Leveraging social media to compete with the big boys

Phil Scardigno is Managing Director and Owner of Axis Manufacture, Gripset Industries and Monstashop. He believes social media is key to marketing, brand awareness, growth and taking risks in developing new products.

Scardigno recently launched monstashop.com, a direct channel for weekend warriors and professionals within the building and construction industry to purchase items of the internet and be delivered to their door with a hassle-free approach that includes an after-sales support call centre.

He uses social media as a marketing tool on Instagram and Facebook, and also leverages his personal brand across LinkedIn, Twitter and PhilScar.

“SMEs should be utilising social media for their business marketing and their personal brand as this increases your brand strength for customers being driven to your website by business marketing and personal branding,” Scardigno told me. “This has been successful for me and is an area I am increasingly involved in as the internet is the future for businesses and individuals. Consumers are spending more than half of their day their smart phones.”

Monstashop is the online shopping website for Axis from which DIY enthusiasts and businesses can order Monsta products and have them delivered to their home or business. It evolved from the fact that competition from the major DYI businesses made his business unviable in terms of the products he stocked, their volume and price point.

“We were at the mercy of the retailer,” Scardigno explained.”We’d developed a range of new products in our R&D labs ready to bring to market but I was told ‘no thanks, we are not interested’. He launched Monstashop in mid-2016 to get these products an outlet.

Agility, diversity and taking challenges on will create a sustainable business. Taking risks isn’t east but worth it in the long term, in whatever industry you work in.

“What’s the worst thing that can happen?”, Scardigno asks. “It doesn’t work out, you learn the hard lessons and move on. I am not saying put all your eggs in one basket in business but test the waters and invest your time and money in your passion with no regrets.

“Small business especially is about test, edit, test, edit, test edit until you find the right combination for success.”

Scardigno focuses on green, innovative and high-quality products.

“We don’t believe you have to be the cheapest to be competitive with consumers,” he told me. “Rather, our ethos is great products at a great price. We are not the dearest, nor are we the cheapest, products in the ranges we supply to store or on the internet. Our delivery model allows us to bring to market our complete catalogue of current and new products at a price point that keeps us competitive and relevant in today’s DIY and building industry.

He believes that SMEs need to utilise technology and social media to gain an edge on the corporates.

“Social media and the internet have enabled us to become great marketers and be adaptable promoting our brands online across various platforms,” Scardigno said.

“If the Managing Director or proprietor are up for it, and have the ability to do so, building the personal brand is important in guiding potential customers to your product brands and giving them ‘believability’. This is a major hack opportunity for small businesses competing against larger ones.”

He stresses that if the head of the company can’t do that, serious thought needs to be given to engaging someone whose personal brand the public will to connect with.

“I believe getting the consumer to want to deal with you is won in the space of personal brands associated with a product or service,” Scardigno told me.

Ryan Z. Makris, Founder, Service Desk Coaching

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