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The Most Engaging Avocados on the Internet

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It’s not easy to keep a digital audience engaged. And it’s especially hard when the product you’re trying to engage them with is … produce. And yet, Avocados From Mexico has set a gold standard for what it means to build a funnel and engage an online audience and it has somehow found the secret recipe for success (and also guacamole).

On this episode of Up Next in Commerce, I was excited to talk to Ivonne Kinser, the Head of Digital Marketing and Ecommerce for Avocados From Mexico, and learn her many tales about how the company has used out-of-the-box ideas to take something that rarely gets marketing love — produce — and turn it into must-engage-with content. She took us behind the scenes of creating one of the top digital campaigns for multiple Super Bowls, and she dove into what the future of digital marketing looks like, including why Avocados From Mexico has been ahead of the trends when it comes to things like NFTs and blockchain. Enjoy this episode!

Main Takeaways:

  • Impressions Matter: Impressions are a metric that often is hard to really judge the importance of. But when you can correlate impressions to search activity, it becomes clear that building an awareness of the brand through impressions and exposure can drive conversations on social media. This in turn leads to more Google searches and native activity on a brand’s page.
  • Eternal Iteration: You have to iterate constantly in order to adapt to changing consumer behavior. Constantly changing your platform is not a signal that your platform is failing or wrong, in fact it’s a sign that you are staying on the cutting edge and trying to meet consumer expectations at every turn.
  • The Powers That Be: When setting a path for the future, it’s important to differentiate between trends and fads that will come and go and the forces that will actually drive companies and consumers toward a new way of operating long-term. For example, rather than get caught up in the hot new social network or gaming platform, think about investing in the technology that powers that network (A.I., ML, 5G, AR/VR, etc).

For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript below. Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.

Key Quotes:

“I started in September and my first assignment was to build a Super Bowl digital campaign…. And it was the first time we went to the Super Bowl with a TV spot. So I did what I thought was best not knowing or having any experience of what it even means to be a winning Super Bowl campaign. I just put a lot of love and passion into that and then I remembered that the very next day after the Super Bowl I had a call from one of my agencies and says, ‘Congratulations for the digital campaign… And I said, ‘Why? What for? What happened?’ They say, ‘It was number two after Procter & Gamble.’”

“One of the things that a lot of companies do is to become complacent and keep doing things the way they have been doing it for years without even realizing they are doing them. In our case, there was nothing. So it was a blank slate for us to build whatever our imagination can see.”

“How can you bring a story that on TV is 30 seconds and transform that into an experience that has to keep users engaged for three weeks?… It’s a big challenge. We develop all the experiences in digital with that connecting tissue in mind but created for a digital audience and not only for them to watch, but for them to experience, to play with it, to interact with it, et cetera.” 

“We’re talking about billions of impressions in social media, right? And then you may think, ‘So what is even an impression? Who cares?’ But it is important because that huge conversation that happens on social media is just a reflection of users engaging and talking about it. And when we go and check the Google trends, the searches for Avocados From Mexico, the brand, the brand name, the search for the brand name the peaks overlap. When our conversation on social media is very, very high, you also see those peaks of Avocados From Mexico, the brand name search is very, very high at the same time. So this huge conversation that we create with campaigns like Super Bowl, Cinco de Mayo and Thanksgiving Macy’s Parade, it really impacts the interest for the brand.”

[On experimenting with NFTs/Vatoms] “What makes it so challenging to be an early adopter or a trail blazer is that you’re bringing something that hasn’t been done before and that is really, really hard to explain and sell the idea within the organization. It’s like, we’re putting money towards these, we’re allocating budget toward these, and it’s something nobody has done before is that going to work? And honestly, the answer is, I don’t know. I mean, how can you know? You don’t know if it’s going to work but what we do is when we experiment with that kind of thing, we experiment chealyp as much as we can and we are really well prepared to pivot if we need it.”  

“One of our goals as a company is just, if anything is going to be tested out there in marketing, in the fresh produce industry, we want to lead that.” 

“When we look at the future, we need to see what are those forces moving us toward the future. Instead of looking at what is trending because I wanted them to differentiate what are the trends and what are the forces. The trends are now and they may fade, but the forces are what is going to build the future. In this case right now where we are, I will say the forces are definitely artificial intelligence, machine learning, data, 5G is going to change the way we consume content and the way we consume video.”

“I want to iterate every single week because the algorithms are learning. And as we learn about how users are interacting, there’s always going to be something to optimize and change and improve the user experience and the user journey. So it’s a mind shift because you are iterating and changing, tweaking. It doesn’t mean that the platform is broken, it means that there’s always, always, always the consumer behavior is changing and if you forget about that and just launch something and leave it, is going to be outdated next month. So you have to change as your consumer expectations and preferences change all the time — it never stops.”

“When people feel the ownership of a project it’s amazing what they can do.”

Mentions:

Vatoms

NBA Top Shot

Bio:

Ivonne Kinser is the Head of Digital Marketing and Ecommerce for Avocados From Mexico. As the director of digital marketing, she pushes the limits of innovative thinking and is constantly disrupting norms and driving Avocados From Mexico toward digital success. Prior to taking her role with Avocados From Mexico, Kinser was a Director of Digital Marketing & Public Relations for Haggar Clothing Co. and an Advertising and Marketing Manager for American Airlines.

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Transcript:

Stephanie:

Hey there. And welcome back to Up Next in Commerce. This is your host, Stephanie Postles, CEO at Mission.org. Today on the show, we have Ivonne Kinser who currently serves as the head of digital marketing and ecommerce for Avocados From Mexico. Ivonne, welcome to the show.

Ivonne:

Hi. Thank you for the invite.

Stephanie:

Yes. So happy to have you on. I think I just spent an hour going through your guys’ website and then I got hungry and I realized it’s probably not best to have avocados and salsa right before an interview. So let’s see how it goes, I was willing to take the risk.

Ivonne:

Maybe it’s a good thing because you can always get… Go for an avocado.

Stephanie:

Yes. Yeah, I agree. So before we dive into Avocados From Mexico, I was hoping you could touch on your background a bit. I saw that you moved from Venezuela to Dallas in 2001 and I thought that would be a fun point to jump off on hearing a bit about what inspired that move and what brought you here.

Ivonne:

Yeah. I mean, if you think about it now, that was a long, long time ago. I came and my first job here actually in Dallas, I have been here for over 20 years or 20 years this year actually. And I oversaw over 20 countries, the campaign of or the advertising for American Airlines across 20 countries in Latin America. And I was there for a long time, I think relatively I was there for about five years before I went to the resource group in Dallas and then I started going from agency to brands and brands to agency.

Ivonne:

I like both sides of the business until a point where I made a decision and I really liked to stay on the brand side. So I stayed there and right now I have been with Avocados From Mexico for seven years now.

Stephanie:

Wow.

Ivonne:

And counting. Yeah.

Stephanie:

That’s amazing. So what pulled you to Avocados From Mexico? Because when you look at your background and what you just went through, it seems like such an interesting jump and what was the draw there?

Ivonne:

It is interesting. That’s a great story. My career is full of stories but this one is one of my favorite ones because I have… I was also on the brand side with American Airlines after managing their account on the agency side, I went to the brand then Haggar company, Haggar Clothing then for a while I even go on my… I went on my own. I was very curious about entrepreneurship and just implementing my own ideas. It went great. It was on the fashion side, it went great, but I really missed the security and the stability of the corporate world and is when I went back then and went to Haggar Clothing and then Avocados From Mexico. But to your question my point is that fresh produce was nowhere in my experience or in my career.

Ivonne:

I was in transportation, telecommunications, fashion, apparel, retail, never even like the minimal experience in the fresh produce category and then the recruiter of Avocados From Mexico contacted me because they were studying the company actually, which is the marketing arm of two organizations, the growers and exporters of Avocados From Mexico in Mexico and the importers and the Packers and distributors of Avocados From Mexico… Hass avocado in the United States, they came together and created a marketing arm to market their products, avocados coming from Mexico. So at that point they appointed the president who is my boss, Alvaro Luque and he has been there from the beginning 2014, 13, and the recruiter contacted me and asked me if I was interested in going and speaking with them, with Alvaro and I was like, “What? What am I going to do with avocados?”

Ivonne:

I mean, I have… And that was before the first Super Bowl so I didn’t even know that brand existed or anything. And she said, “Just go and talk to him and if you’re not interested then fine, but I think that you would like it because it’s a very entrepreneurial organization, is a very forward thinking and he is looking to really make an impact in the marketing industry.” So that got me curious and I went and talked to him and yes I was fascinated with his vision. He told me the magic words. He say, “I want someone who… I’m looking for someone to build the digital marketing department from the ground up.” And when I told him like, “Why me? I don’t have any experience in the category.”

Ivonne:

He told me that he was not looking for someone with the experience but he was looking for someone with very good solid expertise in the digital marketing side of the business who was very creative and who would be able to do what nobody else has done. And those are my magic words. I’m very creative. I love creative freedom and do exactly that, what nobody else has done. And besides is one of the very, very few cases in marketing where the marketing budget increases year over year because it’s proportional to the sales volume and the sales volume of avocados have been growing year after year… Year over year since 2007 and especially since 2013. So I was sold.

Stephanie:

That’s great. Yeah. I mean, such a good story and it’s so interesting too when I think about other produce items in a grocery store, you would never even think like, “This avocado bag has a whole content strategy behind it.” And they do Super Bowl commercials and like the stuff that you guys are doing to me seems so innovative. You’re taking all the risks, you’re trying things but what did it look like before you joined? How were they marketing and selling avocados? What was the landscape before maybe they entered the digital world?

Ivonne:

So when I started there, that was 2014, there was no digital marketing department per se. I mean, we were doing… We had a social media and we had a Facebook page and we have a few bloggers creating content, but I think that was about it. And then I started in September and my first assignment was okay now you have to build up Super Bowl digital campaign. And I was[crosstalk 00:08:43] okay. Yeah, whatever that means, right? But what has been very exciting about it is that we were talking offline before there was no preconceived notion of how a marketing practice should be. And that was… I think that is what has allowed us to do everything that we have done because nobody has ever say, “No, that’s not the way we do things here.” There was nothing.

Ivonne:

So we start creating, at least I can speak for my department that I started creating the marketing department that I thought and I think right now that is the right for these time. And one of the things that a lot of companies do is to become complacent and keep doing things the way they have been doing it for years without even realizing they are doing them. In our case, there was nothing. So it was a blank slate for us to build whatever our imagination can see. And like I was saying, my first assignment was… Was in September, I started in September, right? Super Bowl is next February and building a campaign, you can not build a campaign in just two weeks. So what’s literally my first assignment is now you have to build a Super Bowl campaign. And it was the first time we went to the Super Bowl with a TV spot.

Ivonne:

So I did what I thought that it was best and not knowing or having an experience of what even means to be a winning Super Bowl campaign, right? I just did… Put a lot of love and passion into that but the best I could. And then I remembered that the very next day after the Super Bowl I had a call from one of my agencies and says, “Congratulation for the digital campaign.” And I said, “Why? What for? What happened?” They say, “It was number two after Procter & Gamble.”

Stephanie:

Wow.

Ivonne:

I said, “What does that mean?” And then it was in terms of the most social interactions, the campaign with the bigger bus after Procter & Gamble, imagine that. And that was the first year. After that we launched six more and every single year we were either the top one digital campaign or top two digital campaign. Of course now I knew, “Okay, somebody is measuring this. We’re very competitive.” So and then we purposefully look for that first and second place but the first year happened just spontaneously. We didn’t even try.

Stephanie:

I mean, I want to dive more into that because I just watched your Super Bowl commercial from 2020 and it was so funny about what your avocado needs. It needs a helmet, it needs a baby carrier for it so it gets more skin to skin contact. I mean, it was really good, writing and super funny, which I feel like sometimes I don’t always laugh at things. It actually was giving me a good belly laugh and I want to hear how you go about developing content in a way that you did especially with your Super Bowl commercials that are winning awards and coming in number two, how do you guys even start creating that campaign from scratch to make it connect with a lot of people?

Ivonne:

Yeah. You know that… I will say the most challenging thing about the Super Bowl is connecting that content across the different departments and disciplines because the concept of the TV spot comes from the brand team and the brand agency. So and I have my team and different agencies. We’re like I mentioned before, we’re very entrepreneurial organization. So pretty much every lead of every department gets to choose their advertising partners, whomever you feel more comfortable working with for whatever reason based on expertise or closeness or whatever it is. So then we have to… When the brand team define what is going to be our theme and they go to market to test three or four options and then they decide this is the commercial we’re going out with. Then they give that to the digital team, to my team and I share it with my agency and we start concepting the digital campaign. And the digital campaign have to be able to stand alone and live on its own, stand up on its own but it has to have some connecting tissue with the TV spot. It has to look like the same story.

Ivonne:

But that is a huge challenge because how can you bring a story that in TV is 30 seconds and transform that in an experience that it has to keep users engaged for three weeks, because that’s the time when we launch the digital campaign until the game day is about two, three weeks. So it’s a big challenge. And we have… We develop all the experiences in digital with that connecting tissue in mind but created for digital audience is not only for them to watch, but for them to experience, to play with it, to interact with it, et cetera.

Stephanie:

Yes. How do you think about building out a call to action that gets people to go back to your website? Because oftentimes I watched these Super Bowl commercials and I definitely have more brand love towards the brands that make really good engaging or funny content. But I don’t know if I’ve always felt drawn to go right over to the website. How do you think about making it a funnel that’s actually going to convert and pull people into your avocado community?

Ivonne:

Yeah. Yeah. I’m going to tell you the story, I tell you I have many stories about the Super Bowl but let me tell you one that will illustrate a great, great example. Years ago, we also had a float in the Thanksgiving Macy’s Parade and it was the same dynamic. The brand team who also manages PR has this project or this idea to go do the Thanksgiving Macy’s Parade with a float. So we had a float then the CEO comes to my team and say, “Hey, we’re doing this in brand so what you guys have to do is to create a digital campaign to go with this float in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day, but it’s going to launch three weeks before then we start concepting.” So what we did is how we can do so users keep coming back after three weeks, every day, right?

Ivonne:

Because you want them to go come every day and participate every day and interact every day. So what we did is that we develop an interactive map and the story was that we’re bringing the float from Michoacan, Mexico from where our avocados come from all the way to New York and you will see how… Stopping in key cities across the United States from Mexico all the way to New York city. So in each city we have videos, we had what are we doing in that video, in that city, et cetera, et cetera. But the key was that the only way the float can move is when users tweet or hashtag. So the more they tweet the faster the float goes to New York and we know that we have to be in New York by a certain day.

Stephanie:

Wow.

Ivonne:

So that was so exciting. I mean, users were so excited about it that the day of the parade, when we were monitoring the conversation online and you could see the excitement and users saying, “That’s my float.” And that was the most rewarding feeling because they felt that was their float because they brought it from Mexico. And just to wrap up the story, we deliver more impressions of, or campaign than the Macy’s Parade hashtag, imagine that and-

Stephanie:

That’s impressive and crazy.

Ivonne:

Yeah. I mean, we’re just… Have the power of engaging the audiences, they work on your behalf and because we don’t have the dollars that the multi-billion dollar brands have to compete in this type of competition if you call it, like the Super Bowl, for example. But we still have been top one and top two in terms of the most talked about brands and it’s because we engage the users and they do it for us.

Stephanie:

I mean, that’s why when I was digging into this Avocados From Mexico company, it was so exciting because at first I’m like, “It’s a company about avocados.” And I started seeing all these things you’re doing I’m like, “They are really pushing the limits when it comes to marketing and being super creative of how to pull people into these funnels and get them engaging.” And, yeah, it’s super impressive. How do you think about the ROI around a Super Bowl commercial versus a float in the parade? What should the ROI look like or what should companies be going after when thinking about these really big moonshot level marketing campaigns.

Ivonne:

So every company is different and every company has different goals, right? But we don’t manage or sales, we’re a marketing organization but our job as a marketing organization we have two objectives that which is, build the brand Avocados From Mexico in the US and increase the demand of Avocados From Mexico in the US. So when we create these campaigns that has an enormous boss what we want to do is to put avocados top of mind. When you have, and I give you the examples of Super Bowl campaigns, when you have, for example 7 billion impressions that was a Super Bowl this year, 7 billion potential impressions on social media. Yes. I mean, you can tell the consumer heard about Avocados From Mexico a whole lot. So when they go to the grocery store, you’re top of mind and and our conversation of course is very strategic.

Ivonne:

So we wrap our conversation around a fun story but really in the core of it, there’s recipes, there’s conversations about how to consume the avocado. In Super Bowl, for example, we say guacamole, we talk a lot about guacamole and Super Bowl. There’s a research company called YouGov, the previous two years they did a survey one month after the Super Bowl and they publish their results and they say the winning brands one month after the Super Bowl. And Avocados From Mexico also is among the top one or top two in terms of purchasing tension increase even a month after the Super Bowl. So, and another thing is when you go and see… We’re talking about billions of impressions in social media, right? And then you may think, “So what is even an impression? Who cares?”

Ivonne:

But it is important because that huge conversation that happen in social media is just a reflection of users engage talking about it. And when we go to, for example, and check the Google trends, how the searches for Avocados From Mexico, the brand, the brand name, the search for the brand name the peaks overlap. When our conversation on social media is very, very high, you also see those peaks of Avocados From Mexico, the brand name search is very, very high at the same time. So, yes, I mean, all this huge conversation that we create with campaigns like Super Bowl, Cinco de Mayo and Thanksgiving Macy’s Parade, it really impacts the interest for the brand. So going back to our objectives which is build the Avocados From Mexico brand in the US check and increasing the demand of Avocados From Mexico in the US check, because we have seen also how these YouGov for example, is one of the companies that have shown the increase in purchase intention.

Stephanie:

Yes. Yeah. That’s amazing. So, I mean, thinking about all these marketing campaigns that you’ve done, what is one of the more risky ones that you’ve done that actually ended up working where maybe people on your team were like, “It’s not going to pay off.”

Ivonne:

Yeah. One thing that I always start thinking even a year before the next Super Bowl is what kind of technology I’m going to integrate in the activation. I think that we live in a world that is dominated and I say this in a very positive way, I believe in technology as a positive force to move the industry forward. So, and there’s new technologies every year and I see the technology not as a shiny object, at least not all of them but as a… Like I says, is what is moving the world forward and the marketing industry forward. So I start thinking about what technology I’m going to bring the next year. So last year and it was actually that campaign that you referred at the beginning, I wanted to bring the Vatoms that actually right now are super, super popular right now.

Stephanie:

What are they?

Ivonne:

NFT or they call it also NFT. Have you heard about NFT?

Stephanie:

I mean, I’ve heard of NFT is in the non-fungible tokens-

Ivonne:

Yes[crosstalk 00:24:25]

Stephanie:

Okay. Okay.

Ivonne:

Yeah. Yeah.Yeah.

Stephanie:

Al right.

Ivonne:

So then those are super, super popular right now in 2020. 2020, the other name is Vatoms.

Stephanie:

Okay.

Ivonne:

In 2020, we actually were the first… One of the first brands that use that as a marketing tactic and we were the first brand to put one of four advertising assets in the blockchain and that was even before everybody[inaudible 00:24:59]

Stephanie:

Wow. That’s so early. You guys are ahead of every trend, basically.

Ivonne:

Yeah. I mean-

Stephanie:

Have you done AR already. I was thinking you have to probably have an Augmented Reality experience with your avocado. You guys have done everything.

Ivonne:

We did, actually was part of that same strategy. So what happened is last year I say, “Well, I want to do something with NFT, let’s call it NFT even though we call it Vatoms last year, but NFT and we did, but what it makes so challenging to be early adopter or a trail blazer that you’re bringing something that it hasn’t been done before is that it’s really, really hard to explain and sell the idea within the organization is like we’re putting money towards these, we’re allocating budget toward these and it’s something nobody has done before is that going to work. And honestly, the answer is, I don’t know. I mean, how can you know? You don’t know if it’s going to work but what we do is when we experiment with that kind of things, we experiment cheap as much as we can and we are really well prepared to pivot if we need it.

Ivonne:

So my agencies, and when I select my agency partners, it has to be someone that is extremely fast moving that or adaptable and can choose with a call cheap directions because if not, it wouldn’t work for the type of approaches that we take. And when you can move that fast and when you have partners that can move that fast, the risk is minimal because we’re in… I mean, in the digital space you can course correct in real time and you’re going to be fine. The problem is when you don’t have the right partner that can move that fast and you know that the campaign is failing or there’s room for improvement or it needs to be optimized and you cannot react quickly. But it was a big success in terms of the, it created a lot of buzz and a lot of… Media talk about it and a lot of consumers came and visited our site and participate in our games too because of that.

Stephanie:

Yeah. That’s amazing. So tell me a bit more about the NFT strategy. I mean, I understand the concept of them putting on the blockchain a scarcity thing, limited quantity but what were you actually putting on the blockchain? And are you going to do it again in 2021 now that more people understand the concept of it because of the NBA top shot stuff that really put it on the radar of a lot of people who maybe wouldn’t have known about it before?

Ivonne:

Yeah. So what we did is a mix between Augmented Reality, actually it started… The idea started with Augmented Reality so users will sign up to get at the UTA wallet and then they will go to Google Walmart, for example, and then they will find avocados, digital avocados all over and they will capture the digital avocados with their mentor reality and save them to their data wallet-

Stephanie:

Like a Pokemon Go kind of game.

Ivonne:

Kind of. Yes.

Stephanie:

Okay.

Ivonne:

Exactly. Exactly like that. So they will call it the avocados and then exchange it for every avocado that they collect is a point. So it was part of a big game. So, but when one of those was a crown that you also saw in the TV spot and that crown also, we place it in the… To develop these kinds of objects, it requires special coding so we coded and somebody… And then users will participate to win it and the winner, we will send them the instructions and it was an object that could be placed in the blockchain and they could then sell it or collect it or save it for later or whatever they wanted to do. So it was like testing the waters without going all in but we want to do one. I think that’s one of our goals as a company is just, if anything is going to be tested out there in marketing, in the fresh produce industry, we want to lead that.

Ivonne:

And of course we saw this is coming at some point. In fact, it came a year later but we know this is coming, this is common in marketing so we have to do this. So we did that the previous year, just to name another technology, we built an experience with IBM Watson, the artificial intelligence and that’s another great story because it was such a creative implementation of Watson that even IBM contacted me and to her, “How do you guys do this? Tell me the story,” and whatever. And then they send an email to all their subscribers using our campaign as a case story like, look how creative Avocados From Mexico is using Watson in a marketing campaign, because it was a totally unexpected application of what so now artificial intelligence tool.

Stephanie:

Wow. I mean, you’re basically giving you a peek into the future, just thinking I want to know what you’re thinking at all times, because you probably are thinking two or three years ahead of what other brands when it comes to a marketing and technology perspective are even thinking about right now. So what are you focused on over the next year or two? What are you guys betting on that maybe other people would look at, you’d be like, “Ivonne, that’s definitely not going to play out. No one’s interested in that.” What are you guys shooting for right now or focused on building from a marketing campaign perspective.

Ivonne:

Yeah. So two things I want to say about that. First, let me tell you, we’re in the middle of planning 2020, 2022 planning our fiscal year ends in June and it starts in July, so we’re right now are planning processes in full swing. So any ordering process is six months. So in one of the first meeting, the opening meeting where I get to talk to my team before they start even thinking about what are we going to do for next year? I wanted to make very clear where has to be our focus and I told them and something that is… I think is served as a guide, when we look at the future, we need to see what are those forces moving us toward the future. Instead of looking at what is trending because I wanted them to differentiate what are the trends and what are the forces. The trends are now and they may fade, but the forces are what is going to build the future. In this case right now where we are, I will say the forces are definitely artificial intelligence, machine learning, data, 5G is going to change the way we consume content and the way we consume video.

Ivonne:

The trends, for example, on the other side are I will put gaming in that side is trending right now. I will put in home fitness, I will put… It’s a trend, it may be permanent but it’s not something so transformational as it is artificial intelligence, data and machine learning. So what are we focusing in the future? We choose to launch a platform called Avocado Nation, is an intelligent platform with artificial intelligence and machine learning engine at the core of it. We call it the next fix of avocados because it has the same intelligence power, obviously much smaller than Netflix but it was… The inspiration was the way Netflix deliver personalized content to their consumers. And as most of the content production companies, they have like 30% success rates in the shows that they put out there. I believe that the last number that I saw for Netflix is like 70% and it’s because they really, really relied on that intelligence.

Ivonne:

So inspired with that, we say we want to create the Netflix of avocados and that’s just one of the portions of this intelligent platform. And we have right now over 100 videos our goal is to get 2,000 videos eventually. And it’s videos like any format, short videos, long videos, funny, serious of videos that it could be… It could go from a dating show to a recipe show, all kinds of videos to give the consumers a variety of content for them to interact with and in the meantime, the machine is learning from those interactions and helping us to make predictions in the future about what is the content that our first party data is more engaged with.

Stephanie:

Yes. Yes. I was just going to say the first party data access is probably… Is that big driving force behind creating an entire platform like this.

Ivonne:

Big driving. Actually, that was the purpose because with all third party cookies going away and all that, we have been working on that for several years now. And right now we have over 100 million users on our consumer data platform and we have a costume audience, that’s our core audience, about 30 million consumers. So we already have… Again, we have been preparing for this since 2015 talking about looking toward the future and when all this happened and a lot of brands are scrambling to get ready quickly, we already have our audience. You never complete with… I’m the one building my audience. That’s something that the machine keeps learning, the algorithm keeps learning but we’re in a very, very good shape in terms of first party data.

Stephanie:

Yes. I think it’s interesting too that you approach the platform in a way like an AI first focused way where I talk to and hear from a lot of brands and many of them are very focused on content, creating their own series and figuring out how to make that work for the company. But it’s very interesting hearing that you’re essentially approaching it like a Netflix style model and even thinking back to… I don’t know if you remember the earlier Netflix days where when they started coming out with their own originals and people were like, “They’re not good.” It’s like the whole time they were just using that as training data, they were learning what we like. They were learning what makes for a good series, what kind of format are people looking for? And I love how you guys are approaching your platform with that as a focus first instead of trying to figure it out afterwards and figure out, “Why aren’t people interacting? Why aren’t they loving this series?” Super smart.

Ivonne:

Yeah, exactly. And you know what? I have my agency, I have several agency partners but I have one that is over all the development and optimization of the website, et cetera. And I told them, “This is an ongoing project, is going to be always an ongoing project because… And I want to iterate every single week because the algorithms are learning. And as we learned about how users are interacting, there’s always going to be something to optimize and change and improve the user experience and the user journey. So it’s a mind shift because you are iterating and calling it changing, tweaking, it doesn’t mean that the platform need is broken, it means that there’s always, always, always the consumer behavior is changing and if you forget about that and just launch something and leave it, is going to be outdated next month. So you have to change as your consumer expectations and preferences change all the time, it never stops.

Stephanie:

Yes. How do you want… I mean, when thinking about your employee base, it sounds like they’re working on a ton. You can be working on Super Bowl commercials, you can be working on day to day, like traffic generation. You can be working on an entire content platform where maybe you’re trying to bring on new musicians and getting new series created. How do you instill a sense of creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit in them so that they’re willing to jump around and work on all these things?

Ivonne:

It’s just a lot of fun. I mean, I think that is… I work with seven agency partners because I think we do so much and every one of them has a specialization in one of the digital… The areas of digital and all of them I think say that Avocados From Mexico is their most fun account. And is one, because it’s a fun brand but also because also they have a lot of creative freedom. I really value creative idea that is also strategic. We’re very, very strategic. And as long as it ties to the strategy, the sky is the limit, their imagination is their limit. And then we really have fun bringing these crazy ideas. And we do so much that is impossible for one person to bring all the good idea. So everybody has the opportunity to participate and to lead and manage their own projects and they work also very collaborated between all of them and all the agencies, it feels like one big agency working together but it’s really different partners.

Stephanie:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Ivonne:

And it’s all about ownership, when people feel the ownership of a project it’s amazing what they can do.

Stephanie:

Yeah. That’s awesome. So do you have any advice around working with agencies? Because we’ve heard from quite a few people that a lot of them have worked with agencies, they didn’t have good experiences they ended up the creative and the branding and marketing campaigns back in house. And so how do you go about making sure that you’re setting up a great partnership and finding these agencies like these that you speak so highly of?

Ivonne:

I believe that the agency choice is such a personal choice. Let me explain, the person that is… Or the company culture, the culture of the team, this agency is going to work with internally, the decision maker within the organization has to be a perfect match with the agency. And with that, I want to say, there’s not a perfect agency for every… There’s not a one pit soul. And I’m not talking about, there’s great, great agencies that may not be a good fit for certain people or certain companies. In my case and in the case of Avocados From Mexico, just because we have the freedom to slate the partners we want to work with, they are a perfect match. And I think that makes a difference.

Ivonne:

So what is my criteria, is that they have to be a very, very creative agency, which of course, any agency should be, but it’s a different kind of creativity. They have to move fast, they have to be nimble, they have to be a non-conformance. They have to be… There’s so many things that it wouldn’t work for us if it wouldn’t be that way. And I think that every… That freedom that we have to select our partners should be… Any company should have it because it’s like selecting a life partner or selecting a business partner is someone you really, really have to compliment each other and fit perfectly.

Stephanie:

Yeah. Really, really good advice. All right. Let’s shift over to the lightning round. The lightning round is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. This is where I ask a question and you have a minute or less to answer. Are you ready to Ivonne?

Ivonne:

Yes.

Stephanie:

All right. Hard one first, what one thing will have the biggest impact on ecommerce in the next year?

Ivonne:

Data.

Stephanie:

All right. Tell me a bit more, what are you thinking around data?

Ivonne:

Well, data, and I think that companies… Any company, any technology company that has anything to do in that feel of ecommerce is really, really fast right now creating the new best solution. There are things they are working on right now that are going to come out next week or in a month or two months that doesn’t exist now. And they are building all that based on data they are capturing now as we speak. So I think that data is going to be the big driver for technology capabilities, for how the technology is and users are going to interact with each other. And there’s so much data out there that we are learning right now how to organize it and how to activate it. And that knowledge is what is going to be used to build the next generation of ecommerce tools.

Stephanie:

Yes. Love it. When you want to get into the creative mindset, what do you do to get into that-

Ivonne:

I walk.

Stephanie:

You walk?

Ivonne:

I walk in nature. It’s very unfortunate what happened to the world in this last year. A lot of people… So really sad consequences but I can tell you in my case I think professionally speaking, it was my best year ever. It was my most creative year, my most productive year because I realized that the way I create is by being close to nature and being with my own thoughts and using that reflecting on things that I talk with people in the industry, things that I read but then going back and retrieve and reflect on those things. And I think definitely, I think that everybody should have that space to let their creative power to work on[inaudible 00:46:44]

Stephanie:

Yeah. I love that. I feel that I also… Yeah, I get very inspired when I’m just out walking and hiking and yeah, I think that’s definitely a way to jumpstart that.

Ivonne:

Yeah. And I like to, I go on a bike, right now that it’s getting warmer here in Texas is biking time again and I think my best ideas come when I’m on the bike or when I’m walking, because you don’t have interruptions, you don’t have a phone ringing, you don’t have texts, you don’t have anything. So it’s you and your thoughts and the brain is an amazing machine that is processing everything that came in at some point and organizing it and making sense of it and coming up with new outputs.

Stephanie:

Yes. Yeah. You just have to bike on down to Austin, when you get here, we can go on a hike and we’ll be super creative and you’ll be really in shape so…

Ivonne:

Awesome.

Stephanie:

It’d be great.

Ivonne:

Love to.

Stephanie:

If you had a podcast what would it be about and who would your first guest be?

Ivonne:

That’s a hard one. I think it will be definitely something related with technology. It will about disruptive technology and new shield solutions. I don’t know exactly it doesn’t come to my mind what will be my first guest but I think that I would love to interview a woman in technology. I think it’s a field where women are being very successful but it was not until recently that they really had a place on the table in that industry. So it would be very interesting to learn how that has been and how it feels to be one of these top technology companies, preferably if she is a founder of a technology company and see how she leaves and interacts in an industry that only until recently became recognizing female as leader.

Stephanie:

Yes. That sounds like a good one. I would for sure listen to that. Well, Ivonne, thanks so much for coming on the show. It’s been really fun to get a peek into some of your marketing and digital strategies and yeah, it was just really fun feeling like I had a chance to glimpse into the future with you. Where can people find out more about you and Avocados From Mexico?

Ivonne:

So we, Avocados From Mexico on Twitter is Avos From Mexico and about me, I have the same in Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn is all Ivonne Kinser, I-V-O-N-N-E K-I-N-E-R.

Stephanie:

Amazing. Thanks so much, Ivonne.

Ivonne:

Thank you.

Episode 113