State of the Union for DTC Brands & New Customer Acquisition

Jul 20, 2021 2:00 PM3:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

Fulfilling the content need on social media can be a challenge. The cost for content and production has increased across the board. How can you market your brand while fulfilling the content gap?

Creating an authentic connection with consumers starts with DTC advertising. The visibility of a brand through an algorithmic mechanism is tested, repeated across channels, and the cycle starts again. Being able to optimize and leverage your brand relationship continues to evolve, filling in the content gap.

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant sits down with Tom Logan, Co-founder and CEO of Cohley, and Jeffrey Douglass, Director of Marketing at Weyco Group, to discuss creating consumer relationships through content. They talk about how to develop channel-specific strategies to make your brand a viable alternative, the logistics and challenges of today’s market, and decreasing your content costs. Plus, they share how you can create brand loyalty.

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


  • Jeffrey Douglass talks about creating trust with a brand through content
  • Understanding what works for your audience
  • How the content delivery mechanism continues to evolve
  • Tom Logan talks about the statistical average of creative content
  • The impact of channel management
  • How different platforms impact customer loyalty
  • Jeffrey discusses customer interaction in the digital space
  • Should you be using a hypothesis for ads?
  • The different components within a digital space
  • The evolution of search specificity as a substitute
  • Tom talks about creating opportunities for loyalty in your brand
  • Is a DTC site worth creating for new customer acquisition?
  • The correlation between promotional fit and social proof
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Event Partners


Cohley is a content generation and testing platform that helps brands create content for social ads, email marketing, websites, and more.

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Guest Speakers

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.

Tom Logan LinkedIn

Co-Founder & CEO at Cohley

Tom Logan is the Co-founder and CEO of Cohley, a content generation and testing platform that helps brands create content for social ads, email marketing, websites, and more. Tom is also a member of Founders Pledge, an initiative enabling philanthropy among founders and investors. Before founding Cohley, Tom was the Director of Customer Development at Piqora and a Client Success Manager for Wildfire by Google. 

Jeffrey Douglass

Vice President, Marketing at Weyco Group

Jeffrey Douglass is the Vice President of Marketing at Weyco Group, a footwear company that is driven by passion. At Weyco Group, they design and market quality and innovative footwear for men, women, and children. Their portfolio includes brands such as Florsheim, Nunn Bush, Stacy Adams, BOGS, Rafters, and Forsake.

Event Moderator

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.

Tom Logan LinkedIn

Co-Founder & CEO at Cohley

Tom Logan is the Co-founder and CEO of Cohley, a content generation and testing platform that helps brands create content for social ads, email marketing, websites, and more. Tom is also a member of Founders Pledge, an initiative enabling philanthropy among founders and investors. Before founding Cohley, Tom was the Director of Customer Development at Piqora and a Client Success Manager for Wildfire by Google. 

Jeffrey Douglass

Vice President, Marketing at Weyco Group

Jeffrey Douglass is the Vice President of Marketing at Weyco Group, a footwear company that is driven by passion. At Weyco Group, they design and market quality and innovative footwear for men, women, and children. Their portfolio includes brands such as Florsheim, Nunn Bush, Stacy Adams, BOGS, Rafters, and Forsake.

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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 Tuesday everybody. My name is Aaron Conant. I'm the Co Founder and Managing Director of BWG Connect. We're a networking and knowledge sharing group with 1000s of brands who do exactly that, with networking knowledge share together to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, whatever it is, is shaping the digital landscape as a whole, you know, that's changing. And it seems that a bi weekly basis, right now, it's not a weekly basis. And so we're not really scheduling anything more than 16 weeks out just so we can stay on top of different things that are popping up. But we'd love to have a conversation with anybody on the line today. We don't sell anything here. But those conversations are how we get the newest topics for calls. It's also how we connect with new service providers as a whole, we've got a shortlist of top ones. But that's how we get you know, connected with the newest people that are doing the newest, coolest things across the digital landscape. And so we'd love to, you know, share thoughts across the board, but also kind of do a strategy session if you want. Like I said, I talked to 30 Plus, you know, brands and organizations a week in that space. And so we'd love to do it with you as well. A couple of housekeeping items as we get started. We want this to be as educational and informational as possible. At any point in time you have questions drop into the question section that Chad emailed them to me at any point in time. And that's, you know, an hour after the call tomorrow, next week, whatever it is, never hesitate to reach out more than happy to get you an answer. Usually in under a day or so sometimes it takes two. But don't hesitate to shoot me over any notes or any questions at any point in time more than happy to connect you with you. Now the last thing is starting three to four minutes after the hour, we're going to wrap up with three to four minutes in the hour to go as well. So if you are looking at your watch, just know we're gonna give you plenty of time to get on your next meeting without being late. And with that, I'm gonna, I'm gonna kick it off. You know, we're doing a lot right now a variety of things in the digital space as a whole, a lot around payments a lot around content a lot around, you know, replatforming, SEO, Amazon, obviously fulfillment. But now, you know, a lot of people just thinking as a whole about new customer acquisition, right? How do you keep building, you know, your overall customer base as a whole? What does that look like? What are strategies behind it? Who's doing it? Well, how can we improve it? And so we got a great friend, partner of the network, over Cohley Tom Logan.

And, you know, he's brought a friend on Jeff today as well. It's gonna be a really cool conversation with Tom gonna kick it over to you for a brief intro on yourself. We could get over to Jeff, you know, you know, organize, you know, brief intro on yourself in the organization as a whole. we'll kick it over to Jeff and do the same, then we'll kind of kick off the conversation. Sounds

Tom Logan 2:54

great. Yeah. Aaron, great to be here with you as always. And Jeff, you're the man. Thanks for joining me here. People are gonna learn so much from me. I'm excited to be here with you. I'm Tom Logan. As Aaron mentioned, I'm the co founder and CEO here at New York City based Cohley, I'm in a little soundproof phone booth right now in case you're wondering what sort of background this was. Cohley is a marketplace, two sided marketplace that helps brands generate content to help win across digital. So when I say content, I mean photos, videos, that could be user generated content, professional photography, we also help generate product reviews. But the idea is that real people can create branded content that's extremely valuable in filling costly gaps, incorporating into ad testing, and really just meeting customers where they are with the right messaging the right content at the right time.

Particularly as we talk about things like rising customer acquisition costs, all of the challenges that face DTC marketers today, and we very much view life content as being like the lifeblood of a great digital marketing strategy. And that's what we help with. That's what we do. Jeff, I'll kick it over to you.

Jeffrey Douglass 4:11

Thanks to Jeff Douglass, Vice President marketing for Weyco Group. We sell footwear. So under brands like Florsheim ambush, Stacy Adams, Boggs and forsake our variety of our brands have been here for about 18 years. So been here for a minute.

Basically, do everything under the sun marketing. Of course, we use Cohley been with them for quite some time. And they feel a huge void for us in terms of content and in between all the brands, all of our products are talking here, hundreds of products. How do you possibly get your arms around content and how do you deliver that in any easy way? I mean, that's Definitely one of our biggest things that attracted us together. And man, Tom, for a good, good chunk. So excited to be a part of this. And I look forward to trying to impart some wisdom. I don't know how how well, I'll do that. I'll try. He's being modest.

Aaron Conant 5:21

Yeah, so a quick reminder, if you have any questions along the way, dropping in the question section there, we'll get as many answered as we can. I'll just pop that tab up over here, we'll make sure we get as many answers as we can. And if it's easier, you can always just email me Aaron So I want to start off. Because at this point in time, I mean, content is a huge portion of this, right. And so, huge thing happening across the board, increasing cost, to create content, increase in the amount of content that people are actually now being required to produce and use. So, you know, I'll kick this over to Jeff first, and then we'll kick it over to Tom for your thoughts as well. Like when you think about the the price inflate, or the cost, you know, inflation across the board for you know, how much it cost to produce it, how much they need to but as well as logistics challenges around producing it. How is this affecting, you know, you and your marketing team as a whole? And what advice do you give, you know, marketers across the board on on how to tackle this issue as a whole.

Jeffrey Douglass 6:28

I mean, we still do you know, the traditional, let's do our own photo shoots, we're at twice a year season. So fall, winter, spring, summer, and we still do all the normal things our brand would do. But yeah, it just continues to get more expensive, more complicated application fees, models, you know, all these things that you have to think through. And yet it never comes close to need, you know, fulfilling the content needed, you know, social media, on your website, all the different kind of avenues to be able to kind of say, How do I connect people with more more content, so they can make a more informed decision? Now, when you go on the eCommerce site, you basically are basically creating a trust relationship with a brand and trying to understand, you know, what am I about to buy specifically? And all the information they kind of get from them, from these brands from us, is just photos, right? So how do we really surround those individuals with enough content, so they can make a more informed decision? So that's like a number one challenge that we think about all the time, you're putting out, you know, hundreds of new products, you know, how do you how do you do that? So we still do the normal traditional model of you come to the home Bay, you see the wonderful, you know, beautiful photos, but now it's kind of like, okay, I always say, people trust people before they trust companies. So how do you make a more authentic connection with those individuals outside of just what we do. So that's kind of where content creators come into a significant portion of our mix. And, of course, the platform is like one of the big, the big things I love most about it is you're connecting with hundreds of 1000s of creators, instantaneously. And it's like, yeah, for where you just kind of say, this is what I'm willing to pay for this, this amount of content. And then all of a sudden, all these people come into it to kind of be a part of it, you get to choose who fits it, who doesn't we love it. So I would say, you know, it has transformed our model in terms of like, where do we start plugging in more content outside of those traditional kind of shoots? And how do we, how do we surround various products? How do we kind of create this network of different ways of telling the story of a product upon the story of the brand, and being able to do that through kind of content creators, so it's definitely has changed a significant amount over the past? You know, 5 10 years?

Aaron Conant 9:06

live in town. So a question comes in around, you know, balancing UGC versus traditional photoshoots. You know, how do you see that? What's the preference there? I mean, you deal with a ton of brands as it is in the content generation space, where do you see people leaning? You know, for a while there, you know, UGC was all the rage, is it? Is it still there? Should brands still be looking for it? Or do you see it shifting more to traditional photoshoots? Or do you see it shifting more to, you know, 3d ar we'd love to hear your thoughts a

Tom Logan 9:41

bit more. I see it shifting towards doing more testing and understanding what's working specifically for the audience's that you're trying to connect with the sell into and to maximize lifetime value with. I think the term user generated content has been a little bit like Oftentimes the word authentic will come up in conjunction with the term UGC. But think what we've learned is that the term authentic is almost like a calling a New York City apartment cozy. It's not necessarily like authentic almost means like grainy or low quality or, you know, something that you wouldn't necessarily put forth to represent your brand in a major way. You know, when we talk about user generated content, we really talk about it more broadly like this is very customized content that could be created directly through our, our highly vetted network of professional photographers, for example, right? So we're essentially enabling brands like Weyco, and their family of brands to fill in a lot of gaps. So I wouldn't necessarily say like, don't do a photo shoot. But I would say be very cognizant of the fact that you need more content than ever before, that you can't just repurpose your Instagram paid strategy on TikTok and expect it to work. Well. I think it really just comes down to experimentation and heavy volumes of testing, like one stat that we always, you know, tout over here was the fact that when there was an analysis done of top performing Facebook advertisers, the only variable that separated the top performers from the mean, was that the top performers tested 11 times more content. Right. So it's not necessarily like, hey, what contents working? Is it professional? Is it photoshoot is that UGC? I think it's just more. And that might also simplification but I think it's just more testing more experimentation.

Aaron Conant 11:41

So yeah, kick that over to you. from your standpoint. Is that repurposing? Is that creating just a ton more? So 11? acts? You know, I think a lot of people on the line probably do the same thing I did is I blog? So a lot of money. Are you repurposing so from your standpoint, you know, and thinking about new customer acquisition, you know, as a whole? Is it I agree with you, Tom, like my background? I'm a I'm a scientist, right? I was making drugs for phase one and two clinical trials at Pfizer for a while, and it was the scientific method, how quickly, can I go through more iterations to get to the next best answer faster than anybody else? But that's, you know, I think what a lot of people, you know, need to do in the digital space, how quickly can you test and learn and reiterate over and over and over again. But that does require a lot of time. In this this case, right? How do you reach new customers? its content right now. So Jeff, are you repurposing? Are you upping your content budget? Are you doing more photoshoots? Are you doing, you know, you know, more campaigns with a Cohley? Like, how are you generating?

Jeffrey Douglass 12:58

Yes. Across the board? Yes. And now just like, it can, it comes from from all kinds of angles, the more photo shoots, but you know, big production shoots have to happen for us for various purposes, but he just can't afford the volume. Right? So it's like, how do you figure out how else do you do that? So, you know, whether it's doing stuff in studio versus out in on location, whether it's students up through kind of content creators in particular, it's just how do you get to the How do you get to the right amount of content? And that's the question, right, is what's the right amount, and I have to say, year upon year upon year, for as long as I can remember, it's just, it's more, it's and you're trying to figure out, like, content is funny in terms of like, product specific type of marketing is like, it changes like along the funnel, right? It's kind of like, Oh, that's cool. That looks interesting. Oh, I see myself like that, oh, that's an interesting feature. You know, he's like, this real kind of top funnel type of thought process, but then it's like, Okay, well, I'm gonna learn more. So now all of a sudden, it's show me everything you got like this, and it becomes more product focus, and then you kind of go a little bit deeper. And that's like, a show me all the nuts and bolts of like, how does that work? What does that look like? What's that feature? What's that thing? And then all of a sudden, it's kind of like, maybe I should start looking around other places for something like this. And it goes back to, you know, hey, like, this is this is this actually does fit your needs. Like, let me show you how that works. And it's like, it's kind of a funny shape of how content works with people. And, you know, I wish I had a crystal ball on how you think versus Tom thinks in that process. And I think that's me if there's one thing about testing is like, where that funnel does content get delivered to an individual and what clicks with that person and it's like, it isn't like, as one One size fits all. It's it's got to be, you know, how do I continue to do these rapid tests to figure out what segments are out there and what connects with who and kind of, Hey, I'm a fashion guy. So I'm looking for things a little bit more edgy, and maybe a little bit more colorful, hey, I'm a conservative guy in red scares the hell out of me, you know, there's so many different combinations, it's just like, a content delivery mechanism continues to evolve. And it's like, that's kind of what we're always trying to figure out is like, I need the supply of content, I need the delivery mechanisms to be able to test this. So, I mean, our marketing stack has is considerably changed in the last three years, just constantly assessing kind of, how do I balance that equation and be able to reach people as fast as possible? Yeah.

Tom Logan 15:49

Yeah. So on the subject of balance, this is a topic that comes up fairly frequently in our conversations when we're talking about doing more testing more experimentation. And the question would be alright, well, I have this, you know, winner this piece of content in a Facebook ad, or in an email that is driving like, supremely good click through rates, the CPM is low, the click throughs, high, whatever, isn't an opportunity cost to experiment with that specific, a specific ad and switch it up? And you know, the answer might be Yes, slightly. But like, the upside of being able to find a winner and get out in front of potential fatigue, and performance is absolutely worth it. So when we talk about testing, we're not saying great, you find a winner, like that only constitutes 10% of the emails that you send, that fall into that category, or 10% of the ads that are served a specific demographics, you can still serve, like 70% of those targeted ads that have that, that hero image that winning image, or video asset. But, you know, we also know through one of our ads partners that every time you do find a new winning creative that unseats, the previous King of the Hill, we're talking where it's generally speaking, that's going to be one in 20. That beats that King of the Hill, this is just like statistical average 5% of the time. But when you do find that new winner, we're talking about a 10% improvement, and overall click through rate and at least a 5% reduction in overall CPM cost. Right. So like, and you get to avoid the the risk of painful fatigue that can that can lead to some some pretty droopy ad performance. So there is a balance. I think it depends on the brand. But you got me thinking there, Jeff?

Aaron Conant 17:46

Yeah, I mean, that's kind of the you know, the question comes in, in the conversation of trying to produce more and more content, do you ever try to balance the output so as not to overwhelm your audience? Okay, that RDU Jeff, and just reminder, others you have questions drop in the question section, we'll make sure we get them answered.

Jeffrey Douglass 18:02

Um, you know, I mean, there's only so many slots, you know, within our within our kind of platforms, there's only so many slots. I mean, you do you do worry about, like, if you're talking about direct consumers, for you commerce, like, how many how many more things, there's clearly a diminishing return. But like to Tom's points, like, how do you continue to kind of rotate things around to see kind of, well, what, what, what makes makes the most sense. And that's kind of something that we're always trying to figure out that you kind of continue to show different content sounds, but I wouldn't say like, I'm never really afraid of too much in the sense of of sourcing that. It's more like, how many different zones are you able to put that in and being able to connect? Because obviously, if you open up like a product detail page, and all of a sudden, there's like, 500 images for you to rotate through, right? You're not gonna rotate through that, right? You're just trying to say, I need enough to be able to make a more informed decision than just maybe those four or five views that I traditionally get in eCommerce, it's like, so it's that that tends to be kind of what we're trying to figure out is like, what's the right mix of kind of product and lifestyle? And how do we sourced that? I mean, if you think about 1000s of products, and you're saying, Oh, I'm looking for two to three new kind of photos, it's like okay, well, that looks really cool. It's spring, summer, right is something rocking around, like, you know, beautiful sun and all that now, it's and that's irrelevant when you're back in October, November. So there's this constant evolution of image, relevancy that kind of comes around. So yeah, I wouldn't say that necessarily, that I'm thinking about too much. It's just more of what's the right mix, and being able to connect that that person at the right time said earlier, the right person at the right time, and being able to give them the confidence of being able to click that add to cart checkout.

Aaron Conant 19:55

It's super interesting because a lot of this when you think about new customer, actually It is you know a lot of is retargeting based on what's out there. I mean Google had its, hey, we're going to, you know, get rid of third party cookies, you know, hey, it's gonna happen in 2022 Just kidding, it's not till 2023 question comes in like, are you looking at that around personalization and then building out, you know, new customer acquisition, you know, patterns and who to go after. And then the next one I want to tackle is when you think about all the different channels that are out there, what does it channel strategy look like, you know, from, you know, Facebook, Google, you know, TikTok, Instagram, Amazon, whatever it might be.

Jeffrey Douglass 20:40

So yeah, I'll take a couple different pieces of that. Just in terms of chat, and the last few channels, channel management, so to speak, channel management continues to evolve considerably, especially given some of the current conditions that are going on so that you can steer us off too far off the path, but just kind of thinking about like, we're in a time where a decent softgoods demand is like, incredible, right now. Basically, you have all these people that are going to be returning back to work, it kind of looks like you're at home, and you might just stay at home and not everybody's gonna stay at home, they're going to go back to an office. And for us, it's wonderful, because now instead of thinking about, Hey, I'm not wearing socks down here, I'm wearing some shoes. And so they're kind of going out and buying. So it's like that that demand shift considerably changed your opinion about what's that mix channel management, like? How am I able to kind of pull downhill with that customer. So I might be spending kind of more of the top funnel because you know, that demand is so high that I want to be able to get as many people in there because I have x great conversion rate. So that all happens. But now all of a sudden, you have this really kind of crazy thing going on shipping right now coming from overseas, or supplies kind of getting is dwindling down pretty rapidly because everybody looks conservative going in. And as a reminder, January, February, March was not so great for soft and soft goods industry, as everybody went into very conservative 2021. And now all the sudden you have this complete opposite effect on demand side. So all of a sudden, like he went for throwing so much the top funnel, the brain has many people and as you can to get them through there and be able to get that conversion, we are running out of inventory. So now all of a sudden, it's kind of like, oh, like, I don't need as much promotion, I don't need this deep discounts. I don't need to spend this much on bringing more people and I need to be able to really find the right people with the right products and try to kind of changed around kind of maybe mid funnel, low funnel activity, in order for you to be able to kind of maximize conversion. It's like, all of a sudden, you start talking about like, Hey, you have all this crazy demand stuff, and people are running out of inventory. Now all of a sudden, you're talking about viable substitutes. It's kind of like, oh, protect, protect the base, like, how do we connect with people to be able to let them know when things are back in stock, because you have this really crazy volatility going on in terms of when things are coming back in. And hey, we were expecting that 60 days ago, and now it's in and so this channel, like how that say, this year is the most volatile I've ever seen in terms of in terms of back channel management and kind of the strategy at the beginning of the year, the strategy as of May and strategy of today has just like tank completely, it was like wholesale changed three times over. So it's definitely something that I've never seen before. I don't know if you have any kind of questions around that specifically, as you're listening. And yet. Yeah, I

Aaron Conant 23:43

think I have one for Tom, which is just like, how are people? I mean, you guys just deal with a ton of different brands, how are they managing the right outreach, the right content? What do you see them producing or requesting the most of? And then, you know, I have another question that comes in. But what do you see most brands requesting the most of right now. Um,

Tom Logan 24:12

you know, with customer acquisition costs, combined with the attribution slash visibility that iOS 14 has brought about there is a lot of appetite to develop channel specific strategies on on other social platforms. So like talking a lot about Pinterest Snapchat, I mentioned TikTok I think the biggest piece there and I might be repeating myself just to touch here but like, you can't come to that channel that channel meaning TikTok with and just like this thought that you're just gonna be able to repurpose the existing assets that you have, like you need to join the conversation into recognize that it is this more like creator driven asset that tends to perform better on that channel. And you got to like, join the conversation. Right? versus just like, you know, coming in with your highly polished ad and thinking it's going to perform. But I think, you know, for us, most of the demand is for channels other than Facebook, for brands looking to diversify their paid strategies. And then it's a lot of, you know, how can we, how can we do things that are going to contribute to first party data capture? Alright, how can we build our email list? How can we build our SMS list? I'm sure that, that Aaron, you have some thoughts on that. And Jeff, you could certainly talk loyalty till the cows come home as well.

Aaron Conant 25:41

No, I mean, the things you're bringing it up, I think you're spot on, I think, you know, I aligned the conversation I have in the Facebook ecosystem, I just say Facebook, you know, content this generated people know what they want to do. And it's a little bit more straightforward. But you're I see a lot of people struggling with things off from Facebook as a whole, and how do they get the right content. But then you jump into some other cool things as well, which is, you know, new customer acquisition, you know, focus, like SMS. So if you look at, you know, for those of you who don't, you know, have SMS on the back end, think of it from an abandoned cart standpoint, the average open time for an abandoned cart email, if they open it is in 48 to 72 hours. In abandoned cart SMS, the little mobile message is about three minutes. And so when you're talking new customer acquisition, you want to get them in and sign up, but you're doing it to make sure that they finish the transaction as a whole. But then, you know, Tom, like you're saying this loyalty after that, how do we keep them coming back over and over again, and it's really interesting, you know, when you think loyalty programs a lot, almost every company seems to be launching some kind of loyalty program, the the service providers that are out there for the comfort, there's so far advanced, now, they can make something fit almost any category, even if it's like every three year purchases. It's pretty incredible. But, you know, Jeff, I can kick that over to you. And then we have a question that comes in around a tick tock campaign. But we'd love to hear you know, your thoughts, Jeff, on, you know, loyalty, SMS, other other methodologies.

Jeffrey Douglass 27:21

Yeah. So I mean, we have mass and mass. And I would say, when we first went in, went through it, we have three of our brands have a little bit older of a customer. And it's funny, because we were asked to beta test something with one of our technology providers, I was like, I don't know why, you know, you know, but why don't we just see kind of how some of your other brand portfolio kind of pans out with this and friend friendly with that with that group. And they kind of said, Jeff, you know, we've had a couple people that just just kind of have had, you know, gangbuster down rates, you gotta get on this, you know, want to pick them up swipe at this, we did it. And it is crazy. And then really is in the I'm another one of those people that would say, Yeah, I don't know, if I want to really be getting 10 texts a day from companies and kind of, like, why do I need those offers very intimate channel of adding a text, and it tends to come from family and friends. Right? So like that invasion there. I thought it was going to be a big a big issue, especially for older individuals and not the case, not the case at all, you know, the open rate is virtually 100%. Right? And then it's like the click through rate is, is crazy good. And there's a variety of different things between MMS and SMS just in terms of like, what kind of content are you delivering to that person? That's like, really, in the infancy? We, I don't really have too much advice for you, because we're still testing. I mean, it's just kind of trying to figure out like, what's the right timing for different things. So there's definitely like, trigger based side of our SMS program, as well as kind of this standard, kind of kind of, like intent based trying to create content out content to get people to the site. So that's been like really great. That say, the scale of that is definitely what we're trying to figure out right now is that with those kinds of metrics, it's like, gosh, I want how much of my list can I get this way as fast as possible? And I think like, over time, one of the things that think about what that is like, do providers start thinking about it, like how Gmail thinks about it? Like, is there a promotions box? Is there a personal box? And like, once we kind of get there, that's going to be really interesting to see, like, how do you maneuver some of those waters just because I think like, do you really want to have 50 texts a day and not really from things that aren't necessarily as relevant? So those are definitely it for what we see. It's crazy good. So anybody who's kind of like I don't know, it's like, again, back to this idea. Test it like you don't know how to get there. I was a kind of on the fence and I'm totally off the fence now, in a good way. In terms of loyalty, it's funny because we actually And how star loyalty we are running a program outside. And, you know, the crazy thing is like consumer, like behavior around loyalty is I'm owed this because I spent my money there. So you also think about like switching costs, you know, if we're trying to say, at a time when, when there's a lot of volatility, people are thinking about going, you know, it's like loyalty can be one of those wonderful switching costs, barriers that a person's like, dang, I don't know, if I really want to do that, because then I have to pay for shipping. All I have to, you know, I'm not gonna get points. It's like, those types of switching costs for barriers have been really apparent, I would say with with consumers, we've got a lot of studying around loyalty. And so that's why we've brought technology in house and developed it through our developers, and are in the process of rolling that out across our portfolio. So I would have to say that's another one of those ones, where I'm thinking about things like, how do you get people to really interact with that. So it's like, those are the signals that tell you that that customers may be kind of in the process of turning or in the process of thinking about something it's like, if they're not, if they go through a lot of interactions, and Allison stop, it's like a cold, I could just slap across the face, like, Hey, there are certain think about something a little bit differently. How do you use your communication channels to get them back? So things like rewarding them for reviews, or rewarding them for social activity? Just think about all the different points where you're gonna have a customer interaction? And then how do you surround that with activity to be able to have listeners out there and, and kind of act on those listeners?

Aaron Conant 31:42

Awesome. Love it. So a question that comes in just reminders to others, you have questions, drop it into the question section there, we're setting up our first tic toc calling campaign to help promote a new product launch on Amazon for hippie snacks. As we're a new brand for most of the creators audiences will be working with, should we ask the content creators to promote a promo code within their video just in the description or not at all, not sure that there's enough, you know, detailed targeting and tick tock ads to target those folks. So then, you know, later with bottom of funnel type content, so this is that new customer acquisition question. Do we dump in a promo, you know, a promo code within their video that we asked them to do that? You know, Datsun? Yeah. Tom, Jeff, either.

Tom Logan 32:27

Yeah, probably worth a test. I would say that. You're certainly right that that the targeting capabilities are in certainly in its in their nascent stage with Tick tock, particularly compared to Facebook. But I would also remind you that like, early on, people said the exact same thing about Facebook and it worked out pretty well for the early adopters of Facebook advertising, right like they made a killing their acquisition costs was so so low as compared to where it is right now. So I you know, I view tik tok as being more of like, Sure, you can retarget but a bit more of just like an awareness, let's see what's working, let's see what's picking up traction, that type of thing. But I don't see any any problem with with dropping in a promo code here, there. And if it ends up working out, then by all means, you now have a new customer, you have their email address, and you can continue to make them a hippies lifetime customer with with tons of value. Give a thought on that. terms of incorporating promo codes,

Jeffrey Douglass 33:33

you know, depending on Channel, it's like a of course, my default answer, as you know, is always test and look at the data that can you know, that's going to tell you kind of where to go at that. It depends on kind of what that person is trying to do for you. If it's trial ability, because you're a new brand, and you're trying to figure it out, like what you want to hear from people as like, Oh, this is a great product, right? It's almost review, ask, but it's like, how do you do that, and within the various channels and being able to really connect with the customer, to either reduce a fear or to kind of, you know, really set a person on a path that says this product is or isn't for me, and they're trying to discover, you know, brands and I think about this, like how do you create intent? How do you create customer interaction in a world where kind of market like traditional brick and mortar marketplaces are kind of going away? Right? So it's like, you know, this is the there's no better time to be in that kind of digital space than it is today. And it's my opinion, and kind of say, Okay, how do I connect with those individuals and being able to tell them, this is the right products, I think about those things. And this the coupon code is going to be the catalyst that's going to get them over the edge, eventually, right? Because it's all about trial ability, but at the same time, I think they have maybe this is a fear of like, what is this thing and Is it is it right for me right?

Tom Logan 35:00

And in that sense, you'd look at the potential customer viewing this Tick Tock video as a step within the their consumer journey, their own educational process. Keep in mind with that is, if you're working with 10, or 20 individuals for original, like branded, TikTok video specifically for hippies, you can see if if anyone or two or three of those creators creates content that just like, performs like crazy, right, picks up some, some virality picks up some serious momentum maybe outperforms their their standard Tick Tock posts. And what that can tell you is that hey, like this person's audience, loved us like they got the brand voice, they're able to convey the value of hippies. And like this is someone that we should work with more extensively, because they have an audience that is that is clearly very interested in the product.

Aaron Conant 36:00

Yeah, what I think is neat is I do like this question. And lara is awesome, because he literally outlined exactly what you want to do and go test and then you can learn from it. And one of the key things around the testing and learning isn't, that I found isn't, you know, taking everything you have and throwing up against a blank wall and just hoping to see something that sticks it is picking the wall, you're going to throw it against picking what you're going to throw against the wall, and then analyzing it with an open mind to actually see what worked and what didn't work. It's not this this mass, where I do everything across the board. That's no, it's a waste of time, it's a waste of effort on time is a waste of money. So be very strategic. So then you can gauge did it work or not? And then don't stop at that iteration keep going over and over again. Because the answer might be yes. And the answer might be yes and no. So

Jeffrey Douglass 36:55

and they also come to the table with a hypothesis, right? It's not what you just like, I don't know, I'm just gonna do this. Like, that's what you're saying. It's like you're coming to the table of hypothesis, I think it's going to do X for these reasons. And sometimes you though works, you learn that iterative stage for the next one is you learn that it's not quite what you thought it was. And there might be something really interesting there that you have to explore. And it's like, you have to start branching those out and try to figure out what really is the causality that created that? And that's really honing in on what testing? And this is.

Tom Logan 37:28

Yeah, you talked about the scientific method. I mean, I call it we call it content engineering, but it's the exact same thing. You started out with a hypothesis that was intentionally broad, I think it's giving yourself a room for multiple room for multiple inputs. But as you continue to go around that feedback loop, that content engineering process, you're picking up so many learnings as you go. Right? And that's just that's not just learnings by channel. That's also very much learning by audience by cohort. Right? There's so many ways that you can start to break this up, can definitely make your head spin, right? There are a lot of different ways to slice and dice this, but it very much does start with the hypothesis. I think it's a great point, Jeff.

Aaron Conant 38:12

Yeah, it's funny, because it, it kind of just brings us back to Hey, this is the State of the Union. For DTC brands in customer acquisition, this is where we're at at this point in time, you need to test and learn because every one of our organizations is different. You know, the budgets are different, the products are different, the audience is different. And the way to do it is to test it and learn over and over again and faster than anybody else. This is just a reality. Now, there's different components that go into that which are okay, like, how, what do you need to do the testing and learning and so that's, you know, kind of think at the lot at the beginning of the call was, hey, content, they got to communicate somehow, right? And we're not talking, you know, we're sitting in the aisle at Costco handing out samples, it's, as you know, DTC brands in a digital space. So, how do you interact content? different platforms? How do you create different forms of content? In trying to analyze Hey, what's the best for you as a brand in what's working and what's not? And then, you know, hey, what do you do with it? Once you have it? What are other things that you can optimize along the way SMS, how you put in place a loyalty program? And so you know, I don't know it's super. It's a fantastic conversation. I love it. So others, if you have questions dropped in the Questions tab there, we can keep getting them answered. But I think we're really getting to that, hey, this is the State of the Union. This is reality, or if you like it or not, it's like the reality is this, this blend of now, really, marketing is a lot of art and a lot of science as a whole. You know, another thing that comes up though, is around the competitive substitutes, right? So it's easier than ever to launch a brand Right, you need a Shopify site, you need some marketing funds and content. How do you look at, you know, this getting new customer acquisition for a brand? You know, in this, you know, see if a million more brands popping up, it seems all the time.

Jeffrey Douglass 40:17

Yeah. offense and defense, because it's kind of both right? Because if you're on the offensive side of this, it's kind of like, how do I take my product and really show that it is a viable alternative? So just thinking about the chat question, it's kind of like, if you're a new brand, it's like, were we aware of your competitors showing up? And how do you how do you really insert yourself into that conversation in order for you to be able to show that it is a viable substitute. And certainly industries like ours, and particularly if you have a lot of inbound shipping issues, and there's going to come to a time where their inventory availability is going to go down where, you know, if you if you're a site and shoot and want to, you know, find that 10 it's like, oh, my favorite things are now out. And now I have to like scramble and say, hey, I've got a wedding coming up, or Hey, I've got a, you know, a holiday thing coming up a holiday party, that most likely is going to happen. So it's like, all of a sudden, you're in want to be able to fill that need. But now your favorite things aren't there anymore. So all of a sudden substitutes come in. And it's like that change and kind of behavior. Like one thing, you'd say, okay, Jeff, how do you exactly kind of tell me that one thing that you can kind of do it's like, think about search specificity? And how that might change, right? Because if you're kind of saying, Oh, I don't want to get this now, all of a sudden, that thing isn't there. It's kind of like, Oh, right, now I need to try to start finding something. So it's like, things like search are gonna dramatically change in terms of service specificity, and even things like people might even put in substitute for, you know, it's like, you're going to start to see some of that kind of evolve over time. So it's like, again, like, as you think, through your marketing channels, like, how would you start detecting, you know, things where people are now out of an open minded to being able to have a substitute in their life as a result of that, and, and people choose the path of least resistance. So it's like the right place needs to be there, whether that's Amazon or on Shopify site, or wherever that is just making sure you really have that connection between whatever that that thing that you're trying to substitute that. So on the offensive side, I think it's a little bit easier, because you're able to kind of go out and say, I need to look at all the different connection points where they have this, I need to have the right product there, in order for me to do that. And that now, Amazon makes it super easy to deal with market products, through their sponsored products, and all the different tools and video marketers, but on the on the defensive side, it's a little bit tough, because all of a sudden, my best thing just went out of stock. And you have to kind of really say, Okay, I really need to show that I have things that are going to meet that person's life and have the right product the right time for that person to So to me, I would have to think about what are all those pads that lead into those products, and you really have to like hit the timeout button. Because if you're using algorithmic merchandising, you know, that algorithm once that product runs out of inventory is a problem. And it's like a liability for you for a short period of time. Because, you know, the historical is now overriding the thing you need to do. So think about all those pads into that product and being able to review them and really say, Okay, I need to really divert that traffic or divert that conversation, you really hit that substitute and being able to create that now let's talk about switching costs before it's like, they've been very difficult to do kind of at once, you know, loyalty programs take months and months and months to set up. But it's just like, think about, like, over long term. I don't think this is necessarily going away. Yeah, 2021, it's gonna be tough. From a shipping perspective, I actually can see it kind of going away for a little bit. So it's like, hey, in between now and then how do I start putting up some barriers? How do I start really kidding, keeping those individuals with me, and kind of trying to create seamless switching costs, and those are the kind of offensive defensive sides of that equation I think about often.

Tom Logan 44:14

And specifically, with with like, playing defense on DTC upstarts. I do think like, the more you can build that community, I know we use loyalty as kind of an umbrella term, but there are more opportunities to create and foster your loyal community and create ways to hear out their feedback to involve them in the creation of new products to build ambassadors and evangelists from within that from within your consumer base, I think a little bit further into like the, like venture backed DTC type companies. I think we're going to start to see more and more vertical integrate Meaning that they'll be less reliant on third parties to handle the production for example, so like, one example of that would be Harry's creating their own factories so that they can control 111 more variable of the supply chain. You know, there'll be there'll be a variety of ways that more incumbent brands are able to fend off the DTC upstarts Neil Blumenthal at Warby Hatta adequate recently, he said that it's it's never been easier to start a DTC business than it is right now. But it's also been never harder. It's never been harder to scale one. I thought that was a really interesting point. There's so much you get unpack there. Yeah. No,

Aaron Conant 45:43

love it. Yeah. There's a question that comes in. And I like this from the new customer acquisition standpoint, says we sell predominantly in brick and mortar grocery, and they're still growing on Amazon. If we're managing a small team with limited budgets, would you watch a DTC channel? When your average SRP is 499? So this begs the question, is a DTC site worth creating for new customer acquisition? You know, there's, there's all these trends that are out there, and people jump on Amazon, there's enough, I'd say growing distrust with Amazon that they then jump out to a direct to consumer site to see if they're there. And they'll jump back to Amazon, everything was good and buy it because it's easy. And it comes in two days, and they already have credit card information and everything else. But how do you view you know, time? How do you view that that space right there? I use the word launching? And then I kick it to Jeff as well. It's, it's interesting, because it can be used for new customer acquisition.

Tom Logan 46:48

Yeah, I think, well, Amazon is very like, it's very specific, right? Like you're there to search for a specific product, because you have a specific need. The brand side is more about these, like seven impressions that are required to actually get someone from first awareness of the brand of the product, all the way through to, you know, going through checkout and purchasing. Right. So I think that the to do need to work hand in hand, like Amazon is going to be a necessary component of a number of consumer brands, overall sales strategies, but I do think that the brand side, the storytelling side, the the social proof components, are going to be very important as well. And then you know, and on, you know, 499 type of product, I'm assuming it's probably a product that is a repeat purchase type of type of thing. seeing more and more of those types of companies set up recurring shipments directly through their website, and whatnot. So I know you can

Jeffrey Douglass 47:58

do that. I'd also say packing up packaging, like, right, if it's born and made for one, is there a better way for you to be able to create this same unit and larger scales and complimentary units and being able to create that, but now, DTC tends to also be a place that potentially could be an incubator for new ideas and testing, right? So you're able to say, oh, okay, well, and do some new product development and kind of throw out four things and see what works, right. And being able to scale that out through the rest of your channels. It's like that opportunity doesn't necessarily exist when you're trying to do b2b type stuff, because they want the tried and true, not necessarily the experimental. So there's a variety of facets that direct consumer could solve for that. But it is brutal, right? When you think about what is my net contribution for a sale, and then all of a sudden, you're talking about, hey, I need to go out there and acquire all these customers. So what is my net contribution by a new acquisition, you know, for low priced items, obviously going to be negative? So my first piece of advice would be, can you repackage that? Or can you create compliments to be able to show a way of being able to get that car up over that net contribution amount, so that you're able to actually profit. So I love the idea of using direct consumer also is an incubator for new idea creation, and testing. It's not no better conversation to bring to a buyer at a grocery chain and say, hey, I've got this many 1000s of people who say, this is great. I think this is gonna be awesome on your shelves, and all of a sudden it blows out like that's hope, right? That'd be marketers are always looking for once the data is going to provide a stable stream of income for a particular retailer. And that's, I think that's what I think about most.

Tom Logan 49:38

Yeah, I mean, you look at food and beverage as well. When you go to a wholesale buyer at Whole Foods. You're coming with it with a promotional fit. You're showing social proof. You're saying hey, people love this product. Like people are going to buy this product and without any sort of direct to consumer Yeah, components of that are social proof to back it up, you know, what are you really that story on? Awesome. So

Aaron Conant 50:08

so we're getting kind of, to the end here, we probably got about two and a half to three minutes left. You know, Jeff, I'll kick it over to you for key takeaways. And I have one more question that just came in for you, Tom around ratings, reviews and bring it in the content. But, you know, Jeff, key thoughts, key takeaways for people on the line today in regards to new customer acquisition, you know, kind of the State of the Union where we're at today, how you view it?

Jeffrey Douglass 50:36

Yeah, I mean, first and foremost, is, don't be afraid to test. Make sure you're watching your control group, make sure it actually is a control group, right? Because you're going to make some profound decisions off of that. So the scientific method of testing is, is is abound. So don't be afraid. Also, I would say, yeah, especially in direct consumer, just being able to really look at causality and understanding causality. We didn't get too much into it. But just like, when we're thinking about, hey, media costs are rising, you know, how do I how do I like kind of fight some of this and I think about like, understand what elements you know, that lead up to that. So if I'm talking about retargeting campaign, what's the time to pay? So just really looking at the various components that can lead out causality of understanding your cost structure, and being able to optimize that and challenging your, your partners? Hey, you know, I'm seeing this, like, what would you recommend the oftentimes we're takers, and I think they're also our viewers, and then just being able to leverage your relationship, there's plenty of times where even I will call it a Tom or Aaron can kind of say, Hey, you know, we need some new blood they need, you know, they're able to provide some, you know, great insight to Hey, let me take a second look at that. And oftentimes, that comes with a whole new set of questions. And I would say, for direct consumer company, in the process of rising costs, and more challenging acquisition is just like really challenging your technology network, and also just really understand like, about that causality, kind of what leads to kind of those new people and understanding are they're better technologies, are there something that's out there that can assist that and be able to make, you know, either more people come through or to make it more efficient? So I'm constantly kind of going through that iterative cycle of understanding that and being able to try to kind of deliver, you know, more people into the end of the sales funnel.

Aaron Conant 52:44

Awesome. Love it. So it's really quick, are you seeing people loop in a lot more ratings and reviews, you know, from their website into content as a whole. And then the last one is just kind of key takeaways, as we wrap it up here in the last few minutes.

Tom Logan 52:58

Yeah, reviews are, are certainly tried and true way to conversions. Now, what we'll do more and more is these product seeding campaigns that are actually leading up to a product launch. Because if we're saying that having product reviews on an actual product, Detail page, lead to a higher conversion rate, then we also have to say that if we launch a product, a new product, without reviews on that page, there's a real opportunity cost associated with that, right until I have a sufficient amount of reviews. And you know, it also encourage, encourage brands to think about product seeding, pre launch for market research and or market validation. We ran a campaign recently where the brand was furious because pre launch people were saying that it tasted terrible. But actually, that's great insight, right, so long as the so long as the sample size is large enough, and they can actually glean some learnings off of that. I mean, you just, you just prevented an absolute nightmare scenario where you launch a product put all this effort in and and it doesn't land, right. Like why would you take that risk? It's not necessary. And then key wrap ups. Yeah, I mean, Jeff, is, is so is so good at explaining this, but it's just a unique time to be a direct to consumer marketer, like there are just so many challenges around the logistics component, the timing, keeping bestsellers on the shelves, as well as rising costs around acquiring new customers. I've just have a lot of empathy for marketers that are dealing with that. We can certainly help on the content front. But do think content can be a very nice remedy as far as introducing more inputs, introducing more testing, opening up new new demographics, opening up new channels. So you know, Aaron to tie it back to your LinkedIn post the other day. You know, eCommerce is in this state of puberty almost. And I think anyone who says that they have it all figured out, they know exactly what they're doing. They know, they know exactly what they're going to be doing within eCommerce year from now. You know, I think they probably have something else coming to them. It's just a time of rapid learning and rapid iteration. And you are you are graded at translating that at the expense of your 15 year old son.

Aaron Conant 55:23

Yeah, for those of Yeah, I did a post on LinkedIn that, you know, just talking to 30 or 40 brands a week there is eCommerce is in this spot of we, we've all been pushed to a new stage. We're never going back. But we haven't quite fully matured yet. And so it's this purity stage of trying to figure everything out. So Tom, awesome, awesome conversation. Thanks so much for being such great friends and partners and supporters and the network as a whole. Again, encourage anybody on the line today. You need follow up information you want you want, you know more on this whatsoever more than happy to put you in touch with both of them. You know, Tom and the team at Cohley are great friends and partners supporters and doing a lot on the content generation side. Decreasing content costs just come highly recommended from a ton of different brands in the network. So encourage you put 30 minutes on the calendar, figure out what they're doing over there, it can be incredibly impactful across the board. With that being said, I'd also love to have a conversation with anybody on the line today. We don't sell anything here. But I do connect with the 30 to 40 brands a week and a digital strategy session just to stay on top of the trends. And that's how we get the ideas for the calls as a whole. So thanks again, everybody I've chatted with thanks again for everybody who doubted today in the great questions. hope everybody has a fantastic Tuesday. Everybody. Take care, stay safe and look forward to having you at a future event. All right. Yeah. Thank you. Always a pleasure, my friends already.

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