Building a Brand from Scratch with Kelsey Cohen

 

Kelsey Cohen, Director of Marketing at Bloomscape, joined the show to talk about what it's like to market a product from the ground up and how that process compares to marketing an established brand. On this episode we discuss the importance of community, building a social media strategy, brand voice, providing value to your fans/customers and the importance of customer retention.

What are some unique ways you can provide value to your customers in a way where they want to be a part of the product and involved with the community as a whole?

Full Transcripts

Alright everybody. She is the director of marketing at bloom scape. Kelsey Cohen joins me on the business of social podcast. Kelsey, thanks so much for the time. Yeah, thanks for having me. Um, I always kick things off with a random question. I know you spent some time at outlay, but now you're in Detroit. What's the best and worst thing about living in Detroit?

Um, so I actually don't live in Detroit, but since I work here and I work for a startup, I probably spend the majority of my time here. Okay. Um, I think the best thing about Detroit is it's got a really cool vibe. It's definitely has its own personality. It's very, it's a really interesting blend of kind of like historical up and coming at like transition. Um, and it's got really surprisingly amazing food. Nice. I think, I think the worst thing is, um, the parking situations cause they're basically like bacon locks.

Interesting. Alright. Um, people, uh, don't realize how important parking is to just overall, you know, mental health. So I want to get into a little bit of background of Bluescape. So as I kind of researched your company that you're obviously the director of marketing at a, I kinda thought of it as like the Postmates of plants in a way. I don't know if you've used that or you know, that kind of makes sense. But I essentially, your guys' whole goal is to develop the, your be able to deliver healthy potted plants to people's doorstep, um, and they'd be able to facilitate that. So can you walk a little bit through what Bluescape is and just a quick background on what you do there?

Yeah, absolutely. So, um, bluescape is a plant delivery service. You are correct. I would actually describe that more like I had to make a comparison. I would describe it more like the stitch fix a plant, then the postings for the plants. So we, um, so we have lot, we launched last March, so we've been around like roughly 18 months or so. Um, I was hired number two at the company, which is really exciting and kind of crazy. And how many are you guys at now? We are, uh, I want to say for team. Okay. Yeah. Um, so we've been growing really fast and our founder actually grew up in the greenhouse industry, comes from like five generations on both sides of like greenhouse growers and just lots of plants, had friends who loved plants, but buying plants was either not accessible or not easy. So we wanted to make that better.

And, um, why I would compare it more towards like stitch specs than Postmates is that we have one greenhouse right now, uh, where we grow all our, all our house plants on the west side of Michigan. Um, we make sure that we're growing like the hell, the best, the healthiest plants that we can find. And one of the biggest differences is that, um, when you buy plants from like a home depot or even a local gardening center, they're grown in environments and cared for people, cared by people who are experts in foliage plants. So our plants are literally coming directly from the greenhouse. Um, also we've made a pretty big investment in curating the selection and creating a shopping experience on our website that helps people find the perfect plan for them, um, and for their environment. So you can actually, uh, use our, like a shot filter on our shot page. You can sort by sides, you can sort by light, you can start by pet friendliness, easiness to care for all of that in the hopes that you're finding the perfect plan for you.

So for the company, when you guys first started, was it 100% bootstrap? Was there an investment on the front end? How did it kind of all come down?

Yeah. So when we, when we launched, I think we had some, um, kind of like angel investment money but not anywhere close to like a seed round. And we ended up closing our seed round close to I think around 2 million, um, a few months after we launched. And we are actually in the process of our series a right. Huh.

And I'm guessing a huge part of that budget especially they're going, it has to go towards marketing, right? Obviously you have to build the foundation and to have the ability to do this, but in a role, if you're number two, it seemed like now we have to introduce ourselves to the world and actually see if we have legs on this thing.

Yeah. So it was pretty much me doing marketing for the first eight months or so. I didn't add a person to my team internally until November of 2018. Um, I was lucky enough to, when I joined, we had a pretty fully flushed out and very like a focused brand already from a visual standpoint, messaging standpoint. Justin and our branding agency have done a lot of, um, research ahead of time on who our customers where, how should we be talking.

Was that all prior to you joining?

No, we didn't have a rep set prior to me joining know, like literally I joined in January of 2018 and we launched the website in March. So I was able to build a marketing strategy from scratch.

So I'm curious about this because you go into a company like this and sure you can spend $50,000 on a commercial on HDTV and try to hit your demographic. But from a startup company like that and being in this, uh, interesting sector or industry, what was your first step to, to map out a marketing strategy and what ended up being most successful, uh, as you got started?

Yeah, great question. So one of the things that I was most excited about and probably was the kind of linchpin and me choosing to join bloom scape is, um, I've got a pretty varied background. I've done everything from graphic design to running Facebook ads to art direction, to comprehensive marketing strategies, data infrastructure. Like you kind of name it. I've done it. And I described myself, I think in my a resume or cover letter when I applied for the job as a marketing Swiss army knife. Yeah. And, um, I kinda where it wasn't my career is I felt like I was finally at a point where had all these kind of disparate skills and experiences and I was excited to kind of pull them together to build something now. And you don't get that opportunity very often to start literally from scratch. Like I had to remember how to set up a Google analytics instance, like yeah, bare bones all the way from scratch. And so I was really excited about that, but I was also excited to kind of learn from a lot of the mistakes I had seen in other companies, um, that I'd be there working for internally or that I consulted with. Um, so the first I made the choice, um, to launch with a pretty holistic marketing strategy from the start, which is kind of unusual for startup. So usually you see startups, um, kind of focusing on one channel and one channel only cause it's you, that's what they have

[inaudible] print out of home, digital, social, everything. Yeah.

Yeah. Thrill really focused on digital. Not so much I'm printing out of home but because I wanted to be able to track it and use our money. Yeah. But focused on content first focused on email marketing, organic social, um, paid social paid search, organic search and press all from the scratch. Uh, from the very start. What was the hardest thing?

Um, again, just start from a blank canvas is awesome. Yeah. No, it started from a blank. Canvas is awesome, right? Cause you can make certain mistakes and people aren't fall falling down different tracks. But what was the hardest thing about starting from scratch that you had to overcome early on?

I mean, honestly that a lot of it was guesswork. So I built, the first thing I did after I kind of jumped in and made the decision that the, I wanted to start with a pretty like, holistic approach to marketing from the very beginning. Um, I wanted to create some sort of marketing persona to serve as a guiding light, especially when it came to, um, content creation and targeting. But every other time that I had built out marketing personas and had customer data to work with, yeah. We didn't really have customer data. Yeah. So we had to be kind of clever with how I created those percentiles. So I used, um, we had a bunch of like demographic reports and research that had been done and we did like a, Justin had done like a Beta test, um, with probably around 200 people or so. And we decided to incentivize a like 20 minute survey that they would fill out in order to get like a free plan once blue scape app actually launched. So I can, and that data was skewed a bit and I knew that kind of going into it cause it was friends and family. It wasn't a perfect picture, but at least it gave us a place to start. Um, so kind of, so going in blind, I think there'd be part of it

from an upper funnel standpoint. Are you putting out content, articles, blogs about plants and more generic content and that's how you develop the demo that you're going to start targeting on the front end or how'd you kind of go about that?

Yeah, so I actually borrowed a lot from um, an inbound kind of an inbound marketing strategy that you would normally see with like a SAS or a B to B company. Okay. So I, I, along with like a holistic channel approach, I wanted to make sure that we were paying attention from top of funnel to bottom of funnel as well. So I created, I want to say like nine or 10 kind of core pieces of content that we had before we launched that were all optimized for bank of like pillar keywords. But we're also targeted. Um, I try to make sure that there was content that would be targeting the three main personas that we launched with kind of at each step of the purchasing funnel. Um, so it was kind of covered all the bases at the, from the very beginning and then slowly built up the content curation kind of on top of that. But with that in mind, as we move forward

to date, what campaign has surprised you or what ended up being the, that ball, but I kind of took off or really a

yeah, if you guys, um, I, I mean there's been a lot of surprises. I think that the biggest campaign success we had early on, um, I created this really fun little quiz using type actually and hooked it up to our marketing automation system that create, basically created a, like find your perfect plan. So it asks a bunch of questions. Uh, all those questions sort of mirrored some of the assumptions that we were making about our personas.

Like, do you live in an apartment? Do you have natural light?

Exactly. Stuff like that. We'll see what you know are, do you have a family, do you work a lot? Do you live in a city? That kind of thing. Um, and then based off of those answers, um, like gave them a suggestion of their perfect plan. And this like went pretty viral for a couple months. We had it as our main link in our Instagram account and I started over, I remember over one weekend I just was looking at my, uh, email. I was like, man, I'm getting like, I don't know, form those on this, on this quiz, what's going on. And I realized that when people would start to fall some Instagram, they would take the quiz right away. So it was this like really beautiful, um, connection that was happening between like awareness, like pretty taco funnels, becoming Instagram Fowler to turn it into a contact in our database and then receiving like kind of customized marketing emails for that. Um, so that was, that was really fun.

How about the results? I mean, did you have a certain amount of people that, uh, went through the quiz and then what was their percentage on people actually say, you know what, I'm actually going to go through to purchase on that?

Yeah, I think, I think by the time we like stopped promoting it, it was like a 2020 5% purchase rate. Like the completion of requests and they were coming, even the people who maybe didn't take, didn't make a purchase within that timeframe, they were coming in, not as just a blind contact, they were coming in with some background information.

Um, I think that's so important because I think a lot of times what marketers and businesses get wrong is they just, and I know you probably feel my pain if we can shed a tear together just beating people over the head with buy plants now at nine 99 and if you live in an apartment like buy this, buy this, buy this. And that's so interesting that you know, you had a little bit of awareness. You created this kind of fun engaging quiz and you saw 25% of people actually say, you know what? This is by plan, but actually go purchase it. Which takes a little bit of thought. It takes a little bit of skill. But, uh, you've probably see a lot of brands just making that mistake or they're not going through that, that upper funnel down to the lower funnel process. They're just kind of spamming people with by now.

Yeah, and we, I mean obviously a big biggest chunk of my marketing experience has been on like the inbound marketing side. Um, which is like the antithesis of that, you know, it's all about content nurturing and providing valid content as value. Um, creating that connection, continuing engagement. And that's something that when Justin and I, who's the CEO and founder and I were very aligned with around the from the very beginning that we did not, we didn't want to be a discount brand. We didn't want to be just like I to by the stove. I just go, we wanted to really create this kind of lifestyle and this full experience and as we're looking into 2019, that idea of like a full funnel experience and like a fly wheel experience is becoming more and more important to our business and to our marketing strategy, which is really exciting.

I also looked it up. You guys have 35,000 followers on Instagram, which Instagram has a mature platform. It's tough to gain a lot of followers and also an 18 months. That's actually pretty impressive. What has been your Instagram or social strategy because it's tough, right? When you're a product, how many brand loyalists, how many people actually want to follow and care about what you say on a daily or weekly basis. They may just want to come and buy from you a couple of times a year, but to get 35,000 people that raised their hand and say, I want to have regular updates and bloom scape is pretty impressive. How'd you go about building that?

Yeah, I think honestly I think part of it is part of it was luck because there is a burgeoning plant community on Instagram and we were able to kind of time our launch correctly to really start use that to catapult us. Um, the other pieces, we did a pretty large influencer per plush in our first like six to eight months. I was there part of their planning influencers out there. I don't know. There are influencers out there. Um, so we kind of using our marketing personas as a guide, we kind of built out, um, like our kind of a influencer target list and combined, it wasn't, it wasn't ever structured just as like a post and that was it. It was always like a posted a video and a video on a giveaway, a poster, an innovate, an um, a video or an Instagram story plus like a blog.

And these are micro-influencers at their core. What do we talking here? Anywhere from 10,000 to a hundred thousand followers or,

yeah, I think, yeah, roughly. I think most of our kind of were between like 30 to 150, k or so. Um, and we, and honestly the push really came after launch. We did like a big launch with like PR and a group of influencers doing unboxing videos. And after that, and honestly became just, I needed more content and as one person I did, I couldn't keep up with that. So I put together a plant life series, that base and a package for influencers that basically was a question and answer. They gave us some photos to turn into a blog post and then they posted about us, um, their feed and stories and did a giveaway. And that was super successful from both like a creating like this Instagram following, but also from helping to create this really awkward, a couple of really amazing pieces of user generated content that we used to email

what the, um, the giveaway tied to following bluescape on Instagram. Gotcha. Yeah. Yeah. So you guys saw a pretty amazing growth on that strategy alone.

Yeah. And I think it was, influencers are interesting. Um, I think there's a lot of power. Obviously there's a lot of power of like recommendation. Um, but what we found is that we had the most successful kind of relationships with influencers who followers share the motivation and the aspirations of like wanting to be a plant person versus just an influencer who was a plant person. So I think, you know, one of the things that I am in the hard lessons I think I learned was that you really have to sort of put yourself in the mind of someone who's following this influencer before they agree to like enter into our partnership. Um, because the implanters that were more kind of like fashion focused or home decor focused didn't have the same kind of, um, stickiness as the ones that were kind of sharing their love of plants in a more genuine way.

Uh, I want to get into, and all that stuff is super valuable, especially building from scratch. And some of those don't get shit dropped. I think it's super helpful for the audience. For 60 years you were a marketing consultant, um, health B2B and B to c Toyota Canada, buzz time media, NBC universal. So I want to get into marketing as a whole. I'll start with kind of a broad question. Uh, how do you approach marketing and what's your core belief on how to go about it?

Um, I, how would I phrase that? I think my core belief in marketing is you have to kind of, you have to let the data that your customers are providing you kind of tell the story and lead the way. Um, I am a really big believer that there's every moment of interaction is an opportunity to have a conversation with somebody and a conversation as you know, is not just a one sided, hey, I'm telling you this thing. But it's also an opportunity for you to listen and for someone to reply back. And I think the listening piece is where a lot of people like forget about and yeah. And what I mean by that is that like if you're, if you're strategic about how you're structuring your content, you're strategic about how you're structuring your newsletters and your Instagram posts and your, even down to your like Facebook ads, you can get a lot of information about, um, who someone, any, here's what their motivations are, what's top of mind. Just by mere fact that they interacted with that piece of content, right? And that create, that creates a really amazing and powerful story about that person. Especially when you can combine that then with more kind of like psychographic and, um, like storytelling aspects that can tap into that. And I think that that idea, not philosophy, philosophy has really been the driving force. Uh, how I approach, um, any sort of marketing recommendations, marketing advice and building out marketing strategies. Yes, yes. I think,

you know, you have to build a community, right? And like you mentioned earlier, which I totally agree with provide value and I think that is a longterm game as we all know. And it takes some time to build a community and pray and provide value over time. Um, but it's just so the proof is in the pudding that that's gonna work longterm if you actually put in the work and effort. But I think in the NDA to quick fixes and wanting their stuff, now it's a lot of businesses. I think, I think the majority of businesses get that part wrong because it's about cold-hearted sales and quarterly earning reports. Uh, and it takes time, I think you would agree to, to build a community and provide value, provide content that a community wants to kinda build around.

Exactly. And you also have to, you have, you have to understand both sides of marketing. I think especially now, you have to be data-driven. You have to be analytical, you have to be logical, not just in the discovery of the data itself, but also in how you're choosing to leverage and use that data. Right. And you have to be a storyteller. Um, and that, that's a lot for one marketer. Yeah.

Uh, I always like to ask you this question and you broke down marketing brilliantly, but can you explain to the audience in your own words, the difference between sales and marketing and how you've tried to, uh, the, the people you've consulted with tried to explain that line in the sand?

Yeah, I think it's a little bit, um, I think it definitely depends on the business, but in my, in my experience, the most productive sales teams are very tightly aligned with their marketing teams. Um, there's a lot of untapped information and data that sits in a marketing team that is very often not visible and not shared with the sales team, which is so contrary.

Both teams have the same exact ROI.

Yeah, great. We have the same goal and um, you know, one of the, so what my previous company that I worked for before bloom scape was farmlogs, which is an ad tech software startup Beta based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan. And we had an inbound marketing team that worked with the sales team and it was amazing to see once there was really concrete alignment between the two teams, like down to, you know, say looking into rap performance data and trying to only push leads to specific reps that were um, that they had had luck with closing in the past. So kind of EIP taking like the matchmaking side of it, but also providing the same kind of content and visibility into what the, what the users and customers are receiving. Sharing that with the sales team, making sure that the lead scoring methodology that the marketing team is using was adopted and understood by the sales team. So when they were looking at their, um, you know, their, uh, their contact objects, they knew exactly what they were looking at and they understood what that meant. And I think

sales does a follow up at 90 days or after the contract ends, giving that information back. The marketing is saying, you know, we, we were going to get one product and we felt like we kind of didn't get it. And that's great for you to know as a storyteller to make sure you're tying that message.

Exactly. And that feedback loop, um, you're exactly right. Is, I would say is the other key piece of that.

So when you, as a consultant, um, you sit down and they say, Kelsey, listen, we haven't done any marketing. We don't know what we're doing. We have a decent business. We have a lot of, you know, a handful of employees and things are good, but I know we need to start looking at marketing. What's the, the first questions or the first statements you start to make with, uh, what somebody in a room with that type of question or that type of situation.

I like to see, I think the first thing I ask is about their customers, who their customers are, why the [inaudible], why their best customers, keeping their customers. Um, what value are they providing? Uh, I like to get kind of that, um, that story from the business itself. Kind of that internal perspective of what their customers are and then being able to use that and look at any data that they have around that to see if what they think about their customers is actually true. And a lot of times those things are not the same. Yeah, there's a lot of, I think there's a lot of assumptions that get made, especially with, uh, with, um, companies that maybe haven't had a marketing team before or they've only focused on kind of one part of marketing. Um, a lot of the consultancy work that I've done has been, you know, we've been doing this one thing and now this one thing isn't working well enough for us.

How do we start to branch out? Where do we go that, what do we do better? And I think, um, starting with that customer, using some data to kind of either poke holes into some of those assumptions or confirm them and then really looking at what, what's, what's working, where are those opportunities? Cause I think the other piece of that is um, companies have a hard time sort of pinpointing and prioritizing like the low hanging through through or the things that are going to be most impactful. So looking at those places, those things that people are already trying to do already with the places where they're already finding value and figuring out a way to make that less like friction, less, more enticing and optimize those areas rather than just trying to bang your head against the wall, doing what you think is going to be the most valuable.

I think one thing I've seen as a marketer too, it's just the lack of analyzing the data like you mentioned. Um, and this is at the fortune 500 brand level. I think a lot of four to five of brands are still spending a lot of money in print and a lot of money even in television advertising where it probably could be better served that they move more money into digital or social a, B, they just keep on doing the same thing cause it's what they've always done. Is that a common problem that you've seen with a lot of your different companies you've worked with where they run these campaigns but they never actually look at it and say which part worth best, you know?

Yeah. Uh, absolutely. So I kind of seen, I've seen that from both extremes. I think I've seen it from more established companies who are just doing the thing that they've always done. Right. You know, it's, it's like we're going to send out this email blast every week and we're going to do these print ads and we're going to go to these trade shows and I'm going to put out a commercial or something. And then I've seen the other extreme where it's maybe smaller companies or startup companies who've only been running Facebook ads and they, and I think the truth, the kind of hard truth about where we are today as marketers is that again, it comes back to you have to be, you have to be booked, you have to be telling a story and kind of all different places. They also have to be super strategic about where you're, where you're doing that and you have to be authentic about it. That's the other thing. I think that there's, um, as there's, as there's a kind of a new way of a new generation of marketing thinkers moving into executive positions, I think we're going to see a lot more, um, creativity and a lot more, uh, representation across the channels coming out of lots of different companies. But I think that that's going to be a change, a slow change for some, um, more established industries. You know, my, I think the automotive industry is definitely one trade show industry. It would be another.

Um, and your opinion of what brand out there in space does marketing really, really well or someone that you look up to or idolize?

Yeah. So, um, I think the, I really, really love, um, away the travel bag. I probably, I'm a purchaser, I'm an owner, I'm not an owner, but I've, I really admire their travel even a little bit. I highly recommend it. Yeah, I've heard great things about 'em. Um, but I really admire their marketing strategies and they're, they are quite creative. I actually just listened to an interview with the founder and was just blown away by the story about her, um, coffee table bucket launch that they put like a gift card inside cause it's so, it's so creative and it was like a really amazing kind of like shot in the dark and they just like went for it, executed at. Um, and then they've made some really interesting, you know, I think their website is beautiful, it's informative, it's straight forward, but it's also aspirational. And I think that combination is, um, hard to achieve as someone who's trying to achieve that. It's hard to achieve with being very like forward and upfront about what the value of the product is. But also

so you how many freaking suitcase [inaudible] it's hard to infiltrate and, and, and be a game changer when there's companies who've been around for 50 years making suitcases.

Yeah. So, so, oh wait, it really impresses me.

The only issue I have with a way is one of their product lines is called carry on the carry on and they have different sizes and some of the sizes you can't carry on.

Yeah.

It's confusing. That's the only thing I'll say.

That was a faster product.

Yeah, exactly. And that's not marketing. Um, how have you found any creative ways to stay in front of your core demographic and your audience or your purchasers without it feeling like spam? Um, you've talked a little bit about, uh, the, the quizzes and things like that, but how do you stay fresh and stay in front of your demographic and like a more soft approach way?

Yeah. Um, I think we, we try to be really topical so we try to be topical in the things that we're talking about and also the plants that we're choosing to feature and um, offer. And we also try to keep it always connected back to someone's success with a plant. So it's not just about a plan that's on your desk and then it's gonna die and you'll get another one. It's about kind of cultivating that relationship.

What success with the plant, what does that even mean? Is that just how long it stays alive?

So one of the, one of the interesting things that we've kind of learned is the people that plants are not like a home decor object. Plants become a passion for people. And with that

where they actually get super sad, if it starts to die and they want to nurse it back to health, it's almost like it animal. Yeah.

You would not believe. And

so you can pull on those heartstrings a little bit. It sounds [inaudible].

Yeah. And also just provide them with information to help them be better at that. You know, we have a, um, uh, we actually have like a service where you can talk to plant mom who's actually Justin's real mom. She's really play a program director and rejoice, but you can, you can fill out a form and you can um, actually communicate with plant mom if you're having a problem with your plan. And we give out like seasonal plant care tips and we try to, um, one of the projects that we're working on right now is figuring out ways that we can kind of add that, um, plant care kind of content story into the purchasing funnel on the website too. So when people are going to get, you know, click on the product page of a plant, they might have questions about, well, how do I know I'm going to be successful with this? What about how have other people been successful at this plant? Is this really the right plan for me? So kind of being able to leap in that story. And I'm tapping into that kind of shared mutual interest with our customers I think is how we, how we keep it.

I see. I think that's really important. And again, a lot of brands get this wrong. As you guys, you're creating a community, you're creating a, an area where even after someone purchases or hasn't purchased yet, they can actually get value and get answers. Um, which, you know, then you just start to build and people start walking in your front door and oh, by the way, you know, much like Amazon, Amazon bought, writes a Thursday night football and you could watch the football game. Oh by the way, you're, you know, what you left in your car and a couple of weeks ago is right below the football game if you want to. And I don't think that it's just a smart way to get people in the door. It seems like you guys got it.

Yeah. We, we really don't wanna don't want people to just buy from us. And that's the last, last plant they ever owned. And that's the last thing that they ever interact with, with the landscape. We really see it as an opportunity to, if they want one plant, great. We're going to help you be the best plant parent you can be. If you want 50 plants. Yeah, then awesome. We're going to help you do that too. Um, and it's been, it's been really interesting. We kind of, we see a lot of customers who sort of run the gambit on that. We see people who are like, Oh man, like post, don't share stuff on Instagram. Like I just got my first clip baby hope I don't kill it to people who are like decking out their office and they're buying their 50th plan from us or something. So it's pretty [inaudible]

it's funny you say that. I got, uh, one of my buddies bought me up money tree and it started dying. It's your point. I'm like, we got a nurse to stay back to health. You can't have a money tree die. That's like bad luck. Um, so the whole office has been helping, uh, make, make sure gets a water and things like that.

Yeah. You need, you know, we talk to plant from, yeah.

I have to ask you a, asked this in the plier to this way. Um, do you have any fun stories? It doesn't have to be at bloom scape, uh, with any of your other clients to Ab testing that surprised you or changed your perception on a campaign or a way to market?

Yeah, actually so, and I think this goes right back to what I was kind of saying about customer assumptions versus customer reality. So when I worked at farmlogs, our customers and our users are farmers, their row crop, their row crop farmers and I had been spending, um, so when I joined the company there were about, I think it was, there was like 25 ish people or so. And for awhile it was just kind of me doing a lot of, are doing a lot of the set up, um, a lot of content curation, all of that. And I was spending all this time making these beautiful emails for these nurture streams there. They were lovely and I was like coding them and I was picking out the images and doing it. Spent all this time designing that. And then one day I just like didn't have time to do it. I'm just like, okay, you know what, I'm just going to send out a text based email and cause I don't have time to come to this email right now and see what happens. And that email performed better than anything we had ever done. And it's, it's one of those things, it's a little bit counterintuitive

and that's just like a linked out to other articles and like [inaudible]

instead of like an html email, there no images, it was just text. It came from the same firm name. So the same type of subject line. It was just a text email with doctors, images and for whatever reason that generated more leads and to produce more sales that anything before. And

let me try that out and tell my marketer here, go ab test that.

I don't think that I would, I would expect the opposite to be true for our Bloom's customers. Um, but it does just goes to show you that you, you kind of have to know who the customer is and make your decisions even down to something so silly as that. Um, based off of like the, the, that demographic in that information versus just want them to be interested in it's

different ramps. There's so many people are so

used to seeing beautiful html with photos and write the right font that maybe the texts, I'm sure the text email felt more personal almost if you made that email specifically for them. And that way it felt like it held more weight in their inbox type deal. You don't have to share budget numbers, but in terms of percentage, where are your marketing dollars currently going? Is it 50% social, 30%, you know, whatever the different Pandora or different things, like how have you kind of split it out and what's working the best right now? Yeah, so we've been, um, we've been pretty focused on the majority of our acquisition budget goes to paid social, um, Facebook and Instagram and then paid search. Um, we also, we have dedicated [inaudible]

go Facebook, Instagram. No one, nothing on Twitter.

Um, not yet. Um, we're going to be branching out into kind of other channels going into 2019. I'm really excited to kind of explore Pinterest again. Um, we have played around with it a little bit last year, but they were kind of, it was definitely a work in progress then I've heard that they've made a lot of improvements to it. Um, and then, uh, editorials like PR and stuff like that too.

So majority of our budget is going towards the googles, Facebooks of the world. Yeah.

Yep. And then I would say from a resource standpoint, um, focusing on content is probably the biggest piece of that. So we spend the most money on, on the acquisition channels, but I think the time and effort really is dedicated towards the content that we're creating.

Awesome. Um, I've got some rapid fire questions here for you towards the end of our conversation. Um, what is the one marketing tool that you can not live without?

Hubspot?

We'll use that spot as well. A big fan. From a business perspective, what social platform seems to be working the best for you? Right now. Instagram. Hm. A rank in order of importance from your marketing standpoint? Uh, Google, Facebook, Instagram, email,

[inaudible]

as Google both paid and organic. Yes. Google. Okay.

An industry fall ball was a major thing. What's one way that you keep up to speed on all the different changing, uh, things happening in our landscape?

I read a lot. I read everything that I possibly can. I listen to. Uh, I have a one hour commute so I listen to a lot of audio books. Okay. Um, and not just from a marketing perspective, but just kind of an overall business perspective too.

Any must from a marketing step I need, must follows, whether it's on Twitter, Instagram, et Cetera, that provides really good advice or any good tidbits to kind of keep your,

um, I started, um, I've been really interested in kind of hearing, um, lane. I love, I love interviews. I think you can learn a lot about what other people have. Obviously you love interviews too, but you can learn a lot about other people's experiences

that does son, about you. Cause you can

be with, do podcasts. I retain a lot more from a conversation. Yeah. Reading a book type deal. So I, um, I've been really into masters of scale, um, podcast, which is one of my favorites. And um, add Landy to add Landia I think is the other one that I listened to. Um, that's kind of more topical marketing and then, um, is it, uh, I think South Dakota see that authors? Yeah, it's amazing. Amazing.

That dude is a phenomenal, oh, I got one for you, mark. Any book podcasts I would recommend I listen to that marketing every week or so here. There's a lot of authors, a lot of people that have done some amazing things and I learned one thing or two to shout out to the marketing book. Um, any advice for you? Anybody starting a brand from scratch or getting there? There's, they finally have been given the reigns to run marketing for a brand or for a department. Uh, what's your biggest advice you would give that person?

Um, I would say don't be afraid to push back on something when you know it's not right. Um, and I think marketing isn't always, isn't an interesting spot because they said we're in kind of an unique intersection of product, data, customer data, sales data, all of that. And they're the people who kind of have to use that and leverage that, which gives you more insight than either one of those kind of departments has alone. So if you're, if you think that something isn't right and you're seeing it in a data and your guts telling you that, pushed back on that and make a case for it,

love it. And then finally, if you could recommend anybody, your network that you think would provide value for my listeners and would be a good guest on the podcast, anybody that comes to mind off the top of your head.

Yeah, one of my mentors, Kelsey Brachy, she's based out of Vancouver, Canada. She kind of taught me everything I know.

Awesome. I'll have to hit you up for that intro. Um, well thank you so much for your time and all the knowledge. He dropped the Kelsey a that was amazing and wish you the best of luck. And if I have to buy a plant or two from you guys who are coming up.