Language isn’t a barrier to success

Cross border sales are booming

According to eShopWorld (ESW) data released in August, 2021, cross-border sales are booming. Facing reduced access to stores, global shoppers are turning to ecommerce, and a good portion of them (46%) are buying directly from international brands online. Over half of millennials (52%) are actively buying from brands outside of their home countries. Like a lot of pandemic-induced habits, this isn’t a new trend, but it’s one that has been greatly accelerated by lockdown orders.

Over the past ten years, the barriers to cross-border selling have been coming down. All of the standard ecommerce platforms – Shopify, Magento Commerce, BigCommerce, WooCommerce – have streamlined cross-border sales. Merchants can easily display products in local languages and currencies by leveraging out-of-the-box features.

Meanwhile, a host of entrepreneurs have been busy developing platforms and solutions that streamline the workflows of taking orders and delivering products to customers, regardless of where they live. By selecting the right partners, merchants can offer Amazon-like delivery service.

For instance, allows website visitors to browse and purchase products in their local currency. It also automatically calculates duties and taxes, and offers logistics. ShipStation is the facto partner for multinational merchants, offering order management, landed-cost calculations, branded shipping, volume discounts and more.

The gap: digital campaigns

While the ecommerce platforms and third-party plug-ins can make any mom-and-pop shop look and act like a multinational corporation, there’s still a critically important piece missing: campaigns. You may be able to take an order, charge the correct price, pay the appropriate taxes and deliver a product to a consumer’s door who lives halfway around the world from your headquarters, but how are you going to inform that customer of your products to begin with?

The importance of speaking the local language in campaigns

There’s a story that makes its way around the internet on a fairly regular basis about a Chevy Nova marketing debacle in Latin America (no va means ‘doesn’t go’ in Spanish). The story is a myth, but it’s an instructive one.

All marketers should pay very close attention to the language used in every market where their ads will appear. It’s all too easy to send the wrong message to a market due to language barrier. Fortunately, language isn’t a barrier for Paragon Digital Services and our teams. Every day we help multinational brands execute their performance and brand-awareness campaigns in markets all over the world.

Paragon multinational campaigns by the numbers

  • 44,000 campaigns. We deliver an average of 44,000 campaigns a year across 70+ markets with an accuracy rate of 99.9%, 100% campaigns were delivered on, or before, the deadline.
  • 68+ languages. We work with clients and stakeholders who, combined, speak more than 68 languages. We get the nuances of local languages, and can ensure multinational campaigns don’t fall flat due to poor language. All of our team members are conversant in English, so you’ll have no trouble explaining what you need to them.
  • 17 different departments. We don’t handle just one type of campaign, we handle them all – paid social, paid search, display, programmatic. We’re your one-stop-shop for your global campaigns.
  • 70+ markets. We can help you reach your audience wherever they are, be it in the US, LatAm, EMEA, MENA or APAC.
  • 50+ global brands. Global brands trust us, and rely on us to execute their campaigns accurately and on time and budget. There’s no better endorsement than turning over a media budget!
  • 5000+ unique brands. We’ve launched a wide variety of campaigns for brands that span many sectors. Whether you’re a DTC, B2C or B2B brand, we can help you reach your exact audience.

Ready to take advantage of the modern, post-pandemic consumer’s enthusiasm for global shopping? Get in touch and we’ll help you deliver successful, multinational campaign.

Author:Rekha Patil

Date:2nd November 2021


Get ready for Black Friday/Cyber Monday: 6 tips for success

2021 promises to be another “interesting” holiday season. Last year consumers stayed home, and many used the no-traveling policy to cross people off their shopping list they weren’t going to see in person. Are those permanent or temporary removals?  Will people abandon the idea of holiday gatherings in favor of a wonderful trip as a reward for sheltering in place?

One thing we know for certain is that competition for consumers will be fierce. On top of that, the economy is groaning under a global labor shortage which means you might not have the resources to provide the high-touch level of support you once did. So how do you ensure your all-important holiday season is a stellar success?

Here are six tips for you to consider.

Tip #1: Expand your store footprint with social selling

According to a DigitalCommerce360 survey of over 4,500 consumers, 82% of people say that social media is where they hear about brands and products most frequently. Almost a third (29%) say that most of their new purchases come from social media discoveries. Even before the pandemic forced people to stay at home, however, more than half (54%) of people said they purchase directly from social media. Social selling is hot!

Headless commerce lets you move your ecommerce frontend to your social media pages, and capture consumers where they’re increasingly apt to shop.

Tip #2: Expand your payment options

More than 150 million Americans have a digital wallet; worldwide the number will top 1.5 billion by the end of the year. And, people don’t have just one digital wallet; they have many. It’s not unusual for consumers to regularly use PayPal, Venmo, Android Pay/Apple Pay, Amazon Pay as they shop online and in real life.

Why the popularity? For 66% of consumers it all comes down to convenience. It’s just so easy to buy something with a digital wallet. In fact, finding a wallet, entering credit card and shipping information, especially from a mobile device, is an utter drag. It’s just easier to find a retailer who will let consumers purchase they way they want.

What’s more, let’s say that a consumer lent her friend $100, who later paid her back in Venmo. That money is more or less sitting in her Venmo account waiting to be spent. Let your ecommerce store be the place where she spends it. Including your list of payment options in your ad campaigns is a smart move to attract such people.

Tip #3: Offer live chat or personal assistants

A recent study by LivePerson found that, “75% of consumers will spend more money with retailers that support digital and in-store experiences with messaging experts. More than half of shoppers, 63%, will purchase more from a website that boasts a virtual assistant.”

It’s not difficult to understand why. Selecting gifts is stressful. Will the recipient like it? Will it arrive on time? How can I be sure that the Black Friday/Cyber Monday promo code will go through?

Live chat and personal assistants can deliver answers at the most critical time, resulting in better conversion rates.

Tip #4: Create answers to routine customer questions

It’s not likely that we’ll resolve the global labor shortage in time for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, which means your customer care team will need to respond to a lot more questions with fewer people to help. You can ease their workload by creating answers to routine questions like, “when will my order arrive?” or “do these hoodies run large?”

There are many tools that can streamline your customer care operations, including responding to incoming questions at lightning speed. Quick response builds shopper confidence, and your sales.

Tip #5: Offer “shop online pickup in store”

In the unlikely event that you haven’t built this functionality into your site, give consumers the option to avoid crowds (and COVID variants) by shopping online and picking up their packages at one of your retail outlets.

Consumer behavior has changed quite a bit since the pandemic. Habits acquired out of necessity, like shopping online and picking up in stores, are here to stay. Why battle crowds if you don’t have to?

Tip #6: Offer gift guides

Some people love gift shopping, for many others it is a job full of terror. What do you get a 13-year-old kid who seems to spend all of his time looking at his mobile? Or the coworker whose name you drew in the office Secret Santa?

Offer a series of gift guides – Gifts for Him, Gifts for Her, Gifts for Teens, Gifts Under $25, Gifts Under $100, and so on for shoppers who have no idea what to get the people on their lists.

Gift Guides are also a great way to attract visitors to your site as people often search on terms like, “gifts for teens.”

Get in touch

Right now you probably have your hands full getting ready for the holiday season, but there’s one burden you can offload to us: your ad campaigns. We can run all of your Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaigns, including Paid Search. We’ll execute them flawlessly, analyze results daily, and optimize every aspect of your campaign in order to drive performance – get in touch.

Author:Rekha Patil

Date:29th September 2021


The benefits of outsourcing for brands looking to insource their campaigns

While it may seem like a contradiction of terms, brands that are keen to insource their campaigns might want to consider outsourcing as well. Huh, you wonder?

Large brands have been evolving their commercial relationships with the big media holding companies for quite some time. As far back as 2018, the IAB reported that 45% of brands were actively looking to in-house programmatic buying.

More recently, a survey by the World Federation of Advertisers found that 57% of brands have established an in-house agency of some shape or form, and that most of those internal agencies include in-house creative services. Fifty percent have a centralized creative services studio for the corporation.

To be sure, there’s a lot to be gained by in-housing this critical strategic work. Overall costs are lower when you don’t need to pay an agency for every single creative or message you need. More strategically, experimenting with new models, owning the strategy and media buying will make your brand stronger. All of that insight and knowledge is kept within your walls, informing every aspect of your company, from better campaigns and marketing, to product development and customer care initiatives.

And, it’s worth pointing out, your employees who studied communications in school and earned MBAs in marketing are motivated by this type of work, and that means that you, as a brand, benefit from the continuity of a stable team and a deeper level of institutional knowledge.

But what about the ad operations (ad ops) portion of the business? Who among your staff are you going to assign to setting up campaigns, chasing down creatives, managing tags, troubleshooting pixels, creating reports and optimizing performance? It’s not likely the type of work the people you recruited and trained had in mind when they joined your company. You can assign and train your team to do these tasks, but you may find that your recruitment and training costs go up (and campaigns slow down as you try to replace adops personnel who got bored with the position).

Then there is the added challenge of finding people with these skill sets in your area. If you’re a DTC brand in Cincinnati or an established brand in Pittsburgh, you can benefit from a pool of employees who cut their teeth working with or leading the marketing teams of other brands. But finding candidates with tactical adops skills are likely to be few and far between.

Outsourcing ad ops to Paragon Digital Services

For many, the key to in-housing marketing and advertising is finding a reliable company, like Paragon Digital Services, to whom you can outsource the detailed-oriented but critical, business of ad ops.

We all know that for a campaign to truly succeed, ad ops needs to get a thousand different details perfect: site tagging and set-up, testing and optimization, real-time reporting and analytics.

Our teams are detailed oriented, and our internal processes are designed to monitor campaigns 24/7. It’s what we do, day in and day out, and we’re set up to ensure continuity in your technical operations, even in the event that we experience staff turnover. We take on the responsibility of managing your campaign details, ensuring that every team member is up-to-speed on your campaign goals, and managing it to your KPI’s – so your team won’t need to.

By freeing your team from the burden of trafficking and reporting on campaigns, you’ll have a lot more staff to do the work that directly affects your bottom line: interacting with customers, finding ways to grow the business, and thinking about the next big opportunity for your company.

And that’s why I say that the best way to succeed with in-housing is to make outsourcing part of the solution.

Get in touch to discuss how this may work for you.

Author:Rekha Patil

Date:17th August 2021


101: Segmenting your audience

Lots of different consumers may purchase the same product, or favor the same brand, but for vastly different reasons. Knowing those reasons – what motivates shoppers to buy from you (or your competitors) is key to growing both your customer base and revenue.

Segmenting your customers into distinct cohorts – moms who buy organic, budget-conscious consumers, golf enthusiasts, repeat customers, customers of competitor X – is a useful exercise that will deliver many dividends for years to come.

First and foremost, audience segmentation will allow you to craft messages that will resonate with each consumer. For instance, let’s say you’re a coffee brand and you learn that a sizable number of consumers who favor your brand are avid runners. You can use this insight to advertise on runners’ sites and channels, with a message that invites them to enjoy a well-deserved post-workout cup of Joe.

Or, let’s say you’re a mortgage company and you want to attract new customers to apply for refinancing. Your first message may emphasize your low rates, fast answers and streamlined applications. This is the first message in the customer journey, so you don’t want to spend your media budget targeting people with that ad who’ve already visited your site and engaged with your mortgage calculator. Rather, you can create additional segments – consumers who visited our site and used the calculator – to target with the next message in the sequence.

How to segment customers into distinct audiences

Segmenting customers is an art, and is very brand specific. That said, there are some widely used approaches that may be helpful to you. If you use a marketing automation system, it probably offers step-by-step workflows to help you build audience segments that are relevant to your brand. Or, you can ask an agency like Paragon Digital Services to help you do that work.

Here are some common tactics:

  • Enter & exit sites. Look at the sites your visitors come from when they arrive on your site, and where they go once they leave. These enter and exit points can provide valuable insights into their interests outside of your brand, and can help you hone your messaging and decide which channels to advertise in (e.g. runners sites for a coffee brand).
  • Customer surveys. Customers are remarkably open to sharing their interests and motivations with brands they trust. You can ask your customers about their preferences, outside interests, top priorities, and future plans. You can create audience segments based on survey responses, whether that’s age, gender, geolocation, income level, preferred product, values (e.g. sustainability, safety) or interest. What you learn may surprise you. Perhaps you have a cohort loyal to your brand that you didn’t realize before.
  • Analyze buying habits. Your CRM or point-of-sales platform contains rich insights into buying habits, which you can then use to create personas and audience segments for targeting. Let’s say you’re a grocery store chain, you can create audience segments based on what people buy. In other words, what additional products are in the basket of people who always buy seltzer or hand lotion when they come into your store?
  • “We miss you”. Everyone knows that it’s cheaper and easier to reactivate a dormant customer than to earn a new one. Create audience segments of your dormant customers by product, and target them with reminders of how much they love your brand.
  • Spending tier. Create segments based on the lifetime value of your customers. Frugal customers will probably respond to ads that offer cost-effective products, while high-end customers care more about the experience and convenience. You don’t want to send them the same message! With audience segments, you can customize the right message for the right type of customer.
  • Stage in the buying journey. As the mortgage example above illustrates, it’s a wise idea to create segments based on the buying journey. This will allow you to tell a store through a sequence of messages. The key to success with this type of segmenting is the frequency at which you refresh your segments.

Get in touch

Need help creating your audience segments for your campaigns? We’re here to help, get in touch today.

Author:Rekha Patil



Ad operations lessons driven by the pandemic

Historically, digital-media platforms and content providers assumed that ad operations resources worked most smoothly when under a single roof, sitting within easy reach of their fellow traffickers and campaign managers. But a novel coronavirus upended that notion, and it’s worth exploring some of the lessons learned from it.

Lockdown orders meant all non-essential employees must work from home. The “non-essential” designation covered all information workers. If you could do your job using a computer, then there was no need to risk a commute and interacting with people outside of your pod.

Suddenly, ad ops teams were dispersed in homes across wide swaths of land. Complicating matters further, this fragmentation of the office coincided with a sustained spike in media traffic, as citizens all over the world checked news sources, blogs and social media continuously for updates on the pandemic. Some teams performed very well, while others faltered. Why? And what did we learn from the experience?

Lesson #1: With the right policies in place, distributed ad ops teams can excel

The pandemic taught the business community that proximity to co-workers isn’t as critical as we once assumed, as long as clear policies for engagement and processes to follow are put in place up. As a global outsourcing partner serving media teams all over the world, distributed Ad Ops is just par for the course.

To make it work, we created a comprehensive Standard Operating Procedures document for each client, which serves as the oil to keep all the cogs rolling in perfect order. Here are the key components that make it successful:

  • How, when and why we communicate with each other and our clients throughout the campaign cycle. When the pandemic hit, we simply updated the “how” to accommodate new contact methods for clients as necessary. Other than that, it was business as usual.
  • Which systems and tools to use. These procedures didn’t change much during the pandemic, so to a large degree, it wasn’t as if the pandemic even mattered (from a campaign lifecycle that is).
  • Services we provide. This part of our document is highly customized to each client, and in some cases we needed to update it to accommodate clients who, suddenly working remotely, needed extra help from our teams. This wasn’t a problem for Paragon for a simple reason: Our teams look to the Standard Operating Procedures as a roadmap to follow 100% of the time. If you instill a habit of “working from the same page”, adapting to change isn’t really a challenge.
  • Establish account priorities. Every client has priority accounts, and every account, regardless of size, has small, medium, large and extra large campaigns for them. We create a priority matrix so every Paragon team member knows our clients’ priorities. Of course, priorities can change during times of crisis – and 2020 was pretty much a sustained crisis! But if you create a system where everyone knows where to look for the most up-to-date list of priorities, it’s not that difficult for everyone to focus on the right campaigns.
  • Detail escalation procedures. Some clients want to know about every nit that arises, while others just want to know about the big stuff. We layout all the escalation procedures ahead of time, so that no team member is left wondering: should we tell someone, and if so, who?

In normal times, our teams work together under one roof. When the pandemic hit, we also had work from home. We are able to deliver a seamless experience for our clients because we create a client-roadmap upfront, which means we really don’t need to sit side-by-side.

Lesson #2: Outsourcing streamlines ad ops

When the pandemic hit and schools closed down, millions of people, mostly women, left the workforce in order to manage their children’s education. Paragon’s campaign teams stepped in as required to help fill in the gaps for clients who suddenly found they had a reduced workforce.

It quickly became apparent to the media teams with whom we work that by leaving the detailed campaign tasks to us, they had the time to focus on the bigger issues facing them (and obviously there were quite a few).

This is one of the most important lessons the industry has learned: Know what you need to focus on, and hand the rest off to a qualified team.

Lesson #3: Accept that what’s normal is ever-changing

Yes, the pandemic forced us to adapt to a new work environment, but that’s not the biggest change on the horizon in our industry. Over the past year digital advertising has faced multiple disruptions, the emergence of digital TV as a major advertising channel, privacy regulations that require us to rethink the customer journey and advertising strategy, to name a few.

Adapting to change isn’t difficult if that behavior is part of your team’s muscle memory. Change is inevitable, and can sometimes feel rather random. Knowing how to adapt – which steps to follow, how to communicate it and where to look for that guidance – is a vital skill in an industry like ours.

Want to learn more about how we can transform your business? Get in Touch.

Author:Rekha Patil

Date:7th July 2021


Celebrate Diwali with us

Diwali, also known as “Deepavali”, takes place on Saturday 14 November and is one of the major religious festivals in Hinduism. The name is derived from the Sanskrit term dipavali, meaning “row of lights,” which are lit on the new moon night to invite the presence of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.

In India and across the globe, people celebrate Diwali with great devotion and enthusiasm as it marks the end of Hindu calendar year. Diwali celebrations last for five days, the fourth day marks the start of the New Year where people pray to Lakshmi for prosperity in the new year. This religious festival signifies victory of good over evil, and the triumph of light over darkness.

At the same time as Diwali, Sikhs celebrate Bandhi Chhor Diwas to mark the release of the 6th Guru Hargobind Singh Ji from Prison in 1619 by lighting the Golden Temple. The story is such that Guru Hargobind Singh Ji held the condition that the 52 Princes also held captive were to be released with him. The Emperor agreed on the condition those who could hold onto his cloak tail would be allowed to leave the prison, therefore he made a cloak with 52 strings which led to their freedom.

To celebrate Bandhi Chhor Diwas, Sikhs visit the Gurdwara (Temple) to attend prayers and to light diyas and candles. At home, diyas are also lit and people celebrate with food and fireworks. The festival symbolises the triumph of right over wrong and the selfless act of Guru Hargobind Singh Ji.

The mandala art in the header was created by Mohanapriyaa Murukesan.  ​”Mandala” is a Sanskrit word that means “circle”. A mandala is an abstract design circular in form, from which a pattern of decorative and meaningful symbols, shapes and forms emanate.

Celebrate with us

We are getting you in the mood courtesy of some tasty recipes from our employees, which you can try out from the comfort of your own home. Here’s a taster:

Gajar Halwa (Carrot Dessert)
By San Mahadevan

Carrot Pudding is a classic Indian dessert dishes, cooked by many households. It also makes a presence during many festive and special occasions including Diwali. It is mostly made during the winters owing to availability of fresh carrots. My mum used to make it at home very often and in particular during the winters and Diwali. For me Diwali is incomplete without this delicious sweet treat. It is not the easiest to make but the effort it all worth it in the end I promise!

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 5-6 medium sized juicy carrots (or 650grams)
  • 2 cups full fat organic milk
  • 2-3 tbsp ghee
  • 6-8 tbsp organic unrefined cane sugar (or regular sugar), to taste
  • 1/3 – 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 6-8 whole cashews, chopped
  • 6-8 almonds, sliced or chopped
  • 6-7 tbsp raisins
  • 4-5 saffron strands (optional)


  • Rinse, peel and then grate the carrots (you need approximately 4.5 cups grated carrots)
  • In a deep, thick bottomed pan, combine the milk and grated carrots
  • On a low to medium heat, bring the mixture to the boil then simmer
  • While the mixture is simmering on a low flame, keep stirring
  • The grated carrots will cook in the milk and will start to reduce
  • When the milk has reduced by about 75%, add the ghee, sugar and cardamom
  • Stir well and continue to simmer on a low flame, keep stirring
  • Towards the end, add the cashews, almonds, saffron and raisins
  • Simmer the halwa until all the milk has evaporated
  • Serve Gajar Halwa hot or warm. Garnish with some chopped dry fruits while serving to friends and family!

We have plenty more recipes so do get in touch if you’d like to see more. And if you’re interested in learning more about Diwali, or indeed how your digital advertising operations function can be transformed, get in touch.

Author:Rekha Patil

Date:11th November 2020