How do I define success?

New clients often ask us "What will success look like?"

That is a very hard question to answer, because it means different things to different brands. 

For one of my clients, success is selling all of their left-over inventory.  For another, success is “increasing top line revenue by 200% year over year.” A third defines success as "making the board confident enough in the CEO, to reinvest.”  A fourth defines success as "being able to survive if Nordstrom cancels our order."  A fifth calls it "growing incremental net sales by 2X Quarter over quarter.”

So everyone is unique.

If you’re a fashion or lifestyle brand thinking of hiring us, and without knowing much about you, specifically, I’d define success as:

  1. Using Search, Social, and Video, to develop a robust direct-to-consumer channel, increasing net revenue

  2. Develop a marketing/sales report that everyone in the organization, from the C-level to the interns, can understand and operate on

  3. Increase your organization’s digital savvy, to compete with today's digitally-native brands

  4. Tracking every dollar, such that we spend $1 to make $3

Mailchimp and Shopify integration

Mailchimp and Shopify are consciously uncoupling.

Quick Primer: Mailchimp is an Email Service Provider (ESP, for short) who integrated rather smoothly into Shopify. When the two systems played nicely with one another, it was a marriage made in heaven. With relative ease, you could develop a full email marketing campaign without leaving the platform.

That’s no longer the case, and it’s a messy breakup. Shopify says “Mailchimp refuses to synchronize customer information captured on merchants’ online stores and email opt-out preferences. As a result, our partner ecosystem can’t reliably serve their customers or comply with privacy legislation.”

Mailchimp says “we asked Shopify to remove the Mailchimp for Shopify integration from their marketplace, because Shopify released updated terms that would negatively impact our business and put our users at risk.”

The end result of this, is that if A) your website is built on Shopify and B) you use mailchimp then C) you need to make changes, and fast.

Realistically, there are two ways to make these changes. First, you can use a third party tool like Zapier to connect the two systems. Second, you could switch to another ESP, preferably Klaviyo.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that email is a strength of ours; we have an entire silo built out around it. Feel free to contact us :)

Reasons to Hire An Agency

I’d like to share an anecdote that illustrates one of the many reasons to hire an agency.

One of our newer clients has a problem. I’ll call this client Acme Corp (the names have been changed to protect the innocent.)

Acme Corp is a first-class brand, a world-wide leader in its field. However, Acme’s long-time dominance has them, I think, a little bit on the defensive. They’ve not had to innovate super hard, due to the incumbency of their dominant position. So now they are counter-punching as this incumbency is eroded by hungry upstarts.

In a meeting with the board next month, we - Mason, the agency - are going to surface one specific strategy that will help Acme increase incremental revenue by - we estimate - 10%, at no incremental cost.

The issue is that we, Mason, are not supposed to be in the silo where the fix for this particular strategy lives. So we are going to piss some people off, frankly, when we surface this.

And that is one virtue of working with an agency: we have seen this problem more times than any one company has, so we are able to see it super-quick, and implement a solution. Most-importantly, because we have 40 clients, we can afford to piss someone off a little bit. It’s part of our job to offer these solutions, and we can do it in feather-ruffling way because A) we have a solution in our back pocket and B) although we’d hate to lose this client? We’d survive.

Put simply, one reason to hire an agency, is to have someone on call to tell you hard truths you don’t want to hear - - - as long as they provide a solution.

Fashion & Lifestyle Lunch and Learn at The Princeton Club, March 27th 2019

Our fourth event is in the books, and honestly I enjoyed it more than ever.

Because it wasn’t at Google, we were allowed to branch out a little bit. Kelly Faller kicked us off, I presented as though I was a Google employee - our rep went on maternity leave a bit early, and I covered, The Micro Influencer Hitha Palepu wowed the room with fantastic advice - and 45 minutes fo straight Q @ A! - before lunch.

After lunch, we ran a quiz, Adrian Padron spoke about deep tactics, and then Vadim Grinberg came and spoke for 1+ hours about helping to make Dagne Dover the best work bag company, and beyond.

Thank you everyone who attended! We sincerely appreciate it.

Micro Influencer Hitha Palepu addressing 30+ CMO’s, VP’s and Directors on March 27th at Mason Interactive’s Lunch and Learn.

Micro Influencer Hitha Palepu addressing 30+ CMO’s, VP’s and Directors on March 27th at Mason Interactive’s Lunch and Learn.

Vadim Grinberg, VP of Consumer Growth & Insight at Dagne Dover with Kelly Faller, our VP of Marketing Communications.

Vadim Grinberg, VP of Consumer Growth & Insight at Dagne Dover with Kelly Faller, our VP of Marketing Communications.

A Thought on Conversion Rates

I wanted a four-foot long sign of our logo, big and bright, so that when you get off the elevator, our logo is the first thing you see.

So I went to Google, did a search, submitted the specs to five websites, and gave a budget of $1,000.

Exactly one of the five people I wrote, wrote me back.  Well actually that's not true: I got autoresponders from two.  So that stat breaks down as follows:

  • two firms ignored me

  • two firms sent me an autoresponder and never followed up

  • one firm sent me back an actual quote, and left their number to call back

Guess who I bought from? The one who gave me a quote!

I think about this, only because I am 100% sure that if I talked to the other four sales teams, they would insist "Yes, we have auto-responders.  Yes, we follow up real quick."  

I would challenge you - or maybe, challenge you to challenge your agency - to audit the competition and have a hard conversation about what those competitors are doing that you are not. Be prepared to have an open conversation around self-improvement.

Social Media for B2B?

We have been working with more and more B2B clients lately. We’re in discussion with even more B2B’s.

Quick Primer on B2B: “Business to Business” means “a business that sells to another business.” Examples would be our clients Carney Direct or Jondo. They couldn’t/wouldn’t sell to me, personally, but they would sell to Mason Interactive. By contrast, B2C or “Business to Consumer” businesses sell to individual consumers. Our clients Nashua Nutrition, Rigby & Peller, or Dagne Dover fit that description.

Where Instagram is an obvious play for Dagne Dover or Rigby & Peller (B2C’s), lots of B2B’s ask me “why would I use social? I mean, I can see using LinkedIn, but why would I use Instagram for my business?”

My answer is always somewhere along the lines of “Well, two things. First, there are literally billions of users on Instagram. Billions. Your potential customers, among them. Second, you can’t search for something if you don’t know what it is, and Instagram is a perfect way to introduce yourself to them. Let’s try it out!”

Tonight I saw a perfect example of this. In between posts from family and about watches - two things I really personally like, and see a lot on Instagram - was this post from White Shark Media. Apparently, White Shark is an outsourcing solution for mid-sized agencies, which makes me an absolutely perfect target for their ads.

Have I heard of them before today? No.

Am I in the market to outsource my team’s efforts? Nope.

But… next time we are understaffed, will I think of them? 100% yes. I might not hire them, and I might not even demo them, but I will think of them.

So I would say that is a perfect example of using Instagram for B2B. I am one of billions of people on Instagram and A) am in business and B) might want your business’s service. Now that I know White Shark exists, I will think of them next time I’m in a staffing bind.

Exhibit 1A of perfectly-targeted B2B advertising on social media

Exhibit 1A of perfectly-targeted B2B advertising on social media

Review of our Fashion & Lifestyle event at Google on January 31st, 2019.

We love our quarterly events. The last one was in late January, here in NYC, and focused on growing your Fashion and Lifestyle brand. We were lucky to have Dagne Dover Co-founder Deepa Gandhi with us, a whole host of Mason employees, the incomparable Candace Jordan from Google, and about 100 attendees who braved the 2° weather.

We strive to give real value at these events, and we hope to see you at the next one.