In this interview series, I talk to ecommerce experts, industry professionals, and thought leaders with in-depth knowledge and experience in online shopping trends. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tina Seitzinger.
Can you tell us about your backstory and how you grew up?
Interestingly enough, I still reside in the same town where I grew up. Growing up, my father worked while my mother stayed home with me, my brother, and my sister. I consider myself truly blessed for such an upbringing.
Sports played a significant role in my formative years. I liked being part of a community, and it helped me foster strong social connections. I was the child who was always motivating my teammates, loved being part of creative team projects, was always super organized, and hated to miss any deadline, which still lives in me today.
Eventually, my path led me to pursue a degree in marketing at Rutgers University.
What led you to this specific career path?
After a few early years working in the marketing field, I was laid off. Looking back, this was a catalyst for a change in my career. I became fascinated by the world of "blogging" and the growing popularity of Facebook.
Driven by curiosity, I started my own blog and dedicated myself to it for over a decade, and I gained a deep understanding of the ins and outs of the blogging business. I collaborated with various brands, took on paid sponsorships, created content, and built and managed a very active online community. Despite lacking the advanced tools available today, I learned to leverage analytics and reporting to provide valuable insights to my brand partners.
Building on this foundation, I transitioned to roles within agencies leading social media campaigns and influencer recruitment. I played a key role in shaping strategies and pricing to ensure equitable pay for influencers. This experience taught me valuable lessons in team leadership, campaign development, and the untapped potential of data-driven optimization. The unique advantage I gained was a holistic understanding of both sides of the business, which proved to be a valuable asset.
Over the past two and a half years, I have led the Influencer Marketing and Paid Social product at Vericast. In this role, I oversee the product roadmap, drive innovation, support our sales team and clients, and lead a highly effective execution team. It's a role that brings together my accumulated expertise and my passion for achieving impactful results.
Each step of this incredible journey has shaped me, and I am excited for the future as I continue navigating this ever-evolving industry.
Can you share the most exciting story that has happened to you since you began at your company?
TikTok is the newest social media giant on the scene. In the last few years, it has experienced exponential growth and is now an essential component of our social media and ecommerce strategies. Witnessing the power of TikTok influencers in action and how we are able to leverage their influence to drive real results for our clients is very exciting! TikTok’s user base is incredibly diverse, which presents a unique opportunity for us to connect our clients with a wide range of audiences.
As an example of the growing importance of TikTok, we recently surveyed 1,000 adults in the U.S. We found that people increasingly turn to alternate sources for financial information and advice, including TikTok. The survey found that 34% of Gen Z consumers obtain financial advice from TikTok, and 33% get it from YouTube, while only 24% of this age group seek advice from financial advisors. These insights brought to light that consumers are switching from traditional ways of all aspects of life and moving to social media, apps, and the internet.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
We have some exciting things happening at Vericast right now! We’re currently working on launching a new Customer Data Marketing Platform (CDMP) that will be available to brands, which combines data management with marketing functionality for accurate targeting and true omnichannel media delivery. I can’t give too much away quite yet, but I can say the platform will fill an industry void where agility in safely working with, understanding, and activating first-party data is crucial.
What are three traits about yourself that you feel helped fuel your success?
Personal growth: Throughout my career, I have always embraced the value of continuous learning and personal growth, regardless of my position or experience level. Being open to this has helped me develop new skills and enhance my expertise. Every day, I have the privilege of learning from my team, who bring a wealth of expertise and creative thinking to the table. It truly energizes me to know that I can continuously grow and expand my knowledge through their valuable insights. By immersing myself in the learning process, I can lead my team with confidence and position the product for continued growth.
Adaptability: Change is an inherent part of the business world, and being adaptable is crucial for long-term success. This is something I had to work on over the years. In a rapidly evolving industry, especially in the dynamic realm of social media, I've made it a priority to seek out opportunities to learn and stay updated on industry developments. By actively collaborating with my team, we identify areas where we can improve and adjust our strategies accordingly. Cultivating a culture of adaptability and providing the necessary support enables us to stay ahead of the competition, adapt new strategies, and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
Problem-solver: As a business leader, I encounter numerous challenges on a regular basis. I embrace each situation with an open mind, curiosity, and a willingness to learn. Problem-solving often requires collaborative efforts. I engage with my team to work through complex situations, encouraging them to contribute their ideas and expertise. This allows creativity and diverse perspectives that lead to more effective solutions.
What was the original vision for your ecommerce business? What pain point(s) were you trying to solve for your customers?
Vericast helps brands overcome challenges and be their consumers’ first choice for products and services that improve their daily lives. We do this by gathering the data, media, technology, and people needed to deliver a return on intelligence that takes brands and their marketing to new heights. With the help of marketing technology, digital marketing, print marketing, financial solutions, and more, Vericast helps companies embrace change and creates a new era of customer engagement in both ecommerce and brick-and-mortar spaces.
How do you see the ecommerce industry evolving in the coming years?
The ecommerce industry is ever-evolving. Brands are leveraging new and innovative experiences, along with developing new strategies to incorporate AI, personalization, AR, VR, social ecommerce, live shopping, and more to create the best possible experience for consumers. The key to brands’ success will be staying ahead of these trends, as well as ensuring a well-rounded customer experience.
Progress in data analytics and artificial intelligence presents ecommerce with exciting opportunities to personalize their offerings and create tailored customer journeys. By harnessing data and preferences, companies can provide highly targeted product recommendations, customized marketing campaigns, and streamlined purchasing processes. This emphasis on personalization will play a vital role in fostering customer loyalty and driving repeat business.
However, it is essential to strike a balance between personalization and privacy. Safeguarding customer privacy and data protection is of utmost importance in establishing trust and maintaining strong customer relationships.
How do you balance the need for innovation and experimentation with maintaining a stable, reliable ecommerce infrastructure?
High-quality digital marketing strategies play a crucial role. It's all about ensuring that your advertising, social media presence, web design, and other elements are constantly evolving to provide customers with a top-notch experience.
Even in the world of ecommerce, traditional marketing campaigns that integrate various channels, including print, remain vital in retaining customers. It's all about finding that sweet spot where experimentation meets stability.
What five emerging trends do you believe will have the biggest impact on the future of online shopping?
1. I expect livestream shopping to become an even more integral part of the equation in the coming year as it delivers an entertaining, fun, and interactive experience for consumers. Younger generations find authenticity and trust in their peers and influencers, so we will see more brands partner with influencers through livestreaming to bring products to life, create conversations, answer questions, and ultimately drive purchases.
2. Omnichannel retail strategy, the intersection of online and in-person experiences, holds a lot of weight and will see growth in the upcoming years. By providing customers with a seamless experience across all channels, brands will see the proof of omnichannel success in revenue, ratings, and customer loyalty.
3. TikTok shopping is a new way for brands to showcase and sell their products for TikTok users to discover and purchase. We see this making a huge wave in the online shopping world, with quick access to live shopping, shoppable videos, and product showcases—all in one place (app).
4. The resurgence of contextual advertising will show itself in a post-cookie world, motivating shoppers’ behavior online for the foreseeable future. This solution helps brands convert unknowns to knowns—without relying on cookies—and strengthen their privacy-forward capabilities to help brands engage with consumers with the right message at the right time. While consumers want privatized engagement, they also want personalized engagement. That’s where contextual advertising will shine through.
5. Influencer marketing and social selling will dominate. The recent tsunami of social selling and influencer marketing has become more extreme. In a recent Vericast industry survey, “increasing our social media presence” was tied for #1 (56%) on the list of objectives that brands called “very important.” Some 88% said it was either “very important” or “somewhat important.” As consumers seek entertaining shopping experiences, social selling is an effective tool for establishing authentic connections and nurturing lasting customer relationships. Brands should harness the power of influencer marketing and social selling to create connections that resonate and drive engagement.
Is there a past trend that’s now common practice in ecommerce that you would have spent 50% more time focusing on? Which one and why?
Shopping habits have changed, especially since the onset of the pandemic, which spiked ecommerce activity as people stayed home. This is also compounded by Gen Z’s preference to engage with brands on social platforms as the digital-native generation. These behaviors have become the new status quo, and consumers are more cognizant of how their online data is being collected as a result.
As marketers, we are finding new ways to ingest clients' first-party data in a secure environment. This ensures consumers receive personalized marketing that’s relevant to their unique wants and circumstances in a protected and responsible way.
Previously, data protection and security were the responsibility of more technical departments. The widespread adoption of social commerce during lockdown sped up the significance of personal data for my role. So I would have spent more time earlier on understanding how I could support the technical teams as this trend was taking off.
Looking ahead, what are the biggest opportunities and challenges facing the ecommerce industry, and how do you plan to address them in the coming years?
One of the biggest opportunities lies in the continued growth of online shopping. With the increasing adoption of technology, mobile commerce, and expanding customer base, there is immense potential to tap into new markets and reach a broader target audience.
Additionally, the advancements in data analytics and AI offer opportunities for personalization, enhanced customer experiences, and targeted marketing strategies.
However, along with these opportunities, ecommerce also faces challenges such as data privacy. Protecting customer data and ensuring secure transactions will be essential, especially with the increase in online transactions.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most good to the most people, what would that be?
I am very passionate about having a positive mental attitude and all of the benefits around this.
This is something that I’ve worked on for the past few years, and it has made such a difference in my life. I can also see how it’s had a big impact on my sons. I think that this should be taught in all schools, especially as our children have so much pressure and access to social media.
Teaching children about positive mental health can equip them with valuable life skills that contribute to their overall well-being and success in various areas of their life.
What "next big thing" tactic or strategy should leaders in ecommerce be digging into?
Influencer marketing and social selling! These will dominate as consumers continue seeking entertaining shopping experiences.
What is everyone wrong about in ecommerce?
That print marketing doesn’t matter. In reality, consumers often plan purchases around deals received via mail.
What are you reading right now?
I’m getting ready to dive into Start With Why by Simon Sinek
What product are you obsessively using right now?
My Hydro Flask water bottle! I try to drink a gallon of water a day, so I carry it with me everywhere I go!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
My personal LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tinaseitzinger
Vericast blog: https://www.vericast.com/insights/blogs/
Vericast LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/vericastmarketing/
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