Try A New Tack

You already know what your business goals are. You may even know what’s working—and what isn’t. What your numbers are; what you want them to be.

But, ”Why aren’t we getting stronger results?” and, ”Where do we go from here?” are harder questions to answer.

That’s where Sailshaker comes in.

We learn about your customers, your competitors, the ebb and flow of your market. We assess the brand equity you’ve built. Then we develop highly relevant, richly engaging digital experiences that give your customers what they need, so your business earns the results you want.


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AAA Onfi LGS Together NOH Amazon Ravicti Wells Fargo
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Deevoted Lindbeck ParaPRO Media Logic College of St. Rose Union Graduate College Smithsonian
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What’s your heading?

Knowing your business destination is one thing. Understanding how your digital marketing efforts need to be structured and executed to reach those goals? That’s something else entirely.

In these waters, you can think of Sailshaker as your navigator, using the modern version of a compass and sextant to chart your course.


We review your data and augment it with independent research into your customers’ preferences and behaviors; your market space and competitors’ efforts; and your current digital marketing activities.


Our team interprets and synthesizes the research findings, articulates the challenges your company faces and identifies your opportunities to stand out from your competitors.


We create your digital marketing map, drawing from current and proven techniques in content marketing, paid search and social media, email marketing, website development and analytics to help you generate measurable results.

We ride the trade winds

Sailshaker and our network of specialists bring the full complement of digital marketing expertise to each of our clients’ projects. Our most commonly requested services include:

Fresh From the Helm


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12 Apr

Avoiding the Perils of Poor Digital Strategy Execution

Avoiding the Perils of Poor Digital Strategy Execution

Three years ago, one of Sailshaker’s very first efforts ran aground. And as a result, we learned a lesson that’s as relevant—and resonant—today as it was then: As inspired as the strategy may be, a digital marketing program will fail unless the execution is flawless.

Consumers are no slouches. They’ve become accustomed to Amazon, Mint and Ebates. They book vacations, do their banking and buy cars online. They bounce from device to device, app to app, channel to channel. They expect that complex transactions—particularly digital ones—will be easy.

But creating experiences that captivate savvy buyers is not easy. What looks simple on the surface often belies intricacy behind the scenes. And sometimes a single glitch can throw a very large wrench into the works.

The backstory behind the snafu.

Our client was a startup working on personal safety technology for use on and around college campuses. Like most new businesses in growth mode, they were strapped for time, money and human resources.

The Sailshaker team saw an immediate opportunity to enhance their e-commerce interface, automate sales and free their people to complete other tasks. We quickly drafted the strategy.

The product landing page could be customized to accommodate different schools’ logos and color schemes, while serving up time-sensitive offers at different price points to appeal to different audience segments.

Behind the scenes, the page would integrate a mobile-friendly payment platform and support a series of automated emails—from transaction confirmations to pick-up and delivery instructions.

Everyone agreed on the plan.

Then, during wireframing and design, our client expressed an interest in implementing the work themselves. After all, they were software engineers. They expected that completing the development steps themselves would save necessary dollars. They figured—and so did we—that they had all the skills necessary to execute on the strategy and design we provided.

What none of us took into account were the time constraints and operational black holes that are common to startups.

But boy, did we all find them.

They needed a Honda; we sold a Ferrari.

We were eager to show the client what we could do and how we could make a big difference for their company. We had presented two design concepts: one straightforward—and one digitally forward.

Of course, everyone loved the souped-up version—the Ferrari of the two concepts, if you will. And why not? The user interface was complex and sexy, with parallax scrolling and lots of unique design elements. We paired it with a one-step purchase and checkout flow to increase conversions and reflect the sophistication of the product technology. The whole thing would appeal to a millennial audience that had been raised on the web.

In fact, we were all so excited about the potential of the landing page that we may have missed some important signals. For example, did the client really have the bandwidth to take on the complex build we’d specified? And, if they tried to cut corners using off-the-shelf tools, could they still be successful in spite of the concerns we had voiced?

We proceeded anyway, transferring design files to the client.

And then we waited.

And waited.

Finally, we heard from them. Caught short of time, our client had indeed tried to use an off-the-shelf front-end tool as the base for our custom specs. But as they discovered mid-build, and as we had suspected, the two were incompatible.

Lesson learned.

In the end, the Ferrari never left the garage. In fact, the client worked up their own version of a Honda to get the job done. But neither outcome was ideal for the consumer.

What did we take away from the experience?

The best-laid plans need to be executable. As marketers, we always want to wow our clients. But we also need to be sure that our recommendations are based on realistic implementation.

In this case, if we had taken a step back and absorbed the larger demands our startup client faced at the time, we might only have presented the Honda option from the beginning. Or, when they asked to take over the build of the Ferrari mid-project, we might have declined the scope change.

Since then, we’ve encountered similar situations. I expect we’ll see plenty more going forward. As digital execution becomes increasingly complex, so will the challenges facing companies using technology-driven marketing.

If you have a similar story to share, or better yet, thoughts about how to foolproof digital execution, we’d love to hear them!

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5 Oct
Where to Turn When Your Marketing Is Floundering

Where to Turn When Your Marketing Is Floundering

As a marketing strategist, I’m often asked to help fix things that are no longer performing the way they once did. That might be messaging that isn’t attracting attention, a website that no longer generates leads or a social media campaign that hasn’t received a single share.

Despite the increasing complexity and nuance apparent in marketing methodologies and technologies, the reason you’re having trouble may be very simple.

All hands on deck

Sailshaker has longstanding relationships with a network of proven digital marketing specialists. We draw upon these relationships to create project-specific teams that provide our clients with the most cost-efficient, timely and relevant service.

Stephanie Brown, Founder

You might expect Stephanie to have gills, since she spends an inordinate amount of time in and by the water—whether it’s the Outer Banks of North Carolina or the local lap pool. Her love of things aquatic is, in part, what inspired Sailshaker; the other part is, of course, marketing. But not just any marketing. The kind that builds on respectful—even joyful—relationships, thoughtful work and results that everyone can be proud of.

Stephanie is the author of Local Online Advertising for Dummies, and has helped companies of all kinds navigate online waters.

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