Tag Archives: social media

Read All About It! Monthly marketing column in EAN

Brian Gray from Lascivious Marketing writes a monthly marketing column for European erotic trade publication, EAN.

Here are the links to each article, where marketing tips and advice as well as informed opinion on key industry topics are provided. Enjoy!


Brian Gray from erotic marketing agency Lascivious Marketing marketing column in EAN publication March 2018 text (c) Brian Gray design image (c) EAN16th March 2018

In this month’s edition, I take to task the brands and retailers who just can’t resist getting all political on their social media timelines.

When – if at all – is it worthwhile to get political while selling your wares? Perhaps never? Or is that just wishful thinking on my part?

In an industry geared towards generating smiles, tingles, and other giddy sensations among one’s customers, why are some manufacturers and retailers spoiling the party by spouting their own (or just retweeting somebody else’s) political views or prejudices online? Aren’t we already drowning in a sea of social media virtue-signalling, ignorance and self-validation?


Lingerie, sex toy customer research. Brian Gray from erotic marketing agency Lascivious Marketing marketing column in EAN publication Feb 2018 text (c) Brian Gray design image (c) EAN16th February 2018
Following from last month’s column on the many reasons for surveying your customers, this month it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of asking the right questions in the right way.

Hopefully your customer database has swelled to very healthy proportions. Now it’s time to take advantage of this. Properly designed customer surveys provide a treasure trove of data and subsequent insight. While I can’t provide a full guide to all the elements of a customer research project within a few pages here, I can at least give you some very helpful – and crucial – pointers so you ask the right questions in the right way. Get this wrong or go about it in a slapdash fashion, and you’ll suffer the consequences accordingly.


Why erotic retailers should survey their customers. Brian Gray from erotic marketing agency Lascivious Marketing marketing column in EAN erotic retail magazine Jan 2018 text (c) Lascivious Marketing image design (c) EAN22nd January 2018
With the busy period from Christmas to Valentine’s Day in full swing, it’s the best time to be preparing to get into the minds of your customers to help your erotic retailing business.

By the time you’re reading this, Christmas and New Year have come and gone. I hope you all had great times with your friends and loved ones, and made some great New Year’s Resolutions. I hope one of these was to increase your profitability. I hope another – closely related to the previous one – is to know more about your customers. The two are, afterall, inextricably linked.

If you’re an online retailer, your customer database will hopefully be swelling from all those transactions over the festive period. And you’ve still got Valentine’s Day to go. It’s the perfect opportunity to really get to grips with your customers. Their minds, that is.

With a well-designed, well executed customer research survey, you’ll have a wealth of real insight to help your subsequent marketing decision making. Need further convincing? Shame on you! So here’s why I’m giving you not one but twelve – yes, you read right – reasons why you should be surveying your customers.


Mission statements for lingerie and sex toy companies. Brian Gray from erotic marketing agency Lascivious Marketing marketing column in EAN erotic retail magazine Dec 2017 text (c) Lascivious Marketing, image design (c) EAN15th December 2017
In this month’s edition, it’s the turn of corporate mission statements to come under the spotlight. Waste of time? Meaningless corporate claptrap? You’d be wrong.

Forgive what may initially appear to be a flippant question addressed to fellow members of the erotic industry. But seriously: aside from a regular paycheck and all the subsequent benefits– at least, if you’re working for one of the bigger players – why do you turn up each day to the office, factory, or warehouse? Take a minute right now, to ponder this. What is your organisation’s common purpose that binds you and your colleagues, and determines the collective effort and direction?

Alternatively, if you’re working for yourself in this industry – I call them “Risqué-takers” – or you’re part of a small- or micro-business, you’re probably more acutely aware of your company’s mission.


Why buy a sex robot? Brian Gray from erotic marketing agency Lascivious Marketing marketing column in EAN erotic retail magazine Nov 2017 text (c) Lascivious Marketing, image design (c) EAN20th November 2017

This month I’m playing Devil’s Advocate to the sex robot detractors. And this is an article NOT recommended for easily triggered ‘snowflakes’, or anyone lacking realistic critical thinking skills!

Oscar Wilde famously opined that he could resist everything but temptation. Opinion pieces with questionable arguments have the same effect on me. The British newspaper The Guardian published an article on Monday 25th September written by “robotics expert” Jenny Kleeman, titled “Should we ban sex robots while we have the chance?” The sub-heading posits: “AI sex dolls are on their way, with potentially sinister social consequences. So before they hit the market, we must ask whether they should.”

…So why indeed would a man buy an adult AI sex robot? As a married man, I can’t imagine comparing a synthetic robot with my other half, for a gamut of reasons. But as Kleeman herself has shied away from proffering any reasons, Yours Truly will dutifully step up to the plate to highlight a few possible factors which could drive demand.”


Dangers to customers using connected sex toys. Brian Gray from erotic marketing agency Lascivious Marketing marketing column in EAN erotic retail magazine Oct 2017 text (c) Lascivious Marketing, image design (c) EAN25th October 2017
Back in August I’d waxed lyrical about issues concerning AI sex robots…but in this article, I elaborate and highlight the dangers to those using connected sex toys and other sex tech, and the responsibilities bestowed upon manufacturers to address these key issues.

…And while most marketers won’t personally be involved in implementing or testing the security of their connected products, they had better be aware of the issues concerning them and how they are perceived by their most important audience – customers.

Admittedly, for some company creators, safety and security doesn’t make them tingle with excitement. Let’s be honest: an entrepreneur starting up an airline doesn’t go into business with the ultimate mission of making air travel the safest it could ever be. They do so to make money. But, without acknowledging the importance of (and spending money on) safety and security, they’re going to have empty planes. It’s a must-have requirement. Without it, there’s no trust. Without trust, there’s no sale. Without sales….you get the picture.

And with the rise of ‘connected’ sex toys and AI dolls, the adult retailing sector has to be similarly minded.


Celebrity sex robots, branding and licensing sex toys. Brian Gray from erotic marketing agency Lascivious Marketing marketing column in EAN erotic retail magazine Aug 2017 text (c) Lascivious Marketing, image design (c) EAN21st August 2017
In the summer that saw mainstream media get their knickers in a twist about sex robots, this was the first article of mine that looked at the topic. Coupled with a look at celebrity sex toy branding and licensing, it’s quite the erudite and provocative quick read.

This past month, mainstream media outlets have been talking about the report published by the Foundation for Responsible Robotics, titled “Our Sexual Future with Robots”. Unsurprisingly, there was no shortage of both writers commenting on the subject, and readers wanting to know what the hubbub was all about.

The subject of sex robots and teledildonics comes with its own set of dilemmas and debates from various perspectives. Some of these are more well-founded than others, it has to be said. But looking at things purely from a marketing perspective, there are several points to ponder.



Business relationships in the erotic retail business. Brian Gray from erotic marketing agency Lascivious Marketing marketing column in EAN erotic retail magazine July 2017 text (c) Lascivious Marketing, image design (c) EAN28th July 2017
My inaugural article highlights the importance of dialogue with your B2B contacts, as well as the dangers of relying too much on website analytics instead of gathering genuine customer marketing data.

In the 1990’s British Telecom ran a number of memorable television commercials with legendary actor Bob Hoskins (who featured in classic films such as The Long Good Friday, Mona Lisa, Who Framed Roger Rabbit) uttering the strapline, “It’s good to talk.”

One of the truest sentences ever to be uttered. Especially in business. And the adult retailing industry is certainly no exception.



Leading insight-based erotic marketing agency, Lascivious Marketing. Founder, Brian Gray, interviewed in EAN erotic retail magazine May 2017 text (c) Lascivious Marketing, image design (c) EAN24th May 2017
EAN magazine’s original interview, following the launch of Lascivious Marketing.

Marketing has become one of the key elements of any kind of entrepreneurial activity. Libraries worth of literature, countless seminars, and hordes of experts are dedicated to the art of making products and services palatable to the consumers. Brian Gray feels that the adult industry is sadly lagging behind the rest of the field in this respect. Which is one of the reasons why he started a marketing agency called Lascivious Marketing, geared specifically to the needs and requirements of the adult industry. In our interview, the marketing expert outlines modern strategies and talks about ways to create effective marketing for adult-oriented products.


As each new column comes out I’ll update this post accordingly.

As of April, I’ll also be waxing lyrical on marketing in the lingerie, sex toy, pleasure products sectors in XBIZ World, the specialist erotic retailing publication from the LA-based XBIZ publishing stable.



Stop the Social Media Stupidity! part 1

Stop clogging up lingerie or sex toy social media timelines by pushing irrelevant content. It’s not big, it’s not clever and does nothing to help your business.

How about providing blog posts that actually reinforce what you’re about instead?

There’s a plethora of instantly forgettable, and completely irrelevant topics being posted by #sexySME brands on social media. All sectors are afflicted: lingerie, sex toys, latex, fetishwear, the whole shebang. You’ll have probably seen them for yourself:-

  • Instagram video segments featuring mundane activities that add nothing to the brand’s story or propositions but succeed in boring and/or annoying followers.
  • Blog posts that have nothing to do with the products being sold, purely to add content in the hope of remaining on the radar of prospects and customers.

Listen, I know the pressures that a small business owner faces. You’re constantly juggling myriad tasks. And let’s not pull any punches here: creating and producing good content and then spreading it out on social media and your own blog is a full-time job in itself. Don’t kid yourself otherwise. And when everyone else and their dog is relentlessly churning out stuff you’ll naturally feel pressured to follow suit and tweet or post anything and everything in a vain effort to maintain visibility. The problem is that this more often than not comes at the expense of relevance.

Let’s take the example of lingerie (or whatever) sellers who are pushing out blog posts on travel destinations or yoga or nightclubs. Yes, I know, some of you are immediately thinking ‘What the hell does this directly have to do with skimpies?’ Quite. But let’s deconstruct this in a bit more detail for the rest who don’t quite see what the fuss is about.

Tell me: if you’re interested in travel, is there more than a slight chance you’re going to follow dedicated travel journalists, travel media publications, travel bloggers and the like? Of course! Secondly, whose knowledge and opinion are you going to value more – the actual travel specialist, or the skimpie-seller or sex toy retailer?  Exactly. And just how on earth is blogging about travel destinations helping you achieve your marketing objectives? I’m waiting…

Truth be told, if you regularly have to resort to filler material like this the harsh reality is either:

  • your brand is boring
  • your products are boring
  • your company is boring
  • maybe even you’re boring too (in which case you’ve got much bigger problems: ‘boring’ isn’t really a sought after attribute in the business of love and lust)
  • you’re lazy

Let’s step out of the business of love and lust for a moment. I visited the Ford website. Yep, cars. Lots and lots of nice shiny automobiles. Did it by any chance contain articles about supermarkets, travel, gardening, or yoga? No. Why do you think that is?

But wait…..won’t there be Ford owners around the world that use their car to drive to their local supermarkets, or do some gardening, or drive to their yoga class? Absolutely. But that’s not a compelling reason per se to highlight these things in their web content.

I know what you’re thinking though. Perhaps if you’re thinking about just a fleeting mention of your brand in amongst talking about your top 5 travel destinations to be sexy in, or the best restaurants in town, then it will be permissible, or there will be some rub-off, associated, connection.

Don’t be daft.

Or perhaps you’re thinking that you’re “providing value” to your customers. Yes, you are. You’ve now got them thinking about travel – and NOT your wares. Wave them goodbye as instead of browsing around your site, they’ve now hot-footed it to flight comparison websites, or Airbnb or TripAdvisor. That’s pretty moronic, n’est-ce pas?

Focus, dammit.

By now you’ll know my appreciation of content marketing and in particular the book Content Inc. I recommend it thoroughly. Its author (and Founder of the Content Marketing Institute), Joe Pulizzi cites the case of US company River Pools & Spas, who were in a bit of a pickle. The only way the owner thought he could turn things around was by stealing market share from his rivals. Within two years the company had done so and was doing fabulously well as a result. How was this achieved?

He thought about all the possible questions that his customers might or could ask. He then proceeded to answer each one on the company website. Great for customer support, great for content marketing, and great for SEO. Great all round, really.

So what’s stopping you from doing exactly the same? Absolutely nothing.  And no disrespect intended to River Pools & Spas, but lingerie, sex toys or fetishwear seem a heck of a lot more interesting than fibreglass pools.

Let’s say you’re a lingerie designer or seller. Grab a sheet of A4 and scribble down all the questions your customers could conceivably ask. Some of them will be obvious, others less so. But that’s the joy of all this. You’re in this for the long haul, right? So there’s plenty of opportunity for you to look at things from all sorts of angles and produce a steady stream of content that’s not going to run out anytime soon. Get your friends, colleagues onboard too. The more heads and perspectives the merrier. The only common denominator to be enforced is that it must be directly related to your brand or your products or your organisation.

Fancy a quick win? Look up the interviews I’ve conducted with other brands. There’s enough questions there for you to swipe and then elaborate accordingly as it applies to your own brand, products or company.

Need more ammo? Be sneaky. Go to another brand’s website. What do you see? What do you like? What do you dislike? What piques your curiosity? What do you wish you could ask the owner, and why?  Now redirect those questions back to yourself. Boom: another clutch of easy questions identified.

Also, think about your photo shoots. Whether you’ve got just one or a dozen photo shoots under your belt showcasing your collections, these lend themselves perfectly.

  • What look were you trying to achieve?
  • What moods were you wanting to convey?
  • What influenced your choice of model?
  • Why did you choose that particular location to shoot?
  • What was most memorable about the day and why?
  • What were the challenges faced and how did you overcome them?

There: another half-dozen questions you can wax lyrical on and inform, educate, and perhaps entertain your customers, prospects and peers with. You could do worse than check out Latvian lingerie brand Flash You and Me whose blog posts include some great background notes with some stunning imagery (many of them taken by founder Liva, interviewed here). At the bottom of the site there are handy links to all the items featured. And why not?

Don’t forget some frameworks – why not use your marketing mix? Price, Product, Promotion, Place for starters. There’s a plethora of topics and questions you can identify in each one.

Let’s face it, it’s got to be better than tenuously linked travel blog posts.

A final word about length. How long should your blog posts be? The slightly glib immediate answer is ‘as long as it should be to cover the topic in the required detail and to put the required points across.’ That probably doesn’t help much. It turns out that when you try to find out what the pros think, they don’t have a slam-dunk answer either  – there are too many variables.

In general, I aim for 1000 words, around two sides of typed A4. And if it’s a bit more, all the better.

That’s it for now. And yes, the eagle-eyed among you will have seen that this is only part 1. There’s more social media stupidity to be thwarted!