193 – A masterful lesson in how to successfully disrupt your industry with quantum physicist turned entrepreneur Dr. Elaine Saunders of Blamey Saunders hears.

193 – A masterful lesson in how to successfully disrupt your industry with quantum physicist turned entrepreneur Dr. Elaine Saunders of Blamey Saunders hears.

It’s not every day that a successful quantum physicist decides to pack it all in and launch an online hearing aid business, but that’s exactly what Dr. Elaine Saunders did. And since launch just a couple of years ago, the business has skyrocketed, disrupting the entire hearing aid industry along the way.

Not only is Blamey Saunders hears the only custom fitted online hearing aid business out there – it has bucked a heap of business trends in the process. Elaine has successfully got older people buying hearing aids online – so NO more excuses about your client base not being on the web. AND she sells hearing aids at the $3k mark, proving that an online business selling high value products is totally viable.

In my chat with Elaine, she also shares a tonne of marketing GOLD from how get television exposure from day one, through to the benefits of keeping chummy with a tight network of journalists. Let’s get stuck into it, small business owners.


In this session of Small Business Big Marketing, you’ll discover:

  • How Dr. Elaine Saunders bucked the trend to create a successful online business with many older clients.
  • Why Elaine chooses to keep a tight network of journalists informed with company and industry trends.
  • How Blamey Saunders hears managed to acquire major television coverage right from launch.
  • Why Elaine and her business partner decided to take care of the website development, the storefront for their business, by themselves.
  • How positive customer testimonials give Elaine and her team the motivational boost they need to keep going.
  • Why Elaine looks to Richard Branson and the Virgin brand for inspiration with her own company.
  • How Blamey Saunders hears can offer custom hearing aid solutions at a quarter of the price of competitors in the market.
  • Why Blamey Saunders hears might have some work to do on their product naming.
  • How Elaine felt about her husband staying at home with the kids while she launched a successful business.

Episode Timeline

  • 1.30 An update on the 200th episode of the Small Business Big Marketing podcast
  • 3.00 Make sure that you sign up to NetRegistry’s online marketing workshop, happening in Melbourne at a cost of only $49.
  • 4.00 Introducing this week’s guest, Dr Elaine Sanders, one of the founders of the only custom fitting hearing aid business online, Blamey Saunders hears.
  • 7.00 Dr Elaine talks about identifying the need for a more cost effective and accessible hearing aid solution.
  • 9.00 Elaine and I talk about the myth that online businesses cannot work with an older client base.
  • 16.30 How Elaine sold the science story behind the hearing aid, which was picked up by major TV stations right at launch.
  • 17.30 Why Elaine’s husband stays at home with the kids, while Elaine focuses on business.
  • 24.00 Elaine talks testimonials and the motivation she gets from positive customer feedback.
  • 25.30 I challenge Elaine on her product naming strategy.
  • 27.20 How the website, the hub for all Blamey Saunders hears  purchases, came into being.
  • 29.00 I talk publicity with Dr Elaine.
  • 35.00 The future of Blamey Saunders hears marketing initiatives – PR and social media.
  • 40.00 Sort out your business’ small design fixes with Swiftly.com.
  • 41.00 My top marketing akeaways from chatting with Elaine.

Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode


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Over to you!

Let us know YOUR key takeaways from this episode by leaving a comment below. I personally read and respond to every comment!

9 thoughts on “193 – A masterful lesson in how to successfully disrupt your industry with quantum physicist turned entrepreneur Dr. Elaine Saunders of Blamey Saunders hears.”

  1. David Kidston

    It is certainly a falicy that older people are not online. The other night I was sitting on the couch when my phone rings, it was my 76 yo mother calling me through facebook. I, my self would say I am very tech savy and early adopter. I had never had any other friends use this feature through facebook.

  2. thefatbadger

    David, both my parents, in their late 70’s, have iPads and its often difficult to get my mothers full attention when paying a visit due to some new game or app that she found that week!

  3. thefatbadger

    It’s always great to hear from escapees! It’s inspiring to hear that Elaine and her business partner plotted their escapee over many years and had the drive and passion to stay the course.
    Timbo you mentioned that you are seeing/hearing the businesses advertising all over the place at the moment….it’s often the case that what appears to be an overnight success was actually 10 years or so in the making.

    Pleasing to know that their are employers out there that are ok with, even encouraging of, their employees pursuing outside interests.

    An important take-out from the interview was that what would not seem like a logical product to sell online appears to be performing extremely well. Perhaps the fact that the alternatives, $10K upwards for other product offerings, reduces the perceived risk of the purchase at only $2000 to $3500?

    On a different note….I’m feeling somewhat deflated on hearing the news that the live 200th show is not going ahead. After the previous updates on the 200th I was keenly awaiting the final confirmation of venue/price etc ready to book my flight for the 14th….lucky I didn’t.
    While I understand your rationale, I’m remain disappointed. But don’t worry, I’m sure you’ve got some cracking interviews coming up to make it up to your loyal listeners.

  4. Hi Timbo,

    Just finished listening to this episode while driving home.

    Ummm, not sure about this one. I’m definitely glad you interviewed her because I too have been hearing about them heaps on the radio. I guess that is maybe why I’m a bit deflated by it as I was expecting more from her, but I don’t know if I really got much out of it.

    The points of interest for me was they are spending a fair bit on radio, but they are having trouble measuring what impact they are having from that. You would wonder if you could try offering an incentive or using a different landing page or different phone number or something to those who got in contact with them from hearing the ad on the radio this way they could try and measure it a bit better. Although I am guessing it is more of an awareness campaign rather than trying to get a direct sale.

    At the start you mentioned something along the lines that are they concerned that they could be missing out on a large percentage of the market by not having a show room or similar (I can’t remember your exact word) and she said it was about getting the product out to as many as possible and it would be too hard to have stores everywhere. But then later on in the interview she said that her husband is building sound proof rooms for them at their Melbourne store, so hang on are they going to be moving to the shopfront style in the future?

    Also can I question you on your number 2 take away from the interview? Maybe I should ask you this question within the forum because that is where this kind of discussion happens and I can get others opinions that way, but I’m here now so I will keep going with it. Is sending information to one reporter once a week really the best way to go about trying to get in the newspaper? They would get articles every day from people and I’m guessing they would probably just skim through them and then delete them. Wouldn’t you be better off going through something like Source Bottle or similar, or even reducing some of the money on radio if cash flow is tight and giving a little to a PR expert?

    And yes at least they are doing something so even if it is not the best way it is still better than nothing, but if this was your business which way would you go with the PR aspect? I’m curious because I think PR is a whole other angle that I could look at for my own business.



  5. Great feedback, Ben. Don’t agree with it all, but great feedback nonetheless.

    Funnily enough, I was pumped when I hung up from Dr Elaine. I thought she gave some great marketing insights in to how to seriously disrupt an industry. And she is certainly willing to have a go.

    Re the PR, I think a mix of what she’s doing and what you’re suggesting is best. I see nothing wrong with wooing journos over an extended period of time – I think it’s smart and let’s them get to know you and pouts you on their radar.

    Source Bottle is also an excellent strategy.

    Love your work, Ben.

  6. Yep, love a cubicle escapee story, Fat Badger. #Inspiring

    Re the 200th – wow, lucky you didn’t book that flight. We might have had to catch up anyway!

    Yeah, look I’m disappointed as well, however, life’s busy at the moment and I’m working hard to take off December and January, so when the work comes along, I take it.

    There’s a live event some time in the future, I have no doubt. Just not sure when. Stay tooooned!

  7. Hi Tim, thank you for this episode. I love hearing from entrepreneurial scientists. They are stepping out into the world and sharing their deeper knowledge with the wider community. Of course this will also influence their approach to marketing.

    On another note, your link to the Netregistery event in Melbourne brings up the Eventbrite page for the Sydney event. I’m glad I read the small print 🙂

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