Jordan Monroe is the Chief Innovation Officer at Owlet, a company that develops smart wearable and non-wearables for new and expecting parents. Their flagship product is a wearable baby sock that tracks blood oxygen levels using pulse oximetry.
Jordan started the Owlet company while still a student at Brigham Young University, and later on, he graduated from the TechStars Accelerator program. He’s raised $48 million in venture funding and he and his team have won multiple awards across a whole host of programs like TechCrunch, CES, and many more.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- How Owlet grew to $17 million in their first year
- Jordan Monroe shares the reasons why parents seek out the products of Owlet
- How Owlet’s Smart Sock works and the benefits of getting them
- Owlet’s strategy for marketing their products on Amazon
- Jordan talks about Dream Lab and what they aim to do with this educational tool
- What Owlet does to directly reach their target market outside Amazon
- Why AI and privacy issues shouldn’t be a cause for concern and how it can benefit people
- Jordan talks about the need to measure gross domestic happiness in order to measure economic growth leads
- How Owlet’s products contribute to happiness
In this episode…
When Jordan Monroe and his co-founders set out to create Owlet, their intention was to help solve the problem of sleeplessness experienced by parents with newborn babies. They wanted to be able to give parents the reassurance that their babies are okay so that they can allow themselves to have a good night’s sleep. And their solution? Using technology to give parents updates on their babies even as they sleep.
Eric Stopper interviews Jordan on this episode of the Buy Box Experts podcast where Jordan shares how they were able to grow the company to $17 million in their first year, the benefits of using their flagship product called the Smart Sock, the plans they have for Owlet’s Dream Lab, and ow measuring gross domestic happiness can help propel a company forward.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
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Eric Stopper 0:18
Hello and welcome to the Buy Box Experts podcast. This is Eric stopper. This episode is brought to you by Buy Box Experts. We take ambitious brands and make them unbeatable. Big brands hire us because of one word holistic. We offer all kinds of free consultation services because Amazon is just hard and Jeff Bezos hates you and wants you to fail even though he wants to make lots of money. But we have your back go to Buy Box Experts.com click on the free analysis button. We are going to start charging for it next week. So go and click it you’ll be connected with a with me or a member of my team and we’ll help you under Stand, where your store is at, where you’re not bulletproof where your strengths are, we’ll just help you understand the full picture and maybe we can work together. Now today, I am joined by Jordan Monroe, the Chief Innovation Officer at Outlet, a company that develops smart, wearable and non-wearables for new and expecting parents. Their flagship product is a wearable baby sock that tracks blood oxygen levels using pulse oximetry. For those who aren’t aware of pulse oximetry, you for sure have come into contact. It’s the little red dot. The light that doctors attached to your finger when you’re at the hospital to measure your vitals. He started the company, while still a student at my alma mater, Brigham Young University and has gone on to graduate from the TechStars accelerator. He’s raised $48 million in venture funding and he and his team have won multiple awards across a whole host of programs like TechCrunch, CES and many more. Jordan is a mentor a dyed in the wool entrepreneur and a friend and I brought him on to share His expertise. Jordan, welcome to the show.
Jordan Monroe 2:03
Thanks, Eric. Happy to be here.
Eric Stopper 2:06
So I have so many questions, but we are always short on time. You co-founded Outlet back in 2012. And your primary role was was marketing, right? Yeah, yep. I ran our marketing team for a while. And I understand that you guys were able to grow outlet from zero to 17 million in your first year that you actually had products right. Yep. The main question and out of all the interviews that I’ve heard and listened to between you and other hosts. I haven’t heard what do you feel like you? You did? Right. You know, I would say that most people listening to this haven’t hit that homerun ever in their career. How did you do it?
Jordan Monroe 2:50
Yeah, I think you know, there’s a few things you got to get right. I think you know, first one is just kind of the non-starter is product-market fit. You know, we nailed a pinpoint at that.
that really resonated with parents.
And it’s interesting because I’ve actually, you know, the last eight years or so I’ve got a little note on my phone of every competitor that’s come out. And then we’ve had about 10 different people try to solve this problem of is my baby, okay? You know, and they’ve done it through different technologies, like radars and cameras, and, you know, maps that use fiber optics and all kinds of different things. And at the end of the day, I feel like none of them have gone anywhere except for us. There’s been a handful that are venture funded and you know, still, I think, had a similar opportunity. But, you know, I think at the end of the day, product-market fit is really really key. You know, I think that but that’s I feel half the story, you know, you got to get it right. But there’s a lot of pieces to the puzzle. I think another really key piece was figuring out know how to market this thing. You know, when we first started marketing it, it cost us about $1,000 to get a customer You know, this is for a $250 product at the time we tried Google ads and it was something that just didn’t make sense, you know, right out of the gate with people. So you know, people will be searching for a video monitor and our ad would pop up and they say Wait, why am I looking at a baby foot? Yes, get rid of it. And it just didn’t make any sense and so nailing you know how to we first had to drive awareness around this category creating products and we did that through you know, top of funnel things like Facebook and Instagram, you know, creating awareness around this idea and then trying to capture it, you know, later down the funnel but so you know, getting third party voice was really good. Key and working with bloggers and influencers. And then, you know, leveraging them at the top of the funnel with Facebook to just drive awareness, always we would have seen the same thing had we gone to retail, you know, almost exactly. I imagine it being literally the exact same story of, you’re looking for a video monitor and this foot thing gets in your way I got in my way, you know, just don’t even take a look at it. So, you know, not going to retail it was a pretty key decision in the early days, you know, which was hard, you know, we were struggling to figure out the marketing piece and these retailers were dying to get it, you know, they could see it with a little bit of explanation. People got it. But you don’t have time in a Google ad or on a shelf. To give that little bit of explanation. You have to build the brand first.
Eric Stopper 5:50
So so it’s like a little more than two seconds of time. And I mean like walk me through the customer journey. I’m a stressed out parent. I have I have a history. I’ve connected to people who have died of sudden infant death syndrome. Walk me through their customer journey, right? Like, at what point? Do they really start taking it seriously? And what do they need to see typically before they even start on the journey towards your product?
Jordan Monroe 6:17
Yeah, I think that there’s, you know, a handful of different personas that are, you know, willing to buy our, our product. And I think most people don’t, might not realize that they are one of those people, you know, they don’t just wake up and say, I think there’s a foot product out there, the sock that goes on a baby’s foot that I can go, go buy to give me peace of mind. And you know, so we have to get in front of those people and, and, you know, build awareness around the product. But, you know, for most people, it’s just, Hey, I just want to get a good night’s sleep. I want to know that my babies okay? Because as a parent, it’s really hard you go from you know, constantly being up with this baby, and you know, being consumed, you know, just taking care of them and then as soon as they fall asleep, you know, you’ve got like a two minute window where you’re ready to fall asleep and then you think to yourself, oh, crap is baby okay? I’ve heard them for a little bit. And that sits with you and you’re sitting there, anxious, awake, and sleep deprived all at the same time. You know, you just eat all you need to sleep at that moment. And what’s really nice is for our parents is that they can open up the app, you know, see their baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels, you know, know the baby’s breathing and just go back to bed. And, and there’s a little base station that comes with the product. So it goes on parent’s nightstand. And it can, it’s connected to the sock so it can notify them. In case the vital signs go below a preset range.
Eric Stopper 7:50
So this is like a it’s almost like an Internet of Things. But a heuristic device you’re not supposed to dig into the data. It’s just supposed to Give you some indicator that like, things are at least okay enough that you can go to bed. And it’s just that light. Right? It’s green light that shows up, right?
Jordan Monroe 8:09
Yeah, yeah. And this is a different kind of idea back when we were, you know, 2013 You know, it was the year I think I think there was a year of the quantified self, he was working. But if you remember, you know, Fitbit has come out and the whole world was saying, Oh my gosh, we are the future, we will quantify everything, we will just know everything about everything that happens in and outside of our bodies, and it will just be so valuable to us. And we kind of looked at that and said, Ah, you know, that’s not resonating with our parents. And let’s not resonate with the customers that we see we sit down with, we’re showing prototypes to what’s resonating with them is they want to know that they’re babies. Okay, we have investors that right, no, no, no, like, you know, more, they stay out of that. Well, more like stay out of that like, show them lots of data, show them how long until they’ll fall asleep. Shown what milk at 10 o’clock does to them and versus milk at 10:30. You know, and we kind of, you know, again that was a hard convert was a hard decision to make because we felt like we’re going against the grain that was in the articles and stuff. And you know, and I think now the story is switched to, it’s not just about IoT, it’s not just about quantified self, it’s actually about compelling use cases. You know, what is the what’s so compelling about Fitbit isn’t the fact that you know you had 5000 steps versus 4000 steps. It’s that you know what, I want to lose 10 pounds I want to lose 30 pounds and that’s a compelling thing that people are really striving for at the end of the day. So you know, that’s what Fitbit did, was promising people.
Eric Stopper 9:47
You did not have this figured out at the beginning this was trial and error $1,000 a pop. At what point did it break man when the 299 price point actually was paying for itself? In terms of like, lead versus sale price,
Jordan Monroe 10:04
it took us about two months to figure it out. Okay.
Yeah, to get something that was profitable. And that made sense. And luckily, I mean, we did have a product that like, caught people’s attention. So we put a lot of spin behind just a really, really simple video on Facebook, that was just explaining the product. And we ended up getting, you know, millions and millions of views on it, but we, we, we pushed it, you know? And then we kind of realized that you know, what, there’s this third party piece to it, you know, people are, it’s not enough that we say it’s great, like we need somebody else to say it’s great and then we can help boost that message. That’s where influencers and bloggers were super key for the first year and a half and they’re still really key for our brand. But now I feel like the brand is pretty well known and parents are telling parents about it and you know, with In the early days, you know, we start to build that awareness.
Eric Stopper 11:06
So, I mean that all of these things open up a can of worms. So just to kind of clue you in to, to our listeners, right, these most everybody on here, their digital marketing managers, their CEOs, they’re aspiring entrepreneurs who kind of want to nail this one to 17 million thing would be super nice, right? Yeah, I subscribe a lot of the time to hear general marketing insights. And like, how do I dominate Amazon specifically? And Allah does well on Amazon, and I wanted to run a case study by you for them if that’s all right, have you had a chance to mess with brand analytics? Yes, in the back end of Seller Central. So for those listening as well who have no idea what I’m talking about. Amazon released the top 2 million searched keywords on Amazon. So number one is typically air pods. That has the most search volume. And then it gives you the number one click base in the number two click base, and then the number three click base and it gives you their click and conversion share for each of those. And so they’re basically telling you how big the market is. Right? So number one is air pods. Number two is like iPhone 11 case. And actually, we’ve been seeing the H, H 95 and 95 mask rise to the top of the list. It’s the number one search phrase on Amazon because of the corona virus. And so it’s a really good snapshot as far as what the market looks like what the people are looking for. When you search for baby monitor. Okay, there are 400 keywords that show up in brand analytics. And that’s a huge deal man. That means that there are 400 different ways that people are searching for baby monitors baby monitor video, baby monitor sock outlet, smart sock to baby monitor video, and I noticed that outlet gets 97% of their sales on Amazon from searches for their brand name. It’s like very, very much bottom of the funnel. And so my question for you is, does this kind of fit with the model that outlet has in terms of capturing you mentioned early capturing people at the bottom of the funnel once they’ve been educated? Or do you think there is a way for Outlet to kind of target this middle and top of funnel markets on Amazon?
Jordan Monroe 13:25
Yeah, for sure. I think, you know, that’s, that’s kind of been our strategy, you know, from the beginning, which is going to create awareness on a platform like Facebook, you know, get them to the top of the funnel, and they’re gonna transact at a lot of different places, you know, they might transact at Target or bye bye baby or babies or us or Amazon. And so, it doesn’t surprise me. You know, the same thing is actually said in our retailers that, you know, what’s the number one question people have about the product is where is it which means that people are showing up to the store already very aware of the product and saying I, this is what I want. And yeah, so But I mean, do I think there’s an opportunity for us to leverage other parts and get in front of more people definitely. You know, one of the, one of the problems of when you nail one way of doing things is that, it distracts you from being able to sit down and find other ways of doing things. We’ve got a flywheel that we’ve solved for and we’re kind of building around but you know, wasn’t sure other opportunities within Amazon and others to
Eric Stopper 14:40
kind of growing awareness. And you guys are working on this. You you launched a new product recently. Via dream labs. Is that what it’s, it’s called? It’s an educational tool. Tell me a little bit about that.
Jordan Monroe 14:54
Yeah. So you know, we’re it’s interesting. We’re most brands are kind of fishing. In a lake, you know, the tip, it’s got, I don’t know 200 million people who could wear their devices, and Fitbit can sit there and just keep pushing ads to all these people. And then eventually someone’s gonna bite after maybe the fifth time that they’ve seen a Fitbit ad or seen it on somebody, you know? Yeah, we’re in a bit of a unique situation where we’re kind of fishing in a river, where people are, you know, becoming pregnant starting at the top of the river, right? So maybe minus Yeah, and if we miss them if we don’t catch them in that this window of like, last trimester, the first few weeks of pregnancy you know, they don’t transact you know, the baby already grows up and they don’t need it anymore. Interesting, though, and especially because that there’s like a nesting period where you buy everything and this is actually key for all baby products. Like, if you miss that window of time in the last trimester, first few weeks, it’s like burn your products not gonna get purchased. So I think for, you know, a growth strategy for us is, you know, What are some we’ve built a fantastic product on the smart sock, what are some other products that would make sense in this ecosystem that can add value to parents and also makes our advertising dollars go a little bit further as we increase the lifetime value of these customers? So you know, that’s kind of the business perspective of why we built dream lab. But you know, from a, you know, sitting back for years, we’ve said, the two biggest problems are the hardest things with parenting is one safety like is my baby, okay, and two asleep? And how can I get a few more hours of sleep and sleep is just this truly massive pain that everyone feels and there isn’t a good solid solution out there? Yeah, there are books. If, you know, you don’t have you know, if you’re the average person, or if you’re like the upper elites, there’s this thing called a sleep consultant that’ll sit down and create a custom plan and help you troubleshoot right
Eric Stopper 16:59
now. I will coach you to sleep and apps that will seem to you and read to you and stuff. Yeah,
Jordan Monroe 17:05
yeah. Yeah. So, you know, from the baby perspective, we said, okay, there are these two big options out there books for most people that aren’t super effective sleep consultants for the very elite, but they’re super effective. Hacker, we have the best of both worlds. So we created a pretty cool technology course that asks about 100 questions, understand you and your baby, and then put together a custom plan with videos and educational info that, you know, help you get your baby’s sleeping through the night. So it’s really cool. You know, we have you know, tons and tons of success stories where parents are just like, every two hours, my baby was waking me up, went through the course my baby sleeps 13 hours like you’ve given me my life back. That’s great. And yeah, that’s really fun. So that’s a new product we just barely launched. And we’re seeing great traction on
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