Execs of 2015: Retail Industry Leaders Discuss Top Marketing Trends

XBIZ Premiere is pleased to present “Execs of 2015: The Year in Review.”

Each of the executives we spoke to below has one thing in common — they are among the finalist nominees for the online industry edition of the 2016 XBIZ Exec Awards.

We have built a multi-prong marketing platform that is available to every manufacturer we represent, including but not limited to web banners, trade announcements and e-mail blasts. -Scott Dantis, Williams Trading Co.

XBIZ captures the thoughts of these influential and motivational leaders as we sought their take of the year 2015.

The following question about the year in review was asked to those running for the Marketing Executive Of The Year:

XBIZ: What were this year's most effective marketing platforms for reaching customers? How did you utilize them for business?

Patty Callahan
Communications and Marketing Manager, LELO

“LELO is going mainstream, reaching new customers using a vast amount of marketing platforms that are very effective. We continue to generate coverage online and offline across all different types of media, bringing LELO to new potential customers. By focusing not just on women’s interest publications, we have amplified our reach and have been featured in design magazines, health, technology, fashion, business and even movie magazines thanks to the ‘Beyond the Wave’ movie. Lily 2 was even mentioned on ‘Late Night with Seth Meyers’ on national TV two weeks ago, helping to drive sales in retailers. In addition to making our own movie, LELO has appeared on the big screen all around the world. Currently in Italy across 300 cinemas, people can see LELO in a highly popular comedy. LELO has appeared in several series cable television shows, and LELO will continue to make appearances in movies and television in 2016.”

Scott Dantis
Director of Sales and Marketing, Williams Trading Co.

“We have built a multi-prong marketing platform that is available to every manufacturer we represent, including but not limited to web banners, trade announcements and e-mail blasts. By far, the most innovative and successful piece to this puzzle is Williams Trading University, the adult industry’s leading e-learning platform. Currently, WTU has a course catalog of 64 modules with over 25,000 courses successfully completed. Eighty-four percent of our top accounts have reported a lift in sales on the retail floor without a gift with purchase or percentage off since implementing WTU retail education for their staff. We will continue to support WTU with new courses and user incentives and expand its capabilities coming next year.”

Heather Feingold
Marketing Coordinator, Honey's Place

“At Honey’s Place, we utilize multiple platforms to market to our customers. We use e-mail marketing, social media, print advertisements, digital advertisement such as buyer guides and banner ads and cost-per-click advertising such as Google Adwords. I love print advertising because I believe it has a higher potential to reach out to new customers. My favorite type of marketing, however, is all the online marketing such as banners, e-mail marketing, and social media. I like the ability to build and track campaigns through Google Analytics. I find it exciting to be able to instantly view how many people clicked on something I created and how many conversions it led to. This way, I get to find out what it is I am doing that is successful right away.”

Josh Leduff
Chief Marketing Officer, CalExotics

“Overall, we launched a new brand look and feel for CalExotics. We continued to focus heavily on the point of purchase through innovating our product packaging. That has helped our sales and also, helped us gain some notoriety through certain awards. We supplemented these efforts by deploying strategies to support each of our channels. CalExotics Institute, our online education portal for JOPEN and CalExotics, and our traveling visual merchandising team are our most effective efforts targeted at our distributor and retailer channel. With these efforts, we have been able to strengthen product knowledge and awareness within the retail community so that sales associates better understand how to position these products to drive sales conversion.”

Patrick Lyons
Marketing Manager, Eldorado

“Over the past two years, Eldorado has implemented integrated marketing strategies to build synergy and increase sales. The concept of integrated marketing is using a combination of marketing tactics and channels to increase exposure to a consistent marketing message. Studies have shown that it takes more than five times for a person to hear a consistent message before they can recall that message. Promoting our vendor partners consistently through multiple channels over time, from print collateral to digital assets to trade shows, ensures our customers get that exposure. By implementing the integrated marketing approach, sales numbers at Eldorado have improved from single to triple digits.”

Molly Murphy
Vice President of Communications, Jimmyjane

“For direct-to-consumer marketing, one of our strongest platforms was leveraging the press on ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ to cast Jimmyjane into the mainstream spotlight. Aligning ourselves with this trend gave us a voice to speak to new audiences and broaden brand awareness through national news outlets, including ‘CBS This Morning,’ the New York Times and USA Today. On the B2B side, we saw a lot of success at trade shows this year, including ANME and eroFame. We launched four new products in 2015 — more than any year before — and we used these shows as a platform to develop the messaging and strategy with our retail partners for the new launches.”

Gideon Perez
Marketing Manager, The Screaming O

“The Screaming O utilizes all marketing platforms to reach our fans, but our main focus has been engagement on the sales floor: attracting and securing loyal customers at the time and place where they make their buying decisions. Through our custom signage and marketing materials campaign, retailers have access to almost any graphics or display ideas they can think of — and we create and ship them in-house to ensure zero delays. By utilizing every inch we can of retailers’ floor, window, wall and shelf space, we are able to establish not only a shopping destination, but an entire Screaming O experience dedicated to our brand. Retailers appreciate the ability to add to their existing stores the kind of colorful visual appeal that doubles as creative merchandising designed to boost sales and inspire repeat purchases.”

Rob Reimer
Chief Marketing Officer, Perfect Fit Brand

“One of the most effective marketing platforms we have been focusing on this year is educational marketing. This is vital for our distributors and retailers to effectively sell our products. Knowledge sells products, so education is key — especially with our products, many of which are new designs that haven’t been introduced to the market yet. The education is done in various ways, including online trainings, printed materials, direct email, and in-person trainings to the sales staff at various distributor events or retail locations. We prefer conducting in-person training with sales staff when possible, which allows information to be most readily absorbed and allows us to foster positive personal relationships. We also use video demos on YouTube to reach directly to our consumer, which has proven extremely effective with almost a million views on our channel to date.”

Joanne Queenin
Executive Administrator, Sportsheets International

“Being a B2B, our customers are the distributors. We market heavily to them, obviously. But they know our product, they know our quality, they know that we stand behind what we sell and that we care about what we do. We wanted to reach out to their customers. So what worked for us this past year was launching a huge campaign to reach out to the consumer directly. We have an awesome team here at Sportsheets, and we put together some pretty amazing campaigns to reach out to those important end users. We wanted to inform them about our products and what our company stands for rather than blatantly ‘educate’ them. It’s a subtle balance. We’ve hired a new field trainer and social media marketing person recently; so our social media will be more pertinent, lively and real-time going forward.”

Kristen Tribby
Director of Marketing and Education, Fun Factory

“This year, we focused our marketing message on the most unique elements of Fun Factory: our philosophy of environmental responsibility, a sweatshop-free manufacturing process and dedication to innovation. Our ‘Good Green Fun’ campaign introduces customers to our unparalleled factory, which maintains a remarkably small carbon footprint while ensuring that our products comply with stringent standards for safety and health. Our factory employees receive fair wages and benefits, and we have one of the only unionized factories in the adult industry. Most high-end manufacturers produce their products in China, and our campaign has resonated with U.S. consumers who are looking for alternatives.

Since Fun Factory has been practicing good green fun for 20 years, it is important that we continue to promote who we are through all channels: social media, in-store collateral, and within our B2B communications. Our combination of innovative products and fun-based education continues to make Fun Factory stand out.”

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