Marketer Interviews

I don't follow any brands on social media

Gee Ranasinha

CEO at KEXINO

Learn more about Gee's work at https://kexino.com/

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Where are you working now, what is your role and how did you get here?

Gee Ranasinha:

I founded KEXINO almost 11 years ago. The reason was simple: For 7 years I was CMO of a software company and frustrated/astonished that marketing agencies were happy to make grandiose pitches to me, but would run a mile whenever the subject of fiscal responsibility was mentioned. To me, having an agency take no responsibility for the ROI from a particular campaign was ridiculous - so we started our own!

Since 2008 we've helped over 300 startups and small business realize their business goals - including a few high-profile acquisitions.

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What is your favorite marketing area? (Social, SEO, Sales etc.)?

Gee Ranasinha:

I don't have one - and don't want to have one.

Every tactic has its place, but concentrating on the tactics instead of whatever the marketing engagement plan is meant to produce (i.e. the STRATEGY) is looking at things in the wrong order.

If you have a favorite marketing tactic, you have a conscious or unconscious tendency to use that tactic regardless of the suitability for the particular client. When you REALLY like to use a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.

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Why do you love marketing?

Gee Ranasinha:

I love helping and advising start-ups and small businesses on how to better articulate and present their business value to their target audience groups. We help clients in many ways - optimizing business processes, strategy, seeking funding, HR practices, pitching, and more. We're more than a marketing agency since we don't just do marketing.

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What are your favorite books?

Gee Ranasinha:

I'm a voracious reader - I read perhaps 3 books per month.
Here are some favorites related to marketing (I figured you wouldn't be interested in my preferences regarding fiction, biographies, etc):

Everybody lies - Seth Stephens Davidowitz
Factfulness - Hans Rosling
Predatory Thinking - Dave Trott
The Four - Scott Galloway
Rework - Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
Mindset - Carol Dweck
How Brands Grow - Byron Sharp
To Sell is Human - Daniel H. Pink
The Win Without Pitching Manifesto - Blair Enns
The Obstacle Is The Way - Ryan Holiday
The Choice Factory - Richard Shotton
Thinking Fast & Slow - Daniel Kahneman
Pre-Suasion - Robert Cialdini

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What marketing related blogs, magazines etc. do you read to keep your skills up to date?

Gee Ranasinha:

I have Feedly list of over 400 blogs and magazines that I read every day. Most have nothing to do with marketing.

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What brands do you like or follow on social media and why?

Gee Ranasinha:

I don't follow any brands on social media (hint: most customers don't either).

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How do you find good content?

Gee Ranasinha:

By exposing yourself to influences outside your sphere of knowledge and understanding.

You don't have to read business and marketing blogs to get a better understanding of business or marketing. Often you can draw similarities from totally different topics.

Absorb what interests you - whatever that may be.

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How do you get to know your target audience?

Gee Ranasinha:

The hardest thing to convince business owners or marketing professionals is "YOU ARE NOT YOUR TARGET MARKET."

While the means of acquisition may have evolved, the actual process of target audience segmentation hasn't changed that much. Most businesses don't know their audience groups well enough because they've never gone through the process. Because they think they know their market.

Once we've gone through the segmentation process, proposed campaigns, creative, engagement channels, etc. and look at the results, many clients are shocked by how little they knew. We had once instance where simply changing the communication channel for a particular audience segment increased conversions by 27% for the client.

Some business owners get defensive when we tell them they don't know their market as well as they think. It's understandable, even if rather myopic. You can't build a sustainable business based upon gut instinct, personal experience, or blindly following the competition.

Waving a wet finger in the air and hoping isn't a strategy.

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What tools do you use for social marketing?

Gee Ranasinha:

All marketing, by definition, is 'social'.

If you're talking about social media, then the answer depends on the business and marketing goals of using social media, from both a strategic and tactical viewpoint. Are you looking to build an audience? Advertise? Find influencers? Answer presales/support questions? Generate leads? Track any/all the above?

Recommending tools without knowing what you're trying to build is looking at things the wrong way around.

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What tools do you use for analytics?

Gee Ranasinha:

Analytics for what? Web traffic? Lead acquisition? MAUs? Conversion rates? Email opens? eCommerce sales? App downloads? Customer Lifetime Value? Social media engagement? SEO? Advertising performance? All of the above? Something else?

First define what are the meaningful benchmarks to measure against. Only then look for the tool best positioned to provide the metrics. Doing it the other way around and you invariably end up measuring the wrong things, because those were the defaults in whatever tool you chose and you are too lazy/inexperienced to set things up properly.

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What CRM tools do you use?

Gee Ranasinha:

Depends on the client, business, industry, audience profile - and probably 101 other things.

The business goal should determine the choice of tool - not the other way around.

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What's your #1 advice for people starting to get into marketing?

Gee Ranasinha:

Learn what it means to sell. Really SELL.

We can dress it up as much as we want, but at the end of the day marketing isn't about causes, brand purpose, audience segmentation, mood boards, storytelling, design, UX/UI, SEO, CRO, or anything else. At its most basic it's about finding the most efficient ways to sell stuff.

It's not marketing if it doesn't sell.

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