that how do you cost that or whatever, and it’s like, well, we don’t. It’s all just included.
Geoff Anderson: I said there are swings and roundabouts in this. Some productions are going to be more sophisticated than others. Some are going to be a lot simpler, but the idea is we might make a few simple ones, but then we’ll invest in some really high end ones for you as well, so you’re still getting your content out there. It’s looking great, and you’re getting your variety of styles along the way.
Kym Heffernan: So, I guess you’re finding that old expression, a win-win for both parties, aren’t you? They know they need to do video content and you know that you need to have a better business model and it’s creating a win for both parties.
Geoff Anderson: Absolutely, but I got to tell you what one of the biggest surprises about this whole process has been for me is the clarity I now have of where I need to be spending my time and the things that I’m so comfortable to say no to now, because I know that’s not actually important in my business strategy. So, I get invited to functions or oh, you should use this marketing approach or whatever. I go, “No. No, I don’t.” I don’t-
Kym Heffernan: I know what I’m doing. I’ve got clarity, yeah.
Geoff Anderson: Yeah. Last financial year was a great year for me. I was talking to a colleague of mine. He had a great year as well. We were talking about our goals for this year, and he was saying I was shooting a bit low. He said, “No, no go a bit higher,” and okay. I said I’m a little bit worried about how to get there and he said, “Tell me, how difficult was it to hit this target that you exceeded this year?” I said, “Actually it was one of the easiest years I’ve had.” He said, “Exactly.”
Geoff Anderson: That’s the thing. It’s like you’re spending your energy on that 20% that’s going to give you that 80% return, and simply by doing that, you’re clearing the schedule. You’re clearing the time. You’re making things so much easier and it just gives you more time, more focus on what needs to be done. So for me now, it’s a matter of which handful of schools do I need to approach next to get them into being customers? Rather than sending out 100 emails hoping one of them is going to be successful, I’ll make five phone calls and hope that two of those convert.
Kym Heffernan: Well, you start to build relationship with those people.
Geoff Anderson: Yeah, absolutely, and some of them … I actually just got a message just before we started recording from one of the schools I contacted that we do, do a little bit of work with but they’re not on board as one of these partner packages. So I’ve pitched it to them and said, “I think we should have a talk to you about this because I think it will be really useful for you. Can we talk about your plans for next year?” And she’s just called me back and said, “Yeah, let’s have a chat.” So that was somebody I already had a relationship with, but they weren’t on board on a contract.
Kym Heffernan: It’s a really phrase I heard you just use then. Rather than say, “I’ve got something I want to show you, I’ve got something that here that would really be of great help to you.” I’m not sure if you picked that up in your language and just [crosstalk 00:29:59].
Geoff Anderson: Oh, did I?
Kym Heffernan: That’s a really important part about what you’re saying as well. When you become used to the niche and understand it, you’re not trying to sell something to them anymore. I’ve got a product I want to present to you. I’ve got a solution that will help you, and it will help them save money, so it’s a genuine ting. You’ve come at it from that viewpoint, and it helps your business certainly, but it’s actually helping them. It’s a two way thing, which I think is really important.
Geoff Anderson: Oh look, and that’s what I’m actually really enjoying about this, this concept of being a partner for them. So, we’re part of their team, and it means yeah, we’re here to help you. We’re here to come up with ideas and concepts and creative ways to engage people when they watch these videos. It’s very much lean on us. Let us help you and let us do some awesome stuff together. I’m really enjoying that way of packaging it up and I think by doing it in these packages, it’s liberated that whole experience, because we’re not watching the clock as much. It’s not about well, you didn’t pay for that, or that’s not included. It’s like, look, that’s included.
Geoff Anderson: The risk, of course in this sort of scenario, and I think people might worry about that is oh, but what if they start taking advantage of it? To be honest with you, we had one client this year doing that and I had to say to them, “Hey listen, you’re up to three quarters of the spend by the end of term one. Do you want to extend that?” They went, “We can’t. We’ve locked in with our budget. We’re going to pull back on the production we do.” what they also did was they had some other departments that had budget to spend on promotion. They specifically wanted videos for certain things, for performing arts or whatever, so we tapped into a bit of that.
Geoff Anderson: But basically, it was just a matter of having that conversation and saying-
Kym Heffernan: Well, having the relationship to be able to have the conversation.
Geoff Anderson: Yeah well, you do have that relationship anyway. You’ve got into a business relationship. It’s all documented and clear in terms of what the arrangement is. We’re certainly not people to go to court about stuff. We’re here to make sure everybody’s happy.
Kym Heffernan: That’s a really important point you raise. You’ve [inaudible 00:32:00] a little bit, but having that very clear scope of what’s included and not included, I’ve said it quite often, in service based businesses is where people will assume that’s part of marketing or part of legal services. Part of IT support is the other one, and very often it’s not, so being clear about that but not to the point of being pedantic about yeah, the screenshot is not included. But being very clear about what you’re able to deliver within that is really important, right?
Geoff Anderson: I think that’s why it’s worked is I’ve kept it simple. I said, “ Look, you get six videos a year at this monthly rate.” They want three minute videos and they’re usually budgeted on about a one day shoot. That’s the framework for it. Plus we’re available on phone, meetings, the strategy sessions that we come to you with and we work on each term as well. So, I’ve kept it as simple as that, and so what happens is when a client is doing … they’re on one of the other packages. They’re doing about 20 videos a year and they’re up to 18 videos by the end of term one, it’s like, look, love working with you, need to have a chat with you about this, and they go, “Yeah fine. That’s okay,” because we’ve had it written down, what the arrangement was.
Kym Heffernan: Also, you’re doing it as you go along. There’s nothing worse than you get to the end of a job [inaudible 00:33:18] and say, “Oh sorry, it’s an overrun here or a variance,” and you say, “Well, hang on, why didn’t you tell me that before?” so having that conversation before is important.
Geoff Anderson: Absolutely. I think it’s you just be upfront with people.
Kym Heffernan: Geoff, I think that’s been a really good summary, a really good case study of what I call how important niching is. So, marketing is not just all about communication tactics. It’s about thinking about market is. In fact, that’s where it should start. Marketing is what they need, and by niching, to me, what it seems is you’ve got a very good understanding of that market. You understand their needs. You can have conversations with them. You build relationships that will give you more referrals. It just builds on that, but it’s not an easy task. It’s not [inaudible 00:33:59]. You’ve got to put some time and money into it, I guess, to start off with.
Geoff Anderson: You do, and you may have different niches bubbling away at the same time as well, and that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be just one, but yeah, you’ll see over time perhaps there’s one that’s more useful than another.
Geoff Anderson: When it connects with you personally like the schools, as you did with your situation, I think that’s important too sometimes, because if you can understand it from their customer’s viewpoint, which is what you were able to do, you’re able to relay that back to them, and they get a better understanding of it in terms of doing it.
Geoff Anderson: Well, it’s interesting being marketing schools when I’ve got my kids at schools. As a parent, I’m able to give input and say, “Well, I think this is the message that is going to resonate more than-“
Kym Heffernan: That’s how I want to see it, right, in terms of doing it?
Geoff Anderson: Yeah.
Geoff Anderson: Geoff, if people want to connect with you, whether they’re a school or not a school, what’s the best way to do that?
Geoff Anderson: Probably just go to the website sonicsight.com.au. That’s S-O-N-I-C-S-I-G-H-T.com.au. They can download 30 ways to share your videos. I’ve got a generic one there for businesses, 30 types of videos your business should make to boost your business, something like that, and 30 ways to maximise your video ROI. Because one of the things that I see a lot of people doing is understanding the need to make video, but perhaps not doing it in the most cost effective way and perhaps not leveraging it the best way as well, so that goes into that as well.
Kym Heffernan: Yeah, and with the trend towards video, everyone knows it’s the way of the future as well. Geoff from Sonic Sight, thank you very much for your time and for your story on niching, and make sure you connect with Geoff at Sonic Sight, and we’ll see you on the next episode.
Geoff Anderson: Thanks Kym. Thanks for having me back.
Kym Heffernan: No worries. See you mate.
Thanks for joining us on this episode of Marketing Show. We hope you got some practical, effective tips and ideas so your organisation gets more prospects and nurtures those prospects to becoming long term customers. Just a reminder, the show is sponsored by The Marketing Strategy Company who help B2B organisations develop winning marketing strategies and sales and marketing automation systems to turn their sales and marketing efforts into new customers and dollars through their marketing. Check out the show notes for this episode and The Marketing Strategy Company’s planning and marketing services at themarketingstrategy.co. That’s themarketingstrategy.co. Until next time, happy marketing.