Rachel R. Noall is a Marketing Guru and the founder and CEO of RN Marketing Collective. The firm’s mission? To provide creative entrepreneurs with the digital marketing solutions they need to flourish.
I recently got a chance to interact with her. During my interaction with her, she talked about some of the biggest marketing blunders, areas where digital marketers can focus to get desired results and also about how the current pandemic has provided a plethora of opportunities for business owners.
Rachel, Thank you for having this Interaction. For the last few years, you have been helping businesses improve their digital footprint. For our readers, tell us how and where exactly your journey began?
I never sought out to be a business owner. That being said, to make money as a creative writer, one has to learn about how to run a business – there’s simply no way around it. As I was navigating how to market myself, I found that there were not many accessible options for everyday creatives, people pursuing passion projects, or even for small business owners.
After diving headfirst into all things marketing, I can now say, that 4 years after my journey began, I’ve worked as a consultant for some of the most successful companies within their given sectors.
With all of the knowledge and experience I’ve acquired, I want to bring the top digital marketing strategies to creatives. Creative entrepreneurs require out-of-the-box solutions, and these don’t have to come at a high price tag.
What inspired you to help entrepreneurs in their marketing pursuits?
Honestly, the lack of options and misinformation.
Unless you’ve worked in marketing you don’t know “what’s a good deal.” You also don’t know what questions to ask and what strategies actually produce valuable results.
I know so many people who are talented and they produce amazing products to their clients, but they don’t know where to begin when marketing is brought up. I want to help these entrepreneurs – those adding true value to their customers, tangible and affordable marketing options in a world that’s otherwise saturated with hefty invoices and false promises.
Being a marketing expert, tell us more about how marketing has evolved in the last couple of years?
There are a few things that have shifted marketing practices over the last few years.
Algorithms on all platforms are updated constantly. Whereas businesses could be discovered easily 10 years ago on social platforms, they are all now more “pay-to-play” arenas.
SEO practices, and particularly local SEO, are more important than ever. Competition is so high for popular keywords. Businesses and bloggers can’t just leave SEO to the “Google gods” anymore; being deliberate, purposeful, and paying attention to detail is key.
Some people do not see the desired results for their social media campaigns. How can they optimize their campaign for better results?
Invest in a good survey. Get to know your audience, and not just want they like, but who they are, their age, where they live, and about any related interests.
Having all of this information can help you paint a more specific picture of your target audience. The thing is, each niche audience encounters their interests differently, and the survey can help you nix or add strategies that probably weren’t on your radar.
Do you believe LinkedIn is an underrated marketing space?
Absolutely. All statistics show that LinkedIn is growing at an exponential rate. Additionally, the premium features offered on LinkedIn facilitate lead generation.
Every small business should be on LinkedIn. No exceptions.
How should businesses tune their marketing strategies during and after the Corona pandemic?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scrolled through Instagram and seen some cringe-worthy advertising during this crisis.
It happened so often, in fact, that RN Marketing Collective authored an article titled “Do’s and Don’ts: Marketing During COVID-19.”
Instead of asking anything from consumers, companies need to focus on what they can give – what value they can offer to make this unprecedented time feel less scary.
Right now, I suggest focusing on community-building and making offers instead asks.
Many businesses make a mistake in copying marketing strategies from other successful businesses. However, one size does not fit all and this holds true in the field of marketing too. Do you agree with this assertion? If yes, why?
One size DOES NOT fit all. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t learn from others.
Specifically, what businesses like yours, on a local level, are the most successful?
There are ways to emulate this success without mimicking it of course. For example, if local SEO is driving clients to their website, you should probably have local SEO at the forefront of your marketing strategy too.
I would never recommend copying another business’ marketing strategy. This ignores the fact that your branding, employees, and clients are unique – don’t make that mistake; if you don’t think you’re extraordinary, why would clients choose you over a competitor?
What tip would you give to young entrepreneurs who are reading this Interview and are in the process of launching their marketing campaign?
First of all, congratulations. This is an exciting time, and while all new business owners have some nerves to shake off, most of this journey should be thrilling.
Second, don’t feel like you have to do “everything” when it comes to marketing. Small spends and testing are your friends. Find what works for you, and that won’t always look like checking off all of the major marketing “boxes.”
Experiment. Hone your message. Dive in.
At RN Marketing Collective, your dream is our priority. If you want to learn more about how we serve creative entrepreneurs, reach out to us. We’re happy to be your ally and teammate as you grow your business.
This Menswear Startup gets Accurate Customer Measurement via Smartphones and Webcams. Here’s What its Founder has to Say!
IZOTTI is a Canadian Menswear Startup specializing in bespoke men’s suits and shirts. This Startup has come up with a Proprietary Algorithm for Accurate Customer Measurement via smartphones and Webcam. We recently Interviewed Sean Jacobs to know more about IZOTTI and its much talked about algorithm.
Sean, Thank you for talking with us. Kindly describe your journey as an Entrepreneur so far
Thank you for having me. It’s been a very interesting journey. A great learning experience, but not something that can be replicated. IZOTTI as a brand started at the beginning of 2017. It all started after a good friend of ours was completing his MBA program abroad. As childhood friends, we always had a reputation for wearing very stylish clothing. At that time I was working in a corporate environment, but wearing suits was something we like to do even on weekends. He introduced me to some local tailors. Initially, IZOTTI was making clothing for myself and a small circle of friends and coworkers. But the goal was to provide a simple way for young men to buy finely tailored clothing for a reasonable price.
I’ve always been a man interested in business and sales, so naturally, I had a very extensive network of friends and clients throughout my city and abroad. Although we were very successful in selling locally, on the east coast, I felt that we could do more.
The fashion business was never my forte, but I think it helped me in that being an outsider, I was able to see areas of the business that would benefit from innovation. Tailoring is a business that has been around for hundreds of years, but because it was so labor-intensive and suiting is a very personal purchase, it was hard to scale.
I had the idea to develop some type of application that could measure clients from their phone or webcam but it was difficult to attain consistent results because the sample sizes had to be so large and there were so many variables when capturing measurements; camera quality, distance from the camera, privacy concerns, not to mention our customer’s confidence in using a web-based measurement system to purchase $500 suits.
So I went on a tear, reading everything I could about html5 webcam access, APIs, Machine Learning, etc. It took a lot of trial and error but we got it to work and then we implemented it on our website. We’ve been rolling ever since.
When did you come up with the idea of izotti. What were the initial challenges that you faced in your endeavor as menswear is a highly competitive segment?
The idea of IZOTTI as we know it today is something that came to fruition in late 2016. Initially, it started as a traditional menswear company where we set up shop and used measuring tapes to record our customers’ measurements, and then we manually sent them out to our partner factories for them to construct a suit.
However in 2016 we started to look at the landscape of menswear and thought what would be the new improved way to get more accurate measurements more quickly and have them delivered more efficiently.
So when we came up with this idea to utilize people smart phone or WebCam for them to measure themselves the biggest challenge was accuracy and privacy. We had to train our algorithm to account for a lot of factors a lot of the factors that people might overlook goes into a well tailored garment.
In terms of competition, I think you’re right, menswear is one of the most competitive businesses in the world. I think what separates us is that we are more than just a traditional ‘menswear fashion’ company, we are a nexus of design, advanced manufacturing, and technology.
Most traditional suit makers are retail-based and have brick and mortar setups. At IZOTTI, we are based purely online and we are using a proprietary technology that our competitors don’t have. I have seen some beautiful sites but the measurement profiles are not really based on individual customers, they are more of an estimation. No one in the suit business has any tech that can measure as accurately as us. Bespoke tailoring requires precision and that’s why we focused on building a solid API rather than use gimmicky software.
We have heard a lot about your Proprietary Algorithm which helps your clients in getting accurate measurements. Tell us more about this algorithm.
Well, something that was conceptualized couple years ago and since then we have built a model, trained it, deployed it, and then refined it. Put it simply we are using landmark technology because it allows us to find specific points for specific bodies and then using some math we are able to get very accurate results, calculating circumference.
We’ve tested hundreds of post estimations and trained our algorithm on over 10,000 participants.
All you need to do is take a front and side profile stance and measurements are calculated instantaneously. From there, a 3d model is created and an encrypted key is attached to the profile for reference. We don’t store any photos because our commitment to consumer privacy is our top priority.
Coronavirus has impacted many businesses so far. Clothing Industry has also suffered a lot with many brick and mortar businesses shutting down. How has your organization adapted to the current pandemic?
Yes, you’re right. Coronavirus has impacted the traditional retail industry, IZOTTI included. But on the bright side, the impact of coronavirus has also effectively highlighted the advantage IZOTTI has. When we started this business, it was with the future in mind. From the beginning, we wanted to make a buying experience that could be done remotely and easily, so permanent stores were never in the plan.
We have hired and trained more customer service staff to help our new customers understand and navigate. As well, we created a “work from home” collection. Its a variety of 4 tracks all made of our “athletico” cotton blend. Its a “stay-at-home-but-still-look-put-together” track suit that will help you maintain professionalism on your zoom calls.
We are always improving the buying experience for our customers, and we have been expanding our sales channels with Instagram and Facebook shops, as well as exploring the idea of a fully virtual shop with unique AR features. Very cool stuff.
IZOTTI is regarded as a specialist in crafting bespoke men’s suits. Are you considering diversification in the near future?
Diversification in terms of products of course. Right now we are developing our accessory line of executive travel bags and luggage. We had initially put together a plan to roll out our wedding service but that was delayed because of the pandemic. We have set a target to release our wedding service for groomsmen in Q2, 2021.
We have also been contacted by many manufacturers and larger corporations interested in using our API to collaborate on creating PPE for worker safety.
What are your plans for 2020 keeping in mind the ongoing pandemic? Also, what suggestions would you give to businesses who are going through a rough patch?
Part of our brand identity is perseverance and confidence and so we always hope for the best. For the remainder of 2020 you can expect to see us continue to grow and raise brand awareness. We have a fantastic marketing team and we are in talks with some great ambassadors to help deliver an experience and show our customers we mean business.
My advice to any business is going to a rough patch would be to maintain optimism and keep customers first — we’re all in this together. Talk to your team, and always look for ways to improve the experience and maintain optimal efficiency.
An Interview with Actor & Musician Carrel Lasso
Carell Lasso is a Colombian actor and musician. He is well known for his role in La Esclava Blanca (The White Slave) which is available on Netflix. Carrel is also one of the actors of the new HBO show “One thousand fangs” or “Mil Colmillos” .
Carell, thank you for talking with us. To be a part of the first HBO series in your home country must have felt great. How was the experience like?
Thank you for having me. For me it was a wonderful experience, to be part of the first HBO Series produced in my home country.
I met very talented people. The shooting days were extensive and 70% of the filming was at night in difficult conditions due to the weather and the jungle, but at the end of the day, it was a blessing and a great pleasure to be part of this awesome crew .
Tell us more about your character Barakus.
My character is called Alfredo Barranco aka Barakus. He is a corporal in the army’s special forces, and embarks on a mission where unexpected things happen
By the way, I had to gain 10 kilos of weight to play this character and had to go through a difficult military training and extensive gym workouts.
You have been a part of several awesome projects. Which project is really close to you?
La Esclava Blanca (The White Slave) has been a project that meant a lot to me due to the conditions and the circumstances that I was going through in my life at that time. It was also the production with which I obtained international recognition for my work, since it was sold to more than 280 countries in the 5 continents and was dubbed in many languages. You can watch this awesome show on Netflix.
What suggestion would you give to actors who are struggling to get their first break?
My suggestion is to prepare, to work hard and to have their minds focused on what they want no matter what others say. People who are not capable, are always going to want you to be like them, so through criticism and ridicule they will want to discourage you, but you must be patient and persistent and trust the talent and the desire that is in you. The best things come from heaven when you least expect them.
How are you helping young actors achieve their goals?
Since last year I have been collaborating with NYC Latin Media preparing their new talent for productions. Through live acting workshops and now via Zoom I serve as an acting coach, teaching different techniques and methodologies of acting and hoping to instill my passion for acting to the next generation of actors.
An Interview with Russell Jack, Southland-based Yogapreneur and Mindfulness Teacher
Russell Herbert Jack is a yoga and mindfulness teacher from Southland, New Zealand. He specializes in Vinyasa Yoga, Qigong, and guided meditations, helping clients achieve harmony of body, mind, and soul. Russell is passionate about animal rights, regularly volunteering with the World Animal Protection Organization and donating to protect endangered species in New Zealand.
Russel, thank you for talking with us. Even the best of Mindfulness experts and life coaches have their own ups and downs. Tell me about your best days at work and also about days when you feel low.
Thank you for having me. You are right when you say that it doesn’t necessarily mean that people who are life coaches and who teach mindfulness are immune from their own life challenges. The thing is, they know how to deal with such situations better than most of the people out there.
For me, the best days are whenever I can be at the beach. I love teaching outdoors, and the days when I get to teach by the ocean are the best. There are so many distractions in our life that can bring us down, and being out in nature walking, running, doing yoga, or simply observing is so therapeutic. I also feel down sometimes. Those are the days when I get bad news. I am very close to my clients and I am an empathetic person, so I take their problems too close to my heart.
What are the projects that you most enjoy working on?
I enjoy teaching, reading, and writing. I recently started a blog to practice writing and share my thoughts with the world. My primary focus is teaching though. I teach yoga, mindfulness, and Qigong, and I love walking my clients through the processes and seeing their results improve.
What was your biggest ‘a-ha’ moment?
Well, my biggest “a-ha” moment happened when I tried eating meat after a long break. My parents are vegan, so I was used to a meatless diet for the longest time. But during my late teenage years, you know, everyone rebels, and I decided to try a steak while I was away from home. I didn’t like it though.
What has been the most important part of your professional journey?
Dropping out of college when I felt like pursuing teaching as my life calling. There are many societal and parental pressures nowadays. My parents really wanted me to go to school and get educated, but I chose to educate myself. It’s my path. If I didn’t leave college, I would probably just hang out with my friends now, instead of building my teaching business and helping people connect with themselves through yoga and mindfulness.
The ongoing Pandemic has impacted businesses in so many ways. What risks is your company facing?
Well, COVID-19 has impacted many businesses, but luckily for New Zealand, we didn’t get hit as hard as the rest of the world. I am still able to teach and continue my practice. But I know that there are many people around the world who have lost their jobs and companies who didn’t survive the pandemic and subsequent closures. My heart goes to those.
What would you do with unlimited resources?
I would invest them in protecting animals around the world. There are many people who are conscious of the harm we create in the animal world, but there is not enough funding to make a big difference, I believe.
Being a Yoga practitioner gives you the necessary skills to immerse yourself in whatever you do. Still, When was the last time you totally lost yourself in doing something?
I lose myself when I teach. I turn into a vessel of knowledge and try to help my students connect with themselves through my teaching.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
I love traveling and being in nature, writing and learning, listening to music, and talking to my loved ones.
How do you feel you make a difference in the world?
My impact is not as big as I would like it to be, but I still think that by volunteering, teaching, and leading by example, I do contribute to the betterment of the world.
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