Podcast Episode 8: D2C E-Commerce with Dan Ben-Nun

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Topics Discussed:

  • The start of Inkkas, Dan's mission focused D2C company [01:27]
  • The utilization of Shopify for Inkkas [03:20]
  • Tying a social cause to a for-profit business [06:20]
  • How channels change over time [09:54]
  • Selling your startup [12:29]
  • The roller coaster of startups [16:57]
  • Today's digital marketing strategy [20:05]
  • E-comm gearing up for Q4 [22:02]
  • E-comm email strategy [24:59]
  • Exponential growth of e-commerce [35:47]

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Dan: [00:00:00] I noticed that there was local artisans making, shoes using authentic South American textiles and they were selling them in the markets there. And I thought to myself immediately in that specific moment, when I saw it, I have to take this product and bring this product to the world.

Max: [00:00:15] What's up, everybody.

Welcome to the Growth Collective Podcast. I'm your host, Max Ade today on the show we have entrepreneur and growth marketer Dan Ben-Nun. Dan started and sold a mission-driven shoe company called Incus to celebrity Marcus Lemonis. And today he helps other entrepreneurs grow their e-commerce businesses.

So if you're an e-com owner or marketer gearing up for the holiday season, you're going to love this episode. Let's get into it. Dan, welcome to the show.

Dan: [00:00:49] Thank you, max. It's a pleasure to be here.

Max: [00:00:52] I love your story as like a D to C entrepreneur before it was cool to do D to C

Dan: [00:01:02] The word D to C did not exist when I launched Inkkas that that word came after.

So we didn't even know what, at that point we were just in e-commerce we started an e-commerce brands. So yeah. Now there's a whole vertical that a lot has been said and done about called D to C.

Max: [00:01:18] Well give us a story. I it's, I love that it's mission. It was mission focused. yeah. How did, how did you get into it?

Tell us, tell us the tale.

Dan: [00:01:27] Yes, let me lay it down. the story, it's a beautiful story. So in 2012, I decided to take a little summer backpacking trip to South America with my girlfriend. I ended up visiting, many countries in South America. One of which was Peru. And while we were in Peru, we went to Machu Picchu, obviously the famous historical site of the Inkkas.

And while visiting Machu Picchu, there was a small town nearby, a large, larger town called Cusco and a small town called Aguascalientes. That is right at the base of the mountain. And, I noticed that there was local artisans making shoes using authentic South American textiles, and they were selling them in the markets there.

And I just immediately, when I saw it, it was a Eureka moment. I just was like, this product is so incredible. It has such an incredible story. That historical textiles being used, the patterns that are, you know, patterns that have been around for centuries among the local artisans there. the beauty of watching local artisans make these shoes, craft these shoes by hand, all of these different, just interesting, beautiful elements of this product.

And I thought to myself immediately in that specific moment, when I saw it, I have to take this product and bring this product to the world. And so I immediately found some local artisans that were producing what I thought to be kind of the best quality products in the market. And I started a conversation with them in my very limited Spanish before I know it, I was in Lima at their production facility, which was essentially a garage that was on the top story of their home, in, in an area of Lima.

And, you know, I worked with them to kind of redesign the shoes, to kind of, you know, meet, What, what we would call kind of like Western tastes or whatever of footwear. And before I even placed an order with them, I decided to just create a website. I knew about digital marketing, web design development, all of that stuff, for my previous profession.

And so I created a Shopify site, went live, took pictures of the products that I was developing with them. Didn't have any inventory. Without even trying some Brazil bloggers picked up on the website, started sharing it on social media and we started getting orders streaming into the website. So it was like this incredible kind of Eureka moment within a week.

I had the website up within a week after that these Brazilian bloggers had picked it up. We had orders streaming in. And so I had to reach out to people in the very beginning. And I just had to explain, this is a brand new company. we're just producing our first round of product and we need you guys.

We would love it. If you guys could be patient and wait for four to six weeks until we bring this product and ship it, not one person canceled their order. Everybody wrote back and was like, absolutely. We'd love to support it. This is awesome. And so that was the start of Inkkas. That was the beginning.

Max: [00:04:09] You must've been one of the first, I shouldn't say one of the first, but you must've been an early Shopify user.

This is 2012, right?

Dan: [00:04:20] They used to say, when you signed up for Shopify, what number of store your Shopify store was? And we were in, like, I think it was around the four or 5,000. We were like store number 4,000 or five around that area. I can't remember. But they used to tell you, you know, your store is number 4,000 of them.

So that,

Max: [00:04:36] that really hit this whole thing really hits close to home because in 2012, I also started a D to C company. It was water bottles. That gave, we, we gave a cut of every sale to water projects. So that's, can you talk a little bit, I know you, you all did some something similar here. can you talk a little about that?

Dan: [00:04:56] Absolutely. So from the very beginning, we understood very clearly that this product was a product with a mission and a story. And so obviously the story is part of the story I just shared with you, which is that every single aspect of the product was produced handcrafted in Latin America, by Latin American artisans.

And so that was an integral part of the company from, from just the first minute we set up shop. We never imported anything from any other country, Asia, Africa, any other country, besides Latin America, we never used any other kind of production facilities besides Latin American production facilities.

And so that was one thing that was very important to us. And so when we looked at pressing social issues within South America in particular, to support as part of the giveback, we decided to support the reforestation of the planet and specifically the Amazon rainforest. And so when we first began the brand, we started planting a tree for every pair that we sold in.

Originally those trees were planted in the Amazon to give back directly to South America. And as we expanded into kind of a global concept, and we started using textiles from around the world. From local cultures from around the world, we started planting trees as well around the world, in partnership with trees, for the future, which is the largest tree planning, nonprofit in the world.

And so now we planted, you know, off the top of my head somewhere almost around 300,000 trees.

Max: [00:06:20] I love the idea of tying a social cause to a for-profit business. I just think it's an incredible vehicle for change and that's awesome. So you're, so you're going back to the early days, right? You get the Shopify site up, you have this vision for this, this a socially conscious company.

And, you're starting to go viral online. What happened next?

Dan: [00:06:49] Great question. So this was before the days of what we now call influencers. Obviously there was, at this point there was fashion bloggers. That was the precursor of obviously the Instagram influencer was the fashion bloggers. And so to kind of, you know, go through quickly.

we came to market within the first year of 2013. When we were on the market, we, we cleared over a million in sales. so we clearly understood, you know, this, this project has traction. This has legs to stand on. We need to triple down on this. So we then started going to every single trade show, every single major fashion trade show around the world from Milan to Paris, to Berlin, to LA, to Las Vegas, to New York.

And we actually closed deals to bring the shoes in store to Whole Foods, j Crew, Nordstrom, Forever 21. and you know, a variety of other distributors and, retailers around the world. We also were approached by different distributors in different countries. you know, Japan, Brazil, France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, you know, you name it, Argentina, Mexico.

And we started distributing the product internationally as well. And they started putting the product in their respective retail locations as well. So it was kind of a very rapid spinout. And we had mentioned kind of the fashion bloggers and the influencers. We immediately started outreach campaigns with, fashion bloggers and, you know, these early influencers.

And they started representing the product as well, bringing the product to their feed into their customers. And so it was the same exact distribution model that you kind of see with DTC right now in terms of the influencer marketing element, but it was kind of the precursor to it. And I will say that at this stage, which was around 2012, 2013, It was the exact opposite of what we see today, which is that for a few hundred bucks, you could get the biggest fashion bloggers with the biggest following to represent your product and to show your product and, and to talk about your product to their followers.

And that's the exact opposite from what we see today, which is that now for those followers, you need to pay tens of thousands. If not sometimes even hundreds of thousands of dollars. For these influencers to, to rep your products. So it was, it was a really value driven channel at that point. The ROI of influencer marketing at that point was incredible.

And the ROI is still good today. It is far lower than it used to be. The other thing I'll also mention is that Facebook ads at this point was in the first year or two of being a, kind of a, a user-friendly, self-serve platform that anybody could advertise on. And so like the influencer marketing channel Facebook ads at this point was incredible in terms of the value you could get in terms of ROIs and, from that channel.

And so that was a major channel of acquisition for us was Facebook ads and actually, Facebook themselves did a case study on Inkkas that is still up on their website today, in which they talk about how we were able to achieve over eight X ROAS on one of our campaigns. And so it was. A pleasure to work with Facebook on these campaigns.

Max: [00:09:54] It just goes to show you how these channels change over time. Right? You're like always trying to stay on the cutting edge. Reminds me of, you know, when search first came out. So when I, when I was at Google, I would talk to these advertisers and a lot of these small business owners would say, Hey, I remember getting clicks for like 5 cents and I was crushing it in the early days.

and here they were like 10 years later, just barely eking it out on the same channel. and it's just cool. It's cool to hear like in the early days of your company you are capitalizing on those new channels, influencer marketing and paid social. and now it's way more competitive, which

We'll, we'll definitely end up talking about in this conversation, but is there anything, any advice you'd have for like, a D to C company today.

Like what's the, what's the comparable tactic right now, or the comparable channel?

Dan: [00:10:52] A hundred percent. It's a great question. And what I would say is that a TikTok right now is a channel that can give you insane ROAS and insane value for a really affordable cost. So that's a channel that I'm working with.

A lot of my clients on. since selling Inkkas in 2016, I'm now D to C branding and marketing consultant. So I do work with a lot of DTC brands that enables me to kind of see what's working the best these days, but really what you see these days. Is a full stack marketing approach where you have multiple channels working in unison to really drive up your value across the channels.

It used to be, you could rely on just one channel and kind of ignore the other channels. And I would really say that for most brands, that's no longer the case. You really have to have a full funnel strategy in which you have a few social networks and search networks that are giving you top funnel, a few for middle funnel and a few for your bottom funnel.

And it differs with every brand that I've worked with on exactly what that marketing mix is. But there's a place for not only Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, but also Pinterest Snapchat, TikTok, linkedIn, I mean, there's a place for all of these networks within the marketing mix, just depending on your goals and your brand.

Max: [00:12:10] I want to go back to this story because I know people want to hear the ending. It is so difficult to exit any company as a startup, and

Dan: [00:12:19] it is very difficult

Max: [00:12:21] and you were able to do it. And so could, could you talk a little bit about how that deal came together and how you're able to ultimately sell Inkkas?

Dan: [00:12:29] Absolutely. So definitely. So it's a beautiful story and I'll jump back right back where we left off, which is that we scaled out, we got 20 international distributors distributing the product all over the world. We had major retailers, Nordstrom forever 21, Macy's selling the product. and then we had.

The retail apocalypse in 2014, which really changed the game, right? Because we both had this, this super high growth DTC e-commerce channel. And then we have this super high growth wholesale channel. And essentially what happened is in the 2014, 2015 year, we saw that that super high growth wholesale channel came to a screeching halt with the closure of a lot of these, the, the, you know, major retailers started closing some of their stores.

And so that was at the point, we were entirely bootstrapped during this entire first three years of the company. And so that was the point where it kind of shifted. And we said to ourselves, wow, at this point we need investment. So we went out there, we raised our initial round of funding. And then we pushed on, we started focusing everything away from the wholesale and investing it into the e commerce channel.

And then we, were contacted and decided to accept an offer to go on a TV show called The Profit with Marcus Lemonis. And so we were featured on the profit with Marcus Lemonis in, at the end of 2015, early 2016. And on that. And on that TV show, he offered us $750,000 to invest in the company.And to become a partner with us in the company.

We accepted that offer. and eventually he came on board and we started growing the company with him. Marcus Lemonis owned Marcus Lemonis's fashion group, which was a portfolio of over 20 e-commerce brands. We joined that fashion group. I became a VP of marketing within that fashion group. Inkkas was one of the multiple brands that I assisted with the marketing strategy and execution with.

And after working within that structure for over a year and helping all of these other e-commerce brands implement some of the same strategies that we implemented to grow Inkkas, we decided to come to a final deal to exit. And so we cut a final deal with Marcus Lemonis. made our exits and then I actually went on to start doing consulting work directly with DTC brands.

Max: [00:14:47] What a journey. So, so all in all, this was what three, four years

Dan: [00:14:54] from start to finish. The whole thing was about three and a half to four years. It was barely four years. So it was, it was a whirlwind, of ups and downs and a roller coaster ride. And, you know, any startup owner, I think can relate to the incredible high highs and the incredible low lows across that journey.

I mean, you know, it was a rocket ship with, without rudders, really. So it just, it was flying up and down and there was, you know, and, and that was what made it beautiful is that it truly was, an honest journey between three. I, I founded the company with my brother and a very close friend of mine. And so we were in it together from start to finish and, you know, it was just an incredible life experience.

And it's something that I, I really still think about to this day. And it's just so exciting and such a fun, just the challenges. And the lessons learned will be with me for the rest of my life.

Max: [00:15:54] I can see like the smile on your face. Maybe people can't hear that, but that's encouraging as a startup founder who is in the roller coaster right now that you've gotten off the rollercoaster and you're smiling and it was, it came to a happy ending.

but every startup founder, I talked to, that's the word that comes up. Right. It's hard to describe it any other way.

Dan: [00:16:15] It's so true. I'm so glad you said that. And I. Can't describe to you how much I love being on that roller coaster. As soon as, as I got off the rollercoaster I wanted to get right back on because you know why when you're not on the roller coaster, you're on flat ground and you know what flat ground is, it's secure and it's safe.

And it's also boring as hell. You know, the rollercoaster for all the, the craziness is exciting. It's adventure, and that's what makes it beautiful. And certain people thrive on that. I know you're the type of person who thrives on that. I'm the type of person that thrives on that. As well. And so as soon as I got off the roller coaster, I said to myself, I need to get right back on that roller coaster because it just adds a purpose and a meaning to my life that I really enjoy.

Max: [00:16:57] So you're you, you get off the rollercoaster and, and you're starting to do consulting for these D to C brands. I guess we should shift gears and talk about that because it would be a shame not to, to hear some of your wisdom on, on this, It's competitive now. especially on paid social, I think everyone's now figured out this paid social plus Shopify combination.

you know, they're mixing an email now to increase that LTV and make it even easier to get that paid social to Shopify combination to work. but we're, we're coming up on Q4 actually. I think today's the first day of Q4 officially, so yeah. We know CPMs are going to go through the roof. It's going to be a lot harder to make the economics work and with the pandemic everyone's shopping online now.

So, it's both an opportunity, but it's also definitely going to be competitive. And then you've got at least in the U S an election. So you've got all of those advertisements also clogging up the ad networks. Tell us, what is your advice for a D to C brand that's trying to navigate this upcoming quarter where there's just so much at stake and so much competition at the same time.

Dan: [00:18:10] Absolutely. It's a great question. And I would actually say that that right now is a unique opportunity. it's more of an opportunity than an obstacle right at this moment. Why do I say that? Because of this very unfortunate pandemic that has. You know, taken over the world and caused a lot of damage. there have been some changes to the economy that have actually, benefited the DTC space and what those changes are, are that there are widespread closures of retail locations across every country.

In the entire world and it's driving more and more traffic online, more and more traffic through e-commerce. And essentially what it's doing is shutting down a major channel of sales, which is the retail sales channel. That's been the backbone of every country, you know, for the past millennia. And it's kind of shifting this once and for all to an e-commerce driven global economy.

And so what I would say to any DTC brand owner or any online. driven business is that you're actually in a state right now where more and more customers, every single day are going to be relying on online channels for their primary purchasing channel. And so it's opened up huge opportunities for people to increase their advertising, increase their online strategy, improve their email marketing, all of the cornerstones.

Of the digital marketing strategy are now kind of where every single brand should be focusing. And so I've actually worked with multiple brands. That's you know, used to have very strong wholesale and retail partners that sold huge amounts of goods through those channels. And now I'm working with them to shift everything online.

And since my experience with Inkkas of doing that, when, Macy's and Nordstrom started going through that kind of process four years ago, I've had a lot of experiences on taking brands from wholesale and retail to just a full e-commerce strategy. The last thing I would also mention is that across the board, the clients, the e-commerce clients that I currently work with have drastically increased their online revenue over the past five months.

It, there was an initial drop when the pandemic hit and there was a lot of fear and people froze. And so that first month there was a drop in a lot of business owners said, Oh no, you know, and then about a month afterwards, There was a double, not just, it didn't go back to normal levels. It doubled from the normal level, because we saw all these people who still wanted to buy product still wanted to have access to new clothing, new everything, and they didn't have those retail channels any longer to go to.

And so I would, you know, I have a lot of positive things to say about the future of e-commerce.

Max: [00:20:53] Yeah, it's really incredible. I remember when I was at Google, maybe four or five years ago, there was some stat about the percentage of. Of retail sales that was happening online. And at the time you kind of thought, Oh, it's maybe 30%, 40%, something like that.

But the answer was, it was seven and it only creeped up above 10 in the last couple years, I believe. So. pre pandemic, even though it felt like everything was happening online already, it really wasn't. And, shutting down physical stores.

Just, it doesn't surprise me to hear you say that, that, that it doubled.

and of course, as we know, so much of the buying happens in Q4. So this is just going to be a really interesting period of time for any e-commerce brand. Do you have any. Any advice to, I guess if you, if you were a brand and you were kind of gearing up for Q4, for e-com and you want to do well online, what's the best way to differentiate?

How do you handle this situation?

Dan: [00:22:02] Absolutely. That's that's a great question. So I think the first thing that, you know, if we bring it down to the basics, It's an exercise in branding. What does branding mean? It means that why is somebody going to buy your product over your competitor's product? Right? Is there a value?

Is it value-driven Oh, I get more for less. Okay. Is it a story-driven product? This is a beautiful product that's made in a special way by special people and benefits something special. Is it, you know, you have to decide. What is going to be the differentiating factor of your brand and your product out of all the saturated brands out on the internet right now.

And that's really the foundational element that I think people need to begin with once you've conquered that once you have a great brand with a great brand story, a great product that people use and they say, wow, this product really is good. It's a, it's a great product for the great price for the great story.

Then it comes into strategy and tactics. And you had mentioned this earlier, and I would reiterate that one of the most overlooked undervalued channels of acquisition and lifetime value that people really need to be focusing on these days is email. Email has it's the highest ROI marketing channel out of the marketing mix.

It has the highest potential to create a long lasting relationship with the customer. And, it's very inexpensive to implement, although it's very technical. It does require a very technical view on segmentations and flows. But I have worked with a lot of brands to implement some extremely complicated email marketing automation strategies, and we've seen huge, huge value.

Not only from the email marketing itself, but it also bleeds over into their Facebook advertising numbers, into their online advertising campaigns, et cetera.

Max: [00:23:49] Yeah. You know, when you think about. I'm a, I'm a paid person, myself. That's my background. And when I think about going up against the competition in a really competitive market, it almost always comes down to like, what am I able to pay for the customer versus everybody else?

Because if I'm able to pay more than I can usually gobble up a lot more of that ad inventory, and then I could scale a lot more than the others. And the crazy thing about this is it's not like if I'm 10% better. Economics wise that I can get 10% more volume. It could be like I'm 10% better. And I can get like 80% of the volume, you know, just because of the way that these ad auctions work and this of course assumes who's that your conversion rates are the same.

Your ad performance is the same, all of these other things, right. You're competing on. But I think not enough people think about how can I gain an economic advantage. And the key is increasing that LTV and the best way to do that, if you're an e-com brand is to have a killer email strategy.

Dan: [00:24:59] I couldn't agree more with everything you just said, you hit the nail on the head, and most people are always looking to the first time purchasers, right?

They're always going, how can I get more purchases on Facebook? How can I get more purchases on Google? And they're not looking to the fact that most even small e-commerce brands have an inventory. Of tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of customers that have already purchased have already come through the funnel and just by creating a stronger relationship with that group of individuals asking them what products they want.

Asking them what they'd like to see, really communicating with them. One-on-one directly through all of the different kind of tools we can use. Typeform, email marketing, all of these things. We can create the superstar relationship where by the time we're launching a new product, we already know that 50,000 people are waiting for this product to go live.

And that's the kind of, kind of value the long-term value you can get from email marketing.

Max: [00:25:50] Yeah. And I love that. You're, you're talking about this because it's, it's not, you're talking about flows, right. You're talking about. Personalization with email. And I think that for people who maybe haven't run a lot of email in the past, when you think of email marketing, you, a lot of times you think of like a newsletter and a, you think of a blanket thing that usually goes in your spam folder or promotions tab, or you archive very quickly.

That's not what we're talking about at all. What we're talking about is like, how do you. gather some insights on your customers based on what they do on your website or what they bought in the past, or how they've answered a type form in an email in the past. And then how do you create a personalized experience for them using a channel that is free literally free?

once you set it up, it's free. so man, I just, this feels like I hear the same thing. Again, and again, from all of the e-commerce experts like yourself, and it just seems like the place to focus for most e-comm brands.

Dan: [00:26:55] Absolutely. Absolutely. I do think that there's a lot of low hanging fruit in email.

I think it's just something that's so overlooked because people say to themselves, Oh, I have Shopify. They have some defaults emails that go out, you know, welcome emails. Thank you for placing your order or these kinds of, you know, emails. We're not at all talking about your order confirmation email, you know, we're talking about highly detailed flows that segments your audience into.

People who have spent over certain amounts of money over certain amounts of time. People who've made multiple purchases within a certain amount of time. All of that information is going to allow you to segment your audience and create specific messages for each audience. And lately what I've been doing is syncing those messages on email with Facebook ads.

So the moment you get that email in your inbox, That you go on Facebook, five minutes later, you get the exact same graphic delivered to you with the exact same mission message, the exact same discount. All of a sudden you're synced across all these, these social and search platforms. Your email platform is sinked and it creates this beautiful user experience where this user is receiving the same message on Google, retargeting, Facebook, and onto their email.

And it creates a highly effective campaign that brings people back.

Max: [00:28:05] I really love that. You know, so many of our B2B customers, what they, what they try to do is essentially personally brand to a very small group of people,  you know, just decision makers at different companies and they try to do something similar.

How do I show up to them on LinkedIn, on email and on paid social and Google ads all at the same time and make my brand feel bigger than it really is. Because you're not blanketing the whole world. You're just hitting that small segment. And I think you have the opportunity to do that with, with what you just mentioned.

I'm curious, I know Klayvio just launched a new SMS feature. I'm curious if you played around at all with mixing in some SMS into that kind of re-engagement flow and, and how you go about some of that.

Dan: [00:28:55] Absolutely. I think that, you know, the more touch points we can deliver the message to. And then elegant and engaging format the better.

Now, what I always tell clients is that we don't want to spam people because that makes people hate us. And once people hate you, they're not going to buy from you, right? That's the exact opposite effect of what we want to do here. What we want to do is please people. We want to make them smile and we want to make them excited to receive something.

And so, first of all, we need to have a value message, valuable message to communicate. That valuable message is typically, obviously we all know that we can offer a coupon, right? So that's the lowest hanging fruit, but the more intelligent kind of sophisticated strategy to get people excited is to deliver either new products that the person already expressed an interest in, or that perhaps a new product that they didn't know that they want.

But when they see the new product, they realize, wow, this is just like the old product I bought, but even better. It's the next version or. Create creative content. So whether it's a great blog post, and I'm not talking about a blog post that's written just poorly by an intern or something like that, I'm talking about like a, a well-researched interesting article that's describing.

in-depth topics about the product or service you're offering that somebody who is interested in that product or service would actually like to read because it's like research based there's data. It's interesting and it's highly targeted to that product or service. So that's what one great example.

And the other great example is obviously any sort of audio or video content. That is exciting and easy to listen to. So whether it be podcasting or whether it be a great video from your, you know, your, your fans or subscribers who are saying, I just bought this product, an unboxing video, look how cool this new product is.

All of that stuff can be really exciting for you to users to see. Because before they purchase the product, they'd love to see somebody else purchase it, unbox it, open it, use it, and see if it's something that connects with them.

Max: [00:30:52] We're talking about a lot of channels, right? We're talking about paid social.

We're talking about email SMS, a lot of different tactics within those channels. There's a ton of tools that, that we're talking about. There's this category of marketers that we have at growth collective, and. Has come up a lot, which is growth marketers. And, it it's like brand, which was, we did a whole episode on, well, what does, what does brand marketing mean? like brand, what, what does growth marketing to you? I, it is like kind of an ambiguous term, but I, I think it's a, it's a role that's becoming really popular, in helping companies sort of bridge all of those things and make them work together in a nice way.

Dan: [00:31:41] Absolutely. So the term growth marketing is thrown around a lot and whenever I discuss with, current or potential clients and they ask me about growth marketing, the way I find most useful to describe it and define it is simply a person who looks at all marketing channels and derives, which marketing channels have the lowest cost per acquisition and the highest value.

So essentially it's a full stack marketer. It, you know, that looks at every single marketing channel available. And I would even say, you know, typically we use the word growth marketing to define digital marketing channels, but I would say it's even more than that, you know, if you can place newspaper ads and that works for you, that's within the growth marketing bucket, because the growth marketers goal is simply to acquire new customers at the most efficient, lowest cost.

Possible who have the highest longterm value. Right? And so, you know, any channel of acquisition can be under that umbrella. And I believe the growth marketer, moniker is something that will come into use and come into play in a lot of major companies in the near future. There's already a heads of growth for most DTC brands have a head of growth.

and I believe that even brands like. Apple and IBM, I know it's ridiculous to say, because these people have tens of thousands of people in their marketing departments, but you still need somebody who is just laser focused. On the data of every single marketing channel and understanding what allocation of budget should go to which marketing channel to get the maximum impact for every single dollar you spend on marketing.

And that's in my kind of definition. That's what a growth marketer is.

Max: [00:33:26] It sounds like such a good fit too, for these smaller startups that are trying to test a lot of channels. They need to think through the entire flow, right. They don't necessarily have the landing pages or the email follow-ups and all the things built out that they need to, to make a channel or a profitable.

so that's really interesting. Do you find yourself working with a lot of earlier stage companies or do you do this type of work for, companies of all stages?

Dan: [00:33:55] I've really worked with companies of all stages. you know, I think that a lot of companies. That's I think there's really three phases of any company.

There's the building phase where you've just launched your brand and you're just kind of getting your Shopify site set up and all your email flow set up. then there's the growth phase where, you know, you're, you're, you've been, you have traction, you have revenue you're doing well and now it's time to grow and build it.

And then there's the kind of, what I would call the, The, you know, expansion phase where you've really kind of reached more than 20 million of dollars a year you've implemented and your growth strategies. And at that point, you're kind of almost becoming a corporation in many ways. You're kind of starting to specialize each one of your tasks to a highly qualified and specialized individuals who are laser-focused on their lane.

And so typically I work with customers that are more. In the growth phase. I prefer that phase personally. I think I add the most value to that phase if you're in the building phase and you're still just kind of learning how to use shopify learning how to use email. you know, I think it it's a little early to bring in a growth marketer because there's a lot of work that you need to do yourself to just.

Build your own brand and get your knowledge up to that level. But once you're in the growth phase, you're already doing about a million a year or so. You're ready to try to expand that out. And then of course, once you kind of finish out the growth phase and you're in that final expansion phase, you have kind of seasoned professionals takeover.

Max: [00:35:21] I'm going to, I'm going to steal that framework.

well, Dan, this has been a really amazing conversation from hearing your story of your own startup, to all of these tips for D to C brands. Is there anything else that you, any final thoughts that you want to, to share, for any maybe, e-comm entrepreneurs out there as we head into the holiday season?

Dan: [00:35:47] I would, yes. I would say whatever you're doing double down, triple down, go as deep as possible. The e-commerce world. We are just, you mentioned it at the beginning of the cold, you know, you said something along the lines of, you know, a few years ago, e-commerce only represented about 10%. I have no idea where it's at right now, but we are going to see so much growth in the e-commerce market over the next 20 years, 50 years, a hundred years.

That, whatever product you're selling, whatever kind of business you're running, there is an opportunity to grow. There's an opportunity to scale. You may have to pivot. You may have to tweak your product. You may have to tweak your approach, your brand, but. There's no doubt in my mind that with proper tactics, proper strategy, proper branding, you can grow any brand within the space.

And actually I'm not the person who came up with that. Originally, a guy that you may have heard of called Jeff Bezos and around 1997. Understood that the internet was growing at an exponential rate. And he invested obviously every dime he had in creating a company called Amazon, obviously. And so that was the original person who kind of realized the exponential growth of the internet.

And that's nothing, you know, it's, it's not coming to a halt anytime soon, you know, even if it's saturated in just the United States, which were not at all saturated in the United States yet with e-commerce, there's still, dozens of countries around the world that, E-commerce is just getting started in

Max: [00:37:15] Dan. Thanks so much for joining. I know people are going to love this one and I hope it helps them going into the holidays.

Dan: [00:37:22] Honestly, max, it's been such a pleasure chatting with you and just having a good time talking. I need to come get a beer with you sometime. So we're going to have to make that happen, but really man, it was such a pleasure.

Chatting would love to reconnect. Talk about DTC. E-commerce all of this stuff that I love anytime, man. So yeah, real pleasure.

Max: [00:37:41] Let's do it. I'll be in Austin at some point. Just a reminder that you can hire Dan right now to help you grow your e-commerce business. He's one of hundreds of incredible of freelance marketers in the growth collective network.

So head on over to growth, collective.com and we will handle and match you with a marketer who is the perfect fit for your business. Today's episode was edited and produced by my incredible brother-in-law David Reineke. And we would be super grateful. If you could give us a like, or a review in your favorite podcast, we'll see you next time.


Dan Ben-Nun
Expert Growth Marketer
Former company
About Author
Experienced CMO & Growth Marketer for emerging and established brands. I helping businesses rapidly scale their online revenue through innovative and effective digital marketing strategies.
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