Commercial karma

EditorNews Make a Comment

AUCKLAND, Today: When the Prime Minister announced New Zealand would be closing the borders, Glenn Marvin could see the writing on the wall for his travel and tourism industry clients.

So, the founder of digital marketing, coaching and training company Konnector told those clients he’d be moving them all onto a pro-bono programme until they had some clarity around the Covid-19 pandemic and until their cashflow improved.

“We could see the impact Covid-19 had on those businesses immediately,” Marvin said.

“And while we had recently hired new staff and were still running Konnector at a loss, I knew we had to do the right thing by our tourism-related clients as they were in a much worse position than us.

“So the Auckland-based Konnector team set about doing what we could for our tourism clients at no charge, while ourselves trying to remain afloat.

“Later, the Government announced its $400m tourism recovery package. Phase one of the package’s digital capability programme identified skills gaps in tourism operators around self-promotion and marketing to the domestic market and a need for a hand up, not just a handout.

“The market had shifted so markedly for them. They couldn’t rely on online booking engines like or TripAdvisor, or even inbound tour operators to deliver them travellers and bookings.

“These businesses were looking at a domestic market only, with lower average spends, shorter lead times for bookings and the need for different messaging.”

In July, Marvin had a chance encounter with one of the providers involved in phase one – Cornwall Strategic – and they decided to jointly pitch for phase two to empower, educate and coach operators to become more self-sufficient marketers and make the most of the limited budgets they had.

They’ve now been chosen as one of the five providers to deliver the training and coaching to an estimated 500 operators to help upskill them.

“In 2017 he started doing pro-bono work for SMEs – in exchange for a bottle of whisky.”

“A contract of this size is a real coup for us, and I think it’s some pretty amazing commercial karma that’s come back around,” Marvin said.

“There was just no question we’d do our best by our clients by providing our services pro bono and it’s really cool to now have landed this contract.”

Konnector and Cornwall Strategic will now provide training and coaching the operators to develop their own marketing strategies, improve their websites to convert more bookings, and to better understand and use social media, Google and Facebook advertising, and search engine optimisation.

“We will be running a series on hands-on workshops over Zoom and then tailored one on one sessions over nine weeks to get them prepared for summer bookings.”

Glenn said the impact of winning this contract meant he’d be able to fast-track Konnector’s ability to scale and impact even more small and medium businesses.

“We are aiming to double the number of clients we service each year for the first five years and we believe now that there will be an even greater demand by these businesses that can no longer afford agency support for coaching and marketing support for internal staff to upskill and empower themselves to take ownership of their marketing.”

About Konnector
Glenn Marvin worked with and for many large corporates in the marketing space but was bored. In 2017 he started doing pro bono work for SMEs – in exchange for a bottle of whisky – to help them out with basic advice and actions they could implement themselves.

Glenn quickly realised the impact the basics have on these businesses so he quit his job as managing partner of the agency he owned and set up Konnector with a specific focus on supporting SME businesses to do a better job of do-it-yourself marketing.

“Everybody in marketing thought I was nuts as SMEs have no budget and a massive lack of trust of marketers. How could we get results for these businesses and meet with them twice a month for less than $500 a month, which was the number our research showed was the tipping point for many SMEs’ budgets for support.”

It took two years to hit a breakeven point but an unwavering belief in the goal to support and make an impact on 3000 Kiwi SME businesses become self-sufficient marketers kept Glenn and the Konnector team going and improving.

Share this Post