S4 E14: Optimizing product portfolio & sunsetting underperforming scents with Dr. Squatch Marketing & Product team


On this episode of Retention Chronicles, Mariah Parsons is joined by Dr. Squatch teammates Emily Straus (Sr. Manager, Integrated Marketing) & Mason Montgomery (Associate Director, Product Development). Emily, Mason, Mariah discuss:

  • ​​the in’s and out’s of men's natural personal care brand Dr. Squatch,
  • bringing fragrance to life,
  • establishing a go-to-market (GTM) strategy in the early stages of Dr. Squatch,
  • what the cycle looks like for a new product,
  • ad and AB testing in the R&D phase so changes can be made to the product,
  • creating a marketing calendar to slot in big swings like seasonal and limited edition products,
  • educating around your product to correct misconceptions and increase retention,
  • optimizing product portfolio and sunsetting underperforming scents,
  • brand community and customer engagement & more!

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This transcript was completed by an automated system, please forgive any grammatical errors.


product, customers, squatch, marketing, emily, deodorant, brand, love, launched, team, mason, scent, soap, product development, toothpaste, work, add, retention, cool, talk


Emily Straus (Sr. Manager, Integrated Marketing, Dr. Squatch), Mariah Parsons, Mason Montgomery (Associate Director, Product Development, Dr. Squatch))

Mariah Parsons 00:04

Hi there, I'm Mariah Parsons, your host of retention Chronicles, ecommerce brands are starting to shift their strategy to focus on retention in the customer experience. And so we've decided to reach out to top DC brands and dive deeper into their tactics and challenges. But here's the thing, we love going on tangents. And so with our guests, you'll often find us talking about the latest trends, as well as any and all things in the Shopify ecosystem. So go ahead and start that workout or go on that walk and tune in as we chat with the leading minds in the space retention Chronicles is sponsored by Malomo a shipment in order tracking platform, improving the post purchase experience, be sure to subscribe and check out all of our other episodes at go malomo.com. So hello, everyone, and welcome back to retention Chronicles. Super excited for our two guests today. I was telling them before we hopped on the call that it's the first time that we have someone from both product and marketing on together. So I think it's gonna be a great time. So welcome Emily and Mason, thank you both so much for joining us. I'm going to ask you both to do an intro. So Emily, let's get started with you. Can you give us quick background on what you do and where you're tuning in from today? Yeah,

Emily Straus (Sr. Manager, Integrated Marketing, Dr. Squatch) 01:27

excited to be here I am the Senior Manager of integrated marketing at Dr. Squatch I basically bring our marketing plans to life manage marketing calendar and kind of like do product marketing and bring things from start to finish cross functionally across the company and then through execution on the marketing side.

Mariah Parsons 01:51

Okay, love it. Love it. Now Mason Can you please give us an intro of yourself?

Mason Montgomery (Associate Director, Product Development, Dr. Squatch)) 01:57

Yeah, absolutely happy to be here. So Miss Montgomery Associate Director of Product Development here at Octa Squatch so I basically take the products from idea through concept through development and ultimately land those in the market with our customers and really try to drive the best product experience possible including you know, kind of the claims around the product as well as obviously the the function and ingredients themselves so yeah, it's been a great ride here at Dr. Squatch. Emily and I think both both joined very early on so looking forward to talking to you today.

Mariah Parsons 02:33

love it love it um so before we dive into like the tactical things I think it's helpful to have kind of like a background on Dr. SWAT what you all do so I don't know who of you both want to take it maybe take your own stabs at it we can see we can compare them if one of you could provide just a intro level description that'd be great.

Emily Straus (Sr. Manager, Integrated Marketing, Dr. Squatch) 02:56

Yeah, I can I can start with one Mason can add or do his own doctor swatch the men's natural personal care brand. We started with natural Cold Process bar soap and now we have a range of products from natural deodorant haircare lotion we just launched a face wash we have a great cologne and we basically make these really quality high performance products made specifically for men. Everything is 98 to 100% natural origin and yeah, love it

Mariah Parsons 03:33

Mason, anything you'd add on

Mason Montgomery (Associate Director, Product Development, Dr. Squatch)) 03:35

Yeah, I would just say our fragrances or scents are also really killer like you know when I'm talking to people on you know, the technical side and industry natural as as a brand you know, kind of platform can be a little bit controversial because there's different ways to define it and you know, what is natural and regulatory sciences and very clearly defined in the US or internationally and something that I always kind of joke around when I'm telling people about the company is on the technical side is yeah, we're a natural product we're actually like a fragrance brand that is natural in my opinion like that's what our customers like love about our products this sense you know really manly inspired from like different nature you know, kind of emotional transportive experiences is something that our founder really took to heart 10 years ago and he started the company and that's continued through all of our product lines today so yeah, all everything that Emily said and then also just everything smells great, which we all love being able to sell those products so

Mariah Parsons 04:38

yeah, that's not a bad add on. Honestly, like especially for something like a podcast where most of our listeners are tuning in, just with audio to be able to try and tap into the fragrance side of the brand is always always a fun one to do. Okay, so I said that when before we hopped on this podcast, I paused myself because I wanted to ask like the run down to the day to day. Because you you two are obviously different departments. I wanted to get the insight in towards. How much are you guys working together? What is the day to day look like? Because I, as a market sitting on the marketing team myself, I know we work very hand in hand with our product team. But in a different way, obviously, because we're not, you know, we're not selling. We're not DC. So what is the day to day look like? Like how much I know you two both said you. Were in the early days of Dr. Squatch. So how was that? Like? How has that been? How have you all worked together? I want I want the ins and outs of it all?

Mason Montgomery (Associate Director, Product Development, Dr. Squatch)) 05:36

Yeah, yeah, for sure. I'm, I'm happy to start Emily, if that's if that's cool. Yeah, so I would say it's, it's definitely changed a lot over time as the company has grown. So I was employee like, I think 15 or so. And like one of the very first product development hires. And Emily, you had to be like, what, like 10, or something, maybe even single digit, if I recall correctly, yeah, eight. So when, when we first started, at the end of 2019, we were working pretty closely together on a lot of projects. So like to pay Cisco remember, we didn't, we didn't have, you know, really like a creative art team at the time, or packaging team. And Emily and I like literally like we're drawing the toothpaste container that and like designing the copy and the art, like on a whiteboard. And we're just like, This is gonna be our toothpaste package. And now we have a completely different process where there's probably two or three teams in between us, you know, in like, kind of gatekeeping that and we do have a packaging team and a creative art team and everything like that. So I would say it's it's changed over time. But in the beginning that did it. It was like, Look, we have this concept we wanted to do a morning and night toothpaste and what does that really means for customer experience. And we work together on bringing that to life. And then you know, I would kind of bring the product perspective, and what were the ingredients that we could talk about? And then and we'd be like, that's not a great product slogan. Let's make it a little bit more marketing friendly. And yeah, I think that was a that was the early days. And maybe then we can talk a little bit about how it works day to day

Emily Straus (Sr. Manager, Integrated Marketing, Dr. Squatch) 07:09

now. Yeah, yeah, I was gonna use the toothpaste example. Also, I have like very fond memories of that. It's really fun. I'm just adding on to that a little bit. I think like, early on, we didn't have any like, process for bringing a product to market. So like Mason was working on this product. And then everyone was like, Okay, we're launching a toothpaste and on marketing, we were like,

Mariah Parsons 07:33

well, it's like going on. Yeah,

Emily Straus (Sr. Manager, Integrated Marketing, Dr. Squatch) 07:36

we say about the toothpaste. Yeah. And so I think for both of us, actually, that was a pretty cool experience to like, I got to be like way more involved in like the product development side. And like thinking about how we're talking about our ingredients, and like a really like deep level. And then Mason also got to be very involved in like the marketing and messaging side, which I think is something like, I don't know, but I think a lot of product, people don't maybe get to experience that much. And so that was like a very cool, I think learning experience for both of us to like be really on the other side. And yeah, like Mason said, now we have a variety of teams, and we have a product strategy team. And so it's kind of a collaboration between product development, product strategy, you know, marketing, to kind of craft a story around the product. So it's not like,

Mariah Parsons 08:29

it's simple handoff

Emily Straus (Sr. Manager, Integrated Marketing, Dr. Squatch) 08:30

like products, not like, Okay, this is the product we're launching. It's like kind of a collaboration throughout even though Mason I don't work directly together all the time, I think our teams are pretty involved. And our teams are involved with other teams that are also bringing the product to life. So I think there's a lot of like collaboration on like the product claims and the like key functions and like the key benefits and the like, Why have I ever launching a product and like what the kind of core benefits are and what we want to bring to our audience.

Mariah Parsons 09:00

Yeah, I love that. So one of the things that I know I can relate to is like not having a process necessarily, and then having to discover along the way, maybe through some launches, or through some of the development of those launches, what that process should look like. And then obviously, their learning. So we had there and I think it's so cool that you all got to see both, both of each, like both sides of each other's teams throughout it. So I want to ask, like, Are there learnings that you had in those early days that you've carried through and change like that process or changed the way? Emily, you're looking at the marketing side of things and Mason, you're looking at the product development side of things, because I think a lot of listeners would love to hear, you know, whether whatever team they're sitting on the influences that that collaboration has. Yeah, I mean,

Emily Straus (Sr. Manager, Integrated Marketing, Dr. Squatch) 09:51

I think there are a lot of process changes like it's hard to even like, think about a few because the whole like I think everything process wise has developed so much. Probably one of the earliest ones was like a like briefing process for like, the product. And then for the marketing teams like take that and turn it into a marketing brief. So I think that's probably one of like, probably the earlier ones that we worked on, that we still have. And it's like, developed. And I think it's like much more involved in there more people and like, it's more formal, but I think that's probably one of the earliest ones that we were like, oh, shoot, we need to like actually figure out a way that we're going to do this and like create a handoff and like, where Mason can feel comfortable. Like he's spent months or years working on a product, like he wants to feel comfortable that like marketing is going to talk about it in the right way and, you know, reach the right audience and really, like bring this like product that's like his baby to life. And we want to feel confident that like we know that we're talking about in an accurate way. And you know, we have the right information from him. And then so I think like that handoff is probably like one of the earliest ones we worked on that has had a big impact, I think.

Mason Montgomery (Associate Director, Product Development, Dr. Squatch)) 11:10

Yeah, yeah, for sure. And I think the first instance we did that was toothpastes. And there was almost like Gears switching a little bit on the, like, r&d side with regards to the types of briefings. So clearly, there's, like, you know, the technical product brief of what we're actually going to do to make it and then, you know, that question that Emily mentioned earlier, like, okay, like, what story are we telling about this, we actually created a different brief for an internal marketing, like, brainstorm that we had, with some really cool stuff came out of so it was more like, I helped shape the, the kind of key pillars of what we were trying to do with the product. And then we still kept it, like an open forum for us. And at the time, even with our founder, and kind of like, you know, partnerships leads and stuff like that, to figure out what are the like, some key hooks we can say about the product, even knowing like, what the main function was, etc, etc. And like, one thing that came out of that was the was I think, was OJ test was what we call it, it was like a small like, element of the technical like formula for our product where, because of the different like cleanser, we were using in the toothpaste, it didn't make, you know, orange juice tastes bad, like most people assumed after you brush. Like, oh, we should actually you know, interview people on the street in like Venice Beach and get this on a video for some ads and like, have people brush their teeth with our toothpaste and then drink some attache afterwards. And it you know, ended up being like five seconds of the hero video, but it still was like a really cool thing to be like, oh, like, here's the OJ test. And, you know, then the marketing team, like took that from the brainstorming discussion and obviously made a whole kind of like, build around it. But I think, you know, that was unique. I came from Unilever beforehand. And it was a very siloed development process. It was on the r&d team there. And it was really just like call and response and the marketing team, which was the brand kind of leads, they would have ideas about a product and you would just kind of slot your formula and make a couple of claims here or there. And that would be it. But it's really been a collaborative process a doctor squash and I think that's led to some really highly reviewed and just kind of well ended products. I think spray clones, another one we can talk about where there was a lot of involvement throughout the development process before the product was even finalized, where we had our creative team run like different mock ups of the like actual packaging that we were accustomed designing. But they did ad testing, AV testing with that and saw like really what would land with customers, then we funnel that into actually make real decisions about, like the final product that we were developing and tooling. And it seemed to really take off after we launched, I think when we have that type of collaboration rather than just handoffs, you just see the benefits and the product.

Mariah Parsons 13:55

That's awesome. I love I love the I love the the like use cases, like hearing about the fragrances and the toothpaste. And like all the different things that obviously you can collaborate on, like the AV testing and ads like running them beforehand, before the products even developed. Because I think as, as most people I would hope can agree with the more you know, the more power behind behind an initiative, the better and the more brains collaborating. And so those were perhaps like earlier days in the company, and now you all are growing and killing the game, honestly. So how has the team grown? Like how big are your teams? Can you go into like some details about that? Because I want to go more into the product development before we get into branding and all that but I think it's good context for people to know like, what size of teens are you talking about through these stories? Emily, if you want to go first and then yeah, um Um,

Emily Straus (Sr. Manager, Integrated Marketing, Dr. Squatch) 15:00

so yeah, I was started as number eight Mason joined shortly after and then I think the company is like 250. Now, that right Mason ish? Um, and I don't know actually how large the marketing team is, I want to say like, maybe 50 people, but I'm making that number up. It could

Mariah Parsons 15:21

give me a ballpark, I'm not gonna fact check you. Yeah, unless you unless you

Emily Straus (Sr. Manager, Integrated Marketing, Dr. Squatch) 15:26

are, I guess some context like we used to, you know, work with like, one agency who did photography, who did video who did copy, we had to email agency. And now we have in house teams for a lot of that. So we have like an in house photographer, we have an in house packaging designer we have in house lifecycle we have all that is in house now. So we have kind of like a robust marketing team now, which is great.

Mariah Parsons 15:55

Oh, that's awesome. Okay, cool. Love it, man. What about you?

Mason Montgomery (Associate Director, Product Development, Dr. Squatch)) 15:59

Yeah, so I, I think you guys are maybe even like upwards of 80. On the marketing side. I think we started like product and marketing. We're, we're relatively equal size. And as the company has grown, and we've cranked products out, we're I think product team is probably around like 40 now. And so yeah, I think marketing, you guys definitely have a speed on the on the headcount these days. But I think, you know, as far as the individual teams to, like, like I mentioned, when I started, there was one other person with a product development background, who had started a week before me. And now we have a robust, not just product development team, but also internal r&d team. So we built out a lab, we have different formulation, scientists with those backgrounds, we have a whole packaging team now that I helped build out and, you know, now is broken out into a team of four. So there's, there's just a lot of, I think they're hiring for a fifth now, too. So I think, overall, our product development r&d branches, we have, like 15 people, something like that, with a couple of new people that we just added, whereas it was, you know, two, three for the first basically year and change of the company. So definitely, it's been, you know, basically with a new company every quarter for the first like, three years, as we went from, you know, the 15, to, you know, 250 300 people that we have now. And so,

Emily Straus (Sr. Manager, Integrated Marketing, Dr. Squatch) 17:27

then we also have the product strategy team, which is like a new, like, that didn't exist when we started. And that's kind of like the, I think, like the middle ground between like marketing and product development. Ah,

Mariah Parsons 17:39

okay. That's interesting. Is that common? Do you think like, for other, like, the DDC space, I don't know, if I've heard of like a specific prodigy product strategy team.

Mason Montgomery (Associate Director, Product Development, Dr. Squatch)) 17:51

I think it goes by a different name for us. So if they do function a little bit differently from what traditionally would be like gets called, like a brand manager type role. Since we've always had a very strong product development team, and really light having this, this flux in the strategy side, we kind of operate more as peers. And so it's like part of development and product strategy together concept, Ida, these products in our product development team leans a little bit more r&d on one half of it as well. So we're kind of, I would say, it's a unique setup for sure. And it always has been, but you know, at a major CPG company would be similar to like a brand, brand marketing team, that that's our product strategy. But they are a little bit more focus here at squash on how do you optimize, like the portfolio? Like, what are the seeds going to be listing D listing? Like, what are the new categories for us to explore that we really think are the highest opportunity, but from a market size perspective, plus just our customer research perspective, which is something we really pride ourselves a lot in is hearing the voice of our customer, we can get, you know, survey data from our guys in a day or two and have like 2000 or 3000 responses. So we were often really getting that that voice of the customer. And you know, top of mind when we're doing things. So that's kind of how the teams have evolved over time.

Mariah Parsons 19:13

Love it, okay, so you just like rattled off like five or six different things that you all are doing. And like anyone knows that listen to this podcast, I am on the marketing side. So I want to go into more of those details. Because now that I have you on this podcast, it's so fascinating to me. So I can't even pretend to speak to all the things that you just said, like optimizing that portfolio and like focusing on specific skews and customer research and how you're letting that influence the r&d side of things. So can you dive into like if I don't even know what the proper question phrasing would be, but like the cycle of how you're thinking through like a new product to add to your catalog logon like how you're thinking through, kind of, yeah, more of the, I guess, beginning cycle of adding a new product to your catalog?

Mason Montgomery (Associate Director, Product Development, Dr. Squatch)) 20:09

Ya know, for sure, I think there's probably three big factors that weigh into, like what we prioritize from a new category development standpoint. And so one is just our customer interests. So we know that there's a really strong adoption funnel for people that, you know, know and love our soaps into new categories, if we survey them, and they say, Yes, we have interest in buying a deodorant from Dr. Squatch, or lotion from actress Squatch. So that there's definitely like capturing that voice of our, like loyal brand customers in what they're looking for. But there's also layering that with market opportunities, so like, what is actually growing in the market? Like maybe our customers aren't necessarily, you know, on the cutting edge trends. So what is out there as far as like novel formats? And like, how do we bring that to the table as well and kind of wait these things appropriately for the cycle of the business? And then last, but definitely not least, is just this idea of like, how do we innovate and just create new things as well, that maybe aren't out there in the market, or that our customers aren't really asking for? Now, I think that last piece is like heavily asterisk, because we always will put something in front of our customers before we actually commit to doing it. But you know, I think a great example is we dabbled a little bit into hard goods a couple of years ago, and it didn't really do anything crazy for our business. But we made some really cool products that were a part of that that is not like there was a huge market for or, you know, a huge customer like, hey, we really need a shower caddy from Dr. Squatch type conversation. But it was it was something that we did explore and did create some really awesome moments for our customers through through doing that. Whether it was like holiday promotions, things like that. And so I think there is always that element of like, how do you weigh all three of these factors and bring them together to build a roadmap. And we do that, for the first couple years of the company. It was basically like once a year, because we're just moving so fast that it takes a long time to develop these products. And okay, we here's our pipeline discussion, what do you want to do? What are you gonna prioritize, and some of those from 2020 are just now hitting the market. Like, as Emily mentioned, we have facewash, spray cologne deodorant, like those were lotion, those were all part of like some of those initial conversations years ago. And now we're doing it a little bit more formalized with these teams that have you know, developed and sprung up. So we have a commercialization team that kind of gauge heaps the way we put things through the funnel. And we have like stage one, stage two, stage three for that. And then the portfolio strategy team and product strategy. And like, they are also really looking at this almost now on a I think it's quarterly basis, or at least half year is what we've done for the last year and a half. And we're calling it like planning week where it's like, okay, like, where do we fine tune the products that we already have in market? Like, we need to make sure that those don't get outdated, just because we launched them two years ago? And then where are we going to try to slot in some of our like big swings in the coming year or two from a new category standpoint. So it's, it's definitely well, well organized, well thought out. And I think, you know, props to the rest of the Squatch board for kind of setting that up pretty early on, honestly, a lot of X consultants that came over here, for better or worse. And I think that it really it really showed from that planning and like how we prioritize things.

Mariah Parsons 23:36

Yeah, yeah, that's super interesting. Okay. So because that all that's really like new new products, right. And so, like, when you were when you were speaking, I was also thinking about, like, is there any element to like updating or fine tuning the current skews you have in your catalog? Or is it kind of like, once they're launched like, that? Is that is the whatever, like, the most perfect or best product possible? Because I know you mentioned also like listening to your customers and get it using those reviews. So what does I guess like fine tuning a product that's already launched look like? And then Emily, I promise we'll get to you with marketing questions, don't you worry.

Emily Straus (Sr. Manager, Integrated Marketing, Dr. Squatch) 24:20

I can also speak to I'll speak to maybe like cat like, optimization of our kind of portfolio and then talk about like specific product development if that works for this webinar. Um, so yeah, we have you know, we have like a ton of skews and we obviously when we put something out we want it to be like the absolute best that it can be and like we believe that it is at the time and but maybe we'll go into like improvements. But we also were looking at like our whole like portfolio and what makes sense together and we have this whole like sense strategy. So we have, you know, some sense that don't go across categories. Like for example, gold Moss, is like a bar soap I think we've had around Um, since definitely since before I started, I think since the OG days, but it's not like a scent that we have across multiple categories. It's just barso. But then there are other scents that are like core scents. So like birch wood breeze, wood, REL bourbon, fresh falls, things like that, where we have them across multiple product categories. And those are like what we call our temples where we like basically think they're going to crush across the board, people love them. Like if we've launched it as a soap, it's like, become one of our top sellers. And we're like, okay, people will want this and, you know, deodorant form or haircare or a modification of a cologne or something. And so just optimizing our like, portfolio around what our customers love and want and like having enough optionality, but not so much that we're like, overwhelming people and, you know, contributing to like option paralysis. So we're always kind of thinking about like, Okay, if we are going to launch this new scent, like, is there something we should sunset? Or is there something that is like in a different scent group that, you know, we're in a scent group that's maybe like, underserved a little bit? Like if we don't have enough fresh scents? For example? Like, should we add a fresh scent? Or should we replace one of these old scents with something new that people might like more? So we're always like, kind of optimizing the portfolio as a whole?

Mariah Parsons 26:24

Yeah, I love that. I think that's a really key like that. I think. There's just so much like, the more I talk to people on this podcast, and you like every single industry and every single team that there is like, there's just so many details that as an average consumer, if you don't work in this business, you wouldn't think about like sent strategy that is so fascinating to me that you're like thinking through, okay, what what different things across the board with this sent work for across different skews, and even like, bundling capacity, right, like gifts, like seasonality, everything that goes into that, or even like Limited Edition launches, right. So thank you, Emily, I think that's really interesting. Like detail that we don't usually get to go into on this podcast. So it's really exciting to hear about these and do you want to follow up? Or? Yeah, add some add some key opinions on that?

Mason Montgomery (Associate Director, Product Development, Dr. Squatch)) 27:24

Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, I think, Emily, like hit it on the head there with regards to like, we don't want to overwhelm our customers. And so you'll see like their competitive male personal care brands that have like three, four times the number of SKUs that we have, you know, I think still, since we've been at the company, like, it's crazy to look back and see how many products we launched in different scents use, but there, there are so many more that we could have, that we decided weren't the right investment, or would kind of dilute the value of, of our brand with our customers in these core areas. So you know, on the on the topic of sunsetting, right, like, we had a scent for a really long time that was a best love. So excited. It was called Cedar citrus, you know, really natural woodsy scent. And we started to expand that into a couple other categories, we want you to do better and we saw that it just wasn't really loved in some of these other categories by our customers. And so there was a very like technical element of you know, this heavy What do you scent like doesn't do well outside of soap in things like a cologne or a deodorant where you're kind of you don't want to smell just like a tree. Like while it was such a great you know, kind of like the seller for so we found that people actually reviewed it a little bit more poorly than they then you would expect for how highly was purchased. So there was like this little bit disconnect, like people love the name cheater citrus, but then when they actually were using the product, we looked into that insight were like, okay, like, clearly there's something here like maybe we should create something else that evokes the same quick kind of like resonance with customers on the purchasing side on the merchandising side of the marketing team, but also has a product that supporting it that's like a lot stronger from a performance standpoint that would allow us to expand into things like shampoo and conditioner and some of these other categories that we're trying to push into. So I think it was a great example of like what Emily was saying of, you know, not just looking at it from the like marketing perspective of how many SKUs we want to show on our homepage funnel for the bundles for things like that. But then also like were the insights of the product formula underlying can help drive like those decisions and we ended up delisting cedar citrus and replacing it with some other scents that we feel are honestly doing quite a bit better and really performing in places like retail and and beyond.

Mariah Parsons 29:47

So yeah, yeah, I love it. I think also the option is option paralysis. Is that what you called it? Right? Okay, cool. I love it. I love it. So like yeah, do is having so many things on on your site like coming from a marketing standpoint of not wanting your customers to be overwhelmed by the decision? I would, I think that's a great point into why you'd sunset, a scent or a particular product. And that reminded me that I wanted to discuss the ads and like the AV testing that goes into once you have a product that is maybe through the r&d stage that the product strategy team is working on. And kind of creating that bridge between you have the ideal product, or you have an idea for it, and going more towards like, how are you thinking about marketing it? So, Emily, if you could go into more of the strategy about like, what you want the consumer to see around like the branding of new products, and maybe sunsetting other products or fine tuning them? I think that would be really interesting. And then Mason, obviously, as well, you'd like to tune in.

Emily Straus (Sr. Manager, Integrated Marketing, Dr. Squatch) 31:08

Yeah, I'll talk maybe I'll go into like, overall, like, bringing a product market first, then we can talk more about like sunsetting or, or things like that exciting, it's a little bit of a different thing. But yeah, like, I think like we said, it's a very collaborative process with product product strategy, marketing. So we you know, work on like the product story and the positioning really closely with the team. And then once we have like, all of the final information, we've kind of aligned on like the kind of story direction, we put it into a marketing brief and begin to like, brainstorm how we want to position the launch. So sometimes that'll be like Mason mentioned, for cologne, we did like pre launch testing have different types of messaging and visuals and things like that. And then we took those insights to build out like actually what the campaign plan was going to be. And we did, you know, we kind of used like the winners from that initial test to determine like, the direction you wanted to move forward in. That's not something we do always. But for that, like, particular launch made a lot of sense. For everything, it doesn't make sense, because we're obviously going to do so much like testing with creative anyway, that we can, you know, test five different messages and pick, pick one, you know, but for that particular one, it made sense. And we do a lot of surveying in terms of like, what claims are most important to people like different ways that we can message that, even if it's not like a direct, like creative survey. But yeah, we'll put it into marketing brief and like brainstorm how we want a position to launch and then brainstorm like, what channels we want to test out. If we want to try anything new, and then like, who we would need to engage to make that happen. So whether that is, you know, engaging the product strategy, customer insights teams, or engaging a new agency or you know, getting a new a new partner, a new influencer to help promote it, kind of just like thinking through all that. And then once we have like, a plan built out, we, you know, obviously started scripting and creative direction and all that. And we, again, I think the middle part is maybe a little more siloed into like marketing. And then we basically bring in like product development, product strategy and compliance to like, review all of our scripts, copy for the website, all of that to like, get their inputs on how we're messaging the product, and like the product story, and if we're getting it right, so I think from start to finish, it's pretty, pretty collaborative.

Mariah Parsons 33:42

I love it, love it so much. Mason, anything you would add, I would just,

Mason Montgomery (Associate Director, Product Development, Dr. Squatch)) 33:48

I would just, like, applaud the marketing team. More I know, honestly, like what you guys have done in the past couple years has been incredible on the advertising side. And like, I know, like our creative team has sort of broken out a little bit and done a ton of AV testing with different ads right like just so you can probably speak more to this but talking to you know, some of our partners over there when I'm helping review some of the claims like we we test like how many I think at certain times for some of our cores so pads like maybe like 20 versions of like the three seconds at the beginning like what is the hook that's going to get somebody to like really pay attention this add in you know, we're add attention spans are getting slow, like kind of less and less seconds per fewer seconds per like, you know, I'd add grabbed that you're trying to get people on and so like some of our most successful deodorant ads have been us showing slicing of soap, like almost ASMR like and then deodorant is like two or three seconds sent like hey, buy or do and she's not even connected to the actual product that we're selling. But the ad development team has been like, yes, this this ad kills when you're showing you know, slicing of so like let's just make sure we run it Are some of these other products. So just really interesting things like that, where I think we've really leveraged those insights and responded in real time to, you know, what the marketing team is trying to push for there. And that obviously has a lot to interface with the web team as well, on our landing pages and things like that. But I think I still like that deodorant ad with the sub slicing. I use that example a lot, because it's just, it's so counterintuitive to like, if you're like writing a plan on on a page, or like what you want to do for an advertisement for deodorant, you don't think slicing soap, but then we found out that that just, you know, does great for us on Instagram. So just cool. Things like that, I think are fun to keep in mind.

Emily Straus (Sr. Manager, Integrated Marketing, Dr. Squatch) 35:38

Yeah, there's definitely a element of like randomness. But there's also like, more overarching what we're trying to do, which is like to, I think, bring our mission to life in different ways across our marketing, and across all of our different product launches. So our mission is to inspire and educate men to be happier and healthier. And that's kind of what we're doing, like, on social and with all of our content is this like, really unique way of educating people. So sometimes it's like random, like Mason saying, like, the soap cutting is like a very cool visual. Sometimes it's like, just like funny stuff, or weird visuals or whatever. But at the end of the day, like when you bring it back, it's like it is education through entertainment, and humor, which is like really how we reach all of our customers. So all of our products have like these really strong value props, and like, really, like, great benefits, and they're amazing products. And so we talk about all those benefits, and the benefits of using natural products, and why it's important through this like kind of humorous lens. And that's how we kind of engage with our audience.

Mariah Parsons 36:49

Yeah, I love that point that you bring up where there's, there's like, it's multi multifaceted, right? Where there's the umbrella of the overall goal, like, what are you trying to do, you're trying to live out your mission statement, which is a great one, by the way. And trying to do that in multiple, or in different ways. So that like, you're catering to all different types of audiences, like, entertaining people through, through, you know, the real or Instagram post of the soap cutting, which totally, I think would work on me because I'm like, ASMR, that's like, tick tock, I mean, the amount of videos that are trending, or tick tock or Instagram, or even YouTube shorts, with things that like perhaps aren't related, but they're just entertaining to watch. Like, that's the baseline of it. I think that's a really good lesson for, for those who are looking maybe to try and launch a new product of testing it out. And I think having it always connects back to the mission statement, or the overarching goal is something that kind of seems like you should, it should always be top of mind, but sometime could slip when you get so so caught up in the details of things. And so I would love to dive more into like education, obviously, Malomo, post purchase experience, we're all about educating a customer while their order is on their way to be delivered to someone. So it's a topic that we discuss a lot. So I'd love to get both of your opinions on it in terms of like, how are you thinking about educating the customer, whether it's through, you know, the ads that you're putting out there, or what you're putting on the marketing site, or even the post purchase experience, we can dive into that a bit. I think that'd be really entertaining.

Mason Montgomery (Associate Director, Product Development, Dr. Squatch)) 38:40

Yeah, so you know, after you purchase, like,

Emily Straus (Sr. Manager, Integrated Marketing, Dr. Squatch) 38:47

I think we focus a lot on education around those products. So for example, like, we'll have a blog post that I think was written like forever ago, but it's still really relevant where like, if you buy so for the first time, like maybe you'll get information about how to extend the life of your bar soap. And that might include a thing about soap saver, which you probably should buy if you didn't get one because it makes your experience a lot better. But like, it's true, it does make the experience a lot better. And like people who buy a soap saver, like have a better experience with the soap and like come back more. So educating them about like, why that actually is important, like what you can do because I think one of the misconceptions is like bar soap doesn't last a long time. Or a misconception is like natural deodorant doesn't work. And so like showing them that like if you you know, these are steps you can take to have the best experience possible. Or like these are the things that you can expect right switching from, you know, an aluminum anti purse brand to a natural deodorant and like preparing them for what that experience might entail. So there definitely is a good amount of education around like, kind of how to have the best experience and why like Natural products are important and why you should be using them. I think in terms of like retention, though, the, the bottom line is it has to be a great product. So I always say like once people get the product, they should be a customer for life because it's so good. And I truly believe that. So I think that's like, probably the first thing is making sure you top notch products, and then everything else kind of follows.

Mariah Parsons 40:28

Yeah, yeah. Love it. And I love that you brought retention into it as well, because I think that's obviously this is retention Chronicles, right, we say it on like nearly every episode, I'm focusing on retention. It's also one of those things that I personally feel like it's of more importance now. Because our acquisition has traditionally just been more and more expensive throughout the years. So yeah, I love that you wrote a 10 retention into education, and thinking through like, what are the misconceptions that you all can help educate your consumers on so that they have a better experience? Mason, I see you shaking your head? You agree with that?

Mason Montgomery (Associate Director, Product Development, Dr. Squatch)) 41:08

Absolutely. And I think you can tell that we've had success with it, because you see customers educating each other as well, like on our booths, like on our, we have like a scrub Club Facebook group that started as like, kind of like a CX VIP type group. And now I don't know what the latest count is. But it's in the 10s of 1000s. I'm sure. Yeah, yeah. So I think I think the audio cut out, but Emily, you were saying I think 30 was what I saw. Yeah. So 13 got it. Yeah. So it's, it's, it's something that like, you know, we sent out for deodorant, for instance, like a detox from, you know, aluminum deodorant to our product and what you expect to see, you know, from a, like physical body and like formula, interaction change over time. And I remember seeing people like on Instagram post, after a couple of months, like commenting to people saying, like, hey, like, just give it a couple of weeks, like, your body will adjust, blah, blah, blah. And that's when I was like, Okay, we were actually doing a really solid job here of like, spreading the message about these products and, you know, potential, like insights that people can have to utilizing them better. So definitely agree and sometimes zuvor like that, sometimes. You know, I think haircare and kind of our existing shampoo and conditioner that we have out there as well, was something that our founder at the time was really in to try and change people's routines about. You know, that's a difficult thing to do. But our shampoo bottle is eight ounces. And our conditioner is 12 ounces as a result, because we're trying to tell the guys that you shouldn't shampoo every single day, but you can condition every day. And so like the formula itself was this is before any of us wrote the company, but was designed to kind of support that as well. So the conditioner is like a really light one that can be used every day. And even though we had a video where we were educating people about it, even though we you know, had it on the package itself, like it really, you really get through to people, and they're like, why is this smaller? That's why. And so I thought that was always an interesting thing to you, because I don't think I've seen any other like, male brand out there, try to do that. And, you know, maybe we don't do that forever. But I think it's something that was just a really interesting experience for the last few years. And we obviously sell quite a bit of the product. So I think people, you know, resonated with that.

Emily Straus (Sr. Manager, Integrated Marketing, Dr. Squatch) 43:39

That's a cool example also, because now now I feel like that's common knowledge. Like, at least with women, it's like wash your hair, like once a week, maybe twice, you know, and I feel like that used to not be so common of a thing. And I feel like swatch was kind of early on that

Mariah Parsons 43:54

on that trends. That's a cool one. Yeah, I didn't even know that you all had like, the different size bottles. And when you said that I was like, Oh my God, that's so genius. Like, why isn't that common practice? Um, so yeah, and like I I've pretty long hair. So like, like you said, Emily, like as a woman I know. Like, now it's, I feel like more. It's more normalized to like shower and rinse your hair once or twice a week, like you said, but even like the notion that like I have to plan in my mind, I'm like, I buy like different levels of shampoo and conditioner. Like I'll go through one of the bottle like the what is it the shampoo or the conditioner way quicker than I'll go through the shampoo for that reason? Because they're the same size model. So it's like almost a two to one ratio. So every every brand should think through such an innovative response to that because one yes, you capture the the customer's attention because they're like, What, like that's not something you're used to seeing. And then it all and through that you open up the avenue of Being able to educate them and be like, Oh, this is why like, it's not that your product, you know, like delivery got messed up or anything like that, like it's intentionally like this because of this reason and then to have that content to back up or explain further why that decision was made. Yeah, it like you said it leaves such a lasting impact that now people on Instagram are commenting to help educate other people because they're like I did the same thing. And it also reminded me of we had Lexie Monty come on the podcast, she's VP of Marketing comms at happiest baby, which they had like the snoo, if you if you to have heard of that. And she was saying how, like, Instagram comments are basically becoming the new, the new like reviews on a website and that like, people when they're shopping, obviously, like on Instagram or tock, tick tock, because now they've made those updates to be shoppable. That's what people are looking at, rather than maybe a couple of years before where you're looking on a website to see what the what the reviews are on the website, you're looking at those comments from someone on Instagram, like scrolling through their posts looking at, you know, is this a brand that is reputable, like I'm making sure that I'm not making a purchase that, you know, isn't gonna isn't gonna go well. So I think it's great that you all have seen the impact of that education, even down to like individuals taking it upon themselves to educate other people within your community. Yeah,

Emily Straus (Sr. Manager, Integrated Marketing, Dr. Squatch) 46:31

I mean, there also is like a whole side of our Instagram where everyone's just like, can I eat the soap? Can I drink the haircare? I'm sorry? Yeah.

Mariah Parsons 46:41

It's the wild, wild west a little bit along with that. But you know, like, I don't know what the actual ratio is. But like every, hopefully, one to one where it's like wild, wild west, and then also credible, helpful information. Yeah. That's awesome.

Mason Montgomery (Associate Director, Product Development, Dr. Squatch)) 46:59

I mean, honestly, jokes like that, though, have been such like, I don't know, when you talk about retention. Like there's such an aspect of our brand that I mean, for lack of a better word, that's a little culty. Like they're, they're really obsessed Doctor squash bands. Like, I've seen people post photos and like the Facebook group of like, a pyramid of deodorant that they bought, like, they've never gotten that much deodorant and their whole life, really. But it's, it's something where it's like, you think of that element of the brand. And people like making jokes about using the soap for years and years and years, because it smells so good. And then we have to be like, as a brand like, no, don't eat the soap. Like,

Mariah Parsons 47:35

please don't do that.

Mason Montgomery (Associate Director, Product Development, Dr. Squatch)) 47:37

Like, there's just that that level of, I guess it's maybe like, real, like honest engagement with our customers, both on the education side, but on the joking and humor side that I do creates this, like sense of community that like does retain customers for longer. And, you know, like I mentioned, I worked on a range of like, really well known mass brands before coming to Dr. Squatch. And none of my I had access to free product all the time at Unilever, like none of my friends, like switched to st items, because I was working on St. Ives. I have like half a dozen maybe even like a dozen friends and family now who are always like, where's the next squash products? Like, can you bring some hope like, everyone loves it, and like they feel like they're a part of something. And, you know, I, I had been an Old Spice man, my whole life and like had never changed even when I was working at Unilever and dove and these other products. And then we weren't sure you know, Dr. Squash he had written me not just myself, but also my wife and like some of my best friends have like been using doTERRA for years now. And it's just I think there's something to say for that too. You have like, the brand is fine. The brand is honest. And like that also keeps people feeling like they're a part of something that they want to keep purchasing.

Mariah Parsons 48:50

Yeah, I love I love that. So you basically need that pyramid of deodorant so you can give it out to all your friends and family. Sounds like you're already you're already on that motion. Um, yeah, I think it's, I think that's what it comes down to a lot of the times I find like some of those inexplicable just like moments of connection with a brand and then a consumer, which is obviously very difficult to like, be able to try and pinpoint like, what that even means or what it means to a customer what it means to a brand. In those like moments that you can laugh and see like okay, this is what the community is like, like you have inside jokes and you have people who are in this Facebook community like whatever helping each other like it laughing with each other. It's really fun and special and I feel like the deed like the it's in from a consumer point of view like even outside of working in the space of E comm. It's like that is what a like a trademark or like a stamp of a DTC brand is where they have that like loyalty or they have that fun brand behind them that people also connect with If and continue to buy from that brand because of like the community that it offers or the education or the last that it offers whatever reason they stick by. Yeah, so I love that. Emily, anything you'd add before we wrap up this amazing episode? Any any pyramids of deodorant that you've seen on Instagram? Oh my god so many

Emily Straus (Sr. Manager, Integrated Marketing, Dr. Squatch) 50:22

I mean, I have like a, I have my own pyramids like I have all of our limited edition soaps like that we've ever launched in both new and old branding. And like a bookshelf and I always add to it and it's like getting a little bit overwhelming but I'm I feel like one of the one of those people, I feel

Mariah Parsons 50:40

like even going

Emily Straus (Sr. Manager, Integrated Marketing, Dr. Squatch) 50:43

you'll see like all of our like backgrounds on Zoom or like bookshelves of Squatch. Like,

Mariah Parsons 50:47

so that's so cool. Yeah, turn it into interior design. There you go. I love it. Well, this has been such an amazing episode. I'm sad that we've already gone through the hour, which is crazy. But thank you both so much for making the time. It's always fun to have people on the podcast, getting to connect with others, and mainly giving them a platform for you all to share with our listeners and provide so much value. So really thank you for taking the time to do so today. It's been amazing.

Mason Montgomery (Associate Director, Product Development, Dr. Squatch)) 51:17

Thanks for having us.