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DTC Lessons: Data Strategy & Performance Marketing with Leaf

Each week, we're chatting to an expert in the eCommerce space to share their wisdom on building a resilient DTC brand in 2022 and beyond. This week we're handing the mic to Wesley Hartley, Chief Revenue Officer at Leaf.


Take it away Wes…

Interview with Wesley Hartley, Chief Revenue Officer at Leaf

Let us know your role and what you do day to day.

Chief Revenue Officer - I look after client acquisition & retention. Daily - completely blag everything I do. Just like everybody else.

It’s a tough year for eCommerce. Which area should DTC brands be focusing their time and efforts towards, and why?

Data strategy. Start with signal (conversion tracking). It’s the source of your success. It’s criminally undervalued by brands and criminally underserved by the ‘agency’ industry. The clumsy roll-out of cookie banners over the past couple of years has really compounded the problem. Every set-up we’ve ever audited has been broken in some meaningful way. It’s mind-blowing how shit brands are at this. They simply haven’t got the expertise to make a proper judgement.

At Leaf you help leading brands to grow and scale. Can you give us 2 success stories with DTC brands. 

Footasylum - they were struggling to make paid social deliver at scale. We went in and re-structured their campaign funnels and used our technology to test & measure audience and creative combinations. They licensed our technology off the back of it and were able to deliver a 50% uplift in performance year on year for the Black Friday period.

Snug Sofa - had issues with conversion rates, maintaining traffic quality at scale and a siloed multi-channel setup. We enhanced their conversion tracking with server-side tracking, built a more efficient cross-channel strategy that better controlled spend & messaging against audience and did a week by week historical analysis of all web and marketing activity over the past year to identify core drivers and sweet spots. We’ve been able to hit their targets for 2022, even under a recession.

You specialize in data strategy & performance marketing solutions for D2C brands - what piece of advice would you give to DTC brands who want to improve their improve campaign performance? 

1 - Make sure conversion tracking is working properly, for every key event along the shopping journey, for all your channels. Audit these monthly. They always break.

2 - Structure your ad accounts into the correct funnel stages (on Meta) and product groupings (on Google). This will improve the efficiency of your spend.

3 - Tailor your creatives to each stage of the funnel and customer journey (on Meta) and by product grouping on Google. Performance on Meta is increasingly creative-led. Make sure your product is super clear in the image so Meta and shoppers can tell what it is instantly. Make sure to optimise your product titles, descriptions and attributes for proper shopping performance.

4 - Don’t try and be too clever / too granular. Lot’s of performance marketers try and get too smart by over segmenting. Meta & Google are going broad - get comfortable with consolidation and automated bidding.

5 - Work hard on optimising your key website pages. Customers want detailed content (it helps with discovery & research), especially on product detail pages and Google wants detailed ‘search-relevant’ content. It works for SEO and works to improve the performance of your paid campaigns.

What are the biggest trends you’re seeing right now in D2C marketing Which of these should DTC brands jump on, and which should they avoid?

We’re seeing successful brands become much more pragmatic about cross-channel attribution. It can take some much time and energy to try and “solve” attribution, at the expense of good marketing.

Know your numbers, know what you can afford to pay to acquire a customer at any given time, trust in your messaging and measure the effect of increases in budget on number and cost per session, effect on conversion rates across the shopping journey and obviously on both top and bottom line revenues.

If you could tell DTC brands to stop making one mistake, what would it be?

All your marketing channels work in unison, you’re never going to know exactly how each one performs in isolation. Put your energies into things you can truly control.

Complete the sentence: DTC brands that survive and thrive in 2022 will ____.

Have a data strategy; a method for processing, organising and using data to make smarter decisions.

Who are 3 people in the eCommerce ecosystem you look up to and recommend everyone should follow?

Don’t follow leaders, watch the parking meters.

Thanks Wes! Where can we hear more from yourself & Leaf?

You can find out more about Lead via our website, and you can follow me on Linkedin!

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