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.


Visa PEP Mallinckrodt Yodle POMCO Miracle-Ear Adirondack Thunder
AAA Onfi LGS Together NOH Amazon Ravicti Wells Fargo
GE Lilly NBA Troy Innovation Garage Analy$ource BioMedical Fingerpaint
Deevoted Lindbeck ParaPRO Media Logic College of St. Rose Union Graduate College Smithsonian
MAXX Performance Waterworks Bartley & Dick WebPurify

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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5 Nov

When AutoPilot Isn’t Getting You Where You Want to Go

When AutoPilot Isn’t Getting You Where You Want to Go

Today, sailing crews have GPS to get them from place to place, no nautical charts or sextants needed. But what happens when the equipment fails or you need to navigate unfamiliar shoals?

If you read my posts, you know that I’m a proponent of digital automation to make us more efficient and productive. But, recently, I had a first-hand experience with the unfortunate limitations of the almighty algorithm.

As someone who has experience in pharmaceutical marketing, for example, I’m versed in the ways patients use the Internet to self-diagnose and treat their health problems. For example:

  • A third of consumers prefer using online tools over the inconvenience and expense of physically going to see their doctors, the American Medical Association reports
  • Despite the widespread availability of symptom checkers and teledocs, a sub-set of self-treaters will act on erroneous information and suffer health complications

You’d think I, of all people, would know the information in that second bullet. But recently, I followed the herd, putting more faith in a search engine, a bot and my own ability to parse medical information than I did in a physician.

My First-Hand Experience with Dr. Google

As a Masters swimmer, I spend most lunch hours in the pool. So, when my eyes got gritty and fire red and started to burn, I did what comes naturally—I jumped on Google to see what was up.

First, I tried a lot of the homeopathic cures the swimming community shared. I flushed my eyes with cool water. I used over-the-counter eye drops and warm compresses. I applied tea tree oil. At one point, I discovered a wealth of posts about the benefits of putting vitamin D fortified milk in your eyes—and I tried that, too, to no avail.

Next, I consulted the symptom checkers on the WebMD and Mayo Clinic websites, which produced different results. One suggested I might have blepharitis, dry-eye syndrome or allergies, while the other said uveitis, corneal abrasion or West Nile virus.

I’d reached an impasse. I’d spent a week avoiding the doctor and my condition had only gotten worse. Sure, I’d learned a lot about eye problems, but I hadn’t figured out how to resolve my own.

FYI, a recent study compared the diagnostic accuracy between physicians and online symptom checkers. Given my experience, the results were unsurprising. Armed with a patient’s medical history and symptoms, “doctors arrived at the correct diagnosis 72% of the time, as opposed to 34% for the apps.” 

My Subsequent Visit with an Ophthalmologist

My neighbor said, “Your eyes look terrible. Have you seen a doctor?” I told him I’d been self-diagnosing and treating. He reminded me that I only get two eyeballs in this life and I’d better take care of them. I couldn’t argue with his logic.

I made an appointment with a specialist, who ran me through a battery of tests to check everything from eye pressure to tear production, and tear quality, to Meibomian gland function, to “corneal composition.” At one point, I think he looked into my soul.

When he was done, the doctor delivered his diagnosis. I had a severe infection likely triggered by blepharitis, ocular rosacea or both, and it had caused severe dry patches to form on the surfaces of my eyes.

It was, thankfully, treatable (not with milk). That day, I began a course of steroid-antibiotic eye drops and agreed to give up swimming for a few months. The very next day, my eyes looked and felt better.

Eye, Caramba!

Although I rely on digital tools in life and work, here’s what I learned:

  • To save myself an hour at the doctor’s office, I’d invested a week digging through online resources and potentially damaging my eyes further.
  • I’d become an informed patient. I was capable of asking the doctor relevant questions and understand the medical terms, diagnosis and treatment approach.
  • Online tools supplement the healthcare system the same way first aid books did for basic health issues—like a sty or dry eyes—but they are unlikely to replace human expertise when it comes to complex conditions.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the same man v. machine dynamics also apply in marketing. Whether you use an email platform to automate outreach or an analytics program to generate performance data, you still need an expert to make sense of it all.

I’m curious what you think. Have our lives become so automated that we feel put out when we have to consult a real human being? Have we become so reliant on technology that we’re losing sight of the bigger picture?



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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.

Let’s hoist your sails

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