S4 E9: Understanding Shopify apps before tackling paid media with Jon Snow (Founder & President, The Snow Agency)


On this episode of Retention Chronicles, we’re joined by Jon Snow, Founder & President of The Snow Agency. Noah Rahimzadeh, Mariah Parsons, & Jon Snow talk about:

  • monetizing influencer marketing,
  • integrating with other partners,
  • understanding the value of an agency background,
  • using modern day media buying principles to leverage,
  • creating narratives and blending SEO with launching a new brand,
  • how to amplify all your efforts,
  • looking at retention marketing,
  • taking the human element out of media buying,
  • understanding the Shopify tech stack before approaching paid media,
  • diversifying where you're selling your products on all platforms,
  • the risk of competition on social media, & more!

Register for our LIVE PODCAST: https://gomalomo.com/resources/live-podcast-bfcm

Be sure to subscribe to our pod to stay up-to-date and checkout Malomo, the leading order tracking platform for Shopify brands.

Subscribe to Retention Chronicles on Apple Podcasts


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


brands, retention, agency, work, year, clients, tick tock, business, miami, merchants, shopify, platform, influencer, building, seo, orthodontic, integrated, revenue, e commerce, day


Jon Snow, Noah Rahimzadeh, Mariah Parsons

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. Hello, everyone, it's Mariah here. Before we dive into this week's episode, I just wanted to share that we're officially announcing our hosting of our very first ever live podcast, it's going to be with some of the top players in the shop by ecosystem, I couldn't be more excited for it. It's free, it's virtual. It's on September 7 at 3pm. Eastern. We'll be hearing from the assistant director of customer experience at broomy, the director of E commerce at rocket chocolates, director of customer experience at Mugsy, jeans and more. So if you want to join us had to go malomo.com To get your name on the list or click on the link in this episode's bio. That's go Malomo g o m a l o n o.com. Now let's roll with the show.

Noah Rahimzadeh 01:48

Okay, welcome back, everybody. latest episode of retention Chronicles. And one I think, John, it's been a long time coming. John Snow founder and president of snow Agency joins us today which we're super pumped about I think, I think snow agency not not necessarily you, John, but somebody on your team was like one of the first conversations I had when I started out Malomo A year and a half ago. So that's why I say longtime coming and really appreciate you giving us some time today.

Jon Snow 02:19

Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Noah Rahimzadeh 02:21

Yes, yeah, I wish I wish you were in New York for grow. That's where I'm at. We could we could have done this live. But when we do the next one. I'll come down to Miami and we can do it there. Plan. Yeah. Beautiful background you got there in the office. I actually didn't know did snow agency has an office in Miami. That's like, kinda rare these days for dedicated space, right.

Jon Snow 02:49

So this morning, it was actually built in New Jersey. That's where our headquarters was then I made the move about two years ago. And here we are now in Miami is the headquarters of snow.

Noah Rahimzadeh 03:00

Amazing. Amazing. I've been down there a couple of times to visit our mutual buddy Brandon from electric. He's also been on the pod a couple of times. So next time I'm in town we'll definitely hit you up. We we obviously talk a lot about Shopify ecosystem and retention, marketing and all that but before we get into that, we like to ask our guests one or two things that you're excited about in your personal life.

Jon Snow 03:28

Yeah, so what's the I mean the thing I'm most excited about honestly is NFL season is right around the corner so training camp starts in a couple of weeks diehard New York Giants fan so that's top of mind for me. I'm a huge sports fan and like the past few months once March Madness ends it's brutal slow time

Noah Rahimzadeh 03:45

so brutal. Like it is a blessing that that period in the sports year is during the summer because at least like weather wise it's the best time of the year you don't think as much about how horrible it is that the only thing we have on his baseball.

Jon Snow 04:03

Exactly. Yes Perfect time to travel. I never tried to travel during football season God forbid God forbid I missed one football Sunday.

Noah Rahimzadeh 04:12

How many giants games do you normally go to a year do you like

Jon Snow 04:16

well now that I live in Miami it's a bit difficult to go to at least a few last year they played in Miami so that was an obvious one. I do have season tickets still. So I find an excuse to go back to New Jersey and try to time it of course with one of the giants or at home so like three or four games a year I hit right now.

Noah Rahimzadeh 04:34

Okay and then how are we feeling about the about the squad?

Jon Snow 04:39

I'm always overly optimistic. So I tried to like pump the brakes. I mean last year they exceeded expectations. We'll say second year. Same coaching staff got some continuity. Hoping another playoff run who knows giants make the playoffs are dangerous.

Noah Rahimzadeh 04:54

is a safe one healthy.

Jon Snow 04:57

Well the question is a safe one signed here. Okay. Well actually, they haven't been to the franchise tag tender but he thought and signed it so we'll see if he plays but he's supposed to be healthy all end up playing.

Noah Rahimzadeh 05:12

Yeah. Okay. And then we got to ask about basketball since that just finished. Are you are you a Miami fan? Now? You can we can get away with it.

Jon Snow 05:21

No, I'm actually a Miami hater when it comes to basketball. I'm a die hard Knicks fan. So like I was rooting against Miami. In the finals.

Noah Rahimzadeh 05:28

Yeah. You hate them for any reason other than they won the east. Well, yeah, I

Jon Snow 05:34

mean, they've just historically not the Knicks out of the playoffs since a kid my dad always said, Don't become a Knicks fan, you're gonna be you know, devastated more often than not like he is and he was right. But yeah, I just have literally grew up watching, you know, the Knicks in the heat in the playoffs and just the Knicks always getting knocked out and cared a lot more when I was a little kid, that's for sure. But now I just accept it and never gonna win.

Noah Rahimzadeh 06:00

That's why like a playoff run is good. Good. Really great year anyway, so expectations, love means you can you can enjoy it a little bit more. Yeah, we Mariah and I were talking before the recording started. Both in Indianapolis normally when I'm not traveling for work, or for fun. So we had some good, some good pacers Knicks rivals back in the day. Oh, yeah.

Jon Snow 06:25

Reggie Miller also was Nick killer. It was really the Pacers and the heat. Those are the two.

Noah Rahimzadeh 06:31

Absolutely. Yeah. And that was like, I think I was probably an infant when that was like at the height of its of its rivalry. But like even just watching back on like, whatever. 30 for 30. She mentions that rivalry always gets so high.

Jon Snow 06:49

Yeah. Span right there that red female or like at last, like 30 seconds that when that sums it up, right?

Noah Rahimzadeh 06:58

Yeah, eight points in nine seconds or something like that. To knock them out? Yeah.

Jon Snow 07:04

It's got an MC you just got to be top in

Noah Rahimzadeh 07:07

the top and

Jon Snow 07:09

already you guys. Thanks.

Noah Rahimzadeh 07:13

Yeah, we'll see. We'll see. We also signed Tyrese, Haliburton to max contract, which seems to me like a little aggressive. But we'll see. We had to make some moves. So

Jon Snow 07:26

if the guy wanted the Knicks to draft when I think yeah, there because they needed a point guard and he was the guy so Okay.

Noah Rahimzadeh 07:33

All right. Well, cool. Now we got both. So we'll see. Okay, anything else before we move on?

Jon Snow 07:43

Personal? Well, I'm an orthodontist. And this year recently, actually, I got a piece of research of mine published in the National orthodontic journal. So that's like a huge accomplishment for orthodontist. I don't treat patients anymore. But this is research I have done over a few years and took a while to get published. And it finally got through. So

Noah Rahimzadeh 08:04

like, first of all, that's awesome. I also love how like your personal life that you're excited about is like a side your side gig of being in.

Jon Snow 08:16

Yep, most of the personal life. It's like that's, that's there's like my way of thinking. It's like if your professional life bleeds into your personal life, and you kind of see your professional life as a part of your personal life, and it becomes part of like a hobby set. That's when you really thrive. So it's like, if you enjoy what you're doing, that's where you go the furthest?

Noah Rahimzadeh 08:35

Absolutely, yeah, I think I think that might come back around when we ask our final question today, but that's awesome, man. Congrats. Okay with that, with that said, we mentioned the orthodontist, you know, side side. Tell us about, you know, your background today, and would love to also incorporate that, like, how you went from orthodontist I imagine like school and then career to founding an E commerce agency.

Jon Snow 09:07

Yeah, let's hope you have two hours for this. I'll give you the abbreviated version. So over 10 years ago, I was I was actually a general dentist in the Air Force. I was stationed in Louisiana, and middle of nowhere, not New Orleans, it was Shreveport, Louisiana, which is like Northwest in the middle of nowhere, like right on the border of Texas and Arkansas and Oklahoma. And I had nothing to do after work because literally nothing to do there. Other than go to the casinos. They have a ton of casinos out there. There's only so many days a week, you could do that. So the days would start early 7am. And at 3pm I would get home and nothing to do is before I was married, so my brother was building these large social media pages back then. So he owns rap at rap on Instagram, you know, 10s of millions of followers throughout his network, but he was building a bunch of pages just like that. And he had the idea of hey, why don't we build an affiliate marketing platform that got all these influencer pages, all these athletes, all these celebrities or publishers on the platform, and then brands that wanted placements on those pages could come through us. So I ended up helping him on that there's before he even knew what digital marketing or social media was outside of personal use, and build this platform with him, it was wildly successful, we drove nine figures in revenue through that platform within a couple of years of launching it. And this is just as a hobby, and I was learning on the fly got pretty deep into it. That's where I was learning, like offer testing, landing page design, you know, managing influencers and everything like that, and understanding what works and what doesn't work. And then we, you know, got deeper into it. And we're like, how do we leverage this huge network we built, you know, to take this another step. And that's how we got into E commerce, we started launching Shopify brands. So we launched our first Shopify brand, literally, you know, a classic Shopify entrepreneurial story. My garage and Louisiana was on my fulfillment center with literally shipping out orders out of there only driving, what were you selling? We were selling. It was like jewelry, accessories, so like necklaces, rings, things like that watches. And so we're driving traffic purely through that influencer network, we built and drove seven figures in revenue profitably from day one, just through the influencer marketing. And that's where we started getting deeper into and we're like, wow, we really have something here. Why don't we learn paid media? Imagine we learned, you know, conversion rate optimization, and everything on the back end? How to Shopify app, you know, ecosystem, what do we need to build towards our tech stack to optimize everything here? Email marketing. So we started thinking about all these things, we built a blueprint, and we launched the second brand. Same results, seven figures in the first 12 month, profitably bootstrapped with a credit card, and we launched our third brand, eight figure brand, did eight figures within less than a year actually. And then that was one that we really started carrying, we started building a team around that, and then we fast forward got up to nine brands in our portfolio at our peak, I'm still a dentist at this point. During this time, my Air Force commitment is finishing up start orthodontic residency, I wasn't ready to leave my whole career I worked 30 years to achieve. And I went to dental school to become an orthodontist. So I wasn't going to just give up that dream. kept seeing this through and juggle both for a while. So I moved back to New York from there. During this time, start, you know, had our nine brands had our team assembled, we have like 15 people off managing everything between patients on the way to work on the way home from work, I was taking public transportation an hour and a half each way from New Jersey to New York City. So I had plenty of time to you know, work before and after I got to the clinic. So, you know, during that time, outside of our brands, we started building reputation. No brothers are launching all these brands, you know, they're they're scaling, we want to whatever they have, we want. So brands started coming to us asking if we could essentially run their marketing using the same strategies we were doing for our brands. Then we took on a client. And then we had as many clients we fast forward a few months now we all these other clients start coming in and had to choose, do you want to be on the brand side or the agency side? Right. And so we realized we were most passionate about the growth, marketing, you know, hated fulfillment, we were running our own fulfillment center at scale. That's not fun. Don't recommend it. So we exited those brands to focus on building out the agency. And that was that was four years ago. And then during this time, the agency, you know, launched officially September 2019. I was finishing up residency in early 2020. We all know what hit in 2020, New York City, that's where it all started. So I was actually under contract to buy an orthodontic practice right at the tail end of my residency, then COVID hit the next week. So I pulled out of that deal. And during that time, we know what happened with E commerce, digital marketing skyrocketed. So the agency just started growing like wildfire. I pulled out of the orthodontic practice deal. And then I haven't looked back, I never went back to practicing. So it's crazy. I didn't invent like COVID that all up but if it wasn't for that, I would be still juggling both careers.

Noah Rahimzadeh 14:12

Yeah. Wow, what a story man is just on unbelievable. Um, the first thing I was curious about is like when you when you built that or sort of piece together the probably one of the first like legit influencer marketing platforms, I would imagine back in the day. Did you like did you like monetize that at all with other with other brands? Or did you just simply like build it out of necessity for your own portfolio? No,

Jon Snow 14:42

we actually monetize it. So essentially, it was like it was affiliate marketing. So typical, you know, brands would pay a fixed CPA, you know, will pay an influencer $50 For every purchase, they drive. Every influencer had their own UTM that we were facilitating, and then we would just take a cut, you know if it was five or 10 10% of that CPA so that the you know, influencer would get paid $40, the brand was paying $50, we would take that $10. And so we were monetizing this. And this was actually through. And it's funny how things change. The reason why we stopped doing that platform is because this relied on driving traffic and revenue purely through organic influencer posts. The value of influencer marketing today isn't in the organic posts, taking that piece of content and then amplifying it on the ad platforms actually putting media dollars behind it. So if we would have pivoted it, then, you know, we probably have another business we'd be talking about right now. But the E commerce side of everything we were doing was really taking off. And you know, we didn't have time to honestly juggle building that platform, pivoting it towards like a creator platform, like all the ones that exist today. And we just kept running with E commerce brands and scaling through paid media.

Noah Rahimzadeh 15:52

Or, yeah, I want to maybe dive a little bit deeper into that, like the the tactics that you're employing today around affiliate marketing. But first, I'm also curious, like, I imagine it was a major decision to decide to, like, you know, sell the sell the nine businesses that you created and focus on the agency, like what, what went into that thought process and decision making?

Jon Snow 16:17

Yeah, I mean, you get to the point where at scale, like you need, you need one business model. And we realized, obviously, you know, it would almost be selfish and spreading ourselves too thin if we tried to scale both in parallel. Sure. In order to like, I firmly believe if if you spread yourself too thin, you'll, you'll just be a jack of all trades, master of none, and you have more value that you can extract from really focusing on one thing, and going all in on it, rather than trying to make two things work. And then you're never really going to get too deep on either. And then you're it's a constant seesaw battle, where should I spend more time and then it's like, you may take one step forward here, and then two steps back on the other side, and then you go, and it's the same thing, and then you're kind of playing with that balance forever. So, you know, it was an easy decision when we sold those brands, because most of them honestly became clients we sold. We weren't actively involved, but they wanted to keep us on for the marketing. So it was a no brainer to just plug and play into our agency side.

Noah Rahimzadeh 17:14

Got it? Got it. Got it. Got it. Okay, and then sort of piggybacking off of that, obviously, like you and you and your brother have a really unique experience founding and like, also with the hands on experience of running brands yourselves. What would you say like, you know, this, like, there's a new 100 agencies in the Shopify ecosystem every week, it seems like, what what would you say? Sort of like sets sets no snow agency apart? today? Yeah,

Jon Snow 17:48

that's a great question. And I think it's a question that if you're on the brand side, you need to ask your agency. Yeah, because the certification, you know, oh, this agency has certified, they know what they're doing. Like, there's no, you know, if you if you go to the doctor, they went to med school, they went to dental school, they graduated, they pass the board, right, you go to an agency, there's no type of, you know, governing body that dictates if they know what they're doing. So you need to understand where they come from their background, how they became an agency. And that's what sets us apart is that we were actually on the brand side. For years and years and years, we did it ourselves with our own dollars didn't raise $1 of money started with a credit card, everything we did was profitability in mind and understanding the brand side, you go to the agencies today, they might be good in the ad platform, you know, you go to a Facebook ads agency, they know Facebook ads, like I'm not gonna say most don't, but they don't understand anything outside of that ad platform that impacts all of the results within the ad platform. So, you know, we understand the full Shopify app ecosystem, you know, we were your customers, ourselves on the brand side of all of them. So we bring that consulting approach where every brand comes in, and we do a full website audit tech stack audit, we make website optimization recommendations, we make tech stack recommendations, you know, hey, you could increase average order value if you simply install X, Y and Z app. And you know, we can implement it for you and your return on adspend are your you know, your marketing efficiency ratio will go up proportionally, if we can increase your average order value by 20%? You know, find me a media buying tactic that can increase average order value 20% at the flip of a switch. And that's the beauty of the Shopify ecosystem is that these apps integrate, you know, it's you don't need to be technical at all to take advantage of all the innovation that's happening here. So we understand that side, we understand conversion rate optimization, we understand SEO, we have a full breadth of experience and capabilities, and we understand how to identify the problems and any e commerce business and we have the solutions in house or we can collaborate with other teams, you know, if you have solutions external to us to really solve the biggest problems for every business.

Noah Rahimzadeh 19:56

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think that I I think the founder experience for cells and I love that you call it out, like bootstrapped because I think a lot of times if you know you've made a name for yourself in the space, you can go raise a bunch of money, and then how how, you know, How involved are you actually in, in the operational and like, actually, you know, operating these businesses, if you just went and raised a bunch of money from people who are more much more hands on you outsource it to an agency, right. So do I do agree, like, I think the work that we've done together even sort of speaks to how diligent you guys are in hands on you are with your clients? I'm wondering now, well, first of all, you know, what kind of clients do you typically serve? I want to make sure that we we let our audience know, like, who you who you like to work with who you're typically working with? And are you based on what you just said, you talked a lot about SEO and conversion rate optimisation? Are most of the engagements really acquisition focused? Or do you sort of blend acquisition and retention? Where do you sort of sit in the customer lifecycle?

Jon Snow 21:13

Yeah, all great questions. And pretty complicated. So recently, actually, I'll start with with the acquisition, right, because that kind of frames where we're at today. So we were actually recently acquired by Avenue Z network, which is the founder of avenues ie the CEO of Avenue Z, Jeff Herzog. He was the founder and CEO of iCrossing, a very large independent agency, that's 20 plus years old. And then you know, he exited that to Hearst Magazine did it again, was on digital exited that invest its digital money came in wanting to build avenues e network, we wanted to do it a third time on a large scale, potentially even a larger scale than he had done before. So avenues, e networks, no agency was the first agency acquired by Avenue Z. And since that, we've acquired two other agencies, an SEO company, and a PR company, and we all actually have different clients sets. So at the snow agency, we've always been focused mostly on ecommerce. 95% of our clients are Shopify brands, our ideal client profile is really Shopify Plus brands, I'd say doing at least a million in revenue are are well funded, and can really extract the value of the services that we can provide, you know, if they don't have a media budget, you know, that's commensurate with you know, the service retainers we charge, it doesn't make sense to work with us at an early stage, or if funding is a sincere concern. So yeah, I mean, our strategies are actually pretty similar, whether it's a brand pre revenue, we've, we've taken brands pre revenue, actually, we took one brand pre revenue, now they're at a $60 million run rate, within three years of launching, so I mean, they're growing like wildfire. So we're really good at launching, that's what we did nine of our own brands, before we are an agency, then we have some of the largest Shopify brands in the world, come to us, you know, when they're already in 910, figure revenue range. So I mean, we, we can really fit in at any given point in time. And, you know, we have a strong acquisition program like page social page search, but then also, we have a great email, SMS marketing team, as well. So, you know, anywhere in the lifecycle, we can really help out. So I would say, that's no in a nutshell. And obviously now we have the SEO expertise. Most of their clients are b2b, you know, the Orlando magics of the world and triple A's of the world, the universals and now we have that PR company as well. And it's really technology, FinTech, health, tech, Frontier tech, you know, VCs P ease, but when you bring them all together, so like our client portfolio is really diverse. Now, when I think that's the beauty of it all, because when you bring a performance marketing element and all the learnings and scrappiness of E commerce, and you bring that PR, whereas more brand awareness, upper funnel, kind of the new blend, it hasn't been done before. And that's really our North Star. So it's creating narratives, you know, in earned media with, you know, Forbes TechCrunch, any any publisher out there, but how do you take that narrative and amplify it on paid search? Right on on the organic search results page on the Facebook ad platform and target certain people with the narratives that you're putting out, you know, with personalized messages, so we're bringing kind of these things together. It might seem like it doesn't make sense, but we're integrating it and it's gonna make a lot of sense pretty soon.

Noah Rahimzadeh 24:34

Yeah, yeah, that was gonna be a question like, do you see a world where a client a client of snows now will be able to access the resources of the other two acquisitions that, that avenues he made? It doesn't sound like maybe right off the bat. But once you start to sort of like learn from each other and integrate offerings that could actually be another sort of up level for for your merchants.

Jon Snow 24:59

Yeah, we didn't, we didn't expect it to be this quick. It's been really quick. And it's been wasting further than we expected. You know, the other companies we're integrating with are also world class and what they do. So we were already sharing a lot of a lot of our clients are now you know, opting in for SEO, a lot of the PR clients now want to learn more about amplifying through social media. So we're pretty much fully integrated at this point, the PR amplification service that I keep alluding to that's still in the works. There's a lot of work to be done there. But you know, there's a lot there's a lot of collaboration happening right now.

Noah Rahimzadeh 25:35

Yeah, yeah, very interesting. That's awesome. And I think going back to sort of what sets snow apart now, what sets Ave Z apart is like you mentioned it with those other two sort of leading agencies that are now folded under one umbrella is like, just the, like, the credibility alone, I think, is a differentiator. And I think part of that is like what I was saying earlier, there's so many new entrants all the time, and they might see your point No, like Facebook ads, or they might know Clay, VO. But being able to sort of tie it all together and be like legitimate business operators is like in and of itself a differentiator. I mentioned at the top of the episode I'm in New York for for grow this week. And last night, I was talking to a founder who said, she's had I asked her if she's working with any agencies, she said, she's not right now, because she's been burned a couple times. And one of the examples she gave was an agency didn't work out. And she had somebody reach out to her on LinkedIn saying, like, Hey, thanks for the like, Thanks for the recommendation to the agent to the this agency, she didn't name who it was. And she was like, What are you talking about? Well, turns out that this agency had created a fake email address, pretending to be her to give, like a positive review. And, you know, I think that there's probably a lot more of that going on, then we would, we would probably even know just because the agency space is super crowded. And there's a lot of people who think like, it's, it's an easier job than it actually is. If you're not, if you're not legit, and kind of kind of come from the space and know what you're doing. So crazy story from last night here in New York. But I think the credibility thing in and of itself is huge. And snow agency certainly has sort of established themselves as as one of the one of the good ones.

Jon Snow 27:34

Appreciate that. Yeah, that's a wild wild story. And you know that the biggest issue that I've found is really like the siloing of all these things. So it's like your Facebook ad agencies, you have PR agencies, you have SEO agencies, you have CRO agencies, you have all these million different things, and they might all be good. But if they don't communicate to each other, so if you're a big brand, and even if you build it internally, you have your SEO department, your whatever, I don't repeat them all again, but you then you might have some of those external, but usually they're siloed, they don't talk to each other, they don't have an integrated strategy. And by having that under one roof, you know, with an agency like ours that is now acquiring best in class, and then integrating all of that every business that comes to us now we take a much different approach than selling this the one service we offer, right? So like they might, you know, someone might come to us saying, We want Facebook ads, instead of selling them Facebook ads, we can do a proper Discovery now like understanding Hey, what what are you actually having issues with in your business that potentially Facebook ads can solve? So they might come in for Facebook ads, but we realize they need SEO, or they need Google ads? Right? And a lot of times, they don't know what they don't know. But now by us having all these subject matter experts in every area you can think of that contributes to one thing, which is improving a business's outcome. That's I think, the true differentiator now,

Noah Rahimzadeh 28:54

absolutely, absolutely. Very well said. Okay, let's let's sort of shift focus and get a little more tactical, what, what's a recent client project that the you or your team have worked on that you're really excited about? And you don't necessarily have to name any brands? Or any, you know, very specific metrics, but if you can share any color around that always helps. Yeah,

Jon Snow 29:19

I would say honestly, the biggest winners a pretty recent one. can't name the brand by name, but everyone that's listening has heard of this brand. It's one of the bigger Shopify brands in the world. They came to us with with really just like a stagnancy problem, you know, we're just page social in general, like they didn't feel like they were, you know, moving the needle and things just felt stale. And their goal was really to acquire more new customers. There's there were so large, that you know, they already had millions of customers. They want to find new customers that are not yet there. They don't want to spend 90% of their budget on retargeting, they need to grow the business. Right. So that was that was really is our main goal. And by sin we adopted this we inherited the the Facebook and Tik Tok accounts. You know, things were being done decently. They weren't awful. But by simply just applying modern day media buying principles on that on tick tock and consolidating the accounts and coming up with an actual creative strategy roadmap and diverse creative testing, I'll say we were able to cut spending half their spending an exorbitant amount, we cut spend in half and doubled the amount of new customers we acquired, and increased overall revenue. So it's not like we just shifted budget from retargeting to prospecting, and, oh, we doubled new customers now, we increased over brought incremental revenue doubled in the new subscribers, or the new customers and cut spend in half. So we saved I mean, we're talking like, hundreds of 1000s of dollars at this point in just six months.

Noah Rahimzadeh 30:55

Wow. Can you share any of like some of those modern day principles that you you've been able to leverage?

Jon Snow 31:04

Yeah, so really, the first thing is consolidation of the ad account, you know, so the way that we inherited it, I mean, there were like, probably close to 100, campaigns, everything was spread thin, a lot of things were stuck in learning, you know, and just there wasn't, there wasn't a ton of creative Ted like zero actual ad copy testing. So we we just reimagined the way that the account was set up, everything got to active phase, we segmented you know, the store out by different collections, different target demographics, and then came up with a creative testing roadmap, then there was, you know, another format that wasn't being leveraged at all, like advantage plus catalog, which is great for high SKU stores. So nothing, you know, earth shattering in that regard, but we did have a ton of different creative formats that weren't being tested either. And we weren't just riding the coattails of this brand success, we were actually, you know, if it just because you have a report a 10x, return on adspend doesn't mean that, you know, you shouldn't be testing, right? It might mean that you inherited an account that's already so upset, so successful that, you know, a monkey could keep it at a 5x minimum, you know what I mean? But like, doesn't mean you can't take it from a 10x or 20x, by extra testing and reimagining. So that's what we did.

Noah Rahimzadeh 32:20

Sure, absolutely. Do you find like, especially when it comes to, you know, so growing pains, social or any of those sort of like, key key aspects of the business that you feel snow does an amazing job helping like, is that are there common sort of themes that present themselves like when a client like that comes to you it's like, well, the first thing we're going to do is this, because we know most merchants who are only using an in house team, or who have never done any sort of, like, formalized testing are always going to have this this problem. I'm just thinking like, you know, how do we how do we bring some value to our merchants today? That may be something that they can look into that most merchants don't? Don't think about?

Jon Snow 33:10

Yeah, I would say like, where we bring the most initial value to all of our clients is, when we do our website tech stack audit, we can improve performance within like a matter of minutes by just identifying something that's so simple that they could implement on their store day one, and have a massive impact on their business. So that's really the first thing. I would say if you're a marketer, you're a brand like you just need to understand the Shopify app ecosystem and website analytics before you even think about paid media. Because if you don't have that, right, there's no point on driving traffic to a website that's not optimized, like you're just leaving money on the table. So really, that's where we come in. I think like, the the businesses that come to us that see the immediate value is like, I think that businesses that just aren't doing everything, they're not like to their they might be great product people, they might be influencers or celebrities, they might have a team that. And this is actually another thing that I see often is like, a lot of these these brand owners, they have an internal team. But like if the brand owner is not a technical marketer, they don't have media buying expertise. They don't know how to build a team, they don't know how to manage a team, they don't know how to hire, they don't know how to critically even understand if the team is doing well or not. They're just like, okay, it is what it is. I don't know what they don't know. So I feel like those when those businesses come to us and they don't have that, like technical side, it's like it's like pouring gasoline if they're already successful, and we just bring best practices across the board like hey, you're missing this, you know, email automation flow that you could set this up and boom, that'll work. We could you know, act some of the some brands come to us they don't even have an email or SMS strategy still in 2023. They might have like abandoned cart flow set up. That's it. But as we know, retention marketing goes far beyond that. I mean, all that low hanging fruit it still exists. So on at least 50% of ecommerce brands that I come across where it's like almost like a no brainer or common sense for agencies or you know, experts in the space, but those are the ones that that really see the biggest potential.

Noah Rahimzadeh 35:13

Yeah, yeah, I'm happy. You mentioned that like the sort of no brainer, whether it's a no brainer app, or a no brainer strategy to put in place, kind of shifting focus to retention a little bit. Because you guys have such a strong background in acquisition now kind of offer the full suite of retention and acquisition, like, how do you feel? How do you sort of like look at retention when you do an audit? And what is an area whether again, whether it's an app, or some sort of tactic that you see brands regularly neglecting when it comes to retention marketing?

Jon Snow 35:54

Another great question. So retention, I think, everyone, it's a misconception, like, I wouldn't say misconception, but everyone thinks retention marketing, they just think generating revenue through email and SMS campaigns that are just pushing sales, that's not retention, that's a part of a retention strategy. But retention is, you know, generating revenue through email, SMS, push notifications, improving customer experience across the board, whether that be through, you know, customer service, you know, responding to, to phones quickly, being helpful or responding to live chats quickly. Or you know, whether it's just that post purchase experience, quick delivery times quick fulfillment times transparent updates through email and SMS about where the package is, once it leaves the warehouse. Once it's, you know, out for delivery, once it's actually delivered. And then a follow up email, how do you like the product, please review it like, that's also where retention comes into play. But then also email, SMS, push notifications, a communication strategy outside of just selling things, telling the brand story talking about the brand admission lifestyle associated with the brand, building in, you know that and then even introducing community, potentially, whether it be a discord community, or a Facebook group, or wherever your community wants to live, it's up to you, but building a community and a lifestyle around that, and then incentivizing your customers to join that community and interact with each other. They become brand evangelists. That's kind of how I would summarize retention.

Noah Rahimzadeh 37:23

Yeah, absolutely. What what do you feel is like, the lowest hanging fruit that brands should branch out look at like, right now, you know, as far as evaluating their retention program, because to your point, most brands are doing email SMS right now, some are some might not have, like the full strategy. But I think out of the box, even with clay vo when you when you implement it, like the abandoned cart flows there, right, like there are some some flows that are out of the box that are gonna help not only with acquisition and conversion, but also with retention. Let's assume most brands at least have like that baseline. What's like the next step, right? Like, what's step two,

Jon Snow 38:04

I would say, like the lowest hanging fruit that we look at benchmark, because if email and SMS and push revenue does not represent at least 25% of your overall store revenue, that means like, you could be, you should be doing something to take a look at this further to get it there. And that's just a part of the overall retention game, as I just mentioned, it's not everything, but obviously, everyone cares about the money, that's the sexiest thing to talk about. So if you're not hitting 25% of that overall store revenue through retention efforts, then you're probably leaving money on the table. And I would say the most, the most common thing that I see is, when we talk about like uncovering opportunity in retention accounts, tech is not integrated. So you might have stamped or Kenda, whatever review software you prefer, you know, on the store, but you don't even have that flow enabled. So, you know, how are you even increasing the number of reviews on your store, if you don't have that simple automation turned on or integrated? And then, you know, there's many other tech integrations, you know, there's upsell, cross sell, there's, you know, the subscription, you know, when backs if someone charges subscription have an app flow turned on, there's the you know, obviously a branded tracking page, right? So I mean, there's all these things to think about. And it all ties back to retention that not many brands are thinking of.

Noah Rahimzadeh 39:19

I love that I love that like very tactical stat because I think brands right now can you know, drop what they're doing and check how much revenue they're making from their, their retention channels and make sure that it's at least a quarter of their, of their revenue. And yeah, we see that too. I mean, to your point earlier, John, like, while it is really easy to integrate apps across the Shopify platform, it does take some effort and and not just effort, like to press the buttons to get the tech integrated, but then the strategy behind like, how they all flow together. Right, and I think that's something that a lot of times, agencies like snow can help With and then how

Jon Snow 40:01

do you optimize the technology you're paying for? Right? Like, I keep going back to the, you know, the review software, you could you can sign up for Stanford or kendo or Yafo. But if you're not increasing the number of reviews, what good is it? Right? Like, what's the strategy around it? And how do you connect all the dots?

Noah Rahimzadeh 40:17

Exactly. Okay, cool. So we talked about retention, some great, great nuggets in there. What are you guys excited about at snow between you and your brother in the in the team in terms of like trends that are going to be sort of driving the future of the Shopify ecosystem and E commerce in the back half of this year and into 2024?

Jon Snow 40:45

Yeah, so there's a few trends. I mean, the first one really is like, what I'm excited about, is really taking the human element out of media vine. Okay. Driven media buying. I mean, it's all objective brands, know, their KPIs, they know their goals, they should know what their breakeven, you know, CPI is, what their breakeven return on adspend is, whatever metrics they're looking at. They know it, it's a number. It's mathematical. So you plug that in, and you know, how much better is a machine that potentially controlling or optimizing campaigns, whether it be scaling or cutting budget, or turning off or turning on, that's really be done by machines, not humans, there's a lot of human error and subjectivity that can be introduced into media buying, the humans should focus on the things outside of the ad account that impact the media buying performance, like the creative strategy, the conversion rate optimization, the funnel testing, offer testing, the integrated strategy with SEO and organic and paid and PR. So that's what I'm excited for. It's still not here yet there are certain software's that have rule based things. But how do we take on another notch where machines are actually looking at saturation curves? You know, so should you scale this one ad set or audience that's already saturated? You might have, you might have a 5x, return on adspend on it, but you'll have diminishing returns if you keep scaling it. So like a machine should be able to understand when that audience is saturated or not, and make decisions on it. Humans would take forever, and a lot of math to figure that out. So that's one thing I'm excited about. And I know everyone loves talking about AI. So that's my top one. Yeah.

Noah Rahimzadeh 42:19

Before we move on from that one, are there any, any specific AI tools that you've seen already doing this? Well, in sort of, like easy to adopt and get started with or

Jon Snow 42:33

it's too early, so I'm behind it, but there's a lot going on that we're evaluating, and I'm excited for it. And I'll be happy to share once once I see. The next one is really tick tock shops, everyone talks about Facebook shops, Instagram shops, tick tock shops, I mean, we've seen We've had some clients just turn on their tick tock shop. And anytime they post something organically, you know, the product has tagged in there, and you can shop right through that post. I mean, we've had, we had one brand that turned this on, they sold out of an entire SKU hundreds of units within that day from one organic post. And I don't know if this tick tock like really digging into this and like favoring the algorithm for brands that have that activated and sending those things viral. So word gets around, kind of like what they did in the early days of random organic videos going viral. So everyone would start you know, investing their time and building their upcoming freight or their we'll see remains to be seen. But right now that's kind of a hot pocket where a lot of brands are seeing a ton of crazy organic success through Tiktok shops. So that's something we're excited about. Then I keep mentioning the convergence of PR and paid media that's what we're and it's that's something that we're building on meta meta has really been focusing on partnership ads, I actually tweeted about that today and posted on LinkedIn about an early test that we did, we did an A B test partnership ads, versus you know, standard like publisher or creator whitelisted ad or influencer whitelisted ad. And the partnership ad is far outperforming interesting 80% confidence of whitelisted ad and everyone talks about influencer whitelisting influencer whitelisting. But we're seeing that met as new shiny object for partnership ads, which I don't see many people using today. We're focusing on that. And that's actually part of our PR convergence tactic that we're focusing on. So let's say we have a FinTech client, and they were just featured in TechCrunch, or Forbes or whatever published publication. We got them that earned media but now if we can run paid media to that, press release, and they can say, you know, whatever business with TechCrunch and now run paid media to it to that press release. Now that PR narrative we got out there, it's getting amplified through partnership adds. So that's what I'm really focusing a lot of my time on right now is building that out. Now, the thing I mean to keep an eye on for 2023 is really the consumer the strength of the consumer and the Fed and interest rates and inflation, everything we do in performance marketing ties back to the consumer consumers aren't buying and they're they're timid to spend their money because they don't have as much disposable income, there's only so much we can do on the back end of Shopify or in an ad account that will convince people to buy. So everyone kind of misses that. I think that's like the big picture thing that affects us the most that nobody talks about, I've been pretty vocal about it. For the past two years, consumer consumer sentiment index has been at the lowest level it's ever been in the past 40 years of it being tracked. So people aren't buying things. That's what the index tracks then how are we going to sell things? Right? So like, once that the consumer becomes stronger, everything we do will magically start to seem like it's working a little better. So that's what I would keep an eye on for the back half and 23.

Noah Rahimzadeh 45:47

On that, no, I've been like, we obviously, you know, our business model is based on an order per month basis. So like we we see all that data. And, you know, it's one thing to look at net new merchants and what they're doing, but we also have the historical data of what all of our merchants have done. And we saw, like a see, you know, we typically see a little dip in q2 on on order volume overall from from the merchants that we've served, like on a year over year basis. This year, though, while there was still a bit of a dip, it wasn't as like pronounced and that shocked me, because I would have thought, based on what you said consumer sentiment, and everything else that's going on in the macro, that we would have seen like probably the biggest dip year over year that we've ever seen. That wasn't the case. So my you know, in my head, I'm wondering is, is that because the dip hasn't come yet. And it's going to or did we somehow engineer this soft landing that, you know, everybody says it's so elusive? what's your what's your take on that? Do you think that that it gets worse before it gets better? Or?

Jon Snow 47:00

I think the worst honestly, I think the worst is behind us inflation has already rehearsed. The Fed has already shown that they're, you know, gonna be pivoting and hopefully rates start dropping in 2024. I don't think they're dropping this year, if anything, I think they might increase this month or the next month. But it seems like the worst is behind us. So I think when we look year over year, I really do think last year was the worst. So we look year over year, it's not shocking that we're either flat, maybe slightly ahead, maybe slightly under? I think you know, I think the worst is behind us.

Noah Rahimzadeh 47:34

Good. Love it. We'll take the positivity. Oh, there's one. One other thing I wanted to ask you about. In terms of the trends that you called out? We talked about AI? Oh, yeah. On the on the sort of the things that we can't control, right, like, what the Fed does and what consumer sentiment is also tick tock is another thing that's been in the news a lot. And while there's massive opportunity there, there's obviously more risk with tick tock than probably all the other social media platforms. How do you think brands should factor that risk in if at all? Based on the latest in the news?

Jon Snow 48:13

Yeah, I think I think brands should always think about risk. And I don't think you if you're a brand, you're if you're not diversifying, like where your brand is, if you're all in on Amazon, or you're all in on tick tock, or you're all in on Facebook, you're you know, you're doing yourself a disservice. Because one day if one of those platforms decided to pivot on a policy or compete with you with a product like Amazon loves all the time, or increased rates and it destroys your business, mommy, if you're all eggs in one basket, you're you're doing it all wrong, and you better think now about how to fix that before it's too late. So when it comes to tick tock, yeah, you need to evaluate the risk. I don't think anything's gonna happen with tick tock. It's, you know, all media hysteria, I think, you know, where there's smoke, there is fire, but I think it would be, it would be a massive deal. If tick tock actually, you know, got shut down for political reasons. I think it's just important for brands to understand the risk inherent with data and privacy and everything that potentially goes into it and have policies internally around it. And there's no way you know, what you're getting yourself into when you're there. And if it's something that you decide, you're worth taking a risk on, then yeah, it's great. But if like, if you're only on tick tock, and something does happen, don't you know, don't be surprised, or, you know, blame yourself if that's where all your investment was.

Noah Rahimzadeh 49:31

Yeah, diversification is good advice for more than just your Shopify merchant, I think. Yeah. And with that, let's wrap it up. So, but I think Mariah, we can confidently say John is the only orthodontist we've had

Mariah Parsons 49:51

100%. I've just been absorbing all of this because it's so amazing. But yeah, with confidence, I can say, Yeah, you're the only ortho doneness we've had so setting the goal pretty high.

Jon Snow 50:03

Talk about Invisalign next time, we could do an hour long episode, I

Noah Rahimzadeh 50:06

love it. Insane, like insanely impressive career, obviously, so far, John. So like, you mentioned earlier, you said something along the lines of while we talked about diversification. I think that that goes without saying, but you had also mentioned about like finding your passion, one of the things that we like to wrap up with is like one tip or trick that's helped you kind of get to where you are, and that still guide you, in your career day to day.

Jon Snow 50:35

Yeah, I would say, no matter where you're at in your career, whether it's you're an individual contributor, whether you're owning a brand, whether you're an agency owner, or a business owner, you just need to always stay curious and always be learning because like the moment you stagnate, as an individual, you're not going to progress your career, you're a brand owner, your brand won't get to the next level, it won't stand the test of time, because we're in such an ever changing environment where if you're not ahead of the curve, you're gonna get left behind. If you are ahead of the curve, you're you're going to be way more valuable as a as a person, as a brand, as a brand leader, if you're a leader of a company, and you don't understand where we're at in the world, whether it be the economy, whether it be platform updates, whether it be anything, if you're not ahead of that like and people see that, you know, the business is kind of stagnating or not keeping up with the times that's where you lose buy in that for your business kind of reverses the growth and start shrinking. So always learn I mean, I'm always in my free time, like, I you know, subscribe to newsletters, I'm curious. I'm always trying to figure out what's next. I think critically, I talk to a lot of people see what their perspective is and learn a ton from my peers. So that's like the main piece of advice I'd give.

Noah Rahimzadeh 51:52

I think it's fantastic Any, any, like, in particular newsletters or or, you know, subscription things that that our audience should look into and sign up for?

Jon Snow 52:02

Um, that's a that's a really good question. There's a variety of variety of DTC podcasts, I don't want to call any out by name, I don't want to upset people if I leave them off or forget about them. But there are probably three or four DTC podcasts itself where if you're in this industry, if you own a brand, you work at a brand, you own an agency work at an agency, you need to seek out these things, because the amount of information that is being delivered in real time, whether it be iOS 17, which probably 90% of the people listening, don't even know what that entails, or if it does impact ecommerce or not or how all this stuff is being delivered to us. It's just telling us to find it out and then figure out when to listen to it or seek out that information. So I would start with podcasts. I would also go to Twitter, LinkedIn, I mean, if you follow the right people and you seek this out, it's you'll you'll be able to get to the next level. You'll learn more on a day to day doing that than in any textbook you pick up,

Noah Rahimzadeh 52:59

right? Absolutely. Cool, man. Well, again, really appreciate you stopping by this was awesome. Lots of good tactical stuff, lots of great trends to look out for. And a lot of value overall to to our listeners. So appreciate you stopping by and hopefully we'll see each other in miami real soon.

Jon Snow 53:18

Been a pleasure. Thanks for having me. See you guys soon. Thanks.