“The best influencers are our satisfied customers”

Claudia Duque

Digital marketing is growing exponentially in Latin America. This is an essential tool to accelerate the growth of any business and take it to a higher level; more companies are waking up to this reality. However, there is a vast majority of potential users falling behind for the lack of knowledge. Claudia Duque, a communication consultant specialized in marketing and ALAFAVE’s Digital Strategy Coordinator, shares some insight to get us started.

What is digital marketing?

There is a phrase I love: “Marketing is the price you pay when your product is not extraordinary.” This does not mean that an extraordinary product doesn’t get marketed, it means that the more extraordinary our product is, there is less financial effort to sell it. Digital Marketing is the set of strategies, and tools that we use to sell our products on the internet or supported by it.

What do the experts mean by “Digital Strategy”?

Digital strategy is the origin of everything. Some people normally believe that it is all about publishing photos on social networks; but with no strategy, the results will be almost null. A strategy must have objectives, a message with its value preposition, actions, an attainable target, a budget, and among other elements it must be practiced on a particular order so it  translates into sales.

What is the ABC for a candle company that is not into the digital world?

  • Ask yourself: what is my transaction scenario? If it is via WhatsApp, think of a strategy that brings traffic to that chat/app like a post. If the transaction scenario is a physical store you must create a strategy to excite people to visit the store recurrently; for example, making a post to tag your location on Facebook.
  • B- Be aware, a candle is a product that gets sold visually, it is essential to have excellent photos. By this I mean, trending pictures that catch the eye and make consumers want to have it.
  • A good start for a candle company is to open an account on any social media. They don’t run themselves of course, and are hardly a part of the digital ecosystem, but they are an excellent source to create traffic to our transaction scenarios.

Which is the best application to promote our candles?

This highly varies per country and the popularity that each social network has in that region. For example, in Colombia, Facebook is the network with the most traffic even though everyone likes Instagram. It also depends on the target we want to aim at, I would suggest starting with Facebook and Instagram, if the company has a blog use Pinterest as it is starting to be interesting in some countries and its advertising is also cheaper.

How effective are influencers on promoting our products?

Our best influencers are our happy customers. It’s great if you have a planned strategy and the influencer can help you make your message viral. They will be effective only if you have a determined strategy and know how to choose them for your advantage. Influencers are not alone, and you have to be careful with this.

What is a common mistake some companies make when doing digital marketing? The most common mistake I hear is assumption, opening a free account online doesn’t mean that selling online is free. Having a beautiful online store without a good pattern is exactly like having a physical store closed. You must invest on advertising in all the channels you open. Another mistake that seems terrible to me, especially for our industry, is posting bad pictures and not taking care of your brand.

Who is the “buyer”?

It is an imaginary person that we design as our possible client, in which we describe and include their characteristics, behaviors, preferences, etc. This is important so that we are more assertive when defining the content to be communicated. We ask ourselves: Who is interested in buying our candles? Who is my current client? We start building that character based on the answers.

What do we do afterward?

We photograph our products according to what our target likes and we advertise them in a social media. Take advantage of data pools that social media contains to reach people who resemble the buyer persona that we previously defined. For example, Facebook knows I got engaged and that I’ve been looking for event décor items on the internet, like candles for my wedding, Facebook also knows that I live in the United States, my age and my approximate income this would be the information you need to know if you want to sell me a candle.

Do social networks really know us?

Facebook knows everything. And when I say Facebook, I also mean Instagram, because they are made with the same platform. But the buyer persona is also armed for Google, Pinterest or any of the platforms that have ads. We must take advantage of all this information that the networks have and use it for our benefit.

Could digital marketing completely replace offline strategies?

It depends on the market niche. For example, I am 100% digital. I don’t hear radio, I hear Spotify, so I only get their ads. I don’t see billboards because I’m following Waze (navigation), I don’t watch TV because I have Netflix and there are no commercials there. Instead, I live tucked into my cell phone. If a brand wants to talk to me, it has to search for me digitally, but of course, if someone wants to sell a product that does not target my niche and has the budget to do so, 360 strategies are interesting and work for positioning. As always, it depends on the target of the brand.

How do you perceive our industry in the use of these strategies?

Candles have all the potential that any other brand could envy. Selling a house online is not the same as selling a candle. From what I have researched, I could use the fingers on one hand for each of the brands that have a complete and working digital strategy. It is essential that the companies that have not yet started digital marketing, get it done right now! Baby steps at the time, but you’ll find out that it is interesting, and you’ll get results right away.

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