Advertising and Marketing in the Digital Age

Twitter designed by Affinity Express

Twitter background designed by Affinity Express for a client

Interactive services is such a dynamic, interesting space. I recently interviewed Marisol Oberzauchner, director of interactive services at Affinity Express, to pick her brains about what she thinks of the space and what Affinity Express is doing in it. Here you go. 

KG: You help lead interactive services for Affinity Express. This is a dynamic category and it seems to change almost daily. How do you stay current with the latest trends?

MO: Our clients are looking for informed guidance. In my role, I have to continually stay abreast of what is happening in the industry, so I connect to social media portals that cover these topics, track new technologies through communities on LinkedIn and access creative groups. Outside of work, I read technology books, computer magazines and daily digests. At times, I attend demonstrations of new products. The information is available; you just have to stay current and make it a daily priority. 

Of course I follow the leaders in the space but also keep an eye out for the smaller firms who are trying to depart from the norm and solve problems in new ways. Breakthroughs seem to come frequently from these smaller guys and then the Apples and Googles buy them out. YouTube is a great example. I also found the acquisition of Radian6 by interesting. A bigger recent event was of course Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype.

KG: What do you see in the future for the iPad and tablets? Are there new applications that will emerge, building on the strong use for shopping and accessing news?

MO: The iPad is revolutionary. It is the self-contained, organic unit that houses all the components about which we are talking—email, video, social media and more—and it does so in a more engaging, user-friendly way than other devices. Today, we spend more time educating, reading, playing games and engaging with social media. We are reaching out for more information more than ever and it’s due to the ability to have it on the go, in a personal environment. The iPad is part of being integrated and up-to-date; it is information at the tip of your fingers. 

Website designed by Affinity Express

Website designed by Affinity Express

KG: What different types of clients and prospects have you worked with and do you have any advice for them as they try to implement interactive services?

MO: In the past, I have worked with a range of clients, including those in the financial, technology, fashion, entertainment, gaming and pharmaceutical industries. Having racked up 16 years of experience, I have learned that clients are clients. They have the same ultimate goal and want products to meet their needs of their businesses.

But regardless of the industry, more education is needed on interactive services because this is a dynamic and growing area. At Affinity Express, we welcome client questions and invite them to see the latest and greatest through webinars and by sending monthly newsletters and other presentations. Our goal is to increase awareness on where interactive services are heading and open their eyes to things they might not imagine would be possible. It is also helpful to have clients come into our space to understand what the work entails. We like to invite them to our offices to meet the teams that make it all come together.

KG: Affinity Express enables clients like publishers and retailers to target and support small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). What are the interactive services that these elusive and fragmented companies are demanding today (in contrast to large agencies and major corporations)?

MO: SMBs need to establish a presence in the new digital age and this requires a social media presence with a distinct voice that provides value. Online communications happen faster, increasing transparency with customers and prospects. These businesses can get feedback on products and services, handle customer service, and generate word-of-mouth through social media (e.g., YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn, directory pages etc.).

Something else to keep in mind is that people today are more visual and less verbal with all these different channels. Plus, we have to tap into users’ emotions. That is why rich media banner campaigns have started to change. They have to be more interactive to entertain and engage users beyond a few seconds. That means less text and a focus on the experience paired with strong calls to action. It all comes down to giving users reasons to come back and share your content with others.

Video allows you to provide product demos, show interviews with clients, deliver the latest financial results from your CFO and more. YouTube reaches multiple audiences for maximum exposure and it is efficient for tracking purposes. But they are other video portals that are a bit more exclusive so they fit specific business needs. Video will become very personal to certain platforms. SMBs will have to embrace it to get across their messages and grow their business.

Facebook Page designed by Affinity Express

Facebook Page designed by Affinity Express

KG: Considering that most SMBs have limited budgets to promote their businesses, what would you advise them is the best investment to generate leads and revenue (e.g., display ads, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blog, email campaigns, Web video etc.)?

 MO: The biggest thing SMBs can do is attach themselves to providers like Affinity Express who are agents of the digital age. We can give them more exposure at larger volumes, lower costs and faster turn times. As a result, they gain the ability to reach markets they never dreamed of. For example, they can tap into our SMB products, which include landing pages with video, Google maps and Google analytics to track results. We also offer design of HTML e-mails, Flash sales presentations, mobile websites, Facebook fan pages, Twitter pages, Foursquare pages and LinkedIn pages.

Online marketing is all about execution. There is always the necessity to drive to the next step. In other words, there has to be a strong call to action behind in order to get the results you are looking for.

KG: Thank you very much for your time, Marisol! We are very eager to see what new trends Affinity Express breaks into in interactive services.

About Kelly Glass
Kelly has been vice president of Marketing at Affinity Express for nine years now. She drives company strategy and all marketing activities.

One Response to Advertising and Marketing in the Digital Age

  1. Pingback: SMBs and Social Media Marketing « Affinity Express Blog

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