Ashley Stanford Podcast Transcript

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Headshot of Co-Founder Ashley Stanford

Ashley Stanford Podcast Transcript

Ashley Stanford joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.

Welcome to Coruzant Technologies, Home of The Digital Executive Podcast.

Brian Thomas: Welcome to The Digital Executive. Today’s guest is Ashley Stanford. Ashley Stanford is a digital marketing consultant and freelancing expert. With more than 15 years of experience in the digital marketing space, she specializes in building strategic marketing plans, mapping strategy execution, and collaborating to optimize tactics that drive increased performance for clients, primarily in the events and entertainment space.

But as extensive experience working with medical device, healthcare, and finance technology sectors as well. She is also the executive vice president of client strategy at ticket socket and vice president and co-founder of Ice Cream Social. Ice Cream Social is a widget that can easily bolt onto any website or checkout flow.

On the front end, it’s incentivizing word of mouth marketing in the digital world we live in today, while also collecting first party data for you on those consumers and who their friends are on the back end. Ice Cream Social is backed by Comcast, NBCUniversal, SportsTech, which invested in the company in early 2022.

Well, good afternoon, Ashley. Welcome to the show!

Ashley Stanford: Thank you, Brian. Excited to be here!

Brian Thomas: Absolutely. Ditto. I love doing podcasts. Love meeting someone new and listening in on their story that so we can get it out to our global audience. And, and again, appreciate you making the time hailing out of the great state of California there in Huntington Beach as we talked before was my old stomping grounds as well.

So really, really do appreciate that. And actually, jumping into your first question here with over 15 years of experience in digital marketing. How have you seen the industry evolve, particularly in the events and entertainment sectors? And what key changes have had the largest impact on your strategies?

Ashley Stanford: Oh, loaded question. Okay. Well, anyone in digital marketing knows a lot has evolved over the past 15 years with the evolution of social media, you know, marketing obviously became more difficult. And easier simultaneously, you know, and in one sense, it’s easier to reach the right person. But in the other sense, competition or attention is fierce.

I would say, I mean, the key change that I’ve seen is that I have the most fun with and, you know, that I think has made the largest impact on my marketing strategies, especially in the events and entertainment sector. Is what’s currently referred to as 1 to 1 marketing. So, with the advancements in social media, advertising.

CRM SMS channels, people can now get a marketing message. So customized to them that it feels as though. That piece of marketing was made. Just for them and the beauty of it is you can automate a lot of this and when you can make marketing feel, you know, 1 to 1 and so personalized, that’s when you can really see conversions rise.

Brian Thomas: Love that and a lot has changed. I’m a technologist and I’ve seen so much change in the last 15 years as well. But I like the fact you highlighted how you can really personalize things at that level, especially whether you’re a mom and pop or, or a big corporation just love. And of course, the tools that are available now that we didn’t have before, where you can automate or leverage AI.

So, I really do appreciate you highlighting that. And Ashley, Ice Cream Social seems like a unique tool in the marketing tech space. Can you explain how it enhances word of mouth marketing and how the idea for this tool came about?

Ashley Stanford: Yes. So, Ice Cream Social is a widget that could be bolted on to any checkout flow or website.

And the idea of it is to turn all of your customers into influencers for your brand. So essentially word of mouth marketing. And in my opinion. Anyone can be an influencer, even if they are not on social media. And we’re all familiar with word-of-mouth marketing, which truly was the first form of marketing.

But what social media does, what ice cream social does is give customers a way to facilitate this in the digital world that we live in today, so they can share your product, and they can. you know, via email, SMS, social media, an app, or, you know, even a unique link that can be shared, any other method they choose that maybe I haven’t mentioned yet.

But the key that makes Ice Cream Social successful is the gamification component, which really rewards customers the more that they share. And Ice Cream Social was born from a need that our clients at Ticket Socket were experiencing. And so, at Ticket Socket, I work with our clients with their marketing strategies to help them sell as many tickets as possible.

And in just kind of talking to a lot of our customers. They were saying, Hey, Ashley, I need to sell more tickets, but I don’t have more money that I can spend on Facebook ads right now. And that really got me thinking, you know, what more could we do to market events without spending more money? And from that need is essentially how I scream social was born.

Brian Thomas: Thank you. Appreciate the, the backstory on that. That’s always helpful. But, you know, I like to take out little gems that I hear in there. And the fact that, you know, nowadays you say, well, you don’t, you can be an influencer without having social media. And the fact that we can be so versatile in this day and age is simply amazing.

Obviously, it’s a competitive environment out there, but we have people like you that will help us along the way. So, I appreciate that. And Ashley, you’ve expressed a passion for empowering freelancers and consultants. What are the top three pieces of advice you would give to someone starting out as a freelancer in this digital marketing space.

Ashley Stanford: Ah, yes, this is definitely a passion subject for me. For my entire career journey while working with companies, I’ve also always had my own kind of freelancing and consulting business going. And let’s see three things. I would say number one, If you are a freelancer or a consultant, the first thing you should look into doing is setting up an LLC or corporation.

And you’re probably thinking, why? I’m just a freelancer. Well, in the long run, this will save you so much more money with the tax benefits available. And honestly, I cringe when I see how much I owed in taxes for the years before I incorporated myself. And this is just something no one told me, and I totally regret to this day, not doing it sooner.

Number 2, along the same lines as, you know, the tax benefits, you know, keep your finances organized. Sign up for a tool such as, you know, FreshBooks, Bench, Vincent. Those are all tools that I’ve used over my career. And these tools will help you keep track of every single expense, and it’ll help you stay up to date with your expenses, you know, maybe on a daily or weekly cadence or, you know, at the, at the least maybe monthly, and it’ll save you a lot of money in the long run, because or, or distress if you ever get audited.

But waiting to handle your expenses, maybe on a quarterly or even yearly basis, you’re going to find it really difficult to remember what your expenses are, or what was this transaction in my bank account? I don’t remember what it was on my credit card. There’s also a cool app that I use called Everlance, and basically it tracks every time you drive in your car and then it tracks basically all your drives, and you can go in there and swipe either.

This was a personal drive or a business drive. And then at the end of the year, you can export it out and you’ll know exactly how much you can write off on your taxes for mileage or gas.

Brian Thomas: Thank you. Appreciate that. Not only do we get some marketing expertise here on the podcast, but we got a little bit of business and tax gems or nuggets as, as I would call them, as well.

So, I appreciate that. I really do, especially for a lot of our freelancers out there. And Ashley, last question of the evening, looking forward, what trends do you see emerging in digital marketing that consultants and freelancers should prepare for to stay ahead of in the next few years?

Ashley Stanford: Well, you know, you can’t really look past AI these days.

So, I would say. You know, do your research to your due diligence and, you know, whatever kind of sector you work in and understand a I understand. You know how it can benefit you understand how you can work with it. How you can evolve and adapt. Yes. Also understand the cons of it. Just, you know, don’t ignore it and don’t get too comfortable where you are because things are changing at a faster pace than ever before.

Brian Thomas: Thank you. You’re absolutely right. I, I think every podcast in the last 18 months, we’ve had to touch on ai, machine learning and, and some of the advancements. And, and let me tell you, it seems to be tripling its speed as far as the apps that are coming out that are either connecting to one of the big LLMs out there like, OpenAI or, or Google’s Geminis.

So. Appreciate the share really, really do. And Ashley, it was such a pleasure having you on today. And I look forward to speaking with you real soon.

Ashley Stanford: Yeah. Thank you. I really appreciate it, Brian.

Brian Thomas: Bye for now.

Ashley Stanford Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.

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