I learned early on was that it was okay to take a chance on a new idea. But, make sure it is calculated, tracked, and measured so that you can continue to grow from your mistakes and support your idea.
As a part of my Marketing Strategy Series, I’m talking with my fellow marketing pros at the top of their game to give entrepreneurs and marketers an inside look at proven strategies you might also be able to leverage to grow your business. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Marcus Sanchez.
Marcus Sanchez is President & CMO of Ausounds, a U.S.-based premium audio manufacturer. Marcus has decades of experience in the music industry, where he has proven himself as a dynamic and motivated marketing executive. Marcus has a proven record of generating and building relationships, generating leads, increasing brand awareness, managing projects from concept to completion, designing brand strategies, and coaching individuals to success.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I started my career in sales, but I think the moment that cemented my career path in the music industry happened during my time at Universal Records. I was there during the release of Omarion’s 21 Album and Marques Houston’s Veteran album. Being a part of this ignited my passion for the music industry, and has given me a lot of great experience to bring to the table to my role at the newly founded audio brand, Ausounds.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting and what lesson you learned from that?
Where do I start? I was a music manager for many years before getting into headphone marketing so the most memorable mistake I can recall was when I built a PowerPoint presentation for Noel Lee at Monster that I was supposed to present to our global sales reps during CES. I had only been with the company for one month and I forgot to follow all the brand guidelines, so the color palettes, fonts, and logos were all used incorrectly. Needless to say, that was a hard one to explain. Luckily, it was caught and fixed before I went on stage.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
I’m not sure if there was a specific “tipping point,” but I think the one thing that I learned early on was that it was okay to take a chance on a new idea. But, make sure it is calculated, tracked, and measured so that you can continue to grow from your mistakes and support your idea.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Ausounds was founded just one year ago, in August 2019. Pretty novel for a brand that is still so young, it has really given us the chance to give back to the music community in some big ways. First, we partner with MusiCares, a foundation that is dedicated to creating a safety net for the music community nationwide, giving back to music creators who have given so much to us over the years. We donate one dollar for every product sold to the group. We also were able to bring music lessons to kids virtually during the pandemic, which was very rewarding for us as a company!
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We are always working on exciting projects! Right now, a lot of our marketing efforts are being adapted to the new norm following COVID-19. For example, the biggest tech show of the year, CES, has announced it is going virtual in 2021. Our team has been strategizing an exciting way to engage people in the show’s new virtual platform. We are very excited to add to this in 2021, and without giving too much information, we are planning a unique and lively virtual event that I think attendees will really get excited about; something a little more fun than the typical “virtual showroom” most vendors will be showcasing.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
I live by my motto, “Keep it simple.” While at Ausounds we always encourage big ideas, collaborations, and activations to associate with the brand. However, the underlying question that prompts all of the amazing ideas we come up with is at its core quite simple: How can we engage our audience?
Great advice. Let’s now shift to the main topic of our discussion. There are hundreds of memorable marketing campaigns that have become part of the lexicon of our culture. What is your favorite marketing or branding campaign from history?
“Think Different,” by Apple. I strive to create a simple yet impactful campaign every time we hit the whiteboard, such as this one. It spoke to so much more than just a product or brand, it spoke to a certain thought process and emotion that was inspirational. It was also very much on brand for Apple in just two words.
The list could go on with other campaigns such as, “Just Do It,” “#LikeAGirl,” and even, “Where’s the beef?”
If you could break down a very successful campaign into a “blueprint”, what would that blueprint look like?
A successful campaign blueprint to me follows very simple steps: Make sure your efforts are timely and relevant and serve your audience something that benefits them some way.
The perfect example for Ausounds happened recently: When COVID-19 struck the U.S., we were intent on finding a way to use our marketing power and resources to help people get through quarantine easier, even if in a small way. We decided to use our marketing platforms and brand ambassadors to create a 5-week program that offered free virtual music lessons to school-aged children, with the hope that this would help parents as they adapted to teaching at home, and spread the love of music to those of all ages.
We partnered with Chris Vasquez, owner of Sound Life Lessons music academy in Los Angeles, California, to create the 5-week program, which was called Ausounds’ Lil’ Maestros Music Lessons.
Throughout the course of the program, students were introduced to and advanced through guitar, piano, percussion lessons, and more. The program also featured special industry guests, including Grammy nominated artist Frankie J, 5X Grammy winning producer/songwriter Brian Kennedy, singer/songwriter Lil Eddie, and producer/artist Damon Sharpe.
The activation was used in Ausounds’ public relations communications, and received coverage in top-tier media including USA Today, Reviews.com, Billboard, Tampa Bay Times, and more for a total of 109.6 Million potential earned media impressions over the 5-week period, and an additional 56 Million potential media impressions from a paid press release distribution.
Another example is a new ad campaign we are launching next month called, “Why be average?” It speaks to an audience of early adoptors and music creators, urging them to take a chance on a new brand because sometimes it’s better to stand out than to fit in!
Companies like Google and Facebook have totally disrupted how companies market over the past 15 years. At the same time, consumers have become more jaded and resistant to anything “salesy”. In your industry, where do you see the future of marketing going?
I think the future of marketing stems from a foundation that incorporates quality products and brands that engage their audiences by inspiring, giving back or entertaining them. For Ausounds, it is always about engaging our audiences as best as we can. This is a pillar of our efforts and something you can see across everything we do: from pivoting to offer virtual music lessons during the beginning of the pandemic to creating products that we know music enthusiasts will love. It’s all about good products and good feelings.
What 5 things do you wish someone told you before you started?
- Everything you create won’t be successful — There have been numerous concepts or ideas that we executed that didn’t have the success we hoped for; but that failure allowed us to have success on the next idea.
- Measure to define “your” success — You can’t always measure against the norm because every brand and every product is different. If you don’t have a tool in place to measure what is considered success and what is considered failure for you, you will never know how well you are doing.
- Be ready to adapt — There are things that will hit you in the face and force you to adapt, like COVID-19. If you aren’t willing or able to adapt you will fail.
- Exercise your creativity — Sometimes you can get caught up in the sales figures and forget to be innovative. That can start to kill sales!
- Great execution can be better than a great idea — Too many times there have been great ideas but when there is not great execution of that idea, it will die before it starts. Surround yourself with smart and creative people that can execute ideas and are willing to get their hands dirty to bring life to an idea, not just think of an idea.
What books, podcasts, documentaries or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills?
Books I am currently reading:
- Contagious — Jonah Berger
- Brand Sense — Martin Lindstrom
- On Managing Yourself — Clayton M. Christensen
- A great documentary that has nothing to do with marketing but is simply a great documentary is Buena Vista Social Club.
- Listen to Vocal Booth by Ausounds.
One more question before we go: If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
As we grow Ausounds, I believe our MusiCares initiative will save lives in the music community. I have always been an advocate of music in schools in inner-city areas, musicians, and entertainer labor rights, and- something that is close to my career- a music manager’s union. I think there are a lot of great music managers in the industry who have no protection. It has created an environment where music managers feel they have to get as much as they can as quickly as they can because they know at any moment they can be without. I think this will help artists as well as music managers.
Thank you so much for sharing these fantastic insights!
Author: Kage Spatz went from inner-city Teacher to Forbes-ft. Marketing Strategist for Good — growing organic relevant traffic for companies that put customers and employees first. Leverage the same US-based SEO experts used at an NBA franchise & the Fortune 500. Apply today to support your current team and serve more clients tomorrow with Spacetwin.