When I finished university 15 years ago, there were little to no opportunities to work in marketing here on the Sunshine Coast. Most people left for Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne in pursuit of their professional careers.
The Sunshine Coast has changed significantly over the past 10 years, and since the election of our current Mayor in 2012, the change in its economic direction has had a positive flow-on effect for everyone who resides here.
We have been lucky enough to experience strong population growth, a booming property market, and an ever-increase in business opportunities. And, because of this, we are now attracting more talent than ever before.
So, with that in mind, it’s about time we shift the perception that the best digital agencies are located in the big smokes. And trust me, in my past life as a Marketing Manager, I thought the same, until it backfired.
What I know is that working with an agency that is close to you has its benefits.
There is nothing worse than when something goes wrong and you can't be in front of someone to work it out ASAP. As someone with a high sense of urgency, I am a big believer in keeping those who you rely on, close in proximity. Supporting each other is what builds great, long-term relationships and at the end of the day generates great results.
Not one week goes by without Brendan (Our Managing Director, and my husband) turning to me and saying, 'Oh, I saw X in the surf. He's coming into the office this week to talk about Y'. Nothing screams the Sunshine Coast more than knowing someone from the surf, from the local coffee shop, or a past working relationship.
Relationships on the Sunshine Coast are forged over time and through mutual connections. Whilst it's a large regional location, word travels fast if someone does the wrong thing, and a referral from someone you know can always be obtained.
I mentioned in my past Marketing Manager life that I made the mistake of hiring a digital agency located in Brisbane because I thought they knew more. I was wrong. While city slicker agencies may sit pretty, is their team actually even in Australia? Do they have specialised certified media buyers? It's ever more important to find a partner agency that has the genuine in-house talent you can rely on to get the job done, and done well.
While our team aren't all Sunshine Coast-born, they've flocked from not just Australia but abroad to now find themselves at the AF HQ. It's important to note that in today's circumstances, talent is not bound by geographical location.
With a variety of agencies, contractors, and freelancers around, I can guarantee you that the talent you need to help your business is here on the Sunshine Coast. And, although I am a little biased, I think our team is some of the best around.
April Ford is now a combination of the specialisation and quality of a large agency and the personalised, client-centred care of a small agency. Although we can check the surf break from our office window and we sometimes find ourselves having a client catchup mid-wave, AF uses the most advanced software and technology to stay innovative, transparent and efficient.
Being based on the Sunshine Coast is an advantage that keeps our feet firmly on the ground and our goals in check with what our clients value most.