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All Posts by Abel Sanchez

About the Author

Apr 14

The New Traditional

By Abel Sanchez | Programmatic , Programmatic 101 , Programmatic In-House , Programmatic Managed

Starfish Ad Age Programmatic Ad Agency Longview Tyler Texas Dallas Shreveport

Recently, I had a conversion with a friend who has been in Traditional media for over 20 years.

Our discussion got a bit heated about how traditional is no longer as relevant as it was five years ago. Frequency is no longer the best format in traditional. The dollars are wasted, why? Because, no one is watching or listening anymore at 5 o’clock or on broadcast time, we are all too busy getting content from our phones.

Face it we now use our phones to pay bills, check balances, order pizza, play music, check up on family and friends through social media, communicate with emails, text and in some cases use the actual phone to make a real call to someone. We have moved quickly and quietly to a device that has hundreds of platforms out there we use every day.

To prove my point, I’m writing this blog on my iPhone right now using an app and listening to music at the same time while am waiting to get a haircut, Convenience!

Being able to reach an audience on these devices have become a difficult task.

My friend’s argument was that people don’t click on ads. “Ok, you got me there, cause I don’t either.” I don’t click on random ads, but when the ads are relevant or interesting TO ME, the chances have gotten much higher. It’s not about flooding a user with ads. Targeting audiences on the most personal device they own take a lot more planning, A/B testing, creative and optimizing.

Consumers move quickly from platform to platform, regardless of the news of companies like Facebook selling your data to advertisers (as if you didn’t already know, nothing is free and your data is currency). Consumers want instant gratification (there’s an app for that) and what better device than mobile.

Now, I am not advocating for brands to completely remove traditional from their marketing strategy, but the amount they spend on traditional shouldn’t be the same or more. If brands have not shifted budgets over to digital, they are going to come in last in this digital marathon, and trust me you don’t want to cross the finish-line or check that box off.

So my rebuttal was Programmatic creates that same kind of traditional gratification but in a digital format, focusing on mobile devices should be your #1 push.

Food for thought…

Apr 12

Social Platforms and Programmatic

By Abel Sanchez | Brand Strategy , Creative , Data Strategy , Programmatic , Programmatic 101 , Programmatic In-House , Programmatic Managed , Social Media

Starfish Ad Agency Programmatic ads Longview Tyler Dallas Shreveport Digital Unplugged Marketing

This morning I had a thought as to how brands can leverage some of the platforms across all of these different ecosystems. One of the things that I have learned, based purely off of experience and practicing what I preach, is being able to build a brand inside of these ecosystems. When you look at social, those platforms are the best way for you to build your brand regardless of if you are just starting out or have been in business for decades.

On these platforms, there is no way that you can go in there and think that what you did five or ten years ago with traditional will give you the same brand recognition on those platforms. You have to go at it like nobody knows who you are… because they don’t.

It’s kind of like what Gary Vee’s book Jab Jab Right Hook says. Can you sell a product on these platforms? Absolutely. I believe you should. But not every single post should be about you trying to sell something to someone. You are actually talking to another human being. This is an interaction and a networking opportunity for you. Once you establish that connection with your consumer, then you have the ability to target them. You can use that same methodology; jab with social and give them a right hook programmatically.

A lot of people don’t understand that you can use programmatic strategically as an overall capability to leverage so much of your marketing and your strategy. Because so many people get lost in just two platforms, or maybe they hate programmatic. Gary Vee is not a fan of programmatic, but he talks about doing a Google search and hours or days later you go on youtube and see an ad for what you searched previously. That is a form of programmatic. When you think about it, you are actually telling Google what you want to see. You put yourself in an auction environment inside that ecosystem. You are telling the market what kind of product you want to see and what you are interested in buying.

Being able to do that is a form of programmatic regardless of what you think. It is extremely important for brands right now to use social as a way to tell a story. If you can’t tell a story, and you are just going to rely on the traditional media you have used for the past 50 years, you won’t get any engagement or new business. You need to be able to appeal to a younger generation; someone who is actually using these platforms. You need to give them a reason to buy your products and tell them a story that makes them feel comfortable as if your product is the right one for them at that particular time. If all you are going to do is sell, sell, sell… you are going to lose.

Mar 22

How Are We Different?

By Abel Sanchez | Accountability , Family , Hustle , Programmatic , Social Media , Starfish Core Value

Starfish Ad Agency Programmatic ads Longview Tyler Dallas Shreveport Digital Unplugged Marketing

I was asked the other day why I opened up an ad agency and quite honestly my answer is that I just got tired of working for media companies. They measure their success based on their own metrics rather than on results, and customers don’t know who or what to believe anymore. A lot of customers have misconceptions about how digital works because they have this rep that they trusted and that rep was told how to pitch a product based on some metric that was given to them by their “corporate VP of digital sales” or whatever. Those are incorrect metrics.

I came from a pretty big organization, and I had a lot of the VPs and people that were supposed to be more educated on digital come to me and ask me questions once they found out that I was IAB certified. Once I became certified I got a lot of pushback because those people felt threatened by me. They thought I was going to come in and take their jobs but honestly, I didn’t want their jobs even though I knew more than they did. Was I looking for a “seat at the table” so to speak? Yes absolutely. That’s why people go to college and get an education so that they can be compensated in some way, shape, or form to move up the corporate ladder.

And the reality is that working for a media company fucking sucks. Unless you are at the top it really does just suck. Being an account executive or a sales manager means that you don’t have any pull or say so in what you are trying to accomplish for a client. You are pretty much just pushed to the side and told “shut up” and “do what you’re told” and “go to your corner”. One of the most fundamental differences in what I want to instill in my ad agency is that I want to train and empower people. I want to surround myself with people way smarter than I am and who know way more about a specific platform than I do.

Half of the business that we have generated has come strictly from referrals. It’s been amazing because of the talent that we have as an agency. My team is extremely talented and I want them to understand that I want to empower them every day. I always tell them “I’m not saying no. I want you to convince me as to why this is going to work” and it doesn’t take much to convince me honestly. It really comes down to the fact that I opened an ad agency because I got so fucking tired of ad agencies lying to their client about this proprietary bullshit. Everyone is buying from the same exchanges and the same platforms, unless they are an ad tech company. They have invested a ton of capital onto an actual technology that they own. That is the only thing that would really set you apart as “proprietary”.

Now when it comes to the fact that I feel that I am one of the most intelligent individuals when it comes to programmatic in East Texas… I will own that every. single. day. As a matter of fact, there are two events, one next week in New York and another in San Francisco, the “Who’s-Who” in programmatic will be there. Those are the two places that I need to be if I want to stay on top of this game. This industry moves at such a rapid pace and it’s constantly evolving.

There is so much technology behind programmatic that it’s impossible for you to stay in one platform. That’s why a lot of people don’t like programmatic because they feel like they need to have an understanding of how it works. You can learn it, don’t get me wrong, but it will take you a lot of time to teach yourself. I am not going to take the time to educate a client on how each and every little step to programmatic works because that would take months. That’s why a lot of people fall back on things like Facebook and Google. Those platforms set up free training that is very easy to complete, but programmatic is a little more difficult. It involves the entire ecosystem.

You have to ask yourself how you are going to use programmatic in a way that is going to be not just the vehicle but the engine that will get you to your desired destination. Also, understand that search and social are the driver and the passenger inside of that vehicle. You still have to have someone to direct you to that place. That’s what I was just talking about yesterday.

Media companies and most agencies haven’t figured that out. And they’re not going to because they are stuck in that rut of social or search, or they’re afraid of trying to deliver real results because it will cut into their bottom line profit. I am not worried about that. I am going to make sure that I can generate real results. That’s why I am in business. The only way that I will succeed is if my clients succeed.

Mar 13

Marketing Funnels

By Abel Sanchez | Brand Strategy , Data Strategy , Programmatic , Social Media , Uncategorized

Starfish Ad Agency Programmatic ads Longview Tyler Dallas Shreveport Digital Unplugged Marketing

Marketing funnels are considered by some to be the very essence of building and growing your business, especially an online business. A marketing funnel is essentially a collection of “levels” that prospective clients progress through. Developed in 1898 by American advertising advocate, E. St. Elmo Lewis, they were originally designed with just four main objectives: awareness, interest, desire, and action. Ultimately, the purpose of these funnels is to drive prospective business through a series of conversions.

Marketing funnels are deliberately designed to go in line with your specific business model. They keep track of results, automates the process, and reduces the amount of your own time you spend invested in the process. There are many different formats and templates for these marketing funnels, but no matter how you go about it, you need to have a system that gets people to know who you are, provides value and builds trust, convert them into buyers, delivers a great customer experience, and converts them into loyal repeat buyers. They are beneficial because you can see the weak points and where you are losing potential customers, at which point you can make any necessary adjustments to gain more business. These funnels take your client on a “journey”, all the way from discovering your business to purchasing your products, and even to a post-purchase phase that brings customer loyalty and repeats business. The data collected is also measurable at any given point in the entire process. The better a funnel keeps track of this customer data, and the more automated it is, the more successful it will be at getting you the results you want.

Funnels are more beneficial for subscription-based e-commerce businesses, but not as much for transactional, one-time-service businesses, such as a medical practice, auto dealer, or larger purchases, like real estate. In our business, we have taken concepts from what other templates for these funnels are like, and we have tailored them to fit our clients’ needs and the goals that they are trying to achieve.

Awareness, research, intent, and purchase are the main ideas in the templates we use. We create a plan that is more focused on the intent and purchase. Research is more used in a search or a social platform, and awareness is plugged into social, as well as programmatic. We have been able to take steps into not just generating leads, but also filtering out those individuals who are truly in the market for a specific product or service and eliminating those who are not ready for that purchase. There are steps that you can take to create that “filtering” process, but it is unique to each individual client. You could take that same concept and it would work well for one brand, but you could try and copy it to someone else and it doesn’t work. That’s the problem that a lot of companies that offer lead generation through a funnel process; they just copy and paste those funnels. They don’t focus on results, or the purchase or intent. They just focus on generating as many leads as possible, but those leads fall through because they are still in the research and awareness phase. You are wasting your time, money, and marketing efforts at the top of the funnel.

They shouldn’t even be called “funnels” anymore. They are customer digital journeys inside communities of fans, shoppers, explorers of all walks of life.

Feb 14

Understanding Digital

By Abel Sanchez | Accountability , Core Values , Creative , Family , Hustle , Programmatic , Search , Social Media

Starfish Ad Agency Programmatic ads Longview Tyler Dallas Shreveport Digital Unplugged Marketing

Understanding Digital vs Just Pitching the Product

A lot of agencies and media companies typically teach their sales people how to simply pitch the product instead of actually teaching them to understand the fundamentals of the product. Their mentality is just “give me the bullet points and I’ll make the sale”. But the thing about digital is that it’s a living, breathing organism. There are a lot of moving parts. It moves, it feels, it touches, and you can do so much with digital and to use it to its fullest potential, you have to understand human nature. That is who you’re really trying to capture. It’s about understanding how all of the different platforms connect, and how they’re able to deliver a relevant ad to the right consumer at the right time, and more importantly on a mobile platform.

People use their mobile devices more than anything else. If you have an iPhone, newer iOS tells you all about your screen time. Think about other people. When you go to a restaurant, when you’re at a red light, when you’re at the store, think about what the people around you are doing. They’re almost all on their phones consuming media.
So understanding the difference between pitching digital and actually understanding how digital connects us all is what separates us from the masses. I don’t want any of my staff to only know how to pitch a product; they need to understand how it all functions. 3 main things I need them to know about digital platforms is that regardless of what we don’t like or agree with, we cannot run our digital campaigns based on our interests. We have to let the market and audience decide. I also always tell them to never stop learning. Always push yourself to learn more and new things every single day. And lastly, digital audiences are not numbers. We may look at them as such, but they are real humans too, and that is important to remember so that we can be mindful about the creative we push out.

Our core values are family, accountability, and hustle. Those tie into understanding digital because in order for us to be fully aware of the best possible ways to utilize this technology, we first have to be accountable for ourselves, and we have to understand the value in family so that we can make relevant creative content. We want to surround ourselves with the right minded people so that we can hustle harder and produce the right results every time.

What are the 3 main things you want your staff to know about digital so they can better understand how to use it?
Regardless of what we don’t use or like we cannot run digital campaigns based on our interest, let the market/audience decide.
Never Stop Learning
Digital audiences or data are not numbers, they are people

How do your core values tie into understanding digital?

How do you ensure your staff is up to date on the latest in digital?
Training

Feb 07

The Journey to Starfish

By Abel Sanchez | Accountability , Core Values , Family , Hustle , Programmatic , Starfish Core Value , Starfish Family

Starfish Ad Agency Programmatic ads Longview Tyler Dallas Shreveport Digital Unplugged Marketing

When I first started in the marketing industry, I took a job as a media sales rep, selling cable TV. I fell into it by accident. I was looking for a job and I saw an ad that said “Make $1800 a month in 6 months guaranteed in sales”. I ended up liking it and making some pretty good money. The boss that I had was a really nice lady, but the problem was that she wouldn’t allow me to grow the business. She wanted me to do things her way. But her way was “old” and cheap. After 8 months, I started losing accounts because of her methods. I gave her an ultimatum because for 3 months back to back I made less than $100 a month and I had a family. So I told her I need to be able to grow this business the way I want to and without her interference, or I walk away. I had already gotten some recognition for the company so my leaving would have been a red flag towards the company. So she left me alone, and after 4 more months I gained that business back. Ever since then I enjoyed what I was doing. I was able to turn that market into one of the most profitable markets in the company that I was working for. I was the #1 account executive in the company. I had gotten recognition 6 years in a row, as part of the President’s club, which was reserved only for top reps in the company.
Growing up, I was fucking poor. I grew up with my grandparents. They were migrants. They would travel to Wyoming to work in the sugar fields. The fields were about 2 miles long. That work is how I would get my school clothes and when I was 13 I said “fuck this shit, this is not for me” and that is one reason why I have the work ethic and discipline that I have. This shit is not hard labor. It is time consuming, and it takes away time from my family, but I love it and I wouldn’t ever do anything else. I think that is one of the reasons why I have never complained about the work that I have to put into this. I would always tell other AE’s when they would ask how I do it “I don’t fucking complain, I just get the work done”.
About 8 years ago, I decided to dive deeper into digital. I knew where the industry was headed, and I knew the company I was working for and how they were teaching us to pitch digital, but not giving us the fundamentals to understand it. There was no training other than teaching us the right answers to clients’ questions. I didn’t want to know a sales pitch; I wanted to be able to truly explain the process. I got a lot of resistance for my IAB training from the executives who were in charge of the digital products we sold because even they didn’t understand it and they felt threatened. I wasn’t trying to make anyone uncomfortable. I was really just trying to be a better salesperson. After a while I realized I knew more about it than they did. Here’s the crazy thing about digital; it changes so rapidly that if you don’t constantly educate yourself, you’ll get left behind. I was the only account executive in the company I was working for that was certified. I even hosted my own training, on my own time, to train other employees for free. Some of them were scared of it because they couldn’t comprehend it. It was difficult for them to understand it because in a way they had, in a matter of days, untaught themselves what they had been taught for so many years about digital. What I didn’t realize was that in doing that training I was setting myself up to move to a different stage in the company. But unfortunately, people don’t leave companies. They leave bad bosses. And that led me to look for a company that would embrace my knowledge. Which led me to East Texas.
Moving here was actually one of the best decisions I’ve made. While I have been here, one of the things I picked up very quickly was that, like back home, they didn’t understand digital. They didn’t understand the information they were selling. They just wanted to make a quick sale. But I soon realized, that with the knowledge and experience I had, I could build a company on my own.
I started this company with my partner in February of 2017. We both left six-figure jobs. Has it been difficult? Fuck yeah it’s been difficult. One of the craziest parts of owning an agency is that it’s lonely as fuck. But it’s one of the reasons why all of my experience in the past 18 years in media and marketing, the ups, the downs, have given me the clarity to create the core values I want to instill in my company: family, accountability, and hustle. One of the most important parts about Starfish is that I’m not here to sell this company. I am here to build a legacy. I want to be the number 1 programmatic ad agency. And knowing that the future of programmatic is shifting, and traditional dollars are moving towards digital, being able to harness a programmatic platform and utilize our capabilities to access and use private marketplaces is extremely powerful, not just for our business but for our clients’ business. “Believe in your fucking self” is on a sign hanging above my desk. I look at it every day and remember the journey that I have been on to get to where I am at today. And it also reminds me that the journey isn’t over.
Starfish is growing. Just like any company, we have our ups and downs, and anything that goes wrong is clearly my fault and when we have wins, its everybody’s win. Because without my staff I would not be where I am at. Most people don’t trust other people when they hire them especially in a small business because they feel that they will learn the secrets and go off and start a business on their own. Personally, more power to them. I’m not afraid of it. There’s a clean difference between someone having an idea and someone having the balls to execute it. Everyone has ideas but you have to put in the fucking work to make it happen.

Sincerely,
-Abel motherfuckin’ Sanchez.

Feb 04

Why Does Digital Take So Long

By Abel Sanchez | Brand Strategy , Creative , Data Strategy , Programmatic , Search , Social Media

We live in an instant society. Which means that one of the biggest misconceptions about digital advertising is that people think of the word digital, and they think instant results. But anyone who says they can give you a return in less than 30 days is lying to you; they don’t truly understand how it all works. Like the competitor, we could also promise to get you leads. But those leads don’t matter in the long run, unless you’re also seeing the results you desire.

As with anything you do in life, it also takes time to build your brand. There are so many different platforms to work with, and not everybody knows how to use them all. And if you think that just spending a couple of hundred dollars on AdWords or Facebook is going to get you the results you want, you are mistaken. Our job is to help businesses navigate through these platforms and help brands generate an ROI.

For example, we have clients that haven’t run a TV ad for six months, but they still have customers come in and tell them that they heard about them on a TV commercial. How is that possible? Time. Repetition. It takes time for people to receive your message, and what’s more, is that they also need to get your message at the right time so that it is relevant to them. If you were to put a commercial on TV, it would take time to get the commercial done right, and then more time to get it heard and seen, and then even more time on top of that to see the results.
Digital doesn’t just send things out to the entire market randomly as traditional does. It’s about finding that community that your message is relevant to at that particular moment in time. And in this time when everyone and their grandmother is on a smartphone, we are very mobile-oriented; meaning that we are highly skilled with social media and mobile friendly sites.
Our slogan is “in a sea of advertisers, we make you the star of the ocean” for a reason. Here at Starfish, we help your brand stand out. We target the right consumers at the exact right moment to get you the results you are after for your business. So let us make you a star.