Monday, January 9, 2023

We’re crossing our fingers that you’re a 1–2 today! 🤞

In this newsletter, you’ll find: 👇

📦 Strategies that worked so well they’re worth doubling

📦 Early bird gets the worm – DTC C-Suite Las Vegas

📦 Monitoring creative performance, affiliate programs, and awareness models

📦 How to start the new year with streamlined content creation

📦 Studio content and the platform you should be selling on for 2023

Read till the end to access exclusive DTC swag. 😎

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

2023 Planning

Welcome to 2023! Last year was filled with fabulous insights, killer tips and tricks, and a whole lot of wisdom.

Not sure what direction you’re taking this year? We gathered responses from past podcast guests and friends of DTC outlining the strategies and practices that worked so well for them in 2022, that they’re doubling down on them in 2023.

👀 Here are the top brands’ priorities for 2023:

💪 Eric Wu, cofounder of Gainful: Performance nutrition that unlocks your full potential.

If I could sum up the biggest learnings we've had at Gainful in 2022 into one pithy statement, it would be: ‘fundamentals never go out of style.’

It's no secret that 2022 threw many businesses a series of curveballs – especially young, venture-backed DTC startups. Whenever we hit another wall, we were able to break through it by focusing on business fundamentals.

Being obsessive about customer experience, ingredient quality, product margins, and profitable acquisition/distribution channels is far from novel. When it comes to building a healthy, sustainable CPG business there is no hack – especially a ‘growth hack.’”

💰 Harry Hothi, senior product marketing manager at Wealthsimple: Powerful financial tools to help you grow and manage your money.

In order to maximize ad performance (increase in the volume of conversions and lower CPAs) across paid channels, you need to create content that resonates on the particular platform.

One way to do this effectively for marketing teams is to develop a streamlined process that allows you to:

  1. Capture platform trends (i.e. a timely TikTok video trend that’s getting shared and recreated from users),
  2. Create, edit and publish multiple pieces of content based on the platform trend in real-time, and
  3. A feedback loop to understand what new content is performing best in order to double down on winning strategies before it goes stale.”

💄 Fiona Co Chan, founder and CEO of Youthforia: Makeup that’s good for your skin - so good you can sleep in it.

Something that worked well for us in 2022 is monitoring our content performance. We noticed that every couple of months, either creative fatigue kicks in or the algorithm changes. If we monitor our KPIs closely, it's a signal for us to change strategy.”


Viva Las Vegas! Will You Be There?

Growth in 2023 is no game of chance 🎰

So join us in Las Vegas, on March 23 and 24 to mastermind with a community of ambitious individuals who recognize the value of working together and sharing their experiences with like-minded peers.

Last year's C-Suite Victoria was a resounding success and we received rave reviews from the DTC brand owners who participated. 🎉

This year, we're taking the event to the dazzling city of Las Vegas, where anything is possible.

We have an all-star lineup of mentors joining us, including the founders and operators of: 👇

  • Obvi Collagen
  • Mini Katana
  • Kuru Footwear, and
  • The MidDay Squares Trio.

Whether you're in the CPG, health, apparel, or bladed weaponry industry, we have content and connections that will take your business (and your network) to the next level in 2023.

🚨 Join us at C-Suite Mastermind Las Vegas and let's make your business dreams a reality. Save $1,500 with early bird special pricing until January 15.

2023 Planning

🖊 Stu Jolley, founder and managing director at Stories and Ink Skincare and The Others Beauty Co.: Award-winning tattoo aftercare and long term skincare products formulated with specialist ingredients.

“It was a no-brainer for Stories & Ink to build an awareness model around the most influential people in our category – the tattoo artists. They influence the entire customer journey from planning a new tattoo, getting one, to advising how to care for them afterward.

Our tactic was to let the artists tell their own stories by illustrating them on our packaging. The result? Millions of views through collaboration Care Kits that allow our marketing dollars to work more efficiently. The outreach is huge and way more authentic to our audience.

We’ll double down on Collab Kits in 2023, as customer acquisition becomes increasingly more expensive, we can leverage this combined audience and reach new customers. Collaboration is the way in 2023!”

🧦 Rob Fraser, CEO and founder of OUTWAY: Performance socks for the pursuit of personal bests.

We're doubling down on our affiliate/referral program in 2023. Historically, our most effective marketing channel has been by word of mouth and our affiliate program has supercharged those efforts in the digital arena.

We're seeing an average 5X ROI on the program, rise in AOV, and meaningful growth MOM. This is not a new or groundbreaking strategy, but in an ever-changing difficult digital marketing landscape, the high-trust nature of referral-based sales has helped us maintain a lowered blended CAC.”

👨‍🍳 Joel Twyman, cofounder of The Marshmallow Co.: Handmade gourmet marshmallows, direct to your door.

In 2022, we started our journey of moving away from paid advertising to focusing on our content strategy. Creating behind-the-scenes content, introducing the staff, packing customers’ orders, and making our brand more personal and approachable for followers has really worked for us in 2022.

In 2023, we are going to be doubling down on content, in particular our short-form vertical content, which is now starting to gain traction on Youtube Shorts as well. We are going to be exploring longer form content with the goal to become a lifestyle brand for our followers, and not just an impulse buy product.”

🏃 Drew Arciuolo, director of marketing at VKTRY Gear: The first insoles proven to help athletes run faster and jump higher while reducing injuries.

In 2022, we focused on giving people an inside look at:

  1. What problems our product solves.
  2. How people react after trying our product for the first time.

In 2023, we will be doubling down on acquiring this kind of video content through both our internal team's efforts as well as influencers. This content not only distributes well on organic social, but also typically has lower CPMs and much higher CTRs when used for paid social.

Additionally, we've stopped focusing on being a product for everybody, and really honing in on who we believe to be our top customers. This has also allowed for an increase in WOM sales and creates a ‘this product is everywhere’ type effect.”


Three, Two, One – Blast Off!

Are you looking to upgrade your product imagery in 2023?

If you answered yes, meet Pilothouse Studios. 🤝

They are gifting DTC brands over $250K worth of free production shoots for Amazon, Shopify, or Meta creatives until January 31, 2023. They have created content for brands like Four Sigmatic, Fellow, Robert Barakett, and Blume.

This is the last time you’ll see this offer advertised – act now! 🚨

🚀 With Pilothouse Studios, you'll have access to:

  • A one-stop-shop team with customized content packages that save you time and effort.
  • Expert strategists who will handle the heavy lifting of creating top-notch content.
  • A talented team of designers, creators, and producers ready to support your growth.
  • The opportunity to focus on other important tasks while your content is being expertly handled.

Make 2023 the year of efficiency and growth.

👉 Want drool-worthy creative? Contact Pilothouse Studios today to learn more and schedule your free shoot.

2023 Planning

👟 Sean McGinnis, president of KURU Footwear: A DTC shoe company on a mission to eliminate foot pain.

In 2022, KURU built a powerful affiliate program. We nearly 10X'd revenue in the channel by recruiting high volume, high margin affiliate partners while keeping the bottom feeders away.

We'll be redoubling our efforts on this channel in 2023 without a doubt!”

⚔️ Karly McFarland, director of eCommerce at Mini Katana and speaker at C Suite Las Vegas:

“In 2023, we’re doubling down on email marketing. Think REAL content inspired by the likes of Birddogs or We’re Not Really Strangers.

We’ll also be reviewing and adding seriously impactful email boosters like PostPilot, Fondue, and Wonderment. Not to mention, focusing on customer experience and long-term list health (and driving thought leadership around it) rather than immediate return on investment.”

⚔️ Isaac Medeiros, founder of Mini Katana: Handmade swords.

“We’re doubling down on what’s working. We need more content of higher qualities. This means a professional studio setup.

We’re also adding product categories. eCommerce companies should be spending 30%+ of their time as organizations on product.”

🤑 Sean Frank, CEO of Ridge.com: Retail luxury goods and jewelry - maximize your life by minimizing what you bring along.

🍫 Oliver Brocato, founder of Tabs Chocolate: Sweet, sexy, and performance enhancing dark chocolate.

“2023 is the year of expansion for us.


  • Product Lines
  • Markets (expanding internationally)
  • Platforms (Amazon, Etsy, Walmart)
  • Paid Channels (Scaling on FB and Google)

But beyond customer acquisition, our primary focus this year is retention. So, we are making a considerable push to incentivize subscriptions (on the PDP, cart, checkout, thank you page, emails and SMS, etc). We are excited for what’s ahead!”

And that’s a wrap! What are you doubling down on for 2023? Reply to this email and let us know! ⏭

Quick Hits

📐 Nielsen’s cross-platform measurement product sets launch date.

🪟 Microsoft plans to integrate ChatGPT into Bing.

🐤 Twitter reinstates political advertising.

🌴 Amazon’s layoffs will exceed 18K.

∞  Meta fined $400M+ in privacy crackdown.

🔊 Have you heard our latest podcasts?

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

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

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

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

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

💡 Listen to the Biggest Marketing News Stories Today.

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

DTC Newsletter is written by Rebecca Knight and Michael Venditti. Edited by Eric Dyck.

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