Podcast: Why Marketplaces are Swallowing e-Retail with Trevor George, Founder of Blue Wheel Media
February 27, 2020
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- [02:30] Trevor talks about the eTail Conference last year and what he talked about as a speaker in the conference
- [04:09] Trevor’s opinion on brands paying to sell on the various online purchasing portals
- [08:02] When and where should a brand start bidding and advertising their products
- [09:41] Advertising for Black Friday and Cyber Monday
- [11:58] The best first step for brands who want to venture into the pay to play strategy
- [14:38] The difference in how Google and Amazon handle keywords and search phrases
- [17:15] Trevor talks about the discussion he has with potential and current clients about the services that his company can do for them
- [21:25] Trevor talks about growing his business into an eight-figure seller on Amazon in less than two years and why Merch by Amazon didn’t affect his business
- [23:04] Why manufacturing your own products is a great way to make your success story a reality
- [25:52] Eric talks to Trevor about the opinion of Greg Mercer on manufacturing your own products
- [28:04] Trevor shares a story of a budding entrepreneur who sold a product he didn’t manufacture on Amazon
- [29:34] The work Trevor did for House of Marley
- [33:42] Trevor uses his wife’s brand, the Handbag Raincoat, as an example of how to build a brand into an eight-figure business in two years
- [38:04] Eric and Trevor discuss Kickstarter companies and why Shark Tank didn’t pick up the Handbag Raincoat
- [40:31] Trevor’s advice for anyone who wants to introduce a new and unknown product into the market
- [41:20] How to create demand and keywords for a product on Amazon
- [43:31] How Trevor’s company used of Snapchat and TikTok as marketing platforms
- [46:55] Trevor addresses the use of voice search AIs in brand marketing
- [49:45] Should there be a clear disclosure of personal information held by big data companies?
- [51:36] What is Blue Wheel Media working on right now and how to get in touch with them
In this episode…
Growing a startup company to reach the 8-figure mark is no easy feat for most entrepreneurs, let alone doing it in less than 2 years. But that is exactly what Trevor George was able to do back in 2016. His company started manufacturing licensed apparel for Superman, Batman, and Harry Potter, which allowed him to grow the brand into an 8-figure business in less than 2 years.
Through his great passion and expertise in digital marketing, Trevor now helps other brands grow to the 8-figure mark by improving their marketing strategies on the Amazon marketplace as well as social media marketing. And he says knowing how the market ticks and how to make it work in the direction that’s beneficial for you is crucial to your success.
In this episode of the Buy Box Experts Podcast, Eric Stopper talks to Trevor George about the pay-to-play strategy that most brands are looking to go into as well as how brands can make use of other online selling portals to their benefit. They also talk about what it takes to grow your business on Amazon, the considerations you need to make when marketing and advertising your brand, and why manufacturing your own product is a better idea than just rebranding ready-made pre-manufactured items. They also touch base on the possibility of using voice search for marketing along with a ton of other awesome topics so stay tuned.
Resources Mentioned on this episode
- Buy Box Experts
- Blue Wheel Media
- Trevor George on LinkedIn
- eTail East Conference
- eTail West Conference
- Handbag Raincoat
Sponsor for this episode
Buy Box Experts applies decades of e-commerce experience to successfully manage clients’ marketplace accounts. The Buy Box account managers specialize in combining an understanding of clients’ business fundamentals and an in-depth expertise in the Amazon Marketplace.
The team works with marketplace technicians using a system of processes, proprietary software, and extensive channel experience to ensure your Amazon presence captures the opportunity on the marketplace, not only producing greater revenue and profits but also reducing or eliminating your business’ workload.
Buy Box Experts prides itself on being one of the few agencies with an SMB (small to medium-sized business) division and an Enterprise division. Buy Box does not commingle clients among divisions as each has unique needs and requirements for proper account management.
Welcome to the Buy Box Experts Podcast with your host, Joseph Hansen. We bring to light the unique opportunities brands face and today’s e-commerce world.
Eric Stopper 0:18
This episode is brought to you by Buy Box Experts. Buy Box Experts takes ambitious brands and makes them unbeatable. They have a team of consultants that will identify key low hanging fruits for some of your best selling Jason’s on Amazon. I am one of those consultants please reach out I’d love to talk with you. Even if it doesn’t make sense for us to work together please, we know we’d love to learn about your business. If you want more revenue as an Amazon seller, go to buyboxexperts.com click on the free analysis button you may be connected with me or one of my colleagues. Today, I am very excited for this we have Trevor George, founder and CEO of Blue Wheel Media. Trevor has a brand new father sons five months old now With a passion for digital marketing is also the CEO of the nation’s largest soft lines manufacturer of licensed merchandise, a company called Trev. co. And I read in a New York Times article that he and his wife Morgan met in 2015. And after that, he took her to dinner 10 nights in a row. Gentlemen, take notes. If you want to learn digital marketing, and you want to learn how to, you know, to win a life, Trevor is your guy. I’m absolutely stoked to have him on the show. Trevor, thanks for coming on.
Trevor George 1:34
Cool. Thanks for having me. So tell me about the dates man, I got to know. Did you wait three days to call her after you met her? Or was it just right into it? I tried to call her she wouldn’t give me her number. So that was a battle. But when I finally got it since I live in Detroit, and she lived in New York, I had to take her, you know, I hadn’t had to use as much time as
Unknown Speaker 1:54
I could while I was there. Why were you in New York.
Trevor George 1:57
I was in New York. Speaking to some of our lights. brands like Sesame Street and Viacom and showing them some new samples of some new products that we were making.
Eric Stopper 2:07
Nice. And just by serendipity, you guys have mutual friends that you met it was it was that like a club right? Or a bar?
Trevor George 2:14
Yep. She had just broken up with her boyfriend. I guess I’m the I’m the rebound guy, the rebound guy. My sister went to University of Michigan where I went, and that’s how we got introduced.
Eric Stopper 2:26
Okay, right on man. So, I watched you sent over a video to me of you speaking at the ETL conference. Thanks for sending that to me by the way. I wish I could have been there. It looks super fun. Can you tell me a little bit about the event like Who was there? What was the focus? What were you talking to people because you were boosting right?
Trevor George 2:47
Yeah, so that was the first time we had been to detail they have email East email West. You tell us is a little bigger. But you tell East was the show that was coming up and I had to speak opportunity. I spoke on the future of marketplaces and E retail. It’s, I speak less as a futurist and more. You know, if this is happening right now, then this, then this probably will happen in the next five years. So it’s not the next 20. It’s what we think is going to happen very soon. So that was that was a really exciting opportunity. There was about 1000 people in attendance.
Eric Stopper 3:20
Yeah, it looked like it looked like a sharp, a sharp room of people now. I mean, that’s kind of the topic in question that I want to that I want to hit on. You have some some pretty strong opinions about what e commerce and E retail in general will look like in the next couple of years. Even in two years, right, like five years, everything’s going to look different. This thought that we’re constantly in this buying ecosystem, right that like my interface, my time on Google and Facebook and Instagram. It means now that these companies have purchased Facing portals where that you can buy directly from them that brands are forced to pay to play in these arenas. Right? Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
Trevor George 4:09
Yeah. And first, you know, I think in the very near future, the narrative around where the transaction happens is going to change. I think right now brands care a lot that the sale of their products happens on their own website. That’s where they make their margin. They’re the best margin. You know, recently. They’re saying to themselves, while Amazon such a big opportunity, I think it’s okay for the sale to happen there as well. I think in the next few years, brands are going to care less about where the transaction happens, they just want the transaction to happen. So wherever the consumer is, whether they’re on Facebook, they’re on Google, they’re on YouTube, they’re on Amazon, they’re on Pinterest, as long as the brand can get them to buy the item. It’s good by that. So you know, if we look to the future where shopping is going to be coming seamless in the platform or the ecosystem that the consumer is already in? Why would they watch a YouTube video and click out to a brand new site or to Amazon, they should just buy the item right there as long as YouTube offers it, you know, we have to think about how does the brand then get the product to the consumer? and and you know, if you if you think about what happened with Amazon, you know, now that it’s a site of trillions of products, how do you get one brands product to rise up over the other in a category with millions and trillions of products, and the only way to do that is to pay for it. It’s like the old eBay days when you would bold something and turn it purple. It’s the same thing. You know, if YouTube had a trillion products, on its site, at various destinations, and underneath various videos, the only way to get yours to pop up over another is if you pay for it.
Eric Stopper 5:53
So I mean, people always talk about being constantly advertised to right like, we’re just constantly inundated Nowadays you open up your phone it’s like you’re looking at a whole bunch of Vegas billboards that are just constantly hitting you. So is it like we’re just walking around in stores now? Like we’ve we’ve taken almost the the shopping experience out of the equation and we just live in the shopping experience. Is that what I’m understanding? So here’s, there’s,
Trevor George 6:19
I think, I think that banner advertisements or obtrusive advertisements will always be the case. But, you know, if we relate the analogy to a store experience, I don’t think that selling a product is going to be uninvited. For example, if I was at a store like Best Buy, and I saw an endcap display that Bose paid for, it’s probably going to happen in the headphone aisle next to all the other headphones. You know, I’m already I already have intent to purchase I’ve indicated that I’m looking at headphones, I’m in that area. I’m at that end cap. And so sites like me Amazon is the same behavior, right? I’m making a search for headphones, and Bose is promoting their headphone, they would never show Bose headphones for a search like pet bed. That doesn’t make sense. And that’s no different than, than YouTube search and sponsored products, fortunately, are much, much more invited where it starts to get a little tricky is in programmatic display like Amazon DSP, that’s when you can start to get a little bit more uninvited. But as we all know, the return on ad spend is much, much much lower.
Eric Stopper 7:34
So in those situations, right, like I’m a brand and I want to grow my top of funnel sales, and I know that I have to pay to play in this ecosystem. Should I should I just keep revving hard and increasing the amount of ad spend on my bottom of funnel or should I start moving to I mean, in what circumstance would it make sense to start bidding on pet beds for bows right like if I find The correlation between buyers and that market.
Trevor George 8:02
I think it’s, it depends on the product that you have. If there’s category awareness, if you know the consumer knows that your brand exists, there’s probably a lot of search that you can go after. After that, you got to look to other ad channels. It might not make sense to go after pet bed, but you could turn to something like Facebook or Pinterest and try to replicate that intent as much as possible. Because the last thing that you want is an ad that’s uninvited
Eric Stopper 8:29
where where would you steer a new brand to as of as of this recording, right? What where is the low hanging lowest hanging fruit for most people? We go
Trevor George 8:40
Amazon, Google, Facebook, Instagram, Google before Facebook on birch cert, and there’s not that much scale on Google. Don’t get me wrong. Sure. urge search because it’s the highest intent. And then Facebook Instagram because usually, the CPC fees are low enough to hit the return on ad spend a few times At the right demographic now, I will say you might want to avoid Facebook and Instagram around Black Friday, Cyber Monday. Because you’re talking about a time where every brand is investing as much money as they physically can. And a q4 period the CPC just gets so high, you can’t be profitable. So you might want to do your, you know, the outline customer acquisition in off months.
Eric Stopper 9:23
Interesting. So, you know, we’re kind of in this season right now. For your clients, did you have them scale back their Facebook and Instagram advertising and reallocate those dollars towards Google and Amazon hadn’t? How did you approach that with your your actual clients? I think you just have to be careful.
Trevor George 9:45
You know, the obvious demographics that you target on Facebook and Instagram might be unprofitable because everyone else is targeting the obvious. It’s kind of like you know, bidding for a divorce attorney on Facebook or on Google. That’s a very costly keyword. Have you been at for you know, what is a divorce attorney? Maybe it’s a little bit lower of a CPC, so you kind of have to find the niches. We do a lot of our customer acquisition before Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Eric Stopper 10:14
And then you just rev super hard on the actual search search based advertising platforms like Google and Amazon. Did you do any any DSP the display ads during during Black Friday? Or is that just a total waste? We do some for omni channel brands that also value brand awareness,
Trevor George 10:32
that value brand awareness, meaning, you know, we don’t expect any client to go into Amazon DSP and make a profit on their ad spend. There has to be an understanding that someone’s going to see the ad and maybe buy it at some other channel that we can’t connect that you know the impression we make with the display ad convert you know, keeps them top of mind for another moment later in the future.
Eric Stopper 11:00
So then when that person goes back, you’re in their awareness, maybe even their consideration set. And it’s, it’s more about getting them to buy now, when you’re when you’re doing like a sponsored product or a sponsor brand instead. Yeah, yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. Trevor, I think the thought that I was having while I was listening to the, the email conference was, you mentioned, like a futurist mindset. And I think that’s, I think that is still fair, right? I think that you’re being very practical by saying, Okay, what do we do in these moments, given that these marketplaces are swallowing websites and making it this pay to play structure? So my question would then be okay, therefore, what? Right, like brands have to pay to play but how do they do it? Well, right, like what what are the what’s the best first step for somebody to take, given that this is the trend that we’re going because I do agree with you? Absolutely.
Trevor George 11:58
I think that Look at it just like life. You know, we, you know, if we want to survive triple heart bypass surgery, we find the best doctor. You know, if we feel your best friend is the best doctor will go to the best friend. But the most important thing is you have to find the expert. If it’s internal to your company. Fantastic. You’re one step ahead. I always say that the best amazon seller is the best advertiser. That’s just the nature of the business today. It didn’t it wasn’t like that five years ago, the best amazon seller was the seller who could generate the reviews in the best way right at different today. You know, so if you want to be the best seller, find the best advertiser find the best technology, get the best strategy that might be internal to your organization or it could be extra.
Eric Stopper 12:49
Do you think for those that are considering, you know, kind of leveraging Amazon and really rubbing hard on it that It would be better for them to to hire an agency like what what’s kind of the situation analysis that some of these brands should be considering?
Trevor George 13:07
Will do 30 million this year on Amazon will do 50 million next year, it still doesn’t make sense for me to bring it advertising in house. Because we’re never going to be able to a find this golden goose of a person that is an expert in Amazon advertising. There’s literally a handful in the United States, and then get them to move to Michigan and we’re not going to happen. So, you know, I, I, I when I first started my business up until $15 million, I hired CPC strategy. How about that, huh? And once I realized that we could do it better with smarter technology. We started our own agency to manage it and so now our Amazon business is a client of our of our agencies.
Eric Stopper 13:52
What At what point did you realize that that you could do it better, probably after eight months,
Trevor George 13:58
really eight months, eight months. If we Weekly reporting and monthly reporting. And, you know, I think the only way to win at Amazon is to read the fine print and I started getting a little bit more into their API documentation and understanding that there’s more data you can get through the API, then you can just do the advertising console. And when I realized that, and that my partner CPC strategy at the time wasn’t using that data in the ways that I thought they could. That’s when we discovered search term isolation, which is, you know, really our core competency in advertising.
Eric Stopper 14:33
perfect segue, give me give me some details about that without revealing all the secret sauce.
Trevor George 14:38
So Google, Google and Amazon handle keywords and search terms differently. The quick example is that when an advertiser creates a campaign and targets a keyword, it really serves that ad for many variations of that term. And the problem is, there are some phrases that are profitable and phrases that are unprofitable. But the prep but you can only set one bid for that keyword, I’m going to bet $1 73 cents that same dollar 73 gets applied to all the variations and phrases, regardless of whether they’re profitable or unprofitable. The key to Amazon is figuring out how to set your bid higher or lower on every phrase individually. And so what we do is we isolate every phrase that has ever made a sale for a product in real time. And then we manage the bid up or down, given the profitability goals of the campaign or the or the client as a whole. They you’re talking about actual phrase match campaigns, right. So is the isolation aspect of it then moving the terms that are profitable to exact match campaigns from there? Exactly. We believe that a majority of a person’s ad spend should be done on exact match. Now that’s not going to happen right away because we use broad and phrase to figure out which phrases actually drove sale, regardless of whether or not that phrase will drive another sale doesn’t matter to us, we move over time, almost 80% plus of the budget to exact match. Wow, do you guys even really mess with broad these days? Only if the client has never used broader auto we use broader auto, you know, when a client says, Hey, I’m introducing a new product, no, we need to figure out which phrases on Amazon actually drive sales. And so we’ll use broad an auto in those cases, but over a product lifecycle. You know, after six or 12 months, the amount of spend your auto and broad should be less than 10%.
Unknown Speaker 16:39
That makes sense.
Unknown Speaker 16:40
Eric Stopper 16:41
So if, if somebody took the time deliberately to go through all these things, and and actually took the time to look at the data and move from phrase to exact they could probably figure it out on their own right. And and I run into this a lot and so what’s the discussion that you typically have with Your potential clients when they’re deciding whether to hire you and selling this process of keyword isolation like how how have you guys just figured out the sauce and and, you know, how have you been able to consistently apply this process to brands?
Trevor George 17:15
Great question. So as two parts, why would if a client thought they could figure it out? Yeah, they hire us and then to how do we do it better than they could if they could figure it out. So the first piece is I’m a seller just like the client right? We have 100,000 square foot facility where we actually manufacture these widgets. In Michigan we have another 15,000 square foot facility in Sacramento. The company is the hundred plus people are built on the foundation that we are the best at product development, manufacturing, logistics, think Amazon FBA seller fulfilled prime fbm customer service and writing the You own our own descriptions and taking our own pictures, you know, we’re in that business, we, you know, if Amazon wasn’t around, we’d figure out how to make a catalog. That’s the business we’re in. And then we can figure out how to sell orders, we can figure out how to do the finances for it. And if we don’t know how to do that, maybe we hire someone like by box experts. But eventually, if the business gets big enough, we’re going to need to figure that out ourselves. Sure. The piece that our company doesn’t have that we find many other companies don’t is the advertising side, because it’s a totally, you know, new language. It’s not even what the company does on a daily basis. So what we always say is, if you can find that golden goose who knows how to run search from isolation, and you can find the technology to make it happen, all the power to your hiring, yeah, do it up. But why don’t you focus on doing what you do best, develop more products, add more skews, build more listings, fulfill faster, get it in one day instead of two days and let us handle the advertising because that’s the only thing We do.
Eric Stopper 19:01
I was talking to Chris ship furling from global while wired advisors and they’re this, they they consult with brands, when they’re when they’re wanting to sell their business. And he goes downstream he targets you know, like, one 1 million, maybe $50 million companies. And and he was talking about about just this fact, right? Like, you need a product roadmap, you need to constantly be be launching new products
Trevor George 19:31
Eric Stopper 19:33
What’s the conversation that you have with your customers? How do you how do you approach that? Right?
Trevor George 19:40
You just tell them hey, develop more products you do guide them to maybe areas where they can grow? Do you want them to launch different brands? what’s what’s kind of your process for that? Great question. Maybe that’s something you guys do much better than us. We don’t get into those arenas. Hundred percent of what we do is in the advertising, we want to be the best advertisers in the world. knighted states. And that’s all, you know, we’ll be able to point them maybe to some direction because of our expertise. But at the end of the day, if they need a full strategy to figure that out, that’s either they need to figure it out internally or partner with someone like you guys,
Eric Stopper 20:13
right? And for anybody listening, blue media and buy box experts absolutely play in the same sandbox. And so this is a fun conversation for us to have, right? Just marketing people getting together and talking about best practices and, and shoot check us both out right, like, have let us both evaluate your businesses and let’s just see where it goes. Right? Like, we’re going to take you if it makes sense for us to take you to the next level. And if you if you need someone like a blue will like please reach out to them. I think that, you know, good help is good help, but you got to find the best fit for you.
Unknown Speaker 20:46
Right? I love it.
Eric Stopper 20:48
Advertising as a new language. That’s interesting. So you guys have created this new language that’s going to be the future. Manat AI is just going to speak advertising to us and the best companies are the one ones that can speak to the robot the best.
Unknown Speaker 21:01
That’s it. Okay.
Eric Stopper 21:05
something on your website and something that I see in here all the time. You grew into a top eight figure seller on Amazon in less than two years. Yeah, a feat that less than 1% of new Amazon sellers reach. everybody listening wants to do that. Okay, when When was this? How long ago? What was the brand?
Trevor George 21:25
I started in May of 2016. And we started manufacturing licensed apparel. So don’t ask me how, but we have the rights to print for Superman and Batman and Harry Potter. And we took those licenses and started selling t shirts directly on Amazon. In May of 2016. Was was merge
Unknown Speaker 21:49
around at that point,
Trevor George 21:51
not yet. When did when did that happen? merge. Merge by Amazon is what he’s asking about which is a platform where Amazon actually prints the shirt. To the consumer that came out in about 2017. So using our core competency, we actually managed merge by Amazon for some of the world’s largest global brands, like Warner Brothers. As an example, we inject the same advertising engine that we have for the product that’s listed through merge by Amazon. It doesn’t matter if Amazon prints it, or we print it. Same same advertising.
Unknown Speaker 22:24
So merge didn’t, it didn’t hurt you.
Trevor George 22:28
It didn’t hurt us. And you have to remember there are limitations with merge bands on the only thing you can do to market a product through that program is advertising. When you sell something through Seller Central, you get a lot of other things, coupon ribbons, Lightning Deals, best deals deals of the day, you can be a little bit better on price because the margins are I mean, there’s like, you know, pros and cons to both platforms.
Eric Stopper 22:48
Now the the question that’s been burning in my mind is now we’re in 2019, as of this recording, coming up to 2020 if you want it to do it again, right, could you read replicate that type of success in the same amount of time.
Trevor George 23:04
100%. But it depends on one thing and one thing only, in my opinion. Okay, if you are the manufacturer, I think I’ve when you source products, it’s very challenging to compete in the 2019. That’s because you’re dealing with companies that are either much, much bigger than you think two 300 $400 million. We’re also sourcing products from China, or you’re dealing with the Chinese manufacturer, we manufacture the item ourself, which means we’re fully vertical, which means that we can sell the shirt at the best price or the widget. It doesn’t matter. We solve the things besides t shirts. So I find that the companies that manufacture the item or maybe they’re the only company you can go to for that item
can absolutely have success today.
Unknown Speaker 23:53
Trevor George 23:54
So, by the way, that’s not a one size fits all strategy. You’re just if it were 22 19 and I were to entry enter the Amazon world. I probably want to be the manufacturer.
Eric Stopper 24:05
And I think that that speaks to this whole marketplace dilemma that we’re in right because manufacturers are just as capable at at paying to play as anybody else hundred percent. So if you’re, if you’re in a brand owner right and you’ve been importing right like sourcing your products from a manufacturer now like what do I do right? If this is the writing on the wall, do I need to go invest in manufacturing and try to take it in house? What are your thoughts there?
Trevor George 24:36
See, it’s tough because
take a brand again, we’ll go back to headphones. I mean, super highly competitive industry. brands like Bose beats, you know, they have a lot of brand equity. But most of the search on Amazon is for the item not the brand, sell well because people are looking for bows, but they’re going to probably We lose out on the opportunity when someone types in Bluetooth speaker because the manufacturers who make the Bluetooth speakers are selling them for less direct to consumer, these are the ones you haven’t heard of, or the 800 pound gorilla in the room anchor right there the chat direct Chinese manufacturers, there’s some random names up there if you type in Bluetooth speaker, so you know, you’ll you’ll, you’ll achieve some success because of your brand equity. But just because you make an item doesn’t mean it’s the right item for Amazon, it might not be the right price, it might be too far above market value. By being the manufacturer I think that’s the model of Amazon it connects the consumer to the source. So if that’s the philosophy, besides the idea of you know, having many people sell the same thing and driving the price down. You might want to follow that model.
Eric Stopper 25:52
Yeah. In my conversation with Greg Mercer at Jungle Scout,
Trevor George 25:58
curious his opinion very curious. He
Eric Stopper 26:00
is absolutely of the opposite opinion. Because you take this guy who has 250 skews that have absolutely almost zero like brand grouping right like it’s marshmallow sticks over here it’s baby blankets over here and this and he’s been able to use this tool to launch all these products. I guess my my question for you and you could even talk to Greg in this moment I hope I hope he tunes into this episode is are those days going to go away with the trend? Did he say how biggest business was? Uh yeah, I think he’s he’s got a couple of of eight figure businesses but in total Yeah, probably just below the the nine figure Mark honestly.
Trevor George 26:47
Oh, on Amazon, so he’s gonna do 100 million on Amazon.
Eric Stopper 26:50
I yeah, I have some notes on it. I’ll have to double check but he’s he’s getting close to that mark.
Trevor George 26:55
Okay, well, I’m
you know, all the pie I’m not the guy. I’m not the guy. If if, you know, please send me 10 people who have used a product hunter to make an unrelated non branded business on Amazon today. His marshmallow sticks date back to three years ago or five years ago, a study. I mean, those those are great, great, great listings, right. But I mean, we’re talking you’re asking the question, if it was redone today, show me 10 people, if anyone’s listening, please raise your hand if you’ve done this. I would love to know because it would help validate this question that’s being asked.
Eric Stopper 27:37
We have we have comments reach out to both of us because this is a conversation that I think Amazon doesn’t really want to have because they want more people sourcing more products all the time. But that’s a deterrent in my mind, for the for the homie college student that’s trying to make a buck on the side, right? He’s got reselling, he’s got he’s got white labeling, the guy’s not going to go out and get a manufacturing plant. So
Trevor George 27:59
what Tell this rising, you know, group of entrepreneurs. I had a really smart guy. He’s in the finance world and hedge funds in New York and Wall Street. And he’s in he saw the trend of Amazon just like we all do, right? And he said, You know, I’m going to dabble with this. I’m on Wall Street. I hate it. What if this could be my answer on a wall street and he created a watch box where you store your watches in and he sourced one at a pretty effective price. Retail was competitive, you use Jungle Scout fountain and medium price. It was medium competition or lower. He launched it. He paid for advertising. He got it to like 22 reviews, which was above the review threshold. And the business never went past like 10 units a month. So, you know, that’s my experience. I’m not saying that I’m wrong. I would just like to be proven wrong. Sure. Hmm.
Unknown Speaker 28:51
Back to Wall Street, I guess for that guy.
Trevor George 28:53
Christian still on Wall Street.
Eric Stopper 28:56
Christian if you’re listening to this, go and acquire As a manufacturing company. I want to go back, you gave the example of beats. You work with House of Marley.
Trevor George 29:09
Yeah. I saw I met these guys at CES last year. And from the looks of the case study, go and check it out in the blue media website, it’s it’s actually pretty staggering the amount of work that y’all did for them, and the impact that it had. Can you walk me through kind of the starting point of when you got in contact with the brand and what some of the first steps were there and how you evaluated you know what their growth potential could be? So we started working with the brand really early on and the parent company is a global, very large consumer products company that had a health and wellness division and they were entering consumer electronics, so you know, their growth. We were not the reason for their growth. We we only helped it we added fuel to the fire since we started with them really early on. I mean, they had I think 1000 followers on Instagram, we do other things besides Amazon. I mean, we’re talking six years ago, when the brand was in its infancy and maybe only in the United States, and today they’re in, you know, 80 plus countries their global. We were a companion to their marketing efforts, for sure.
Eric Stopper 30:17
How do you feel like you enabled that? Right, like, what was the main thing that you did in order to make sure that their success was,
Unknown Speaker 30:26
you know, secured?
Trevor George 30:29
That’s a good question. I think I think actually, they were the reason for their greatest success. And that’s because they put a lot of time and energy into branding. At the end of the day, the world didn’t need another headphone, or another Bluetooth speaker. We had enough and we have enough. But they spent so much time positioning the Bob Marley vision into their brand name, that by the time it got to us, our only responsibility was to try to get that brand in front of someone who might like it. You know, they stayed away from the heavy Rastafarian bootleg kind of culture That happened around Bob Marley, right. He only included the the elements of that world in minor ways, and they tried to elevate it. And so our job was to take that brand vision and put it in front of an early adopter, or the millennial that might embrace that rebellious lifestyle. Or someone is looking for alternate ecosystem stability elements in their and their products.
Eric Stopper 31:28
Yeah, cuz they have like wood, like they have a lot of like
Trevor George 31:32
carrots, certified wood, which means for every tree that was taken down, they plant one, a new one.
Eric Stopper 31:39
It’s It’s amazing. We’re currently building the brand of House of Marley because of the time that they that they put into you and I this conversation right people will listen to it and it’s now part of their their consideration set. So for them then you were just helping them speak the advertising language.
Trevor George 31:57
Yeah, absolutely. I mean There’s organic and there’s there’s pushing. There’s only so much you can do from an organic standpoint. Sure, you really want the scale you have to push the brand into the conversations, whether that’s on Instagram or on Facebook or on Amazon. And so, you know, it’s one thing to create the organic foundation. We also work with them on the paid side as well.
Eric Stopper 32:22
And just for people listening to kind of brag about blue, we’ll just from the hip, can you can tell me some of the some of the growth that they experienced in terms of like percent advertising efficiency, revenue growth, stuff like that.
Trevor George 32:36
Yeah, you know, we’re talking about a brand that barely did anything on their own e commerce site that was doing 10s of thousands of dollars. By the time he left a brand that started at 1000 followers that’s well over 100 You know, there were in one country now an ad with presences all over so it’s got a significant Amazon presence as well. And one of the leaders in sustainable consumer electronics
Eric Stopper 33:06
it’s amazing case study Go Go check it out um speaking of case studies I want to tie to two ideas together your your wife has a brand called the handbag raincoat. Yeah right and Morgan these are not purses if you’re listening to this their handbags their handbags not purses. So let’s let’s kind of do a quick case study. You know, we were starting from today the sheet she pushes some some pretty decent volume right now like what’s, how’s the business?
Trevor George 33:42
It’s a startup. But it’s growing for sure.
Eric Stopper 33:46
So let’s turn it into an eight figure business. Yeah, right now, you know, same same amount of growth, same timeline. We’ve got two years to grow the handbag raincoat to the Then the eight figure mark. Yep. What do we do right now? Man,
Trevor George 34:05
I need to be very careful with what I say here.
It’s gonna be a good dinner conversation and a little bit so just to recap for everyone. This is an item that ranges from 1599 to 1999. Retail it’s a little Poncho that goes over your handbag a woman’s handbag, men want to wear it to that works. When it rains so that your handbag doesn’t get wet. She’s from New York City. She was used to you know, walking on the street and when it rained out of nowhere, her handbag would get wet. Doesn’t matter what price the handbag is. It gets ruined, right? So she’s, she’s done well, hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales. I’m her husband, she could have come to me and said, help me with your help me with my marketing. You’re the marketing guru. She didn’t do that many times. Her parents did that her sister did that. And I tried, and I’ve learned that at this point. There are certain things I won’t touch with a 10 foot pole, one of them being my own. business but the other being a product like a handbag, a raincoat, and I’m going to tell you why. Because it’s really important that before thinking about the advertising or marketing strategy, you realize the price and position of the product. So what is the handbag raincoat? It is a product no one has ever heard of, which means nobody searches for it. So when it comes to Amazon the strategy to try to sell the handbag raincoat is very difficult. The only way that we can possibly sell that product on Amazon and I’ll get to off Amazon second is a few different ways. The first is we buy sponsored products or product display ads or product Asian targeting on rain accessories. If someone’s or handbags if someone’s looking for a handbag maybe they want a handbag raincoat if someone’s looking for rain boots or umbrella maybe they want a handbag raincoat. We all know that the A cos on product acent targeting your product display ads is way higher. Sponsored products are sponsored brand ads, and you’re probably not going to make money for a period of time. And even if I get 21 or more reviews on the handbag rank codes not going to take off on its own because they’ve been searching. Yeah, accurate. So then the only other way to do it would be through deals. Because you get placements on Amazon site. So maybe you get the best deal lightning deal a Deal of the Day, you know, we only be so lucky to get a Deal of the Day even after that. That’s like appearing on QVC. Fantastic. Nobody knows about it. We’re talking about even if we did $200,000 in sales, maybe that’s 10,000 units. We’re taught we there’s 300 million people in United States. 10,000 people bought it. Nobody knows about it still, right. It’s a battle. It’s a real hard battle. So now if we look to off Amazon. The problem with off Amazon is that if your retail price point isn’t, you know $30 or higher the cost per acquisition using tools like Facebook and Google and Instagram driving traffic to your website will eat up all Your market trying to sell a $15 item or a $19 item on your own website, when they’ll probably have to also pay for shipping is a very challenging thing to do. There’s really no margin in it. And don’t forget, layer that in with nobody searching for it. Nobody knows what it is. So now I have to serve a Facebook ad and an Instagram ad to a say, Hey, here’s this new idea. Oh, and then buy it. Very hard thing to do. Needless to say, my wife doesn’t like me very much because I couldn’t market our product but we don’t we like to find products that are in categories that are already searched for 30 socialized about if they’re searched for and socialized about it’s the strategies are there. There are other companies out there that can create the demand. I know some Kickstarter like companies that can create Indiegogo and Kickstarter and their special driving yeah million dollars in revenue on opening week, you know that. That’s just not who we are and props to them. There’s a strategy for that. It’s just harder.
Eric Stopper 38:00
Do you do you have a good Kickstarter company that you can suggest to people?
Trevor George 38:04
Yeah and Ventus is a good one invented yeah somehow spell there’s a y in there inventors
Eric Stopper 38:10
okay look up and Ventus I’ve worked with a couple of Kickstarter companies in the past it’s a hard game man those guys are really fighting hyenas okay let’s let’s say for instance to that we got your wife in front of the sharks
Unknown Speaker 38:28
you did we did.
Eric Stopper 38:29
Oh hand him a raincoat was on Shark Tank shark How did I not see that
Trevor George 38:33
I was on Shark Tank as well five years before her and neither of us individual of each other kind of deal
Eric Stopper 38:39
What did they say what was why didn’t they give a deal to the handbag raincoat?
Trevor George 38:44
You know, I think the sharks look for progress and they had been at it for quite some time and they wanted to see more sales they only had you know a couple hundred thousand dollars in sales after year two. And, you know, they were probably asking themselves well, why didn’t you get more? And I bet you they were worried that the cost to educate customers was just too high that they weren’t sure if the handbag raincoat as a new novel idea was going to take hold.
Eric Stopper 39:15
Is is 1599 the right price? Do you think she should raise it?
Trevor George 39:19
If anything, it would need to be lower because if you want hit mass retail, which is where a lot of the volume is daughter will know. No one’s gonna take anything above 10 bucks. If it was sold for 499 699 and 999 for small, medium large, maybe maybe there would have been more success but part of the allure of the product was that it was a fashion accessory not some mass cheap thing. Right. So you know that’s not how we entered the market.
Eric Stopper 39:44
Interesting. I’m so I was looking at it and I was wondering Okay, if if I took the seat of the customer in this situation. I think the word that I would probably be searching for that I would be the most inclined to buy a handbag raincoat. would be like a waterproof bag or Forgive me Morgan a waterproof purse. And then I advertise for that I’m a lower price point I’m solving the same issue but
Trevor George 40:12
you know what? search search volume is like?
Eric Stopper 40:15
Tiny is tiny, little ones there.
Trevor George 40:19
Care. People looking for a waterproof bag or campers that are trying to go outdoors they want like,
Unknown Speaker 40:26
door taxis in the world. Yeah.
Trevor George 40:29
Interesting, tough one. So for everyone out there who has who wants to introduce a product that’s never before been seen in the market. You can have the best idea in the world. I think a lot of people will say this, even the sharks, it’s all about sales. So you know, I think the best marketing for her would have been additional retail doors, because the buyer makes a subjective opinion about what they want to put in brick and mortar and you can convince them that this is going to create fun new experience at the retail level and then it’s up to the buyer and the rest of that retailer to decide how much attention and focus it wants to put at the retail level. And that could kickstart the category row harder to do online than it is at brick and mortar harder to do.
Eric Stopper 41:20
So this is this is a difficult question. And I’ve had a conversation with you know, the brand kissick, they just they just had Nike invest in the parent company. So it’s really exciting. Their hands free shoes is what they is what they call themselves. There’s another brand of products that does barefoot shoes is what they is what they have turned their own their own category. And this guy claims that he has created demand for barefoot shoes and that nobody was searching for it before. But now there’s 10s of thousands of people searching for barefoot shoes. So if you were to do that for a new product, how do you think that process goes? How do you create a keyword to be searched on Amazon? Does it have to come from from Google, Facebook and Instagram top of funnel type of stuff. See here.
Trevor George 42:13
Here’s the thing. This is why this is a great idea. Shoes existed before hands free shoes. They just created something with an adjective to it. So that means when they first started their business, they were able to target people who are in the market for buying shoes. And all they had to do is say we do it a little bit differently. We’re not for everyone who wants shoes, but we’re for people who would value hands free shoes. In the case of handbag, raincoat, I can’t even I can’t target. You know, anything related. There is not there’s nothing that pre existed that I can build on top of I always look at marketing like, you know, when they would have those building logs that the log cabin where they put one log, you do the other log, the other log is a log in and you build on top of each other. Give me a category with an action Lock because the last thing I want to do is be the first person to lay that lock. kissick got to build off of people who work in the market for shoes. Sure.
Eric Stopper 43:11
Yeah. No lace shoes, for instance, has some high search volume. So they’ll be able to ride that little bit of a different circumstance. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I wonder have Have you guys been dabbling in Tick tock, and Snapchat ads at all? A little bit? Yeah. Whatever. Can you give me any, any examples? Any stories?
Trevor George 43:31
I don’t have Snapchat. We have some case studies around the visibility we were able to achieve. You know, we did for a music festival here in Detroit called movement. We did the we did we coordinated the Detroit global snapchats. And literally, the whole world saw Detroit through their viewpoint of other Snapchat users and sure in between that we commingled the music festival. tik tok is still new for Ross, we’re investigating it. advertising is interesting on the platform, right? So we’re still figuring that out. I don’t have answers yet.
Eric Stopper 44:10
It also it just looks so different if you if you have the app, you’ve probably started seeing ads in the last couple weeks. And the first thing that you see when you open the app is this, this huge, non tik tok looking advertisement? They’re probably going to stray away from that and try to make it more of this market marketplace ecosystem, right where you could just buy it straight from an organic video.
Trevor George 44:33
Yeah. Is that what you’re thinking? promoted posts? Yeah. the tough part about Tick Tock is they’ve created this community where the content that people are supposed to create for the for the channel is so far removed from an ad. And so when you put an ad in there, and someone’s dancing and singing, putting the two together are very difficult.
Eric Stopper 44:59
I wonder if Is it worth it for brands to just
Trevor George 45:03
like dress people in their clothing and just hope that it builds awareness? Or is it just too far removed? Do you think? I think if I look at influencer marketing, you know, because it’s so saturated today. me as a consumer, I buy things that I know the influencers I respect actually use. So if but the problem is, you know, the FCC requires people if they get paid to write hashtag ad not everyone does it, but that’s supposed to be the requirement. So then I know that they’re not actually using it’s probably a lie, the more brands can, maybe it’s like an endorsement or a product placement in a TV or a movie. You know, it’s in the background, right? People are using it and then maybe others will be influenced by it but i’m not i’m not as long as people have to write hashtag add that becomes very difficult.
Eric Stopper 45:59
Party on Garth, see if you ever seen that on one with, with the deliberate advertising? Yeah. The last thing I want to talk about speaking of futurism is Do you have an Alexa or google home or any of those types of things? Yeah. So there’s two topics that I want to hit on. Number one is for marketers, right? And Gary Vaynerchuk, right is probably the person that started this whole Paul Revere thing for voice, but he talks about how that’s going to eventually be the way that we search for products is all through all through voice or through these API’s that we communicate with. And so this is going to be a major focus for ecommerce businesses in terms of buying into these ecosystems. have you all been looking at how to use voice for your brands and and how do you think an approach should work when when looking at these markets?
Trevor George 46:55
Good question. I you know, you have to be careful as to how early you are, I think The idea that everything is going to be done through voices very early. You know, I might reorder something that’s an everyday commodity like detergent or batteries or something that that I understand happens today. There has not been true studies Amazon has never released You know, this like this like massive adoption of voice for everything we buy, and you have to time your investment with the market, and in my opinion, it’s too early. I wouldn’t. Unless we’re talking about a consumer product goods company, like a Windex or Unilever or Procter and Gamble. My investment in voice would not be that big today.
Eric Stopper 47:43
What do you think the tipping point comes? If because, you know, we’re talking I’m I’m asking you to look into a crystal ball, but how far away Do you think we are?
Trevor George 47:49
I’m not bullish on voice. So I think we’re very far 10 i don’t i think i think voice and intuitive video have to be combined. For instance. You know, the only time I’ve had a good experience with Alexa is with the Alexa screen. If I say I want to buy something, I need to see it verified. So I need that, that interaction between video and voice to be seamless.
Eric Stopper 48:13
That makes sense. Now switching gears a bit. So this is this is kind of this kind of big brother. I’m working on a research study with one of the local universities here to track what people are looking at when they’re viewing their phone more specifically, when they’re looking at their app on Amazon. And I mean, we we know Amazon is probably done research like that, but we want to know as an agency, my and my wife was is the probably the biggest opponent of this trend of big data, right? Oh, they’re listening to me like oh, I mentioned a mattress and then someone advertised a mattress to me or I was even talking about like going to the doctor and I was getting advertisements for going to the doctor. I kind of wanted you’re a marketer writing your very much in this world of, hey, I want to use that data to give you the best thing, right? Like, if I know the size of your bed, I know when you get paid, I know that you having back problems, I should be able to advertise the right mattress to you that will improve the quality of your life. So a couple of questions on this. Firstly, in terms of big companies, big data holding all of this and not really telling us all that, that they have access to this and they’re using it. What What do you think that they should do is should there be a very clear disclosure for for the fact that Alexa or your phone or listening to you? Or is the way that it’s done now? Just fine. And the people who are aware of it should just get over it? What do you think?
Trevor George 49:45
Can I ask a question first? Yeah, please. Based on your experience, what is the issue someone has with someone having all that data?
Eric Stopper 49:55
Oh, you’re asking the wrong person. I think praise right like hey, wiretap, you know, like, I want a 20% discount on on this thing,
Trevor George 50:05
right? Everyone else Shut up, let them have the data and make your life better. That’s what I’m doing with you. If you have a good case, and you have a logic behind give me an if then tell me a scenario why that doesn’t make sense. Unless you’re hiding something that is a threat to human population, then, you know, what is the issue?
Unknown Speaker 50:30
Eric Stopper 50:31
A right to privacy You and I are right to have sex privately a right to like, be naked privately a right to you know, do whatever it is you do in your home privately, right? Like, you know, you’re out there pushing yourself and your and your interests to the rest of the world. You’re already doing it right. You step online, you step outside your home. I’m sorry, you’re done. You’re done. Unless you want to do an incognito window, you can block everybody so that fine.
Eric Stopper 51:09
I almost wonder. Yeah, and I’m a I’m of the same opinion, right. Please give me more data. Yeah. And I’m not going to advertise crap to you and my cost per click goes down. Right so I I’m on I’m on the same page as you well, Trevor, this has been a blast.
Trevor George 51:28
Blue media com guys go check them out. They offer all kinds of services right? Like pimp yourself for a minute. We are going to be the largest Amazon advertisers in the country because of our advanced Amazon advertising strategy search term isolation, but we are not your only answer. There are a fantastic agencies like by box experts that also do advertise. But they do many other things and they can help take you to two different places where your answer for one piece of the puzzle. I love it. I’m touched by You What are you working on anything new that people should go check out? Do you have any books coming out anything like that, that people you can refer people to? will be at prosper will be at IRC. Come see us. We’ll have some interesting things coming up. That’ll be launching in q1. I can’t tell you what they are. You will definitely see them. I promise.
Eric Stopper 52:20
I create some noise. Oh, man. Secrets make friends hopefully. Well, Jeremy, thanks again for coming on the show.
Trevor George 52:26
Thanks a lot.