Building a Truly Connected Customer Journey | Wunder 2023

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This is a podcast episode titled, Building a Truly Connected Customer Journey | Wunder 2023. The summary for this episode is:
08:52 MIN
How to Approach Performance Marketing
05:51 MIN
How caliray Approaches Creativity and Performance Marketing
03:37 MIN
How Tushy Approaches Creativity and Performance Marketing
05:41 MIN
How Wunderkind Approaches Creativity and Performance Marketing
02:02 MIN

Meghan Asha: How wonderful is this? We get founder rock stars, revenue rock stars, all of you Wunderkind rock stars. So I'm Meghan Asha. My business, we work with consumer brands. We were a trade show company that recently got acquired, but we help brands scale and grow through distribution investment. So that is that. But I would love to hear about you guys. Tell me about your journey, how you got to your role today. Let's start with you, Jason.

Jason Ojalvo: Hey, I'm Jason Ojalvo, CEO of TUSHY. I got brought in about five and a half years ago to help scale the business. I should also note we all just did coffee shots out there, so hopefully our energy can move around the room and kind of spread around, like the Jade Meridian treatment I had done yesterday. It was pretty cool. So my background, before becoming CEO of TUSHY, was largely in disruptive innovation and helping kind of push industries forward. So I spent about 12 years in the music industry. A lot of it was focused on getting record labels to go digital, back when people were still buying records and CDs and cassettes and such, and convincing record labels around the world to digitize their catalog and then start distributing them to these upstart companies that were starting to allow digital downloads. And then eventually, years later, streaming music. So really just trying to convince an industry to change, and it's really difficult to do that. And then I became part of Audible, focused on building Audible Studios, which is the in- house content production arm, and convincing... Basically, it was sort of like a audiobook store to start creating its own content. So I built that from scratch and ran that for about five years. And then we got acquired by Amazon, and I built for Amazon Marketplace business that allowed audiobooks to be created directly by actors and authors. So we trained tens of thousands of actors how to become audiobook performers, and then convinced authors to give up their digital rights to make audiobooks, put them together in a marketplace. And now at this point in the world, about two out of every three audiobooks created in the world are through that marketplace. So really also disruptive innovation, convincing actors to change what they do and learn something new, and convincing authors to think about audio. And again, when I go into different industries, people are like, " Jason, you're completely fucking nuts. Nobody's going to listen to an audiobook. No one cares." And then now, obviously Audible's huge. " No one's going to download music or stream music." Here it is. And so I took the same challenge with TUSHY. " Nobody in America uses Bidets." They're big around the world. For some reason Americans hadn't caught up, and I was like, I love this challenge. Let's change American culture and get them to clean their butts properly the rest of the world does. So I was like, " This is cool." And the marketing message that the company had was really fun. And I love that idea of really just fucking with the American public and having to advertise how to poop better. So I thought that as a crazy challenge. And 13- year- old Jason was really excited about it, because it's like, poop jokes all day. So there you go. Five years later, we've grown like 25x since I joined, and millions of Americans are now using a bidet from TUSHY, and hopefully tens of millions more. That's my background.

Wende Zomnir: I have two boys that are young men now that love poop jokes. I wish, when they were little, we had had a TUSHY.

Jason Ojalvo: We're hiring writers all the time.

Wende Zomnir: I'm Wende Zomnir. I started a brand along with Sandy Lerner back in 1996 called Urban Decay. And I look around the room and most of you, I made your makeup drawer, but many of you don't even remember a world without Urban Decay and Sephora. And so I just have to tell you, it was a very different world. When we started, we really, like Jason. We were disruptors. Back in'96, makeup was marketed as an aspirational product. You had to look like the perfect thin, white, blonde, beautiful model. And if you bought this product, you might get to take one step closer to possibly looking like her. And we basically said... Well, I'm just going to drop an F- bomb too. " Fuck that." Beauty should be about self- expression, right? I had a moment when I was in high school when a priest came up to me and said, " You're hiding behind your mask of makeup." And I was like, " I'm not hiding. I'm showing you. I'm telling something about myself," right? " My purple eyeshadow is telling you something about me, and you should take notice." So basically Urban Decay was built on the premise of beauty as self- expression, show the world who you are. We were very mission- driven, and that was how we disrupted the makeup industry alongside Sephora. And we were also one of the first beauty brands to get involved in social media. People thought I was crazy for hiring a person to be on Facebook all day long, if you can even imagine that that was a controversial hire. So I tried to be retired. L'Oreal bought my business back in 2012. I worked there for a while, and it was still really fun for a long time. Loved opening up all around the world, and I tried to be retired, and I couldn't. So I decided I would start another mission- driven brand, and I really looked in beauty, and what was missing was, we really have a sustainability problem in beauty. I thought about, there's probably an entire landfill full of old Naked palettes, so what can we do about that? So I started a new brand called Caliray, and hopefully you got some in your room yesterday. That is a bioplastic tube, 100% PCR cap. We're actually going to be infusing that tube in our next batch with carbon that we've sequestered from the air. So we're actually pulling carbon out of the air. So we're doing some really innovative things with packaging. I was always really into clean. I have non- off- gassing materials in all the Urban Decay offices. We had a biodynamic garden and yoga classes and dogs. No one knew that about Urban, because it wasn't our thing. We were one of the first brands to take parabens out. And I just rolled all of that knowledge into Caliray. So we're very clean, we're very performance- oriented, because why would you put anything on your face if it's not going to work, and we're sustainable. So that is where I'm at now.

Meghan Asha: And what's the name? How were you inspired by the name?

Wende Zomnir: Caliray? Well, when I was traveling around the world opening Urban Decay in different markets, people, the first thing they would ask me is, " Tell me about... Do you surf? Do you drink kale smoothies? Is that true? Does that happen in California? Do you do yoga?" Which Jason knows I do, because he saw me this morning.

Jason Ojalvo: Really, her headstand is on point. I was like, " Hey, were you doing a headstand this morning? Because it was amazing."

Wende Zomnir: Well, thank you.

Jason Ojalvo: I'm not a headstand person, but it seemed flawless from my limited...

Jack Riker: You were thinking about doing it on the walk out, but we said, " No, nevermind."

Wende Zomnir: Did the dance instead. So I just... Sorry, where were we?

Meghan Asha: The name.

Wende Zomnir: The name, Caliray. Okay. So I knew that there was this fascination with California around the world, and there's so much entrepreneurship and this sense of freedom, and just a laid- back vibe. And a little bit of, it felt like in the clean beauty space, there's a lot of really beautiful brands that are very quiet and very serious. And I felt like there was space for a brand that had a little bit of that Urban Decay oomph to it. And someone had bought me this t- shirt that says, " I'm a ray of fucking sunshine." And I could never wear it anywhere because I'm someone's mother, but I always felt that way. So I just combined the Cali with the ray from that t- shirt. So there's actually secretly the word" fucking" in between, just no one knows it.

Meghan Asha: That's amazing.

Wende Zomnir: Now you guys know it. Don't put it in the video that's released, because it's secret.

Jack Riker: I need to figure out how to drop an F- bomb in my background, because I feel like it's only kind of on brand here, but great to meet to everyone. I'm Jack Riker, VP of Revenue here at Wunderkind. Started my career actually running field marketing and sales for a very small furniture company. Started a nonprofit called Mistletoe Charities about seven years ago. But my day job and the vast majority of my time has been building our sales and account management functions here at Wunderkind for the past eight years. Now, what does that actually mean? I talk to marketers all day long, understanding how they've been able to navigate as we've pushed into performance email, as we've launched text, hearing some of the concerns that they've had or some of the problems that they've had that we've been able to solve. And most of all, I'm really excited to be up here with these fucking amazing people.

Meghan Asha: Yes, Jack. Yes. So you started your first brand in 1996. Brand marketing was very different than, and I don't even know, was there performance marketing?

Wende Zomnir: So I like to say there was performance marketing. It was your field team that was in the store. And the thing about that was that your field team was very connected. So you ran an ad, it was beautiful. Or in our case, it was very on brand and kind of beautiful? But your field team was trained by you. So they actually were in the store selling, because people weren't buying online. Actually Urban was the first beauty brand to be able to sell online. It was like there were little gerbils in there running the wheel to crank the thing. But you could buy a nail polish online from us, you could buy a lipstick, back in the late'90s. But the field team really did that job of the conversion at the store level, because that was really where all the transactions were taking place. You didn't have transactions in real life and online. You had transactions happen in one place. So I always viewed the field team as our performance marketers, and the better you trained them and the more on- brand they were, the better the performance. And I actually don't think it's that different today in terms of your performance marketing having to mesh with your brand marketing. What did you call it, Verne?

Verne: Brandformance.

Wende Zomnir: Brandformance.

Meghan Asha: Brandformance. I love that. We should all have t- shirts with" I'm a ray of fucking sunshine" as well. Jack, talk to us about brand.

Jack Riker: I work at a performance company, performance marketing company. So obviously I love performance marketing. I think performance marketing over the past, really, 15 years has obviously exploded as we've been able to get more targeted. But I think, more importantly, is we were able to get more measured in terms of the results. Everyone in this room loves being able to put a dollar in and getting a three, four or$ 5 out and being able to go to our CFOs, be able to go to our teams and say, " Hey, look, this really worked." Now, brand is a little bit more difficult. It's oftentimes much more difficult to actually measure that ROI. And one thing that we can always do is try to work brand into our performance marketing. It's something that we try to talk about a lot, is this brandformance. Obviously we want to be doing things that are driving performance, but how can we also tell a brand story? And honestly, I go back to a conversation when we were, I was talking to one of our customers about loyalty and I said, " Who do you use for loyalty?" And he goes, " My whole company is a loyalty company. Every single person in our doors in our company has the opportunity to drive loyalty." And in many ways, I think about it similarly in terms of a brand as well. There's so many different touch points that we have with our end customers, everything from how we market to them and how our website looks, but also, how do they feel when they open the products, when they open the box? What's their experience like when they're trying to process a return or have a question about one of their orders? Every single one of those touchpoints is an opportunity to build on a brand. You can look at it the other way and say every one of those touch points is an opportunity to degrade your brand if you don't do it correctly. But I think that as we continue to push forward, of course we're going to want to continue to lean in on things that drive performance, that are measurable, this classic performance marketing. But I think what we all want to think about is how every single interaction that we have with our end customer will help build our brand and always be focused on not only brand marketing, but brand operations and brand returns and brand customer service. And I think that'll kind of be where we move in the future.

Meghan Asha: Jason. TUSHY, I mean, I want hear, because I know that you've scaled this business based all off of performance marketing, right?

Jason Ojalvo: Yeah.

Meghan Asha: So talk to me.

Jason Ojalvo: Sure. Yeah, so early on, and I think it's probably common for any small company, I feel like you end up spending a lot more on brand, because you have to kind of establish yourself, put a stake in the ground, and for us also... The kind of things we did years ago are very, very different from now. But what we found is, we have a philosophy at TUSHY called Laugh and Learn. And so with every kind of ad that we do, we want people to laugh and we also want them to learn. So we kind of have to mix brand and performance with everything we do. So the brand piece is the laugh. Most people have never heard of a bidet, they haven't heard of TUSHY. So we need to grab you and do something a little bit either shocking or just silly or be able to tell a poop joke or a pun in the ad. So that's the laugh piece, that's the brand. And then the learn translates to the performance marketing. Now that we got you to let your guard down and think about new ways of cleaning yourself after going to the bathroom, let's teach you why it's good. It's better for your health and hygiene, it saves you money. It's better for the environment. There's all these reasons why you would get this product, and that piece, then, ties into the performance marketing, and that's where we're kind of selling you. And it's like, " Okay, now go to the website, learn more, buy the product." Because just the brand piece, just the laugh, is not going to get you to buy, it's going to get you to stop and maybe click or just share the ad with your friends. So yeah, for us, I feel like we spent a little time in the last few years almost getting away from brand a little bit more than we wanted to, because it was so focused on performance marketing. We were kind of chasing the dragon, chasing the green fairy, whatever you want to call. We were just knowing, " Okay, how can we get our ROAS to three to 3.5 to four," just always trying to do better and better. And then in the last year we're like, " Wait, we got to get back to the brand. We're losing... We don't want to become just a widget that you buy. We got to get back to that fun and excitement and lightheartedness." And in our mind, that also keeps competitors at bay. Because they're like, " Okay, I can..." A lot of companies making funny ads, there's a lot of companies who are just doing conversion tactics, but not a lot are mixing the two really well. So that's what we focus on now.

Meghan Asha: That's great. Let's talk about the different channels, and I love that we have some examples of what's working. So we'll put the slide up of Caliray. Amazing. Look at that. Beautiful. Look at Urban Decay. I mean, look at those beautiful brands you've built. My goodness.

Wende Zomnir: Thank you.

Meghan Asha: No big deal. Not sitting back over here in life. All right, and do you want to talk about those two, or just some of the marketing that you did on that?

Wende Zomnir: On these two?

Meghan Asha: Yeah.

Wende Zomnir: Well, you can just tell the first one's from the'90s.

Jason Ojalvo: Totally.

Meghan Asha: Nostalgia.

Wende Zomnir: But it really wasn't a very typical beauty ad at all. And the Caliray one, that's really, it's not even showcasing beauty that much, it's much more about vibe. Because our social media, our influencer work, is so clear about performance that there are times when we just need to dive into vibe. I mean, building off what Jason just said, we launched in Sephora in full distribution, and we felt a lot of pressure to perform right out of the gate because it is a very, very competitive landscape, and if you don't perform, maybe you're not there for very long. So we leaned really hard into the performance marketing piece, driving directly to Sephora, forsaking our first- party data, and it worked really well for us, but we found that we didn't have enough brand awareness to continue to build on that performance marketing. So we actually had to go back in and do some more things like this that set up the brand and the vibe.

Meghan Asha: It's beautiful.

Wende Zomnir: Thank you.

Meghan Asha: Next slide.

Speaker 5: This is a lifeproof setting spray. Is it really, though?

Speaker 9: This is the Caliray surfproof setting spray.

Speaker 5: We're going to put the setting spray to the test. Now, lifeproof meaning waterproof, transfer- proof, and long- wearing.

Speaker 9: I'm going to just shut up and spray some of this on my face. Okay. Oh my God, it smells like coconut. I usually just spray my face until I feel my makeup kind of wet.

Speaker 5: I love it when inaudible.

Wende Zomnir: I think you could probably pause it right here.

Meghan Asha: Want me to pause it?

Wende Zomnir: Yeah.

Speaker 5: This is infused with skin- recovering...

Wende Zomnir: The interesting thing is, this just shows you how segmented the beauty market is, and I'm sure all of our businesses are becoming, because who would've thought in a million years that was our top... We cut that down into an ad, and it was like our top- performing ad. He doesn't look like what you would think a Caliray customer looks like, but it just shows you there's a hardcore beauty customer that you also have to appeal to. And then this one, this one's a little shorter, this is more of what you would imagine. This is us sponsoring the Manhattan Beach 6- Man Open, which is much more Caliray- ish.

Meghan Asha: You can play it.

Speaker 6: (singing)

Meghan Asha: So in terms of just the different verticals that you're using, what are you seeing as being your top- performing channel?

Wende Zomnir: It's hard to say, because it is changing all the time, really, for us. I mean, we're using influencer, we're using Meta ads, we're using all of it and we're running all of it, and we're just testing and learning right now, because we're so young.

Meghan Asha: It's amazing. Jason, we have a video that we're going to put up as well, and I think you can give some context on this channel that you, or the marketing that you've been...

Jason Ojalvo: Sure. You can call that video. Don't play it yet. So one thing that TUSHY is kind of famous for is our kind of activations and our events and our PR stunts. And again, it's something that when I joined about five and a half years ago, it was really the focus, was like, " We got to put ourselves on the map. How are we going to break the internet?" For example, we were supposed to run a subway ad campaign, and they kept just kind of dicking us around, and it was really annoying. And we were ready to spend the money, and we had ads planned and we did this photo shoot, and they just kept stringing us along. And eventually they pulled in, they're like, " Bidets are a sex product so we don't want to show it." And I was like, "Are you really going to go there? We're going to go to press." And then we ended up getting an article in the New York Daily News about it, about how the subway wouldn't run the TUSHY ad. And then SNL saw that, so we were on Saturday Night Live in the news segment. They did a three and a half minute segment about TUSHY, and" Should TUSHY be allowed to advertise in the subway?" And Michael Che, we learned, loves bidets. So we got all this free marketing out of it. So we're really good at just taking something small, and for little to no money, turning it into something press- worthy. So yeah, what we're learning... And then I'd say now we moved much more into traditional performance marketing. And now, in TUSHY's current stage, a little more mature... We call it corporate adolescence, because we're all adolescents. We're kind of mixing the cool- crazy PR events with our paid advertising and trying to figure out how to mesh the two. So some of the example, some of the stuff that we've done in the past... There's a video of something we did called" Funeral for a Dead Tree", because one of the big aspects of TUSHY marketing is our sustainability. So instead of chopping down trees to make toilet paper, you use a bidet and you clean and you get more clean, and you could save up to 15 million trees a year. So we wanted to get that message out. So we rented the Judson Memorial Church right on Washington Square Park in New York City. We threw the world's first funeral for a tree, and we had this woman from trees. org come speak. In a second you'll see Matthew Morrison, known as Mr. Schue from Glee. He played the minister, and we had all these different people come up and deliver eulogies for the tree. It was just this spectacle. It was this crazy sold- out spectacle. And we had the church choir sing, and we left the church at the end of it with a New Orleans brass band, kind of led us out into Washington Square Park to continue the party. It was completely nuts. So just to kind of call attention to the fact that we kill trees to wipe our butts, which makes absolutely no sense. So we did that. We've done other things, like during the pandemic when a lot of people were getting laid off, we're like, " Okay, what can we do about this?" We're like, " We're going to hire a vice President of Fecal Matters and we're going to do this whole PR stunt where it's like, you can submit your application, and you have to post it on your social." It's like, why we should hire you as our VP of Fecal Matters, and then you're going to get paid this amount. It's going to be a three- month gig, and you're going to create content for us. And we ended up getting close to a thousand submissions, and that's a thousand pieces of social content out there. And then we got the rights to reuse all of it as well. And then we ended up choosing someone, and they got the gig, but we ended up meeting five different really funny writers from it, who, some we still use to this day who do a lot of our writing. And we ended up getting a ton of press just because we were having this cockamamie idea that we were hiring a Vice President of Fecal Matters. So free press, tens of millions of impressions for it, and we were just always coming up with ideas. Like, Super Bowl rolls around, the last two years we had a" Super Bowel" contest. So Super Bowl Sunday, you eat really poorly, and then Super Bowel Monday is when it all comes out. Good thing you have your TUSHY. And so we've gotten, I don't know, that probably got, it was like half a billion impressions, some insane amount. We had so many articles about it. You had to submit... I won't even get into it. You had to submit something. And then we chose one person to win$10, 000. So we're all about just finding ways to not spend a lot and get big bang for the buck. But now we're starting to combine that with, " Okay, what if we combine that PR stunt with a sale that we can then also advertise?" We set certain goals on the last one we did, and we beat it by half a million dollars for this short sale. And that was our Asshole Activist campaign where we opened an art gallery and we took pictures, we had a professional, she's done Vogue covers, amazing photographer, take photos of people's buttholes, but they're customers. And so we blew them up huge into this art gallery, and the idea was these are modern- day activists. These are people saving the trees because they're TUSHY customers. They're not responsible for chopping down any trees, because they clean themselves with TUSHY. So we just come up with these ideas, and then we tied that to a sale so we could advertise the gallery and the sale, and it got some press, and the next thing you know, the sale kicks butt and we made a lot of money. So that's what we do at TUSHY. We do a little different.

Meghan Asha: But this is a perfect example, because I feel like the pendulum has swung so far into performance marketing versus art and science. You're pairing the artistic creativity with the performance, and really, I mean, that's where the magic happens. And Jack, can you comment on some art versus science? What is it in terms of brand performance?

Jack Riker: Yeah, I'm still cracking up from those. But no, I mean, art, and not just butthole art, is important in terms of marketing as well. And I think that when we think about the swing, again, we talked about it earlier, it's really easy for us to say, " All right, cool, let's just measure everything on our last click ROI. Let's look at, how can we chase going from a three to 3. 5, 3.5 to four?" And then we lose some of the magic that made us, honestly, have fun in the beginning of it as well. And while I'm not going to have great videos, we can talk about email as a great way to do that as well. Look, email is going to obviously continue to be a fantastic channel, one because it drives great performance, but you can also tell great stories. I think that the thing that I'm particularly most excited about in terms of seeing how the pendulum will go back is actually around text. And I'd be interested to see, in terms of show of hands, who here uses text, not just with Wunderkind, at all? Who here uses text in terms of their marketing? Who here would say that their text program is a great brand experience? One or two, right? I think this is going to be the next frontier. It's a new channel that's obviously working, it's driving incredible performance. What are we able to do, and what are the tactics we can use to also have that build brand? What are the ways that we can use MMS and interactive texts? What are the ways that we can have great customer service experiences? What are the ways that we can just have people feel good about our brands through that text channel? And I think that that'll be the next frontier in terms of that balance between performance and brand.

Meghan Asha: Wonderful. Thank you guys. Really wonderful.

Wende Zomnir: Thank you.