📦 - When Costco Calls, You Answer
May 21, 2023
Content Tag


Wednesday, February 8, 2023

If you’re new to DTC, welcome! You’re in good company with fellow newcomers from Columbia, Osprey, Ralph Lauren, and Bob’s Red Mill.

In this newsletter, you’ll find: 👇

📦 iRestore hair growth: Kevin Chen and the true impact of Costco

📦 Stop doom scrolling in its tracks with user-generated content

📦 Is Meta in-platform reporting improving?

📦 Everything you need to know to run high-ROI campaigns

📦 Does AI have a place in your ad creation?

Read till the end to access exclusive DTC swag. 😎

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


🎧 Today on the DTC pod, we’re talking with Kevin Chen, co-founder and president of iRestore. Forget the hats, concealers, shedding, and bald spots; iRestore’s mission is to put your hair loss troubles behind you.

Kevin's story is inspiring. He created iRestore to help his father, who was losing hair. He found out about laser therapy but wasn't thrilled with the inconvenience and cost of visiting the clinic three times a week. So, Kevin and his team set out to create a better solution that could be used in the comfort of one's own home.

Tune in to hear about why investing early in your product can lead to a massive advantage later on, the intensive process of getting FDA approval, why a high-risk, high-reward rebrand has Kevin thinking BIG in beauty, and what happens when Costco calls.

‍The takeaways 👇

🐦 Early bird gets the worm

When Kevin started the process of getting FDA approval for his product, he quickly realized it wasn't going to be a walk in the park.

It took a three-year development cycle and a six to 12-month FDA application process to get his product on the market. However, in that process, he learned that investing early and putting in the extra effort up front led to a massive competitive advantage post-launch and easier customer acquisition.

“What we learned after launching was that it does help a lot post-launch -- when you have that big barrier to entry, you have fewer competitors naturally. It's a lesson on putting in more work up front and having an easier time [in the long run].”

📞 When Costco calls…

When it came to scaling the business, Kevin learned a thing or two about the importance of thinking beyond just online channels…

Enter Costco. 👼*cue angelic music*👼

Access to tens of millions of potential customers? ✅ Check. iRestore on their homepage for promo? ✅✅ Double check. Not to mention, the trust and credibility that comes with being a part of the Costco family is invaluable. So, what’s Kevin’s secret to success with Costco? Get in and let their marketing do the work.

“Costco was about 15% of our sales last year, and that's coming from nowhere. That's a zero to 15%, I wouldn't say overnight, but pretty close to it. So it's like, how much advertising would you have to run, how many landing page tests would you have to run to get that kind of impact?”

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

He'd go all-in on creating an amazing user experience. He'd start with upgrading the website and utilizing design talent to make it pop. He'd also test different landing pages to see which one converts best while investing in a team to create stunning visuals and videos that'll make people go "wow." Lastly, Kevin would team up with influencers to create user-generated content to showcase the product in action.

👉 Listen to the full episode with Kevin Chen here!


Slow your scroll!

We see it every day…

User-generated content is still the best medicine for stopping doom scrolling in its tracks. 💀

minisocial is the go-to cure for brands that are crushing it on social - like Super Coffee, immi, Plant People, Ceremonia, and Quip – and one of our top recommendations for your creative first aid kit.

We know what a pain in the @$$ getting UGC can be. Hours wasted searching for influencers, DM’ing, negotiating prices, and writing detailed Google Docs. Ugh.

That’s why minisocial is such a potent UGC remedy. 🩹

Their fully-managed service pairs you with skilled micro-influencers that deliver premium quality, fully-licensed content, with minimal effort on your part.

And it's affordable, with plans of 25 creators starting at just $1.7K. (Most brands are paying that much for just ONE influencer!)

💊 Get the antidote for curing your CTR!

*PS: Mention DTC for 15% off!


Do you ever see a Tweet and think, ‘hmmm, are other brands seeing this too, or is it just a one-off?’

It can be hard to shuffle through social media accounts and know what’s fact vs. opinion, so we went straight to our source of truth: The Pilothouse Meta team.

👀 Is on platform attribution back?

Like all platforms, Meta is consistently making waves behind the scenes. One of the biggest developments and trends the team has seen so far in 2023 is an improvement in on-platform attribution.

As stated in the tweet, when our dear old friend iOS14.5 rolled out, brands started seeing a 30-40% drop in reporting.

Today, that number appears closer to 15% across some brand accounts.

📊 How was it measured?

To truly know the impact and improvements of Meta in-platform reporting, the team measured some client accounts. They looked in places where:

  • A third-party attribution system is being run
  • Meta is the only channel

The team ultimately started to uncover patterns of:

  • Higher percentages of new customer sales attributed to Meta where it is the only channel running.
  • Increased rates of click-attributed purchases vs. visits reported by Meta.

🤔 What does this mean?

If you’re thinking about dropping your third-party attribution tool, don’t! The closest thing to true data is triangulating between platforms to identify trends aligned to your business' end goals.

In-platform is improving, but not perfect. Curious what attribution changes Pilothouse is seeing across 25+ brands on Meta? Check out the latest episode of All Killer No Filler.


Looking to crush paid social this year?

Boy, do we have a FIRE resource for you, dear reader! 🔥

AdRoll created THE guide to social network advertising. It tells you everything you need to know to run high-ROI campaigns, and we mean everything!

The best part? It’s FREE. (Seriously) 😮

The guide provides all the goods:

  • Popular demographics on each platform
  • A step-by-step process for launching ads on each
  • Salient metrics to measure success
  • Advice on unifying your ad reporting

So start your 2023 off hot! Regardless of what platform you are on.

👉 Download it today and watch your social campaigns bring in the dollars. 🤑


🤯 Your New Assistant is An Awkward Genius

AI may have galaxy-sized brains, but when it comes to implication, it's about as advanced as a toaster oven. ♨️

AI still requires a human touch to create a polished ad, and that’s where marketers and designers fit in this AI equation. AI isn’t meant to be some input-output machine but rather your new superpowered assistant.

Some larger brands have already shown us what kind of material AI creates when left unsupervised. Take Hardee’s Superstar Burger campaign, for example. This is what AI thinks an awesome burger ad would be. 😅

The AI isn’t… wrong here. It’s a Super Star burger, but as an ad, it’s not providing anything more than an interesting dinner conversation. 🤷‍♀️

So, how can we use AI’s crazy concepts to guide our marketing strategy and creative process?

📝 The takeaways

Let’s say we want to finalize this burger ad into something that’s not weird.

The takeaways here are the photography and color palette, both of which are gorgeous. The style of copy also pops with a brilliant hunger-inducing red that scientists have been raving about for years. Even the structure of the burger and toppings could be used as a template for the final advertisement. 🍔

We just need to forget about using those stars as condiments, whatever cut of meat that is, and that odd choice for a bun seasoning.

💪 From concept to draft, AI is there

Hardee’s has a fully realized AI concept that needs a few more adjustments to win over their customers. Our human minds should interpret AI’s output for our business needs and the needs of our target audience.

AI’s literal way of thinking isn’t super intuitive yet, but it offers a valuable perspective and endless content for your marketing creative that shouldn’t be neglected — just as long as you’re open to tweaking it to meet your needs.

Are you using AI in your campaigns yet? Reply to this email and let us know!

Quick Hits

🚨 Why attend DTC’s C-Suite Mastermind in Las Vegas? Because you’ll leave the desert with at least 6 potential new mechanisms to generate revenue and profit in your business. We’re half sold out, grab your ticket now.

💻 Dell lays off 5% of its workforce.

🐥 Incentives to sign up for Twitter Blue?

Meta explores options for a paid badge.

🤖 Microsoft is almost ready to integrate AI and Bing.

🤑 Changes to your 2022 tax return.

🔊 Have you heard our latest podcasts?

🧑‍🦲 iRestore Hair Growth System: Kevin Chen - The True Impact of Costco.

⚔️ Mini Katana: Karly McFarland on $100M in Email Sales and Why She Sold Her Agency and Turned to the Brand Side (C-Suite Mentor Preview).

🤑 The Oodie - Davie Fogarty: Lessons From a Fast $400M.

💸 Andrew Wilkinson at C-Suite in Victoria: Bootstrapping vs. VC vs. PE vs. Angel.

😎 Pretty Boy - Ben Feys and Kevin Niehoff: Nailing your Brand Identity and Balling on a Budget.

💡 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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