Well-known brands such as Google, Apple, Uber, Nike & Amazon didn’t become extraordinary by accident—it’s taken a strategy and an approach that too many emerging or challenger eCommerce brands try to bypass in their desire to experience rapid growth.
Extraordinary brands require an extraordinary growth framework. And the most effective frameworks involve four major things: extraordinary marketing, optimization, intradepartmental workflows, and analytics.
Here are four lessons from extraordinary businesses that have built some of the most well-recognized brands and actionable steps you can take to apply to your own models in lowering your acquisition costs.
1. Extraordinary companies understand the importance of brand-driven performance marketing and how to find the balance between brand and conversion that works best for them.
Some performance marketers often refer to brand marketing with dubious and derisive undertones. But for emerging and challenger brands, this perspective can prove itself fatal. Peak efficiency in advertising doesn’t take place in eCommerce without a strong brand.
Brand awareness, a powerful way for companies to attract their tribes, creates powerful brand recognition over time. As the brand becomes familiar to the market, some of the biggest obstacles to purchase virtually vanish—especially when the brand has taken the time to build trust and authority.
Brand has never been merely about sleek fonts, pretty pages, and an appealing aesthetic. The heart of brand marketing lies in the experiences consumers and prospects alike have with it. When most think of brands such as Fenty Beauty, Apple, Tesla, and Skims, they think of reliable, quality products, consistent customer service, and excellence in what they provide. When they hear brand names such as Uber or Airbnb, the reaction in consumers’ minds may be mixed, but the companies still enjoy the benefits of brand recognition. Familiarity is powerful.
Anyone running sophisticated paid media programs sees that power play out in the performance stats. Challenger and enterprise brands alike who employ brand marketing and compound awareness, goodwill, credibility, and trust enjoy not only lower costs per acquisition, lower CPCs, and higher conversion rates but also better customer retention and improved LTV.
As long as they have great products and provide great experiences, of course.
The biggest myth in marketing for emerging brands is that the answer to successful advertising and growth lies in performance marketing alone. It doesn’t. Companies need a hybrid of both if they intend to thrive amidst the current climate.
And you don’t need to be Nike or Coca-Cola to build the kind of brand awareness that sets the foundation for effective and efficiently run performance marketing.
Companies in the eCommerce space, in particular, don’t often have room to slip up in their marketing efforts, being such a cashflow-driven type of business. But extraordinary outcomes depend on how well teams can marry brand-driven principles and approaches with more direct-to-conversion, performance-driven initiatives.
This is no simple feat; it often requires extraordinary planning, communication between teams, tight execution, and a treasure trove of insights gathered from performance analytics, A/B testing, social media listening, and so much more.
2. Extraordinary companies are much more about evolution than revolution.
Launches and pre-order models can be powerful, especially for limited-edition products and variants. But the key to smooth, predictable scaling lies in what happens between launches. Stop-start marketing systems, where the brand experiences massive peaks and valleys along its revenue curve for the year, are rarely sustainable beyond low seven figures.
To experience extraordinary growth, like the world’s largest brands do, the marketing model you need to adapt is one that allows for constant, granular optimization.
Which headlines resonate with which audiences? Which version of creative nails it when it comes to scroll-stopping and shareability? Which first three lines of copy compel ad viewers to read the next few lines and so on to get the click-through? What site elements require optimization to move the needle on AOV, LTV, and conversion rates? It’s these granular, incremental improvements across digital assets on owned media, earned media, and borrowed media alike that lead to staggering results over time.
What drives acquisition at peak efficiency is the implementation of a comprehensive marketing plan that’s structured to run steadily and consistently, day in and day out, and is constantly being optimized with new information.
This consistent evaluation and optimization also applies to the way you hire and manage teams, work towards peak operational efficiency, improve cashflow, and otherwise pull levers that will best drive marketing, operational, and departmental efficiencies needed in order to be able to scale and grow in virtually any economic, market, or channel climate.
3. High-efficiency marketing comes about from a series of efficiency-driven, channel-specific growth strategies over time, that work with one another rather than isolated in a silo.
Most companies are running their marketing in silos where teams aren’t talking to one another, data isn’t being shared, and strategies are being executed in isolation. The most successful brands know that’s not the road to cost-efficient marketing.
In order for marketing channels to ideate and innovate smart strategies for maximum growth and efficiency, they need to be given all the contextual data related to the strategy, performance, and insights on the other marketing channels, as well.
That means, for example, understanding what messaging, angles, headlines, and offers are being run elsewhere that are and are not resonating with their respective audiences. Moreover, who is being targeted, where, and what the nature of that digital conversation looks like from the point of first interaction all the way to post-conversion.
For emerging or challenger brands, this often proves a daunting task, especially if there’s no CMO or growth strategist to connect all the dots and lay out a cohesive, synergistic strategy.
However, understanding how the channels can and should be “helping” one another is the key that unlocks a marketing ecosystem that is more efficient than the sum of its parts.
4. Understanding mission-critical metrics, data, and KPIs can help catapult your brand to great heights over time.
The extraordinary brands we know, buy from, and love have teams dedicated to understanding what data is important to make decisions off on and when. They’re not throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. They don’t have tunnel vision on ROAS when that KPI is fourth or fifth-tier priority at best.
Instead, they’re intentionally using deeper marketing and operational data to evolve and establish a new genetic makeup of the business that can withstand economic, market, channel, and platform volatility.
Extraordinary brands let metrics such as their CAC/LTV ratio, their OPEX as a percentage of revenue, their cash conversion cycles, and their front-end profitability metrics guide where they should focus next in order to better optimize and run at peak efficiency. For the more efficient a brand is, the faster and smoother it can scale.
Understanding how each metric pulls a lever in your business’ profitability and scaling endeavors, shaping your marketing and advertising strategies around those levers, and monitoring those movements regularly in partnership with your CFO or accountant, is critical.
Build an Extraordinary Brand, One Ordinary Step At a Time
Your e-Commerce brand can reach its full potential and stand the test of time by diving deeper into data to better understand how all of the dots connect in optimizing the foundation needed for seamless growth and scaling.
This way, you get more granular about how, when, and which conversations with your consumers need to happen along the buyer consideration process.