AdQuick Madvertising Podcast Episode #4: Alexa Kilroy of TripleWhale
In episode 4, AdQuick marketing team members Chris Gadek and Adam Singer (your hosts) interview Alexa Kilroy, the Head of Brand at TripleWhale, and discuss e-commerce, direct-to-consumer marketing attribution & more.
Watch on YouTube here, (also embedded below) listen on Spotify here or Apple Podcasts here.
Transcription follows below if you prefer text, for accessibility or if you'd like to grab any quotes for re-use via blogging or social.
Chris Gadek (00:00:00):
Welcome to episode four of the AdQuick Madvertising Podcast with Chris and Adam. Today's guest is none other than Alexa Kilroy, head of brand and content at Triple Whale. Welcome.
Alexa Kilroy (00:00:12):
What's up guys? Thanks for having me.
Chris Gadek (00:00:14):
Adam, how are you doing? Are you surviving after this weekend?
Adam Singer (00:00:18):
I am. Thank you for asking Chris. Every weekend has become a thing for me now, whether it's my dog swallowing something he shouldn't to the sink in our new house and the bathroom flooding into the wall. So my weekend's been fun.
Chris Gadek (00:00:32):
Alexa and which city are you in today? Because it's event season and I know I've been following you on Twitter and you've been kind of jumping around, so where are you this week?
Alexa Kilroy (00:00:41):
Yeah, dude, it's been wild. I just moved from Austin, Texas back to Boston, Massachusetts. I used to live here, lived in Austin for five years, came back. And then you're catching me, I'm about to hop on a plane tomorrow or the next day to go to Santa Monica, LA for the next couple days. So we're jet setting for sure.
Adam Singer (00:00:58):
Chris, that's your old stomping ground.
Chris Gadek (00:01:00):
It is my old stomping ground. I sometimes call myself the mayor of Venice if things are going my way. But anyway, let's jump in. So today we're going to talk about brand marketing and how it pertains to basically the D2C channel. We're going to go deep into an ecosystem that actually Alexa is an expert in. And for me it's going to be a wonderful learning experience because I come from hard B2B, and so I'm really excited to learn about how D2C marketers are thinking about their brands and using Triple Whale's products to kind of run their own business. But I guess to start us off, we should probably go after an easy topic. So let's start with marketing attribution. So a lot of people... Oh, what? No? Should we...
Alexa Kilroy (00:01:51):
No, you're good
Adam Singer (00:01:52):
A great topic. It's a great topic.
Alexa Kilroy (00:01:55):
I got bars on this one. Don't worry.
Chris Gadek (00:01:59):
Okay. What's the simplest way to think about it? So everybody, Alexa's audience are performance marketers. So how do you wrangle that beast given that you have the most sophisticated buyers in the space as customers?
Alexa Kilroy (00:02:14):
Well, first do you want me to explain attribution or do we feel like everybody knows what's up already?
Adam Singer (00:02:18):
No, explain it for the SMBs and maybe the junior marketers who have no idea what we're talking about.
Alexa Kilroy (00:02:25):
Cool. Yeah, so to state it super simply, you as a marketer, you spend money on lots of different things and then people buy products from your brand. So attribution is essentially the data science that maps those purchases back to the customer journey that they experience up until their point of purchase. And so when it comes to our product at Triple Whale, what we offer is a solution that helps you map all the touchpoints along the customer journey from when they first interact with your brand up until when they convert with your brand and actually make a purchase. And so you can literally see every Facebook ad, every email, every SMS message that they got, every touchpoint along the way until they go ahead and make that purchase. So attribution is really just this kind of data path that helps you understand where a customer came from and what they ultimately ended up converting on.
And why it really matters is because obviously you want to be spending for the highest ROI possible, right? So you as a marketer, you want to know which ad campaigns are performing the best for you, which emails that you're sending are the ones that are maybe pushing people over the needle to actually purchase versus just kind of engaging with your brand. And so when you have that, you kind of unlock those insights as to what that journey looks like and where people are actually converting from. Then you can optimize and spend more efficiently where it really matters.
Chris Gadek (00:03:45):
Cool. So when marketers at these organizations are thinking about their attribution, what are the inputs? Which channels are due to see marketers leveraging right now for all their performance channels? I know there's been a lot of back and forth on TikTok and the efficacy of Facebook vis-a-vis the 14.5 iOS updates. What is the D2C marketer in 2023 doing right now?
Alexa Kilroy (00:04:17):
Yeah, I mean, admittedly we're still seeing highest spends for D2C brands on Facebook. I think it's because even if you're a person spinning up a new brand for the first time, most media buyers are most experienced with using Facebook and it has kind of the broadest swath of audience. So you still have people that are Gen Z using Facebook all the way up to people that are now in their 60s and 70s using Facebook. So we're definitely still seeing high spends on Facebook, particularly with their launch of these new Advantage+ campaigns some more, we can dig into this as we go forward, but there's some more AI machine learning driven tools that Facebook is implementing. And so we're still seeing a lot of spend there. TikTok has been slowly on the rise, I'm sorry, it was rapidly on the rise towards the end of 2021, early 20. Sorry, I misspoke. Rising end of '22 into 2023. I forgot what year it was.
We're kind of seeing this plateau now because if you're listening to the news, there's all this mumbo jumbo going around as if TikTok is going to get deleted from all of our lives in the near future. For right now, it's being deleted from government devices and people who use their smartphone for things that need to be highly secure. So to be determined, what ends up happening with TikTok, but we're still seeing folks spending there. Typically, it's the brands that are actually newer to the market and appeal mostly to Gen Z and millennial audiences. Then you've got some of your old standards like Pinterest and Snapchat. Snapchat's been on the decline for a very long time. God bless them. I see them. I see a lot of bigger corporate brands like Doritos advertising on Snapchat now. And Pinterest has had its ebbs and flows throughout time as they've gone through changes of leadership and how their app platform works. People are very much investing in Google right now. Google is getting harder, better, faster, stronger, and you're also able to spend more than you were before. So Google's on the rise again. And then we are seeing some other improvements in things like email marketing, more personalized targeting and segmentation, same with SMS, a lot of reinvigoration, reinvestment in those two. And then we're starting to see some kind of fun stuff popping back up. So mail, out of home advertising, I'm seeing billboards for D2C brands now, stuff on streaming channels like Hulu. So it's kind of a broad scope and it really just depends on the target audience of the brand.
Adam Singer (00:06:50):
I would like to comment, we did not ask Alexa to mention billboards. She said that on her own rendition.
Alexa Kilroy (00:06:55):
Adam Singer (00:06:56):
Alexa, I loved what you said. I have a follow up question because I see all of the time our peers like to say things like, oh, Facebook is dead, or Instagram is dead, or X or Y or dead. And then at the same time I go and I watch an episode of Shark Tank and you see this D2C company that has 2 million in sales. They're like a new startup and the only channel they've done is Facebook. And it's like, so I guess the question is clearly every marketer has some amount of bias, large or small. How do you think marketers can do better to get that bias out of their heads and actually do what's right, not just the channels that we like?
Alexa Kilroy (00:07:35):
Yeah, the first thing is that I use the age old adage that your mom said, if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump off at too? So it's if all your friends on Twitter are like, Facebook is dead. It's like, okay, cool, I'm still going to test. There's no reason to assume that just because it isn't working for their brands or their brands that they're managing, it isn't going to work for me. And frankly, the way that media buying on Facebook works is very different than it was three to five to even eight years ago. So a very seasoned media buyer, you're going to see two things. You're either going to see a very seasoned media buyer who's like, Facebook sucks now because I've been running it for eight years and I hate how it works now. Or you're going to see a seasoned media buyer that has been rolling with the punches and as Facebook has rolled out new changes, platform developments, they've adapted and adopted along with them.
You see young and hungry media buyers who are learning, let's say Facebook for the first time and it's their first go around the lap. So they're adopting the new tools and the way that audiences are built and things like that for the first time. They're kind of more of a chameleon. They're adapting to that as it is. So I'm of the firm philosophy that there are zero channels that don't work for anyone. Frankly, people wouldn't still be spending as much as they're spending on Facebook if Facebook was dead. I think it's about testing meaningfully and then making sure that you're advertising on the platform for your audiences. And so if your product is like, I don't know what's taboo or off topic on this podcast specifically, but one example that I like to give is...
Alexa Kilroy (00:09:09):
Oh, good. Yeah. Okay, yeah. So if you're selling a sexual wellness product, you're probably going to have more success on Instagram Reels and TikTok and Google than you are on a standard Facebook in-feed ad because that's just not, Gen Z is most interested in those products and they're not scrolling through your Facebook feed cause it's mostly Aunt Karen posting updates about what your third cousins are doing. So it's really just about being in the right places at the right time.
Adam Singer (00:09:42):
I definitely am going to forward this episode to my Aunt Kathy who is a Aunt Karen.
Alexa Kilroy (00:09:50):
Oh, I have an Aunt Kathy too. That's totally what they use Facebook for, so I'm not being rude. That's just how it be these days.
Adam Singer (00:09:55):
Totally. And I've come full circle on Facebook in terms of using it in college. I was an early gen, so was Chris, and I'm actually using it again now because it's an easy way to keep up with all the people I never talk to.
Alexa Kilroy (00:10:10):
Adam Singer (00:10:11):
It used to be everyone I would always talk to. Now it's the people I never talk to, which is kind of interesting.
Alexa Kilroy (00:10:16):
And that's also part of it too, Adam, is we as media buyers and marketers are stupid not to change with the times. Every day we age, every day we interact with technology differently. The technology is changing. And so if your generation is looking back to Facebook, you need to be aware of that and adapt to that. Whereas if your generation is for some reason really consuming Twitter and LinkedIn right now, we need to be there instead. And so I totally agree. I don't have my Aunt Kathy's phone number, but I have her on Facebook and that's how I communicate with her. Same with Aunt Linda. Shout out to Aunt Linda [inaudible 00:10:51], but I wouldn't, unless I was advertising compression socks, I wouldn't be optimizing for in-feed advertising on Facebook right now.
Adam Singer (00:11:03):
Awesome, I love it. And so we talked a little bit about audiences and channels. I'm curious because I've read your social feeds and you share so many cool examples of brands doing very creative D2C things. And so I love it because I think if you're a small D2C player, the only way you're going to stand out is to do something like a Proctor and Gamble will never do and that's okay cause you're trying to take this niche audience. But at the same time, for large brands, they're afraid, they're super risk averse. So what's the line? How much risk should marketers take? Is it how big your company is? And I guess what are some of your favorite examples of companies doing things that are kind of risky and may have worked out for them and could inspire others?
Alexa Kilroy (00:11:52):
Yeah, I mean it's annoying because I'm going to keep saying the same thing over and over again, but people like to group D2C as it is this industry and everything is similar in D2C, but frankly it's not to me and your audience matters so much. So to give you an example of a couple brands that I love, I'm not going to go on this one too long because we all know, but we all know Liquid Death's rise to fame, and they've literally built their entire brand and their marketing strategy around being edgy and doing weird off color things. Two of my favorite marketing campaigns of theirs that you might not have even heard about but I think are amazing for those who did one, they created an entire album. It's on Spotify where they made scream-o rock songs using all the negative comments and reviews that they got.
Chris Gadek (00:12:42):
Alexa Kilroy (00:12:43):
And ran it as a PR campaign.
Chris Gadek (00:12:44):
My preferred genre of music too, which is great.
Alexa Kilroy (00:12:48):
It's so amazing. And it's literally like, "this is just bubbly water in a can," and it's incredible. Incredible campaign. They also, because they have this kind of edgy Liquid Death thing, actually two more campaigns of there's. One, they make amazing merch. So I think they just released a flask that shaped like a coffin. They released a black wax candle that's like a hand around a can. It's creepy black wax. It's super cool. And then another amazing campaign that they did, and they actually spent a lot of money on it. If you go on Amazon crime and you look up Liquid Death, they actually filmed an entire horror movie, but it's very kitschy and it's about how these kids go camping in the woods and they're being chased by these murderous metal cans. And they just leverage these really unique, they have a very strong creative director and they leverage these things to create this brand affinity, which frankly, as many of us know, shipping liquids D2C sucks. It's so expensive. It's very, it's not the best model or the path I would choose.
Chris Gadek (00:13:53):
It's a running joke on Twitter too.
Alexa Kilroy (00:13:55):
Yeah, exactly. And so they've just built this brand affinity where people are willing to pay a lot more money for basically just bubbly water in a can. They didn't even release flavors, they didn't even release sparkling until relatively recently. And so they're a great example of a brand that has taken a lot of risk and they're cool with their audience being the people that are willing to adopt that risk. They get all these negative comments about how the brand is dangerous and bad for kids, whatever. Which I think is very ironic because the product was originally created so that people could drink water instead of alcohol at Warped Tour. But anyway, besides the point.
And then another example of a brand that I love that goes very edgy is a skincare brand called Truly Beauty. They're probably, I want to say 60% e-comm, 40% retail. They're in Ulta now, but they built their whole brand around creating skincare products that are fun and joyful and youthful, really cool colors. One of them is named Unicorn Fruit, but they also named the products to be kind of edgy. So for example, they have a scrub that's for chest acne called Acai Your Boobies, and then they have a butt scrub for those weird little ingrown butt bumps you get. I forget what that one's called. But they literally kind of leaned in to we are going to be these unabashed, this is who we are marketers, and built this brand around it. And then when they were launching their first advertising campaigns on TikTok, they actually used, let's call them exotic adult dancers as their influencers who I learned this from observing their marketing, but I guess they really beat up their bodies when they're doing pole work and things like that.
And they have a lot of really bad dry skin issues. They have a lot of bruises and things. And so they leveraged this whole marketing campaign with them for their skincare using these kind of sexy named products. It totally blew up the brand and now it is like Gen Z loved and adopted, and they're freaking crush in it. I think they're $40 million brand now. They've grown really quickly in the past couple years. And so I'm very pro-risk, it's just if you are going to be risky, you need to make sure that there's a large enough slice of the pie in your audience demographic in order to be profitable. Whereas for example, if you're doing compression socks and you're working with an older demo or something like that, it might not make sense with your product and your audience to be sexy, saucy, risky.
Adam Singer (00:16:38):
I love it. And I think another thing you touched on is all of those examples you gave were super, and this is such a buzzword and cliche, but they were actually authentic. And I think a lot of big brands like to say they're authentic, but they're not really. It's like whatever they're cookie cutter, New York, Madison Avenue ad shop created some piece of creative that made them feel authentic. But the butt scrub thing is legitimately authentic that a big company would never do. So I think they're actually embodying the thing marketers say they should do, but won't do.
Alexa Kilroy (00:17:15):
Yeah. And also, risk doesn't have to be sexy in talking about your butt. So kind of going back to P&G, for example, Native, which was acquired by P&G just launched a line of scents that our candy scented. They just launched a gummy bear line. I have no idea how it's performing, but they have gummy bear shampoo, conditioner and body wash now. And frankly, in my opinion, that's a huge risk in the skincare and body care market to launch something that is so, I don't know, we associate cleanliness with freshness or these woodsy smells or clean laundry smells or eucalyptus. And so I think that that's a huge risk. And they obviously produce it in volume, it's in every target and everything now. And so it'll be really interesting to see how that bet plays out for them. And that's probably them trying to reach a younger demo, but we'll see how it goes.
Chris Gadek (00:18:11):
And I can confirm, I pulled up the Spotify Liquid Death playlist. Adam, first song on the playlist, "Fire Your Marketing Guy".
Alexa Kilroy (00:18:23):
Yeah, it's so funny too.
Adam Singer (00:18:25):
Alexa Kilroy (00:18:28):
I heard their director of e-comm speaking at event recently, and he was telling me that they have the intention of continuing to release albums with different genres based on the sentiment of the reviews. So they're going to do R&B one with really positive reviews that are really over the top positive reviews, and it's going to be sexy and sultry.
Chris Gadek (00:18:51):
Like Usher or Baby Face?
Alexa Kilroy (00:18:53):
Oh, yeah. I think that's going to be awesome if they haven't done it already.
Chris Gadek (00:18:58):
So going back to the Liquid Death story and some of the other products that you had mentioned, this kind of takes me back. I was listening to one of your podcasts, I think it was from September, but there was one thing that really resonated with me, and it was kind of how you were describing brand marketing in practice, which is, hold on, I have the quote here somewhere. It was like...
Alexa Kilroy (00:19:19):
Chris Gadek (00:19:20):
"Become a student of your customer and then work backwards to create marketing assets that align with who your customer truly is." Can you kind of unpack how you kind of arrived at that? Cause I think that's really deep and a really good way to think about brand marketing. Especially as many of us are performance driven or really haven't really thought of integrated marketing campaigns because we're always chasing return on ad spend.
Alexa Kilroy (00:19:45):
Yeah and frankly, I was born and raised as a performance marketer, so I started in my career. But to give you some context on how I actually arrived at this, I used to be a high school English teacher. I had a 21-year-old life crisis and I was like, I'm poor, I live in a new city and I have no friends my age cause everyone I work with is like 50, making $30,000 a year, not the path. And so I pivoted into ed tech briefly, was super bored, and then got my first e-comm job. And my first e-comm job was working for a subscription-based supplement company. I was employee number three or four and what I had to do was answer the phone. And when people wanted to cancel their subscription, which at the time there was no online portal to do so, they had to call in, my job was to win them back.
And my boss, who was the founder of the company, would give me a cash bonus literally every time I won back a certain amount of customers. And I was doing so well on win backs that he ended up having to do it. It was unsustainable. He was owing me like $700 every week and it was not the move for him. And I realized that my background in teaching and educational psychology translated really well to consumer psychology. And I learned very quickly that when I pulled up, when the customer would call in, I would pull up essentially their Shopify profile and I could see where they're from.
... up essentially their Shopify profile, and I could see where they're from. This is my biggest pro tip, by the way, if anybody's listening to this and they're having trouble with win-backs or whatever. All you have to do is make a connection with your customer. So I'll give you a shady secret about me. I'm sorry if anybody's listening to this that I won back once. But what I would do is, I would see Susan's calling in from Nowheresville, Nebraska, and I would be like, "Oh my goodness, Susan, I see that you're calling in from Nowheresville, Nebraska. My aunt lives there." And then I would like Google that town, I would pick a random church. I'll be like, "Oh yeah, she goes to whatever church." I would just try and make a connection with her to build a relationship with that person and learn about their life. And then I would go on to talk them through the process and the conversation about whether they want to cancel their subscription or whatever.
Just having that interpersonal reaction or interaction with that customer helped kind of sway them back in the right direction. So I learned quickly how that relates to marketing, how that relates to, I don't want to say manipulating, but providing the right messaging and the right connection necessary to win over the right customers. And from there, I realized the value of talking to customers directly because if they could explain to me what they did or didn't like about the product, or better yet, what they did but they didn't like at the same time, I could find ways to build messaging around how to like the product more. It's a taste issue, maybe you can add some juice to it. Or you don't like that it's bubbly, okay, well here are different ways that you can deal with it. You can put it in a pitcher and let it sit out overnight. So I would think about ways that I could message to people when I was on those calls.
Every e-comm brand that I've been at since, even at Triple Whale actually, I've spent the first two weeks doing internal and external interviews all about the brand, the product, the marketing, how people interact with it. I literally dedicate so much time to this. And I don't just dedicate time to the happy people, I dedicate people to the really angry people, the "I just turn for whatever reason" people, the lukewarm people, incentivize them however I can to meet with the customers. Because if you don't have a strong pulse on the statistically significant things that your customers love and hate, not only about your product but about your brand, your marketing, your messaging, you are never going to learn how to improve. You can look at data and numbers all you want, but you need to understand the people behind those values.
So the more that I did that, I think probably the better they got at it. And then I also found additional ways to do this, like synthesizing common words and phrases in reviews, both positive and negative. I also synthesize reviews for competitor products or other products in the market that people are talking about to build that messaging and learn my customer even more. A super steady customer journeys into which subject lines actually get them to open or click an email versus which ad copy gets them to the last click before conversion versus the first click when they first interact with the brand. And did a lot of CRO and WebWork and LP work as well. So the more I became a student of my customer, the easier marketing has been for me.
And it requires that upfront time investment and the commitment ongoing. It's not like you build a customer persona once and then you put it in a drawer and you run with that for the rest of your life. Because what I think a lot of brands make a mistake with is, they think like I have this one ICP, I have this one persona, this middle-aged woman that lives in Nebraska and she's it. And frankly, if that's what you're telling yourself, you're doing yourself an injustice because that is by no means the entire puzzle. You need to be able to market to the different personas that you have. You need to very understand them very deeply, and you need to be able to literally speak and model language in the exact way that they do so that they understand they align and they're ready to convert.
PART 1 OF 4 ENDS [00:21:04]
Chris Gadek (00:24:47):
So in practice, how are you thinking about this? Do you use tags extensively in all the tools that you operate in? What does that look like?
Alexa Kilroy (00:24:57):
It really depends on what I'm doing. So for example, at Triple Whale, because we're in the SaaS space, we have a platform called Gong that records customer interviews. And in there you can search by keywords, so it auto transcripts what they're saying, and then you can search by keywords. So for example, if I want to understand how someone's positioning us against a competitor, I can type in the competitor name and see all the interviews and listen to those segments based on the timestamp. But when I started doing this, and there's no reason anybody can't do this now, it was literally just a lot of data dumping into Google Sheets and then writing formulas to find ways to synthesize common words and phrases. Now I've heard of a lot of people using ChatGPT to actually data dump customer reviews in and then asking ChatGPT to come back with a synthesis on what customers are saying.
And if I'm correct, I think that's still free to use. So whether using the Google Sheets OG method or you're using an AI tool that is accessible. I think whatever you're doing, as long as you're doing it and you're keeping that data somewhere and you're reflecting back on it and then circling back and doing it again every couple months, particularly when you launch new products and then a couple months after those products are out.
And always the biggest piece of advice I can get is just always make sure that you're not just talking to the happy customers. I think that that's a huge mistake because so much of what your marketing needs to do now with less advanced on platform targeting is, you need to make sure that the people that you're funneling to your website to click on your ads that you're spending money on are the people that are most likely to buy and want to be there. So if you can use that negative feedback or constructive feedback to funnel out the wrong people and make sure you're only funneling the right people in, you're going to see the highest ROI possible on your advertising.
Adam Singer (00:26:48):
So Chris, I wish every marketer would spend the amount of time that Alexa does to understand their users, because I saw mostly on the agency side where I would have clients that were just so checked out, they didn't care about anything, they were clearly just phoning it in.
Alexa, you talked with a lot of marketers as part of your job. Can you give us a little bit of your sense as to the sophistication of marketers with measurement, with analytics, with attribution right now? Because you have such a good cross-section view of different types of marketers, I'm curious where you think the sector is at.
Alexa Kilroy (00:27:30):
It's really all over the place. I think a lot of old-school media buyers and marketers are more top-level marketers. So they're looking at marketing efficiency ratio, they're looking at their MER, and then they're looking maybe channel level at performance. Whereas what I'm seeing is, younger media buyers and marketers are far more niched in, so they're thinking very deeply about creative testing and A/B testing copy on ads, whether it's through some sort of automated feature or they're doing it themselves. It kind of just depends on the seasoning.
I think what's interesting, though, is that with the rise of solutions like Triple Whale, people are getting access to data in a synthesized and simplified and visualized way that they may not have had before, right? Because pre a solution like Triple Whale, for anyone who's listening who doesn't know, Triple Whale offers a aggregated dashboard, which we call our summary page, which pulls in all of your Shopify data as well as all of your marketing channel data, your email, your SMS, your ad platforms, pulls it into one place. So you can see high level things like MER and your cash state, your net profit, but you can also drill down and see each channel down to the ad level how everything is performing.
So I think with the accessibility of all this data, before, what I was doing, because I'm a data nerd and I'm a super creative testing like niche nerd, and I'm probably on the younger side of the spectrum, I would export everything from Facebook, Google, whatever. I would export it all into Sheets, and then I would do a lot of analysis, but I would get stuck in analysis paralysis mode because there's just so much and you have to manually or formulaically find a way to make sense of the data. Now with tools like Triple Whale, you're able to have the insights presented for you to say like, "These are the products people bundle most frequently together," or, "This is the customer journey of a high retention customer versus 'buys one time, you never hear from them again' customer."
So people are adopting when they get access to that data. But one thing that we do find very commonly is when people start using Triple Whale for the first time, they're learning new marketing metric acronyms. They're like, "I don't know what my P or B ROAS is versus my Facebook ROAS because I'm used to looking at my campaign or my channel ROAS on Facebook." So the availability and the accessibility of this data is allowing people to make much more niche-optimized marketing decisions.
And like I say with CRO testing, sometimes it's like you change the color of a button and suddenly your conversion rate box spikes by 14% and you wouldn't know unless you tested it. It's very similar with things like paid advertising where sometimes you look into that data and you find a pattern and you make one small change, then it's like bonkers difference. You're printing money. So I'm bullish that a lot of Gen Z, millennial age marketers are going to really start adopting this advanced tech and the advanced insights in deeper detail that they have access to now. And I also think it's good to have top-down marketers who are thinking full picture about how everything plays into their marketing mix in general.
Adam Singer (00:30:53):
Alexa, has Triple Whale figured out the optimal button color that everyone should be using?
Alexa Kilroy (00:30:59):
No, I don't, because here's the thing: It's not everyone, it's your audience. I'll say it again, I'll say it a billion times. The poor listeners are going to get sick of hearing it. Our buttons are like lime green, and they work well for us, but it doesn't work well for you.
Adam Singer (00:31:15):
Best color ever.
Alexa Kilroy (00:31:15):
I mean, it's a fave.
Adam Singer (00:31:17):
That's an old joke from my analytics team when someone wanted to test the button color and it's like there's a... We were not super sophisticated at the time, and I was trying to get them to a point. Yeah, sure you can test things, but you have to crawl before you walk. And it's like that's something a really sophisticated team would do with small A/B tests. You have to get there.
So I guess my next question, I loved what you said about you taught yourself analytics with basically the basics, just the spreadsheet and your brain and the data, which I think is the right approach. But what are some ways that young marketers now, because they're sort of overwhelmed with a lot of data sources, platforms, et cetera, there's probably some risk in them becoming a little bit too money ball, so how do you train a new marketer with the sea of data they get so they can start, I guess, getting from that to actually making good decisions and improving things for their users?
Alexa Kilroy (00:32:17):
Yeah. I mean the first thing that I tell... So I also will work directly with some of the brands that use Triple Whale and just help them out, go through the strategy with them. And previously I had a consulting business where I would do this as well, don't really have time for it now, but always happy to help people out when I can. First thing that I always do is encourage people to walk through their entire customer journey and find obvious areas of friction or optimization. So if you are noticing that, for example, your average customer needs to get served, let's say 15 ads in an email before they convert, you're spending a lot of money on that customer. So for me then, I see that spot and I go in and I'm like, "Okay, what channels are we serving them ads on? How are they getting served? Are they getting repetitive ads? Are they getting the diversity of ads and product offerings that they need to see? What's going on with the copy?" That's kind of how I approach it.
So I literally start it like, where are my first touch points for everyone? Then how do touchpoints that after go? How does my email and SMS segmentation work? How are they getting from their first touchpoint to the conversion? And what's happening to the people that are getting stuck along the way? Or even worse, are the people that are your add-to-cart, cart abandoners and getting lost? I think if you're starting for the first time with a brand and you want to get a quick win, I would start with the people that are closest to converting but haven't converted. So I would start with cart abandoners, check out abandoners, and figure out how I can get them over the hump faster, and then I would work backwards.
Another thing that I do really encourage marketers to do though is look at how much they're spending to acquire a customer, acquire a new customer versus also how much are they paying to get retaining or existing customers to come back and purchase again, and actually do some legitimate analysis on like, "Is that cost reasonable for the value of our product, the average order value?" And then work on trying to reduce your customer acquisition cost. There is a ton of data that you can play with, and there are definitely things... Sorry, you're going to see my dog come in and out.
Chris Gadek (00:34:23):
Adam Singer (00:34:24):
We're all fans of dogs here.
Alexa Kilroy (00:34:26):
If I lock him out, he scratches on the door and barks. So it's easier if I just let him roam. But yeah, I think when you want to make a quick win fast, you can leverage people who are close to purchasing or already purchasing to get them to spend more money, get them over the hump and then you can work backwards.
I think the hardest thing to refine and analyze is those first few touchpoints to get people actually onto your site. Because in reality, most marketers or for most teams, they're going to have someone focused on performance and acquisition kind of demand gen. Then they're going to have somebody that's working on the site and like CRO landing pages, and then hopefully they have someone for email and SMS. And then usually there's not really a retention person. So looking at the retention and looking at that last stages of the funnel is a good place to start, making sure that you're consistently running meaningful, optimized CRO tests on your site, and then working backwards on that acquisition model. Because the hardest thing is acquiring cold people. Sending a cold email or cold DM is way harder than closing a sale.
Chris Gadek (00:35:34):
Right on. Really quick to add to that, how do your customers think about reach and frequency? How does that play into how they think about their advertising? Because if you see the same ad over and over again, I imagine it diminishes in its efficacy. So is there mechanisms to think about what you've been showing to your audience and how frequently that plateaus or how quickly that plateaus as a result of being shown to frequently?
Alexa Kilroy (00:36:08):
Yeah. So when I first started media buying, which was probably 2019, there were these random numbers that everyone just decided, like if you're hitting X frequency number, it's too much, whatever. We have definitely seen on Facebook because of the iOS 14.5 changes, people are circling the drain for longer. So they're getting served the same as over and over and over again. At Triple Whale, we've created some audience segmentation tools. If you're unfamiliar with RFM segmentation, that's reach frequency and monetary value. But we essentially built AI audiences based off of your most viable versus your crappiest customers that help you then go ahead and figure out how to develop ad creative to get them to convert.
So the way that I think about reach and frequency right now is, I don't know that I trust on platform numbers for reach and frequency because with the data tracking, there just isn't, or the lack thereof, on platform data tracking. So even with Triple Whale for example, we have a first party pixel. So you can't see a customer's data or customer's journey until they convert, until they self-select to basically buy the product and give you that information. So my philosophy on frequency in particular is that you should be structuring your campaigns so much so that you have enough variable creative and you have varied campaigns so that even if a person is seeing an ad from your brand over and over and over again, they're seeing different ads. You just need creative diversity.
And then another thing that I encourage brands to do if they haven't done it and work on white labeling, whitelistings. So not necessarily influencer marketing, but posting from various different accounts ads for your brand that are different than what you're running on your main brand account. So for example, if you run a baby brand, you could have a white-labeled advertising account that's like, "Best baby products by Brenda or something." And you kind of create this persona and add account that is someone that's sharing the best baby products and it just happens to be your product all the time. So it's kind of like a cheat code for the system.
That, and then also just not running the same creative on every platform. So I'll see brands that are running the same exact three ads on TikTok, on Facebook, and I don't know, on Pinterest or something. It's like there are only so many times that I can see that ad before I get it. If I'm not going to buy it by now, I'm not going to buy it. And if I was going to buy it, I probably would've clicked already. So just kind of staying on top of watching your creative fatigue, being aware that you'll likely need to refresh your creative more now than ever.
And then also making sure that you have a diversity of creative. People are always shocked when I remind them that statics really still perform well. One of our top brands that use this Triple Whale, that's $40 million leather goods brand, they make the most money off of static product pictures with some basic simple text overlay, not even promotional. So just remembering that your creative exists to filter in the people that you want and out the people that have no interest. So as long as your creative is doing the right thing, Facebook will be learning that these people like this and these people keep scrolling, for example at least.
Chris Gadek (00:39:52):
Adam Singer (00:39:52):
I love it cause so sometimes marketers have this innate senses, and Alexa, you have this awesome non-linear career path, so you might not be aware of this, but marketers have this obsession with novelty and you're like, "Oh, this brand has static boring ads that haven't changed in a while and they're making them millions of dollars a year." And it's like the opposite of how a lot of marketers that we talk to on a daily basis think, where they're trying to win awards and do the novel platform does your thing and you're just like, "Hey, just do the stuff that is actually converting for you." I mean, sometimes it's not simple.
Alexa Kilroy (00:40:33):
Yeah. And I also think, particularly when I was 14 rolled out, but I think even before that, we got into this mindset that Facebook is this big black box that we have to find a way to hack. We have to hack the algorithm, we have to find a way to stand out, whatever. The reality is, with the decreased efficacy of audience targeting, what you need to be doing with your creative is just showing the right people the right things. So the example that I give is, imagine you're walking through Target. You know their end caps on the end of every aisle, right?
Adam Singer (00:41:05):
Yep, shopper marketing.
Alexa Kilroy (00:41:07):
Yeah. It's like, the end caps that appeal to you are going to be the ones where you actually pick up the bottle and look at it because they're designed for your audience. So my audience is that I like really nice hair products and sexy packaging, and I will always be driven to those end caps. But the ones that are 3,000 different types of vitamins by Nature Made that have a ton of really detailed science information about vitamins, I'm like, "Dude, I eat fruits and vegetables," I'm probably good. Those end caps are doing the consumer psychology that your ads should be doing. They're very simply saying like, "Here's who we're for. Here's what those people respond to." So I encourage people to think about their digital advertising as the same. You want to be drawing in the right people. You don't want to be drawing what I call curiosity clicks, because that's the equivalent of someone walking to the end cap, picking up your product and being like, "What the hell is this?" and then putting it back down.
Adam Singer (00:42:02):
Alexa, do you think you have-
Alexa Kilroy (00:42:03):
And being like, what the hell is this? And I'm putting it back down.
Adam Singer (00:42:03):
Alexa, do you think you having a background in the social sciences is a little bit of a secret weapon?
PART 2 OF 4 ENDS [00:42:04]
Alexa Kilroy (00:42:09):
In some ways. It's definitely a secret weapon for Triple Whale because they can throw me on panels, speaking gigs and podcasts. And I'm not scared of public speaking. Frankly I've said it before in podcast. But if you can stand up for eight hours a day in front of a bunch of 15 year olds and get them to care about books written by old dead white people in archaic language that they struggle to understand, you have a superpower. You frankly can probably convince anyone to do anything. I was joking the other day that if I was ever on Big Brother, I think that I'd win because I'm really good at warming into people's brains. But I do think a background in education is actually really helpful. And I've seen a lot of former teachers become very successful salespeople. A lot of them go into real estate now because developmental psychology and consumer psychology are not that far apart.
Adam Singer (00:43:10):
Yeah, the real estate gigs might be drying up soon with what the Fed does next.
Alexa Kilroy (00:43:15):
Yeah, I'm glad I didn't choose that path. Let me make that clear. I got bless.
Adam Singer (00:43:18):
Yeah, you have to really like people to do real estate too, because you got to walk them through and you have to get them excited. Here's what life could be like here, right? So that that's a marketing gig too.
Alexa Kilroy (00:43:28):
Yeah. You got to be passionate about small talk, which is not my path. So here's to you all who made that path, not mine.
Adam Singer (00:43:36):
As marketers, part of our job is certainly small talk, but at the same time, thanks to the internet, a lot of marketers are actually not like you. They're actually not as extroverted, they're not as able to be social. So it's interesting because it seems like default they would be, but a lot of them are actually quite shy. So you get both personalities. Now.
Alexa Kilroy (00:44:01):
I'm definitely the very classic introverted extrovert, where when it's time to shine, I'm on. And then literally this past Saturday, I was so gasped. I don't have kids, I just have two dogs. So I woke up, fed the dogs and then napped pretty much all day and then woke up, fed the dogs, napped again. I have to recharge. So I relate to them too.
Adam Singer (00:44:22):
I will die on the hill that our kids are our dogs. I don't care if the people with human kids tell me it's not. They're also our kids too. And, I'll die on that hill.
Alexa Kilroy (00:44:34):
I can nap and they can run around and I don't have to worry about loss of life. So I think it's a bit of a different risk. But I hear you.
Adam Singer (00:44:43):
We need to get Chris a dog. That's next on my list. Is to find Chris a dog to walk around Seattle with. Meet new people.
Chris Gadek (00:44:51):
Ideally football size, so I could bring them on the plane.
Alexa Kilroy (00:44:55):
Yeah. Definitely under 20 pounds is what I've learned from having a big one and a small one. Under 20 pounds are portable.
Adam Singer (00:45:02):
Well, we have more feisty questions, but do you have any other marketing questions that we want to ask, Chris?
Chris Gadek (00:45:08):
Yeah, absolutely. So one of the things that I love about your background is that you are at the forefront of what I consider innovation in the creative piece. So a lot of people are doing really interesting stuff with user generated content and people doing product testimonials in their ads is super compelling and I imagine converts super well. We're starting to see that kind of trickle into B2B. Can you kind of shed some light on how that evolution has progressed over the years you've been at Triple Whale?
Alexa Kilroy (00:45:45):
Yeah, I mean, I think the presentation of social proof has changed with the advancement of technology. So before, let's say, I don't know, 5, 10 years ago you wanted to look up a product, you would just Google, I don't know... I'm drinking a Polar Seltzer. You would look up Polar Seltzer and you would look up whatever written reviews come first. Right? Now it's embedded video. Now you're going to get targeted with embedded video like ads and all sorts of things, display ads that are going to follow you, that talk about how good Polar Seltzer is and you can't really escape it. So I think what I'm seeing, at least in terms of the future of social proof right now is most certainly combining written reviews and video assets with some sort of a PR stamp. So as seen on Shark Tank, as seen on NBC, has featured in Business Insider.
From a B2B side, we just worked on a big project where we created a whole video testimonials page on our website. I think there's one thing to be said about just a positive review, and then there's one thing to be said about an authentic and detailed positive review. So if you incentivize someone, you pay them $10 to just film a video of them saying that they like the product, that's fine, that's a good review. But if you have a rave customer that absolutely adores your product and they write reviews all the time and maybe they email your CS team and they're really polite and they say, "Thank you so much, I had such a great experience." That's the customer that I would target, even if they're not super iPhone or tech or social media savvy, that's the customer that I target as someone to actually create me a very authentic testimonial or piece of social proof for my brand.
Because you're not scripting it for them. They're not just generically saying, this is good. They're going to go into detail. And so if you look on the Triple Whale website now, and you look at our video and testimonials, we did that with people that talk on Twitter about how they love our product or talk to our CS team or our sales team about how much they love the product. And you're like, Hey, would you want to create a video talking about not only why you love the product but how you use it? And those are performing really well for us. And so I would just encourage brands B2B or B2C, if they're going to be leveraging those sorts of social proof assets to optimize not for volume and vague happy, good vibes, but instead for authenticity, even if it's gritty and not beautiful to look at.
Chris Gadek (00:48:23):
From a B2B perspective, I totally agree with you. We're one of the few companies that have a 80 plus NPS. And so what we did, we used Gong as well. And so, one of our assets for advertising is just a bunch of testimonials stitch together from people having wow moments on their gong calls. It's really authentic. You could hear the fluctuations in their voice. Sometimes they drop some F bombs and they're like, holy shit this exists. And that's pretty exciting. But one of the things that I'd love your take on is marketers love to templatize things and you swipe files, and eventually we get a little bit formulaic in our adoption of things. And I assume that's probably going to happen with this style of video testimonials. Do you think that this is something that will burn out on very quickly or do you think this is going to be omnipresent for the coming next couple years?
Alexa Kilroy (00:49:29):
I mean it's not so much that we burn out on it, it's that consumers get wise. So if you think about Instagram influencer marketing, what ends up happening is it's like that song that's on the radio that you liked and then they played it too many times, you're just like, "All right, I'm over it." So I think of absolutely no shade to this brand at all, but there's a skincare brand and makeup brand called Tula, and they did guerrilla warfare influencer marketing where they picked so many heavily followed influencers and they all just posted the same kind of blase pictures of these blue bottles of products. And there were probably two months in my life where I couldn't scroll on Instagram without seeing Tula products. And I was like, there's just no way that every single woman that I follow for whatever interior design inspo is actually obsessed with this face wash.
And so I think what happens is when it gets oversaturated, just people become wise and we have to pivot to the next thing. And so that's why I encourage brands to not choose these famous celebrity popular influencers and then use that guerrilla method, because it just devalues what you're providing. Also, if you have a formula that works and it's repeatable and you can make it work for a long time, absolutely do it. But once you start to feel it fatigued, you need to be open and aware that it's time to switch it up and figure out what your next thing is. And you should figure out what your next thing is before you even reach that point. And then the last thing I would say on this point is marketing heavily relies on creativity. Whether you're working on digital copy or strategy, whatever, you have to be incredibly creative.
And then you also have to have some sort of data centric side to your brain. And I'm all for improving processes, but I think when you get to the point where you're like, okay, I'm going to open my computer, I'm going to open this white file, I'm going to stitch these five videos together. To me, if you're not watching that video yourself and feeling good about it or excited about it, or that process to you is starting to feel like, why don't I have a VA or someone from Fiverr just do this for me? That's a sign of burnout for a marketer.
You need to make sure that you have the passion and the creative energy to make creative quality product. And if you aren't feeling it, you either need to take a break or you need to evaluate what you're doing. Is it that you're not passionate about the product anymore? Is it that you're not passionate about the way that you're sourcing creative? You got to figure out what's going on with you because marketing is very much a give job. I think that's one of the reasons it was actually an easy transition for me from teaching, which is also a very give job. But at some point, your well is empty, there's nothing left. And so you got to make sure that you're taking care of yourself so that you can keep giving creatively and providing high quality results.
Adam Singer (00:52:29):
That's probably great advice for a lot of marketers who are burned out. Ask yourself, do some introspection. Why are you burned out? And you might have been doing the same thing forever to a lot of people, and maybe you already have enough reviews, maybe your time would be better spent somewhere else. So I love that. Actually, I'm glad you mentioned "influencers." I'm bearish all of these macro influencers. I feel like they've become the new celebrities. And I was also bearish what a big celebrity thinks about something, because I feel like the internet takes us away from that. Alexa, you were showing some Seltzer. I care what you think of that Seltzer because we have this trust as friends and industry colleagues, and it doesn't even matter if it's Seltzer or software.
We have a connection from connecting online. And so that trust is more important and means more than this person with a number that's arbitrary next to their name, because they did whatever thing to get everyone's attention in the spectacle. So I think it does change marketing, and you were mentioning endorsements. I think that endorsements, however this can be done, are most powerful when even if you don't know the person directly, but say for B2B, if I am a buyer of a certain thing, I want to see someone else in my shoes who is like me. Not like me in terms of where I'm from. Like me in terms of where my job is. And they do the same thing. And now I'm like, oh, okay, if this person who does the same job as me likes this software, I definitely want to talk to them. Right?
Alexa Kilroy (00:54:11):
Yeah, no, I super agree. Two points on that. One, if I don't know, Amy Poller, you see a commercial with Amy Poller and she's like, I use indeed.com to hire whatever people from my team. I'm immediately going to watch it and be like, no, you don't. You clearly just got paid by Indeed to make a commercial. Right? That doesn't do much for me. And similarly, if I'm scrolling on Instagram and an influencer with a hundred million followers is talking about how some supplement made her skinny, I'm going to feel the same way. I'm like, no, you don't. You're a high profile influencer. You probably have a personal trainer. You probably are on a dedicated nutrition plan. There's no way that that works. That's not how the entire universe works. I think that's a subset of probably a post high school educated level audience. They're definitely people that are still swayed by celebrity endorsements and things.
It obviously still works for Nike, for example. But there are examples of celebrity backed, like fashion and apparel brands that still flopped. And I was just actually listening to a podcast that my CMO did, and he was talking about, I think it's Rihanna and Selena Gomez, I think both have beauty brands and one of them is really crushing it and one of them isn't. And it's because you can feel the passion around the actual community, the average people using the product, not just the celebrity endorsement, versus the one that only has the celebrity endorsement. I can't remember who is who. Point being though those big endorsements can either fail or flop. And so I encourage brands to tread lightly. I was recently chatting with a dog food brand that paid for a high profile male celebrity endorsement commercial, and it totally flopped. It did nothing for them. And they were like, we just wasted $25 million.
And I was like, that's a lot of money to waste, hate to see it. But to that point, what I will say is that micro communities and referral programs are so much more powerful. They're much more on the rise. And that's why if you nail down a really strong loyalty or referral program for your brand, no matter how big or small it is, the reality is we all love e-commerce and D2C, right? So we are all going to be very primed to buy from D2C brands. So if you sent me an email or a text or whatever, and you're like, Hey, look at this really cool D2C brand I found, here's this thing that you would, I'm way more likely to buy that, because you bought it. I trust you. We both have the same interests and maybe, I don't know, maybe you get a $10 off on your next order because you showed me that code. So this micro community, micro affiliate networks are absolutely popping off right now. And I highly recommend that brands reinvest into their loyalty programs and their micro affiliate programs.
Adam Singer (00:56:55):
I love everything you said, and also Chris, Alexa made my point of... Let me shift gears. From a big advertiser standpoint, I'm super bullish hiring unknown talent. You don't need to spend millions to get Amy Puller or some A-list celebrity. The kind of up and coming talent are people who just want to do ads or they're obscure. Not only are they a little thirstier and it's good to give them business, but it's cool because now there's no bias when the audience sees them. And you can tell the story without them thinking, oh, well they just paid for this big celebrity. So I've been bullish doing that forever, and Alexa continues to prove the way that I make ads, which have these unknowns.
And one cool story here. While I was at Google, I had an unknown in one of my ads for Google Analytics, and now he is one of the main cast members on Ted Lasso.
Alexa Kilroy (00:57:56):
Who is he?
Adam Singer (00:57:58):
I don't watch Ted Laslow.
Adam Singer (00:58:02):
All right. Chris, which one is he?
Chris Gadek (00:58:05):
I don't watch that show.
Adam Singer (00:58:06):
I only found out recently, because we cast him in an ad before Ted Lasso was a thing.
Alexa Kilroy (00:58:11):
You have to tell me later. You got to tell me later. I love Ted Lasso.
Adam Singer (00:58:13):
I'll send you a link.
Alexa Kilroy (00:58:14):
I'll probably want to be his friend. To your point though, what I was going to say is, you guys might have heard me talk about this on another podcast, but when I was working on, so when I first started getting in past media, buying into actually add creative production, I was doing product photography and videography for ads. I didn't have budgets to book studios and hire models and actresses. So what I would do is I would go onto Facebook, I would look up a local actors group of actors looking for jobs, and I would pay them like 25 bucks an hour to meet me at a coffee shop. And I would shoot product photography and videography for paid social ads. And it was way more authentic than when I later in life had the money to do full shoot.
Adam Singer (00:58:55):
It's Will Kitman. Will Kitman
Alexa Kilroy (00:58:58):
Is the character name or the actor's name?
Adam Singer (00:59:01):
No, the actor.
Alexa Kilroy (00:59:02):
Tell me his character's name.
Adam Singer (00:59:03):
Charlie Hiscock, I guess.
Alexa Kilroy (00:59:07):
Oh my God, yes. Oh my God, he's so good.
Adam Singer (00:59:12):
He is so good. He's a real actor now. He was just an ad actor when we found him. So I actually only found out about this recently because I showed my ad firm that we just used to shoot new ad. He's like, "Wait, how did you get that guy?" I'm like, "Oh, he wasn't famous then." So my point being is you can find these people, if you even go back, the Breaking Bad guy, I'm bad at celebrity names.
Chris Gadek (00:59:35):
Adam Singer (00:59:36):
Bryan Cranston. He was in Seinfeld, but before that he was in serial ads as a kid.
Chris Gadek (00:59:40):
Everybody was on Seinfeld.
Adam Singer (00:59:42):
But that's how a lot of advertisers got their start. So I'm also bullish, you mentioned micro influencers. I'm bullish people with a 1000 or 5,000 newsletter subscribers or podcast listeners or they have a YouTube channel. Because that person is like, it's so much more impactful for them to get a marketer to sponsor them or for you to show up on their podcast and they'll appreciate it a hundred x more. So I think there's this Pay it forward thing. And I think as marketers at a platform company like yourself or Ad Quick, it's kind of our unspoken duty to help lift up the cool voices. And again, you bet on these people young and they're going to return the favor when they're big. You're going to get inventory from them later. So even if you were super self-interested, a good thing to do.
Alexa Kilroy (01:00:31):
Yeah, I'll drop one of my hottest tips that I mistakenly found once, which is, the chances are that the local athletic trainers, your local dentist, whatever, has an Instagram profile. There are a bunch of them all over the world. So one of my most profitable influencer marketing campaigns was working with a Soul Cycle instructor in Austin, Texas who had 5,000 followers. And we literally gave her to start three products. She actually liked the product. She started posting the products, she started drinking it in her classes and talking about it. It was a macho based product. And we made more money off of that than an influencer campaign that I spent $10,000 on.
And she only had 5000 followers, and the other girl had, I don't know, 180K or something. So definitely think about the value, not necessarily in your local community because that's not scalable, they're only so many Soul Cycle instructors, but think about the ways that you can find highly influential, highly impactful people. So it could be the best orthodontist in every town across America or whatever that has more than 3000 followers on Instagram or something, and you get them to endorse your toothpaste or your retainer case, whatever it is. But those little micro communities can print money if you do them.
Adam Singer (01:01:54):
I think that's so smart. And it's something hard for marketers to grasp their mind around, because they're so focused on metrics, dashboards where it's like more is bigger and more followers, more visits, more clicks, more of these top of funnel things, which in the traditional marketing world is the right mental model, but not in the influencer marketing world, because it's like the internet completely breaks how influence works. There's no more three TV channel world, so you kind of have to throw a lot of that out. Not maybe from a branding and aesthetic standpoint. There's probably timeless things there, but more from a how do you place your bets if you're a smaller brand and you only have a little bit of budget, maybe it's partnering with a hundred sort of unknown people versus placing all your chips on one famous person who's going to give you a single Instagram post or a single tweet, and that's all you're going to get. Right?
Alexa Kilroy (01:02:46):
Yeah. Oh, go ahead.
Chris Gadek (01:02:49):
Oh, I was just going to chime in though. We're starting to see the combination of celebrity plus nostalgia kind of go sour in the Super Bowl commercials, nobody was impressed with, or, I mean, not nobody, but many people...
Commercials nobody was impressed with... Or I mean, not nobody. But many people weren't impressed with, that was the overarching theme across all these commercials. And one would think that they're probably going to start moving towards more of these micro communities that Alexa had mentioned.
PART 3 OF 4 ENDS [01:03:04]
Adam Singer (01:03:16):
I think the internet breaks the notion of celebrity and no one has caught up to it, especially not marketers and advertisers because it's so much easier to just do that 1 ad or 1 endorsement instead of do those 100 partnerships. And I think Alexa mentioned a super alpha thing to do, which is connect with like, "Hey, find Dennis and this SoulCycle instructor in your neighborhood." It's like, that's probably really smart.
One other example, the marketing manager for Purple saw that I had moved and they sent me a new mattress without asking me to tweet or anything. So I posted it from my dog's Twitter account. They took that picture and they put it in an ad and my dog has sold more Purple mattresses than anyone else. A lot of that is because after I shared it people are still asking me because they put my handle in the ad and I'm telling them, "Yeah, the mattress is great." But the point is my dog has 600 followers, no one would've thought to do that. So it's like you're exactly right, that sort of non-linear amount of trust where it seems like someone is unimportant, I'm probably unimportant, but I might be able to sell some mattresses to the few people who trust me when they're ready for that decision. So it's a hard thing.
Alexa Kilroy (01:04:32):
I will say the one wrench or outlier industry I think for this is apparel and shoes. There is a lot of power to Justin Bieber wearing your brand's sweatshirt or your brand's kicks in a different way than there is if you're HelloFresh and Justin Bieber makes a HelloFresh meal. So I think it's worth noting that, again, none of these things should be assumed that they're broadly applicable for every sub-industry of B2C. But I always say when you're listening to a podcast whether it's an expert marketer or whatever, take everything with a grain of salt anyway because what works for your brand is not going to be what works for everyone else's brand. And my experience, I'm still learning and growing every day and I'm going to figure new shit out all the time. I figured out the SoulCycle thing kind of by accident one day. So, just remember that nothing is broadly applicable to everyone.
Adam Singer (01:05:30):
Yeah, and I think you're scratching at the notion of aesthetic and perhaps for a product you're trying to portray an image, a certain type of celebrity probably matters more. Like no one's going to buy vodka from Chris, but they might from Brad Pitt. Right? No offense Chris. I would buy non-alcoholic [inaudible 01:05:51]-
Alexa Kilroy (01:05:50):
Actually, no, I would probably buy vodka from Chris over Brad Pitt for sure.
Chris Gadek (01:05:55):
I do have that Polish blood, it makes it authentic.
Adam Singer (01:05:58):
He is Dapper Marketer, so us marketers would but regular people, I don't know.
Alexa Kilroy (01:06:04):
Adam Singer (01:06:06):
All right, so we had a few more questions we have to ask because we're trying to ascertain the state of the marketing industry for our marketing peers. Do you want to share your thoughts on as we sort of unwind this financial cycle, what happened with marketers and the Metaverse and Web 3? Did everyone lose their minds? Do you think this is a real trend and do you think I am a boomer and just not paying attention? Do you have no thoughts? It would be rare that you wouldn't have thoughts. I'm curious what you thought about that whole-
Chris Gadek (01:06:41):
You love asking this question, Adam.
Adam Singer (01:06:43):
Oh, we have to ask.
Alexa Kilroy (01:06:44):
Do you want my no BS answer?
Adam Singer (01:06:46):
Alexa Kilroy (01:06:47):
I have enough shit I have to deal with in my life right now that I do not have time to think about the Metaverse and Web 3 or whatever until it becomes deeply necessary. Until everybody and their brother is like, "I'm running around in avatar Land with my little Louis Vuitton T-shirt on and blah, blah blah. And I bought a NFT." I literally don't care. I don't care. I think you can have a wildly successful eCommerce brand you can be a successful marketer. I've never purchased an NFT in my life. I have no assets in crypto. I don't care at all.
I'm not saying that that's the right thing. I just feel like there are enough things that are widely adopted, already functioning and actionable enough for me to work on that. I'm very put your resources where they're most viable and for me right now, it's not building someone chaotic thing in the Metaverse.
What I do think, it is important to stay on top of emerging technology. And so I think that there are a lot of cool things going on in the world of AI. I think that there are a lot of cool things going on in the world of integrated tech. I can't even remember the first time that I wanted to buy a piece of furniture and I got that pop-up that's like, see it in your room. I think Amazon has that now built in their app too.
Chris Gadek (01:08:02):
[inaudible 01:08:03] house feature?
Alexa Kilroy (01:08:04):
You know where you can hold up your iPhone camera and you can see the sofa, what it would look like in your house. I remember thinking that was incredibly revolutionary technology and now we're seeing the add-on developments of that where there are now apps that can more accurately predict your sizing to help reduce the amount of returns that brands get because the chances that a customer returns and exchanges for another size are significantly lower than just return and give me my money back. So I think that there are a lot of cool tech advancements that are going to make eCommerce brands lives easier, more valuable, help customers convert better, all these things. But yeah, I'm not pressed about some of the hot things. And frankly, I haven't seen anybody talking about NFTs, Web 3 or the Metaverse in a very long time in my network.
Adam Singer (01:09:00):
Well, the VC money is dried up so there's no more need to kiss the ring of our venture capitalist gods.
Alexa Kilroy (01:09:08):
I'd rather just be authentic and be like, "Look, it's just not for me," than lie and pretend I care or know a lot because frankly, I don't.
Adam Singer (01:09:19):
It's such a great topic because no marketer doesn't have an opinion. If not for the sole reason than they're also trying to market a different version of the internet. And so how could you not have opinions on that? And I loved your answer for marketers. There's enough going on. You have things in front of your plate. I've shared opinions about this on past podcasts where I was, I wanted to throw my laptop at the wall when I saw brands who had websites which weren't even findable in search because they weren't even optimized well, and they're screwing around with Metaverse experiences. I'm like, "What are you guys doing?" And the answer is typically the CMOs trying to win some bullshit award. This is why we have a two year tenure of CMO in corporate America on average, whereas CFO's like five years. And the reason for that is these marketers just chase the next shiny object, they win their award, they go onto the next company. We have the revolving door-
Alexa Kilroy (01:10:13):
[inaudible 01:10:14] path.
Adam Singer (01:10:13):
Anyway, we have to sell into these people, so it's good to understand. Chris gives me a hard time 'cause I complain too much. But at the same time, it is if we're working on marketing software, if we don't get our superiors to be accountability driven and to be fiduciary marketers, because that's what we're asking at the end of the day, is we're asking people to make, that's where it makes sense. So I'm going to get off my soapbox now. Chris, what questions do you have?
Chris Gadek (01:10:43):
So one of the things that I'd love to explore with every one of our guests going forward is who's doing great marketing content for marketers. So where do you hang out online? What are you reading? What excites you? Kind of tell me about how you and Jess content on the internet.
Alexa Kilroy (01:11:00):
Yeah, I am a big podcast listener, so I listen to a ton of different eCommerce podcasts. Actually, without plugging our own too much, I don't even do them, but I think both of Triple Whale's podcasts are really strong, one of which is-
Chris Gadek (01:11:19):
And the studio is sick by the way.
Alexa Kilroy (01:11:20):
The studio is sick.
Chris Gadek (01:11:23):
We still have to go pay them a visit Adam in Austin.
Alexa Kilroy (01:11:26):
Yeah, you do. The studio is sick. Yeah, it's in our Austin HQ that I just moved out of very sadly. But we have one that's very founder story oriented called You Are Not Your ROAS. And then we have another one called Adspend, which is very tactical. It's actually not all about performance advertising, we'll have CRO and SEO experts on. And so I like to kind of balance my listening between very tactical stuff and then more inspiring leadership and mentorship stuff. I listen to eCommerceFuel. I listen to... I don't even know the names of them 'cause I just have them all saved in my Spotify. But basically a lot of the big B2B marketing brands right now have really strong eCommerce marketing podcasts because they have the investment and everything to produce it well, have good guests. I've been listening to Nick Sharma, Moiz Ali's new podcast, which is really good. And then the co-founders of Obvi, which is a B2C supplement brand, Ron and Ash released a new podcast called Chew on This, which is a really good B2C podcast that I listen to.
When I'm going to read online I rely on SEO to get to the right places, honestly. So I'm searching very niche things. I'm trying to understand, for example, our film audiences better or I'm trying to understand...
Adam Singer (01:12:42):
Is the answer add Reddit to the end of your query?
Alexa Kilroy (01:12:47):
Oh my God yes. I lurk on Reddit. I'm a diehard Reddit lurker, I really am. And I also-
Adam Singer (01:12:57):
But you're a poster on Twitter.
Alexa Kilroy (01:12:59):
I'm a poster on Twitter.
Adam Singer (01:13:00):
But you won't post on Reddit?
Chris Gadek (01:13:02):
I'm the same way.
Alexa Kilroy (01:13:03):
I comment sometimes on Reddit.
Adam Singer (01:13:04):
Alexa Kilroy (01:13:05):
But I'm not posting threads on Reddit. I'm not starting conversations because I... And the finishing piece of this is, when I need to ingest or absorb content it's typically I'm trying to achieve a particular goal, I'm not just reading general updates because I get my general updates from the news, my feed, just being alive in the eCom world and not really ever getting a break. So I actually am just going to people that I love and trust and being like, "Can you give me 15 minutes? I'll buy you a coffee or a glass of wine or a bottle of wine or whatever I need to do, and can you help me with this thing?"
And so to your point, Adam, about going to people that you trust about things, I would much rather go to a friend that I have in the network or someone that I know as an expert at something and DM them if I don't know them, text them if I know them and just chat with them for 15 minutes to get what I need in order to progress and move forward. I also follow a lot of newsletters and stuff, but we all do the same things.
Adam Singer (01:14:08):
I love it. I love the putting out into the world the notion of just asking a question to someone. I'm surprised at the response that I get when I ask people that I don't think would ever respond to me a question and they respond almost straight away. There's something about people that have a lot of success, I think we get in our mind, "Oh, they're super busy." And actually I think the opposite is true. I think they've worked hard to free up their time and they want to help other people. Judging by the response time that I get when I ask, I've asked billionaires questions and I get an email response right away and I'm like, "Whoa, really?" One of the reasons I think they get to that level is they actually bias to yes. There's like this meme on Twitter where people are like, "Oh, say no to more things." I'm like, "No, that's actually wrong. You should say yes to more things."
And so I love that you mentioned you just ask questions to people. I think it's a good thing if you're successful, you should say yes and respond. And if you're young or new to a field or something, you should also not be afraid to ask questions. We should all be more open, kinder, helpful.
Alexa Kilroy (01:15:13):
Yeah, it's very, what goes around comes around too. I'm not a 40 year old very seasoned CMO by any means, but people will come to ask me questions about things that I do know a lot about and that means a lot to me that they want to hear my experience. And similarly, I'll go to people that I respect about things that I don't know a lot about. It's impossible to have a perfect brain, you're always going to have gaps, there's always going to be places to learn, which is having a growth mindset. And then being a person that both asks and gives is the best way to do it.
And then sometimes fun things happen, like last night I was sitting on my couch watching TV and I made a joke about auditing a friend's dating profile on Twitter using consumer psychology. And within literally 15 minutes, I had 19 DMs from different dudes in the eCommerce market with full screenshots of their Tinder, Hinge, whatever profiles being like, "Will you audit this and give me honest feedback?" And I had a blast. I'm just sitting on my couch. I'm like, "There's not one clear picture of your face here. Why did you say long walks on the beach? Nobody wants to read that." I'm just sitting there having fun. And sometimes it's just fun stuff too that you can ask for help for whatever. It doesn't always have to be how do I fix my business?
Adam Singer (01:16:30):
I'm friends with a woman named Laurie in New York at eFlirt Expert who built an entire business around what you just said, which is auditing, not just men but women's too, online dating profiles. And she would help them because a lot of people... When we started to talk, my first comment was going to be the thirst is real. And I'm trying to be nicer, so I'm not going to comment with that. But people do need help with how they portray themselves and it's a different thing to portray yourself on the dating market than it is professionally. I think it's hard for a lot of people, especially people who may have grown up in a digital only world, like, "What do I do? How do I make myself actually stand out and be appealing?" And so you're so kind to help them.
Alexa Kilroy (01:17:15):
Get a marketer.
Adam Singer (01:17:16):
Yeah. Get a marketer. There you go.
Alexa Kilroy (01:17:18):
It was funny. I did nine of them last night and then I was like, "Okay, it's like 12:15, I need to go to bed." So I have people that I said I'd get back to today, but it was super funny. People were responding and they were like, "This is amazing. How do you know all these things?" And I'm like, "It's literally from building landing pages and running ads. I know how to market to women at this stage in my life, so I know how to help you optimize your dating profiles."
Adam Singer (01:17:38):
It's funny, we all like to think, oh, search or social networks are changing the world, but actually Tinder, OkCupid, Match will have outsized effect on what the world will look like in 10, 20, 30 years because those apps are actually pairing people up and bringing people to make new people. So social networks, yeah cute, but dating apps legitimately are making the future. So it could be scary or it could be exciting.
Alexa Kilroy (01:18:06):
Fun fact, if you didn't know this, Google Display Network runs on Tinder, so if you don't manually turn it off, you might be running ads on Tinder. And the way that I know this, which I hope I don't get fired from saying this but I think it's so funny, for an accidental couple of days we were running paid ads for a product release that we created called the Creative Cockpit. And the ad size that shows on Tinder is different than the ad size that shows everywhere else. And so we were briefly accidentally running an ad on Tinder that really just kind of highlighted part of the word cockpit, if you kind of understand where I'm going with this, for a Triple Whale. Somebody sent just a screenshot of a Tinder ad for Triple Whale and we were like, "What is going on?" We figured it out. We turned it off [inaudible 01:18:57], but it was super funny. So if you don't know that, that is a thing that might be happening for your brand, go in and look at your settings.
Chris Gadek (01:19:02):
Insert Moby Dick joke here.
Alexa Kilroy (01:19:06):
I mean honestly, we all had a good laugh about it.
Adam Singer (01:19:08):
It's an airplane. It's like a airplane metaphor, right? You're flying the airplane-
Alexa Kilroy (01:19:12):
Adam Singer (01:19:13):
There you go.
Alexa Kilroy (01:19:13):
But you know what? There was very low ROI on running B2B SaaS marketing analytics ads on Tinder. So yeah, just check your settings. [inaudible 01:19:25]
Adam Singer (01:19:25):
Also, a SaaS ad that was cut differently could also be on Tinder. No? Okay.
Alexa Kilroy (01:19:31):
No, it could. It really could.
Chris Gadek (01:19:31):
Okay. So should we wrap up here folks?
Alexa Kilroy (01:19:41):
It's getting weird for Chris. It's getting weird to Chris.
Chris Gadek (01:19:48):
What do you think, Adam?
Adam Singer (01:19:48):
Yes. After we address Alexa calling us old at... Well you're not 40, but 40 is not old.
Chris Gadek (01:19:52):
I'm getting there. I'm getting there.
Adam Singer (01:19:55):
Alexa's like 40 year old CMOs-
Alexa Kilroy (01:19:57):
[inaudible 01:19:57] older than me-
Adam Singer (01:19:57):
40 year old CMOs, boss. If you're a CMO at 40 and listening to this, you did well professionally because that's pretty good.
Alexa Kilroy (01:20:03):
Yeah. I'm just older than me, that's all I mean.
Adam Singer (01:20:06):
That's totally fine. Alexa, you have been awesome, I think Triple Whale is super lucky to have you. If you're a listener and haven't checked out their product, it's super cool. So now I'm doing third party endorsement for Triple Whale.
Alexa Kilroy (01:20:20):
Oh, thanks. I appreciate that.
Chris Gadek (01:20:23):
Should we give the full pitch here? 'Cause I was hanging out with Zach in SoHo and Yeah, you guys had some big news. Do you want to share it now? Use this as an opportune time to pitch.
Alexa Kilroy (01:20:34):
Yeah, so for context, if you're unfamiliar with Triple Whale, I kind of touched on this before, but Triple Whale is a comprehensive data solution. So it links in your Shopify, all your performance marketing channels, and it provides smart insights on all of the things, all the metrics that matter for your business. We've recently launched a lot of really cool new features like US Smart Customer Data Platform, AI-based smart audiences, we have a generative AI product that helps you create highly optimized ad creatives, lots of just really cool, neat things going on and we just launched a piece of our product called Lighthouse, which offers like anomaly detection. So the platform is literally telling you like you're overspending here with not enough ROI or this channel could be doing better in X, Y, Z way. Super cool, really neat stuff. Built for Shopify based eCommerce businesses.
But what y'all were alluding to is that we just raised our Series B and included in that Series B round was an investment from Shopify themselves, which is very exciting because we are built for Shopify based brands. So we are on this really cool growth trajectory in which we are hiring a lot. We are hiring tons of people. So if you are looking for a job in B2B SaaS, definitely check out the Triple Whale website as well. We have lots of awesome career opportunities right now, and we're really working to kind of stay on the cutting edge of innovation. We're doing a lot of neat stuff with automated intelligence and machine learning so that business owners and operators can focus their time on the most strategic and viable parts that a computer can't do of their business. And that way they can kind of sit back and relax, [inaudible 01:22:20] and let the performance advertising and things like that run so that they can focus on running their business better.
So a lot of really exciting things coming ahead. A lot of really exciting things just launched. And definitely check us out on Twitter if you haven't. We're just @TripleWhale and we put all the information about product launches and all kinds of stuff there as well.
Chris Gadek (01:22:40):
Cool. Congrats on the growth, the success.
Alexa Kilroy (01:22:44):
Chris Gadek (01:22:44):
You're awesome too Alexa, where can people follow you?
Alexa Kilroy (01:22:47):
I am just @AlexaKilroy, K-I-L-R-O-Y on Twitter. That is where I live most of the time, and I'm really bad at responding to LinkedIn messages and accepting LinkedIn requests. So if you want to chat, hit me up on Twitter, my DMs are open. I'm always game to connect.
Chris Gadek (01:23:05):
Well, cool. Well, I think that's going to be a wrap for us. Thank you for your time, Alexa. This has been episode four of the AdQuick Madvertising Podcast. If you like what you hear, I got to play the role of podcast host so, hit the subscribe button. We're trying to get over 100. All right, thanks so much.
Adam Singer (01:23:28):
Chris Gadek (01:23:29):
Alexa Kilroy (01:23:29):
Adam Singer (01:23:29):
PART 4 OF 4 ENDS [01:23:31]