E-Commerce and Marketing: Filling up with the "Shrimp" of goodr's Ecosystem
In season 3, episode 4 of CULTURE goodr, Stephanie joins her peers to make fun of a classmate, Walter, for wearing glasses. However, when she becomes the target of mockery, she learns a valuable lesson about teasing. Meanwhile, D.J. chooses to observe Michelle for a day for a homework assignment -- oh, wait. Whoops. This is season 3, episode 4 of Full House, “Nerd For a Day.” Let’s try this again.
In season 3, episode 4 of CULTURE goodr, Stephen and Shaun do a deep dive on D.I.N.O., aka goodr’s D2C (direct to consumer) digital marketing team. Today’s digital marketing world is vast, so it’s hard to get noticed and stay up to date on trends. It’s like in high school, when everyone was listening to KoRn and wearing No Fear shirts. Then, all of a sudden, everyone’s listening to Limp Bizkit, and wearing overalls. Who can keep up?!?!
The episode in a very small nutshell:
Dan, the Flock Leader for D.I.N.O., says content is king. On their squad, members swap roles annually and overlap with each other for support and diverse thinking. For the digital marketing nerds (we know you’re reading this, blogs are like catnip for you), goodr’s conversion rate last year was 6.7%. Over time, Dan taught himself how to make jetpacks, and soars to work every day like the majestic Rocketeer. Just kidding. Over time, Dan taught himself to ask difficult questions but still have fun. (Like by building jetpacks.)
In the lightning round, Dan says if he could travel back in time to any era, he’d visit the Old West. (“I mean, have you seen Back to the Future III?”) On social media, he posts inspirational quotes in the form of dumb dad jokes. He prefers tacos to hamburgers. He likes couches more than recliners. And his spirit animal is the mighty Kraken. (“I like the symbolism of the giant sea monster being able to crush ships at sea, and when you cut its arms, they grow back stronger,” he says.)
Dan’s journey to goodr began when Gandalf the Grey arrived at his house in Hobbiton, and demanded he serve dinner to 13 unruly dwarves. Just kidding. He worked with Shaun for around 8 weeks, and became friends. Shaun told Dan that his friend Stephen just started a company that makes sunglasses for runners. As a runner, Dan loved the sunnies, and bought about 30 pairs Later he connected with Shaun and SDL, who said, “You know what goodr needs? You.” And Dan replied, “A female sheep? What in the heck would you need that for?” (Okay, he didn’t say that last part, but he totally should’ve.) Dan’s lame title is Head of Direct to Consumer business. His fun title is Professor Rex, or P-Rex for short. Other dino-fied titles on the team include Media Megalodon, Propaganda Peddling Plateosaurus, and Tommy Pterodactyl. And what does D.I.N.O. stand for? D = Direct to consumer. I = innovation. N = No lame AF sales. O = Olive Garden Eaters. That’s right, they love The Olive Garden. Unironically. Will The Olive Garden give D.I.N.O. free food for life for plugging them on the podcast?!?! No. No, they won’t. But it’s worth a shot. DINO distributes all marketing and cleans up the website so it’s optimized for conversions and sales. They’re responsible for the revenue channel of all D2C business. Their flock values are Innovation and Perseverance. Dan says they have to try new things all the time, since digital marketing changes all the time. That means never giving up on a good idea and never not giving up on bad ideas. If DINO has a bad idea and they feel strong about it, they go for it, as the risk is low. “Dan is really fucking good at what he does,” says SDL.
The DINO squad’s areas of focus are Strategy, Awareness, Experience, and E-Commerce. Previously, they hired people for specific jobs. But this changed, as they discovered they had strengths in multiple areas. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 80s. Ever google photos of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 80s? That dude had muscles everywhere. Even his muscles had muscles. Even his muscles’ muscles’ had muscles. Even his muscles’ muscles’ muscles had--this is getting off track.
Anyway, you might be wondering, who’s in charge of what on the DINO team? Dan says they recognize talent and what people want to grow into. They shredded the team structure and identified 12 main functions. One person is responsible for each function, but you still have to work with someone else. For example, when running a promotion, one person is the lead, and another person runs ad content. So if they want to run an ad with the promo, they have to work together. (Just like the hardworking super geniuses at The Olive Garden, America’s finest restaurant, better than everything in Italy.)
There’s a difference between attraction and conversion. Dan came from the world of conversion, which is very straight forward. Simplicity is key, to ease decision factors for consumers. When they visit the site, they should have fun and get what they want out of it. When Dan first started at goodr, he noticed some stumbling blocks on the site, so he got rid of the pain points. As a result, conversion timing went from 3 minutes to around 2 minutes. According to our calculator, that’s...let’s see here…*tap-tap-tap-tap, tap-tap, tap-tap, tap-tap-tap-tap, tap-tap, tap-tap-tap, tap*...1 minute shorter! Hoo! Math is hard.
For attraction, Dan says it’s all about doing something different to stand out. “We’re blessed with an awesome content team to create crazy pics and we tested them,” Dan says. The conversion rate is fairly standard for all brands. But with attraction, you’re at the mercy of what kind of brand you are and what kind of people you are trying to attract. You have to try many different demographics and audiences. (And put products on faces with something goofy in the background, not just display images of the product.)
In the industry, the gold standard for conversion rates is around 2% baseline. The highest rate Dan saw, while managing around 100 brands, was 4%. However, goodr’s conversion rate last year was 6.7%. (To quote the 21st century poet, DJ Khaled, “WE THE BEST!!!!!”)
When Dan joined goodr, the conversion rate was 4.5%. During his first year, he got it up to 5.1%, with a few changes. The following year, he made sweeping changes: updated product imagery, added a virtual try on, optimized the mobile experience, cleaned up the technical back end, dialed in the formula for the product page, etc. That increased the conversion rate to 6.7%, and it’s STILL trending up now. “That speaks to our customers,” says Dan. “They like what we’re doing and we’re easing the fears of purchasing.”
Over the last few years, organic search has been the biggest source of revenue and traffic. DINO hired Shelby to develop the organic search program. She constantly creates content about what people are looking for (“running sunglasses,” “polarized sunglasses,” “sunglasses with unicorn tear grip coating,” etc.) As the SEO dorks say, “If you want to bury a body, put it on page 2 of google.” Well, good news, reader, goodr no longer languishes in the swampy graveyard of Page 2 of Google. Now goodr is on page 1, in the top three results. *blares air horns*
Email is extremely important.. Before Dan started, goodr didn’t have much of an email program. He found the audience likes the trigger at the right time of day. For example, people love a fun Friday email, a moment of respite in a crazy world. Usually the email is tied to a product launch. Sometimes there’s a middle of the week or late night email. Sometimes we text every consumer “you up?” at 3am, with emojis of eggplants and peaches. Okay, that last one’s a lie. But DINO tries new things all the time. (Unlike the real dinosaurs, who just kept doing the same thing all the time, and got killed by the impact of a massive asteroid that devastated the global environment. Way to go, morons!)
Dan tends not to listen to articles that talk about fatigue too much. Generally, he thinks sending two emails a week is good, but for goodr, that seems like a bit much, so that’s our max. DINO tracks the ‘open rate,’ the total population of people you contacted, and how many people opened the email. If they opened it, they probably read it. They also measure the ‘click through rate,’ how many people clicked the hyperlink and went to the website. And finally, they check the unsubscribe rate, while wiping away tears, because it gives us an indication of what we want to do more of.
DINO uses a lot platforms: Facebook ad manager, Google search, Microsoft ads (a small but mighty audience that still performs), Spotify ads, media agencies to be part of their ad campaigns, Runners World, Yoga Journal, direct magazine relationship, Klaviyo for email and SMS,, Shopify Plus to manage the website, and of course, there’s the most effective platform of all, graffiti-tagging “goodr” on bathroom stalls at rest stops on Route 66.
Dan says the most successful promotion we’ve ever ran is Crazy Eddy’s Overstock Overload Sale. Normally we don’t do sales, because we have such a low price point. But old limited editions built up, clogging warehouse space. We wanted to get rid of a ton of inventory. The idea was to throw a warehouse sale, but online, during COVID. (“Crazy Eddy” is an homage to Mike Eddy, the Flock Leader of The Illuminati, aka the design team. He also once did a photoshoot dressed as a possum. So, this campaign was making fun of the guy who designed all the glasses, HA.) The Crazy Eddy sale blew up the site for three days. Customers went nuts for the ridiculous prices. (But not as nuts as Crazy Eddy. The Possum Man’s madness has no mortal match -- he is a living cosmic horror.)
Know what else our customers love? Free shipping. The minimum for free shipping is currently around $50, or two pairs of sunglasses. Once in a while we do a happy hour, or a free shipping happy hour for six hours. We did it once a month last year, and sometimes we do it on random nights. (Just like your parents, bow chicka wow-wow.) If you want in on Happy Hours, you can subscribe at goodr.com on the bottom of every page.
Here’s Dan’s rankings in order of importance:
1. The Phantom Menace.
2. Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure.
3. The Stars Wars Christmas Special.
Here’s Dan’s REAL rankings in order of importance:
2. UX because without a clean experience, no one comes to the site.
4. Paid media.
5. Email - it’s fun. “It’s a murderer’s row of marketing,” Dan says.
For people who want to learn more about digital, he recommends the Nielsen Norman Group. It’s led by experts in the industry, and they do a good job presenting with data and fun. Or just attend the annual Dad-Joke-A-Palooza in Cheesecorn, Wisconsin, and look for Dan’s booth. It will be named “Feeling Dan-dy” or “Dan-imal Ambition” or “The Dandalorian” or something like that.
Dan’s biggest fuck-up is creating a mystery bag promotion called Carl’s Confidential. He created an assortment for the 3-pack and 5-pack, but they were set in stone. Not set in literal stone, you silly goose!!!! Each pack had the same thing. When people got together with their friends, and pooled their sunnies, they noticed the lack of variety, and were not happy. As one customer colorfully put it, “No fucking mystery here.” Afterward, Dan ran a survey and learned many valuable lessons from the feedback, while wiping away tears.
The biggest shift Dan made since taking over the flock was strengthening how we do marketing. At the time, we were strong in paid search, so he put money into visual merchandising to have people see the product. This resulted in a slight drop in paid search, but we ended up doing so strongly in organic search that it ended up being all groovy, baby, WOOOOOO. Overall, the marketing strategy is to build awareness, moving to a model where we just want to see the logo and the name. “goodr goodr goodr goodr,” adds Dan. “goodr goodr.”
As an Enneagram Type 1 Personality (The Reformer), it pains Dan to say that there’s a shortcut to anything. He’s an idealist and a perfectionist and doesn’t want to short change the system. But the podcast rules are to give three cheat codes or get thrown in the piranha tank, so here are Dan’s three cheat codes for anyone in digital marketing:
1. Work hard
2. Study, then study some more, then study some more.
3. Test everything. Even test testing to make sure you are appropriately determining if it’s the right program for you.
Th-th-th-th-th-th-that’s all, folks! See you next week. Don’t forget to brush your teeth.
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