Rafic Sinno: The First Step Is To Listen
Rafic Sinno is an experienced entrepreneur, author, teacher, motivational speaker, consultant and marketing professional. Rafic established Sinno Communication, a family based business serving the Tri-State region with visual communication products and services. As a teacher, Rafic Sinno teaches a variety of courses at the intersection of business and communication. His passion for integrated marketing communication has led him to develop courses in web content and design, social media marketing, and web search and promotion. He earned his MBA at the University of Dubuque and BA in communications from Clarke University. Please enjoy our interview with Rafic Sinno.
Talk us through a typical day for you…
As a professor, I start my day by scanning sources for market news, trends, and developments. I like to stay current on the latest developments so that I can integrate them into my lectures.
How did you get into marketing?
I got into marketing by promoting economic development initiatives in Northwest North Dakota. Specifically, I helped develop, organize, and promote International Marketing and Value-added agricultural conferences.
Where do you get your latest marketing news and tips from?
I follow many marketing authors on social media as they tend to highlight market developments related to their books. In addition, I reference marketing textbooks and journals, discuss marketing developments with professionals, and consult the resources of leading marketing technology providers such as HubSpot and Hootsuite.
What one piece of advice would you give a small business owner looking to market their business?
Small businesses thrive on attracting, developing, and keeping loyal customers. If a business gains a new customer through a sales promotion, its staff should orient that customer about the unique benefits it provides that its competitors don’t. Otherwise, that new customer may only shop when a discount is offered.
What’s the best book on marketing you’ve ever read? What lessons did you take away from it?
There are many books which come to mind. However, Seth Godin’s work truly speaks to the basic principles and nuances of marketing. I am currently reading his latest book, THIS is Marketing which encapsulates his wisdom on how identifying and relating to a market is essential to creating reciprocal value and impact for your business and customers.
Do you have a favourite marketing campaign of recent years? What was it and why does it stick in the memory?
I admire Lego’s marketing strategy and campaigns. Taken as a whole, the Lego brand has crossed over into movies, TV shows, video games, etc. Today, “brick nerds” can build replicas of the Guggenheim, visit LEGOLAND, and much more. Lego has become a platform for consumers to express their creativity while having fun.
What advice would you give a business owner who is stepping into the world of social media for the first time?
The first step is to listen. Join social media groups who might have an interest in a topic related to your product (travel, health, productivity, etc.) Next, get a sense of the main issues and topics group members discuss. Once you get a sense of the group, dedicate yourself to becoming an active member. You can start by commenting on posts, sharing topics of interest and, eventually, providing advice. When providing advice, help them with resources, not offers. For example, you can point them to a curated set of free downloadable guides that will get them started on solving a problem.
In three words; describe the future of marketing.
Relationships. Personalization. Artificial Intelligence.