Posted 14 June 2015
Managing business growth: case study
Inspired by a Wiggles concert, two women started a business in their homes in the Melbourne suburbs with nothing more than a couple of two-line phones.
That business is Kids Promotions – a family-owned and operated company that holds the national touring license for ABC TV’s Play School Live shows, Bananas in Pyjamas and more.
As their business grew, so did their needs and their potential for further growth. They needed a custom-built event promotion and booking site, so they came to us.
A key to the project was to fold in their existing extensive membership database into a new improved online format, centralize the management of online and phone bookings and give this audience tangible benefits to their membership.
With video trailers, interactive Google maps, an integrated payment process, an online merchandise store, Wolf’s integrated online advertising system and gift vouchers, it’s a far cry from those days in the suburbs…
We spoke to Samantha Kirby from Kids Promotions about their site, business growth and taking their business to the next level.
When did you start Kids Promotions?
‘My mum, Marianne Tincknell, started the business in 1993 with her then partner Lores Crestani. Mum had been made redundant and Lores was a stay-at-home mum.
Lores went to a Wiggles concert and thought Marianne and her could do this – book venues, sell tickets, run the concerts. They contacted the Wiggles’ management at the time and said that when they come to Victoria, they could do all the event management for them. That’s how it started – in two houses in the suburbs with two-line phones and lots of ambition.
After getting the contract for doing the Wiggles shows in Victoria, all the promoters were coming to them to organise their Victorian tours. They took care of everything – hiring the venues, booking the advertising, selling the tickets and staffing the concerts on the day. The business was growing.
Marianne developed a paid mailing list where customers could pay $7 to receive a pre-sale brochure of upcoming shows before any advertising went out to the general public. This was a very successful decision as it saved on the cost of advertising as our direct market would sell out shows the day they received the flyer.
This was the way the business ran until 1999 we submitted a tender to be the touring licensee for the ABC’s Play School Live shows. We were successful and have been touring Play School concerts around the country for over 12 years now. The core business now is touring Play School, selling tickets and selling merchandise, both at the shows and online.
What made you decide you needed a new site?
We were at the limit of what the back end system of the website could do and the look of the site didn’t reflect our fun professional brand. It was an off-the-shelf site and we were paying per transaction for the online ticketing software. So we went shopping…
How have people reacted to the new site?
We’ve had fantastic feedback. It’s a thousand times better in every way. It’s beautiful and it’s user friendly for both staff and customers.
What impact has the new site had on your business?
It’s been so cost effective – a large initial investment which has paid for itself in 12 months.
It’s much more user-friendly. The CMS is just amazing – even with no training, anyone could get in there and perform key tasks. We imported around 35,000 members into the new database and in the past 18 months it has grown to approximately 62,000 members, which is amazing. The CMS has also cut transaction times in half and integrated areas of the site so we don’t have to retype information in.
At the concerts it’s now faster to check on customer orders if they’ve lost tickets and they’re easily read on an iPad so we don’t even need to take laptops on the road anymore.
We are in the process of developing our e-ticketing and mobile ticketing software with Wolf, which will change the way we do business even more so and reduce time and costs in the office too.
As a business owner and supplier, how has the new site changed the way you run your business?
It’s cut time in half from the back end processing of the orders, which frees up staff to do other tasks, and from the customers point of view it’s easier to book tickets or buy merchandise because all the information is presented to them, which has reduced the amount of phones calls to our office. Plus roughly 80% of orders are now taken online, which has reduced staffing costs to our call centre.
The custom-built CMS is our most used gadget – we all just love it. We’ve made countless adjustments to enhance how we do things. The guys showed us what we could do which then got us excited so we kept asking for more! We’re also looking at integrating the xero online accounting package into our CMS too.
What sort of direction did you give Wolf regarding the creation of your site?
In no way was it a technical brief – it was from us, the business owners. We knew from past bad experience what we didn’t want and explained that. The best advice I can give is just think what you want and don’t want and break down the site by your menu. Wolf will take it from there.
I would have no problem recommending the Wolf team for any project size. Go custom – don’t waste your time with an off-the-shelf system as it will cost you in the long run. You can only bend it so far before it will break.
I could talk for hours but I think the reason we are so happy with Wolf is becuase they fixed our business’s achilles heel. We are running at optimum performance and it gives you such a high to know all aspects of your business are performing well.
Originally published 4 January 2015