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3 Unconventional Tips on Marketing Leadership
Mai Pham, VP of Marketing at Crumbl Cookies
Businesses can only exist if they’re profitable. The mission statement (equally important) gives purpose to a business, but profit helps them survive.
As a company grows, teams get bigger, new roles are formed, and the distance between “increasing profit” versus “fulfilling on your daily responsibilities” grows. Leaders who can connect the dots will have the most impactful teams. Looking at Profit = Revenue - Costs, my team can impact sales the most. This leads to my first tip on being an effective marketer: be results-oriented.
For all leaders, our #1 responsibility is to manage resources effectively. There are two main types of resources: personnel and budget. When it comes to budget, for every $1 spent, we need to drive the highest return. Sometimes measuring results can be tough in marketing. It’s hard to attribute an impression to a direct conversion, but there are ways like A/B testing, surveys, correlation in data analysis , etc. to inform which platforms and tactics we should invest in. Crumbl’s marketing success early on was due to our heavy investment in digital marketing and drive to not just ask absolute questions such as “Does this tactic drive sales?” but also “Does this tactic drive more sales than the other tactic?”
When your business is first growing, it’s important to use marketing to hone in on your core audience and try and extrapolate as much insights as possible. Digital marketing was a cost-effective tool for us, and it allowed us to self-reflect on our campaigns.
When it comes to personnel, I believe in eliminating “low-value work” and avoid hiring people to come on to do “busy-work”. As I tell my team, “busy work” is a choice. There are things we have to do to get the job done, but if it’s taking more than 20% of our time, we need to ask ourselves “Can this task be automated? Is what I’m doing actually impacting my key results?”
Never use “lack of budget” or “lack of personnel” as an excuse. If you can drive sales & show a return on investment, more budget and the ability to grow your team will come.
In marketing, there’s a lot of tactics – from TikTok ads to television commercials to billboards. As a results-driven marketer, I have to rely on data to drive my decisions.
When deciding on what strategies will impact sales, we leverage data. Data helps my team decide on strategy at the VP-level to the Director-level to the Manager-level.
Here’s an example:
I’m evaluating our customer retention rate and our cost per customer acquisition, as they relate to our overall sales trends. I notice that cost per customer acquisition is low (a positive), but when our customer retention rate is low (a negative), our sales drop.
I set a goal for my team to increase customer retention by 10% and allocate budget towards customer retention. In essence, I’m connecting “sales” with “customer retention”.
Our Director of Digital Marketing then looks at his team and decides where he wants to allocate that spend amongst the different platforms. He connects “customer retention” with “platform ROI”.
The Manager of that Platform works to drive the highest return on that platform. Highest return can vary depending on the platform, but her job is to innovate, run A/B tests on creative and copy, and evaluate the data. She connects “platform ROI” with that platform’s “performance metrics’”
At the end of the period, if we accomplish our goal but it’s not impacting sales, we pivot and identify another solution. Being data-driven helps us focus and prioritize. Most importantly, it allows the managers and directors of my team to see their impact on the business.
I talked a lot about being results-oriented and data-driven, as important factors to impacting the company’s success. To be a game changing marketer, I believe in the mindset of continuously finding a “blue ocean strategy”. In their book, Kim and Mauborgne defined Blue Ocean Strategy as “the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost to open up a new market space and create new demand. It is about creating and capturing uncontested market space, thereby making the competition irrelevant.”
When marketing Crumbl to the world, we look at capturing market share and creating market share. We have spent our early years capturing our target audience and being the nation’s preferred cookie company. There’s still lots to be done on that front, but we also look to be disrupters in the restaurant space.
When trying to find that blue ocean, we had to keep the company’s mission statement at the forefront. If our mission is to bring friends & family together over a box of the best cookies in the world, where are the moments that people are together?
Whether it was watching with my dad as a little girl in Houston, playing volleyball with my friends in Chicago everyday, planning annual trips to away Pats games nationwide, using sports as an icebreaker topic with new friends…sports connected me with my friends & family.
When looking at a typical game-day spread, you have the chips, the pizzas, the wings, the drinks... where's the dessert? Crumbl represents coming together and enjoying a box of the best cookies in the world, and sports is where we can create market share.
With our partners at The Scratch Collective, we launched our first national broadcast campaign “Let’s Get Ready Crumbl” with hall-of-fame boxing ring announcer, Michael Buffer, in mid October.
Whether there’s an intense rivalry, an overly competitive rec league basketball game, or a fun watch party, “Let’s Get Ready to Crumbl” is about coming together and enjoying a box of the best cookies in the world.
These are my three unconventional tips on marketing leadership.
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