Interview with Sara Castillo
Co-Founder + President
Consumers are constantly bombarded with brand advertisements trying to get their attention. We receive hundreds of emails, an abundance of commercials that interrupt our shows, digital ads fill our social media screens, and worst of all, pop-ups getting in the way of reading articles. This relentless stream of content makes it harder than ever for brands to cut through the noise and get attention. In a world full of advertisement overload how do brands stand out from the rest? Sara Castillo, TapOnIt’s Co-Founder and President, took some time to give her experience and insight on this topic.
If a brand was creating a customer persona about you, what would it be?
“So my customer persona, I am on both ends of the spectrum when it comes to being a customer. In regards to eating, I absolutely love eating out. Going out to eat is one of my favorite things to do. Whether it’s by myself or with a group of friends, I just love experiencing new restaurants. When I go out, I’m okay with spending money on good food. But when I eat at home, it’s as cheap as humanly possible. I go for the generic brand mac & cheese, hot dogs, and frozen pizza. So it’s funny, I’m very much like both ends of the spectrum.
I go in waves where one month, I just want to shop and I buy everything I see, then the next month my wallet is on lockdown and I don’t buy anything. Overall, as a shopper, I rely a lot on reviews and trust what other buyers say. If I have a friend that has used a specific product, has been to a specific restaurant, or stayed at a specific hotel, of course, I’m going to trust their referral, more than trying something from scratch.
If you do get me as a customer, it’s really easy to keep me as a customer, as long as you keep giving the consistent, product or service or whatever it is.”
What brands have caught your eye lately through marketing? Where’d you see it?
“Instagram sticks out to me because that’s where I tend to see the most ads. I watch streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, so they don’t have ads. I work from home, so I don’t see billboards often, and I don’t spend a ton of time on Facebook. So it’s really mostly Instagram.
Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez has caught my eye because they’ve been really consistent with their branding and what they’re doing, but not to a point where it feels like it’s gimmicky, it just kind of actually feels authentic.
I’m really into the ads that are relevant to what’s actually going on either in the world or in pop culture at that time. I feel like that sort of advertising resonates with me more, because it is so much more specific to the time. TV, radio, billboards, newspapers – once it’s there, you can’t change it. With social media and other forms of digital advertising, you can change it so easily. Brands need to keep that in mind, staying relevant to what’s actually going on at that exact moment.
People don’t tend to share a straight advertisement onto their social media, but if it’s something that has a deeper meaning to it or something relevant they might. With TapOnIt Deals, organic sharing of advertising is a whole different level because it’s coming from people that are like yourself.
Rare Beauty has kind of stuck in my mind because of how consistently authentic they’ve been. One of these days they’re going to show somebody just like me that’s the same type of skin, same age, where I’m going to be like, ‘oh, that girl is exactly like me. And she uses this product from Rare, I need to check it out.'”
What do you think is most beneficial for a brand to do when advertising?
“Brands need to know who their audience is and personalize it to who they’re trying to reach, as opposed to just anybody that will listen, that is going to be more beneficial for the brand at the end of the day.
Include content with their ads – you don’t go and purchase every single item you see in an ad, that’s just not how it works. But if I’m signing up for a texting program from a business, I’m okay with them texting me, and therefore I want stuff that’s going to benefit me even when I’m not in a purchasing mindset. So I think including content in every sort of communication is important so that it keeps me engaged even if that includes not spending money right at that time yet.
For example, Wallaces Garden Center. They text me tips and tricks for my plants, how-to projects, and also, you can buy all the things you need right from Wallaces, so then it’s just kind of a win-win. I think it’s really important that businesses use their texting space not only to focus 100% on making sales but also to continue building that relationship with their customers. Because the more I grow my hobby of planting, the more I’m going to spend on planting, and the more I’m going to spend with Wallaces.
Or let’s say it’s a boutique and they just text me ‘hey, 50% off all our jeans.’ I’ll probably ignore that. If they sent me pictures of a couple of pairs of jeans, a video on a way to style them, and maybe a size guide, then I might be like, ‘Oh, I wait maybe I actually do need new jeans, let me look at this more.'”
So, what type of brands do you think texting works well for?
“Well of course I think it could work for any brand.
If I had to narrow it down though, definitely retail. Retail is the number one, because it’s clothing, you want to see what it looks like. But, I also think content is big. I’ve signed up for all a bunch of different newsletters from different sorts of industries, I get ones about marketing and social media, stock ones like The Morning Brew, current events like The Skimm. So I have all these different ones, but I don’t even open all of them. Even though it’s not like they put out tons of content every day, I know it would take me too long to find what’s relevant to me. If I could get a text, with just enough information to make me decide if I want to read further or not, that would be great.
Restaurants are also perfect for texting because everybody’s biggest problem is ‘oh, what do we want to eat for dinner?’. If you can text them a picture of your special of the day and let them know it’s Margarita Monday, that can get people to decide to go there instead of somewhere else. We’ve seen it firsthand with TapOnIt Deals where people have said ‘we went and ate at this place for lunch because the TapOnDeals ad came through and it looked delicious’.
Pretty much anybody who is successfully doing email, I think could be extremely successfully doing text messaging.”
Final thoughts on how brands can stay relevant?
“Make it personal, be authentic, and offer a variety of content because people are visual. This will make consumers want to interact with your brand, shop from you, and hopefully spread the word.”