Episode 10: Nomad, Keeping a healthy email marketing list and dabbling in different marketing strategies

Podcast Episode 10 Chuck Nomad

On this week’s episode of Retention Chronicles, we’re joined by Chuck Melber, Marketing Director at Nomad Goods, a consumer electronics and accessories brand that values resourcefulness, seeking adventures, and living in the moment. Chuck and Mariah cover so much in this episode but we start out covering affiliate marketing and how to reach out and sustain valuable partner relationships. Chuck dives into his opinion keeping a very healthy email marketing list and why he believes this helps your brand in multiple faucets. Nomad Goods has been dabbling in their SMS strategy and is exploring older methods of marketing, such as direct mailers, billboards, and even aerial advertising. All this is then tied back to customer retention and comparing ecommerce customer experiences to brick and mortar customer experiences. Chuck and Mariah pivot to discuss Nomad’s commitment to environmental stewardship (and a pretty impressive one at that) then round out the episode with some chat about product developments.

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Mariah Parsons, Chuck Melber

Mariah Parsons 00:02

Welcome to Retention Chronicles, a podcast sponsored by Malomo, a shipment tracking platform that helps ecommerce brands turn order tracking from a cost center into a profitable marketing channel. On this week's episode of Retention Chronicles, we are joined by Chuck Melber, Marketing Director at Nomad Goods, a consumer electronics and accessories brand that values resourcefulness, seeking adventures and living in the moment. Chuck and I cover so much in this episode, but we start out by covering affiliate marketing and how Chuck goes about reaching out and sustaining the valuable partner relationships that he has with their brand affiliates. He also dives into his opinion on keeping a very healthy email marketing list, and why he believes that that helps his brand in multiple faucets. Nomad Goods also has been dabbling in their SMS strategy and is exploring other methods of marketing such as direct mailers, billboards, and even aerial advertising. All of that is then tied into customer retention and comparing ecommerce customer experiences to your typical brick and mortar customer experiences, which was something that I found so fascinating. I'd never heard of that comparison with cross and upselling before. Then we pivot to discuss Nomad's commitment to environmental sustainability and stewardship. And it is a pretty impressive commitment at that, so I encourage everyone to go check it out and listen to the details about it. In this episode, we round out the episode with some chat about product development and Chuck's advice for what he takes forward with him every day in his marketing world. Welcome to Retention Chronicles. Today we are joined by Chuck Melber at Nomad Goods. Thank you so much for joining us, Chuck. We're so happy that you're here today. And I thought it would be great to have you kick off the episode by telling us about your position at Nomad and what Nomad does.

Chuck Melber 02:05

Sure, thank you very much for having me on the podcast, Mariah. Stoked to be here and chatting with you guys. Yeah, I'm marketing director over at Nomad. I've been with the company for seven and a half ish years at this point. And Nomad is a consumer electronics accessories manufacturer mostly focused on the Apple world. So cases for iPhone, straps for Apple Watch, wireless chargers, USB C or Lightning cables, MacBook Pro sleeves, mouse pads, we even do analog stuff like wallets and key chains and stuff like that. So we're kind of all over the world are all over the map, but mostly focused on the Apple ecosystem.

Mariah Parsons 02:41

I love that you call it analog technology. All the older things that we still still considered to be necessities, but just in the tech world.

Chuck Melber 02:51

Yeah, we started focusing on Apple stuff. And one year we said let's make some wallets and people scratch their head of that one a little bit. Because it's like you're literally just making a nice leather wallet. What are you guys doing? But we've made a name for ourselves with our leather accessories for Apple. So we figured might as well make one too.

Mariah Parsons 03:07

Yeah, no, and they're beautiful. I was looking at them earlier. And I thought you know, you're very specialized in marketing, so I thought it'd be great to have you first talk about all the brand affiliates that Nomad Goods is involved with and to really do a deep dive into that.

Chuck Melber 03:24

Yeah, you mean like affiliate marketing specifically or like brand partnerships?

Mariah Parsons 03:28

Yeah, so both, so whichever one you want to take first would be great.

Chuck Melber 03:32

Let's start with affiliate marketing, I guess because that one's gonna be the most nuts and bolts ecommerce driven. So for Nomad, affiliate marketing has always been an important component of our marketing gameplan. And it's only gotten increasingly important over the past couple of years as a lot of like traditional publishers try to find more ways to monetize their websites. What I mean by traditional publishers I mean, like, people who have been in the web or publishing game for a long time, maybe they were always an analog publication, always a magazine or newspaper, they developed a website now they're trying to figure it out like a paywall works or maybe display ads work or not. They're all discovering is affiliate marketing works really well for like gift guides and listicles and all that stuff. So for us, affiliate partnerships have always been a really great way to a grow the brand and like get our products in front of new people, but then also incentivize coverage from other publications or from publications in general.

Mariah Parsons 04:32

And when do you when do you think that like started? Was that always a part of the marketing strategy for Nomad?

Chuck Melber 04:40

Yeah, affiliate marketing has always been there, at least since I've been with the company. Um, it's just it really got a ton more or a lot of additional focus in the past couple years. We're investing a lot more time and effort in building out affiliate partnerships more than just press partnerships.

Mariah Parsons 04:55

Yeah. And do you think that's like pretty across the board with like, more people starting to like that publishers that you were speaking to have the efforts and the concentration being with affiliate marketing.

Chuck Melber 05:07

Yeah, I mean, in keeping an eye on the market in general, I see a lot of people that had been maybe a, like an editorial staff member transitioning into like a monitors like a marketplace editor, where they're focusing mostly on affiliate partnerships now, instead of just driving content decisions based on whatever they think is more newsworthy. So it's definitely becoming more popular amongst publishers. And then personally, when I'm talking to other marketers in different verticals, it's always something I'm curious about who has an affiliate program and who doesn't? And for those who don't, it's always like, why not? And it's usually just because they don't have time to I don't think it's worthwhile, but in my opinion, it's definitely a huge monetary asset or an asset.

Mariah Parsons 05:49

So how do you approach like that affiliate marketing and tie it into the overall like marketing strategy?

Chuck Melber 05:57

So affiliate marketing is almost like an extension of PR, to a degree, in earned media placements. In general, you can either do paid earned media paid media is, hey, here's $1,000, I don't want this article earned is, we have this cool product, you should write about it, and maybe someone does or doesn't. But affiliate tends to kind of piggyback off of that earned media experience, or outreach. So for us, we focus very heavily on getting our products out to writers and journalists, across industries to hopefully cover. And I've just found that as people get products in their hands it having an affiliate program makes coverage happen, or come to fruition a little bit easier, if that kind of answers your question.

Mariah Parsons 06:40

Yes, yeah.

Chuck Melber 06:41

Okay, cool. But I mean, PR has always been like a huge, huge part of our program to Nomad we handle our PR in house, we don't have an agency. We like to own those relationships. And every time we have a product launch, having our in house PRs are basically really helps amplify a product launch beyond our existing customer base.

Mariah Parsons 07:01

And is that you? You mentioned keeping it in house so is that you maintaining all those?

Chuck Melber 07:07

Literally, me. Yeah, like texting. This morning, I was having coffee with a writer from one publication, texting with people, just always, always keeping a good relationship with folks. Be it via email, Twitter, text, or in person. Yeah,

Mariah Parsons 07:21

I think that's something too, in the customer retention side of things, just relationships do matter, whatever you're talking about, that kind of falls under that umbrella of customer retention. So with this affiliate marketing, making sure that the people that you're working with who are outside of your company, are also, you know, you still have a great relationship with them.

Chuck Melber 07:42

Absolutely, I think it's very important to have that very similar relationship to your PR contacts that you would have with the customer, you want to. Everyone's a friend, basically, at the end of the day is treated, that's that's how I want to be treated as a customer or a industry professional or whatever. And that's how I try to treat everybody else in it.

Mariah Parsons 07:59

So yeah, I think that's awesome. And I'm curious, you know that with this podcast, one of the things that we like to do is like break it down. So for anyone who's listening, and we can have some insight as to how they could go out and do you know, reach out to these people that they're trying to build these relationships with? So if you don't mind, could you walk us through, like, how you're actually reaching out to these, these different people who you're hoping that Nomad Goods can, can work with?

Chuck Melber 08:28

Yeah, so on the affiliate side, the nice thing is all the affiliate platforms out there, there's a whole bunch of them, they're all pretty similar. So kind of pick your poison. But within those platforms, you're having a way to contact all the different publishers, and you can search and find a publisher for whatever vertical you're in. So if you're making sandals and you want to talk to footwear publishers, you can go find those people. And that's more of a transactional relationship there is you're just like hitting them up to say, hey, we have this affiliate program, we'll send me some samples. Here's our commission rate. Let's work together. Those ones are pretty straightforward. More salesy. To be honest, it's more like a cold sales call where you're trying to get someone to buy your product, or whatever. Yeah. But then on the PR side, I find it's my biggest asset is honestly Twitter. You can different different groups of people hang out in different social platforms. And I find that press or writers in general are very, very into Twitter. So it's a great way to communicate with and find and connect with different people on less on a less transactional basis, where it's just literally like, Hey, John Smith, you write about shooting your footwear, and I love your articles. Like, I'm just gonna engage you on Twitter about organic stuff, not necessarily trying to pitch you on my product. Yeah, I feel like approaching relationships more on a more friendly rather than transactional basis when it comes to actual writers goes along with it.

Mariah Parsons 09:50

Yeah, kind of having more of a softer approach, I think like, yeah, organic.

Chuck Melber 09:55

Exactly. And like, I'm sure people listening to this that are in marketing, like they get sales pitche all day long in their inbox. And it's real easy to tell the ones that are just kind of like canned, nonsense sales pitches versus like the genuine ones and basically treat your outreach depress the same way where it's like, what I want to receive this email, is it feels spammy? No, I don't want to read that email. So don't don't email people in the same fashion, you want to actually, like I said, have a conversational relationship building experience.

Mariah Parsons 10:25

And too, there is a huge community on Twitter, I see that come up time and time again of yeah, you know, just kind of like Twitter gurus who know a lot about different spaces, like whether or not you as you mentioned, like if you're in a certain vertical going for the people who are in similar brands. And I think that leads nicely unless you had something else you'd like to add about the affiliate marketing, but the brand partnerships and that branch of things. So I'd love to hear, you know, how Nomad approaches that?

Chuck Melber 10:56

Yeah, I mean, I treat that as a learning experience, basically, with all brand partnerships. And it's a matter of just connecting with people that work in my same field as in different verticals. So reaching out to people that are in advertising, or Facebook marketing, or email marketing, but in the shoe business, or the food business, for outerwear, whatever it may be, and just comparing notes, like people in ecommerce these days are extremely willing to share and compare notes and discuss what is or isn't working. And I've had a really good time over the years just reaching out to people that I'm honestly surprised have responded to me at times. Like Nomad's growth, like there was times when we were way smaller, I'd reach out to way bigger brands and all sudden you're on a call with the VP of Marketing and just shooting the breeze and comparing what works for each other. Yeah, building brand relationships on a professional level, I think is huge just for getting ahead of the ecommerce curve or picking up a new trick or tip. But then also, if there's a good synergy there. As far as like actual brand collaborations go or giveaways or stuff like that, and having an existing relationship prior to that prior to setting up a giveaway makes it a lot easier to do so.

Mariah Parsons 12:09

Mm hmm. Yeah. And so with that, like synergy, I think that's a big part of the brand image that Nomad has of just like a lifestyle and like being adventurous and things like that. So with, I think that ties in nicely to what you were saying about the brand partnerships because, say you are doing a giveaway. And you know, you have customers for another brand that has a similar lifestyle, and say they're looking for something that they can use on their iPhone for their adventure, and something that's all simple and compact and elegant. It does lead for a natural progression to then find Nomad goods through this other brand that they already know.

Chuck Melber 12:48

Yeah, we've we've consciously kind of framed Nomad as an outdoors-ish brand. I mean, we sell iPhone cases and like desk items, but we're also an outdoorsy brand, and I think that's by virtue of the fact that basically everybody at the company would rather be backpacking, surfing or doing something else other than sitting at a desk. So it's like, we might as well make it what we like. And that makes it makes it easier for us to then partner with outdoors brands or travel brands that have that same aspirational feel. So like, if there was a big prize pack of all this random stuff, whoever it gets, it's going to be stoked, because it's all not necessarily like correlative, but definitely complimentary items. And just yeah, definitely makes it more fun to set up those relationships.

Mariah Parsons 13:32

Yeah. And I think too, they're in the like referral space. Have, you have a brand that you already know, that you like? And if they're kind of partnered, or matched, and you Yeah, you see that from the brands perspective, and you know, you already trust one it is kind of, like a different way of looking at a referral from, say, a family or a friend. Yes, we know that, you know, you get a referral. And if it's from someone that you trust already, you're way more likely to enjoy like that product.

Chuck Melber 14:05

Yeah. I mean, that's, that's an actually interesting idea, too, is, as far as referrals go, like everyone has to shoot product photography, right. And you can do a simple product shot of just your product, or you do a lifestyle shot that involves multiple products, but it focuses on your on your stuff. Like if you can find complementary brands that you can see product to you that they then use your products in their photoshoots as like ancillary items. It's a great way to get your stuff in front of new eyes. Maybe it's not overt marketing, but at least it's oh, there's that leather phone company again, like there's there they are again on this other brands website or they're on this other one's Instagram account. So yeah, build a little little hype and at least brand recognition.

Mariah Parsons 14:46

Yeah, those brand impressions that are maybe more subtle, but you just start to kind of recognize like, oh, I've seen them in multiple places. They must be a bigger brand. I should check them out. And then you know, it just it's something that is a little bit more more longer, I guess a longer rollout to maybe see like sales come from it, but I think it does build on that recognition piece. It's so cool.

Chuck Melber 15:13

It's one of the things you never be able to like attribute the revenue to either just know it, like, it's a gut feeling, I guess more than anything, it's like, okay, I'm seeing my product a lot in this one vertical that's outside of our normal wheelhouse.

Mariah Parsons 15:24

Mm hmm. And I think that's where a lot of at least I feel like marketing is going is, especially with privacy changes with data is it's going to be those subtler, subtler approaches that that's what's going to differentiate the brands who are going to be super successful, because like you said, you know, salespeople they're getting are marketing people that are getting sales all the time. And so that's it, people are tired of that and are looking for new and creative ways to really build that connection and see those brands. And speaking of that, as we're saying, you know, marketing might be going towards more subtler, subtler avenues, I would also still like to talk about the more traditional methods like email marketing, because I know you know a ton about that. So I would love to know, just how do you approach email marketing in your strategy and bring that to Nomad?

Chuck Melber 16:20

Yeah, um, when I first started Nomad, you know, we had a very, very basic email marketing game. And I was convinced in the beginning, it's like, email marketing is got to be dying, like, there's no way this is going to be a thing in five years, let alone eight years later and growing. So it's been really interesting to watch how the broader ecommerce space has embraced email marketing, but then also consumers in general seem to really enjoy it. But anyhow, as far as their email marketing game goes, we, we heavily focus on keeping a very healthy email list. So not batching, like we, I only email regularly, like maybe a third of our entire email list size. And that's because a lot of them are, you know, older email addresses from five or six years ago, maybe people create throwaway accounts whenever they do purchases online. So they're just not opening those emails, right, whatever it may be. So any of those emails that are more or less inactive, I just don't email anymore, because at the end of the day, it affects our list health and deliverability to all the different ESPs out there. Yeah, so let's tell this is hugely important. Another thing too, is we try not to be too spammy. I know a lot of brands out there like to like just hammer their email account or their email lists. And I feel like you got to respect to your customers if it's your own inbox. So if I don't want to get email from a brand three times a day, I'm not going to email people three times a day myself. Yeah. And I think that goes a long way to build like trust more or less than the brand and realizing. Like, okay, Nomad, I only get one email a week from, it's usually pretty cool. So I'm gonna open them. And then also, I'm not gonna be as bothered by them as I would be by those batching glass, like corporate emails that are like every single day, and I'm sure everyone has a brand new mind that might be something like that, for sure. Um, and then to touch on, like the privacy stuff you're mentioning, you know, as it becomes harder to track people, pixels are harder to target people be a pixel data be a pixel data, it becomes increasingly important to have a direct line of communication, be it in this case, email, but also SMS is getting gaining some steam there. So that way, you can you can have those conversations with people rather than relying on retargeting ads or something like that to further reinforce like the brand, ethos or recognition. So like, for me, I'm getting a lot more aggressive with email capture messaging on the website, just trying to really grow that list as much as I can, especially in a time of year where there's a ton of extra traffic because of the holiday shopping.

Mariah Parsons 18:46

Yeah, I think that's a very unique approach that Nomad has where you are, that you do keep a very clean list, because I feel like a lot of the times it can be scary to, you know, have strength your list, because you think, you know, naturally as humans, we think bigger is better, right? So you don't want to take people off of your list thinking that, you know, what if they're not to purchase from this one email, but then when you think about the actual engagement and the way you want your brand to be recognized through your consumers, that's really what you want is those people who are super dedicated getting those emails that they're gonna highly engage with, rather than having like an open, smaller open rate to a bigger audience.

Chuck Melber 19:36

Yeah, I agree. 100% I mean, it's as if you're a brand new company getting that first 1000 the first 10,000 email signups it's like you work so hard to get those and then one day 100- 100,000 and then a million you're like, I have all these contacts. I can maybe like market my stuff to work so hard to get them but at the end of the day, you're much better served continually building in- building that list like mine hasn't grown a lot in the past few years is far as my active list goes, but I'm constantly getting new blood in there and then weeding out the people that just aren't interested in at the end of the day, like if you don't like think of it as like a brick and mortar store, like if I'm selling something, and you're not interested in my product, like I had a golf store and you hate golf and only like fishing, like, that's fine. I don't need you to come to my store, like walk on by so it's like why invite them in every single day over and over again, if they're not interested.

Mariah Parsons 20:25

Yeah. And to it that it could start to work in the negative way. Where if you have someone who's on your email list, but just you know, for, they won't take the two seconds to unsubscribe or whatever it is, they just keep getting those emails because we all do it sometimes.

Chuck Melber 20:40

Yeah, right. I'm very guilty of that.

Mariah Parsons 20:43

So because if there's so many of them, you know, they just filled up. But to that point of if there's a brand, like say, you're getting emails from a fishing store, and yeah, you're just like, I'm not, I don't know why I'm getting these, like, you start to get frustrated at the brand, even though you could easily unsubscribe. So having that approach that you have, it kind of eliminates that frustrating part that is a potential.

Chuck Melber 21:09

Yeah. And I guess the important thing, too, is for people that are just getting into this is like, you got to build that. You got to start meeting people via segmentation, because they're not going to admit themselves. Like for me, I bought something from my wife for Christmas, like I think two years ago, and the company emails me every single day. And I look at the email, like stop emailing me and I couldn't go on subscribe, like he said, but I don't. Yeah, I'm lazy. I'd rather I'd rather complain about it than just solve the problem.

Mariah Parsons 21:35

Yeah, right.

Chuck Melber 21:37

As human marketer, you can solve the problem for people by just setting a threshold and saying, like, if someone hasn't opened an email in six months, then I'm just gonna stop. There's no point in emailing them.

Mariah Parsons 21:47

Yeah, I think that is a very strong but unique approach, I'd say to any marketing. Yeah. And it's, I think, very powerful in just being able to keep, like you said, that list that is very engaged with, yeah, the brand.

Chuck Melber 22:03

And then the email service providers are looking at that data, too. They know how many people are opening your emails, they know how many are clicking through. And I think it's not a word, but I think you do get a little bit of preferential treatment and where you hit the inbox, you know, especially within Gmail, where it's like, you have all the different tabs available between promotions and like, I forget everything else's. Oh yeah the social promotions notifications, like, yeah, all the different options. Anyhow, I think, if they're seeing that, like, oh my god, 40% of your people are opening every single email, they're gonna treat you a little bit better than someone else.

Mariah Parsons 22:20

Yeah, I think it's like social is one. Mm hmm. Yeah. And that data especially becomes crucial as we do content, like those privacy changes continue. Yeah. And I know we've spoken about it too, of just really utilizing that post purchase data to have understanding, okay, you might not be able to know the pre side as much, but really diving into that space. And I think that's where that email marketing and those open rates really become crucial because you see what's working with your customers even after they've bought. Yeah. And you mentioned a little bit earlier, the parallels between email marketing and SMS. So I'm curious with Nomad, have you guys started to use SMS because it is a newer avenue.

Chuck Melber 23:14

Um, I've dabbled in SMS and I definitely have not used it to the same degree as some others. I've talked to other marketers that are just like, forget email man. It's all about SMS from now on, and they they've they're diving in full, like headfirst. Ah, yeah, more power to them. I'm a little nervous of it. On a personal level, I'm not a fan of receiving SMS marketing. So it just kind of has me biased, which isn't the best thing I feel like as a marketer, you have to continually be testing and evolving around with it a little bit. We have a cart abandonment SMS program, that we started out with a company called Tone who was recently acquired by Attentive. So we have that running. I'm not really doing any phone number capture on the website. Right now I'm just focused on email capture. And I've done a few batch and blast SMS campaigns to mixed results. So I'm the jury's still out on my own when it comes to SMS. I do feel like it has a place in marketing in the future. And going forward, it's just a matter of kind of reconditioning people to be used to getting messages on their phone for marketing purposes.

Mariah Parsons 24:22

That's a great point. I do think that's exactly it of you know, as it becomes more normal, maybe a lot more people will be using SMS marketing, but I still I'm still kind of in the same boat as you were. I would prefer email marketing rather than SMS because I think it is a little bit more personal. And when I check my text, it's usually for like people from you know, my friends and family. So tying it into getting a text from a random number. I'm usually like, what is what, who is that from? Like? It's yeah, yes. So a little weird.

Chuck Melber 24:57

Yeah, I'd rather let other brands recondition the broader public and upset them along the way, then be the one that's gonna be upsetting

Mariah Parsons 25:04

That, that's what all the good marketers should be doing. Yeah. That's awesome. So then, along with how you approach marketing. how do you then take like the retention side of things and transfer it into the ad space? So how do you take that like knowledge and awareness for customer retention and work towards that in your ads for Nomad?

Chuck Melber 25:32

It's a good question. It's getting more convoluted as privacy evolves. In the past, I'd be very conscious of like omitting recent customers or past purchasers from certain types of marketing campaigns versus including them in others, depending upon what the campaign is, as it gets harder to target people via pixel, the pixel data, pixel data, or otherwise, it, I feel like marketing is kind of kind of take a swing back to more old school methods like pre Facebook, or it's going to be more brand based marketing versus very highly detailed marketing. So to that end, I'm starting to experiment more with like podcast ads, a little bit of DTV stuff. And then treating my Facebook and Google ads more as like a broad swath marketing campaign versus highly detailed, like, hey, you bought an iPhone 12 case? You need a new wireless charger for your iPhone 12.

Mariah Parsons 26:35


Chuck Melber 26:38

There's, yeah, I don't know if it's evolving a lot right now. And I'm experimenting a lot. So I don't really have a good answer for you there.

Mariah Parsons 26:46

Which is totally fine. That's why we'd like to bring it up because there's so many moving parts, right. So it's just fun to hear.

Chuck Melber 26:52

I would say the one thing though, on the retention side is like when it comes to email marketing, or SMS marketing, you have that customer data, like in your own Shopify platform, whatever you're on. So you can do a much better job of omitting people from email or SMS marketing based on purchase behavior. And I would definitely continue to do that if you're not expanded. And what I mean by that is like, hey, someone who's bought something, there's no need, in my opinion, to try to upsell them two days later on another product when they haven't even received the first one in the mail yet. I really don't like that type of marketing. I don't subscribe to at all. I feel like be respectful of your customer. It's one thing to have an upsell at the checkout. Going back to the the in person shopping experience, you know, you walk up to the counter, and they have the extra gum pack there. Okay, yeah, grab that upsell item. Yeah, but it's something entirely as a person's walking out the door, start yelling at them, hey, come back in and buy more stuff.

Mariah Parsons 26:53

That would not go well.

Chuck Melber 27:49

Yeah, no, in brick and mortar store that go horrible. But that's what a lot of people do with email marketing. And I, I just I don't like that. So I think be respectful of your existing customers segment wisely. You don't have to hit someone with a browser cart abandonment email every single time they come to the website, maybe limit it to once a month. That'll help continue your list size, but it'll also just not annoy people. I think a lot of people kind of take a hands off approach or like, less personal approach to their marketing efforts in favor of trying to win a couple extra quick bucks, but then it turns off a lot of people might be.

Mariah Parsons 28:26

Yeah, it might have that like short term fulfillment, but long term, it could very much not, it could not pay off. Well. Yeah. Yeah, I think that's a great comparison. I haven't thought about it in that way of, you know, a traditional brick and mortar store of you're walking up to the cash register, and there is those upsell items. And then that comparison that you said of you don't have at least hopefully an employee running after you saying, buy more products for you, you can lead the store and be happy with your purchase. And so that comparison with email marketing, when you're hitting, hitting that benchmark too early with emails that are following up with your customers, that's a that's a very, I guess, a very unique comparison. I hadn't thought about it in that way before.

Chuck Melber 29:13

Prior to working in ecommerce, I worked at a skate shop for like three years. So I, I have, I don't know, I think working in retail is a really good experience for a lot of people. Yeah, if you're not going to do it forever. I think getting a couple years in there like right after college or in college will help inform your ecommerce experience and methodologies and down the road.

Mariah Parsons 29:34

But I mean, it's it's working right? Like that's a great perspective of being able to parallel that experience in person and in line, especially with just you know how life is right now with everything being virtual. It's, it's great to have, I guess, both of those perspectives. And two, as you had said, you know, you were looking into podcasts, ads and you know, things that are that move away from Google. You know, Google ads and more targeted approaches or strategies, one of our brands, Caraway they are experimenting with in person mailers right now, because as you said, you know, we might have to go back to more traditional or older methods before Facebook. Right. Yeah. So I thought that was just one. One other strategy. That was a great idea. And I was like, of course, I didn't, you know, I haven't even thought about that. And same thing with podcast ads, you know, they were becoming so relevant. Yeah.

Chuck Melber 30:32

I mean, podcasting, we're doing it right now is definitely blowing up in the past couple years. So interesting avenue to pursue. The mailers is really cool is definitely on my list to try. There's agencies that are designed for like special, specialized and just doing physical mailers and have been doing it for 30 years. There's a science to it, there's an art to it, and it's definitely worthwhile. It's just, there's only so much time in the day, so I haven't gotten to it yet. But it's on my on my radar, for sure. Billboards too, for that matter. seems silly. A great one. Yeah. Which it smartly, you can get some cheap inventory and really do a lot to build your brand in the areas. Maybe they're already very popular.

Mariah Parsons 31:08

See that's another one. Yeah, one of those maybe more retro approaches, which I think to they, you know, until you think about it, you're like, oh, that could be very successful, especially if you're one of the newer brands, who is trying out the older tactics, if that makes sense. You know, like, if you if you're kind of beating that transition, I think it also just stands out.

Chuck Melber 31:34

Yeah, I think Manscape is an example. It's doing the billboard stuff, and they're like, their billboards are sick, and it's definitely eye catching. And they have a very eye catching brand. So it stops the literal scroll of you like driving down the street. You're like, wait, what? Oh, what's the word? Okay. Interesting, I guess. Yes, I, like I said, like, direct to consumer mailers or something I want to try. I really wanna try billboards. I even want to try it like airplanes. Or what's it like when you know, you're at the beach and you got the banner flying by?

Mariah Parsons 32:03

Really? Oh, that's shocking.

Chuck Melber 32:05

Right? You know I started looking into it a little late this summer? So it was too late to do it. But definitely something I want to try next year.

Mariah Parsons 32:11

Yeah, a banner- banner airplanes. I don't know if there's a technical term for them. But for sure, yeah, I feel like you see them for, you know, like Coors Light or random people who are locally close to you. But again, that's a great difference, different avenue to try to really get that like brand recognition and brand impressions out there.

Chuck Melber 32:31

Yeah, I mean, everyone at the beach or the lake or wherever you're at, and you see those airplanes has their phone with them. odds are they're screwing around their phone. If not right now. They will be in the next five minutes. So yeah, there's got to be interesting way to approach it. That would be worthwhile.

Mariah Parsons 32:45

Yeah. And it kind of fits with the lifestyle outdoors. Oh, yeah.

Chuck Melber 32:50

For sure, but I mean, like, I don't know, I'm excited about airplanes for sure. Yeah. I'm sure I'm gonna get I'm gonna get some DMs about that one late out of your mind Chuck.

Mariah Parsons 33:01

Airplane fanatic. No, I love it. Um, and with that, too, I mean, this is definitely a pivot. But one thing that I wanted to discuss is the sustainability that no map has the Nomad has committed to, and there's so many different, different avenues and approaches that you guys have committed to, you know, whether or not whether it's your carbon offsetting, or, you know, making sure that you match the carbon carbon emissions. Yeah, I'd love to hear you just kind of speak about all of that as it pertains to Nomad.

Chuck Melber 33:39

Yeah, I mean, with climate specifically, there's so many different avenues and ecommerce brands can pursue to show they have some sort of environmental stewardship. There's 1% for the planet, there's Climate Neutral. There's another program being set up by a company called United By Blue or it's they're trying to get everyone on on zero plastic packaging. If you've ordered clothes online, you know exactly how much packaging comes with one shirt and it's insane.

Mariah Parsons 34:06

Too much. Yeah, yeah.

Chuck Melber 34:09

Then there's the Prana thing we're doing there's, anyhow there's a multitude of ways you can show some sort of environmental stewardship with your brand. At Nomad like I said, we're a consumer electronics accessory manufacturer outdoors don't necessarily correlate with us directly but we everyone at the company is so outdoors focus that doing something with environmental stewardship makes perfect sense to us. So we're doing is we're doing the Climate Neutral program, and we're also doing a packaging program with a company called Prana. I'm sure a lot of people have heard of them. For climate neutral, the goal is to become climate neutral or carbon neutral, basically. So we're measuring our environmental or carbon footprint, from cradle to grave basically. So from raw material to manufacturing to packaging to shipping overseas, to our warehouse calm On our travel internally or externally, so for flying to go visit with a wholesale partner in Europe, like that kind of stuff. Basically, every single ounce of carbon we create, I think even includes like, commute to work and stuff like that. So we're measuring that we're reflecting on it and finding ways to every single year reduce that amount of, of impact, be it, adding solar panels to the roof, or changing to LED light bulbs or automatic lights. And a lot of the offices like, there's a ton of little things you can do that you don't really think of that are impactful on a small scale. But if you multiply that by everybody else in the world trying to do the same site, or same type of things, it doesn't make a big impact. But yeah, we've been doing the climate neutral thing for like a year and a half. Now, the crew over at Peak Design, set that up, and we're really excited to be a part of it with them. And then our packaging side of things we're making efforts to in the past, our packaging included, you know, a handful of magnets, depending upon what type of product it was, gives it a really fun and interesting retail feel, or like when you're in the store buying experience. But magnets are expensive, or carbon intensive to mine, and then also not very easy to recycle. So we're getting rid of those in our products. 99% of products you buy at the store have a plastic hang tag at the top. This year, we just transitioned over to a paper hang tag, which sounds crazy, but it's just really neat braided paper that it's 100% recyclable. It's literally paper, extremely durable. And just a really cool fun little like Easter egg of a product change that probably most people aren't going to notice. But those that are really into sustainability, love. I don't think environmental stewardship necessarily is the thing for every single brand. But I think having some sort of social impact is really important for a lot of brands today. Consumers are looking for it. It's the right thing to be doing. It's hard to do everything. So I think it's important for brands to pick something and do that really well. And then hopefully everyone picks something and it works out a little bit better than it is now.

Mariah Parsons 37:04

Yeah, I think that is you mentioned like those little distinguishing factors are those Easter eggs that people can find. And when they find them, they'll be quite impressed because it is something that's different. And like woven, woven paper hangers, you wouldn't think of that, right? Because it's just the norm to use those little plastic tab looking things. Yeah. And so it is one of those distinguishing factors that when people pick up a Nomad case versus something, you know, another brand, they're going to look at those and say like, oh, no, they're committed to that sustainability. And I'd rather put my money towards something that is, yeah, helping a better cause, then, you know.

Chuck Melber 37:48

I've got honestly, honestly, I'd say it's like, even if it doesn't help make help a consumer make a decision on what this person that product, it's just the right thing to be doing. Like, can we remit some of our plastic plastic waste, then? Cool. Let's do it. Is it incrementally more expensive to do so? Maybe, but like, is it? Is that like, half a penny worth of savings really worth it? Yeah, I don't think so. So I think I think it's a matter of just doing the right thing for the right thing sake versus Is this gonna help me get 5% better sales? Annually, you know, like, yeah, do the right thing. It's pretty easy.

Mariah Parsons 38:21

Yeah. And I think that's to that is, hopefully where we're going as, you know, a world is like you said everyone is choosing to take that one thing and do it well and keep keep at it. I think that's that it does just help with that. Like that feel good purchase of, you know, we are like all doing something collective together. That is universally good. Right?

Chuck Melber 38:51

Yeah I mean, as good as you can be, at the end of the day, we are a consumer culture we are making and consuming a lot of stuff. So reducing where possible, because we're not going to stop consuming. Yeah, is the most important thing. Yeah, exactly.

Mariah Parsons 39:06

And too, I I did see that Nomad as a whole, like, for awards, carpooling and like little things like that. And I think that's just one of those, like additional pieces that I think is so cool for your employers as well. So not even on the consumer side, but as a company. You're rewarding each other and people within Nomad goods who are committing to sustain sustainability in the workplace as well.

Chuck Melber 39:33

Yeah, I mean, Nomad's based in Santa Barbara, I think that's where her birthday basically originated. A lot of the team members were environmental studies people and call GCSB is known for its environmental stewardship, too. So we're definitely like in the environmental bubble of Santa Barbara, California, but it's still a fun thing to do. And like it's not like we're just jumping on environmental stewardship bandwagon. It's, it's who we are, and we are.

Mariah Parsons 39:57

Yeah, I like that a lot and correct me if I'm wrong, but when you guys do get those returned returned products do you upcycle those as well.

Chuck Melber 40:10

We have like an informal upcycle program where local. I'm not gonna say artisans, but little local people that are messing around with crafting and leather are more than welcome to like, snag some of our damaged goods and try to make something else out of it. We've had people that internally like take iPhone cases, stripped the leather off the back and like, cut and sew them into new leather wallets and stuff like that. It's definitely really DIY and hacky but cool nonetheless.

Mariah Parsons 40:35

I love that. Yeah, that's, that's so creative.

Chuck Melber 40:39

On the return side, we don't always have people ship stuff back. If it's just gonna get tossed anyways, like why? Why incur the carbon footprint of shipping, just throw it away here versus there. We do us recycling for all of our damaged e-waste. Again, one of those things that's like super easy just to toss a cable in the trash, but probably shouldn't pass iPhone cables in the trash, you should actually be E-waste disposal. All that kind of like little stuff that it's common sense. It's easy to overlook, but we're making a conscious effort not to do so. Yeah. Like we have compost bins in the office and all that too. But yeah.

Mariah Parsons 41:20

No, that's I think that's what's important, though, is for, you know, listeners to hear that and highlight the little things too, because it does matter if it's like a collective effort. Exactly. Sustainability. So it might be you know, one of those like geeky or nerdy things like compost bins and disposing of electronics the right way. But I think it is still as important to highlight and give some Yeah, good. Some praise for everything that no man is doing. Because I know when I was looking at it, I was impressed by it.

Chuck Melber 41:51

I gotta say to shout out to Sarah on the Nomad team. She's been driving the ship on all this environmental stewardship. So she's listening to this big, big kudos there. Thank you, Sarah.

Mariah Parsons 42:00

Great job, Sarah. We love that. And I just have a couple of more questions that I would love to go over. And it is, again, a little bit of a pivot. But because and it's okay, if you don't have a direct answer for this, because I realized that it's a unique question. But because your products are based on accessories, mainly for other products, like Apple and like Apple Watches, phones, whatever it laptops. What is because you know, that I imagine there's a quick turnaround time and it is kind of you know, like new product launches, Apple releases the new iPhone, it feels like every five days, but you know, as a new product jobs, what does that look like for like the accessory and the turnaround time as to how you can, like still be on top of it and have a case prepared for the new, you know, model drop or whatever it is.

Chuck Melber 42:57

So that's that's product team sorcery that I don't have pretend to have any idea to know about. They basically come to me and say, Hey, Chuck, we got this new thing. Let's let's go sell it. So I that's where I jumped into gear. So yeah, I don't know. Like every product drops different. Like we're working on cases for the new iPad Pros right now. Given supply chain constraints in everything else, we probably won't have those until next year, unfortunately. Yeah, but other times things we were able to get things together a lot faster. The nice thing is that, well luckily Apple Watch really hasn't changed a ton in the seven years they've been out at least as far as the bands go. So we can continue innovating on those and just always have something new available that we just launched a line of sport straps that are these really nice silicone, just rad straps. And I feel like to you like no matter what market you're in, you can always lease for us. Like there's always something that's not accessorized yet or doesn't have a complimentary accessory basically that you can you can offer for us like air pods came out. No one's really making air pods cases. And we're like, wait a second, we made a case for that. And we got a ton of grief for it. You know, people like Oh, no man's making a case for a case that's done. On Hold. It's something that people want. So yeah, it worked out really well. For us. It took a while. And we definitely weren't. Hey, we rolled out our Gen-one air pod case. Like a month before Gen-two air pods came out. So we were definitely super late to their pod game. I mean, as far as like their product launch timeline goes. But they're at a time when no one else is really doing it. So it worked out great for us.

Mariah Parsons 44:38

Mm hmm. Yeah.

Chuck Melber 44:40

Yeah, not really an answer your question entirely, but so

Mariah Parsons 44:44

I knew it was gonna be more of product facing question. So I recognize that. But yeah, I still I think it is interesting just knowing like, at least that timeline with the marketing and releasing, like the innovation that it takes to have the you know, the AirPods case come out, because like you're saying, you perhaps got a little bit of grief for doing something different. And along those lines as well doing something different with the iPhone cases that you can, like, do the phone tap with the NFC. Yeah, like contact information. I think that's awesome. And I'm not aware of another phone case that does something similar. So I wanted to highlight that and bring some applause to that innovation as well.

Chuck Melber 45:29

Yeah, we were able to partner with a great company called Popple. That makes the NFC tag and develops the app on the back end of it. Pretty easy to add to our cases. So we're stoked to have them. We're stoked to have the partnership and have that unique aspect to our product that no one else is doing in the in the case game right now.

Mariah Parsons 45:44

Mm hmm. Yeah. And with that, the thing that we always like to finish each episode out with and rounded out is a piece of advice that either you take with you every day, or try and keep in mind while you're approaching your retention strategy. So we know it's a little bit meta of a question, but what would be one thing that you would share with someone who's just getting into the marketing space or one resource that you would recommend?

Chuck Melber 46:13

Always be testing is definitely an ethos I like to stand by. If it seems like a silly idea, test it. Maybe it's the next great, greatest thing you've ever come up with, you never know until you try. So you have to be like Don't Don't, don't look to like the blogs and listicles in the the zine are like the people that think they know everything about ecommerce marketing and say, Okay, this is what John did. So I'm going to copy the same thing. Every business is different every, everyone's in a different phase of their businesses growth. So what works for someone a year ago, might work great for you, or maybe a terrible, terrible idea. Right? So just be independent, or be an independent thinker, do your research and talk to people but then also form your own hypotheses test and see what happens.

Mariah Parsons 46:59

Well, that is some great advice. So thank you for sharing. And overall, thank you so much for joining us for this podcast. It's been a blast and just hearing so many amazing insights has been such a great such a great vantage point for me to be able to ask these questions and hear your responses so thank you.

Chuck Melber 47:19

Thank you for having me. It's It's It's always fun to have these conversations and chat a bit more about marketing in general, what people are doing, it forces me to rethink things on my end and come up with fresh ideas to my love that.

Mariah Parsons 47:28

For this week's fact check, I thought it would be really fun if I did a little bit of digging to try and find when SMS started to get very popular. I found two pretty cool articles about that one was from businesstocommunity.com. And it said that SMS marketing grew nearly 200% between 2015 and 2017. And attentive they found in their new customer survey that in 2017 79% of consumers say that they would have signed up to receive text messages from brands in 2020 over 90% said that they had some other facts that we discussed in the episode our surrounding Caraway and their DTC mailers that they trialed out if you're curious about that we spoke to Josh at Caraway in episode nine, the one right before this one. So I encourage you all to go listen to that. But Chuck also brings up a great, you know, older or retro marketing avenues such as billboards. And he mentions Manscape as an example of that, and even planes or as I learned in this factcheck is called aerial advertising. And so those planes that you see flyover beach with a banner, those are just called banner planes, but I learned that Flogos are the type of advertisement that plants can kind of print out a message or what have you in the sky, and that's from bubbles, like really condensed bubbles that planes can leave. Other than that, the only other factcheck we had was that Sarah on the Nomad team leads the environmental stewardship. So again, we're shouting her out for all those amazing policies and and initiatives she's been working on. If you enjoyed this episode, please be sure to subscribe and listen to other episodes and please share your feedback on your favorite social media platforms. If there's someone whether it's yourself or another recommendation that you'd love to see on the podcast, please feel free to also reach out we'd love to hear from you. Thanks and until next episode!