March 29, 2020
e Commerce Product Launch – Marketing Masterplan 2019 with Chloe Thomas Ep 13

e Commerce Product Launch – Marketing Masterplan 2019 with Chloe Thomas Ep 13


are you ready to scale and outsource
your business okay let’s go welcome to the outsourcing and scaling show I’m
your host Nathan Hirsch a show where we talk about everything
Amazon shopify ecommerce and digital marketing let’s get started
hey everyone welcome back to outsourcing and scaling I’m your host Nathan Hirsch
and today we have a special guest Chloe Thomas Chloe how are you today I’m
great nice and I’m really excited to be hanging out with you and your your
viewers well hanging out with you I know a Conor my business partner and me and
you we’ve kind of go back a few years now so spend a lot of fun before we dive
deeper let’s tell the audience a little bit more about you you’re a best-selling
author international speaker the host of both the e-commerce master plan podcast
and virtual summit Chloe is one of the top 50 UK influencers and e-commerce and
shipping and the podcast is regularly included in the list of top e commerce
and business podcasts in the world and you’ve been in e-commerce since 2003
which is even longer than I’ve been fast approaching about the rather scary 20
years prospects which that freaks me out but yeah yeah so before we kind of dive
into your background what was ecommerce like in 2003 I can’t even imagine
because in 2008 when I got in it was just no one even knew what it was well
by my first job in e-commerce was working for a multi-channel retailer
trying to deal with all those omni-channel
craziness apart we didn’t have marketplaces then but we had like 120
stores around the UK so it made us quite quite big in the UK we had a mail-order
catalog which is what I was brought in to run and we had our own website on the
IBM WebSphere platform which was a that was a Hulk of a website really was and
we had all the same challenges you have now really certainly from the marketing
respect from the strategy perspective where do you how do you deal with
customers wanting to use lots of lots of different spaces how do you try and do
attribution we spent ages wondering about attribution and what 17 years
we still haven’t solved attributed so I guess the big change is is how much more
accessible things have happened between there now and then you know we were
paying oh gosh we had we had to host the website in our offices so at
Christmastime because we saw gifts everyone in the office apart from the
marketing team were banned from using the internet because it slowed down the
website absolutely crazy with that you know we had a team of five running it
which these days that business would have a Shopify site you know so the the
accessibility of the the technology has evolved so much but the the challenges
remain the same because the customers not that different right makes a lot
makes a lot of sense so let’s take it way back so your childhood I always
where entrepreneurs came from that were you a straight-a student were you a
rebel were you did you know you want to be an entrepreneur to that that come
later give us you don’t think you must too much but give us a summary of what
you were like I was a fairly boring straight-a student yeah I got I got the
straight A’s at GCSEs which is are the exams we take at age 16 and then it fell
apart a little bit of a about a levels but I did manage to get into Oxford
University where I studied history so yeah and entrepreneurism came to me
because my third boss post uni he offered me the job of were being his
head of e-commerce for about six different businesses and the carrot was
to turn that into a marketing agency at the end so I was an accidental
entrepreneur and what 12 13 years on I can’t imagine having a job are you gonna
be before you went the entrepreneurship route before you got an e-commerce was
there something I know you study history was there a certain job that you wanted
well now I I studied history cuz I figured I might study something I like
and the interesting thing is I used parts of my degree day-in day-out and
the skills I learned while studying history is still very relevant when I
do now I suppose if if he hadn’t come along and done that I would have been on
course to be director of e-commerce for one of the UK’s High Street businesses I
suppose but that I didn’t take that track I took this track make sense
probably been an awful lot more fun at the very least so I work with a lot of
Amazon sellers and as you know launching a product that Amazon is a lot different
than launching a product outside in Amazon and you’ve worked with a lot of
big brands who I’m assuming have launched a lot of products we can you
take us into the behind the scenes of a product launch when these big companies
are trying to do it I think on Amazon oh not on Amazon
Amazon unless you I think you’re more not on Amazon right I’m far more so
let’s talk what you do not on Amazon cool I would just wanted to make sure
about that before you kind of went off on the wrong tangent thanks I guess in
the non Amazon world product launches are so much less of a big thing okay you
might have a you might be talking like a seasoned launch when it comes to a house
big fashion retailer we’ve got some new product seasons coming and we’ll put the
looks together but it’s not that same you know here’s my highlighter pen and I
need to launch my highlighter pen so everything’s focused on this one thing
right I have I often look at the listings for like Amazon Associates oh
sorry Amazon FBA businesses who are trying to sell I’m like what you have
three SKUs with because you know I work in the world of hundreds and thousands
of SKUs and it’s about the range and about talking far more we spend far more
time more talking about the brand so product launches don’t really don’t
really come into into what we do but we would do a season launch you know so new
end because new is always a big a big angle so that that involves creating all
the new Google apps all the new email marketing briefing the affiliates so
it’s it’s far more of a of an all-encompassing project I suppose and
of course if they’re also selling on on their marketplaces making sure those
listings already – I’m not sure that answers your
question Nathan but ya know kind of behind the scenes of of the non Amazon
world so so let’s dive into marketing that’s obviously your core I’m not a
marketer I’ve somehow became a marketer we’re working with free up but I’ve
never done real marketing for e-commerce I ran an Amazon business I did marketing
on Amazon and even back rated Amazon there was no external traffic like
running from these book ads Amazon that didn’t exist so when you come into a
business and you’ve we’ve run lots of different e-commerce business and you
look at these thousands of SKUs how do you create that marketing plan what’s a
starting point we’ll walk us through that great question question I love so
the starting point for me with any marketing camp marketing plan and
working out so you I see you working out what you’re gonna do for the next
quarter right back when I started we look at the whole year but that’s just
insane these days well we look at the next three quarter is pretty normal
yeah of course is pretty normal I mean you’ve probably got your eye out for
like the Black Friday and the Christmas stuff but the detail you’d only do a
quarter at a time these days so you gonna the first thing you’re gonna do is
look at your previous results so the last quarter and the last this quarter
last year so we’re talking q1 let’s say so January February March we’d look at
October November December seasons to remember how months come together and we
look at January February March from last year to see what worked most recently
and what worked in the same season last year and then take those marketing
methods that were strong so maybe you were talking email we’re talking
Facebook maybe Facebook Ads we’re probably talking social media content
whatever the whatever worked and drove the sales in those two quarters is what
you’re going to focus on so you kind of focus on your methods then I usually
start with the well I go and catch up with the merchandising team so the
people are in charge of the products the buying imagine I seen what’s coming in
what do we think is gonna be a big story so in the world of fashion it might be a
particular trend or if you’re talking in the gifts business it might be this
particular gadget or this particular item that we think is gonna be our best
sellers because those guys are usually pretty good at predicting that sort of
thing and then and also they would probably be
the ones who decide when we’re doing a big discount weekend or when we’re doing
a when we’re going into sale so these are kind of the big things that you’re
gonna hang the quarter off and then underneath that we’re then tossed in
marketing with what we’re actually gonna say in each email and what the focus of
the Google Ads is going to be and what the Facebook strategy is going to be and
so we have to work whether that up test and measure as we go through the season
to make sure we’re making the right decisions we’re improving things and of
course we also have lots of ongoing builds we have to do like the automation
so welcome campaigns need to be updated maybe we’re building a new browse
trigger campaign so people have looked at this categories who are on our
database and they haven’t done anything with us in six months we’re going to
ping out some emails to them so all that kind of I suppose asset building element
of marketing rather than the things which are happening now that has to go
on as well so it’s a massive juggling act very satisfying not only is it
massive on the work but it’s probably a lot of people right you’ve got the
graphic designers you got the writers you’ve got all these people you’re up
here directing it and I think a lot of at least people listening that are
clients of free upper or that are running their their own business right
now sometimes struggled to put all those pieces together to get that end really
good marketing plan any advice there I’m managing a marketing team that consists
of a lot of creatives that aren’t necessarily the easiest to work with if
you’re a business owner I think that the more I find the more people you’ve got
involved and the more you want to take advantage of the great skills of those
people the more organized you have to be right it makes it so you can’t go right
it’s Friday next week what are we going to put out and think that your
copywriters your agencies your graphic designers your team are gonna be able to
actually do a good job of it I mean they can when they need to but you should try
and set them up a little bit more for success I interviewed the conte one of
the content managers from hellofresh in the USA a couple of months
a year ago I think it was now for the podcast when she was writing blog
content for the hellofresh website and they were working six months ahead Wow
he was writing things and researching things that weren’t gonna go live for
three to six months because they knew what the trends were they were gonna
hear some which for me was slightly mind-blowing how do you know what the
trends are in six months things changed so fast now yeah but that’s the thing
actually they they do change but they don’t change they’re quite predictable
and and you know they’re or they’re more predictable than you would think and
there are people who you know whose job is to work out what these trends are but
they’re working so far ahead so you’ve got to give them time to get it right
and and I know this is one of the tips that Nathan Ewing you have to meet with
the team you know a regular schedule of meetings via every Monday we get
together we look at the plan double check we can still deliver on on what we
need to do this week and that it’s still the right thing to be done because you
know the plan you you create in December for January February March will also by
the time you get to March and that’s okay that’s we’re we’re perfectly happy
with that happening but you can’t be writing it as you go along you can be
amending as you go along you can’t be writing and so that regular Monday
meeting when you get everybody in and you’re right where are we where are we
on this week’s projects where are we on next week’s projects where are we on
like Friday if we need to be worrying about Black Friday now and just a sense
check and get everyone in the same room it’s such an efficient way of doing it
and then have it all out on a trolley board or an asana board or something so
you’re managing those pieces but that’s that’s the that’s the quick tips I
suppose yeah you kind of touched on my next question which was meetings how
much how many meetings I’m assuming you don’t just say hey go run with there
talk to you in a month is it is it once a week is it more than once a week my
favorite thing to do is to have a weekly meeting a weekly marketing meeting and
then have if I’ve got direct reports at a moment in time I will have a meeting
with each of those each week as well to see how it goes but in in my retailers
businesses they would be following that but in my business I
have a few freelancers dotted around to different do different things to meet
now they come in for a project or go for a project so with them I’m catching up
when I need to but not in the times when they’ve got less to do so so yeah you
have to be be there but you also have to trust in your team and what I find is if
you try and keep it to one meeting a week it gives your team enough time to
be creative to feel inspired to be feel like they’re doing something great but
it doesn’t give them enough time to screw up so let’s talk about e-commerce
and marketing in 2019 where do you think it’s going what mistakes do you see that
that people are making that they’re maybe they’re not adjusting to the times
oh that’s a big old question I think one of the ones which just continues to
bombast and confuse me is how many of the larger players aren’t using Facebook
Ads it’s slowly creeping up there but I still find a lot of big businesses just
haven’t quite yet got their head around it you know they’re trying to apply a
Google Ads mechanism to Facebook Ads and it they just work to differently and
so I think that’s one thing which which you can still get ahead of the pack
still get ahead of your competitors if you’re doing Facebook as well I think
there’s also the technological adoption I think is one of the pieces people are
struggling with currently so we have oh I see a lot of business in fact I’ve
just surveyed my audience my podcast listeners and my my email signup guys
and I think it was like it’s like 65% of them
I can either are or are considering switching email marketing platform this
year hmm which is huge from what the majority of them are on MailChimp I’m on
MailChimp and what are they switching to that I didn’t ask them that but the ones
I hear people switching to at the moment would be klaviyo and omnis end yeah
because then and a few are switching to drip by leadpages as well but they seem
to be the ones where people are moving to because they want all that automation
they want things to be easier and if you go to those ecommerce focus
systems the tools are there and there’s templates there which you know there’s
nothing worth it to do a welcomed campaign but not quite sure what to do
and on those platforms you can go welcome campaign and it goes this is
what you should do I can just get to fill in the gaps and it’s so much easier
so that’s the I guess up upscaling your tag slash making use of the tech your ax
paying for is one of the things which people seem to be those who I see is
succeeding or doing quite well this year love it so once I change gears a little
bit talk to talk to me about Chloe Thomas in 2019 what are you working on I
know you got the podcast in here you got the summit I’m assuming you got other
stuff outside of that and how do you manage all your time balancing all these
different things yeah my my business is getting quite complicated um two years
ago I sold my marketing agency which meant I could focus on e-commerce master
plan full-time which has been awesome and one of my one of my primary goals
with e-commerce master plan is to do stuff I enjoy not just stuff that pays
the rent which has led to this slightly bizarre business structure where about a
third of what I do is working with actual retailers to help them solve
their marketing problems everything from coaching and consulting through to
running the summit or helping them listen to the podcast then there’s about
a third of what I do which is content creation so there’s the summit as you
mentioned and I know Conor is one of the speakers in the next summit which comes
up in in April and I create the books which you can see over there and I
create a podcast those are all out there to help people solve their own marketing
problems then the other third of what I do is to work for businesses who are
trying to sell to ecommerce businesses and retailers and for them I write and I
speak at conferences and I chair events and that sort of thing so yeah it’s
quite complex and I guess and currently there’s only me in the business because
I quite like it that way but I do I’m sure this would music to your ears I
have a number of outsource freelancers who help me with the stuff I know I
shouldn’t be doing and the stuff that if I was left to
it would be left till five o’clock on a Friday and probably not happen so that
would be things like graphic design and my social media posting and my podcast
editing and those those things which I just cannot get organized and then the
other thing which makes me met helps me to manage my time is shed a link a cool
booking schedule link thing I never quite sure what to call them but you
know click here to book some time with me that just saves so much time and
effort without one of those right I think I could do the same way my
calendar on the site I wake up every day every hours booked every half an hour’s
booked and you just go through the day and if I want to work on a project I go
in and I book it my time in there so I can use it and works out pretty well
yeah so what did I miss what should people know about marketing know about
e-commerce in 2019 that people might be missing the boat or something cool that
you come across I know that you in fluent or that you meet with a lot of
different people and influencers give us something cool that’s going around that
the average person wouldn’t know I think I don’t think well I think the average
person is scared of this I think I did some tests with this in November and
December it in January with a couple of retailers and prove that customers don’t
mind you doing this and it could be highly lucrative what am I talking about
browser push notifications so these are you know when you go onto a website and
something pops up and it says and they would like to contact you click allow or
don’t allow and you do that one click and then you get a pop-up every now and
again from them telling them a new blog post has gone lives the news the news
and blogs and platforms seem to be a lot more you using of this software than the
e-commerce businesses are but I saw some really interesting case studies last
year middle of last year about it so I decided to test it with a couple of
businesses over the Christmas period the one which which blew my mind with the
group that I was doing the testing with was a company called serious readers and
you won’t have heard of them no one this thing will have heard of them and
they’re a British business quite a big business actually but they
sell reading lights for those who either have a craft that involves really
focusing on something you know like model creation or needlework or
something all those whose eyesight is failing and want to still be able to
read the newspaper and then light started about 150 pounds that’s what
about $250 per light and they go up in price so they have a very old audience
the majority of their sales still come through on desktop not mobile which is
you know relevant for their demographic not because of anything else and their
customers because they’re that older demographic because they’re buying that
high highly priced product and my assumption was that push marketing was
all about the knee jerk jerk impulse sale
oh no the results were phenomenal we got a thirteen percent conversion
rate from one of the campaigns we ran I know there’s mental and we got I mean we
started from zero because you don’t have any subscribers until you turn it on and
we earned four pounds per subscriber in those two months we were running it
which for a standing star is really good and the and the other thing is the
marketing we were sending was helpful messages and content-based messages so
they put a blog up about glaucoma and done some of the latest research on
glaucoma and that’s what we put you know in our push notification was we just
written you know here’s the latest news about glaucoma and XYZ Ed’s happening
and it converted really and it was it was absolutely fascinating and we didn’t
have one single customer service complaint about either the pop-up or the
alerts as they were coming through to an audience which you would have thought
would be the least likely to want the browser push notifications often these
days it’s something which is included within an email marketing platform
there’s a strong chance at those people who are watching this have actually
already paid for it they’re just not using it and haven’t deployed it so
that’s a big tip for me this year is to to give browser push notifications to
try because they are powerful and you have a lot more control over how much
they annoy the customers that you might think so you can make them very
on Annoying and and they can really drive great sales for your business so
so yeah that would be my top tip very awesome Chloe how can people find out
more about you and tell us about the summit I know you have that coming up
yeah sure so you can find out more about me at ecommerce master plan com
you’ll find out everything I’m doing and how to get in contact and the summit is
going live on the 30th of April it is available to sign up for free throughout
April so you can gets completely for free and we are focusing on the world of
subscription ecommerce which I think is one of the most exciting things in the
e-commerce at the moment there’s huge growth because not only is the tech now
there to make it really easy for us as retailers to deploy and create your
subscription business but consumers are loving it and they’re loving it in ever
greater numbers so if you want to find out how to launch how to grow how to
retain customers in the world of subscription I’ve got some amazing
speakers some both some some people who are running subscription businesses
themselves and I’ve got the best of the subscription supply so I’ve got research
coming on I’ve got I’ve got garner from free up coming on for all your
outsourcing needs I’ve got one of the top Shopify agencies in the UK speaking
I have I’ve got a viral marketing specialist
I’ve got email marketing being covered I’ve got the guys from stubbly which is
one of the subscription platforms coming on it’s the content I’m already part way
through recording it so I can say this hand on heart it’s really really good
you want to get this you could have three days to watch the whole thing for
free and you can find all of that at ecommerce master plan com forward slash
summit listeners if you want to build your brand if you want to get off Amazon
and really market and grow your business check out Chloe’s podcasts check out the
virtual summit and coach thanks so much for coming up thank you it’s been a
pleasure hey everyone thank you so much for
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