Kymberly Robinson is the CEO of Stratus Interactive, a full-service digital marketing agency with a sweet spot in marketing automation. Stratus is also a HubSpot Platinum tier Partner and leverages the HubSpot tools to implement inbound marketing initiatives.
We recently checked in with Kymberly to get her advice on creating an effective digital marketing strategy.
What sets Stratus apart from your competitors?
“I honestly think it’s our people,” Kymberly said.
Stratus is very heavily focused on culture, and it’s important to Kymberly and her team that each one of their clients feels comfortable and valued.
Kymberly describes Stratus as a flat organization – divided into Thinkers, Creators, and Doers.
“Our Thinkers are highly strategic, the Creators are creative, and our Doers are the backbone of the agency – making sure everything we’re doing is being done at the highest level of quality and on time.”
In addition, Kymberly said their ability to internalize an organization and become true strategic partners with their clients sets Stratus apart.
“We’re not just providing strategy to our clients, we’re providing strategic execution that garners results.” she said.
How do you advise your clients on creating a digital marketing strategy? Where should they start? What questions should they be asking themselves?
“We get behind the scenes to understand their business goals and objectives,” Kymberly said.
They ask about how much their clients are trying to sell, how much they’re trying to grow, or what they’re trying to sustain. Once these questions are answered, Stratus can better understand what their clients are trying to achieve as a business.
Then they create monthly, quarterly and annual strategic plans designed to chip away at those goals and move the needle in a smart, targeted way.
What are the most important steps every brand should take when implementing a new digital marketing strategy?
“I think primarily they need to figure out who their buyer persona is and think about them as an actual person rather than a dollar sign or revenue number,” Kymberly said.
First and foremost it’s important to determine who is actually buying from you, and after that it’s imperative to pilot, test, and target many different marketing channels.
“There’s no one single bullet for any given brand,” Kymberly said. “Almost always it’s an integrated approach of many different initiatives.”
Rather than spending a bunch of money on a bunch of different marketing activities, be very targeted, she added. Make small spends, see what’s working, then make more robust plans and spend more in the places that exhibit results or opportunity .
What do you think are the biggest/most common mistakes brands make in their digital marketing?
Not targeting as much as they should. There’s a misconception that if you throw a big net, you’ll capture everything you need, Kymberly said. While a wide net might yield a big catch, you have to think about the quality of the catch and how it will help you achieve your goals. More is not always better.”
But successful brands are the ones that are purposeful, matching their targeted offerings to their audience.
“So they’re sharing a tailored message to each specific audience,” she added.
It’s also smart to consider where each person is in the buying stage and targeting to that stage, she added.
What role should content marketing play in a brand’s digital marketing campaign?
Content is definitely king, Kymberly said. But it should be context over content.
“You have to create proper context and put it in the right way, so it’s timely and matters to whom you’re speaking to,” she said. “We’re cluttered with bad content or general content. Brands need to rise above all the noise.”
How has content marketing evolved since you started in marketing?
Back when Kymberly started, she said brands focused on talking about themselves. But now every brand needs to speak selflessly about the customer. So the content needs to be about the customer, rather than the brand.
“We’re very savvy now as customers,” Kymberly said. “We want to be spoken to authentically.”
What are the smartest things brands can do to create noteworthy, useful content?
Stop focusing on the product or service and start speaking to clients as people, not dollar signs, Kymberly said.
In addition, look at engagement.
“If you’re not creating something that you’re really proud of, something that you would actually read, it’s probably not going to be read by anyone else either,” she added.
We need short, consumable bites of information in the form of infographics, slideshares and video in addition to more traditional posts.
“If you’re focused on authentic content … you can’t lose,” Kymberly said.
You’re a believer and supporter in women-led businesses – why are you so passionate about supporting female leaders?
Kymberly said she’s been fortunate to have fantastic woman-owned businesses and woman mentors in her circle.
“I was mentored so beautifully, so now I’m super passionate about mentoring women in leadership roles,” she said.
What makes women well suited for leadership roles?
Women tend to be empathetic problem solvers and they tend to be over-communicators, Kymberly said.
“And we’re very nurturing,” she said. “I feel like we’re more in the relationship business than in digital marketing.”
She and her colleagues at Stratus literally wake up in the morning and go to bed at night focused on their client’s success – so it feels very personal.
How can women grow as leaders?
“Mentorship really is the answer to that,” Kymberly said.
Finding opportunities to mentor one another. Being open to being mentored no matter where you are in your journey is probably the most important thing.
What unique skill sets do you think women bring to digital marketing?
Women are big consumers – shopping online or hiring services. They’re very tuned into how consumers make decisions because they are consumers themselves.
“They’re good at putting themselves in the shoes of others – that’s been a skillset I’ve seen in the women I work with,” Kymberly said. “In digital marketing that’s really key.”
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