📦 - Keepin' it Pretty in 2023
May 21, 2023
Content Tag


Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Yes, yes, yes 1000 times over. 😅

If you’re new to DTC, welcome! You’re in good company with fellow newcomers from Beam, Louis Barx, Azur, and Straightaway Cocktails.

In this newsletter, you’ll find: 👇

📦 The benefits of founder/owner UGC

📦 Future proof your marketing in 2023 with key insights from 2022

📦 Pretty Boy - Ben Feys and Kevin Neihoff: Nailing your brand identity and balling on a budget

📦 Reels begin to surpasses TikTok for organic engagement

📦 VR, the Metaverse, and your senses

📦 Why communication and transparency are the keys to marketing success

Read till the end to access exclusive DTC swag. 😎

👉 If a pal forwarded this to you, subscribe, so you never miss out.


ABC? More Like ABT – Always Be Testing

In the true Pilothouse spirit, we’re bringing you another great tip your brand should be all over if you aren’t already. 👀

This tactic is one that we’re sure you’ve heard, but haven’t heard many people talking about recently. The tactic? Founder/owner user generated content (UGC). 🔥

Trying to convince yourself or your boss to get infront of the camera?

Here are the unique selling points of founder/owner UGC:

  1. It presents a unique angle. The founder putting themselves out there builds trust with customers. It allows shoppers to see through the marketing talk and make a personal connection.
  2. It gets the owner/brand involved! If you’re in an agency setting, founder UGC is a fabulous way to connect with the big dogs.
  3. It drives killer performance. These videos have been known to have a fairly high hit rate for conversions.

Sure, this tactic won’t crush for every brand (size and how they are on camera matters here), but here’s what the Pilothouse Meta team saw on a past campaign:

Ad spend: $1.5M

Revenue: $2.5M

Return on ad spend (ROAS): 1.66 – compared to 1.5 account average

Average order value (AOV): $175  – compared to $165 account average

Cost per acquisition (CPA): $105  – compared to $110 account average

Wondering what to talk about in these founder videos? Here are some good places to start:

  • Origin story: why the product was created
  • Impact of the product: highlight the differences its made in customers’ lives
  • Offer focus: highlight a brand new offer, a new product, a new feature "straight from the source"

The proof is in the pudding! 📈 If you think this would be a good tactic for your brand, try it out and shoot for the moon in 2023. 🚀


Play your cards right with these 2023 marketing insights

♠️ Imagine you're a poker star with tons of chips, ready to place a bet on the next winning hand.

You have the chips, but you can't see the cards. Thankfully, Wunderkind has an ace up their sleeve: The 2023 Marketing Predictions Report.

All the answers to what worked and didn't work in 2022, including:

  • Big Tech's Reckoning
  • Winning Ad Formulas
  • The Benefits of Future-Proofing
  • The Upside to Downsizing
  • The Exponential Growth of Retail Media

🔎 With these insights from 2022, you can future-proof your 2023 marketing strategy.

Check this out:

When you know that 94% of US consumers ditched their online shopping session after irrelevant search results, you know it's time to go all in on powerful, relevant search results. After all, this is what drove 70% of US consumers to make a purchase in 2022.

👉 Data doesn’t lie. Place your bets with a clearer picture of the future. Check out Wunderkind’s 2023 Predictions Report.


🎧 Yo! Today on the DTC pod, we’re chatting with Ben Feys and Kevin Niehoff, co-founders of early-stage buzz brand PrettyBoy, a skincare company that provides simple skincare solutions for active males.

They discuss branding and product development, including how a clever branding strategy led to their success. They also share their philosophy of "balling on a budget", as well as their tips for self-funded brands looking to cut costs while maintaining a strong image.

Ben and Kevin also emphasize the importance of authenticity and social proof in creating effective content and encourage other brands to experiment with user-generated content to drive growth.

‍The takeaways 👇

🚶 Walking the walk

Ben and Kevin built their brand around focusing on a specific need in the skincare industry: a simple skincare routine tailored to men. A lot went into their strategic branding efforts, starting with a clear vision of what their customers want and building the company and brand accordingly. They also place a strong emphasis on performance and delivering on their brand promise, recognizing that a strong brand alone is not enough if the product does not meet customer needs and expectations.

“The branding, I always put it as a metaphor, is like a car. You look at a car, it's very cool, [and] you can see yourself driving it. [The branding] is what attracts you to that car. But at the end of the day, if that car has horrible performance and can't drive then you're never going to buy it.”

✂️ Cutting costs

When it comes to “balling on a budget”, Ben and Kevin have adopted a growth hacking mentality in their efforts to cut costs and drive growth for PrettyBoy. They’ve focused on leveraging free or low-cost resources, such as taking courses on advertising on Facebook and seeking out mentors and advisors in their network to learn new skills and improve their marketing efforts. They also emphasize the importance of testing and experimentation and have used platforms like TikTok to gather insights and identify opportunities for growth.

To Ben and Kevin, being proactive and continuously learning and improving is key to success in the competitive digital space.

💰 What Ben & Kevin would do with an extra $50K:

They would focus on scaling their current marketing channels that are performing well and creating a clinical before and after study to showcase the effectiveness of their product.

They also mention using a portion of the grant to set up a cohort of influencers or creators who will be using their product and sharing their experiences with it.

“[We would want them] talking about not only the results, [but also] the brand appeal, the lifestyle correlation, and then that emotional tie that it had to them, really focusing on people who have overcome adversity. Really focusing on people who are considering taking a big leap.

👉 Listen to the full episode with Ben Feys and Kevin Niehoff here!


Move over, Tiktok. Reels are making a comeback!

🤯 Reels are now surpassing Tiktok in organic engagement?!

Time to up your UGC game.

Top DTC brands have been working with minisocial to produce fully-licensed UGC.

  • 🚀 Corkcicle: created content featuring their Commuter Cup and turned that content into Reels. Highlighting authentic customer experiences, they saw a 92% increase in views compared to similar studio content.
  • 📈 Plant People: created TikTok ads performing in the top 1% of industry average CVR by focusing campaigns on testimonial-style videos with creator voiceover.

👉 Use UGC to increase your engagement. Made easy with minisocial!

*DTC Newsletter readers get 15% off their first campaign!*


🚎 A Two-Way Street

Consumers' needs often fluctuate from year to year but much like a personal relationship, communication and transparency are always staples that need to be supported by both parties.

This means that your brand is expected to have at least some degree of transparency to support the growth of your relationship with your consumers. Likewise, consumers can expect that their likes and dislikes are available to be shared with your brand for advertising and communication purposes. That sounds like a fair trade to us!

We can’t emphasize the importance of transparency for social proof in your advertising. In fact, we dug through an entire report on it!

Integral Ad Science is an advertising data company that continues to provide solutions to 111 countries since 2009. With that sort of background, we were excited to read through their Industry Pulse Report on data transparency.

💥 91% of social media experts plan to advertise on social media in 2023.

This indicates that there is still significant demand for the expansion of advertising tools. This also shows us where consumers are expected to be.

The popularity of social media isn’t fading, so being an active participant is going to be key to your business' growth in 2023 just as it was in 2022.

📉 77% of those experts agree that deteriorating consumer trust will affect media spend.

Transparency still matters as it always has. Social proof is an efficient way to counter this so forego the large budget ads and get scrappy.

Gather a library of UGC by asking for reviews, collaborating with influencers, and be proud of your products as they appear when customers receive them.

Positive reviews and reactions are the feelings you want your customers to have and need to collect for that sweet UGC.

🌫️ Insufficient transparency will negatively impact media spend.

You want your spend to go as far as it can so don’t let transparency be an obstacle for your brand. Consumers love to see how their favorite products are made.

Their purchase decisions are often something they boast about because what they buy and who they buy from is a reflection on their ideals and personality.

  • Do you have a vision for a cleaner manufacturing process?
  • Are you contributing to the wellbeing of abandoned animals?
  • Are you participating in fair trade practices for farmers?

Each of these (and many more!) items are examples of when you can elaborate for your consumers. Your audience will gain confidence in your brand knowing where their money is going and how it’s supporting the brands they are invested in.

📱 Mobile prioritization

Consumers are spending upwards of 4.5 hours per day on their mobile devices. That’s a lot of time to generate information and collect data on how your audience is browsing. This also means that your ads are likely to be seen on mobile first so ensure to keep that in mind when designing.

Mobile-first design implies that you are designing a website or application to be viewed on a mobile device above all else and expanding the application outwards to tablets and desktops. It’s far more difficult to go the other way around.

With this in mind, view all of your ads on mobile devices before making them public. We do it for our newsletter and we think they end up looking pretty good, don’t you? 😜

Things can go wonky on mobile and if you happen to be a developer, you may know this happens all too often. Check out this resource from Adobe for more info on mobile-first design.

🥚 6 one way, half-dozen the other

Transparency and communication is the leading cause of successful relationships. In the worst case scenario, it leads to ending on good terms. Best case, you’ve got a partner for life.

Treat your consumers the way you’d like to be treated and keep them in the loop on what’s next, what’s happened, and why.

Quick Hits

🎵 TikTok pauses the US security deal.

🤥 Smelling and touching on center stage at CES 2023.

🍎 Apple to launch the Reality Pro headset.

👩‍⚖️ An AI legal assistant helps a defendant with their speeding ticket.

🧠 How Google can help your mental health in 2023.

🔊 Have you heard our latest podcasts?

🥤 Sansorium - Fiona Hepher: Sipping Sober with a 30% Return Customer Rate.

❤️ Rootd - Ania Wysocka: Helping a Million Users in the Age of Anxiety.

💰 Mike Fata - CPG Lessons From Scaling Hemp Hearts + A Trifecta of 9 Figure Exits!

📕 Hero Cosmetics - Ju Rhyu: Reversing the DTC Playbook and the $630MM Hero CPG Needs.

💵 EcomCFO.co - Sam Hill: Make Your Finances Anti-Fragile.

💡 Listen to the Biggest Marketing News Stories Today.

Don’t forget to rate the DTC Podcast on Apple (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

DTC Newsletter is written by Rebecca Knight, Kate Gullett, and Michael Venditti. Edited by Claire Beveridge and Eric Dyck.

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