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The Reality of Breaking into the E-Commerce Market with Daily Crunch | EP. #134

May 22, 2024 | Author: Andrew Maff


















What does it take to break through an E-commerce market? In short; the squeaky wheel gets the grease.  , Andrew Maff interviews Kenzie Steel,  Head of Marketing and Brand Strategy with Daily Crunch. 


A large part of Daily Crunch’s success has been their ability to get their product in the right hands, and in front of the right eyes. A significant part of Daily Crunch's success comes from its use of influencer marketing and multiple touch points to build a relationship with its fans. This is the perfect episode if you want some nuggets on how to get your product in front of those who will rave about you!

Watch the full episode below, or visit TheEcommShow.com for more.


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Have an e-commerce marketing question you'd like Andrew to cover in an upcoming episode? Email: hello@theecommshow.com







The Reality of Breaking into the E-Commerce Market with Daily Crunch


Andrew Maff and Kenzie Steel

CONNECT WITH OUR HOST: AndrewMaff.com  |  Twitter: @AndrewMaff | LinkedIn: @AndrewMaff 



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Kenzie Steel



M’Kenzie Steel, Head of Marketing & Brand Strategy at Daily Crunch, brings 8 years of experience in digital marketing, brand strategy and content creation with brands such as: Keurig, Allstate, UPS and the Focus Brands portfolio. Since graduating with her MBA from Vanderbilt University, she has helped mold the Daily Crunch brand from it's earliest stages. She also leads the omni-channel marketing strategy and 


So they had to like play out in a you know shipping time arrival time and all these things and because of that they create a relationship with this influencer



Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of The E-Comm Show. I'm your host Andrew Maff. And today I am joined by Kenzie Steel, who is the head of marketing and brand strategy over at Daily Crunch Kenzie how are you doing? Ready for a good Show?



I am good. Good morning, Andrew, how are you?



Doing? Good. I greatly appreciate you joining us today. I'm super excited to have you on the show. I love talking about CPG brands and marketing. And that's exactly what we're gonna do today, which is fantastic. So I would love to do the usual and kind of let you kick us off. Tell us a little bit about your background, obviously about daily crunch. And we're gonna take it from there. Okay. Yeah,



that sounds great. So a little bit about my background is I spent most of my career in digital advertising in Austin decided to go get my MBA, be on the other side of the table and really work with the brands know where the strategy strategies coming from. So I went got my MBA at Vanderbilt. And in between my first and second year, I was actually supposed to go intern with a large CPG brand that I won't mention and COVID happened. So they actually canceled the internship, which if anybody's gone through the MBA interview process, it was catastrophic in my mind, because I've worked so hard to get that internship. And I'm here in Nashville. And so I was just going to kind of do a project basis. Summer just get a lot of experience. And I got connected with daily crunch. And they launched in March of 2020, great time to launch a business. And they brought me on Yeah, they brought me on to basically help with their initial go to market strategy, which was in person retail sampling demo, to an online presence. So launching their Amazon working on website, because no grocery store would even take a call at that point because they were just trying to survive like everybody else. Yeah. And then I joined the team full time, after my I graduated my MBA, because I just decided, you know, startup sounds amazing. I'm gonna stay in Nashville, I see this brand growing. And so came on as their first employee in July of 2001. And I've been with the team ever since. And now we're in over 5000 stores launching in target in a month. And it's just grown like crazy. And it's been an amazing journey. So yeah, that's where we are now.



Wow. So definitely, some ups and some downs. Because obviously, during that time starting to CPG brand, not easy, but it's obviously paid off in the long run. So tell me a little bit about I'd love to hear about the beginning days there, right, like a CPG brand is hard enough, let alone when no one can go to the store to buy it. So that means you're almost solely relying on selling online, what was what was the approach? What was your strategy, at least back then?



Back then it was definitely a grind. It was like if anybody and everybody would listen to us, we were fortunate enough that a lot of people were on their phones and focusing on health and focusing on you know, ingredients and trying to find new things. So we use that to an advantage as well as you know, the sample boxes so we got in some, I mean, I didn't tell exactly like what the product is. So daily crunch is a sprouted nuts snack company. It's all clean ingredients, no seed oils, no refined sugars. We take a normal almond, we soak it overnight, remove the phytic acids, so it's more nutrient dense than a normal almond. It's also super crunchy. So crunchy is like a chip. And but yeah, those beginning stages as a brand was just one we were still trying to figure out our messaging because we have all these amazing benefits, but you have very little of someone's time. So I think in the very beginning it was trying to use our own resources of potential influencers or just friends and family and trying to get the word out in that sense. And then Amazon did help because it obviously has a huge audience. So that kind of put us on the map. But as most people in EECOM know you get no customer data from amazon so there's no way to really tap into them again. I'm so not gonna lie to you, it was very hard. And beginning on an E commerce basis, it was really trying to grow organic, during a lot of the giveaways just trying to reach out to anybody and being a squeaky wheel. Hey, try this product is actually really good. And we'll we'll send you some samples.



Yeah. What was that like introductory approach? Because like, as you mentioned you Amazon was helpful, make sense. It's a great customer acquisition channel. But you can't just really launch a listing and then all of a sudden get a ton of sales. So were there specific, like, keywords you were going after? We're using kind of an off Amazon strategy to get people there? Like, what was it that was starting to what channels were using, basically, to get people to start buying?



Yeah, we used a lot of social to start buying, just trying to get people to sign up for our email list. So in terms of socials, as we, like I said, we were reaching out to anybody and everybody of you know, people doing like online yoga classes, and we'd let them shoot out a discount code after it. We were getting into those those boxes, like I said, we were trying to get on, you know, different podcasts. And just like getting the name out in that sense, in terms of keywords, a lot of what we were using, you know, was just healthy snacks, you know, nuts, what people would probably already searching for. And just, you know, high protein. And then we also did a lot of cooking recipes. That helped a lot. A lot of people were at home, cooking, working out trying to just, you know, pass the time. So we tapped in a couple of different content creators to create recipes that included daily crunch that helps build a following. Wow.



So what's been the approach from then through now how much of that has changed? Now? I mean, you mentioned you're in over 5000 stores, so you're not so reliant on the E commerce side? How is the strategy change,



the strategy has changed a bit. Just because retail has grown so fast. And we use a lot of our website now as learnings teaching, just like when people want to learn more about the brand and learn more about our mental health give back, learn about the process, because it's really hard to explain phytic acid on a bag. Yeah, so using, you know, just using the website as a lot of more informational. A lot of our you know, where we are startups or budget is not massive. So a lot of that now that we're allowed to demo and stores are getting people to try it there. We've used the website, we just launched like a free nut sampling. So people can tap into the website and send themselves a little, you know, point five ounce bag to just try out the product. But like, like I said, a lot of our efforts have turned to retail, but with companies like we stock and I'll I don't know, if you're familiar with either one of those, they're able to tap into retail, and then bring those customers into your funnel so you can reach out to them again. So our effort has changed, but we still have a focus on E commerce just not spending a ton on digital advertising.



Makes sense? The the so you mentioned on your site, you've got kind of a smaller, like sample pack that you're using, correct? Yes. Is there is there a fee behind that?



No. So the only fee is like a $2.02 $50 shipping. And they can get one of each of the four flavors available. One of our we have six flavors and four flavors are in that point five ounce. And so the idea and strategy behind that we're still testing, I will say that always testing. But if someone's willing to pay, you know, $2.50 for shipping, then there's a potential that they will become a consumer. And with that now we can have their address we can have what flavors they're interested in, we can also send marketing collateral to either, you know, 20% off their next order, or we can also send a coupon to go in store now that we're having wider distribution. Nice,



let's say because one of the things that I've always found to be difficult, right, like, I've done CVG many times and the big problem I always come across especially when you're first starting off is it's difficult to get the consumer to be one of the first people who's interested in like ingesting something. So if especially if you don't have in store demos, we can be like hey, just sample it. So like the idea of being able to purchase a sample online even if it's just basically covering shipping makes a ton of sense in the beginning. Were you leaning because I know you mentioned your you would do like discount codes and stuff on like, you know, online yoga classes with them when they would end and stuff like that. But did you lean on like the influencer side to let people start to kind of spread the message for you?



Yeah, definitely. I mean, products eating is has always been something that has been successful for us because people talk about it when they try the product. It's unique. It's different. Like I'll have to send you some after this. It has this unique crunch that is very good for ASMR videos or recipe videos are just sitting there snacking. Yeah, so it has a lot of potential for content creation. But yeah, sending it out to influencers and just honest sleeve big fans, we, you know, send out a couple extra bags and say thanks for being a VIP customer, you know, pass it out to your friends and family, we found a lot of success in that of potentially spreading the word of, you know the difference in the taste. Yeah.



So you mentioned seating influencers, which is always a very interesting conversation, because for those of you who are listening seating is when you are sending product to an influencer, and you're not necessarily paying them, you're just asking them to post about it, you're giving them free product. So what's what's your approach there on either A, when you're when you actually consider start paying that influencer? Or be how you kind of control that relationship? If you're sending free product, and they're not posting? I know, in your scenario CPG relatively inexpensive to send them something, but it's still kind of a risk, especially for higher average order value stuff, like what's the approach there?



Yeah, it can definitely add up, especially, you know, right when we first started when, you know, a shipping costs, go up, packing costs, you know, pick and pack fee all the above. So a couple different approaches. And once again, still testing everything. And anything, even though we're now you know, celebrating four years, is it's the touchpoints it's the amount of times of communicating with the customer. So this is one that I kind of learned from one of my mentors is she was telling me that they talked to the customer five times before the product even arrived, because theirs was refrigerated. So they had to like Plan A, you know, shipping time, arrival time and all these things. And because of that they created a relationship with this influencer. And so they almost felt like they needed to post about it. And so what we've done and it's very scrappy, and I think we're gonna start using a platform soon is we keep track of who we're seeding, obviously, of like when we sent them this form to fill out when they filled it out when it arrived, tapping them again of like, hey, it arrived? Did you enjoy it? And if they, you know, respond back, we enjoyed it, we like we'd love for you to post and kind of using that. I don't want to say, vulnerability, but kind of like, Hey, we're a startup with a small budget, we'd love for you to post about it. If you liked the product, it means a lot to us. And you know, kind of pulling at the heartstrings. And we've had a lot of success in that. Because like I said, it's good content. It's a pretty packaging, too. So influencers and just micro influencers love it.



Yeah. Have you explored actually paying influencers yet? Yeah,



we've done it a couple of times, like on a lower scale. And I haven't found a ton of success in it yet. So I found more success in in product seeding and then creating that relationship of if they posted multiple times, then potentially paying and doing, you know, obviously they affiliate links, but if it's a certain campaign, so like we're launching in Target soon and doing some paid advertising for that, but having a purpose behind the paying versus just like a one off influencer paid posts, because it doesn't really tell the story, especially with a product like ours. And, you know, consumers aren't dumb, they can see through the transparency of a paid ad. And so if they, you know, if you make the partnership, which is my strategy, when we get there is, you know, it's going to be for multiple posts instead of just like a one off post, because that just doesn't do anything. Yeah.



So your digital strategy right now sounds like it's pretty heavy on the social media side with some really light paid advertising is that simply because you really just need the brand awareness, and you're starting to see a lot of kind of retail availability?



Yeah, I think that's a lot of it. And then honestly, just getting people into our email flow is because once they're in there is we've seen a great success of, you know, moving them along the journey and the about the product information and about, you know, us as a brand about our founders about our give back about all the benefits. And then you know, potentially getting them to buy or pushing them in store. So a lot of the digital strategy is just getting them into the flow right now. Yeah.



What's your approach at measuring the success of your digital marketing for your in store sales? I know that it's very difficult, like you can measure brand awareness. But it's more or less a vanity metric unless you can somehow someone wants an ROI to it. I'm sure one of the founders is like, how do I get money on it? So how do you measure the success of your digital strategy for what you're getting in retail? Yeah,



and I think a lot of that is where these, these digital couponing comes in. Because they, you know, it's the QR code of where they're scanning. And then with the aisle and the weed stock, you can see exactly if they purchase and then they'll send the receipt back, you can see exactly where they purchased. So there's that. And then right now, we don't have a national distributor other than like CVS. And so when we've worked with, say, we've worked with like a Wegmans up in the Northeast influencer. And so we were able to see the success of you know, how many shoes me obviously like impressions and all that, and then where she's located where she was pushing in store. So I can look at a store by store basis. Same with target going to look at a store by store basis. But I would say the most the most actual, like roi i can see is when I'm using those, those apps like we soccer or I'll with a digital couponing. Yeah.



With the influencer, you just mentioned all the other influencers talked about what have you started kind of turning them into affiliates? At what point? Did you turn them into affiliates? If you did, like what's what's that approach when you start just giving them a commission for sales? Yeah,



I mean, the a lot of influencers that are at a certain point are not interested at all. And if in an affiliate link, it's just one more thing they have to deal with. They usually if they're larger, they won't do it. Unless it's, you know, a large brand with, they're going to make massive traffic on, we have it. Okay, ao V, like our, it'll be right now is sitting at like 55 to 60 for a CPG brand. But, you know, they're working with some companies that have 200 plus AOV. And so they obviously like that commission better. But the answer your question originally, as you know, we offer it up to most people that are, you know, VIPs or, you know, made a lot of purchases, referrals because it doesn't hurt us at all, with the affiliate programs we have setup. It's, you know, we have different tiers on commission, if they're a nutritionist or a dietitian or a higher influencer, like they are in a different tier than if it's just like a, you know, micro influencers. I'm like that. So I'm pretty open to giving most affiliate links, because it's at this stage, it's still helping with brand brand awareness.



Yeah. What about from like, a loyalty program perspective? Is that something that you guys have implemented? And is that both digital and retail?



Yeah, so we, it's a very small team. So I just hired on like my first marketing person. And I think with that you try as a brand, you want to do everything and anything. And so we're like, yeah, we definitely need to do a loyalty program, and took it on until we were ready. And it just wasn't beneficial for the program we were using. And so we actually scrapped it. And now are back in strategy mode of figuring out what we should do for a loyalty program. And we just honestly did a massive survey with a consumers and coming up with that minimum, viable product. And all they really care about is discounts and free shipping. We had all these crazy ideas of you know, cooking classes, Shopify, or Spotify playlist, like all these fun things, but minimal viable product, they just want discounts and free shipping. So we'll be launching that this summer of just getting it back on creating that loyalty because we have subscriptions, but not a true crunch club is what it's going to be called. So now we have merch and all that fun stuff. So



Oh, nice. The, oh, how heavy does the subscription side? How? How well does it subscription side do on the website versus just kind of the one off purchases?



Um, it's okay. It's not as good as subscription for Amazon. We've definitely seen subscriptions. Growth really strong there. I think subscriptions for us is something I definitely want to lean into more because people I see some people that have, you know, purchased 30 plus times, but they have no interest in going on a subscription. I don't know why they even come on every month. And like I've almost personally reached out and I'm like, Hey, do you want to go on subscription, it's like it's easier for you and you get a discount, and they just have no interest. So that's something I definitely want to build. But it hasn't been a huge interest from our consumers right now. Building subscription. I have talked to another brand I admire and and we're going to be in their subscription box is coconut coal. I don't know if you've heard her talking. Yeah. Yeah, they've killed it on their subscription. And so just kind of, you know, it's always looking at other brands and figuring out what works for them and how we can translate it to us. So with the loyalty program, hopefully increasing subscriptions.



Yeah. What is your approach on the Amazon side? Because I, you know, to your point, you don't get any of the customer data. You do have the Creator connections, if you're pushing influencers there and stuff. But at the end of the day, like I mean, in my opinion, it's more of just a customer acquisition channel. But what's what's been your approach? Are you just kind of letting it be siloed has its own sales channel.



Yeah, it's kind of siloed as his own sales channel, if we have a lot of people in our email flow that haven't purchased for X amount of days, and we'll push them on Amazon and you know, do that we want to push them to website more because our margins are way better on website than Amazon. For Amazon. At first, I looked at it as almost as a marketing expense because a lot of people went there versus Google to read reviews about our product to learn more about it and I just wanted to just be on there and building up a customer base basis there. It's it's definitely its own sales channel. Like when I think of DDC, I completely separate the two. And it's, it has this massive potential for growth with, honestly a lower cost per acquisition than I've seen that it was for website. So yeah, it's, it's makes up probably 10 to 15% of our overall business. Yeah.



Yeah, I mean, it makes sense. I find it to be a great channel for people to learn about new stuff, but being relying on like the, the margins are rough, and then it's hard getting the customer data so as a marketer, I'm just like, I don't have anything to work with. It's boring. Yeah, it's



really hard you kind of just have to like watch it and let it go. And then hopefully, you get to a point where you make a good profit on it, which is hard. Exactly.



Good point. Although I would imagine in your scenario, like how much Amazon advertising are you doing? I would imagine you're kind of just leaning on or leaning on your brand awareness and just making sure that you have a presence but are you also running ads on just more like broad terms we



are running ads it's it's a combination of broad terms as well as you know competitor said and we test out a lot of terms on Amazon right now just of seeing you know what trends of random ones of like okay to BlueZone diet when that kind of became big was that actually a search there? But yeah, it's I think we have a I have an Amazon vendor so they can talk more detail on it but definitely an advertising strategy there from from broad to competitor base, and it's done it's done well for us so far, and just kind of figuring out our messaging on Amazon to I take it take it on to account of you know, what to consumers looking for and what do they actually tap into and buy for?



Yeah, makes sense. Kenzie, thank you so much for being on the show. I don't want to take up too much of your time. I know you're super busy. I'd love to give you the opportunity to let everyone know where they can find out more about you and of course more about daily crunch



Yeah, um, well, like I said, we're launching in 25% of Target stores in on April are sorry, May 19. So we might as they're at CVS, Wegmans, all of the West Coast mainly all of your fun natural stores. But we're also on our website dailycrunchsnacks.com. And if you use code I'll make one up right now and go put it on right after this. But um, ECOM20. And I'll put in a 20% off your order. But yeah, thank you so much for having me. This is great. And any chance I can get the daily crunch word out.



Beautiful. Thank you for joining us, of course everyone who tuned in thank you for joining us as well please make sure you do the usual rate review, subscribe all that fun stuff on whichever podcast platform you prefer or head over the ecom show.com to check out all of our previous episodes, but as usual, thank you all for joining us next time.



Thank you for tuning in to The E-Comm Show head over to theecommshow.com to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform or on the BlueTuskr YouTube channel. The E-Comm Show is brought to you by BlueTuskr, a full service digital marketing company specifically for e-commerce sellers looking to accelerate their growth. Go to bluetuskr.com Now for more information. Make sure to tune in next week for another amazing episode of The E-Comm Show.



















































































































































































































































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