Importance of Digital Marketing in Equestrian Industry: Interview With Gabriela Tudor
We are living the days when everything turns digital at lightning speed. All routines of our daily lives, ways that we socialize, channels where we buy products from, strategies that brands use to reach us and even visiting tourist attractions are now digital.
Marketing is in the center of this digitization movement and all types of brands use digital marketing channels more and more each day regardless of the industry they exist in.
Equestrian industry is definitely not out of this trend and equine related brands (stables, arenas, online lesson providers, apparel brands etc.) are doing their best to be more active and strong in the digital world & on social media channels.
As a digital platform dedicated to support equine industry online, we had a chance to talk to Gabriela Tudor, who is the E-commerce Manager of Aztec Diamond Equestrian, a well established high quality equestrian clothing brand. We have spoken about how her digital career has started, what her current role is, and the importance of digital marketing in equestrian industry.
Scroll down to enjoy reading the full Q&A:
1. Can you tell us about your personal career journey and your current role at Aztec Diamond Equestrian?
After I graduated my masters degree in digital marketing I had the opportunity to work in a couple different roles in the industry to realise what I’m really passionate about. The industry has expanded so much over the past 5 years that new roles and qualifications pop up every single day so making sure I tested the waters was important. I moved from Social media, to content writing, to SEO and then analytics.
I came from previous agency experience when I moved to as we call it “inhouse” at ADE. I think agency work is great for a fresh graduate because it really pushes you to learn a lot in a short period of time. The pace is just different. I thought inhouse would be more calm but I couldn’t be more wrong. I can’t talk on behalf of other businesses but at ADE It’s on 24/7. However, each single campaign/project is like a puzzle piece in our long term plan.
As an Ecommerce Manager I am mainly responsible for the website performance and online sales. So my main focus is to understand our customers, improve their user journey on the website and make sure we use all channels available to our advantage- this includes online and offline.
2. Equestrian industry is quite a niche field to run marketing campaigns. How do you shape your content & advertising activities to attract such a niche audience?
We start with our customer. Our products were designed for a certain type of customer and we aim to target the right audience. Whether that might be demographic aspects, hobbies, sports etc we define them as best as we can. We conduct quite a bit of customer research as well and use previous data we have to analyse what performs better. For Instagram that might be a certain type of image, so we focus on recreating that content. For the website it might be a certain display of collection, certain email strategy, everything is interlinked.
3. Compared to previous industries you have worked in, what are pros and cons of managing digital marketing campaigns in the equestrian world?
Pros- the audience is more defined.
Cons- with the audience being so defined the number of people you market to severely drops.
I think the equestrian world is brilliant to market to. The content is much more storytelling and the campaigns easier to set up if you know your audience . However, if we look at revenue, you will never get the same return as you would if you were to advertise to the general public.
4. Since equestrianism is completely an offline activity, equestrian brands should be running offline marketing campaigns as well. How do you combine these offline campaigns with online ones?
You build a customer journey. In marketing, each time a potential or existing customer interacts with your brand they call this a touch point. These touch points are essential in understanding at what point one is in an awareness stage or considering and then converting. You can improve all your campaigns- online or offline- to perform to their advantage when you understand their role.
For example, if you are an online brand like us you ideally want to bring everyone on your website at one point. So if you advertise in print publications or use billboards, banners at venues etc you might want to put a QR code there to drive all traffic online. Alternatively, If you know there your customers prefer to shop at events, you make sure to remind them via an email when the following event will be.
5. Which main metrics do you measure to evaluate your online success at ADE?
Depends on the campaign KPIs. If there is a certain campaign via a certain channel i.e. Instagram, we might look at followers increase, comments, likes etc.. From the brand perspective, our reviews. This channel is our business card and we always pride ourselves with it. And with the additional percentage of returning customers we consider it a form of success. Personally, for my role I focus on conversion rate and sales. In the end capital is needed to expand, bring new stock in, attend events, organise giveaways and that is my priority.
6. In which ways ADE stands out from the other brands in the industry in the digital world?
Aztec Diamond Equestrian is a brand of “firsts”.
- First equestrian brand to design riding leggings
- First equestrian brand to bring a certain design of the base layer
- First equestrian brand to bring an advent calendar dedicated to riders
- First equestrian brand to host a life changing giveaway
- First brand to use certain visual content that now you see everywhere.
I don’t think many people are aware of all these factors as we don’t talk about them very often.
Not sure if this will make much sense, but our team is like a horse with blinkers. As a unit we all focus on the ADE brand and our work. We always look forward and strive to do better. That applies digitally as well. We like to stay on top of marketing industry announcements, make sure we follow best practices and implement the latest technology.
7. Many brands faced notable increases at their online sales after the pandemic. Were there similar results that you have noticed during the last 2 years?
We have always been an online brand with no retailer presence apart from the trade shows we attend so our online sales have been significant prior to the pandemic.
However, we are fortunate enough to say that our sales have improved since because of the brand expansion and offering.
I think the beginning of the pandemic was a worrying time because of all the unpredictable elements. We certainly had issues with delays in shipments which affected restocking and collection launching, we couldn’t shoot any new content for a period of time. It feels like a distant memory now and we were lucky to have loyal customers who appreciate the brand and the quality of our products and stood by us.
8. Digital marketing is evolving day by day and it requires brands to step up their game every second. Keeping this fact in mind, can you mention some of your plans for the future?
We have so many plans for the near and distant future! Let’s just say we aim to have many more “firsts” in the industry. Our team is expanding again, we continue to work on developing “conscious” technical riding clothing, and the new collection designs are incredible.
This year with the new collection we started A NEW ERA. Black Friday we are announcing the next step in the brand development and I can’t wait for everyone to see this. And I did not say this, but we might or might not open a Showroom on our premises soon. 👀
9. Which advice would you give to young talents who dream to work in the equestrian industry as digital marketing professionals?
No idea is a bad idea! When you are passionate and proactive sometimes you come up with ideas where you might think this is probably insane or maybe not polished enough. But that’s why your team is there. Someone can bounce off your idea and finish it, sometimes it can spark another conversation. In the end, it’s better to have something rather than nothing.
Ask questions, stay up to date, reflect on your progress, don’t get lazy. I think it’s easy to fall into a trap especially after periods of time where you are busy with campaigns. I have done it, we all have. But if you have that cold shower and realise you have to get back on the horse, the sooner you do it the better it is.
Build a network. I think this applies to all industries and not just equestrian but there is nothing better than having connections you can rely on and share knowledge. From my findings so far, every single day there is something new to learn in the equestrian industry and a lot of the eye opening moments are due to the people that I connect with from the same industry. One of them being you.