Leveraging Data and Technology to Control Online Sales and Drive Marketplace Growth

Nov 16, 2022 1:30 PM2:30 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways:

For many eCommerce brands, the greatest challenge is to be adopted on multiple platforms and perform well on them. However, there is considerable strategy that goes into maximizing and protecting those channels. Customers can easily be dissuaded from a product at little to no fault of the brand. So how can you avoid these crippling issues?

Data and analytics technology can be used for far more than tracking products. Brands can leverage these various data collection methods and software to regain control of their online presence and sales. A few small changes can preserve brand integrity and even drive growth.

In this virtual event, Whitney Gibson of Vorys eControl and Blake Burrus of Precision eControl talk about controlling online sales and protecting brand integrity. They discuss the four pillars of optimal channel control and how data can be used as an active growth driver. They also discuss authorized reseller programs, how to avoid brand disruption, and data methodology. 

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Regulating online sales through channel control
  • The four pillars of optimal channel control
  • Why an authorized reseller program is essential for many eCommerce brands
  • Advice for creating a seamless customer experience across all platforms
  • Data methodology and how it circumvents channel disruption
  • How brand protection can drive growth
  • Three core competencies for brand protection
  • Real world examples and solutions to brand disruption
  • The importance of tracking data over time
  • How the rise of eCommerce gives brands previously inaccessible data
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Event Partners

Vorys eControl

Vorys eControl is a top 150 law firm that has an expertise in implementing legal strategies to stop unauthorized re-sellers, control MAP pricing, eliminate channel conflict which all ultimately lead to online marketplace sales growth.

Connect with Vorys eControl

Precision eControl

Precision eControl, a dedicated technology and software-as-a-service business, helps brands maintain channel control, protect brand value, and increase online sales. The Precision eControl platform provides precision insights to identify online activity disrupting business KPIs, analytics to focus efforts where they will have the greatest financial impact, and proprietary measurement to demonstrate commercial results for brands. Consolidating channel control efforts into a comprehensive ecosystem allows eCommerce owners to operate with greater efficiency and deliver meaningful ROI.

Connect with Precision eControl

Guest Speakers

Blake Burrus LinkedIn

Chief Executive Officer at Precision eControl

Blake Burrus is the CEO of Precision eControl, a technology and SaaS company that enables brands to thrive in the eCommerce age. As an experienced tech executive, analytics leader, investor, and advisor, he has held leading roles at companies such as Numerator, Quotient Technology Inc., and Nielsen. For the past two decades, Blake has cultivated a passion for innovation and building product platforms for marketing analytics. 

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Whitney Gibson LinkedIn

Partner | eControl Attorney

Whitney Gibson is a Partner, Chair, and eControl Attorney for Vorys eControl, an online seller enforcement team. Whitney integrates technology, data, and services to confront online sales control challenges. He also provides manufacturers with innovative approaches to protect and grow brands online. Whitney received his JD from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

Event Moderator

Blake Burrus LinkedIn

Chief Executive Officer at Precision eControl

Blake Burrus is the CEO of Precision eControl, a technology and SaaS company that enables brands to thrive in the eCommerce age. As an experienced tech executive, analytics leader, investor, and advisor, he has held leading roles at companies such as Numerator, Quotient Technology Inc., and Nielsen. For the past two decades, Blake has cultivated a passion for innovation and building product platforms for marketing analytics. 

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Whitney Gibson LinkedIn

Partner | eControl Attorney

Whitney Gibson is a Partner, Chair, and eControl Attorney for Vorys eControl, an online seller enforcement team. Whitney integrates technology, data, and services to confront online sales control challenges. He also provides manufacturers with innovative approaches to protect and grow brands online. Whitney received his JD from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

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Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Co-Founder & Managing Director Aaron Conant runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant 0:18

Happy Wednesday, everybody. My name is Aaron Conant. I'm the co founder Managing Director here at BWG Connect giant networking knowledge sharing group 1000s of brands, been around for five years now, just really gone really deep into educational informational networking sessions for all the brands that are in the network close to 8000. Now, let's start up the Fortune 100. That's every vertical from fashion to food, we spend a lot of our times just one on one connections with brands to make sure that we're staying on top of what's going on. And just kind of give you an overarching advice. If anybody ever wants to chat, shoot me an email or hit me on LinkedIn, I always love those one on one conversations, as in those conversations, that we get the topics for any of the events that we do, I think if any of you are joining, we're gonna do close to 104 in person events, dinners, networking dinners, this year, we're gonna do a couple 100 of these virtual ones. And it's those one on one conversation, we'll get the topics for these so we can stay incredibly relevant. And when the same topics come up over and over again, we invite friends and partners and highly recommended people out there that pop up over and over again in the network and ask them to kind of jump on and share what's going on in the space and help educate everybody. A couple of housekeeping items, as we get started here, you know, we kick this off at three to four minutes after the hour. And we're going to try to wrap this up with right around three to four minutes, if not a little bit more, you know, so you know, just before 230 Eastern time, we're going to be able to wrap this up and make sure you have plenty of time to get on to your next meeting without being late. The other thing is, we want to be as educational and informational as possible. So at any point in time you have any questions, feel free to drop them into the chat, drop them in the q&a, or you can always email me anytime Aaron@bwgconnect.com. And so with that, as we kind of kicked this off, you know, I mentioned like, five years now that we've been doing these and I think Whitney and the team at Vorys have been there pretty much from the beginning, maybe four and a half years. They come just highly recommended throughout the network. They they've kind of were the OGs in this place of controlling brands in the digital space and built out an incredible offering and just have been really great for our network as a whole and more than happy anytime we asked them to jump on and kind of help educate so when he I don't mind it before we get into the slides here and kick it over to you if you want to do a brief intro on yourself and eControl. When we can take it kick it over to Blake next and we can kind of jump into it sounded.

Whitney Gibson 2:48

Yep, sounds great. Thanks, Aaron. Whitney Gibson, the chair of eControl, we help businesses control their channels in the age of eCommerce. We worked with over 600 brands over $200 billion brands. And excited to talk to you today to answer any questions you have about what we're seeing and strategies tactics we recommend. Have joining here with me, Blake Burrus. Blake Burrus is the CEO of an ancillary business called Precision eControl that as your business of the law firm. And it focuses on providing data analytics and tools technology tools to help brands control their sales. So out of the voice firm, we provide integrated solutions where we combine technology tools and data with our services. The same time, you know Blake's Blake's organization supports that. But at the same time, they also provide platforms and tools for brands that want to either do maintenance after they work with us or want to do enforcement on our own and just sort of be able to call her attorney when when absolutely necessary. So Blake's Blake's here spent 20 years in Nielsen and Bill to large platforms, working for marketing and advertising space really led a lot of the evolution to data driven Precision Marketing and as applying a lot of those principles here and he controls to help us be more precise in our in our targeting and actions so we can drive more ROI for brands. So that's who we are and happy to get into this with you and talk to you about some of our different tactics.

Aaron Conant 4:29

Yeah, I think this one, we're gonna launch off with a quick poll. If anybody wants to jump in and just answer there's simple yes or no. As we try to stay on top of the trends that are out there. What's going on, like, is there? Is it an issue, is it not an issue? And then, you know, as people are answering here at the end, we'll we'll just publish the results to everybody. But we'll just give it I don't know. Another 1520 seconds here. But yeah, I mean, the idea of branding trawl for everybody that's on the line today has just come up so many times. You know, and I think, you know, it, it waned a little bit only around the time where Amazon was did it's not shipping, you know, non essential items. And then the subsequent when it opened up, and everybody just migrated quickly there every even people that were never there before, onto the platform, it just really exacerbated the problem. And so it's gonna be fun to kind of go through this. So I'm gonna end the poll here and share the results. And Oh, nice. So it's a 5050? Is your brand spending endless hours reviewing brand protection data? But it's, you know, see here, 75, five to 20. Do you want a better and fast way to control your online digital channels? Awesome, cool. Well, Whitney I'll kind of kick it over to you, we can kind of keep these this hidden in mind here. But you know, we got some slides here. And just a reminder, you have questions along the way, don't hesitate to drop them into the chat the q&a or email them to me, Aaron Aaron@BWGconnect.com. So awesome. Well, I'll kick it over to you, Whitney. 

Whitney Gibson 6:17

Sure. Thanks, Aaron. Alright, I'll go ahead and get get started here. So I am going to talk to you just a little bit about how to think about this space in control. And when I first got into helping brands deal with various issues on the internet, and then I started looking at the rise of platform channels, what I saw is that there is many different types of violations that occur within a platform. So everyone talks about the growth of eCommerce, people talk about the growth of transparency, price matching. But you know, the way I think about it in my own mind is that the what's been really disruptive is this concept of a platform channel through which products are distributed through which advertising is done through which marketing done. And the reason that's significant is when it used to be just one pipe, you would send your products to a distributor retailer, then they would send them to a customer, and you would have good control the retailer would buy from you. And yeah, they may there may be some diversion, but for the most part, you were the one who sold to that retailer, well, then platforms came along and said, You know what, we want to create this as a new business model, we don't want to have one source, we want to open it up. And we want to allow anybody to sell their products on here, we won't allow anybody to advertise their products in our platforms. And the platform concept really resulted in a situation where a lot of the brands would have their own sellers that are selling on there, they would have what I call gray market people they are going and saying, you know, I want to be on that platform. So I'm gonna source the products, the platforms for them to scale and open up also have to be very easy for anybody to get on there. And very low friction, which made it very easy for IP infringers and counterfeiters and things like that. And if you look at today, even Walmart, I mean, Walmart tried to take the approach early on, like, we're going to distinguish ourselves from Amazon, and we're going to be more restrictive and who we allowed to sell. But that didn't work so well for Walmart as the business model and really didn't work in a platform is expanding. And you've seen a lot of shift even even recently where Walmart opened it up a lot. And now so now it's easier for people to get on there. And they all say we have these things to prevent, you know, infringement, but there's a there's a contradiction because they want to allow it as much products as much scale to be on there. And it's basically impossible to do that and also keep all the IP infringements on there. But I think what's important to note here is you got three different categories you got reseller brands and resellers. You got brand protection and gray market and interesting when we look at the data you know, I would say for the majority of our clients, it's it's more the gray market and authorized sellers and then second their own resellers and third brand protection and I think a lot of people get misled thinking, wow, this is really a brand protection issue. I need my IP infringement. It's I need those taken down. And but when we find out who's really causing the revenue, disruption, the profit and preventing them from optimizing that channel, a lot of it's really falls into these other buckets. Now, the issue with this category is when brands would go out and we first started looking at this market, we saw they would go out to one company and say hey, you're gonna help me monitor my own resellers. You can help me do math, you can help me do authorized reseller programs. And then you saw other companies say, hey, you know, I'm going to do I'm going to monitor a bunch of listings, like our relationships, and if I find a counterfeit or IP violation and get that taken down for you, and then you have other companies say, Oh, we're going to track and trade So we're gonna help a gray market, right. But the problem for that is that what brands really wanted is, you know, if they're good down one of those, they couldn't get what they ultimately wanted. Well, we talked to customers, and we talked to brands and the business teams, what they really wanted was channel control. And what channel control means is, I want to be, I want to control this channel, so I can optimize my performance in that channel. And, for example, in the marketplaces, I need to have 90% of the sales, I want to be selling at the price I want. And I don't want negative reviews. Because there's all sorts of benefits. If I can, if I can have control of that channel, then I, I, as a brand, can do a lot with that, I can advertise much more optimize my advertising, when I'm in the buy box and a percent of the time, that means I can control the advertising 90% of the time, which means I can learn from it. And I can use the advertising to be my competition, I can get a higher review score, which is going to allow me to rank higher in search, I can reduce the channel conflict that is being caused by the low pricing on Amazon, that's disrupting the rest of my ecosystem, I can increase my organic search, I can increase my overall sales, I can increase my margin and I go and I negotiate with Amazon. If I have control, then they're not going to beat me up as much on price and I can become more profitable. So the reason that I think this is such a fun area, is that channel control, it's not about hey, I removed X sellers. And if I remove X sellers, I send a report saying remove $10 Isn't that great? It's about putting a brand and its position where it can accelerate growth, because it can do all these extra things that it wasn't able to do before. And, and really take off and grow. And we'll show you some of the data at the end. But it's amazing to see when you help a brand, get control of a channel. And this can be in marketplaces, it can be in search ads, Google search ads, it can be a social media ads, it's controlling a channel empowers the business to do so much more than if they don't have control. And that's really like where we came up with this new category. And we came up with eControl. We said we basically said, brands don't need just reseller forcement they need only brand protection, no gray market, they need to be able to get complete control of a channel so they can achieve these benefits. Okay, so in doing that, and working with brands over the years, we believe we've come up with a methodology. We soon as we call it, the channel control equation that works and helping brands get control. And we break this down into four different pillars. And the first is strategy. The second is building a foundation. The third is precision enforcement. And the third is precision enforcement. And the fourth is driving measure as measurable impact. And now, when I talk about strategy, this isn't like just, you know, oh, strategy, like basically I, you know, a sales pitch strategy is really about what a brand is sitting down and thinking about what's my optimal way that I want to operate in that channel? Because it's not, it's not always straightforward. I mean, if I'm sitting there, and I'm a brand, and let's say I own. I'm advertising on the Google product listing ads. And I'm the head of digital marketing, and I'm doing some advertising. And you know, my retailers are also advertising on there some distributors are advertising on there, some gray market sellers, what do I want to do? Do I want to own the top 25 keywords and then I want to get the, you know, the longtail keywords to my retailers? Do I want to own them all? If I'm on a marketplace, do I want to go one p and then allow nobody else to sell? Do I want to allow me to sell certain skews and somebody else to sell other skews. But a big part of this is, you know, working with the business, it's been a what is the optimal way that you want to do it like not what you look like today, if you're messy, unauthorized price original What's that optimal way? Because once you define that, then you can wrap the foundation around it then you can we use foundation. I mean, it's really came up with this term, because we believe it's people would go out and they try to do all this enforcement but they didn't really have the proper foundation to do it. And so it became known as this Whack a Mole industry. And nobody was able to really have the solid foundation they needed to get the measurable impact of the end. So basically, then you create the policies that give you that foundation. I'll dive into a few of those here in a second. And then over time, we learned this concept of precision horseman. When we first started out, we were frankly, like a lot of other people, like, hey, how many? I've got 100 people on here, you know, next month, maybe I get it to 80. Maybe next month, I get to 60. I was like, we realized that those that wasn't really getting the channel control the brands want it. So we'll talk to you about how to use data and analytics, to really, really help you get to that controlled state. And then the fourth is no term we always use is we're not, you don't want to focus on how much activity you've done, you want to focus on what impact are you making on that channel, what impact you're making on the ultimate KPI so you got to be able to measure that. So you can show that to the stakeholders in the organization, that your program and your channel control methodology is driving value. So just quickly, so an example would be let's say, I'm looking at marketplaces, there's all different ways to sell in the marketplace. And a lot of times you go in, you'll see a brand, they've got all a bunch of different resellers that are selling on. Sometimes they're selling to Amazon, sometimes they got a blended one p three P sometimes have their own storefront. All right, and we'll sit down and say what what is your art? Like? How do you how do you would you ideally like to be able to go to market there. And then we'll define that. And then from there, we'll go to the next stage, which is, alright, what sort of foundation do we need to get in place. And it's important to explain to a lot of brands that what goes on on your eCommerce channels is often a reflection of how much control you have over how much control you have over your distribution. It will say what goes on below the waterline will impact what you see on the internet. And a lot of brands before the platforms and the transparency had wild and uncontrolled distribution, because they were trying to meet numbers. And they had incentives to overbuy and overstuffed channels. And what happened is over time, when the internet came along and expose that, and now it's created a mess, because brands are having to pull back. And they're gonna have to get more control and put in a boundary, sort of a foundation for control in this new age. So another way that I often show this is I'll say, No, brands want to sell in their retailers at a certain price, say Amazon Walmart, national retailers, but what happens is the distributor sells here down below, they sell it goes on Amazon, Amazon matches, distributor matches, Amazon matches, all of a sudden the retailer decides they're going to drop the charge back the brand, alright, they didn't keep it on a promotion, they stay there divertor goes on a war and Amazon matches that promotion, they leave it there diverter goes on Walmart, then if they've got that going on, there's low pricing online, they move the product to the back of the shelves and impacts your whole ecosystem. So you know, it's important that you don't operate on the left hand side with wild of uncontrolled distribution and and what you need is basically what an authorized reseller program, and really what we're gonna focus a lot on the precision methodology, because there's some really interesting things around the data analytics. So I'm not going to dive too much into this. I think a lot of people on here, those that have heard me talk before, heard me talk about this, but you basically need policies upload on your channels that primarily say, Look, you know, distributor, you can sell to a retailer only to an authorized seller, if you buy from a distributor, then you can only you can sell on your own website, but you can't sell in the marketplace about our approval, you need any, you effectively have some more policies that you flow down in each of your channels. Most brands is not practical, we have signed contracts, and you can simply do this through policy and, and but you need to have the guardrails on where they can and cannot sell. So you have, you have the direction there. So then you need to no matter how much you do that. You need to be able to you know, you need to be able to deal with the unauthorized gray market sellers because if you got the authorized sellers, I tell you where to sell. There's always going to be people out there that make a living getting your products and taking reselling online, they're allowed to do that under the first sale doctrine, they can buy your products and resell it. It's legal to do that unless the products are materially different from your authorized products. Now material difference can be non physical differences. So it can be a difference of a warranty difference of a satisfaction guarantee difference of customer service. So if you look at a lot of brands that work, if you just Google Online, it says warranty does not apply to unauthorized sellers. You'll see a lot of people limit the application of some of these non physical benefits because they don't want to be able to provide this to the unauthorized sellers. They also give them a way to distinguish the products from what the gray market sellers are selling. The other way to distinguish the products from the products the gray market sellers are selling is under quality controls the case law is that it's legal to buy products provided the products are subject to the brand's quality controls. So for a lot of the brands that work with will put in place quality control programs that have specific quality controls and policies that these gray market saw as a practical matter cannot abide by. And they may say things like, Look, if you're going to sell in the marketplace, you got to buy directly from me, you got to sell under your screen name, you got to opt out of commingling, you got to provide us your defect rates on a regular basis, you got to do all these things that they cannot or will not do. And, you know, we have, we started, we really pushed a lot of these theories in the early days, and established the case law on the area on on these issues, and brought in a lot of extra testimony, and really demonstrated that these marketplaces, but the way that they obscure to the consumer, whether the products coming from actually the brand, or third party seller, you know, the customers do not know, it's not like if I used to go buy diverted products on the street in New York, I knew that I was taking that risk. But, you know, my problem with the way the marketplaces operate is they want the consumer to really think that it's the same thing, whether I buy it from here, the brand, or they buy it from Amazon, or whether buy from this other seller, it's all the same thing, when one is like someone's backing up and loading it out of the back of their trunk. And the other ones coming directly from the brand and their quality controls, the consumer doesn't really see that, then they can level negative reviews, they get leveled against the brand, that ultimately end up hurting the brands on organic search. So there's a very legitimate basis for heightened quality controls in the age of marketplaces. And it's something we're passionate about, you know, we've been successful in the cases on this. And, you know, happy to show anybody, you know, the cases and decisions we have on this. So putting in these quality controls and material differences. Now you have that basis to go after the unauthorized gray market. So now you can change from, hey, just Am I just doing reseller policy enforcement to my just doing gray market? Am I just doing brand protection to be like, No, I'm doing channel control. And what I'm doing is I'm monitoring these channels, I'm determining who I go after. And then I'm determining what type of violation it is that's having a big impact. And I can take action against my own resellers, because I got to resell our policy, I can use the material difference in quality controls against the gray market. And then I can use the IP rights to go after the infringement. And I can enforce any of those that are causing disruption in my channel to get to that optimal performance. Alright, and that is the difference between channel control and any of these, what I call more narrow or fragmented approaches, then what we see out there. So what I'm going to do here is, I'm going to turn it over to Blake Burrus. And who leads our data analytics that that really is the core of our precision enforcement, he's going to talk to you about sort of how we view that support that so go ahead, Blake.

Blake Burrus 23:20

Super Yeah, thank you any appreciate it. So, I'm actually fairly new to the space and in the, in the first sort of few months of in an intense, kind of, you know, learning mode, like obviously, there's an incredible depth of knowledge, you know, in the in the Vorys business in the firm that kind of invented this, this practice in many ways, but I've been seeking information from as many angles really as I can. And there's Professor Jeremy Wilson has done a lot of work in this area, quite a lot of research, he and his team, with brands with brand protection leaders really cross functional groups, and he wrote a book on brand protection and a total system approach and one of the main findings I just found fascinating given my background is he said, firms tend to be really good at measuring activities but when it comes to outcomes, like less so you know, is it is rudimentary, or the measuring outcomes doesn't really exist at all. And there's just a need to invest in data collection activities and, and really methodologies to help you get to, to ROI. And, you know, for me that really resonates and this concept is it's really at the heart of what I think the future of eCommerce control and brand protection should be. And my you know, my background is in data driven marketing, so martech ad tech, digital media, digital promotion, delivery, and measuring and measurement and brand analytics, and then building software platforms to kind of help that ecosystem move from managed service to SAS or blended SAS. And like just being part of that evolution. There's so many parallels to be applied in platforming and in data usage into this this space to be more data driven, has Whitney said more analytically driven and moving from activity to outcomes. And like the parallels are incredible. So I'm going to show you on that on the next slide a methodology. I'm going to talk just a little bit about how we use data in in digital advertising, in particular in digital measurement. So you use data, your sales data, your loyalty card data to do basically four things. One is identify opportunities. How can I grow? Can I grant gain a point of penetration? Can I get people to buy me more? Can I increase my price? Like what are what are the ways that I can grow my brand? And second thing is data for you. So I'm going to quantify that what's the point of penetration worth? What if I can raise my average price, but if I can raise my average transaction size, what if I can get people to buy me more? What is each of those worse, 5 million, 10 million, 4 million, like he quantified, and he's still going to craft a campaign. And I'm going to target this at the certain audience, I'm going to decide which channel I'm going to put it in Facebook or mobile, right, programmatic display, deliver that uses data to deliver, make those choices of who I target. And then I'm going to measure it on the back end. And close the loop is the word we're using in digital marketing closed loop on the back end and tell you what your sales lift you got from that campaign that's attributable to that campaign and what the ROI was. And the parallels are incredible, where you can just build out the rest of the slide. So the analogy is, is unbelievable. The methodology that we're employing here is that exact same four step process. So first of all, let's identify channel disruption. What's causing it when you hit on 456? Different things? What can be causing channel disruption? Let's use the data to point us in that direction. See what that is? Then let's quantify and prioritize not treat everything equally, not just yes, there's violation binary? Yes, no, it's like, no, you gotta go to the next level, use the data say, how big of a problem is that? How big of an opportunity is that? Let's size those and choose the ones that are going to be the most fruitful, you know, a fruitful return on investment. And then easily they say, Okay, I'm going to execute a targeted and forth just like running a campaign enforcement, you can equate you can almost equate it to marketing campaign, we're going to go do an action against a certain group in the in the hopes of having a you know, an intended outcome. And then let's use the data to close loop and measure ROI and measure, measure impact, average selling price, on authorized sales, advertising effectiveness goes up because your your you've cleaned up your channel. So the it's really a parallel structure. Versus Go ahead, wait and go to the next slide. What I see when I arrived in this space, primarily is a lot of a lot of focus on like, in input metrics really is what I think of so a lot of focus on what we're doing, what are we monitoring? What channels are monitoring the websites? How often are we monitoring how many takedowns or violations have we have we identified and, and those that's activity, that really impact that really lacks a connection to business KPIs, right. So sale, those keep those businesses sales, market share, price per unit, that kind of thing. There's no connection there. And so then, brand protection functions end up being really kind of disconnected or divorced from, from business functions. And another thing I see if you go to next slide I've seen a lot is, is that the violations have tremendous variation and how big the impact is, but they're often treated as the same. It's this notion of binary. So some are very disruptive to sales, others not so much, because they might not have much inventory, or they sell through it very quickly. Some violations really affect quality review scores like counterfeit others, you know, there's less of an impact there. Others disruptive brick and mortar channels, because people ask for chargebacks and or price reductions or remove shelf, and others not so, but what I'm seeing is a lot of like all of those are just kind of traded created equally, because data isn't being used to differentiate between those. And without prioritization, what I'm seeing is a lot of brands like well, I don't know how to allocate my resources, effectively across choice A, B, C, or D, spread a little bit here and there, because I think they're all you know, gosh, I should really address all of them. But, but, but I'm not getting focused on the stuff that that matters the most. And the next slide, you know, the implications of that as you can imagine focusing on activity and not impact our well you've got a run out of resources because I'm not being ChoicePoint I'm trying to spread spread across a lot of different thing of chasing around chasing a lot of things boiling the ocean. A lot of what I just described those are, those are symptoms you're not getting to the you know, the root cause like Whitney talked about the channel disruption the gray market, the authorized seller, not following policies like really getting to the root cause you're just wasting money on the on the symptoms and not really cleaning it up and so that then the whack a mole notion is really most of those actions, any effect tends to be pretty bleeding because the the the results are just not grounded in Cause if something pops back, right, you know, right off again, and it's kind of a fleeting impact. And then without being able to use data to close the loop, it's, it's hard to, you know, really demonstrate meaningful ROI, to, you know, to the business. And on the next slide, really the person, that this notion of precision eControl is leveraging data, analytics and insights to execute the right actions against the right violations and violators and the right channels to really deliver measurable impact. And for those of you who are familiar with Precision Marketing, and companies like burgers at 451, Precision Marketing, and you know, there are others, you might say, gosh, that sounds like an awful lot like a data driven marketing, you know, right customer, the right channel with the right offer at the right time and the right message at the right time. And it's not dissimilar from that there, there actually a lot of a lot of parallels there. But it's, you know, the, it's needed is what we're seeing. And so it's fun to be able to bring some, some new thinking, but bring that new thinking around proven, like a proven methodology or a proven formula, if you will. And so on the next slide, like, that's really the, that's the difference that, you know, Professor Wilson talks a lot about, you know, brand protection being a cost center, that we think, you know, this approach is how you can move this kind of control and brand protection from a cost center into, it's connected to the business KPI. So it's, it's a growth driver, and again, not just on how much did I reduce on authorized sales? Or how much did my average selling price go up? Those are, those are great, and they're very quantifiable. They're, they're, you know, deterministic, you can really get granular on that. But one of the things we're working a lot on is then quantifying the more upper funnel effects of that, what does that do to my advertising effectiveness? What does that do to my promotion effectiveness? How does it help me capture greater market share, because all of those funnel are impacted as well. And like, for me, that's one of the next foundations of sort of the analytic work we're doing is to, is to measure that and those are the ways to do that or are are known, right? There are principles from market mix that can be used for that there are principles from closed loop media measurement, incremental row as there are principles from multi touch attribution that can be used to do that. So just their analytic tools that just need to be picked up. And like pointed at this problem, and then just borrowed from, from other marketing disciplines, right, that already exists. But it does need to be, you know, oriented towards some of what we need to do to do in this space. So when it can you go to slides ahead, I want to, I want to skip one, and then come back and go to the next one. I'll come Yeah, thanks, we'll come back. So really, there are, I think it's like three, as we're, as we build it, we're building out this platform. And I guess that's true for all platforms, three core competencies that you need to have one is really sophisticated data and technology infrastructure, it has to be able to aggregate and synthesize data from a variety of sources. And you know, there are just there's so many different sources, so many different signals to think that, you know, one vendor or one firm could be deep enough in all of them is just, you know, that's not going to happen. So you have to be able to be an ingestion engine, not unlike the way CDP's have evolved. From marketing tech stacks of I gotta be able to put my first party data in there, second party, third party data all needs to go and CDP. And I need to be able to access that and act on it and analyze it. So that's one and then, you know, really this advanced analytics and data science to be able to do that descriptive analytics to be able to do that predictive analytics, scoring of sellers profiling of sellers, targeting quantification, a lot of this that I that I've hit on, and borrowing concepts from marketing mix barring concept from multivariate sales, lift simulation, like having bespoke analytics, that drive the kind of insights that you see on the right, and then it's really a software competencies to produce insights at scale. And to do that, for all stakeholders. And I think what I've seen is too often, software platforms are built for primarily for power users, like real power user technical users. And I've had that in a couple of companies that I've been in, but the we're being trying to be very deliberate and mindful to build for multiple users to get maximum utility out of the tool that the tool needs to be able to serve lighter users, executive users, I mean, and the power users the deep investigation that some subject matter experts will want to do, but also be able to have sort of multisided to be able to serve EComm you know, director and VP level hook cmo level folks, subject matter General Counsel, right and thinking very deliberately about who the With the software, who the software serves. So that's kind of a guiding principle for how we think about insight generation. And then on the next slide, I wanted to talk a little bit about, just give an example of some of the first party data. So I said, you know, data aggregation, first party, third party and such as a really unique data set that, that Vorys has, that fuels a lot of the enforcement, precision and enforcement analytics. So we're monitoring, first of all, is just monitoring, we're monitoring, you know, almost 400,000, sellers a day and, and, you know, almost a half a million products actively, every day, multiple times a day, we're scraping data, every 30 minutes for, you know, for some platforms. So that's just a constant stream of data, we keep two years of back data there. And that's just a very, you know, very rich and granular data set. And then something that the attorneys have done over the five years, it's an incredible asset they build as a seller intelligence database. So there's a database that now has almost a million records in it, of sellers from seller investigation from the enforcement actions that Whitney talked about. So the richness there is, you know, almost a million sellers, every action that's ever been taken the response to that action, so 60,000 enforcement actions are in there, the metadata, on the sellers who they are they represented by counsel, what products they listing, where they're getting their product, like that kind of first party data, is it's super powerful. And when you blend that with the, the sales data, and and the and the the, you know, the the data from data scraping and BuyBox, you're able to have your targeting insights, be precision in the borrowing some of those marketing concepts that I said that also your enforcement actions can carry that same thread of precision, because how you go about enforcing can then be informed by all the stuff that that you see here. And that like, that's a powerful combination that lets you connect all the way through to precision, to precision measurement. So let me give just a couple of examples. The next couple slides, these huge examples of there were those four boxes of identify disruption and prioritize and force and then measure, just to give some examples of what that can look like. So we have here is, you identifying channel disruption or quantifying disruption in terms of revenue disruption. So we have the ability to categorize all the revenue that moves through a channel is Amazon, for example, into authorized revenue, and unauthorized revenue. So authorized revenue is you when you're winning the buy box on authorized would be an authorized seller, who's winning that Buy Box, we're able to categorize that revenue, estimate that revenue and project that out and, and be able to say, Okay, over the last seven days, month, quarter, however you want to cut it, versus historical average, how's the trend? Are we on track? Are we going? Are we going in the wrong direction? We're actively building benchmarks for competitors. So not just, you know, X percent of my revenues from unauthorized how's that compared to competitors in the category is 20%. Unauthorized? Is that bad is that actually put me in the top 10%? Am I better than average. And with all that, and as I mentioned, you have historical data is two years worth of rolling data that we have that kind of richness of norms and benchmarks is something that we're, we're actively working on. And then you can just start to do some categorization like you see on the right, like top five storefronts, top five products, etc. So that's revenue by box, you can do a very similar kind of thing. Let's look at Channel disruption. But by box, unauthorized by block percentage is authorized by box days, how does that trend over time, which storefronts, which products? This is top five, buy on authorized by Vox? She's got some that are 100%, on authorized? Clear? Clearly, this channels in a little bit of trouble.

Aaron Conant 39:04

This, then, let's see, are you able to graph this then over time? Because I think you're right, I think, you know, we're really good at monitoring the number of takedowns the number c and d letters, the essentially the whack a mole, look at what have you done, and we took this many people down. Right? But with that, you're just writing a check every month, right? Usually, it's a SaaS based program, maybe you got a year contract and you get a discount. But at the end of the day, what I saw was the unauthorized reseller number, and I want that to go down and be able to map that to my authorized reseller, or as you go up, and then when I can do that, I can actually assign $1 value and then when I'm getting pressured on price cuts, you know, or I should say, you know, budget cuts. I can go back and say like, this is one of the top programs here's why. And here's the number figure attributed to it.

Blake Burrus 39:57

Yeah, that's exactly it. Yeah, you turn it over. It's And that's how the measurement piece works. You say, Okay, this used to be here. And so now three sell used to be here, it's cost me $1,000 a month. Now it's gone. Now let's do the look back. So point in time, I know it's gone do look back, that was that cost you this much over six months. Now that's gone. Any sort of audit that can all be automated, right? Because you're just monitoring was there, it's there, it's there. Now it's gone. trigger, trigger the measurement, do the look back. And here's the improvement that we saw, you can do that on average selling price, you can do that on on a lot of things. But yeah, that's exactly it trended over time. And you know, when it's when it's gone, generate that report, say, what's that? What is that worth? And that, and that's kind of what this is getting at that next level down. And I know these numbers are super small, and I'm sorry. So I'm going to kind of try to read this out to you what this is, this is a list of every seller in this channel on this brand. So you got storefront and merchant ID or the authorized or the unauthorized, what products do they have? How much of the catalog are they selling on? And what's the Rev? What are they costing me? Like? What is it an unauthorized revenue is this costing me and you can see that some have are having a greater influence than others. There's that one seller 13 It's moving like a million bucks product every month. Only listing on like seven items. So somehow they got a hold of just a small slice the catalog, but they're moving a lot of products on those on those seven items. And what's that costing and just go down, go down the list for prioritization and focus on the most disruptive first and get that cleaned up. And then you can really attribute and say that that was worth X million dollars. We made that go away. Go to the next. So that's their revenue. You can also look at this lens through through pricing, erosion. So if you build out that little little Yeah, there you go. So what this says is, okay, we got on authorized sellers, not only are they costing me revenues and income director, I don't get to count that against my monthly revenue targets. They're also eroding my pricing. So you've got in this case, we say there's a $10 million opportunity, a 10 million bucks of money left on the table because of pricing erosion. And so what's happening is Amazon that's that top row there says Amazon says $10 million. They are there their algos are price matching, see the root cause is you go down, you said which sellers are causing that. So you've got that one seller, seller 13, listed there, million bucks of product, they've not listed one time at like a map or an MSRP. They're always selling, you know, below what you intend. And then Amazon is just, you know, boom, they're picking up on that they're matching, in go down listing and see on our authorized sellers doing the same thing, 6070 80% of the time, they're not listing that anywhere close to what you'd like the intended price to be. And so that's just a spiral then of, you know, to win the buy box, the average selling price goes down average list price goes down. So getting cleaned up, like removing the unauthorized sellers, yes, that removes that revenue. It also has the synergistic benefit of raising your ASP. And you can even quantify that to overtime. So Aaron, it's just like you said you trended you look at the look at the change over time, you quantify that you report that back. And that's really how you get to, that's how you get to outcomes.

Whitney Gibson 43:04

And I think one of the things that's helpful, is, that's why we sort of have the fourth pillar. So you have all this stuff that helps you prioritize, but really the fourth pillar, what our clients want, is this measurement. We want to measure what impact did it have my sales? And what impact did it have on the price of the products that are going out the door. And so that's why we sort of call that out as a as a whole separate pillar. Because this one's really fun, because as Blake was saying, when you look at it from that top line number, I think you get to see the benefits, not only of the dollars related to the unauthorized sales and flipping that to the authorized sale bucket. But you get to see the sort of synergistic effect of combining that with the ability to pull all the other levers from an advertising perspective, and grow your product more. So you get to see a higher lift than just moving on authorized sales dollars into the authorized column, or just increasing authorized sales price. Like it's actually significantly greater than that. So that's, that's, that's what we measure. And, you know, it helps us you know, it just really helps in the whole ROI and people internally be able to show the value value of the program. No, bleh guy, this is,

Aaron Conant 44:26

again, you know, the fundamentals in place first, right, right.

Whitney Gibson 44:30

It's really that it's that method. I mean, for us, it's on it's become basically a repeat formula. You sit in a room, you define what your optimal go to market, then you put in the foundational policies, then you do the precision targeted enforcement driving towards the KPIs. And you measure impact on an ongoing basis. Now and you do that, and you get control of a channel and you drive growth. You can lift that you can then go play to Walmart, then you can apply it to You know, then you can apply it to Amazon Europe, then you can apply it to Amazon Canada. And what's neat about it is the same formula applies, then you get into advertising channels and marketing channels that are platforms. Because it's the same thing. It's a mix of lack of your own reseller control, gray market and brand protection all chumming up that channel preventing you from performing in an optimal way. So define your optimal state, wrap your policies with your authorized what you want them doing. Execute data driven target enforcement measure channel performance. And that really is the channel control formula as we see it. Yeah, so this is,

Aaron Conant 45:41

was the two sides, right? There's the upfront policies and everything. And then there's this platform, I think you were kind of saying at the beginning. So this is a SaaS based platform and others if you have questions drop into the chat or the q&a. So this is a SaaS based platform

Whitney Gibson 45:57

that competes with who in the market, we like to say that we define our own and create our own category, so that there is not competition. That's really, you know, I mean, honestly, what I started found in this business a long time ago, and I, I just realized it was I believed it was its own category. And yeah, I mean, what a lot of brands, so basically have a platform that's run out of ancillary business, Precision eControl, and then you have voice services, it's in the law firm, a lot of brands on boards will do the policies, it'll clean up some of the heavy stuff, and then the pot, and then the brand can use the platform to do ongoing maintenance. Some brands will go out and hire people and say, look, I've got somebody who, who's great either a lawyer or maybe a brand, and they want to run enforcement, I just need boys to do the policies, I want to use the platform and do enforcement myself. Some people already have the policies in place, and they just say, Wow, your data is so good. And I want the platform and I want to use it. So we really want to be able to I mean, it's really meeting the client, you know, in the user where they are some people want to fully manage service, some want to manage service for six months, and then go into maintenance. Other people just want to use the platform. Got it? Awesome. Awesome. So that that's basically and I mean, I, you know, we have all sorts of case studies that are that are fun. And now we this is just one example of a kitchenware brand, very typical, all these gray market sellers, they've got pricing going down across their channels, they can't get map compliance, they're trying to run a MAP program, but it never really got them anywhere, because everyone just kept pointing back to the marketplace. So we decided they decided they wanted to do an exclusive three P strategy using a select three P seller put in an authorized reseller program, they put it in a foundation for gray market, we went out did enforcement we, you know, we even discovered during that some of the distribution strategies that were just constantly fueling diversion adjusted those, and they saw just a massive increase in their monthly authorized revenue. I mean, then the the three P seller was, you know, throwing in all their abilities around content and advertising growth and, and everything else that they do to help grow and just a massive increase. So that's that's sort of an example of a case study. And that's it. So Aaron, is there anything? I know we're coming off what we got a few minutes left? Anything else that you'd like us to cover? Happy to dive in? No, I think

Aaron Conant 48:39

I think the key takeaway advice and others, if you have questions drop in the chat or the q&a was just the idea of the measurement of what are the results? And what are you going for? Right? Are you going for, hey, I took down, we're just at the next level, it's happening everywhere. It's happening in paid media on Amazon, off Amazon, it's happening, you know, performance marketing is happening and influencers in shifting to affiliate agreements. Instead, it's like a next level up. And that's where, in this space, this is the next level up, it's not enough just to do the whack a mole, like we've talked about in the past, right? It's just not enough to have it and then say, Hey, look at how many we took down. What is, you know, just being more strategic. I think it's taken us you know, a pandemic to get here in this huge increase in online sales, that I think a lot more people in the space are concerned about it and realize the importance of doing the next level or or you're not going to win, you are going to get beat it is going to affect your brand. It's good, especially right now. A lot of people trending back to try and you know, make sure that they're on retail and on store shelves. And if you've got a product that's selling at a discount on any of these marketplaces, then you're it's a lot harder. It's a lot more difficult to get in because you're not going to get the same margin, because they're not going to put on the shelf for that price, they're gonna match what's ever on mine. So

Whitney Gibson 50:08

the margin, it's super, it's a super exciting time, because I think there's a lot of different ways in which we can advance the whole industry around, whatever you want to call it brand protection control. I mean, it's typically been a cost center, that has been something that people go after things because someone said, We want bad stuff taken off the internet. But we're now at a time with the the amount of dollars that are flowing through eCommerce channels. We're at a time where we have data that we you never had access to before, when you're dealing with counterfeits and China on the ground, you couldn't really collect or measure the data around how much was going on, or there was a really impacting sales. So brand protection professionals are often going into organizations saying, Here's my activity I did, but struggle to get budget because the business leaders like does this really impact my sales numbers? Does it really impact my profit numbers. And now we're at a moment where, you know, and this is why I mean, I was so excited to have Blake and his team come over. And I think Blake, we could have gotten a lot of places, let's say he has a very big, big background and experience, but just saw that this industry had not applied a lot of just like what you said a lot of these data driven precision and measurement principles that have been advanced in other industries. And that we could transform this industry to one that does drive incredible business impact and is not a cost center and is one that, um, that can really drive drive, drive business KPIs in so many different ways. And I and I think that the precision is, you see it happening with a precision agriculture, precision medicine, Precision Marketing, a lot of it's about just using analytics, to when you look at, let's say, a set of activity, illicit activity online, to find those areas that really aren't impacting your business much, and lifting your effort and resources and moving them to the areas where they are impacting your business a lot. Because once you move that energy and resources to the area where they're impacting, you now are making those dollars work so much better and harder, and just getting so much ROI. And then once you get to the areas or illicit activity that are really hurting your business, understanding the unique attributes about each one, so you can tailor your actions to have the most effective, efficient results. And then finally, measure and so it's, I see that precision, I see that in all these different fields going on right now. And I think, you know, we're excited to apply that here.

Aaron Conant 52:51

Awesome. Well, I can see we're kind of pretty much right here at time, as we always like to wrap up a little bit early. But Blake Whitney, thanks again for your time today. You guys have been great friends, partners, supporters of the network, encourage anybody you want to know more. You know, follow up with Whitney and Blake, they're doing some really great things here. all around great people as well. Worth to follow up conversation for sure. And with that, we're gonna wrap this up right on time. Hope everybody has a fantastic Wednesday, everybody take care of stay safe and look forward to having you at a future event. Yeah, thanks for the comment. Thanks, everybody. All right.

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