DTC 30: 📦 Prompt Wars
May 21, 2023
Content Tag

We intercept our standard preambling precepts with preemptive, premonitory prattle regarding the prepromptive note from Facebook pertaining to iOS14's privacy prompt.

When is this all going down? Promptly. (It’s being tested already and should roll out in the next few months.)

Facebook’s prompt aims to educate users on options for data personalization, along with the benefits of personalized ad experiences, saying users “deserve more context.”

We can only imagine the copywriting brainpower being put into Facebook’s plea. 

Check out the Quick Hits for more on the fallout from the Prompt Wars, but for now, let’s return to our regularly scheduled programming.

New here? Welcome! You’re in good company with fellow DTC newcomers from Bell Media, Carnival Cruises, Staples, Stila Cosmetics, Tidal, Nestle, and Nike.

If a pal forwarded this to you, be like Nike and just subscribe

And be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram. 

This newsletter is filled with timeless marketing tactics that will work for you, regardless of who’s prompt gets primacy.  

Inside you’ll find:   

📦  Tru Earth’s Ryan McKenzie on his highest-converting bottom of funnel ad content

📦  Building teams that scale – Pilothouse speaks to hiring media buyers and creatives on AKNF

📦  Jebbit’s guide to creating an interactive lookbook for your brand

📦  A quick video creative hack that you can do with your phone today

📦  Avec Drinks’ Dee Charlemagne on how a creative, organic community powers her brand (+ the best thing she learned at Ogilvy)

Stick around until the end for a free report from Attest that will tell you what 2000 American consumers like and dislike about DTC brands. 😈 😇

Boost Bottom of Funnel Conversions with Other People’s Posts

By Tru Earth’s Ryan McKenzie

Who's down with OPP?

I’m not talking about the controversial 1991 Naughty by Nature hip hop hit.

No, I'm talking about bottom of funnel assets perfect for busting the doubts of people that are on the fence about your product.

What does OPP stand for?

Other People's Posts.

I'm not talking white labelling an influencer post on Instagram and running traffic to it.

No, I'm talking about blog posts that probably already exist about your product.

Regular ol' reviews written by regular ol' customers, who just so happen to have a creative outlet where they shared your product. Ideally, the content shares the poster’s fears about ordering your product, their expectations, and most importantly how it lived up to the hype.

I'm not talking rocket science here.

Think about the last time you were considering buying something.

If you are like me, you probably Googled 'Best Noise Cancelling Headphones 2021.’

You then proceeded to read through countless biased reviews until there was nothing left to learn. If you are being honest with yourself, you weren't really looking to find something to stop you from buying. You were looking for logic to appease your confirmation bias, arming yourself with enough information that you can convince yourself you need this 'thing.’

Our goal is to put this OPP in front of fence-dwellers and move them from considering your product to becoming product owners.

I'm going to walk you through the process as if this content already existed in the wild. 


I'm going to make an assumption that you've been at this for a bit, and you've had a bunch of organic blog posts created about your brand. With Tru Earth, we've hit a tipping point where there are new pieces of content popping up every few days. So there is plenty of content to test.

If you are newer and haven't built up this luxury yet, get creative and reach out to some bloggers to have them write a review in exchange for product. You don't need to land CNET for this to work. 

Once you've found the content you have a few options. 

  1. Best Option: Connect with the author and have them tag your brand in a branded post/white list your Facebook Ad account. We want them to do this so we can advertise using their Facebook page. This makes it feel more authentic than if it came from your brand. Sometimes the pitch of sending a blog free traffic is enough to motivate the author to grant you these rights, but sometimes free traffic isn't enough. Sometimes the author will want to get paid. 

  1. Next Best Case: If you are willing to pay a licensing fee for access, there is another way where you both benefit. So how do we get the author to whitelist us while limiting risk for both parties?  Have them sign up for your affiliate program (you have one, right?). Share the upside with the blogger. They give you access to their page, you send traffic, they make affiliate commissions. Win-win for both parties. The secondary upside to this, is that they will most likely be motivated to write more reviews for you if you have other products.

  1. Third Best Case: If the author ignores you, or isn't interested in any kind of partnership we move to the third-best case. In this scenario, we will use a service like Snip.ly to link to the author's site. On top of being able to add your FB pixel to the mix, you can also embed a call to action in the user’s browser to shop your site, potentially further increasing the likelihood of clicking through to your site.

Ok, the author is on board. We've got our content.

What now? Who should you target?

If FB media buying was a game of golf, this tactic works best the closer you get to the hole.

Your top of funnel ads are driving the ball towards the green. Then the OPP is your putter that shows up on the green and sinks all the putts.

For targeting, I find the best results when I target visitors who added to cart in the last 30 days. I've also seen success all the way up to 180 days on visitors who added to cart. Your mileage may vary. I'd suggest segmenting less than 30 days, and greater to find what works for you.

Know that not every post will be a winner. Just like other ads, you may need to test a few to find something that really resonates with your audience.

But when you do find one, there is one more trick.

Once you've got a post that is converting, we are going to leverage your existing customers for engagement.

Simply send an email to your customer list asking them to check out this recent review. Link the email to the Facebook ad post and consider asking them to leave a comment stating their favourite thing about the product.

If you test any of these OPP tactics, let me know how they work! You can always catch me in the DTC+ community, or on LinkedIn

And if you ever thought laundry would be better with 90% less waste, check out www.tru.earth, our eco-friendly laundry detergent brand.

Building Teams that Scale 📈

This week on All Killer No Filler, we’re unpacking our approach to team building and growth with Pilothouse’s team of super scalers, including Jordan Chew, Cam Wind, Dave Steele, and Kyle Hitchcox. 

These guys know two things 1) how to grow teams that scale and 2) their sports metaphors. 

Let's get into it. Here are some quick hits from the pod: 

💥Balance chaos and process 

Dave’s #1 key to growing teams that scale? Imbue process in the people you hire so that the problems inherent to the chaos and complexity of scaling are solved on an ongoing basis. 

There is opportunity in chaos – find employees who interpret chaos as potential, handle that reality, and form order out of it.

💥Covering your bases

Another Dave Steele approved scale strategy? Cover all your bases.

If you’re great at media buying but your creative sucks, you’re going to get stuck. If you ace your buying and creative but your comment moderation is lacking, you’re going to slow down. 

You need to approach your scale strategy holistically. 

💥Radical transparency 

This pod’s conversation often circled back to communication and why radical transparency, hyper-communication, and rapid feedback loops are essential.

The speed of your feedback loops is critical. The sooner you know something isn’t working, the sooner you can move on to the next. 

The Pilothouse team is VERY active on Slack, and encourages the sharing of ideas across channels and departments to learn and grow from each other. Our Slack workspace has an open-door policy for all ideas. We have a creative ideas channel, for example, and one for tips & tricks – just a couple of many channels where all are encouraged to throw ideas into the mix, see what works, and compare results. 

Transparent comms are also something we look for in new hires. In an environment where you have to jump right into the deep end, it’s essential to have a communication-forward team unafraid to ask for help when they need it. It is supremely unhelpful to suffer in silence. 

💥It’s ok to fail 

Further to the last point, about suffering in silence – don’t do that! People make mistakes – it’s a necessary part of growth. However, that growth moment won’t occur if people are failing quietly. Failure requires transparency – you need employees willing to pass on their learnings to the entire team so everyone can learn from screw-ups and wins alike.

💥Find your Stanley Cup

At Pilothouse, we’re like one giant sports team: 1) We’re competitive as hell; 2) We’re all working towards a common goal. Like a sports team, everyone has their role to play and individual goals, but we all work towards a shared endgame that aligns us across the board and keeps us motivated and moving forward. 

We’re all in it for the championship.

The team also gave us a look under the hood at Pilothouse engines:

🚀 The Pilothouse playbook 

Early on the Pilothouse team was media buyer focused, but quickly established that one person could not thrive while handling multiple full-funnel accounts, simultaneously being media buyer, creative director, copywriter, etc. 

Instead, to encourage hyper-focus, accounts will have a 10-12 person team, each with a specialty role, with the common objective of selling the shit out of a product. 

Every client has a media buyer and a content manager (a strategist who looks at angles across funnels), supported by other departments, including creative, comment moderation, copywriting, landing pages, and UGC. 

🚀 Our new-hire workflow


  • Prescreen – an initial gut check on whether or not the candidate is a fit.
  • Team screen – they meet with 2 or 3 members of the team they’re applying to, who score the interview based on a report card.
  • Technical – this third interview constitutes an open conversation about the upsides and downsides of the industry. We make sure to expose the dark part of the business when bringing people on board, and make sure the challenge still fires them up. Plus some technical questions to gauge capability. 
  • The technical performance is compared to the team screen scorecard results before deciding to offer.

The team on the pod agrees, they’d rather hire on foundations over skills, preferring to bring on a green person who is passionate and train them for skill. 


  • The first 30 days – training-focused using the team-built knowledge bank.
  • 30-day check-in – touch base with the new hire on their 30-day progress, and ask for feedback on our onboarding process. If all is well, set goals and discuss roadblocks, with two-month and twelve-month milestones.

Take a listen to the full All Killer No Filler (big sports guys edition) here. Come for the team-building advice, stay for the synchronized swimming reference.

🎧 Listen
👀 Watch

How to Create an Interactive Lookbook

Implementing lookbooks into your eCommerce marketing strategy is a great way to sell through visual storytelling rather than text-heavy advertisements.

Research shows that when people read information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. 

However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.

Keep reading for a few tips and tricks to incorporate interactive lookbooks into your consumer’s shopping experience.

What is a Lookbook?

A standard lookbook is a collection of images pieced together in order to showcase a product line or array of different items and ideas.

Most often, lookbooks are associated with the fashion industry as they’re an effective way to promote new collections seamlessly.

How to Create a Lookbook

Creating a lookbook is an easy strategy to activate. Here are some tips to get you started: 

1. Determine your goals

First things first, ask yourself what you’re hoping to achieve by implementing a lookbook.

Are you looking to increase conversion by highlighting all of the newest products in your collection? 

Or maybe you’re looking to use bold imagery to inspire consumers and drive brand awareness.

Once you’ve decided on your goals, the next step is to tap into the power of visual storytelling.

2. Outline your experience

Step two is to outline the layout and design of your interactive lookbook.

Since lookbooks are image-heavy, be sure to lay out all of the images to start and get creative with positioning.

By segmenting the lookbook experience, your brand will gain data about consumer preferences and learn which features resonate the most.

Once you’ve mapped out the experience, the next step is to… LAUNCH!

3. Launch 

Once you’ve decided on your goals and imagery, the final step is to launch your experience!

With a platform like Jebbit, your brand can determine goals, outline your experience, and launch within a few hours. 

Plus, there are even fully customizable templates to get you up and running in no time.


Here are some examples of interactive lookbooks:



This interactive quiz created by fashion retailer Boden highlights an effective way to showcase new products through a fun, interactive experience.

The quiz highlights all of the new products at Boden for that particular month, including dresses, swimsuits, workwear, and kids’ clothing.



Clothing retailer Express created a lookbook that encourages consumers to help other consumers find their best denim fit.

The lookbook highlights various silhouettes for consumers to choose from and decide which styles they would most likely wear.

After seeing the latest products, consumers are led back to the site to shop the latest collection.

In three quick and simple steps, your brand can create a fully customized lookbook experience in no time. 

Head to Jebbit and create your own interactive lookbook today. 

Sipping the DTC Cocktail with Avec Drinks’s Dee Charlemagne

How we drink is changing. 

The pandemic has seen a major rise in at-home alcohol consumption and a simultaneous call for healthy alternatives to spirits and mixers. 

Our guest on the pod this week is Denetrias “Dee” Charlemagne. She’s a co-founder of Avec Drinks, a high-flavour low-sugar mixer brand that launched in June of 2020.

Avec Drinks has arrived at the perfect time, offering premium mixers to pair with spirits, appealing to calls for healthier (and tastier) drinking options. 

Avec Drinks isn’t even a year old, but here’s a behind the scenes look at their early-days DTC strategy: 

📦 Organic-first approach

Avec Drinks’s pre-pandemic growth plan was in line with other brands in the spirit space. Their strategy focused on getting people to experience their product and bringing communities together. They planned to go to market with brand-aligned parties and experience. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, they were somewhat able to move forward with their events-focused strategy. They hosted a distanced bar engagement experience, and also hosted Tarot Tuesdays – an event that included tarot card readings (mixing spirits with the spiritual). The success of these events shows that you don’t always have to rely on a purely functional message.

Ultimately, the pandemic resulted in a need to translate their growth model to online venues. 

Avec Drinks’s growth has primarily been through partnerships and word of mouth, having real conversations and getting media coverage. 

Dee’s advice? Have faith in organic, not everything can be measured. 

📦  Avec’s paid growth strategy

After successful organic traction in 2020, Avec Drinks will start moving into the paid growth space.

They plan to lean into experience-focused ads and how-tos focusing on their customer avatars: the spirit lover; the social savant (someone who loves hosting, and food and drink); and the health-conscious drinker. 

Anticipating that two-thirds of their purchases will be made online for at-home consumption, Avec is going to focus on the at-home bartender. Dee is hoping to harness the intent of search (if you need a refresher, take a listen to Lindsay’s Podcast on search intent and Pinterest). This strategy will focus on the social savant avatar, hoping to target customers where they get their recipes (thinking Pinterest, tutorials, perhaps TikTok). Dee’s goal is to make ads useful and entertaining, providing quick learnings to the customer. 

📦 Build a creative community 

One of the first things we noticed about Avec Drinks is their truly gorgeous website.

When asked about the origin story of their lovely website and brand, Dee explained that she believes in curating a network of freelancers and letting them flex their creative muscles. 

Collaborating with a community of creatives, Dee and team went through five brand iterations and a two-month development process for their website. 

Their brand is inspired by the joy, revelry, and opulence of the 1920’s, while also conveying the health and ease of their product. 

And finally...

What did Dee learn while working at Ogilvy?

If an idea is very simple, it’s very good. If it takes more than 10 sec to explain, it's not a great idea.

Here’s a simple/good idea: Listen to the full pod! 

🎧 Listen
👀 Watch

Quick Hits 🥊

📈 Consumer Trends - Get ahead of the competition with Attest’s report on 2021’s DTC trends. Based on data from 2,000 US consumers, discover what Americans like about shopping directly with brands… and what they don’t.

😱 Jeff Bezoz is stepping down as CEO of Amazon. Andy Jass, head of Amazon Web Services, will take his place in Q3 of this year. 

📱Facebook is testing new prompts to encourage users to allow tracking. 

 🚀Influencer seeding vs gifting. Awesome insights from Cody Wittick.  

🎙Clubhouse raised $100 million and plans to launch a program to monetize creators helping increase revenue.

🍎Apple announces iOS 14 will most likely start in “early spring”.

🕺Actionable creative insights for your next TikTok campaign. Key insight: Ads displaying 4+ emotions did 33% better.

👩‍💻 Google is running a webinar today to help prepare for ATT (App tracking transparency). Register here.

👊 New feature on private click management (PCM) for measuring ad clicks across websites and iOS apps. Read the blog.

🐦Marketing Twitter shared killer tips for higher open rates. Check it out.

🛍 Ahead of iOS 14 Walmart is revamping its ad business.

♻️New DTC brand Ace of Air creates skin-care and supplement products with packaging that customers “rent” for a non-refundable $2 per product 

🚀TikTok announced a partnership with WPP to facilitate creator and brand collaborations.  

✚ In the supplement business? Exploding topics shared insights on the growth of collagens, gummies, vegan supplements, and more for 2021.  

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