Palo Alto, CA is quiet but busy on a late weekday afternoon as I join fellow Power Girl Julia Kung for a business lunch on the outdoor patio of one of the city's cute restaurants. A half dozen or so places dot the "downtown" area of the sleepy town, many of which appear to serve Italian food. As we take our seats and dig into a selection of fresh bread, we are like any other women in the city, having a late lunch. Julia's in killer gray peep toe ankle boots, a skirt and a chic, oversized top. I'm in a dress and gold Christian Louboutin heels.
Our companies were doing business together at the time, but like most Power Girls, business is always peppered with friendships and camaraderie. Today's new modern women entrepreneurs and executives aren't just blazing it in business, they're also cool, fun people you get along with.
When it comes to marketing, Julia is the best in the business. A hybrid mix of old and new school practice, with a tech-savvy that'll blow your social media expert out of the water, Julia's strategies are garnering major attention in the business. Her work with Moxsie.com has captured major fashion industry cred like WWD and California Apparel News. In the past year, she's been invited to speak at prestigious conferences like Internet Retailer.
Most marketers today operate under false assumptions and trends, aren't savvy about page views and analytics, and rely on tired, elaborate campaigns because they see only one type of consumer that interacts one kind of way. When the topic came up among a group of female founders this past week, I couldn't help but to email Julia to tap her insight. Here's what she shared:
You're one of the best cross-platform, cross-media marketers I know, particularly on the web. What's the secret?
There is no secret at all. Since Moxsie is a small company and our target demographic is very wired and engaged on many platforms, it's a no-brainer. Also, the twin limitations of bandwidth and budget mean that we can't rely solely on traditional marketing and advertising, so we have to get creative and experiment. We're always willing to be the guinea pig with new technology. I'm impressed by big brands that are able to get corporate buy-in for new media since it's got to be harder for them to take those risks. Finally, I'd like to emphasize that it all depends on the product. Our site might have all the bells and whistles, and we might promote and cross promote on a billion platforms, but it won't matter if the independent fashion we sell isn't appealing. Luckily, we carry the best stuff!
Moxsie's generated tons of traffic and sales through your marketing efforts, what do you feel has been the key/critical piece to your strategy?
This'll be a surprising answer from someone who sells independent fashion, but I think our location has been very key. New York and LA are generally considered the US fashion centers, but Moxsie's location in the Bay Area means that we have easy access to a lot of great partners. Polyvore, Kaboodle, Twitter, and TheFind are examples of companies that we've established great working relationships with. They like it when we test new products for them, and we like that these products help us drive sales.
Also, I've been very lucky to hire extraordinary people for the marketing team: (Nathan Zaru and Mayka Mei- check out Mayka's blog at themaykazine.com). They're young, eager to learn, and great at multi tasking. Most importantly, they are well versed in new media and have specialized skill sets that encompass the whole range of marketing needs. We're a very small team, but we're able to accomplish so much because of this.
Companies may feel overwhelmed by all the noise, wide marketplace and reach they can have. How can they remain focused?
The marketing mantra is "what's the goal?" As long as you only use tools and media to accomplish the goals you set out initially, you won't be distracted.
Moxsie created what's essentially a new niche (indie fashion) -- how important is it today for companies to differentiate, especially since there is so much of the same things online?
Why would customers come to your site if you're exactly the same as something that already exists? Moxsie carries accessibly priced independent fashion for men and women, which is already unique. We've also made the purchasing experience unique too! For example, you can see a live twitter feed of Moxsie mentions through the twitter-sphere when you're browsing so you know what sorts of things other people are interested in, during check-out we allow you to choose a charity that we donate a portion of our proceeds to, every purchase from our warehouse is gift-wrapped, and people that purchase from us get special deals that aren't available to everyone else. These are just some of the ways we make sure that the Moxsie experience is an indelible memory.
What do you feel are the online marketing must-haves for companies today?
Investment in social media is crucial for B2C companies, and usually very useful for B2B. The basics of marketing and also SEM + SEO are obvious necessities. Probably the most important must-have isn't any sort of tool, but the right mindset. Marketing should be an adventure!
What are some of the mistakes a lot of companies make in marketing online?
Never waste an opportunity. This is when I offer anyone who's read this far into the article a 15% off coupon code on www.moxsie.com- Just use "NEWPOWERGIRLS" in your shopping cart for 15% off. It'll be live till the end of 2010. Thanks for reading this far people, and may I recommend our women's shoe and boot selection? They are to die for.
I love that. How important are blogs and media today to online strategy? Are these things still relevant when companies can now reach audiences themselves more than ever?
Blogs and media are extraordinarily important! Moxsie stays in touch with a large number of bloggers. We love the blogging community because it's fun, unfettered, and allows information to be communicated so creatively. Additionally, many of these blogs are influencers not only of consumers but of other media. It all feeds off of each other.
Moxsie's also really great about advertising online -- what's behind your success in it?
There is definitely no magic formula here. We've done plenty of testing to determine which formats and audiences work best. Since we have a limited budget, we keep our focus narrow and campaigns are always ROI driven.
Is there anything companies absolutely should NOT do online?
You have to try everything once, right? Can't be scared of making mistakes. If there's one don't, I'd choose Google's corporate motto of "Don't be evil."