S3 E19: The merchant, not revenue, should be at the center of a partnership with Casey Matthew (Founder & CEO, Skylab)


On this episode of Retention Chronicles, we’re joined by Casey Matthew, Founder & CEO of Skylab, an award winning digital marketing agency located in Los Angeles, CA. Noah, Mariah, and Casey discuss:

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partners, brand, work, mariah, casey, product, agency, partnership, customer, approach, long, winters, skylab, retention, starting, day, client, purchase, grew, company


Noah Rahimzadeh, Mariah Parsons, Casey Matthew

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:04

Hey retention pros. I'm Noah Raheem today and I lead partnerships here at Malomo. I'm super pumped to continue to chat with ecosystem experts alongside Mariah, who you all already know and love, say hi, Mariah.

Mariah Parsons 00:16

Hey, everyone, as you probably know, retention Chronicles likes to bring in some of the best retention focused brands in the Shopify ecosystem.

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:24

Well, we don't just feature brands, we also feature some great thought leaders in the Shopify ecosystem that serve brands.

Mariah Parsons 00:31

And because we always want these conversations to be fun, you'll hear us talk with our guests about what they're excited about and what's helped them get to where they are today.

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:40

We hope you'll stick around to learn and laugh with us retention Chronicles

Mariah Parsons 00:43

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 episodes at go malomo.com

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:59

All right. Mariah This is my first time recording in like six weeks I might be a little rusty.

Mariah Parsons 01:06

Is it really okay, I guess we haven't yet been on a call for a minute.

Noah Rahimzadeh 01:11

minute, but super excited for this episode is been a long time in the works. We've got Casey founder and CEO of Skylab media and we are really, really, really excited about the emerging partnership between Skylab and Malomo. But for today, really excited to have Casey on like I said, I think we've I've rescheduled twice. Casey's rescheduled ties. So it's been a long time coming and pumped to finally be here. Casey, thanks so much for joining.

Casey Roeder 01:42

Thank you. And thank you for having me. And may the force be with you? Oh,

Noah Rahimzadeh 01:47

yes. You had to give it to us. We Yeah, I haven't heard that today. So

Mariah Parsons 01:54

hazy? Are you big Star Wars fan? Or just because it's May 4,

Casey Roeder 01:58

is just made for actually never watch Star Wars.

Mariah Parsons 02:03

Okay, yeah. I only watched it for the first time, like all of it all the way through probably a couple of years ago. So I feel like kind of on that train.

Casey Roeder 02:12

Right. Yeah, I feel like it's a shock. Every time I'd say that everyone's like, what you've never seen it. And I don't know, I just never have so sorry for all the fans out there.

Mariah Parsons 02:23

Now it's too long of a running joke. I'm sure that you're like I have to keep it running. You know, that's like a good fun fact.

Noah Rahimzadeh 02:33

Before we get into it, Mariah and I actually hung out with a couple of your guests, employees, your teammates. At shop talk. We missed you, Casey. But Dan and Rob, hopefully I'd good things to say because we had a blast.

Casey Roeder 02:49

Yeah, I heard all the good news. I definitely had FOMO. And I know, my team, Dan and Rob are great. Not only with Skylar, but all of our partners and I'm glad that at a good time. And I personally, still with my job, I really do like to treat them a step above. I don't know if you guys heard of Janus x, but it's kind of one of those like private jets that you can technically take from Burbank to Vegas. So I wanted to treat them extra special. And I flew them out there. And they are nothing but a blast as well. So

Mariah Parsons 03:25

how do we get on that list? That's amazing. I haven't heard of that.

Casey Roeder 03:29

Yeah, it's actually not that bad of a price. I will be honest. So it's the price itself usually is kind of like flying from LA to New York, typically around 400 500. But I mean, you got to treat your employees good. So I wanted them to get that extra special treatment. So

Noah Rahimzadeh 03:50

do you think if like if we become like one of your best partners, you might also

Casey Roeder 03:57

know who knows? Maybe there's like a raffle. And then actually

Noah Rahimzadeh 04:05

yeah, man we had we had a blast in Vegas. They're great guys. And they were hustling for sure. So you got some good ones. All right. Before we get into the shop, talk, tell us one or two things that you're excited about your personal life.

Casey Roeder 04:21

Well, I'm really excited right now. I've been training for a half marathon. I actually grew up playing sports my entire life. So it's definitely it's still within me. And I definitely want it to get in the best shape of my life. So not that I'm already not, but you know what I mean? I'm always training and so that's something I'm looking forward to and I'm just looking forward to getting back to the LA weather. It has been on nightmare in the winter. It keeps going and going and going but apparently, it's going to be back in the 80s and 90s Next week, so I'm really looking forward to it just those two things top of mind. What about you guys?

Noah Rahimzadeh 05:05

You're not gonna get a whole lot of sympathy for Mariah and I we live in Indianapolis. So we've had you know, I know that it's been unseasonably wintry in, in LA and I think all of California on the west coast, but yeah, for us, it's it's always brutal. And it's just been, it hasn't been super cold this winter, but it's just been gray for so long. So we are very, very excited. For the sunny days ahead. I think we're on the same schedule like next week should officially welcome like the summer weather for the foreseeable future.

Casey Roeder 05:42

So yeah, yeah, I definitely understand those winters down in India. I'm actually from Illinois. I think some of you guys know that. But I definitely can understand the harsh winters. But always the Hoosier band as well, myself.

Noah Rahimzadeh 05:58

Okay. Appreciate that. Love that. Yeah, Mariah went to Notre Dame. So she's up there. I'll go.

Mariah Parsons 06:07

Yes, yeah, it was really, really bad winters. I'm just with the lake effect and how chilly it got. I'm from New Jersey originally. And so winters are pretty similar Indianapolis and New Jersey I'd say but hadn't ever seen winters like South Bend. Very similar. I've been told to winters in Chicago I visited for like,

Casey Roeder 06:29

Oh my God, but insane. Yeah, like I grew up. I grew up in Illinois, and I went to school in Chicago from undergrad and I'll never forget how unprepared I was. I was I was during those polar vortex and oh my god, my younger 20s and basically from the moment I stepped outside of my apartment to the bus stop to head to downtown. I guess I didn't like dry my face. Enough. And my like eyebrows. My eyelashes like started to for us. Oh yeah. 30 seconds of being outside on. It's brutal.

Noah Rahimzadeh 07:06

Oh my gosh.

Mariah Parsons 07:07

Yeah, we had a polar vortex while I was at school as well. And I remember it was after like some practice one day and all of us with like longer hair. It just froze like we had to wait so long for it to decrease because we were like it's gonna snap like it was. It was crazy. Like, head to toe skin like can't be showing is like, so very wild. Yeah. But those days hopefully are no longer in my future.

Casey Roeder 07:37

Yeah, I definitely don't miss it for sure.

Noah Rahimzadeh 07:40

We we also have a couple marathon notes. So you you're running half marathon. Is that your first time?

Casey Roeder 07:48

No. So I've done a few marathons before I've done half marathons. I've done half marathons just on my own. One thing that I really love doing is just running on TPH and Malibu. Yeah, and I'll just preserve nobody around. So those are like my favorite types of like running exercises. But the last hot marathon I did was in Chicago years ago, but I was built a long time ago. I can't remember.

Noah Rahimzadeh 08:17

Yeah, it's different. I so one, there's the Indy Indy mini marathon is here, which is like a big event where people actually come to the city, you know, from out of town to run, because you run around the motor speedway, where the Indy 500 is, and that's really cool. And I think Mariah is rooting some friends on this weekend. Is that right?

Mariah Parsons 08:37

Correct. Yep, I'll be on a bike. I don't feel like running.

Noah Rahimzadeh 08:42

But I did. I did a half marathon a couple months ago in Fort Lauderdale. And I did zero training. I had to you I did. I had run like up to 15 miles but not in like a race setting before. And so I ran a casual 10 miles, which was my first run of 2023 The weekend before. And I was okay, like, no problem. I can run this 13.1 And I did I finished in like, decent time I thought, but my legs were so messed up. So long after that, like a full week of legit pain in my legs. And I will not I will not. I will run another half marathon and I'd love to run a marathon. But I will be training next time. That's

Casey Roeder 09:41

the real question, though. That I had is did you stop at any point during your lead?

Noah Rahimzadeh 09:46

Yeah, I stopped for gel packets, like two or three times and I stopped for to tie my shoe once or twice. Oh,

Casey Roeder 09:54

you got to just keep going and gotta keep running and taking the shoes off. You know?

Mariah Parsons 10:00

Don't forget I'm leaving behind.

Noah Rahimzadeh 10:02

I'm not, you know, not qualifying for any Olympics. I think I think I'll pass on that. But yeah, it was. I did. I did. It's not like I stopped to walk, but I did stop. Like, for a few seconds here or there.

Casey Roeder 10:16

Okay. Okay. Yeah.

Noah Rahimzadeh 10:19

Good luck, man. That's, that's, it's fun, right? Like, I really enjoy the I've done a couple other races never half marathon before like that, but they're fun when it's like in that community setting.

Casey Roeder 10:32

Yeah, yeah, I absolutely love sports running. I mean, I grew up doing that. And I'm very competitive. I mean, I take that in my personal life. And you know, with our company to on streamline competitive and the stuff on fact, you know, not to brag or anything but my fasteners mile to 359. So

Mariah Parsons 10:58

the way you deserve it with that, Oh, my God. That's impressive.

Noah Rahimzadeh 11:04

Yeah, we had, I think for like high school basketball, you had to be able to run under a six minute mile. And I, every time was just like, so unbelievably close to not not doing imagine cutting two minutes.

Casey Roeder 11:23

Yeah, it's, it's, I don't know. I don't know. Like, it kind of helps. I think just because growing up like Iran, I just went like identity club. Like a, your, your thing and I I just think I built up the lungs to be able to run that thought long. I don't know. It's just I feel like half of its genetics to be honest. So

Noah Rahimzadeh 11:46

yeah, yeah, probably. And then there's like, also the competitive aspect. It's like, I don't care if I you know, lose a leg. I'm gonna smile and under for a minute. Very cool, man. Okay, so let's get into into Skylab a bit. We have to ask, you know, the founders that we have on the founding story, but what would also love to learn a little bit more about like, what led up to, you know, you founding the agency?

Casey Roeder 12:15

Yeah. So, you know, fun fact actually used to work at Hawk media, music's client, IPG media brands. So

Noah Rahimzadeh 12:25

Mike just posted the we just posted the episode with Eric from Hawk today. Yesterday.

Mariah Parsons 12:32

This week. Yeah, it's Thursday. No. Feels like yesterday. But yeah. On Monday, we posted it. Yeah.

Casey Roeder 12:39

Eric and Tony are great guys. And I think during that time, it was around 2016. So that was kind of when they started take off. And I got to work closely with Gian and a few other. And I think just overall, my whole background in marketing and advertising. I've been doing this for over a decade, and I got to have that firsthand experience and different growth stages of marketing agencies and their businesses. And so over time, I started to realize, you know, missed opportunities with agencies, not from a CEO level, but from an employee level. And, you know, growing my career in that regard, and I think I had a very valuable experience. Not many founders, Cobb, when they started a company in that regard. So over time, I just, for me, personally, I'm, I always look at myself as a leader, and I possess those leadership qualities. And so I wanted to take what I learned from these agents and and apply a better way of doing things, not just with client relationships, but also with employees and how we treat our staff. And I think when you combine those two offers, it's great because you always get to have a better retention, better quality work, and therefore you're likely to have better outcomes with all regards in a structure. And so one of the things that I started right away when starting dialogue back in 2019, which is focusing on differentiators and a sense of how we brand ourselves, our organization structure, how we respond to client feedback and relationships. And also obviously be performance focused and making sure that clients are consistently going above the bar with their KPIs. And so just overtime, we continue to grow. And we are here where we are today with Skylar, you know, the company has been around for four years, and each year we just continue to get better and better with our efficiencies are all staff operations, our buyer relationships. And, you know, I pride ourselves in a sense that our customer retention rate is around 90%. And that's without any outside funding, you know, the company itself has bootstrapped this entire time. We're now in the process of getting our round openings. But I think just to go through four years of not having any funding, that's a lot, because I mean, for me, I can't believe I didn't. We, I can't believe I didn't start any sooner to be honest. So,

Noah Rahimzadeh 15:26

yeah. So I think what's really interesting is like, you had all this experience with other agencies and thought you also possess leadership qualities. And I think a lot of people would just naturally think like, well, I'll just like become a manager, you know, a people leader within these much larger orgs, where they have access to merchants and have the scale right that you you would be missing because of bootstrapped startup agency. What do you think, like possessed you to be like, Nope, I'm gonna, I'm gonna do this on my own?

Casey Roeder 16:02

Well, I think Well, a couple things. I think one thing that I've always looked up to was the leadership needed six, Steven in particular, I think that his attitude really inspired me to kind of look at myself and be like, well, if they can do it, why can't I, I mean, there's, America is a capitalistic society, the land of opportunity. And so because of that, there's so much opportunity to start your own business. And I just became more and more wanting to start a business. And I think it's just something that, for me comes natural. I've always enjoyed businesses. I've always enjoyed the entrepreneur spirit. And so I felt like it was the right time to start that adventure.

Noah Rahimzadeh 17:02

Yeah, that's, that's awesome. Man. I think they were kind of similar in that same vein, like I think about, well, especially in E commerce, like, I don't know about you, Mariah, but it's like, you see these different brands, especially the ones that are like, kind of silly, like with one little product offering and they are 1000 monthly visitors. What, like, why am I not doing something about this? Right?

Mariah Parsons 17:29

Yeah, it can be very tempting. I feel like I'm not I wouldn't consider myself entrepreneurial in spirit, but like more on the creative side. But yeah, I do. I do see that a lot in E commerce, where it's, it kind of feels like there's a poll that might, you know, influence. Wanting to own a business. Yeah,

Noah Rahimzadeh 17:50

yeah. Fun space. Yeah. And, you know, bootstrapping, for for first four years, also, like, I imagine kind of risky and scary. How many employees are you? Are you guys at now?

Casey Roeder 18:05

So we're keeping it pretty small. I mean, overall, this staff, we have six full time employees. But we have around a lot and contractors. And then we have an outsourced agency for our creative and for our web development, as well. So I think, you know, I'll be honest, a lot of companies, they kind of flux on how many employees they have. But if you're smart with your overhead costs, I think it's more important that you have the right players and space that are full time. But that's definitely something that we're forecasting the next couple of years to grow the company in terms of our headcount, but that's where we're at at the moment.

Noah Rahimzadeh 18:48

Yeah, man, that's you guys have done so much with with the lean and mean team. And I also like, not to discount the partners and, you know, contractors and other agencies that you that you work with, because I think that making sure that all of those different pieces fit cohesively, you know, is a big part of your success as well, that probably can be overlooked by others. But, you know, for my perspective, Casey, you guys, like you guys have blown up over the last, I don't know, eight months or so I'm seeing Skylab everywhere. And I'm curious, have you done anything differently? Because I know that like, our interactions have also picked up while I'm seeing more and more of Skylab just organically in the space. So curious, like, what are your thoughts? Are there anything that you guys are doing differently or new approaches you're trying?

Casey Roeder 19:40

Yes. So that kind of segues into our approach with partnerships. I think, you know, when we look at marketing, advertising and how we approach skaila, I think there's several ways that you can go about it. You can do organic content, paid advertising, you can align yourself with strategic partnerships, and I think cuz that's where we found our niche on myself and my team were pretty people oriented, we've loved working with other than a lot of our partners are in the LA area to begin with. And so Dan, who's our head of partnerships and stills, he came up with a brilliant idea of developing exclusive implementation packages with our partners. And so his whole background is from Ragnarok. That's their whole business model as well. And so we wanted to take that similar approach, but make it our own. And by aligning ourselves with other partnerships that are in the education space that are all Shopify oriented, it makes sense to work together. And so we've developed some very unique product offerings to our Rob Dodd business model. And I think it's definitely coming into fruition, all the hard work that we're putting into that program. And we just honestly got, we put our head down and we really focused on okay, what's going to drive the needle? What's going to make? How are we going to take it a step further, Hollis Skylab going to kind of penetrate into the market, as you know, it's not a blue sea anymore. Definitely abroad. And in that regard, we also found out in some ways, and there's a company out there that doesn't know Skylab is boat, we align ourselves with a very familiar partner, like Malomo or kendo or a tentative or ribeye, or whatever it may be, people are going to look at that as validation, social proof. And so I mean, I can sit all day long, you know, I'm, I've worked at Hawk media, I did this, I did that. But what does, what has the company done? What have we done to prove ourselves in this space? And because of that is definitely starting to turn around. And it sounds like okay, like, client relationships definitely are starting to pick up on that fact. So I'm pretty proud of our game.

Noah Rahimzadeh 22:07

Yeah, I obviously I'm super biased. But I love that approach. Because basically, that approach, that's the reason that I have a job as a, you know, as a leader of partnerships. Yeah, it's interesting. I heard this quote, earlier this week, I think maybe late last week, I don't know what day it is. But it was actually on like a partnership podcast. And they talked about how like, in this day and age, it's so much less about what you know. And it's more about who, you know, in the sense of like, in the old days, people went and looked for information online, like, oh, I want to reviews platform, let me go type that in on Google. Like, how many brands do you think are actually going to Google right now and typing in return? Or, like, when I say reviews platform, they're going to their networks and saying, We need a reviews platform? Who do you guys recommend, they're going to the people that they trust, that have like, been there before, like been to the place that they want to be at or where they want to grow to before and asking them what they use. And I think mindset around like realizing that and then developing strategies to support that that's just the reality of the day and age that we live is pretty much like critical, especially in our space. It's so community driven

Casey Roeder 23:33

1000 for science, I think I can take it a step further and say that, you know, when you're buying a product, and you have a front end thought how to purchase it as well, from a tangible standpoint, you're gonna ask questions about oh, like, where did you get that product? Where is it from? Do you like it etc. And not the same thing when it comes to agency and partner relationships, because you're not work is your net worth as super important to align yourself with the right partners, are going to give you credibility and a solid reputation. And I think we've been able to accomplish that over the last six to eight months, in addition to I think, kind of the aha moment for me was, was something that is missing. And that gap between partnerships and agencies, and I think, far too often, a lot of agencies with respect, tend to look out partners as a lead gen driver, in terms of what can you do for me, and how can I be of service to you when really, it's how can we work together to be the best of both worlds? And I think if you come in a genuine approach, you're more likely to get a favorable response, compared to just in a way kind of be ingredient. I think every agency, every partner will have this moment in time. There's enough to go around and if you just stay focused and really make sure that You spend time and you bring value, just by even being yourself, that does go a long way. And people do take notice. So I definitely agree. I mean, for example, one thing that I really love doing is, you know, our offices are located in West Hollywood, California, we're right across from SOHO, and one of my favorite spots is called the addition. I know, you got to talk. Yeah, we're right next to it. And, you know, one thing that I've always been told is, you know, find a spot that you love going to introduce yourself to all the staff and managers, really, you know, put yourself in front of that audience. And then every time you bring a client, or you meet up with someone for a potential networking, and I bring them there, I mean, when you, you done the story, you know, your environment, and you treat your, your staff or your people, close relationships, while it really does and magnify the person that you are and the company that you are that much more. So we do that often do I mean, it's a plug, but I love that place. I mean, it's great.

Noah Rahimzadeh 26:09

Yeah, they have a couple, I think I've been to a couple of their other like properties, but I haven't been in the one in in we Oh, that's cool. That's good to know. And also like a great, great tactic that you just laid out that we haven't heard before. But I think it's powerful, right? Like you walk in and everybody greets you by their first name and is happy to see you. What do you think that person that you brought there for the meeting things like pretty natural, like psychology, their social psychology there. But yeah, I love the approach you guys have taken with, with tech partners and with us. And one of the things that are themes, I think that came out, or that I thought of when you were talking, Casey is if you think about your like, if I think about all of our agency relationships as just revenue drivers, I am not doing my job well. And the reason I'm not doing my job well is because revenue shouldn't be at the center of any partnership. That's real goal. And all of this is to like better serve our merchants, right? Merchants should be at the center. And if we put the Merchant Center, we start to think about creative ways that we can bring value to the ecosystem, outside of just like direct revenue producing things. One of the things that I love about our relationship with Skylab is you guys have brought ideas to us on how we can do co marketing together, how we can take some stuff off your plate, and vice versa, from time to time to help us get more educational content, and thought leadership out into the marketplace that can help, you know, the merchants that we are either currently serving or that we'd like to like to work with over time. And then revenue sort of comes as a result of all of that. But it shouldn't be like the first and only thing that's thought about in the current agency relationship. And I think that skylight is a little bit unique in that approach, to be honest with you. What are your thoughts?

Casey Roeder 28:05

I agree, and I think that I've met many merchants and many clients, potential clients, I met many opportunities. And I mean, I've been to networking events, we're all often brands our approach. And they see the writing on the wall, they see that they're trying to, you know, they'll you sell my service to them. And I think when you get a genuine response, where you focus on the merchant that works out in the long run, because one, you're trying to make sure that the brand is successful with their KPIs and their growth as a business and what their needs are. But then again, coming together as an agency and a partner to provide solutions that go hand in hand with their strategy as the ultimate man because as an agency, we're helping the partner be stable in their approach with maybe implement an implementation, showing the value to the client on why it shouldn't work with this partner. And then in return, the client ends up getting more value because they're getting growth from a consistent manner. You know, we talk a lot about retention lifecycle efforts and having the right partner stock. It's crucial for any brand today to drive some success long term. And when you take it in, not pros, they're more likely to be receptive to potentially trying a new product or a plugin. But if you do it the other way around, and you just say, hey, like, we recommend this, or you're talking to a new prospect and just go up to the top like, hey, like, have you done XY and Z? They're gonna just see that as like a core sales tactic. So when you combine both efforts, I think, kind of going on a tangent here, but you get the idea. No,

Noah Rahimzadeh 29:59

I don't think gives the tangent at all I agree with all of it. And, you know, I think that that's that is a that is something that makes Skylab a little bit unique in a positive way, in my opinion. Outside of that, you know, it's kind of going a step further on the preferred tech stack. I'm curious, if you want to share sort of some of the tools that you're that you're working really well with. That's cool. No pressure there. But I'm curious more so like, how do you evaluate what, what technologies because there's so many in the same category these days, you're gonna, you're gonna end up working with implementing recommending to clients?

Casey Roeder 30:43

Well, we always, let's take a step back from when we talk to an open opportunity, or whatever it may be in their cell cycle, we really look at where they're currently within their business model. And then we ask them what their goals are in terms of this month, next quarter, or year over year. And based on Discovery, we then look at our martech solutions and identify what solutions at that time would be does. And so it could either come down to the pricing there, in terms of the doubt the budget, if they're looking to need more aggressive goals with their an ER or their Rojas, or you're looking to try something out as a data opportunity, and then further implement down the line. Because every brand is different growth stages. So mid market to enterprise day might take a little bit longer to cross implement a new partner shock, whereas a mom and pop shop or startup, they're more likely to try something out right away. But again, it really comes down to aligning with what their business needs are. Because at the end of the day, like we can recommend 10 merchants or 10 solutions for that merchant. But you know, they're not any shows or maybe they're restricted with their budget, it wouldn't make sense to recommend all 10. It's more taking a a crawl walk approach. But that's kind of how we identify it with potential clients, I think, you know, we're always going to recommend partners like Malomo rebuy, kendo, triple, well, North man, those things are kind of crucial to look at your attribution and sales, retaining customers from start to finish and make sure you're on brand of those reviews. But at the end of the day, if you don't have sales coming in, what are those platforms good for. So that's why we always lean in on performance marketing, and your genius and space for and then over time, as once we start to see a positive return, we'll slowly have recognized implementation packages or martech solutions that are a good fit for lob.

Noah Rahimzadeh 33:07

Got it? Yeah, I think that's a, that's an awesome way to think about it kind of, again, putting the customer at the center, right, based on their needs, and where they want to go. Yeah, I think there's, you know, some agencies, for better or worse, right, they, they have a preferred tech stack that they sort of recommend upfront to most of their merchants, and that that can work too, but a more tailored approach, especially when you're working across different verticals and different, you know, sizes of merchant in terms of capacity on their end, employee count, you know, in different growth targets, I think, I think that makes a whole lot of sense. Yeah, and

Casey Roeder 33:48

just keep in mind, Skylab itself is a full service out agency. So it's not just one service, we don't just focus on a niche of like, performance marketing, like we do it all, because we recognize and the data shows that customers at any size, they don't want to silo all their work, you know, they don't want to have a different agency for every single service. If you're able to get a one stop solution. For any brand, it's better for long because you're gonna have a core pod, you're gonna have all you're gonna have everybody in the same room working on the same problem at hand or solution at hand. And so it makes sense to offer more than one service at any time. Should the budget the needle dot brand, does, how we always approach it, and I think also too, it's just, you know, really figuring out what they value the customer, the brand itself, like what do they value in a relationship, whether it's from an agency or a partner and how it's going to best fit their needs. You know, honestly, like personally it is our starting our brand new agency And I'm trying to get the most revenue possible. Of course, I think a lot of people make the mistake of saying, Hey, we recognize 1020 partners, you know, because they get a rev share. But does that really make sense? You got to really sit back and ask yourself like, are you doing any service to your customers? You always trying to think about the customer first before honestly think about yourself at the end of the day.

Noah Rahimzadeh 35:23

Yeah, I'm, I'm sensing a common theme here. That's awesome. So that's great. And and great perspective, I am really want to get into like one, one or two projects that you've worked on recently, Casey to sort of illustrate what you just talked about, like, how does that approach a full service. And, you know, the approach that you take with tech partners translate to a recent project that you've worked

Casey Roeder 35:52

on? Yeah. So I would say our partnership with Bella doll, which is a premium apparel brand all in Los Angeles, we love working with them, it was two years in the making. We've been working with for quite some time now. And when we first started working out with our brand, you know, they were at a point in time where they're starting seeing rising should be as the attribution model has changed. And maybe some of the, the way of doing their performance marketing has been the same month over month, year over year. So they had brought in a new ecommerce manager who really wanted to switch things development and sense of, okay, how can we drive the needle? How can we make sure that we get more sales, but lower that CPA? So over time we've been working with on very closely on that. And I would, I'm very proud to say that our performance marketing team on page social and page search has been able to do that. But also add on to okay, what are some partner socks that we would recommend. And so we've been able to slowly integrate partners like a kind of go or Yabo or triple well, for example, all these partners are going to be all done as to DOM and our customers. And so and so we've actually been working really hard on lowering their CPAs on meta platforms. Believe it or not, we've been very successful in that. And it just comes down to the framework and structure of how we've set up their entire campaigns. Now we're starting to expand on other platforms like Pinterest, and a few others. I don't want to reveal it yet. But our partnership with them is awesome. I love everybody that works for our team does too. And you know, they treat us well, just as much as we treat them molto. That's awesome.

Noah Rahimzadeh 37:49

Do you feel like you've figured anything out in meta fail or Facebook? That's like scalable, just in terms of ideas on going on? And it's not really my wheelhouse the acquisition side, but I am interested in it. So like, is there anything that you sort of had a revelation on that you think you can scale to her clients?

Casey Roeder 38:11

In some ways, like, you'd think it would be a lot more complicated that it is sometimes just staring right in front of your fish. One thing that I've always seen work for any apparel brand, even when I was a media buyer, back in the day, we're running product beauty campaigns, typically for those that are on apparel, just taking their products, the constantly updating it based on collection, or products view or modality, whatever it may be, and just running data campaigns on that, and making sure that the campaigns installed are broad and using certain placements. Because there are times where you pull in the product feed and maybe the images don't the the requirements of Facebook and Instagram, Instagram Stories, whatever it may be. So it's just becoming because everyone nowadays, they're always saying be broad as possible, because of the the Facebook pixel and iOS and whatnot, right? In a sense, that is true. But you can still be granular and all of your targeting, you can still have different data sets and target based on product selection. You can still a B test ad copy messaging, you can still do a lot of things that are very intent based, and still keep it broad. And still, obviously you want to wrap it up and remarketing users based on whatever it may be and identifying with the brand and what their needs are as well. dusts kind of approached Viola steak and I think, doing it incrementally as well. And not as you know, pouring $100,000 In one week or one month. I think if you in my opinion, slow and steady wins the race, and that's with anything and by I think going back to running a half marathon, you know, if you just jump out the gate and put all your energy at the very first week, you're gonna fatigue, you're gonna basically lose all and it's important to look at Brands, your business and in terms of longevity, you know, that's how people got a shot.

Noah Rahimzadeh 40:20

Yeah, I think I think definitely another unique perspective there. And that's the that's really helpful, tactical advice as well. So we just talked a little bit about acquisition, which is a little outside of our, our comfort zone, Casey, but well within your wheelhouse. Let's shift over to retention. Given we're on retention Chronicles, we always have to ask this question. What do you feel like retention just means to ecommerce brands? How, what's your what's your view on it? And what do you feel is an area that brands regularly neglect when it when it comes?

Casey Roeder 41:00

So personally, retention for me is keeping your customers for the life of your brand. So what I mean by that is focusing on your lifetime sales. So what does that mean, from a business owner? How can you properly forecast your business model? How can we make sure that you're purchasing the right amount of inventory each quarter, making sure that these products are fulfilled and shipped out to your customer, all while making sure that everybody is shopping, you know, to your employees to your inventory order, guys, to the people that are ordering your products, your customers, whatever it may be? It's very, it's a it's a hard balance at the end of the day. So one of the use ways to maintain your customer base is looking at the value of that customer. Often, like we just talked about acquisition, so many brands, focus on that first purchase, acquiring that customer, but what are they doing to retain that customer? How can we make sure we keep them locked in and ready to purchase time and time again. So I think it's so important to make sure that when you're looking at your LTV, LTV, LTV, what does that actually mean? And making sure that you're off, you're constantly looking at new ways to verify your customer base, whether that's a subscription model, whether that's keeping your, your your order on brands, such as using Malomo, and keeping the excitement with customer from start to finish, making sure that they have an experience. And again, like an agency of brands are constantly trying to dig out and get someone's attention to purchase the product. Once you once you've done that, what are you doing to keep the customer and that's really important, important to know, your KPIs to know the value that you bring to your customers and to keep them excited as constantly engaging them with new content and new product deeds. Just keeping it fresh. I mean, you know, just because you have a product and it does well the first time, you know, people are gonna look at you eventually. So it's constantly thinking about I mean, it's with life in general. So yeah,

Noah Rahimzadeh 43:21

we've had a lot of like, you know, business or E commerce lessons that apply directly to life lessons as well. But yeah, that's that's awesome. I think we we talk a lot about what isn't so awesome, which is just like how insanely expensive it is to acquire customers. It's no longer like because because the first days of like first purchase you know, profitability are so far gone. It's like you there is it's not just like you shouldn't acquire net new customers if you don't have a plan to retain them in for like in get them to buy more get them to buy the second or third or fourth time or whatever it cost to make them profitable. It's literally you will go out of business like it's no longer a nice to have. The reality of the situation is in today's world like acquisition cannot just fuel all of your growth you must grow through retention because if you churn that first customer after their first purchase, and you do that repeatedly you will literally be out of business.

Casey Roeder 44:40

Yeah and think about it this way. You know when you think like a consumer think about others when you purchase a like a hot for the first time. And you'd love that hot you'd love it so much that you want to buy more but they only have one product naturally you're gonna look at the competition and see what they offer. And then your, your competition not only has that same exact model or same heart that you have, but they have them in different colors, or they have different products that you can purchase to eventually become a repeating customer. And that's how you get how that's how you develop a loyal fanbase is by offering more than one product. And just, yeah,

Noah Rahimzadeh 45:24

yeah, absolutely great point. I think things like, you know, subscription programs, or paid membership programs or loyalty programs also feed into that a lot as well. You know, that pretty much all of those being impossible without more than one product, but you get where I'm going. Like, there are ways, there's always ways to think about maximizing LTV and driving repeat purchases beyond just, you know, more skews, right.

Casey Roeder 45:55

That is correct. Yeah.

Noah Rahimzadeh 45:59

Okay, so we're coming up at time here. Great, great lessons learned. Give us because, you know, it's been an awesome journey for you so far, working at some of the biggest agencies most respected in the space and then starting your own. Certainly a unique and and very cool path, like, what are one or two things that have helped you get to get to where you are today, Casey?

Casey Roeder 46:24

Yeah. So personally, I think one of the thoughts, my thoughts and I think would be really important to know, it's never give up, continue to keep trying, you know, running a business is very hard. People just look at how much money you make, or look at how successful you are from a kind of a holistic overview. But they don't see how hard it is to day in and day out running a business. And you can literally apply that to your personal life as well. I mean, there's a lot of things that people don't talk about that, you know, the world doesn't want to see of you. But it's really important that you stay true to yourself, and you keep going, even when it's super hard. And those are people that are successful that when at the end of the day, because nobody likes a quitter, people want to keep going, they want to work with the best of the best. And part of that is your attitude. I think one of the things that I've always, you know, took with me is, you know, your attitude does make a big difference. And you have to put yourself in a environment where it's condensed about that. So if you're not happy somewhere, you're working at a company that you don't like, whatever it may be, leave, I mean, the world is your oyster, you can do anything you put your mind to it. But just always know that you cannot give up even when things are tough. There are a lot of business leaders, there's a lot of people that are very successful, but they had dark days too. So if you just keep going keep trucking along, you're gonna be just fine. And that's what people see. They respect people personally and professionally, for keep going. Even when you know, it's not all great. So I always like to say that, that I think it's very important to have that attitude. I love it.

Noah Rahimzadeh 48:14

I talked to my sister earlier and something you said in there made me think of a conversation we had. I like how you said, you know, successful people are the people that you view as successful, right, they've certainly felt the same way that you do right now or the the way that you did when you're going through a tough time. And what I'm realizing like as I get older, I think is like when you're going through a tough time, there's very little that can make you feel better. Like you just kind of have to suck it up and know that like this is a season of winter and like there's a summer around the corner. But one thing that does actually help me at least is knowing that like when that summer rolls around and you get out of that dark season, you'll be better off for like having gone through those hard times like you wouldn't be to where you are today, Casey without going through some of those trials and tribulation earlier. And you'll go through more, and you'll have more success as a result of getting through that. So, man, I love that lesson. Moroccan,

Mariah Parsons 49:16

anything. No, I think this is wonderful. I agree. I don't think anything else I could add would benefit. I think you you both expressed that very eloquently.

Noah Rahimzadeh 49:28

Yeah, very cool to hear you say that. Like I said after a conversation I had very similar with my sister earlier. So Casey, man, this was so awesome. Like I said long time coming but well worth the way. Can't wait to get this out to the public probably around the time we got some other cool content between us coming out. So excited. That's right, for our partnership and exciting time for Skylab in general. So really appreciate you taking time and we'll certainly be be collaborating again very soon.

Casey Roeder 50:00

Thank you and thank you for having me. It's been a pleasure just catching up and talking about all things ecommerce related. And I hope you got it Enjoy the rest of the day. And not only that, but the people out there listening. Keep going, and we'll be talking soon. Awesome. Thank you. Thanks.

Mariah Parsons 50:19

Thanks, Casey. Thank you