The Altar Electric
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Good Life Marketing

The Altar Electric

Small business – Alternative registry wedding services

Collingwood, Melbourne

Marketing Consulting
Product Offering Analysis

High voltage small wedding business

The Altar Electric is a vegas-style registry wedding service for alternative couples in Melbourne. 

This hip chapel in the heart of the city offers low fuss weddings with all the glitz and excitement of a full-scale shebang. An alternative to the high $ spend of ordinary weddings, or the snoozefest of typical registry weddings.

The Altar Electric is the lovechild of three fabulous marriage celebrants –  Anthony Cribbes, Marry Me Dee & Mrs Hitch. Their audacious approach to filling an industry gap between high $ spend ordinary weddings and the snoozefest of typical registry weddings matches our ‘do good work’ philosophy.

So we jumped at the chance to help them get clear on their goals and burst forward in the right direction. We worked with founder Marry Me Dee, and here’s what she had to say after consulting with us:

Getting clear about the future

“Our biggest challenge was having clarity as to what The Altar Electric actually was. We’d started the business and things were moving along, but it was unclear as to where we were going.”

All three founders are active go-getters, involved in multiple ventures including their own celebrancy services. We settled in with a G&T and got to the heart of business.

“We’d been running the business for just over 12 months, and we kinda knew what The Altar Electric was but then we went off on different tangents not quite sure what the next step was.”

When the focus of a small business gets unclear, the best approach is to pull right back to the basics, and hone in slowly. From here, we can spot the roadblocks, sidetracks and misleading signs that drag small businesses away from their core direction.

“Your first question when I asked for feedback was ‘What is The Altar Electric at the moment?’ and I said it’s registry weddings. They’re Vegas style weddings, they go for 8 minutes, they have 30 guests.”

When opportunity comes a knockin'

It was clear that The Altar Electric was built around short’n’sweet weddings. But there was a missed opportunity here.

“Couples were enquiring and saying ‘We love the concept, and want to get married there, but we’ve got 60 guests. And we want to have food and drink and stay for a while’. And our response was, oh.. um.. there’s no way that many people could fit in our current venue.”

We dug further. Turns out Altar Elec. had just undergone a ‘bigger and better’ venue change. And was keen for bigger weddings. So the new response should’ve been “of course!” 

But amidst all the commotion, and the accumulating workload, the pathways just weren’t clearing up.

“School House Studio where we now operate from was always keen to have weddings and functions. We were really missing an opportunity here.” 

The Altar Electric launched with a blast last year

As smart as they are good looking

The Altar Electric peeps are no small business newbies. With backgrounds in sales, marketing and IT, they launched their tiny business in a massive burst of press releases, industry events and publicity stunts that rocked the industry.

But as anyone deep in the throes of running their own biz knows, it gets hard to see the forest for the trees.

“We were like fuck, where do we go from here? We don’t really know how to do this.

It was mostly just talking amongst ourselves as a business, and we were just saying yes, let’s do it. Everyone said yeah we can do it.

We were just saying yes, we can do that, but we didn’t have any actual structure or any reasoning behind what we were offering.”

Breaking down the service offering

We asked some probing questions, and found that The Altar Electric were stuck on how to price and package their new services.

“Sarah said ‘Let’s start from scratch. Vegas style weddings? What would it cost for a couple to arrange a Vegas wedding?’ And together we worked out flights, accom, food, the actual wedding, spending money, clothes, and we came up with a figure.”

We could see that the core of The Altar Electric was always going to be competitively priced weddings for couples who don’t want the full $30-65K shebang. 

But what we could also see was this – while the team had smashed boring registry weddings out of the playing field, they were leaving a massive industry gap in services worth $7,500 – $25,000 – services that they could not only deliver on, but absolutely blow people away with.

“So now we could offer them more within that experience. It’s not too confusing, people have a nice simple choice. We were just unclear with what that might look like.

She put it in really practical plain terms. It was in plain sight, but nobody could see it but her.”

Lions and tigers and strategic plans, oh my!

Sarah, the resident marketing consultant here at Good Life Marketing is cursed with critical eyes. She is a sicko who gets excited when she finds problems in small businesses. She revels in creating strategic contingency plans. Thankfully, our friends at The Altar Electric were all for this kind of critical exploration.

“There were niggling questions that didn’t have solutions. What happens if the vendors we’ve promised are booked on those days? After I spoke to Sarah and we had a better idea of what these weddings would look like, I set in motion a plan to make sure we could guarantee the weddings we were looking to book.

And these vendors we were talking with, we couldn’t give them any guidance because we didn’t really know how this would go. The vendors needed clarity, and not being able to offer them clarity was another layer of stress.

We didn’t want to look unprofessional, or like a bunch of dickheads.

That’s where you guys come in. After I spoke to Sarah, she helped me see things so clearly.”

Celebrant rockstar and co-founder Anthony Cribbes of The Altar Electric

Complimentary thought translation services

It’s pretty normal for small business owners to be in a state of confusion. Running your own business is incredibly insular. Sometimes, before you can turn your words into action, you need a translator.

“Sarah thinks outside the box, but inside the box. She thinks that little bit left of centre, and somehow she bypasses all the… urgh, I don’t know how to describe it!

I must have confused her with all my fluff and jumping from thought to thought. She got past that and managed to hear what I actually needed. 

To do that is pretty special. I had no idea what I was talking about, I couldn’t actually “word” what it was that I was after.” 

“I don’t have to be some strategic marketing genius. You speak in terms that are just so simple and easy. Oh my god. It just made sense.”

Marry Me Dee, Founder of The Altar Electric

Pricing and packaging

To address the gap in the market, we helped The Altar Electric put together flexible service packages that made sense for their brand and customers.

“Sarah was just so incredibly practical in the way she went about showing me what it was I didn’t know. I didn’t know what it was or what it was meant to be. 

Rather than plucking a figure out my arse, and saying, oh I don’t know, we could do them for… um..? She actually showed me along the way.”

Now, instead than turning away business, Altar Elec. is able to give them what they want, at a fabulous price, and they’re feeling pretty darn good about it.

“Now that we’ve had your sound advice, it just makes me so confident. We had a strong brand. We had to make that really clear to our consumer. It was clarifying our business. 

It makes things so much easier to deal with. I don’t have to be some strategic marketing genius. You speaks in terms that are just so simple and easy. Oh my god. It just made sense.” 

Clarity is just around the corner

“Right from the very beginning. When she asked me, ‘What is The Altar Electric?’ It was the best question ever. In our discussion, I realised, oh, this is what it is!

You always think you’ve gotta think in this way that is so strategic and complex. At the end of the day she’s so clever at keeping things really, really simple.

But unless you’ve got a plan and structure by someone like Sarah, you just can’t do all the other stuff.”

# of sessions with GLM
Service value increase

Post-consult feels

“Sarah is very concise in the way she walks you through everything that she’s thinking. I know that she has a great head for a) business and b) and getting the best out of you. You feel like you’re taking that journey next to her. 

She’s not just dictating what needs to be done. She explains how she comes up with each little step and each little thought. 

It just makes it so much easier to digest, because you’ve seen how she arrives at it. It demystifies some of the scarier parts of business.”

The Altar Electric have gone from strength to strength, and we’ve been so happy to help them on their path to success and world wedding domination. We’re super excited to see where these three smart cookies head next.

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