This is something new we are trying around the Tank, we’ve done Monday Marketing in the past but we’ve discovered through in-depth data analysis and market segmentation that Wednesday is a peak traffic day for us, and our reach is furthest extended. That being said, we are here to test a new format, Wednesday Wise Guy! It’s a fun and informative way for us to highlight marketers that are really defining themselves as thought leaders and holding them above the industry standard. Today we bring to you the man, the myth, the legend Troy Sandidge! We had the privilege of interviewing Troy and here’s what he had to say!
Tell readers who you are, if you are employed, where at, your job title and your role.
I am Troy Sandidge. I am currently the marketing communication executive specialist for Eastek International. I am also the CMO/COO of Unity Brand Agency. I have had the pleasure of rebranding Eastek from initiatives, to slogans, to social media, to videos, to their new website, etc. and I manage all their global and U.S. marketing communication programs, projects, and materials on behalf of Eastek. I am humbled to work there because they were the people that gave me my start…my first opportunity. With Unity, I work with clients (small businesses, international companies, music artists/producers, bakeries, speakers, etc.) personally to build their brand and help them find the right audience for them in building websites, making marketing strategies, etc. and I’m having a lot of fun doing that as well.
- Do you believe content marketing is over shadowing the efforts of link building? Are they co-existent? Or are they separate?
Should content marketing and link building be conflated? For instance, they share common end goals, including (but not exclusive to): brand building, creating/building relationships, improving online visibility/SEM, and help drive traffic/SEO. Although content marketing and link building go great together they often are implemented independently from each other. Content marketing undertakes the form of content on your own domain, which eliminates one of the most trying “chores” of link building: link prospecting. Content marketing is about disseminating a key message. So to me I’ll sum it up like this: You can have a car that can have some really shiny rims. Those rims can add value to your car and bring you a lot of attention, or it may not and can actually throw people off. The thing is, you can get rid of the shiny fancy rims and still have a great running car with great value and can still get a lot of attention simply because of the car. But without the car, the rims have no purpose. The car is content marketing and rims are the actions of link building. So you can use link building with content marketing and it may or may not work, but content marketing will still work even if you don’t use link building.
- Instagram is strongly going after the snapchat market. Do you think users will abandon Snapchat and focus content on Instagram or will the two applications remain separate and used amongst marketers and millennials?
I think you guys saw our conversation on #gifdanceparty via @gifwolfpack on Fri, Aug 5. I think Facebook is being smart, and just adapting. I always said that Snapchat users were Instagram users who either had something to hide or loved the concept of things disappearing the next day. Snapchat is mostly a video platform and Instagram is mostly an image platform, to me that won’t change any time soon. Instagram is backed by the “superman” social media app giant of the world: Facebook… so I’m sure it will gain a piece of Snapchat’s market if not now with the updates and changes, it will eventually. Ultimately, Snapchat isn’t going anywhere because they have marketed and branded themselves with the illustration of “you can share whatever you want” and be “bold” with it because it will only last 24 hours. Millennials love to be “rebels” so I doubt Snapchat is going anywhere anytime soon. Plus, I mean Snapchat’s daily video views have increased to 400% year to year which is crazy…2 billion to 10 billion according to Bloomberg.
- Do you believe quality content is determined by the text, the theme, the # of links the article possesses or the uniqueness of the content?
I honestly think quality content is in conveying the message in such a way where the theme of the story and text of it, from the voice it carries to how long it is, to the number of links added to it, and throughout all must make sense and be valid. If all of these points come together and one doesn’t seem to be trying to outweigh the other to persuade the reader otherwise, then you have high quality content. To me it’s all about the balance of everything.
- What are some of your favorite places to find relevant evergreen content regarding marketing?
Not just content, “evergreen” content. I like that! Of course Forbes, Inc, Social Media Examiner, places like that… but I also love getting it from influencers themselves: i.e. podcasts, vlogging, etc. Information that isn’t necessarily written down but that you have to listen to and absorb and take your own notes on it.
- What do you think was the most damaging Google algo update to shift how search marketing practices were performed and how rankings were determined?
Hmm… Well I will have to go with what I researched from Moz:
“Google made major changes to AdWords, removing right-column ads entirely and rolling out 4-ad top blocks on many commercial searches. While this was a paid search update, it had significant implications for CTR for both paid and organic results, especially on competitive keywords.” That was on February 23, 2016.
- Is link building an essential part of SEO? Is it more valuable for SMB or a B2B business?
I think if we “reinvented” what we initially associate when we read or hear the words “link building” then I would say yes it is. Most, and even with me, I hear/read “link-building” and think “card stuffing”… If it is done properly without overly doing it and it all makes sense to the overall story and portrayal you want your brand to have, it is great. I think it’s more valuable for SMB. Small and Medium Size Businesses can use all the help they can get, plus they have more emphasis (and more to lose) when it comes to location that they can come up higher in the search result rankings. It does more for them in that regard than maybe B2B which is more prone to emphasize key services, capabilities, and most have more than one location and are less focused on that, not that location isn’t as important to them. Sure, they want people to search their services wherever they are to be on the first page, but what I am saying is that SMBs have more to lose than B2B. If that A) answers your question and B) makes sense.
- Is PPC a real form of marketing?
It could be a real form of “spamming” (but that depends on who you ask). I think it’s like steroids. It’ll give you that one quick high of impressions, probably website views, and activity, but long term it will ultimately do you no good. If you’re trying to get to a certain % by the end of the fourth quarter, than I could see the use of PPC marketing per say. But you can never go wrong with gaining things organically, they generally last longer and lead to more sales. It’s like you can do PPC marketing and get 100 hits at the return of a penny (but you ultimately paid for that) vs you do organic marketing and get 1 hit at the return of $100 (at which you more than likely didn’t pay for anything extra than your time).
- What are some of the best ways to drive traffic to your website through social media?
It might sound crazy, but kind of separating your business from your social media. I know people alarms just went up after reading that but hold on… Be engaging and I mean very engaging, create some #twitterchats for example in what your company does and/or is passionate about. Many times, when people have a good source from social media they’ll do research in trying to find out more about them. So you win by getting traffic up and making some noise, in which that noise can be self-perpetuating as others do the work for you and share and get the word out there, and you win because you aren’t talking about yourself. You come off as humble and open, not to mention approachable. So if you don’t make it about your agenda and just make it about the passion of what you do or sell and people can relate to that, then they’ll naturally become supporters in your business. Use lots of visuals with a subtle link to your site. Also, write great articles of the company’s opinions on things at which they’ll already be on your site and more than likely want to inquire about who you are. I feel the best way to use social media to its highest potential is to not use it for any “one thing”. Sure, driving traffic is one thing but also building relationships, interacting and engaging with customers, building your brand, etc.
- What’s more important, demographic data or marketing data when implementing a new marketing strategy for a client?
It depends on the client. Are they SMB or B2B? My answer in question 6 sort of alludes this point that demographic data might matter more to one than the other. With that being said, ultimately, I feel marketing data is the more important and most valuable when implementing a new marketing strategy. Marketing data can be used to tell many stories and is always relevant. Demographic data may not be as relevant or not at all again depending on the client.
- Where did you go to college to get a background in marketing?
Well to be honest, and boy is it a story I’d love to share one day, I went to college (Valparaiso University) for electrical engineering. By midway in, some issues came up that were out of my control and I had to look at other options, at least at the time, and I remembered I was pretty decent with a camera so I went to the communications department. I finished a 4 year degree in 2 years, while yet still getting my minor degree in engineering. So I would go from media lab to engineering lab every other night and basically lived there. Ultimately, it was not until I really got into the job world that I was able to put together all of my skills under “one hub” – marketing. I developed a lot from figuring things out and I had the perfect platform in doing so with Eastek. It was like the perfect incubator for me to refine my skills, learn, and grow. They took a chance on me, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to this day. They were definitely patience with me and we were learning how to market this company better together. I also had some great mentors in the social media world that I was able to learn and pick up proper techniques, practices, methodologies, and of course the “language”. I did so many online courses in various aspects of marketing while also building my skills I already had in digital media, communication, PR, videography & video editing, and content writing skills.
- Does it matter if your website is optimized for search when engaging in link building?
It ALWAYS matters that your website is optimized for search regardless of if you’re engaging in link building in my opinion. Again referencing back to my answer in question one, you can stay alive “digitally” (as far as digital presence) with an optimized for search website whether you engage in link building or not. That’s your car. Link building is your shiny fancy rims that ultimately you can have, but could live without.
- Do you think marketing best practices are applicable to everyone or should be learned and used on a case by case basis?
I think majority of the “best marketing practices” are applicable to everyone/everywhere. The concepts of promoting what is being read by everyone should be pushed everywhere that’s for sure. It shouldn’t be just those under the umbrella of marketing that put so much time into thinking what would a customer or potential customer think when they read this or when I do this. Probably not to the extent of how us marketers go home at night and think about, but hey I say the more meticulous you are in it, the better off you will be.
Alright phew that’s enough of the industry questions, we know there’s much more to you than just buzzwords and marketing thoughts, let’s get to know the real you! To bridge the gap between human and marketer.
- What is your favorite texture to wear?
- What is your favorite TV show?
It’s a three-way tie: Suits on USA, Arrow on CW, and the former Burn Notice also on USA.
Ultimately I would say Burn Notice.
- What is your favorite movie soundtrack?
- What is your favorite restaurant to get in a typical mall food court?
Normally the Japan style restaurants.
- Boxers or briefs?
Boxers type of guy
- Black hat or white hat SEO?
I’m all about white hat SEO. Being forceful to exploit SEO (with Google’s ever changing algorithms & guidelines to challenge such methods) to me doesn’t gain you much. To me, it’s all about having that “human element”. You can never go wrong with high quality content, proper site linking/optimization, etc. especially when you have a limited budget. Keyword stuffing, blog spamming, and scraping techniques off normal convection by black hat SEO users just seem desperate and ultimately will not be as successful in the long run in my honest opinion.
- Favorite color of pants?
Dress: Burlap (shade of brown). Casual: Blue Jeans?
- East or west coast?
West Coast…(though ironically I have always lived on the East Coast)
- How long have you used craigslist?
I have never once used Craigslist.
- Favorite kind of meat?
- Favorite vegetable?
- Nintendo, Xbox, or Playstation?
Team Playstation all the way. Hello, PS4 has the best graphics!
- Would you rather be a werewolf or a zombie? Or a vampire?
I guess I would go with werewolf hands down. Vampires and zombies are pretty lame in my opinion.
- Best season of Lost?
Literally never saw one episode so I could not say.
- Do you identify with Walter White or Jessie Pinkman?
I literally just took a personality test via radiotimes.com to determine this and it came back that I was most like Walter White…so there you go.
- WWF or WCW?
WCW was the best company, had the best ratings, and sold out arenas proved this. For example: 40,000 plus in the Georgia Dome for Monday Nitro with three day’s notice!? That’s crazy! Unfortunately, WCW lacked structure behind the scenes that WWF had with McMahon.
I will have to go with WWF because those are the characters I remember well.
- Would you rather eat an oreo with mustard or ketchup in the middle?
Interesting.. I prefer ketchup to mustard any given day and twice on Sunday but for some reason in this instance I would go with mustard, I feel the flavors would coincide better.
- Nike or Adidas?
Funny thing is I’m not a “name brand” type of shoe guy. But literally 18 days ago my wife got me these Nike shoes and the shoes had to be the most comfortable gym show I’ve ever had no lie. So based on this reason and this reason alone guess I will go with Nike.
- Have you ever had a social media post you didn’t mean for your friends or your partner to see? How did you handle that?
Honestly, not really. I’ve used sort of the same protocols or guidelines you would use for social media for a company/business in my personal life.
- Long sleeves or short sleeves?
Long sleeves for business, plus you can always roll them up a bit for casual.
- Favorite place to visit on vacation?
Vacation? I must admit I’m a workaholic. I take my jobs very seriously and put so much time into them, but if/when I am able…just some place warm, maybe by the beach, with lots of activities and rollercoasters nearby.
- Fav Batman movie?
The Dark Knight