thredUP, Chubbies Integrate Brand and Performance Marketing for Better Results
In a panel discussion at the CommerceNext conference in New York City last week, Karen Clark, vice president of marketing communications and partnerships at thredUP, the world's largest online thrift store, and Tom Montgomery, co-founder and chief digital officer at Chubbies, a men's shorts brand, offered insights into how their companies are balancing the brand marketing vs. performance marketing conundrum. The conversation was led by session moderator Sean Finnegan, a partner at Chameleon Collective, a hybrid consulting and marketing services firm. Clark and Montgomery were joined on the panel by Matt Gilbert, CEO of Pepperjam, an affiliate marketing solutions provider. Here are some highlights from the conversation:
Allocating Budget for Brand vs. Performance
Karen Clark: We have a healthy mix [between brand and performance marketing]. We recently worked on a really cool campaign with Olivia Wilde, in which she sold an eco-friendly capsule collection on the platform. It was a brand campaign, but along the way we were thinking about how we can use this content across all performance channels.
Tom Montgomery: We’re building an emotional brand — capturing the Friday at 5 p.m. feeling. Everything we do is built with brand in mind, and everything that we do is tied back to a metric — shares, comments, likes for brand, but also how many people are shopping.
Measurement and Data
KC: What we measure completely depends on the channel and objective, whether it be CPMs, brand awareness, brand reach. For CPMs, can we create a story that’s so efficient that it can drive brand reach? And of course we’re looking at traditional metrics such as cost per acquisition (CPA), lifetime value (LTV) and others.
TM: Shares, comments on the organic side. The power of distribution lies in your audience. Is your advertising driving incrementality? Does revenue change as marketing changes? We don’t put anything under the moniker of brand to get out of measurement. We measure everything, brand campaigns included. Also, we're making sure to take small swings where we have a little bit of data.
Influence on Operations
KC: We've created a lot of our adtech in-house, and then tap agencies to help with storytelling. And it depends on the mode. Right now we’re in scale mode, so we’re tapping agencies more and more. The goal is to scale really, really quickly, and we're using a mix of branding agencies and freelance creatives.
TM: We insource most of what we do. It's all about finding scale. Our creatives in-house are also in charge of media. They’re responsible for the [campaign's] performance. We're getting a unified view of the customer — we've been working on this for five years.
Investing in the Right Channels
KC: TV is performing really well for us. Adtech is showing sales lift after our TV campaigns. Channels that support long-form content let us tell our brand message, such as Instagram Stories. A story that touches on both brand and performance. Also, we're using social influencers.
TM: We’ve also been investing in TV, running tests to measure the incrementality of the channel. TV is heavily brand, but is becoming more performance oriented. I’ve seen affiliate [marketing] doing the inverse. We’re testing nonstop, and are seeing some glimpses of scale out of podcasts. But podcasts are harder to track. One of our KPIs is going to be organic search for brand campaigns. If it delivered a million impressions, how long do we expect for those to pay back? We're also looking at other KPIs: When did you deliver? How much did you spend? What did you see in sales in runoff periods (one day, one week, one month)? We typically don’t rule out a channel, incorporating a data-driven testing methodology as channels and brands evolve.
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