DTC 4: Branzio gives 🔑s to the Kingdom; Facebook’s feeling nostalgic; attribution can be...fun?
May 21, 2023
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Welcome to the 1,268 newly anointed smart marketers who’ve jumped on board the DTC Newsletter this past week. We’re glad you’re here! 🙏🏻

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Here are the carefully curated goodies in this week’s DTC ‘shipment’:

📦 Branzio Watches’ Ronnie Teja gives away keys to the success of his 3 +$10M watch and accessory brands 

📦 Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) Team is dropping a ‘90s throwback platform (we’re pretty excited)

📦 Simple ideas to make your marketing more ‘real’ (+ personal)

📦 One step you can take right now to see where you might be undervaluing your marketing channels (+ how to fix)

📦 and more!

Do you hear that sound? 🕰

Tik Tok is officially on the clock. Learn the fate of the world’s fastest growing traffic source at the end. 👇

Facebook’s NPE team looks to bring back internet creative expression from the 90s with E.gg

You have to admit, it does feel nostalgic..

In an effort to tap into that nostalgia, Facebook’s NPE team pre-launched their 10th product called E.gg:

“On E.gg you create canvases — free-form mixed media collages/pages that let you express anything from your favorite films/albums/novels to a collage of succulent pics to, say, an about page for an app.”

Damn, that sounds pretty sweet. Who wouldn’t want to relive the early internet days?! (to this day, I don’t think there’s a sound that’s brought me more glee than a dial-up connection 🤗)

Why this could be cool for marketers: Have you ever noticed that in your ad and creative testing, the ‘ugliest’ creative tends to perform the best? 

👨🏽‍🔬 Here’s a theory → How was the early internet learning to structure information? They were looking to newspapers, magazines, and other print materials that had CENTURIES of experience. 

(Not to mention direct response copywriters who didn’t have to worry about button colors, CRO, SEO, CTR, etc).

So while today’s high-performing ‘ugly’ creative may not align with modern design standards, it DOES align with the early internet’s simple information-driven design standards (that seem to get sales).

As performance DTC marketers, we put every theory to the test. E.gg could help us discover if this theory holds any water.

And at the very least, it’ll give you an easy way to create some new creative that’s bound to stand out in the newsfeed 😁

You can join the waiting list at E.gg.

Acquiring Content Affiliates, How to Bid with Google Shopping, YouTube for Fashion and Investing in your team systems with E.O.S.

Last week we dropped a podcast with Branzio Watches’ Ronnie Teja, a cricket loving entrepreneur from India who won a “golden ticket” to come to Canada with his family. 

He honed his digital marketing skills with Best Buy, and went on to found Branzio with his last $5K savings. 

Now Ronnie owns three $10M watch/accessory brands selling into 77 countries and runs a global team of 30. 

Here are the biggest insights from this podcast (Titles are time stamped links):

🔑How to Acquire Affiliate Content Sites to Diversify and Stabilize your Traffic

Do your research and find lots of popular articles in your niche. Aim for forums, review sites and blogs. Ronnie’s business is fully international, so his strategy is to find, partner with, and then acquire top ranked sites in smaller markets like South Africa, Thailand, and Singapore.

Step 1: After finding target sites, reach out and offer 30% affiliate commission on any products sold. Ask them to include your brand in their blog, and to advertise on the site, but don’t make things inauthentic or at all spammy because customers can tell when content is just there to sell them. 

Step 2: If it works for both parties, you can look to acquire the content site, and build it into a portfolio of organic sites that continually send reliable traffic to your brand. Ronnie advises cash only deals where you buy a majority stake (60/40 or 70/30) with longer vesting periods, where founders and staff are incentivized to continue to grow the property. 

The Offer: When evaluating content sites, along with traffic and revenue, look at things like dwell time, bounce rate, and page depth and think about whether there are quick ways you can improve these things. Valuations for content sites are usually 27x to 35x monthly revenue.

[💣Knowledge Bomb 💣] Acquiring the sites, also gives you another high quality, high engagement place to put your FB or Google Pixel to start building incredible intent driven audiences. 🤫Branzio’s paid strategy is built on pixeled organic content data from sites they’ve acquired.

“These people are searching, best watches under $100, best watches under $200, and Google specifically can turn that data into gold when it comes to retargeting.”

Even when you own the sites, refrain from being spammy at all. It will backfire if you’re inauthentic. 

“Your customer is your wife, never forget that.”👰🏻

🔑Think International. Why and HOW Branzio sells into 77 countries

If you can handle logistics, there’s no reason not to scale internationally. Branzio has 100% market share in several countries like Thailand, Singapore. Volumes will vary, but when you’re getting CPAs at $5 vs $55 in the US, it’s more than worth it. 

🔑YouTube is MASSIVE low hanging fruit for Fashion

YouTube has been great for Branzio. Lots of cheap traffic. Just use basic targeting based on your avatar (and always automated bidding). He’s experimented extensively and has never been able to beat the automated bidding functions when it comes to scale and CPAs. 

🔑Google Shopping: How to Leverage High, Medium, and Low Campaign Priority

Google Shopping had them hitting $20 CPAS at scale. They actually turned off Facebook in the early days of quarantine and relied only on Google. 

The High, Medium, and Low Campaign Priority in Google Shopping can be leveraged to give you the most real estate in their system. Make sure each of your SKUs has its own campaign and its own campaign priority.

By setting your highest margin products to the highest priority on Google Shopping, you might sacrifice margin on those products, but you’ll get more traffic to your site, which means more retargeting, more lead generation and more sales in the long run. 

Make sure you’re measuring your REAL cost of customer acquisition. Dig into your attribution model to understand their marketing journey and how many touch points you’ve really paid for, with each customer. 

🔑The Best Way to Invest in Your Team (Entrepreneur Operating System EOS)

When asked how Ronnie would invest a $50K grant to his business, his answer was unique: His team. 

He recommends the book Traction “How to Get a Grip on Your Business,” and the EOS system they teach. 

Ronnie invested close to $50K to bring in a specialist to help him install an Entrepreneur Operating System, which basically helps you align and synchronize all aspects of your business and your team under one system. This system has been critical to helping Ronnie manage and scale his team so that he can work on the business, rather than in it all the time. 

🏆 Massive value in this podcast. If you’re more into audio, find the full episode here.

Want to be more personal in your marketing? Make it real

Harry Dry curates world-class examples of marketing at his blog MarketingExamples.com. In this post, he features examples of Real Marketing:

Source: MarketingExamples.com

The directive from this is to go ahead and create ads that are less refined → Go use Microsoft Paint, sketch something on a piece of paper, record video using your phone, etc.

Afterall, if it’s good enough for Chanel...

Don’t overthink it. Just go make something 🏃‍♂️

This could be the next best step for you to take for your multi-channel attribution game (whew...that’s a mouthful)

How do you feel your DTC brand is doing when it comes to multi-channel attribution modeling? Well, if you’re like most, the answer is probably something along the lines of ‘not very good.’

You’re not alone, of course. Just about every company in the world has an attribution problem.

(Btw, if this sounds like jargon to you 👉 multi-channel attribution is giving each marketing channel credit where it’s due for the sales you make.)

It’s no wonder most brands can’t figure it out -- considering events like the weather or a hockey game can affect conversions -- attribution is a complex problem.

Avinash Kaushik has words of solace:

“Don't be disheartened that all this complexity exists. Take things one step at a time. Standard Time Decay model first. Then your own Mindblowing Custom Model. Then Experimentation. [...] With every step, you are making your company smarter. Less wrong every day.”

Avinash recommends this next best step to improve your attribution game:

  • In Google Analytics, go to Assisted Conversions report and look at the last column: Assisted/Last Click or Direct Conversions

Source: wholewhale.com

  • If the value in this column is less than 1, then it has a tendency to drive last click conversions -- a healthy sign.
  • If the value is over 1, then that channel likely appears early in the customer journey, and doesn’t drive last click conversions. 

THE TAKEAWAY FROM THIS REPORT ⏭Channels that have a value over 1 are undervalued by your brand!

“You can even use that column to adjust some of the budget allocation right now, without any attribution modeling, and measure the outcome. It is imperfect, but it is such a simple first step.”

Oh and what about that pesky ‘direct’ source?

A great way to think of the ‘direct’ source is that it’s brand value and brand recognition.

Avinash says, “Why give credit to a campaign if it took me another visit where I remembered your URL and typed it in and came to your site? Why should the visit where, say, I saw a great promo or you recommended something based on my prior visit not get some credit for the conversion?”

If you’d like to dive deeper into multi-channel attribution modeling with Avinash Kaushik, check out the article Multi-Channel Attribution Modeling: The Good, Bad and Ugly Models

(BTW, If you feel you ARE doing a good job with attribution, please reach out to us...We’d like to have you on the podcast 😁)

Tik Tok, Trump, and Microsoft

Last week, while travelling on Air Force One, Trump went on record with his intention to ban Tik Tok due to it being “a trojan horse for Chinese Intelligence” (and/or as revenge for that time Tik Tok users spammed his rally, buying 20K fake tickets resulting in average attendance)

For context: The app was caught logging keystrokes outside of sessions, and that’s a big no no. Both Japan and India are also strongly considering a ban on this and other Chinese owned apps. 

Geopolitics aside, we don’t know many paid marketers who’ve cracked Tik Tok. It seems to be a very organic platform, where organic partnerships and placements win the day. 

As a marketer, you never like to see a new traffic source go down, especially the fastest growing social media app in the world. Tik Tok has grown 5.5x in the past 18 months.

Is Tik Tok Really Going to Be Banned?

No, not likely. About ten days before Trump’s dramatic statement, Microsoft quietly entered into negotiations to purchase the app from its Chinese owner ByteDance. 

Allegedly negotiations were not going well for Windows, until Trump’s airborne announcement turned the tide.

I wonder how much money Donald just saved Bill? (no wonder Gates is dabbing in the header image.)

On Tuesday, Trump went further and set a timeline, saying that if the deal was not done by Sept 15, he would ban Tik Tok. 

Talk about ratcheting up the urgency. Marketers take note  👀.

Then the president went “Full Trump” and transparently stated his intentions to cut the US Treasury in on deals like this:

"The United States should get a very large percentage of that price, because we're making it possible." 

Sounds like Uncle Sam could be entering the M/A space :)

Ultimately it sounds like a deal will get done and Tik Tok will be spared, giving us marketers the chance to crack that nut. 

We’re super keen on finding examples of Tik Tok working, so if you have any, please reply back to this email and let us know.

For an overview of Tik Tok marketing basics check out this blog post. 

Things We Loved This Week

🎙Podcast Five Million to $55 Million in Supplements. Dave Huffman from Microbe Formulas goes deep with exact strategies helping him scale: Free + shipping still working, reg path, and the strategic formula to simplify EVERYTHING. 

✏️ Article about the curious phenomenon of “harbinger customers” and “harbinger zip codes”, is really interesting. These harbinger customers tend to buy unpopular products like Crystal Pepsi or Colgate Kitchen Entrees and support losing political candidates.

🐦Tweet @iamdanielsnow gives a breakdown of FB’s magical “quality score” and how it’s been the key to hassle-free scale on Facebook Ads the whole time. Turns out you just have to make high quality, highly engaging ads.🤷🏽‍♂️ 

🎙Podcast Under the Influence is a classic marketing podcast by legendary ad man Terry O’Reilly. We revisited this seminal cast on the Psychology of Price.  

📝 Blog Given the problem and complexity of attribution -- Avinash Kaushik would be a good blog to subscribe to. He has a way of making it simple, fun, and kind of...funny! Thanks to Purelei’s John Hagan for bringing him to our attention 🙏

🎙Podcast Another My First Million Gem, this time with tech’s Warren Buffet, Andrew Wilkinson. Most interestingly, he talks about how his newsletter model can revolutionize local news. 

🛠Chrome App Momentum is a beautiful free app that lets you replace the new tab page (cluttered with things to distract you) with a personal dashboard featuring to-do, weather, and inspiration. 

🐦 Tweet Thread Digitally Native outlines the entrepreneurial adventure of Anthony von Mandl who started as a wine apprentice and importer (from his car) and is now the owner of the #1 RTD beverage in the world (White Claw). He’s worth $4.4B.

🎥Movie “Ford Vs Ferrari” is a great flick, and an interesting parallel to the DTC space. Ford represents monolithic corporate scale, and Ferrari stands for the constant pursuit of individual performance and perfection. Ford gets scrappy, and learns a thing or two about ruthless performance along the way to victory. Sound familiar?

📦🚀🌈Emoji Shortcut on Mac [command + control + spacebar] We’re sure everyone knows this by now, but if we help EVEN wayward soul still using their mouse for emojis on desktop, it will all be worth it. 

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