Marketing executives play a key role as the power behind the brands that they represent and additionally wear many hats as an essential part of the executive brain trust.
As part of XBIZ Premiere’s “Execs of the Year: The Year in Review,” marketing mavens of the adult retail industry share their thoughts on the strategies that drove adult retail success in 2017.
In 2017, the No. 1 priority for East Coast News was to get back to basics. In any industry, strong relationships are the backbone of what makes any partnership work. -Anthony Pingicer, Marketing Director, East Coast News
Each of the executives we spoke to below is among the finalist nominees for Marketing Executive of the Year in the retail industry edition of the 2018 XBIZ Exec Awards.
What were this year’s most effective marketing platforms for reaching customers?
Director of Marketing Communications, Eldorado Trading Company
“Eldorado is known for our dedication to education, and that focus remained strong throughout 2017. One of our goals was to provide valuable content and information for our customers to help them grow and distinguish themselves from their competition. We launched our new monthly newsletter, The Eldorado Edge, which contains a feedback loop so we can best understand the needs of our customers. Our catalogs contain more educational content than ever before — and we added an interactive online version, making it an even more powerful buying tool. We continue to build upon Eldorado’s strong and organic social media presence by using those channels to creatively and effectively reach new customers. Our most notable success was the launch of our e-learning program, Elevate U. This program has proven to be a revolutionary source of invaluable sexual health information for our retailers. Through these various initiatives, we were successful in maintaining and growing our existing customer base as well as capturing new business.”
Marketing Director, East Coast News
“In 2017, the No. 1 priority for East Coast News was to get back to basics. In any industry, strong relationships are the backbone of what makes any partnership work. Our motto has always been ‘Our world revolves around you,” and we really pushed that even more. The ‘you’ in our motto doesn’t just refer to our customers, but it refers to our vendor partners as well. We focused on educational training sessions, one-on-one face time between customers, sales representatives and vendors, and more information overall. This industry is really like no other in the world. We want to continue to foster relationships, but at the same time, we are cognizant of how technology plays a role. Our plans for 2018 combine both.”
Marketing Director, Wicked Sensual Care
“This year, we’ve seen success by utilizing social media platforms on both B2B and B2C levels. We’ve been able to support our retail partners by growing our social media fan base and generating demand for our products at the consumer level. We’ve also been able to share our brand message to distributors and retailers through these channels. Since social media is the preferred means of communication these days for most age groups, there’s no denying the positive role it’s played for Wicked Sensual Care in sales for 2016.”
Marketing Manager, The Screaming O
“While we use a combination of direct mail and email to reach our customers, the most important thing we can do for marketing is providing accessible resources on our website. At Screaming O, we develop well-made, thoughtful products, but that’s only half of the equation. In order to introduce them to the world, we must make sure that our retailers understand each toy and have the resources they need to sell them. Our goal is to always offer the most up-to-date product information available on our website. We put the images, details and training videos in the hands of our distributors and vendors because they’re the ones on the front line. They need our support so that they can help our customers find the right product for their needs.”
Executive Administrator, Sportsheets International
“This year was one of inclusion and diversity in our marketing. We’ve really concentrated on our social media, e-blasts and blogs this year. Sportsheets has something for everyone, and that is the campaign we ran this year — gay, straight, black, white, Asian, etc. Our core message has been, and remains, keeping couples connected. It’s what Tom and Julie (Stewart) and all of us at Sportsheets strive for every day. In our R&D process, our marketing and our daily lives here, we always search for that note of connectivity.”
Assistant Director of Marketing, CalExotics
“Our website has been one of the most effective marketing tools to reach consumers. The site draws a lot of consumer traffic, as many people are searching for our brand online. Once they are on the site, we really get to know them. These consumers are asking questions, writing product reviews and chatting with our customer service representatives — all of which gives us a closer look at who they are and what they want. Plus, the website allows us to track and monitor the activity, which is very helpful as a marketer. Once we gather the data, we used this to make changes in our business to better service the needs of consumers. This has been extremely effective this year.”
Marketing Coordinator, Doc Johnson
“In the last couple of years, we’ve really placed a huge emphasis on the growth of our digital marketing efforts; in 2017, those efforts have only continued to flourish. We recognize the importance of a strong online presence and how that translates not only to sales for our distributors and retail partners, but how it builds brand loyalty and awareness. The ability to communicate directly with consumers via social media and the capabilities digital platforms as a whole offer have been invaluable when it comes to reaching our target audience. We’ve also expanded our offline strategies in some calculated ways that tie in to a boosted web presence. We’re always on the lookout for opportunities to enhance consumer experience; most recently, we’ve improved our POP/tester displays and other in-store collateral, and initiated one of our first experiential campaigns with an Instagram-friendly vending machine.”
Marketing Manager, We-Vibe
“Influencer marketing has proven to be one of the fast- growing platforms across the spectrum of consumer product industries. As the platform matures, it has become increasingly vital to have an influencer strategy that is targeted, diverse and reaches audiences across multiple channels. Over the past year, We-Vibe has seen results by getting the influencer mix right, working with broad-reach influencers — those with 50K-plus followers — to raise brand awareness, micro-influencers to provide deep engagement in a community, and channel-specific influencers to reach individually targeted audiences.”