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Mark Murrell, Chief Curator of ‘Get Maine Lobster,’ Shares His Growth & Product Plans


MaIne Lobster - @ForagingandFarming

Overview

When I think of Portland, Maine, I grasp the image of a community steeped in nature with one of the largest lobster markets in the nation. The foundation of Portland begins with grit and ingenuity, a place known for world-class engineers, architects, and digital media companies, and they all call it home. A community focused on the Lobster industry, the most valuable fishery in the state - a collaboration of over 5,600 Maine lobstermen supporting nearly 20,000 jobs. The lobster industry contributes $1B to Maine’s economy, harvesting nearly 100M pounds during good years. In 2014 Maine state senators passed a bill that established a holiday recognizing lobsters' place in American history and culture, National Lobster Day is September 25th. Maine is home to some of the most sustainable fishing practices in the industry, and lobstermen pride themselves on the work done to preserve their livelihoods and legacies.


Mark Murrell Get Maine Lobster

I met Mark Murrell, CEO of Get Maine Lobster, while connecting with an old friend, Brooks Reynolds of JRs SouthPork Ranch. Get Maine Lobster is the largest direct-to-consumer lobster company shipping door-to-dock anywhere in the United States. The Get Maine Lobster guys pride themselves on building high-value partnerships and delivering unforgettable Maine lobster experiences to folks across the USA. Mark focuses on sustainability and long-term relationships with their supply chain partners. They ship packaged lobster and other sustainably sourced fresh catch and shellfish and procured beef daily. As they grow their business and the shared responsibility of participating in environmental stewardship, Get Maine Lobster uses digital solutions and business intelligence to help make sound decisions.


Using Digital Media to Share In The Experience

Opening the box and prepping my laptop reminded me of childhood experiences on Cape Cod, not far from Maine. I rode bikes with my sister down to The Cape Cod Canal Marina - where the lobstermen sold some of their haul to the community right from the boats. I remember them letting us pick our crustaceans while they packed them on ice in a grocery sack. Occasionally, we would find an extra claw or Cod filet under all that ice.


As I prepared for the arrival of my FedEx order, I opened the Get Maine Lobster’s YouTube channel, and one of the first videos began with Mark sharing how I would receive my package. Viewing “The Lobster Wharf Tour,” I learned where their lobster comes into port, how they grade the product, build the box, and ship to any door in the United States - right from the docks in Portland. I couldn’t help but think about the work that goes into enhancing the customer experience through quality, convenience, and trusted partnerships. As a customer, I appreciate the attention paid to walking us through how lobsters are caught and how to poach lobster tails in white truffle tarragon butter. Get Maine Lobsters' boxes are durable and contain frozen gel packs with a thick styrofoam cell for product preservation.


I hit the play button on my phone and opened the box with my trusty exacto knife, pulling off the foam and gel packs. Cooking instructions come in a water-resistant packet, ready to roll. I anticipated this deliciously procured bounty of lobster, corn, new potatoes, mussels, scallops, shrimp, sausage, slices of fresh garlic, and butter. I pulled out a large stainless steel stock pot and filled it with cold water. Turned on the stovetop to high and waited for the rolling boil.


Mark offered me a sample of his newly created Maine Lobster Boil In a Bag, and I was flattered he provided me the opportunity. This Dinner for Two is ready to be plated in under 30 minutes. I set my phone timer for 20 minutes, submerged the bag into the pot, brought out a lovely deep dish platter, and heated some bread for the experience. Once complete, I cut open the bag and placed the meal into the deep dish platter, which smelled delightful. When I first tasted it, the broth warmed my soul. Our dinner was terrific, and we paired it with a 2018 Ancient Vine Cinsaut from Michael David Winery. A medium body red with a light, refreshing texture, flavors of raspberry, and peppery spice that hold up well with a hearty seafood dish.


Get Maine Lobster

Plans for Growth

Get Maine Lobster employs 16 full-time professionals and 2 full-time contractors on site. He also partners with several vendors, lobstermen, and shipping partners. Due to growth, Mark explored a third-party port-to-door logistics specialist this year. The strategic change allows the team to meet demands, leveling and loading their supply chain as they grow. Get Maine Lobsters' goals are to bring all ECOM and Digital Media, wholesale business development, and lead generation in-house next year. He’s also taken a long hard look at sustainability and is considering a long-term position for that in the future too.



Get Maine Lobster

Product Development and Additional Offerings

The team collaborates with a boutique processor to bring new products to market and expand lobster meat packing as demand grows. Get Maine Lobster is obsessed with the customer experience, and they put their best foot forward when choosing new partners and offering fresh catch products from Norwegian Salmon to Maine-caught Bluefin Tuna.


Get Maine Lobster

Packaging & Shipping

The team partnered with Pack Edge, a 100% employee-owned company based in Portland - specializing in seafood. Get Maine Lobster worked to develop a package, partitioning and preserving live lobsters. They use recycled corrugated material and a foam liner to prevent crushing during shipping. Adding Frozen Gel Packs, a seawater-soaked linen sheet to keep in moisture, and a layer of bubble wrap, all to keep the lobsters fresh and safe on their journey to your doorstep. The team goes one step further with preserving and protecting our dinner; they submerge the lobsters in a 35-degree saltwater bath just before the trip.


Get Maine Lobster Box

Business Intelligence Is Key

Making informed decisions using market data to see what worked and what didn’t over a specific time period is critical. From wholesale market evaluation to building momentum with Net New customers, the constant flow of leads generates business intelligence for customer surveys, orders, customer interactions, and browsing activity at the e-commerce site level.


Looking at business intelligence and attribution on how many people are looking for lobsters and freshly caught seafood during a holiday provides a seasonality score for the lobster guys. They back-up their assumptions with a series of data and do their best to make strategic decisions based on market movement. Return customers are essential; the real merit is how a company handles details and corrects mistakes. Get Maine Lobster prides itself on integrity and making good on all issues related to the customer experience.



Business Intelligence  - Get Maine Lobster Article

Wrapping It Up!

By end of season, little sleep has been had by all, and even their team of athletes deserve a rest after New Year's Day orders have been shipped. Watch for new products, videos, and collaborations with celebrity chefs, the hottest foodie brands, and of course, Maine's fishermen. Click on Mark’s Faves and Today's Top Deals to see what’s coming!


Mark Murrell - CEO Get Maine Lobster










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