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Unveiling Digital Marketing Strategies for Holistic Business Growth

In conversation with Jason Koenig

For this episode of E-coffee with Experts, Ranmay Rath interviewed Jason Koenig, COO of Sinuate Media, a full-service, Digital-first marketing agency, located in New Mexico. Jason focuses on the synergy between creativity and technology to deliver optimized marketing campaigns. Their long-standing client relationships and commitment to adding value set them apart from other agencies.

Watch the episode now for some profound insights!

We cannot be the entire story. The entire story has to be stitched together for our client to be successful.

Jason Koenig
COO of Sinuate Media

Hey. Hi everyone. This is Ranmay here on your show E-Coffee with Experts. Today we have Jason Koenig from Sinuate Media, who is the COO at Sinuate Media, a full-service marketing agency headquartered in New Mexico. How are you, Jason?

I’m doing well. How are you doing today, Ranmay?

I’m doing good. Thank you so much for taking out time for the podcast.

Really appreciate it.

Jason, before we move forward and, talk about digital marketing and ask for your insights, I would request you to introduce yourself and Sinuate Media to our audiences, and then we’ll take it forward from there.

Excellent. Thank you. Sinuate Media, we like to say that we are a full-service, digital-first marketing agency. The company itself started about 17 years ago, so we’re on the very cusp of digital marketing. In the early days, we did what today would be called influencer marketing mostly for TV shows different kinds of media outlets, and even an early ROM company where we had a deck of printed-out papers and, what the internet would look like, how they could talk about it, how we’d send them to make recipes. So it started a lot of, how do we expand your market with digital marketing over the years is technology involved and clients continue to ask them to do more stuff.

We’ve evolved the websites, ads, and email pretty much your full-service digital marketing that needs to be done for any clients helping them navigate that space. Today about 85% of our work is digital. We offer a traditional side of marketing for some clients, but we have clients throughout the United States.

We have a few internationals, say that it’s a mix of clients between e-commerce government, small to big, and small to mid-size businesses. And I’d say the number one about 25% of our business is healthcare and the rest is a mix of everything else.

Okay, great. Thank you for that introduction. Jason, as the COO of Sinuate Media what are some of the fundamental processes and strategies you rely on to drive your marketing output?

Oh, that’s a great question. I mean, fundamental processes, we believe very deeply, to find success, you have to have equal parts creative, equal parts strong technology. So if you’re focusing on one or the other, more than that, you’re gonna have a shortfall in your campaigns and achieving your objectives.

We like our creative team and our tech teams to work hand in hand at each stage of the campaign. And then the biggest thing after that is to make sure you’re doing testing optimization. We’re always improving. I don’t think anything is right out of the gate. I think that we like to talk to people about, hey, Even if you had early success, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s long-term.

We focus on optimizing, we want to spend the correct amount to get the results you want. We don’t wanna spend more, we don’t wanna spend less, we want to improve consistently and make sure we find what that perfect balance is for growth in your company. And so I’d say that fundamental process is just the foundation.

We really just believe that marketing has to start with a foundation. You can’t go do one splashy campaign if you don’t have a good track. You don’t have everything else. So we take it from a house-building approach and say, you need a foundation first, and let’s make sure that we have that foundation done very well and something that we can grow off of.

Superb, and talking about your strategies, how would you differentiate Sinuate Media from other agencies there in your region or territory in the US? How do you differentiate that?

is the biggest challenge for every agency, right? Whether you say you have the capabilities deck, you focus and listen to agencies and individuals who can get into a niche and say, I do this one thing. It does make that differentiation a lot easier. But one of the most important things to us is relationships are everything. So you never want to be fully reliant on referrals.

We do other marketing, but it is still the most frequent way that we grow our business. And while it’s hard to say, what makes us different, every agency would say they provide great services. One of the things we do to that one is just the length of our relationship. So you have to have clients and a relationship where you listen you create success, and you work together.

One of the biggest ways we do that is guidance beyond what is the project or services we’re working on. So it doesn’t matter if you are brought in to help with social it doesn’t mean you need a little bit of an ad campaign. It’s providing guidance to the business in areas outside of just that specific marketing campaign.

I think that marketing is really just an extension of operations. They like to keep them separate. But really they’re not. And so one of the ways we say to differentiate that is just looking at the length of our clients. We’ve been in business for about 17 years. We’ve got about a high number of clients where we’ve got, over about 14 years worth of collaboration and relationships that are going back that far.

So we do work with a lot of retainers, a lot of clients. We stay with them for many years. So we don’t have to do the changeover a lot. You always have projects, but referrals from clients are the number one thing we can do. And that’s where your relationship’s working.

So you also get a good foot in the door when you start. I know so and so you’ve been with them for years. That trust gets them to start having a more open dialogue. Sometimes the client early on wants to tell you all the good stuff, and you’re like that’s great, but we want to find out how we’re gonna help and strengthen that relationship.

We have to add value. If you’re not adding value, it doesn’t matter if they like you. At the end of the day, you have to help them make smarter decisions. You have to feel that they want us to stay around because we are providing that value. Giving them confidence, giving them better decisions, and better strategies to move forward with their business.

I love seeing businesses succeed. Marketing was a national, a natural transition because you wanna work in business, you wanna do that, want Marketing is so perfect, it’s like great, I just wanna help you get the word out. And it’s not as simple as that. But I want to see you succeed and it’s a great collaboration because you are a part of that success.

And so how do we differentiate? We’re constantly figuring out how you convey that without a chance to talk. But I think the number one way is you just keep long-strength relationships and grow from that base. That’s how we do it.

It’s at times, in fact, all times, it’s going beyond your contractual terms and conditions for that project or with that client if you see a pain area, which is not even in your, let’s say, portfolio of the project, if you can help, then you should, because the end of the day, marketing is a holistic approach. It’s not that you’ve touched upon something. Your project is into something and something else pops up.

You’re not responsible. So at times people get stuck with their contractual obligation and do not even, think of a long-term approach and very good point, traced by you where having those tough conversations with clients is also very critical to your association with them and in fact, for their long-term benefit.

While everything is going good, if you deep dive and understand what can be better or if, if you’re looking at something not working six months down the line and you actually finger pointing those things at the beginning or, way before that it happens that gives you that extra offer to work on that, and you free revisit the strategy and work around and, fix that before the actual problem arises.

Having those tough conversations, like you mentioned, is also very critical, to maintain those sorts of relationships, and then, talking about marketing plans you have been a marketer for 17 years running this agency.

How do you feel that you can tailor a market plan to meet the client’s specific needs and goals and vision, and what tool do you feel that, data analysts explain that overall process?

I think that’s a great question and sometimes getting the goals first off, is too early.

They have a goal here, but breaking that goal down into, the objectives, the different parts of the goal, and achieving it is a really important part of that. So you take a first grain of what you do, the marketing plan is pretty much the backbone of everything.

Make sure you get the data, put it to and together. So we have a structured plan. We take a very comprehensive look at where they stand today both in their business and in their marketing efforts, right? Then we’re gonna obviously do a very big deep dive on competitors.

And then from that, you’re gonna set forth a unique plan for social SEO content ads, their web development, and the presence they need.

And in a lot of cases actually, we might even be looking at their offline activities. What do they need to do to supplement this over the next 12 months? I think that’s one of the things we spend a lot of talk time talking about. Sometimes when it’s. An appropriate one. How are we fulfilling sales?

How are you taking them in? What are the leads doing? A lot of that matters. How are you internally tracking some of this data that’s not available? See, digital marketing is a beautiful thing that we can get a lot of information. Yeah. But the biggest gap is on their side. So I can say, we got calls, did you talk to them?

Were they good? What’s the data saying to do that one? But in a marketing plan, We’re gonna do a very comprehensive, we’re gonna look at that analytics, the sales data, Google analytics, social media, analytics. We want to gather as much as possible, but it’s a, it’s somewhat of an academic exercise, which I think a lot of times you fall into that, right?

You’re like, oh, you can do this, you can do that. Here’s all of this. Here’s the data, right? Here’s the SWOT, here’s what we’re going. But I think the biggest challenge is actually to determine which strategy you should move forward with, because There’s a lot, and especially if you’re a mid-size, you’ve got good sales, but you’ve survived on word of mouth or these other things and you’re really trying to do an explosion growth, and now you’re investing in marketing.

You’re looking to expand your business. Oh, do social, do ads, do here. When you’re reading online, you do the rest of it. There’s so much there. And I think one of the things our team has to work hard when we take that first version of the marketing analysis, that plan we’re going for and saying, there’s too much here.

We’ve got to keep breaking down steps, step one to two, to three, to say how can we achieve that? We don’t want to go too far too fast. We don’t want to go out that way. We wanna say, Hey, foundation, get these, and growing and that’s always one of our challenges because sometimes you.

If you like doing all of these different things you think that would be great, but saying, which one can we narrow down to get meaningful continued results? And so I think we tailored to their goals by looking at what else is being done but saying okay. What strengths do you have? What are you good at first? Let’s win on some of those and, improve on those, and then build. Because if the first thing is to change what you’re doing completely, the success just struggles and the marketing plan gets shelved or they are not sure what they want to do. You can’t go over too far too fast.

You can’t say, oh, you were never doing this. Now you have to do this. And as business owners, we know the things we’re not doing. I can own a marketing agency. People are like, oh, how much marketing you do not do that much. Oh, I can’t believe a marketing agency doesn’t do a lot of marketing.

We don’t need to, and we can’t necessarily handle that influx of growth at a certain rate, right? We’ve got a lot of other people working on it. Balance is a very crucial part, but I think the data is there. Find out what it’s doing. And see there’s something in there you’re missing.

And it’s gonna be a little bit of ops and a little bit of out there Hey, I can just land here and you’re getting people here, but I don’t understand very clearly what you’re asking me to do. So let’s work on clarity, let’s work on simplicity. Let’s work on getting them there and then let’s get a lot of people there.

Because maybe instead of me getting you a thousand new impressions tomorrow, I need to make sure those impressions are ready to convert. So in the marketing plan, it’s the foundation. We’re just gonna ask the tough questions. And from there, everybody’s got holes. And so really we’re just saying where can we use this to tailor to your strengths and really to say, this is gonna be something we can grow off of.

And it’s not, yeah. One size fits all. Everybody’s different. And a lot of times it’s the organization itself or the people you’re working with, are gonna determine, do they have a big team that they’re ready to go? Are you working with one or two people who don’t have the capacity? Let’s make sure we’re tailoring that to what your capabilities are.

Absolutely a very valid point. Mentioned there, wherein let’s say if someone is seeking traffic for all of the traffic lands onto your page, but it does not convert what good is it? You’re getting so much volume, but what’s the result that you, and then, as you mentioned, you have to have your internal systems in place as well before you want to have that phone ringing?

Because our job is to get that phone ringing. But what happens after that is also extremely critical for your business, right? And if your business does not flourish, then our association will not. Because we do not come for free. But it’s at times, it’s very important to educate and stitch together the entire story because what I feel is that, we are a part of it. We cannot be the entire story. So the entire story has to be stitched together for our client to be successful versus, just operating in silos, no functions talking to each other. We’ll never work out that way in the long run, at least.

You know a very good point right there that you mentioned about, a lot of traffic, and phones ringing, but nothing is happening beyond that because conversion is revenue at the end of the day.

Yeah. Data doesn’t tell you if those leads were good. That’s the staff, that’s the team.

That’s them figuring out how can they track their information. I’ve had people where saying, Hey, this is working. You’re getting amazing results. And say, I don’t know if we had any calls. And then, get them to ask somebody on the team and go, yeah, the phone’s ringing all the time.

Okay, great. How are those leads? Are they qualified? Are we getting the right ones? And that the data can only tell us so far from our side of it. So really continuing to have, when we do an analytics review of say a monthly or a bi-week or I need some participation of data that we don’t have.

Because data are never a complete picture, just on a side note. But, so I think it’s so important for how the internal organization can educate them to how can you see if this is good or not. Like how can you guys maybe lightly track it? Cause you, you can’t ask employees to do six more software programs and log every call and do everything.

But, you need that insight. And I think the marketing plan’s a start. And then from there, you’re saying, okay, as we’re going, we’re gonna continue to get your insight as well. It’s such an important part. Okay.

So if it’s in the soccer season, you have scored 50 goals, but it depends on what opposition you scored those 50, the other player might have scored 20 against tougher oppositions and crucial matches, so that is more critical versus, those 50 goals against weaker opponents. Yeah, I don’t, data can only show as much, you’ve gotta analyze it as well. And talking about social media Jason, can you walk us through your process for conducting a typical social media competitive analysis, and how do you use the insights gained from that analysis to inform or structure your client’s social media strategy?

Social media. Wow. What a technology, right? We’re now, it’s now getting into a laggard. We’ve had it for so long, it went so new. It’s been a topic that, it’s finally becoming a topic. Less on there. People know they need it. It’s, we’ve gotten over the humps of do I need it? Do I want? What’s it gonna be? Also over some of the humps of, wow, why am I not getting, these numbers? You’re comparing yourself to a national brand with 20,000 followers, and you’re a regional brand with a very small base. So what are we gonna do? But competitive analysis is just it’s more than comparing yourself to others.

And it’s not copying the competition. Sometimes people are like, we need a good strategy and a good plan One of the things we are looking at, obviously, we’re looking tracking data if they have a presence. So we work with clients that don’t have enough presence to really, the data doesn’t matter.

I mean there’s just not enough there. And possibly their market competitors aren’t even that done. But for the point of a good competitive analysis, we’re assuming you have a good presence and there’s a pretty good presence in the market there for your competitors, both direct and indirect competitors.

But we want engagement rates. What’s the audience interacting with on the content? The time of day, when are they getting the best one? How is social SEO working? Are we gathering all that info on the client and the competitors? What is a good benchmark of where we stand? I think the clients.

It’s just, as a business owner, we all do it. The number one thing we’re looking at is there’s always that one competitor, that one thing, and that’s, they get hyper-focused they’re doing this or they’re winning this, or they have a better engage. And it’s a lot of times they want one stat or one metric or KPI and they think that kind of rules the day.

And so they wanted, how do I stand up to them, how do I beat them? And while that’s a goal you’re doing. We’re trying to achieve specific goals and the recommendations are gonna, vary vastly depending on what those goals are. And really what kind of con, what they had to do.

So the number one strategy is really what is the type of content we are sharing? What is the one that we need the most that are gonna give us that value and qualify good clients to get engagement and activity? To be honest, the most common thing you’re gonna find, especially on your midsize and lower companies They need more video content.

And they don’t need to think of it as, they’re like, oh, I’m gonna make a video. Your one 10-minute video isn’t gonna get you the stuff you want. We need video small bite-sized parts. Put that message into a small slideshow, put it into a very nice little animation that is still real video, but maybe animates the text and stuff over it.

That’s probably the most common one is looking at it, saying, what do you need to do? You’re not doing enough of that. If you’re doing that competitive analysis and you’re sitting here saying, Hey, you have a pretty anemic engagement. Unfortunately, a lot of the recommendations gonna revolve around you might need to integrate more paid social.

You don’t have enough of the organic traffic, you don’t have enough to get results. Let’s be frank here. If you need to attack them, you’re gonna need to go ahead and get a strategy to do that. So we’re looking at that one. But from there we’re gonna create content themes.

That’s the number one thing we do. And then we’re gonna create content around those themes. And put them into a schedule. So the analysis, really looking at what’s working for somebody else, where is engagement happening? What kind of content seems to bring in the type of information we want? And we’re gonna use the platforms themselves.

We have some third-party tools, like everybody. There’s a lot of data there, but we’re looking for a few connecting themes, right? This stuff is what’s engaging, or these are people we got there. And instead of saying, that’s the content you want, we like a theme. This is around this type of content, right?

This is a heartwarming kind of option. This is very targeted to your client and what’s a good mix and consistently evolving that. But the number one thing we’re gonna take out of the analysis is what themes are gonna work for you best? And then what’s the specific strategy we need to do with that?

Absolutely. And then, I cannot let you go without asking this one. Since we have spoken so much about content, what is your take on AI-generated content Chat GPT has taken the space by storm. What is your take on it? What is Sinuate Media’s look? How do you approach this AI storm that we are all in right now?

We got into digital marketing before some of the things we are proud of, we pride ourselves on one thing we never did, we never were popups and clicks. We didn’t go for the popup banners when that was the heyday. And everybody said, that’s all marketing is. It’s popups. It’s no, we don’t like it.

So my point to that is, is just that we have to stay with technology. It’s impossible to say you’re an expert in any one thing. Just to keep saying it’s evolving quickly. So we’re constantly, It’s constantly a part of it. Chat listen, AI is going to continue to change this from, images, and creating content through images in that way is amazing.

Chat GPT, was just fundamental. It was phenomenal. What is outputting? Right now? Does it output a final product? Will it ever final product? It’s just it’s, taking the most common next word that should be there, right? It’s looking through. Yeah. However many billions of words and saying, Hey, this is the next word.

I don’t know what I’m saying. I know the algorithm is telling me this is what’s commonly there. What ends up coming out sometimes is phenomenal and to sit there and say, we haven’t used it. If we need a strategy or even in something like social I did idea generation, right? We’re not gonna cut and paste it there.

We don’t know that it’s not plagiarized. We don’t know. It’s not something else’s. But for ideas, we’re getting you in that flow. We can cut that time down a lot. You just gonna, oh, I gotta cut something, this theme. And what would you say? And. It just sparks the mind. So right now for us integrating just a good way to Hey, here’s something else, like talking to another person that knows what are ideas you have. What’s something that generates there and lets the mind flow?

It’s just speeding up other processes. Where we’re gonna get to is fascinating and how that’s gonna go is I think amazing. I think that’s why last year was the metaverse that hadn’t. We’ve done a lot of work in that fascinating, and we’ve enjoyed that just recently but once Chat GPT came out and everyone’s switched their financing, wall Street wants it, AI’s on there.

It’s here to stay. Some of the social platforms are getting hammered for their AI coming in now cause it’s not quite ready. But I think it’s gonna be another one just like landing pages and email automation and the rest has just changed marketing 10 years ago. We’re on a new frontier and it’s gonna be fascinating to see what it does.

I think unfortunately, some people are gonna think they can do it all themselves through that, and I think that we’re a long time away from that. But boy it’s coming on fast and it’s going to continue to be a vital component. I think you’re gonna see it in all software, CRMs, and social media is gonna continue to become more of a customer service tool.

So instead of my chat bott on my website, how are my chat bot and AI integrating into it? And we’ve all seen when a company does it well and you’re like, this bot’s helpful, or one that’s just a standard. I’m a bot. I’m a bot, I can’t do it. And that. That potential for AI to be a customer service tool I think is where, one of the early implementations, financially is gonna be there and say, Hey, we have taught this to answer our questions.

Take SAS company and say, I got questions and they’re not. My FAQ or my knowledge base has it there, but I’m looking just technical. Can I turn this on and generate that? I have such a specific question and I think as these tools get there, I think we’re gonna see a new world of sales and customer service on the front end.

If you’re getting live answers that are 90% correct, that’s a powerful tool for a brand and a company to use to sell their product. To answer the questions you have, right? Because you’re gonna be ready to buy. You just have one question. We look at so much software and I always have one question, can I get that answered quickly?

Because you don’t have that information. You can’t come up with every question and content. I’m pretty excited to see where that goes.

Absolutely. We all are still in the early days, but it’s here to stay as you mentioned. I also believe that still early days. Let’s see how it pans out, eventually.

Great. Jason, it was lovely hosting you on our show and I’m thankful to you for taking out time for this podcast and thank you for your insights. I’m sure our audience would’ve benefited a lot and yeah, it was lovely hosting you tonight.

Thank you. It’s been a pleasure talking to you.

It’s been my pleasure.

Thank you so much. Take care. Have a great day. Thank you.

Bye.

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