Sandrine Szabo is a passionate marketer who specialises in creating digital experiences and conversations between brands and their customers. She founded her own digital agency, netinfluence — which just happens to be in Paper.li’s home town of Lausanne, Switzerland. Sandrine’s love of social media conversations inspired her Paper.li WhatWomenTweet | SocialWorld — showcasing tweets, discussions and articles from the fascinating women she follows.
What makes you so enthusiastic about marketing as a job?
I love my job! Marketing is the greatest job in the world, because you fulfill your customers’ aspirations. What is so fascinating about the digital world is that it allows dialogue between brands and consumers — it’s a way for brands to improve their products and services. That’s quite inspiring.
What prompted you to set up your own digital agency?
I never intended to create a company. Actually, I hated the idea at first! But I realised that no company would offer me the job I wanted. I was fed up fighting with my employers, trying to get them to come into the digital world. I wanted to wake up with a smile on my face every day, have fun, and also accomplish something bigger than me.
So I started a blog and a job board called profession-web which was for and about local web professionals, and a community, SwissW2. I would get asked for the kind of advice I was blogging and it soon became clear there was a big opportunity for a digital agency that was a one-stop shop, with an A to Z of services. Enter netinfluence!
What makes digital marketing successful?
Digital marketing is about connecting the dots — between consumers and brands, but also between offline and online experiences. I see it providing consumers with an augmented experience from the brands they like. Much of digital marketing is about creating relationships, but it also means offering a ubiquitous and engaging — though non-intrusive — connection with the brand.
You have to do your branding right first, and understand that, no matter where the touchpoints with your customers are, you need to deliver a consistent experience.
How has your project been working out?
It hasn’t been easy, but we made it happen! Now, work is a delight, because we are at the frontier between traditional and digital marketing, between consumers and brands, in a country that doesn’t necessarily pioneer adoption, and we feel we have a role in both knowledge transfer and methodology.
We created a methodology (THINK — CREATE — REACH — GROW — CARE) that helps us take our customers on the digital journey, starting with branding, all the way to monitoring and training. We take all the different elements of going online and make them work together: brand identities, design interfaces, sites and applications, how to generate traffic, keep customers, and engage. It’s like knitting. We start with a tangled ball of wool and we unravel it and knit up something nice.
Can you recommend some of the best marketing-related resources?
- The great Brand Gap presentation: what makes a brand.
- Seth Godin defined many marketing best practices in his visionary book Permission Marketing. When he wrote it he didn’t quite believe in digital (he has clearly changed his mind since) but his thinking set the agenda for brands to consider their customers. See his presentation on permission marketing.
- Follow Seth’s inspiring blog.
- Social media simply explained by Marta Kagan.
- Netinfluence presentation, our favourites and our blog.
Now tell us about your Paper.li, WhatWomenTweet | SocialWorld.
It came about when I saw another Paper.li curating a couple of interesting people, so I thought, “Let’s shine the light on a few women.”
One interesting trend is that, when women adopt brands, mass adoption tends to follow. I find the female perspective interesting — although I am in no way a feminist! So I created a Twitter list of all the interesting women I have ever met and when I see women publish something interesting I add them.
It draws a lot of attention — the title helps. It flatters people to belong to the list and puts the spotlight on them, which is really great. Sometimes it picks up tweets from men too, of course… that’s a bit annoying, but it’s because many of us retweeted the same tweep, so that’s fine.
I don’t read it daily as I prefer to go through it from time to time. I wish we could auto-filter based on location — it could be really interesting to see what Asian women think as compared to European as compared to American women. The cultural filter on the same information is a source of additional inspiration.
What makes a good Paper.li from a marketing viewpoint?
A good Paper.li is one you did not create for your own needs but for others (think bigger than you). If it’s only based on my followers/followees/myself then it is pointless. It should aim at creating value. WhatWomenTweet | SocialWorld interests people because it is highly focused — it’s a female view of social media.
It should offer diversity of content, because the more diverse your content the more you can benefit from the Paper.li algorithm, acting as your curation tool.
What do you do outside the digital world?
Well, I love living between the lakes and the mountains in Switzerland. And riding my Ducati Monster, which is bright red, the same colour as my hair!