It’s a hard task trying to create innovative products and services to appeal to new customers, but at the same time, you don’t want to alienate existing customers who are satisfied with your tried-and-true offerings. So how can you achieve this delicate balance?
According to Sean Garlick, managing director of Garlo’s Pies, you should focus on what pays the bills, but also what puts your business into the public eye.
“It's a balancing act and you need to weigh up what is paying the bills, but also what's keeping your brand relevant and keeping your name out there,” Sean says on the My Business Podcast.
“We do lots of little PR stunts as well. We just put out a muscle pie which has 26 grams of protein, low in fat and all that, [which] we're selling in a few gyms.”
For example, to promote Garlo’s Pies during the 2016 NRL grand final, ‘shark pies’ with blue, black and white coloured mashed potato on top were distributed to Coles stores in the Sutherland Shire, the local area of the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.
“You need that because it gets you publicity,” Sean explains.
“Little things like that ... people find funny. It just makes it fun and the thing I like about the business too is that at the end of the day, we're not finding a cure for cancer. We're making meat pies and delivering them.”
Even with established offerings, it is important to know when they should be retired.
For example, when Garlo’s Pies first launched, the steak and kidney pie was a popular product.
“Unfortunately, a lot of those customers are no longer with us: the 60- and 70-pluses,” explains Sean.
“You ask anybody under 40, they wouldn't touch kidney, so we've had to discontinue that,” he says.
This is just one example of the importance of knowing your customer base, as well as having an understanding of the appetites of prospective new customers. While it is fine to experiment, don't lose sight of the bigger picture of what will bring you the most revenue.
“You name it and we've tried it, and some sell great and some just don't sell at all,” says Sean.
“To this day, we make about 40 different flavours. The plain mince pie sells as many as all the others put together!”