Summary

In this podcast episode, Catherine Oakes, founder of Slice XR, discusses her journey in marketing and the creation of her agency. She highlights the importance of customer-centric branding, leveraging technology like VR and AI, and the power of consistent, authentic messaging to create superfans. Catherine also touches on the effectiveness of rewards programs, the relevance of email marketing, and the necessity of tracking marketing efforts. She suggests that small businesses can use AI tools to manage marketing and stresses the need for a resilient mindset, adaptability, and a supportive management style to foster a positive work environment and business success.

Guest

Founder of SliiceXR, Catherine Oaks is a highly experienced marketing and branding professional with a distinguished career spanning over 30 years across various regions including Europe, Asia-Pacific, United Arab Emirates, Northern Africa, and the USA. Catherine is well known for her innovative thought leadership campaigns that boost brand recognition and awareness for B2B and B2C companies. She is fluent in English, French, German, and Spanish, which combined with her extensive global sales and marketing background, helps businesses expand their marketing reach and gain international exposure.

Her strategic thinking, creative genius, and tactical clarity enable her to uncover a business’s core values and turn brands into magnets, generating viral impact on any platform. By bringing something extraordinary to the world that did not exist before, Catherine’s visionary approach enables her clients to establish a purposeful life and achieve their goals.

Bullet Points

  • Importance of consistency, authenticity, and leveraging technology in marketing
  • Rewards and retention programs in marketing
  • Email marketing and engagement, including cold email marketing
  • Tracking marketing efforts and demonstrating effectiveness
  • Tools for small businesses to manage marketing efforts effectively
  • Leveraging technology and maintaining the right mindset for business success
  • Utilizing content creation and design tools, particularly AI tools

Best Quotes

‘Catherine Oakes’, ’00:01:07′, “Marketing was still a serious topic, and it was going to involve a lot of creativity, which is what I always enjoyed.”

‘Catherine Oakes’, ’00:03:19′, “Everything in your communication needs to be customer-centric. Someone is going to come to you because they have faith that you will be solving their problem.”

‘Catherine Oakes’, ’00:08:13′, “First of all, you have to have a very clear message that resonates with your core audience’s needs.”

‘Catherine Oakes’, ’00:19:45′, “You have to have the mentality of a warrior, where you push every barrier in front of you. You have to make a conscious decision that you will not give up, because you will be tempted to give up 10 million times.”

‘Catherine Oakes’, ’00:20:43′, “The most important thing is to have the right mindset.”

‘Catherine Oakes’, ’00:21:51′, “Especially nowadays, things change at the speed of light. Like I said before, you have to be flexible on your feet; you have to be adaptable.”

Superfans Success

Episode Transcript

Amplify Your Brand: Tech Tactics for Skyrocketing Customer Engagement with Catherine Oaks

Freddy D (00:00:00) – Founder of slice XR, Catherine Oakes is a highly experienced marketing and branding professional with a distinguished career spanning over 30 years across various regions including Europe, Asia Pacific, United Arab Emirates, North Africa, and the USA. Kathryn is well known for her innovative thought leadership campaigns to boost brand recognition and awareness for B2B and B2C companies. She is fluent in English, French, German, and Spanish, which, combined with her extensive global sales and marketing background, helps businesses expand their marketing research and gain international exposure. Her strategic thinking, creative genius, and tactical clarity enable her to uncover a business’s core values and turn brands into magnets, generating viral impact on any platform by bringing something extraordinary to the world that did not exist before. Kathryn’s visionary approach enables her clients to establish a purposeful life and achieve their goals.

Freddy D (00:00:52) – Hello, Catherine. Welcome to the show.

Catherine Oaks (00:00:54) – Hello, Frederick. How are you doing today?

Freddy D (00:00:56) – I am doing fantastic.

Freddy D (00:00:58) – About yourself?

Catherine Oaks (00:00:59) – Well, before. Great. Wonderful. Thank you for having me here.

Freddy D (00:01:02) – Thank you.

Freddy D (00:01:03) – Tell us, Catherine, how did you get started in marketing?

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Catherine Oaks (00:01:07) – My father wanted me to be an engineer, and I said, I’m not going to be an engineer. So he said, what else serious can you do? Because I wanted to be an actress. And my father said, you’re going to be an actress. I said, okay, when I’m with marketing, that’s how it happened. Marketing was still a serious topic and it was going to involve a lot of creativity, which is what I always enjoyed. So I’m going to go into marketing. That’s how it all started.

Freddy D (00:01:32) – Okay. And what led you to start your own agency slice.

Catherine Oaks (00:01:37) – Because I’m an entrepreneur at heart, I’ve tried to work for other people and it does not work very well for me. I think I’m too opinionated. I express my opinions to us, which very often creates a hell of chaos or arguments. And insecure leaders don’t deal very well with someone who has lots of opinions.

Freddy D (00:02:00) – Well, I agree with that.

Catherine Oaks (00:02:01) – Because we feel threatened. And so it’s a combination that that does not very well work very well. So this is why my first agency, my first company I built in 2006, it was another advertising agency and I realised I am made to work for myself and I think and since then I knew that there was no other option for me, that working for other companies is not what allows me to thrive. It’s not what allows me to create, to to put in practice my inspiration and my ideas. And I decided, okay, that the best platform for me is to have my own agency and spread my creativity as much as possible.

Freddy D (00:02:42) – So how long have you owned your agency now?

Catherine Oaks (00:02:44) – This agency was the second one because the first one happened just before the 2008 crash, which took everything away from me, just like a lot of other people. This one I’ve had now since 2017. So it’s going to be it was September 2017. So it’s going to be almost six years now. Mhm.

Freddy D (00:03:03) – Okay.

Freddy D (00:03:03) – Excellent. So what can businesses do from a marketing perspective that they know that they’re missing out on or they’re not doing a good job of doing marketing that’s going to expand their brand awareness.

Catherine Oaks (00:03:19) – A lot of companies make the mistake of talking about themselves too much. You see a lot of websites where they display their products, their services, so we speak about them. That in itself does not attract a lot of people because you’re not putting customers first. Everything in your communication needs to be customer centric. Someone is going to come to you because they have faith that you will be solving the problem. So you have to stick benefits. It’s benefits that’s important. What’s also very important is to determine what is your main product, what is your core product, what is it and how is it different from anywhere else on anyone else on the market who wants to be put on your top bun and your on your website? The top areas of your marketing materials. Because you have to remember one thing. People have no time nowadays.

Catherine Oaks (00:04:15) – In average, it takes people about three seconds to make an opinion of your company on your website. So in three seconds you don’t grab their attention. They’re gone. We just don’t have time to leave it on. Wait. It’s simple. People do not read anymore and then they have the attention. Yeah, we always laugh at that. But it’s true. We have the attention span of a goldfish. Even years. When that goldfish is about eight seconds. It’s proven that humans and attention span. Now in 2020 it’s about four seconds. So where do you go if you don’t get attention in four seconds, you lose potential clients and it hurts your company. It’s it’s something that’s very damaging. So I always a client I said you have to define your unique selling proposition i.e USP and what problems you’re going to solve for your audience. And then once that is determined, you have to develop the confidence, self-confidence that you can deliver because your clients are going to want to see results. So you have to provide statistical data showing progress in the right direction, and then you have to leverage technology.

Catherine Oaks (00:05:23) – Nowadays, we are incredibly lucky to live in the world of the metaverse, although there is a lot of questioning about new technologies, just like we had a lot of questioning with the internet 25 years ago, it’s really critical now that businesses stay aware of the options that they are going to have very soon. They have them now, but very soon they are going to be forced to change the way they market themselves because. Their competitors will have embraced new technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence. Everybody’s talking about this. And and they will have leveraged those technologies while at the same time grabbing market shares. So if you are if if you are too late, it’s going to take you too long to, to to get to that same level, you have to.

Freddy D (00:06:18) – Enlist the window of opportunity. You don’t have gone by.

Catherine Oaks (00:06:21) – That willingness to vote.

Freddy D (00:06:23) – Yes. As you mentioned, I think a lot of companies get caught up and says, I just got the stuff and it’s all good stuff, but it really needs to evolve.

Freddy D (00:06:31) – Marketing needs to be continually changing, adapting with the times and the approaches, and the messaging needs to be refreshed on a regular basis where people build it. And I’ve heard in the past where people said I used to shop on the front page of Google now I’m on page 27 and it’s when’s the last time you posted anything to your website? About three years ago. There you go.

Catherine Oaks (00:06:57) – So it’s a consistent and constant effort. It’s being very light on your feet because you need to adapt very quickly. You don’t you don’t. You don’t have months or years to adapt anymore because the speed train is going at a higher speed nowadays. So you have to educate yourself to really understand your options. Then you have to bring with you the right partners that can help you along the way. Establish a new strategy that will take you where you need to be, and then you have to implement properly. So you have to have the right team with you to be able to implement a team you can trust, because there is no way you can do everything on your own.

Catherine Oaks (00:07:34) – You have to have the right team to put in place your strategy and your tactics, and ensure it’s done with professionalism and it is constantly measured.

Freddy D (00:07:46) – So, Catherine, how.

Catherine Oaks (00:07:48) – Can.

Freddy D (00:07:49) – We talk about marketing? How how can a small entrepreneur, small business, medium sized business take marketing to engage with their customers and create and convert those customers, those business partners, into superfans that, in turn, are all expanding their brand awareness for that particular business.

Catherine Oaks (00:08:13) – First of all, you have to have a very clear message that resonates with your core audience’s needs. Once you have that message, you have to spread the message on all social media channels and communicate every day. And as it’s not just once a day when you lodge communicate 2 or 3 times a day, use videos, use audios, use mediums that most people don’t want to use because we just don’t want to be on video for some reason, or we just don’t want to make the effort of developing an audio message. So you have to do what others don’t and leverage social media.

Catherine Oaks (00:08:45) – Social media is very inexpensive. You don’t have to buy paid ads. We can organic social media by posting with the right price tags, by commenting on people’s feeds that are your your target audience, by engaging others with posts that are not just sales oriented, but posts that are going to provide inspiration, that are going to entertain them because people need that nowadays. They need to be entertained to so that they feel better. Once you allow your clients to feel better, guess what? Everybody’s emotional. They’re going to talk about you. And this is how you’re going to generate those superfans that you’re talking about. And but here is consistency. You have to do it day in day out. That’s not beyond the network.

Freddy D (00:09:31) – So for example, in the social media, you start getting a super fan of someone that would start right, because they resonate with your message. So now they’re reposting it to their audience and their people. So now of sudden you’re growing your brand and awareness is growing exponentially because you’ve got, let’s say, five, five superfans that really liked the messaging and those service and the business and the and the products that, you know, whether it’s a service or product that your the business is providing.

Freddy D (00:10:03) – And now they’re starting to promote the messaging to their audience. And let’s just say that you have a following of, let’s say, a thousand people as a conservative and they have a thousand people. So you got five superfans that reposted that. Now you’ve got an audience of 6000 people.

Catherine Oaks (00:10:20) – And that’s exactly what it is. And that’s very important. There’s one thing that I think is even more important is that you have to have a personality. You cannot blend and be just like everybody else. You have to have a personality, which means you have to have self-confidence. You have to know yourself. And you could be afraid of being a little bit eccentric because people like that. They want to be entertained. Remember, if you’re flat growing, nobody’s going to follow you. If you’re literate, centric and fun and you go over the edges a little bit while still being very correct, I’m not telling people to not be correct and being very ethical and respectful, but if you are, find a way to to establish a personality that’s unique and that will be attractive, then your superfans are going to grow a lot faster.

Freddy D (00:11:05) – Well, absolutely. That’s why my business name is Frederick. And for this podcast and stuff is the Freddie Dieter is much more fun, much more relaxed. Business is the tie and everything else. And here we’re having a show, we’re having fun, and we’re educating people on how to grow their businesses and build their own superfans. So please note.

Catherine Oaks (00:11:25) – That in order to be approachable. Yes.

Freddy D (00:11:28) – So what do you think about rewards programs and retention programs that, from a marketing perspective, that businesses could be doing or should be doing to retain clients and get repeat business on those customers?

Catherine Oaks (00:11:42) – It depends on a business. If it’s a B2B, maybe some. You have to have a rewards program that’s different. Obviously, but I’m always favorable of using rewards program people as rewards, uh, or even referral programs. People love to, to get something in exchange over sharing and somebody else’s information so that these are additional benefits that maybe others don’t offer. And another way of differentiating yourself and bringing value and then rewarding same.

Catherine Oaks (00:12:14) – Thank you with a little gift. You love that just we are still big kids. We will always be big kids whether we are 5 or 95 years old. So you have have to play those cards.

Freddy D (00:12:24) – Because yeah, loyalty program is a great way to say thank you to a unique way to say thank you to the to the customer, especially if you’re the B2C type of a business. You keep them there, but you’re going to make it worse. So the loyalty program is worthwhile. And and the goal and the achievement of the the prize, whatever it is, the chief label, it’s. Something that is designed as a gimmick to where the chances of really getting the reward is slim to none. Versus oh wow, I come here five times and I get something out of it. I’ll be back here five times.

Catherine Oaks (00:13:02) – This will be simple and achievable. Yes.

Freddy D (00:13:04) – No. That’s important. What about when you look at email marketing and engagement of that? How important is that today? And do you think cold email marketing is coming back?

Catherine Oaks (00:13:19) – I think it has to be part of your marketing mix because it’s an additional touchpoint.

Catherine Oaks (00:13:24) – And the good thing about emails is that people passively get messages in their inbox. They don’t have to to take any initiatives themselves. It’s a passive way of communicating now. A lot of people don’t like it. That’s okay. We can delete it. Even if you delete the email that you’re sending them, they’re going to see your name. It is brand awareness. It can be positive. But like I said they want to delete it. They delete it. So I always recommend including email in your marketing mix because it’s an additional touchpoint. And the more touchpoints you have in marketing, the better. However, it has to be consistent. All those messages that you’re sending out, whether it’s on social media, via YouTube, with with PowerPoint presentations or emails, you have to have that consistent core message, consistent branding, because this is how people will recognize you, and this is why you will build credibility. It’s very important. This is why I always tell my clients, before you start a program or strategy or communication strategy, you need to have a brand book.

Catherine Oaks (00:14:27) – You need to know exactly what to say, when to say it. You have to have your own style. You have to use the same colors. You have to make sure everything is presented in the right way. Because this is part of your brand. And the more you follow your brand right, the more successful you will be.

Catherine Oaks (00:14:47) – Yeah, I know that.

Freddy D (00:14:49) – That’s why I’m correct. Victor, another part that component in in the engagement of various marketing channels people forget to use. We got all the social media stuff and all these other tools, but there’s an old platform that works very well and that is male and male still works because it gets to the person. There’s a couple countries, I think it’s Canada and Germany that you can’t do cold emails to. It’s against the law. And. But you can do a great body and that will get into their email, their mailbox. And most likely people don’t get real mail anymore. And so it gets old. And so you have a solid chance of being seen.

Catherine Oaks (00:15:36) – Absolutely. That’s something that most companies don’t use anymore. So if you had I do a couple of oversize mail moves that are very beautiful, very attractive, that communicate the message clearly, and they are so beautiful, so big that people don’t throw them away in the trash very often. They keep them on their desk. And guess what? That’s something that your competitors probably don’t do. And when your top of mind all the time, you have a better chance of getting some business.

Freddy D (00:16:04) – Yeah, absolutely. I think the males overlooked and like cases and postcards is another good platform. I think not the smaller ones, but a bigger sized postcard, because at least it gets you a chance to someone’s going to look at it. And okay, they may close to the side, but it’s still register and got the message across. And they May 2nd time they see you and like you hit them with the email marketing or they see on social media all of a sudden, oh yeah, I remember that. I saw that company someplace.

Catherine Oaks (00:16:37) – No that’s true. This is why I mentioned each time the average person reacts after touch points number. Number nine. It takes in average nine touchpoints for someone to start remembering you. So people actually manage that because a lot of people give up up to touch point number three. And they say marketing is not working. That’s the reaction we have. So this is unreasonable type of a reaction. It’s it’s not validated on the right type of strategy. And it’s something that needs to be rethought when we have this type of belief. Right. Nine touch points for me to remember nine touch points.

Freddy D (00:17:15) – That’s very good. So how important it is for companies looking to create superfans? Basically brand advocates are going to be going out there promoting their business, which would be customers, business partners, employees and stuff like that. How important is tracking your efforts in your marketing initiatives?

Catherine Oaks (00:17:37) – Tracking is always important no matter what, because whether you are looking for investors or if you’re looking for partners, or you’re looking for influencers that can become the source of your superfans, they’re going to ask you for statistics.

Catherine Oaks (00:17:52) – They are going to want to see the amount of people who come to your website every day, and where those people come from. They want to know how all those people are, if they are part of your target audience. So they are going to ask for data that needs to be organized. If you don’t have it, they won’t talk with you. It’s as simple as that. So that’s something that you need to do regularly and keep track of in reports, and in a way that’s ready to be shared professionally.

Freddy D (00:18:17) – So what are some things that a small business, you got the solopreneur, you’ve got the small business. It’s ten people in the organization. How can they manage their marketing efforts themselves?

Catherine Oaks (00:18:28) – I can tell you I have no small company on my or no seed capital. Nothing. I did everything by myself. You. If you really want something, you find a way. I really.

Freddy D (00:18:38) – But what tools, what tools could they be using?

Catherine Oaks (00:18:41) – You can nowadays with artificial intelligence, you have incredible platforms out there.

Catherine Oaks (00:18:46) – Valuable that’s going to save you so much time. Tragedy is one of them. You have content creation tools, design tools that do the work for you. All the AI tools are there. You have thousands of them nowadays. It’s like having 25 assistants that are working with you, saving you huge amounts of time. I did not have that when I lost my company. I did everything on my own. I learned you learn Photoshop. You don’t need a Twitter. You know Canva. Canva is an incredible tool to create your own graphics. You can even create videos using Canva. You can create audio using Canva. These are models out there that are really easy. They are very user friendly. They don’t require a lot of training in order for you to use them and you YouTube. Everybody knows YouTube. You can train yourself on YouTube as a topic, on everything on YouTube. So when those away, when there’s a will does away and too many people give up because it’s so difficult. Yes, for sure, most businesses don’t make it because it’s hard.

Catherine Oaks (00:19:45) – So if you want to, you can learn and you can make anything happen, then what’s really critical is to work on your mental. Because I just said it’s very difficult because it’s very difficult. People give up. You have to have the mantle of a warrior, where you have to push every barrier in front of you, every wall in front of you. You have to make a conscious decision that you will not give up, because you will be tempted to give up 10 million times. So surround yourself with positive people. Have the right mindset, develop self-confidence. Work on yourself. Have a healthy lifestyle because this is going to take everything you have. It’s going to take your strength, your mental strength, your physical strength. So you have to establish a healthy environment at all levels. If you want to succeed and determine that you will reach your goals. At the same time, be flexible because your vision or your tactics may have to change. So don’t establish tactics that are not going to change.

Catherine Oaks (00:20:43) – You cannot have something that’s set in stone. You have to be flexible. You have to make some adjustments along the way. So I think that’s really the recipe for success. But the most important thing is to have the right mindset.

Freddy D (00:20:56) – Mindset. And then that’s everything. Mindset is everything. But at the same time, I think you have to track what you’re doing to see if it’s working and if it’s not working. You also have to be able to have the the wherewithal to make the decision, say, okay, the strategy that I’m using of track that and I’ve done my Google Analytics, I’ve done my I looked at my Facebook marketing activities and stuff like that. And I’m not getting the traction. I’m not getting the conversions. And therefore that effort needs to be scrapped. And I need to start all over again and go different approach, because that didn’t work where I think a lot of people get stuck and saying, I put all this effort, I put all this money, it’s got to work, it’s got to work and let it run a little longer.

Freddy D (00:21:45) – And now they’re just wasting money and or hurting their brand versus helping their brand.

Catherine Oaks (00:21:51) – That’s so true. That’s so true. I’ve seen many cases where people have invested a lot of money and they are not willing to adjust anything. And then we think it’s inevitable that anything because especially nowadays, things change at the speed of light. So like I said before, you have to be flexible on your feet. You have to be adaptable.

Freddy D (00:22:11) – Right? That’s the thing. I think that’s what a lot of businesses make mistake is that they don’t. They’re too afraid to say, okay, that didn’t work, and admit that it didn’t work and make an adjustment, regroup, go back out, change the messaging, improve the messaging, make the messaging more, as we talked earlier, customer centric, not about them because nobody cares about them and but nobody cares about what are you going to do for me? How are you going to help me? How are you going to solve my problem? That’s what everybody’s. And so the messaging has to come across that way to get somebody to make the phone call.

Freddy D (00:22:49) – And then more importantly, okay, so they found your website, they made the phone call. They filled out the form the next. That’s all the marketing. But then the response has to be the same messaging within the people. The team at the company has to have the right attitude and the right mindset to continue that messaging of being customer centric.

Catherine Oaks (00:23:14) – That’s important. And on top of that, you have to have the right management style. But allow people to be themselves. You have to allow people to be creative and not watch every single movie, make and criticize everything in single thing they do. Why does the difference always compare to the difference between Apple and Microsoft? Almost. I’m exaggerating, but you get the idea. It’s when you have a narrow management style that allow people to be creative and to feel secure in their environment. It’s a game changer.

Freddy D (00:23:45) – Oh, absolutely. Because you can have the the person that handles that inquiry and they feel unappreciated. They haven’t been recognized for any of their efforts and stuff like that.

Freddy D (00:23:57) – So they’re going to work for that prospect that’s actually looking to potentially do business with you. And that could turn that person off. And it’s just all that marketing effort that was just done. The money that was spent, the effort goes out the window because you have a big rental employee, because you didn’t recognize them, didn’t appreciate them, and they feel underappreciated. And there’s a disconnect. And so you can have all the best marketing and the best approach, but you have to have the team mentally on the same page.

Catherine Oaks (00:24:30) – Searching on the same page and motivating. It’s part of the the success picture, right? Yes.

Freddy D (00:24:37) – It’s very multiple. Yeah, yeah. So a company has to have their own superfans with the employees. So that comes across to the new prospective customer that this is an exciting company as people are excited to work there. Um, there was an example that somebody brought up to me is you go into the circle K gas station. They have them here, I don’t know, standing up in Nevada, but you go there and and a person, they don’t even say hi to you.

Freddy D (00:25:04) – They don’t say nothing. You just you go in, there’s a QTE, which is a different gas station. You walk in and the attendant might be working with so many little cups. Hello. Welcome to cute. It’s just a whole different ambience. And just that little thing is a huge marketing aspect. That’s why you looked at a gas station here in Arizona. And I think during a few other states, they’re always packed. And you look at some of the other stations that are not and this is just simple gas station level stuff, but.

Freddy D (00:25:34) – They don’t have the same.

Freddy D (00:25:35) – Level of customers.

Catherine Oaks (00:25:37) – Everything trickles down from the top. Look. If we don’t have the right management. Yeah.

Freddy D (00:25:45) – Yeah, that’s. It’s all important. Catherine, how can people find you?

Catherine Oaks (00:25:49) – We can go to slice.com slicer.com/with two eyes, and we’ll have them grab a slice of their market. Everything is in there to connect with you okay.

Freddy D (00:26:02) – And do you have anything that you’re offering any of our reviewers and listed.

Catherine Oaks (00:26:07) – Yeah.

Catherine Oaks (00:26:07) – So people can send me an email at info at slice X or that come and I can provide them with a deck that gives them the guidelines to establish a presence in the metaverse.

Freddy D (00:26:16) – Okay. All right. Great. Catherine, thank you very much for being on the show. Appreciate. It was a great conversation. Great talking to you. And I’m sure we’ll be seeing each other again on the show down the road. And thank you again.

Catherine Oaks (00:26:30) – Thank you so much for having me. Appreciate it.

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