State of Marketing Services on the Sunshine Coast

As the Director at Chilli Group, It is very seldom I put pen to paper. However, after observing recent events within our industry on the Sunshine Coast, I am so concerned and feel it needs more insight shared.

If you read Saturday’s Sunshine Coast Daily, you would be aware that there is another casualty in our industry; yet another marketing company has gone into liquidation.

Marketing and Advertising – Buyer Beware.

Sunshine Coast is attracting somewhat questionable businesses within the marketing arena. In the last six months we have had several ‘agencies’ go into liquidation locally. These were all larger sized businesses for our industry, and all based on the Sunshine Coast.

Rebl Corp, Big Review TV and Viewable Media, collectively employed many Sunshine Coast locals, many new to the industry fresh from University. Their first experience in their chosen field has left them unpaid for the work undertaken and now unemployed. The Sunshine Coast now boasts a large premise on the Nicklin Way in Currimundi empty, plus substantial floor space in Minyama vacant. They also have clients, who are mostly small businesses on the Coast, now in the lurch, some with financial impacts. All of this is just the start of the fallout from these businesses liquidating.

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

As an agency we sell value, results and ROI to our clients; however, we also sell “hours” the same as any other professional services vendor. Be it an accountant, lawyer or financial planner, none of us sells a product or widget; we sell time and expertise.

Our responsibility to our clients is to sell our services, our value and expertise with agreed outcomes in a cost-efficient and transparent manner.

The afore-mentioned businesses were all offering ‘packages’ at no charge. Money was transferred back and forth through accounts, finance contracts and other questionable practices. This business structure is not sustainable and does not make sense to me as a business owner operating in the same space. We have wages and fixed overheads to pay and cannot afford to give away our services at no charge.

Marketing, advertising and creative services are an unregulated industry, and anyone can start up at any time as a usually self-proclaimed guru in this industry. It is a buyer beware situation, my advice for Sunshine Coast business owners, do your homework and make sure you feel comfortable before engaging with an agency or consultant.

Further to my concern over recent events, it’s also worth noting and being aware of:

  • Agencies changing names frequently
  • Regular change in directors and shareholdings
  • High staff turnover
  • Actual employees – you should be able to see and meet the team, make sure they are employees and not transient contractors
  • Lack of transparency

Find the right agency for you.

If you are looking for an agency, please at a minimum do the following:

  1. Check their website. Do they list their team? Does the team work from a physical premises? Working in a collaborative environment leads to a much stronger result for clients.
  2. Watch their client testimonials or seek client referrals.
  3. Review case studies and samples of work.
  4. Make an informed decision on who you feel comfortable with, who you think can get you the outcomes you are looking for and take the focus off the cost and look at the return on your investment.

I hope this has shed some light on our industry and provides Sunshine Coast business owners with the preliminary tools to make informed decisions when engaging in communications, marketing and creative services.

With all this in mind, please continue to support our local service providers with a new and informed approach.

Darren Blake

Director, Chilli Group

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