#390: The Barbeque Legends Club - Helping Aussie's Barbeque Better

Today’s episode features an award-winning Australian retail brand that has won recognition both as the “Innovation Champion of the Year” as well as being rated one of Australia’s COOLEST brands!

Barbeques Galore is a nationwide speciality retailer that is dedicated to nurturing Aussie’s love of outdoor cooking and helping everyone “barbeque better”.

We are joined by Mike Ainsworth, General Manager of Marketing and Customer with Barbeques Galore, who shares the insights behind their Barbeque Legends Club.

As you will hear, this wonderful proposition uses the power of community, education and inspiration from Australian barbeque industry legends, to help their customers find even more joy and connection with their friends and families when they gather together around the barbeque flame!

Listen to learn some truly innovative loyalty insights from Mike Ainsworth and the Barbeque Legends Club.

Show Notes:

1) Barbeques Galore

2) Mike Ainsworth

3) Barbeque Legends Club

Audio Transcript

Paula: Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m your host, Paula Thomas, and if you work in loyalty marketing, join me every week to learn the latest ideas from loyalty specialists around the world.

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Hello and welcome to today’s episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty featuring an award-winning Australian retail brand that has won recognition both as the innovation champion of the year, as well as being rated one of Australia’s coolest brands. Barbeques Galore is a nationwide specialty retailer that is dedicated to nurturing Aussie’s love of outdoor cooking and helping everyone barbecue better.

I am joined today by Mike Ainsworth, General Manager of Marketing and Customer with Barbeques Galore, who shares the insights behind their Barbeque Legends Club. As you’ll hear, this wonderful proposition uses the power of community education and inspiration from Australian barbecue industry legends to help their customers find even more joy and connection with their friends and family when they gather together around the barbecue flame.

I really hope you enjoy my conversation with Mike Ainsworth, all about the Barbeque Legends Club.

So Mike Ainsworth, welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty. 

Mike: Wonderful to be here. Thank you.

Paula: Yes. It’s been a long time coming, Mike. I know we’ve wanted you on the show, just, I don’t know how many months now, but I have to say, I think you’re in one of the most fun industries. And actually your whole career seems to have followed this path all along in terms of everything you’ve done.

But certainly barbecues I know is almost sacred in Australian culture. So we’re here to talk about the Barbeque Legends Club and all of the incredible work that you’re doing there. But as you know, we always love to start this program just talking about our favorite loyalty programs as retailers or as industry professionals.

So for our global audience listening around the world, Mike, please do tell us what is your favorite loyalty program? 

Mike: Well, I think, I, I’m going to, to cheat here and I’ve got two, so I, I do want to talk about two for different reasons. 

Paula: Amazing. 

Mike: And the first, the absolute first, what I would call out is, is BrewDog’s which is a Scottish based business.

And, and after to admit, I, I don’t have any dealings with them. I haven’t used them. And the reason why I know about them is, is they, they, they’ve kind of, they, they come to my attention cause they, they kind of followed a very similar kind of a platform that I’ve utilized in a previous business with P&O Cruises.

And what I love about that platform is the use of just a really simple gamification. Which absolutely, just basically focused on a really simple equation of, you know, action equals reward, which equals return. And, and they’ve done an excellent job there where, you know, based on certain actions, you earn badges. When you earn badges, you kind of take that status with you and there’s some cheeky stuff in there. There’s some immediate stuff that rewards the customer. 

They’ve just taken a really good balanced view there and, and it’s something we did at P&O, where, you know, a vast majority of guests who cruise are past passengers and status is actually a quite an important thing to them. And so, you know, badges and the likes were a high value to them. And so we did a similar thing where we gamified that and, and, you know, certain actions leading up to the crews. Encouraged them to, to earn badges that they would share publicly. They would get ’em printed off on lanyards and things like this so they could share them around. 

But ultimately we, we gave them something that was of high value. Which actually cost the business nothing. And it had that wonderful effect of driving, incremental sales as well. So, so from a cost perspective, it, it’s, it’s, it didn’t cost us anything and it just drove sales. So, yeah, I love those kind of ways where you can just use simple gamification when you understand your audience to return a good, good kind of result. 

And then the other one, which you know, I don’t think I’m on, I’m not on my loan from here, but is, McDonald’s approach to loyalty. And, you know, here in Australia it’s called the MyMacca’s app.

I, it’s called my McDonald’s app everywhere else. Here as we call it, MyMacca’s app. But, I think the, the call out for them really is, you know, over the past two years, the, the level of investment in that app has, you’ve just seen it kind of grow and grow and their approach to loyalties clearly now intrinsic in what they’re doing when they go to market.

And so I think if you find a business that’s just gone all in on loyalty, I actually think you’d find one, you would be pretty hard pressed to find another business that has, has gone more all in than McDonald’s there. And, and I think, you know, especially here in Australia where there’s, there is this bit of an odd underlying loyalty to fast food chains. You know, you either love McDonald’s or you love another or whatever it might be. And I think they found a way to really leverage that, where others haven’t. So I think they’re doing a fantastic job there. 

Paula: Amazing. You know what, Mike, I mean, I know you are, you position yourself really as a, as a retail expert and professional. But actually you’re coming through like literally as a loyalty expert. Like all of those insights, like that’s exactly what we talk about on the show. 

BrewDog, you’re certainly not the first person to talk and mention that as an incredible brand. I think from a culture perspective in the UK, anything that’s Beer related, and so many places, of course, who doesn’t love a good beer? So that’s really nice. And gamification is of course, by definition, super fun. But it’s also, as you said, very effective and very affordable. And I often feel like it gets a bad wrap because like it’s been around for a long time, and of course it’s been done to varying degrees of success, but it certainly sounds like BrewDog is, is really building something that people aspire to.

So you’re totally right, like status is something that you know, is, is pure ego. And I will totally admit, like I’m lucky enough to have one gold card in my life, from, from, you know, Skywards as, as the Emirates program here. And I’m super proud when I’m, you know, walking around the airport, and I know I’ve got my gold card, so totally, totally get all of that. And again, there’s no kind of cost to the business, as you said. So certainly the, the status piece is something that we do talk about a lot as loyalty professionals. 

But the other example I love, just because I suppose of the contrast, Mike, you know, McDonald’s like in some ways is almost like the wrong kind of business for, for loyalty when I think about it. Like you know, I’m guessing it’s pretty low margin because it’s low price. Now, it could be totally wrong, you know, it, it does, of course have a franchise business model, which adds a huge amount of complexity in terms of decision making. And as a retailer, again, you, you’ll know all of that.

And then we always talk about, I suppose, the customer’s experience at the point of sale. Like that’s so hard to get right. But I think you’re totally right. Did you actually say to us there as well Mike, that, MyMacca’s is the official program name or is that the, the anecdotal? It’s the official name?

Mike: Yeah. Well, my MyMacca’s app is, is, is what it’s called. And I actually, I’m pretty certain it’s called my MyMacca’s Rewards, so. 

Paula: Wow. Amazing. 

Mike: Yeah, I mean, yeah, kinda Mac has gone on in, on the, the, the Mac slang down here, so.

Paula: Totally. And I think they’re right because I know, like I’ve talked to a couple of McDonald’s people, I suppose informally, and they would talk about the, the opportunity of localization and that is a genius example of all of that.

So yes, we absolutely in this country here. We, it is very formal. It’s the Mac, McDonald’s app, but certainly I was driving down the highway the other day and it just says, free hamburgers. And I’m like, genius. That’s, that’s what I need. 

So listen, let’s get into your background, Mike. You know, before getting into Barbeques Galore, tell us a bit about, you’ve mentioned P&O, but tell us a bit about your career and how you’ve got to where you are today.

Mike: Well, you kind of touched on, to be honest, I’ve got a, it’s a bit of a mixer background. And, and, and one thing I would say is, I mean, I think like most people who have been in and around loyalty for some time, you know, that that is an absolute reality. It’s not, it’s not an industry that’s kind of been around forever.

You know, the, the, the, the space has really kind of matured over the past. You know, decade in particular that really kind of started hitting at straps, you know, maybe 15 years ago or 20 years ago or so. And so I think most who have been in it for a long time actually have a big breadth of experience.

Cause at some point in your career you were kind of doing it and not knowing what you were doing, you know? You had to figure it out. And, and I would almost say, I think if I’m being honest, I think those days were probably far more exciting and better to where we are now because there was no rules around what you needed to do.  

Kinda put pressure back on you to figure out what to do for your customers, whereas I kind of think fast forward now. There’s almost a bit of a copy paste mentality around loyalty, which is for me, really disappointing. Because it flies in the face of what the term even means, like how there’s nothing real about that. That’s a completely fraudulent connection. There’s nothing loyal about that. 

So I think, yeah, go about back to your question around my, my background. It, it’s a real mixer. I mean, you, I started off as a cook for a few years, which then went in as a developer. Okay. For, for around the same amount of time.

You know, I studied industrial design, so something completely unrelated. I then found myself into digital marketing on the back of the whole developer background, which kind of navigated my way into CRM and, and loyalty. And now fast forward today where, you know, I’m, I’m, I’m, the General Manager of Marketing Customer at Barbeques Galore.

So, kind of been on a bit of a journey there and, and a bit of a mixer. But, but I think it’s that kind of experience that helps you understand the different types of people and, and, you know, you see what it means to serve someone food or what it serves someone in a retail store or, you know, set someone on a holiday or whatever it might be, you know, deliver a piece of code. Or these things helps understand what, who people are and, and how they respond to things. So, yeah. 

Paula: Super nice and, and honestly like I just got such a kick outta your website, Mike, you know, just looking at Barbeques Galore like, like I think we’re all aware around the world that barbecuing is, is fun and it’s cool and all of those kind of things, but I feel like Aussies take it to a whole other level, like. Like, am I right in saying like, this is like culturally significant?

Mike:  No. There, there, there is, there’s, there’s very few parts of, of Australia are more important than a barbecue. I, I think, the, the reality is, you know, that, that, that is like ultimately like our, our kind of our, our, our purpose is around bringing people together around the flame and, and you know, we’ve been doing that for a millennia, right?

Like that’s been going on forever as humans. And I think the, the kind of barbecue is almost the symbolic flame now, especially in Australia, where, you know, you, you, the best of your moments are shared around a barbecue. You know, whether it’s christenings, birthdays, any other kind of celebrations, you know, just, just family barbecue events.

Like the best of times you will celebrate around a barbecue, and particularly here in Australia. And I think, you know, it, it, it is, it is a, it is a, it is a wonderfully exciting kind of business to be a part of, an industry to be in. And, and I think when you’re talking about things like loyalty, that’s a hell of a territory to, to explore. There’s so much rich connection to, to uncover and how we can play that. 

Paula: And that’s exactly why I was curious, Mike, because to me, a barbecue is something that maybe I buy a new one every five or 10 years. I don’t know the, the kind of average, kind of, you know, timeframe for buying, I suppose the, the kind of equipment side on the very transactional approach.

But so why is loyalty important? Surely it’s not just around buying that equipment, you know, over the life of, of a particular customer. Why do you need to focus on that loyalty piece for your customers? 

Mike: I think, I mean there’s kind of a, the multifaceted answer to that, and I think what I would say is, I mean, you’re right around seven years is the average ownership of a barbecue in, in this particular market.

So, so there’s absolutely right assumption there. You’re almost like bang in the middle but the, the point I would make is, you know, in terms of loyalty, why loyalty is so important is that we want to, we’re market leaders in the country when it comes to barbecue. So when you think of barbecue, you, you, you think of Barbeques Galore, we are very high brand recall recognition and everything else.

So we are the, we are absolutely an authority there and as leaders in the category. We want, we need to continue leading the category. And so our approach to loyalty is less about that kind of, you know, if you buy something from us, then we’ll create a loyalty, a loyal connection, and then we’ll be your friend.

This is about us in like basically saying, you know, we’re the authority and barbecuing. We want to champion barbecuing and encourage more people to barbecue more frequently. So it’s not just about purchasing from us, this is about encouraging people to engage in the, in the category, and enjoy barbecuing.

So, cause it stands to reason, simply put, I guess it, if we create more reasons to barbecue, and we attach our brand to those who do barbecue, then, you know, they will shop with us. We’ll create, you know, top of mind preference, things like that so that they come to us. So, so ultimately our loyalty program is, is it’s not insular at all.

Like most, it’s not about when you come to us, we’ll figure out ways to make sure you come back. I will say our club is very much. Built to do that as well. Yeah. But it’s not surely built for that. Our club is built in and around engagement and making sure more people are engaging with the category.

Paula: Okay. Okay. So when did you launch it? I, as I said, I love the name, the whole legends piece, and you’ll, you’ll have to explain that for us, but give us the history, like how far and how mature or immature is this program, how new is it? 

Mike: So we launched, so we launched, launched the Barbeques Legends Club about 18 months ago now. So it’s been in market for a little while. We’ve got over 170,000 members already. 

Paula: Amazing. 

Mike: And we’re really proud of the impact that we’ve given. I think it’s actually still quite immature and, and I’d challenge anyone who thinks they have a mature loyalty club because the reality is, you know, if you’re not constantly reviewing it and, and adapting it, you will be left.

And so, you know, it, it, it’s, it’s already, started off with a bang, but there’s still a lot of stuff that we want to do and more we want to deliver. But yeah, it’s been around for 18 months now. You know, as part of the Legends Club, like when someone joins the way in which we kind of encourage them to interact and engage in the community  in, into, in the category is we’ve got a, we’ve got an online community. Which is one of the most popular kind of online communities around with barbecues in the country. We’ve got 36 barbecue courses that are free that they can take part with that padded chefs and everyone talking about how to cook better. How to support, cook for groups, cook for your family, you know, learn tips and tricks from the best. 

We also run, unique experiences, so live events and unique experiences where we get people, you know, we, we put on what we call meetups and so we get people to come down and, and, you know, connect with each other in real life, but also put, put a barbecue on and, and really celebrate barbecue.

And so you can see this is all about celebration of the category. And by joining it, you know that you will, you will be the best barbecue you can. And that’s the, in essence, the Barbeque Legends Club. Right? Like this is how you become a barbecue legend. And, and the connection or the insight we gained from that is, everyone wants to be a barbecue legend, and it’s not about, you know, cooking. It doesn’t have to be cooking, you know, a a, a 24-hour brisket or something like that. It could just be cooking a couple of snags or sausages perfectly and, and, and making sure you don’t burn them, and we’re here to help you do that type thing. 

And, and so yeah, there’s no elitism. It’s, it’s very kind of welcoming and, and we’ve seen a great success on the back. And I mean, we also maintain, you know, member reward and offers and things like that.

So every week we have member only offers and things like that. Ongoing discounts for refueling and stuff like that. So, there is the immediate reward, but that’s not what we’ve hung our hats on. It’s all about trying to develop more engagement. 

Paula: Amazing. I almost don’t know where to, to pick up Mike, cause there’s so many interesting ideas in there. What I, what I first of all want to, I suppose, reflect back, and this was clearly exactly what you set out to do is avoid the temptation to copy and paste the concept of points, you know, earn and burn, all of that kind of stuff. So, cause I do think, you know, it’s very hard and I think Australia particularly, because there’s so many dominant programs that are mature, in fact.

You know, whether it’s the airline programs or whatever, I, I’m not as familiar with the retail space, but, I do think that, that there’s a certain amount of jadedness around points. So I love that you’ve managed to say, we’re gonna hang our hat on something completely different. And you know, for me, the community piece and the education, actually two of them I was gonna focus on just one.

But those two levers, if I use kind of, you know, more technical terms, to me, they’re exactly where loyalty needs to go. Like when I think about us innovating, there’s absolutely a hunger you know, for connection, which, you know, whether it’s a powerful brand like Barbeques Galore, and I think you guys have like 90 stores across Australia, am I right?

Mike: Yeah, correct.

Paula: So, amazing footprint. And obviously brand recognition as you said. So, so the brand is doing an amazing job, but yet they have this, I suppose, fun factor, which is the opportunity you have to connect with them and this level of I suppose aspiration and, and wanting to be the best barbecuer, which again, you’ve tapped into with your, your name and convention, so, I love all of that piece.

I’d love to talk first of all about the community side, Mike. How did you go about creating that? Because you know, there’s lots of different ways and I think a lot of brands listening to this show have tried and struggles, and even actually when I think about my business, like we are keen to, to nurture the Let’s Talk Loyalty community because again, we’ve got common needs, we’ve got common interests and passion. So tell us a bit about how you built your community. 

Mike: Yeah, look, I think, look, this is no easy feat, you know, in park Barbeques Galore for a moment. I think a very long time ago, you know, I, I was heavily involved with, in, in the music industry, well, building band websites and things like that and, and band websites and trying to that side.

And so there’s a bit of background I have there, which I kind of utilized. But, but what I would say is, the first thing we kind of addressed, cause the first question you kind of ask is, well, where am I going to put it? So, so, so where am I gonna house this community? And, and you know, a lot of people kind of go off and, and house this on their own, so they’ll find a platform or build their own or whatnot and come to me and, and engage on my platform.

I think the challenge you’ve gotten today’s world is that  you were fighting not just, this is park retailers and competitors for a moment. In terms of awareness, you were fighting a lot of people for a moment of someone’s awareness. And yeah, again, the park loyalty as a marketer in general, that is the number one challenge.

You know, when you are trying to get your brand out there, it’s not just competitors you’ve gotta fight. It’s all the distractions that go with it. And so, you know, if you are standing up your own platform in your own area to do this, you’re asking a lot of someone, you’re asking them to add that into their mix.

So you know, you, they’ve gotta do something else in their day to engage with you. So if they’re not highly engaged, they’re not gonna do that. And the reality is brands don’t have an army of highly engaged people. They have a small amount of them. And that’s how it should be.

That that’s fine. That’s what it is. But, and so that, that’s the kind of first decision you kind of have to make. And sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. In our instance, we felt we didn’t want to go down that path, and so, quite frankly, we started up a Facebook group. You know, people use Facebook in Australia in particular.

The, the, the usage of Facebook in Australia is still quite high. I know it’s, it’s kind of contracting in other countries and particularly across certain demographics for our demographic, it’s still quite strong. And so the usage of Facebook is, it’s natural, you know, you use it all the time.

Further than that, what works really well is Facebook likes to reward businesses with groups and so forth. In fact, they like content from groups. Cause if you’re, if you’re attached to a group, it’ll prioritize that content in its algorithms and stuff when it’s feeding it out to customers. And so, you know, there was a huge, huge benefit there by, on tooth side.

It’s where they are every day anyway. So they’re gonna be there every day. And in terms of prioritization, it’s going to send them out the content, not just ours, but other people within that group. And so we’ve seen great success there where, you know, we’ve got nearly 14,000 members in that community now.

But over 95% of them are active every day. And so, you’ve got an excellent, excellent mix there. And, and, and, and it doesn’t need to be a group that has hundreds of thousands of people in there. This is the most loyalty group, the most loyal of your customers. And, and, andto have 14,000 in there today, you know, we’ll continue growing that.

That’s a, that’s a really exciting feat. And the way we, we use that, we kind of take a step back. Like again, this is, this is less about Barbeques Galore and more about barbecues. And so, you know, we, we, there will help facilitate conversation here and there, but by large it, it moves at its own pace. You know, we’ll moderate it when we need to and everything else. 

But the, the reality is we get people in there posting competitor stuff, competitor products, things like that. We don’t, we don’t, we don’t moderate that. You know, we accept that we, we, we, we enjoy seeing it because that person’s celebrating barbecue and, and if we can be a part of their journey now, our hope is that we’ll be a part of their future journey when they go to buy something else. So, it’s, it’s, that’s, that’s our kind of approach to how we stand up the community. 

Paula: I love that. And, and actually, you know, when I think about again, how rarely this is done well, which I can hear, it is actually working really well for you guys. It is when the brand recognizes, you know, where it, where it belongs and where it doesn’t belong. 

So as you said, you can’t interfere in the conversation if it feels commercially sensitive. Like, and, and a lot of brands I think really struggle with, with kind of accepting that at the very beginning. I can see that’s something that totally resonates. So, you know, was there nervousness at the beginning, Mike, in terms of saying, you know, this is not gonna be something course.

Mike: No, no, of course. Especially like to the point you said, like, you know, if there’s has product in there that’s not ours. Absolutely. You know, and, and again, we know, I think look at, at the end of the day, we, we have a, a very supportive direction, for the business here and what we’re doing, and we believe in what we’re doing.

So it, it’s, it’s, it’s not, their nervousness exists, but I, I don’t think the concern does, if that makes sense. So.

Paula: Well I think what it sounds like, Mike, and, and correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like the vision is so clear in terms of the focus on the category rather than the focus on you know, Barbeques Galore, obviously as a retailer specifically that, that you have to accept and facilitate that because at the end of the day, as you said, you’re, you’re looking to grow overall love of an experience of a behavior, of something that you just want people to do more and more.

But actually it’s an indirect route to driving loyalty to Barbeques Galore. So I think that’s been accepted along the way and, and probably a good insight for everybody listening to kind of go, okay, yeah, that’s why we need to be fair to the community. 

The other piece I really love about your loyalty program is this, I suppose, entire approach to use education as, I suppose, the kind of core benefit. So where did this idea come from and do tell us actually how you do it. Cause I think it’s super cool. It seems like you almost have the, the influencers of barbecue land, as part of Barbeques Galore and Barbeques Legends. So, so tell us about the education proposition. 

Mike: Yeah, look, I think, look, the whole education side at the end of the day came out of a really simple insight, and that was this insight that everybody wants to barbecue better. And so it doesn’t, that doesn’t mean they wanna be the best. It just might be a little, it could be a little bit better, but they wanna barbecue better. And so, you know, our brand is there to help them do it, but what can we do to help them is give them the tips, tricks, and everything else that goes with it.

So from an education perspective, there’s kind of, you know, two prongs. It’s like, well, people love learning from each other and others. And so you know what better place to learn than from your peers. And that’s the role the community plays and plays really well. But then on the other side, as the authority on barbecues, which I touched on earlier, what can we give? And so we kind of, we played with a bit of a view on like, could we do this barbecue academy and you know, barbecue university and all of this sort of stuff. And it was all fun and exciting, but, It’s suddenly become a little bit elitism and sounding tough. And at the end of the day, it was like, how can we just give snackable content and great content that people can watch, watch quickly, that’s gonna give them tips and tricks to barbecue better?

And so from an education set, we kind of enlisted the help of barbecue royalty in the country. And so the, the best part of what we’ve bought on is, it’s, they, they, they, they appeal to a very different kind of type of barbecue or do type of customer, right? 

And, and so, you know, we bought on Adam Roberts who is, you know, what the most decorated pitmaster in the country. And so he was then to really influence and support and create those educational videos for, for budding pitmasters, but people who just wanted to get into that low and slow solid fuel type of barbecuing. 

And then, In terms of the other side, we enlisted the help of the grill sisters, Irene and Desi, and they take this really casual approach to barbecuing and, and, you know, easy to cook meals, you know how to get away with it. Just something simple that becomes amazing. 

And then on the other side, you’ve got Josh Mason, who is the, the, he’s the headed chef. You know, he’s an absolute guru when it comes to food. And, he’s there to kind of, if you wanna impress your kind of guests and, and take that, that steak to all new heights and not just a little bit, but make the best steak. He’s, you kind of listened to.

And so it kind of, we created content that appealed to everyone and, and you don’t have to do ’em all. You don’t have to do any, but they’re there if you want to use it. They’ll help barbecue better so.

Paula: Amazing. And yeah, I mean, I suppose the, the whole idea of using influencers is something I generally cringe because I think of Kardashians and, you know, all that kind of like weird stuff, which just feels, you know, again weird.

But, but the fact that you’ve got like credible people who are teaching inspiring, even the sisters, again, looking on your website, you know, just to kind of see the style. You know, I, I, they would be the ones that I would relate to. For example, if I was to, to go and get myself, you know, set up and, and, and if I was in, in, in the market and looking to build my barbecue skills.

I don’t even cook really at the kitchen, Mike, so I have to confess this is, something that’s definitely not in my comfort zone. But again, you’re making it fun. You’re making the community piece. You’re giving me what I need in very accessible, and I love that word snackable as well, Mike, because as you know, like we are in the content creation business and at the end of the day, people listen to our show for professional reasons, which is totally different to how they consume your content.

So I think it’s super important both from a social media perspective, but also just the inspiration piece to make sure people have, again, the recipes. Did I see that you send recipes every day? It seems to be like an amazing amount of content. 

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean, we have, we have an absolute heap of recipes that we put out constantly and, and I think the, the benefit, that’s the benefit of the community, right?

The community shares this. They, they share their own tips, tricks. The grill sisters do. Josh does. Adam does. So, so, yeah, we do. So, so there’s, there is no shortage of people to do it. And I think beyond those three core ambassadors, or four ambassadors I should say. Sorry. They, you know, there’s a, a, a number of other partners that we work with in this space who keep contributing to that as well. And so I think you talk about like, yeah, the whole kind of influencer.

Well, the point here is this is less about finding someone with a big following and everything else. This is about someone with finding, finding somebody who has the same values that we do when it comes to barbecuing. And they have the same motivations that we do in growing the category.

If that’s their motivation, then we’ll partner with them. You know, that that’s great partnership and, and so you know, when you’ve got that kind of alignment, suddenly when it comes to education, magically people wanna listen because there’s, there’s a, there’s, there’s, there’s a, there’s an authenticity about what you’re doing.

Paula: Totally. Yeah. I use the word integrity a lot, Mike, because that I think is something, and, and it’s not something that, that you know, that people know instinctively, whether that is the motivation, you know, because somebody might say, that’s my motivation. But if that’s how they behave, there really is a, a palpable way, I think, where people, especially whether it’s loyalty programs or content people know the motivation behind it so people know I’m not on this show talking about loyalty just because it’s a whatever. It’s, it’s something that I geek out about. So, so that’s where I get the, the buzz from and, and clearly you guys do as well. 

The final piece I wanted to ask you about, Mike is, you know, I suppose I talked to you, I suppose, all fair about the values of our show, and it is about education, which we’ve just talked about, and inspiration, but also innovation.

It’s something that I think our industry is, is crying out for, and you guys were actually recognized as Innovation Champion of the Year. So wanted to acknowledge that, you know, the Australian retail landscape is, I’m sure intensely competitive, so to be recognized for innovation and retail I think is something that you must be incredibly proud of.

Was that directly for the Barbeque Legends Club or was it for the, the core business? Or love to understand, you know, just where the innovation piece came from., 

Mike: Yeah I look the, the, the award was, was for the Legends Club and, and, and the, the use of data to build it, more, more specifically. But, I think, I mean, for us at Barbeques Galore, the innovation is, is a core principle here.

You know, we’ve been innovating the, the, the backyard barbecue for, for over 45 years now. And, and, and so, you know, starting off in humble beginnings in a garage to 90 plus stores around the country now is an incredible story. And so innovation’s something that we hold proud to and really dear.

And we have a number of products that we’ve released with many innovative features and so, for us, it’s not just about the products and how we innovate, it’s about how we innovate in general and, and really pushing that. And so, you know, I think our approach to loyalty was never going to be anything different.

We were always going to look to innovate loyalty. And towards something unique for our customers. And I think I kind of said it at the start where I said, you know, one of the disappointing things of the world of loyalty now is this kind of copy paste set like way of thinking or. And I, I think it’s driven by.

There’s 1,000,001 different platforms and systems and everything you can use. And so, you know, immediately the way people build this is very insular. You know, they’ll start off with a, with a target of saying, oh, I need to drive X amount of sales from my loyalty club. Or you know, the percentage of mix of my purchases, overall sales overall needs to be this from loyalty members and things like that. 

And, and I think if you are posing those questions up front, you, you are going to build a loyalty club for you and not for your customers. And, and, and, and then that absolutely goes off and use a platform. You build all this stuff, you get all this CapEx raised and you go ahead and you do it. And then, you know, you’re standing there with a bit of an empty shell.

So I think for us innovating was, was, is kind of a bit of a basic kind of view here. And, and this is about saying, well, just understanding our customer. And so we won the award based on our data. And so instead of, instead of the, the problem being I need to build a loyalty club. That wasn’t the problem. Cause there are 1,000,001 ways to deliver loyalty and a loyalty club is one. And so the question was how do we show more loyalty to our customers? And what do we do? And, and, and so the research piece was geared around, you know, what are our, what are the core motivations for our customers when making decisions? So what is it that makes them make a decision and why?

 And you know, I think earlier on as well, used the example around flight, you know, flight, flight programs and things like this. You know, they’re excellent. I don’t particularly like reward systems, but they are perfect for what you need there.

You know, like, like that is you know, in terms of what you expect as a, as a corporate traveler, cause that’s the vast majority of people in those programs. Y You, you do, you do enjoy status difference. You know, you go to the lounge, sit down, you enjoy that. That works really well. That’s the motivation for your customer. 

That’s not the motivation for our customer. I’ve touched on it earlier on, the motivation for our customer is barbecuing better? So if we go out and roll out a point system. That’s not gonna help the barbecue better at all. 

Paula: Yeah. Totally.

Mike: So it doesn’t make sense. 

Paula: Yeah, totally. And actually you reminded me, first of all, the tagline on, on your LinkedIn page, now you’re cooking. I just thought it’s s so perfect and, and I admire copy so much. You know, I think again, it’s, it drives people to feel loyal when they see something super clever like that. And actually I had to Google it because I’m just like going as a cliche, does it kind of apply universally? And it’s a very dry definition, so you’ll have to forgive me, but it says the subject has switched to a more suitable or more efficient approach. And I’m like going, oh, that’s hilarious, but now your cooking is perfect. 

And, and I also saw, you mentioned it earlier and it made me smile meetups and on your website it’s spelt m e a t like meetups. But I’m like, that’s so clever. 

Mike: Yeah. Yeah.  Well, we, we, we have fun. You know, we’re a fun here.

Paula: I can tell, I can tell. Listen, it’s been a wonderful experience talking with you Mike, learning from you. I really hope we can stay in contact. You know, it’s amazing how quickly time flies by. So if it’s okay with you, we’ll we’ll plan to stay in touch and talk again about Barbeque Legends, in, in the months and years to come.

So that’s all the questions I have from my side. Is there anything else you wanted to mention before we wrap up? 

Mike: No, no. Look, it’s been an absolute pleasure to, to, to finally be on here and join you. I think it’s been a little bit of a time coming, but, I enjoyed the time and enjoyed the chat, and I think my, my general shout out to everyone would be, you know, if you, you know.

Yep we’re based down here in Australia, but you’ve got a worldwide audience. If you want to, you know, be better at barbecuing, then you gotta join the Barbeque Legends Club. 

Paula: Amazing. Great. Well said. On that note, Mike Ainsworth, General Manager of Marketing and Customer at Barbeques Galore. Thank you so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty. 

Mike:  Thank you.

Paula: This show is sponsored by the Wise Marketer. The world’s most popular source of loyalty, marketing, news, insights, and research. The Wise Marketer also offers loyalty marketing training through its loyalty Academy, which is already certified over 500 executives in 38 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals.

For more information, check out thewisemarketer.com and loyaltyacademy.org.

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