280 – Australia’s largest party supply retailer shares his top 3 critical marketing success factors

280 – Australia’s largest party supply retailer shares his top 3 critical marketing success factors

It’s time to party people, ‘cause I’m speaking to the Chief Party Dude from The Party People … who sell a party supply every 9-seconds. [Insert party blower SFX ;-]

Today’s guest is Dean Salakas, owner of the third generation family business and Australia’s largest retailer of party supplies. Check this for some stats … they:

  • Sell 15,000+ lines
  • Have serviced 545,000+ parties
  • Have sold 4.6 million party supplies
  • And take an order every 9-seconds

In this fun and candid fireside chat, Dean shares:

  • The pros & cons of running a family business
  • What he learnt from being on Shark Tank
  • His top 3 critical marketing success factors

Plus I share an inspirational marketing quote dating back to 450BC.

Yep, another big episode of Australia’s best marketing podcast. Let’s go!



00:29  Welcome & overview
02:51  Time for a check-in on the week
04:06  Today’s guest introduction – Dean Salakas
07:10  Interview with Dean Salakas – Part 1
20:07  Insights in to 99Designs & Netregistry
22:17  Interview with Dean Salakas – Part 2
44:24  My top 3 marketing learnings from my chat with Dean Salakas
46:58  Motivational marketing quote of the week
47:16  Wrap-up and insights in to next week’s guests



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The Party People’s official website

Dean Salakas on Twitter

My two previous Shark Tank guests:

Scott Boocock from HEGS

Travis Osborne from Mobile Tyre Service

Interview with SEO expert Rand Fishkin







  1. Be agile – be willing to try new things.
  2. Work to an uncapped marketing budget.
  3. Optimise your website.




“Tell me and I will forget.
Show me and I may remember.
Involve me and I will understand.”

Confucius 450 BC.




What was your biggest marketing learning or ah-ha moment from this episode?

Leave your comment below.

My guest and I respond to each and every comment.


13 thoughts on “280 – Australia’s largest party supply retailer shares his top 3 critical marketing success factors”

  1. Timbo, great interview on the mis-understood politics of running a family business and how regular meetings and having it out can be a smart play. Also the take aways from Deans time on Shark Tank, especially the q: what would your ROI be on a newly opened store? Another of one of my fav’s is: what will break first when we 10x your business? You can get comfortable just looking at top line, bottom line and the bank balance but its these strategic views in the future that can dictate your success. Cheers Brad

  2. First off…I had to go check and see if you were right about the decade for Bust-a-Move? Yep. 1989. Nice call.
    Second, i’m with Dean on the whole trackability of blogging. I am not sure of the ROI is there for daily blogging. I think you’re far better off doing once a week or once a month but doing a really good post with lots of external links and solid content. Most logs I’ve seen and blogs I’ve done just been all talk and no real meat. It’s really hard to get a really deep with it. Well I’m a huge believer in content creation and helpful marketing I think we can get lost in it. And I think a lot of small business owners confuse working on that kind of marketing with being productive. Sometimes it’s better to just pick up the phone or meet someone vs. spending a couple hours on the computer typing content. Trackability is key.
    My take away from Dean was that he is the total embodiment of his brand. He owns it well.

  3. Let’s agree to disagree, Nicko. I think some from of helpful content creation (blog, podcast, video etc) on a regular basis (not necessarily daily) is important. And I’m more for internal linking than external – keep ’em on your site, me thinks. I’m also a big proponent of picking up the blower (phone ;0), meeting over coffee, attending events and all those other wonderful marketing activities, that when combined, make for a formidable mix. Oh, and I agree, Dean is the living embodiment of his brand – he certainly loves to bust a move.

  4. You’re doing OK, Chris. Just be sure to place yourself in the top 1% of small business owners that do regularly (weekly) allocate quality time to their marketing. It’s a wining formula. Where do I get the great guests? Sometimes they find me? Other times my marketing radar kicks in and starts beeping crazily!

  5. hmmm, Nick, even you mate J would have to disagree with you on the blogging point. He can show a clear spike and upward trend in his Google rankings from when they weren’t blogging to when they started blogging several times a day.

    I do agree with you, depending on you business model (like yours and mine) picking up the phone is probably more effective than sitting on the computer typing up a blog. But in Dean’s case I reckon they wouldn’t get that many return customers so spending the time on the computer blogging and doing everything else they are doing is probably more effective.

  6. Timbo, great work, loved this show. Dean was great, he sounded down to earth and very relatable. Sounds like the sort of guy you could just catch up with for a drink and talk business and everything else under the sun.

    70% of his time spent on marketing, wow, I think i did nearly all off my chair when he said that. How cool would that be that one day I could get the business to a stage where I can spent 70% of my time in it working on the marketing of it.

    I never watched the episode of Shark Tank that they were on it, so I will have to go through YouTube and see if I can find it as I think it would be good to see now that I have heard him on here.

    I like their website too, very straightforward and easy to navigate. Although I’m not that keen on the slider on the page, so I’m glad you covered that with him on the show.

    Thanks again for giving us another awesome show Timbo.

  7. I really enjoyed this interview today (while jogging of course)! As Ben said before, Dean is such an honest and down to earth – very relatable guy that most of us will connect to after listening to this ep. In particular, I like how he works out what is effective and does more of it – pretty simple! I spend about 70% of my time on marketing too – also because I enjoy the creative side that it allows. But it took a a few years to build my team up and become that free in my business to be able to do that. So many basic learnings in this one! Thanks for sharing Dean and Timbo!

  8. Thanks Leena. I thought you’d be listening whilst cycling and blending smoothies …. not jogging! Yes, Dean is a great fella and a wonderful example of a business owner who has massive respect for the power of marketing. Like you ;0)

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