Season 2 Episode 3: Taking potentially transactional touch points and making them personal


This episode we’re joined by Vasa Martinez, Founder of Growthbuster, an ecommerce agency, and Perfy, a beverage brand, as well as the CMO at Outer Aisle. On today’s episode we talk about

  • Vasa’s internship with Quest Nutrition Bars

  • Developing a network early in your career to learn from the best

  • When to outsource to get the job done vs when to keep it in house

  • Creating a rolodex, or a housefile, to know your audience

  • Shifting your retention strategy based on the quarter

  • How to get people to continue to open email and SMS

  • As well as how being authentic manifests a better connect with your customer

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

Subscribe to Retention Chronicles on Apple Podcasts


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


gb, people, brands, retention, agency, customers, podcast, founder, pay, year, strategy, perfect, tick tock, vasa, called, marketing, email, acquisition, hire, q4


Vasa Martinez, Noah Rahimzadeh, Mariah Parsons

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:05

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

Mariah Parsons 00:16

Hey everyone, as you probably no potential Chronicles likes to bring in some of the best retention focus brands in the Shopify ecosystem.

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:24

But we don't just feature grants. We also feature some great thought leaders in the Shopify ecosystem that served us brands.

Mariah Parsons 00:31

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

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:39

We hope you'll stick around to learn and laugh.

Mariah Parsons 00:42

Retention Chronicles is sponsored by Malomo a shipment in order tracking platform improving the post purchase experience, be sure to subscribe and check out all of our episodes at Bo Hello,

Noah Rahimzadeh 00:59

how are you?

Vasa Martinez 01:00

Good good. How are you?

Noah Rahimzadeh 01:02

Good man said I'm just gonna kick us off.

Vasa Martinez 01:04

I'm good with whatever. I'm a sniper on these things. I'm so in my zone. I love this shit.

Mariah Parsons 01:09

Oh, incredible.

Noah Rahimzadeh 01:13

Promo clip right. All right. Welcome to retention Chronicles. I'm Noah are here today the head of partnerships here at Malomo. And today, Mariah and I are joined by Vasa Martinez, the captain and founder at growth buster. Welcome Basa it's great to have you, man.

Vasa Martinez 01:33

Thanks for having me. stoked to be here.

Noah Rahimzadeh 01:35

Awesome. First of all, how was the weekend? What'd you do?

Vasa Martinez 01:40

Big sports weekend used to an hour so that's good. Yesterday, it was my girlfriend's birthday. So we had a mellow day of watching hours on end of NFL so it was very mellow.

Noah Rahimzadeh 01:50

Who are the teams?

Vasa Martinez 01:53

Is the Tom Brady fans? I don't think she has like a team team. Wherever he goes if he was playing for like the LA defenders or something like that. She's like the defenders so she likes them. I'm unfortunately a Jax fan. I followed them when I was I went to UCLA graduated oh seven and my freshman year I lived next to Maurice Jones drew who's just more true than Oh, and Marcedes Lewis. So I followed them. They both got drafted same draft first and second round and doesn't six my junior year. And so I followed them ever since. But I might have to make some sort of transfer request to the Chargers or the Rams.

Mariah Parsons 02:30

That's funny. Yeah. My dad's the same way like follows Tom Brady, wherever he goes, but for Yeah, it's it is just funny like seeing like, if people like I feel like for me, I'm not huge football fans. So just seeing like people. I'm like, Oh, I like that person. So I'll just like, follow them around. I felt really funny.

Noah Rahimzadeh 02:50

I really feel like Tom Brady is the most followed athlete in that sense of all time. Like I hear that more about him than anybody else. Like normally you have a team you don't have a player. I hear that all the time about Tom Brady. And it might be one of those like weird effects because I'm a cult fan. Of course, I noticed that Tom Brady love a lot more than the average.

Mariah Parsons 03:13

You gotta love the goat right?

Noah Rahimzadeh 03:15

Yeah, I saw it too like this. This is the first time ever I think four teams in the same division started off the year and nobody had a win. But two teams played each other and Coulson the the Houston

Vasa Martinez 03:35

Texans Manchester. Yeah, awful, awful division.

Noah Rahimzadeh 03:38

Yeah, it is. Luckily for us, though, because we're not great yet. And maybe we get maybe we sneak into the playoffs. Yeah, always, always enjoy football coming back. It was a great day yesterday for us to let's, let's get into some shop talk. Asa. I'd love to hear a little bit more about your background. And then leading up to and including the founding of growth buster.

Vasa Martinez 04:07

Yes. So the that whole story starts when I graduated in oh seven we have that recession is pretty gnarly. I kind of had a couple real weird jobs out of UCLA as well. Like, is this really what happens after college? This sucks. I turned down an internship at the UN. My party too hard in college and wanted to get home and revive my health and that's exactly what I did. I had a surgery I had to deal with anyway. And I started working after I was done with the surgery and healing I I worked for a company that's actually freaking enormous now was called Rapid seven. It was like four or five people in this office small office in Torrance where I actually live now like just down the street. And as like I suck at this. I don't know what network security is. I just needed my salary things I could get my car out of college. And I left was probably within a month and then I worked for some shade. Chiropractor I finally finally, I was like, What am I doing? That's one of my friends told me that you got robbed or something. And I was just driving by a TGI Fridays. That's actually right where I live right now. And I walked in, and I was like, eff it. I've got to, I've got to do something. And I walked in, I applied to be a host. The gym was really nice. He gave me a server job. And then from there, I worked and learned from Pretty, pretty intense corporate company, and then worked in Hermosa Beach for five years after that. And then finally, I said, Hey, I got to do something else. And I got an unpaid internship at Quest Nutrition, my favorite protein bar, they're brand new. This is back when they had chicory root fiber. So I remember I was working at my old job, I bought the bar at the liquor store right next to it, put it in the fridge almost broke a tooth ox and no chicory root fiber gets really hard. But either way, I still applied for that unpaid internship. And I was able to prove that I was a hard worker, and I was smart enough to be there. And from there, I learned for four years straight just from some of the awesomest most talented people ever, like people from quest that hasn't had left and started successful agencies have gone on to work like brands that Khalifa farms, one is now like, like the CEO of only fans, like Amy, Amy worked in marketing. And we were pretty close to each other for those years I was there. I was like, yeah, there's so many successful people that I was able to learn from all of them. I'm still a sponge to this day. But after four years, I decided I was gonna go be a director of marketing somewhere. And if you think about an unpaid intern, Director of Marketing, and for us pretty, pretty quick. And I just realized, man, I don't know, right now, if I cannot afford to have my growth stunted. So I had to do something pretty drastic. And I started my agency and it was initially consultancy. And I was working for some cool CPG brands. First couple clients were having protes no cow when it was called DS naturals and K shake. And I was able to create like a system. And it was kind of nice, because I was getting paid way more than a salary job because I could charge people, you know, certain amount per month. Because again, this is cool. The next year my incorporated it was able to get a company card and all of that good stuff. By the way, if you're a freelancer right now, S Corp is the way trust me on it. By the way, it's not financial advice.

Noah Rahimzadeh 07:20

Why is that? It's a pass through

Vasa Martinez 07:23

entity, so you're not getting taxed twice. So it's really nice. You still gonna pay your taxes, but I mean, it's, you're not getting double taxed. Sure. And then it really turned into something I brought on one of my close friends. And he came on as a VP of growth. And together, we were just getting things done. And this comes as like February 2019. Now, I'm working on another client that we're called Bear Power foods. And I see this company, we have a real good niche for low carb and keto products. And I see this company called Magic spoon. What are these guys up to? Yeah, and I look in and say it was like pre launch said low carb cereal or something like that. I don't think it's that cereal. I think I just Yes. And I don't know what you're doing. But sounds like something that's right up my alley. And I never do outreach for sales for GB. Never. They were one of the ones. And we talked for a couple months, we ended up working with them. We still work with them to this day shooting content. And that was really the second chapter of GB where, like people came to us. I heard you work with magic spoon, we want to work with you. And that's GB and then finally, you know, as things happen, I want to continue to pursue growth. I started perfect. And sorry, that was a long ass answer. But that's it perfect. Three minutes,

Noah Rahimzadeh 08:38

we want to dive into it. That's awesome. So like when you approach quest, what what were some of the the kind of the tasks that they put you to work on? And over time, like how did you sort of round out to a point where you're ready to take on this huge sort of director level

Vasa Martinez 08:59

role? So first and foremost, the internship was on Craigslist. I was on this back when you could find nine jobs on Craigslist. I responded to and I said hey, I think it was I still have the screenshot in my

Mariah Parsons 09:14

oh my gosh, you have to give that to us. I want to

Vasa Martinez 09:18

I love quest. And I eat them all the time. I have no idea. I don't think I said I have no idea what I'm doing but I'm not in the same industry. I'm down to be an unpaid intern. I don't don't pay me I could still work my job and I'll be fine. This has come in for an interview tomorrow. And I went in at that interview he said go and you got it when you want to start I was like I can go back to my house and her most and grabbed my computer and come back he's like done. So I left that and this is kind of weird, but I left that and I was actually like pretty emotional when I walked out of the parking lot like holy shit this is gonna be this is the start of a new life for me. Yeah, my work, working in nightlife you can get caught up in a lot of different things and I think I was a little past Atlanta where I wanted to be so that was a huge moment in my life. And then the things that they have me do honestly at first, but my first assignment was to put together a dry erase board. I am bad at Legos. I am, I cannot build a Lego. Like I don't even care this instructions I get lost like an add on. Anyway. So I had 20 bucks in my pocket, and I went to one of the facility guys, I was like, Hey, give me 20 bucks if you build this driver. He was like done.

Mariah Parsons 10:27

You learned early to leverage your network. That's That's what that means. So

Vasa Martinez 10:31

I went back in the office to my CMOS office is like, done, he was like, How'd you get it done? I outsourced it. He was like, I love outsourcing. So I did like that for two months where no matter what the task was, like, couldn't do it, I find a way to get it done. Even if it wasn't me doing it, like I'd pay somebody to do it, I wouldn't take advantage of anybody. But that's kind of how it went for months on end. Finally I became salary, worked my way up for a little while ultimately took over the cooking division, which was probably my favorite time in my career where we were working with different influencers. This one Facebook Live was new. So we were like really cutting edge on our marketing. And really grew that quite tremendously by taking a different approach. And this is back when UGC content was a new type of term. We had foodies taking pictures of quest products, using different products to make recipes coming on live, like we had a Olympic volleyball player, bumping volleyballs, while she was cooking to show how easy it was to make something with class and under 15 minutes was called cook clean and 15. So that's a fun name. Different different stuff like that, where I was able to get different repetitions in different places. And then to be honest, answer your second part of the question. When I took a director marketing job, I wasn't ready. And I think a lot of people aren't, you're gonna grow into it as you kind of get your feet wet?

Noah Rahimzadeh 11:43

Sure, do you feel like that is sort of the the way to do it, to take it on, you know, to take on that next huge challenge before you're ready most of the time. Or if you were to go back, would you have taken a lesser role in sort of been more comfortable stepping into the head honcho sort of position,

Vasa Martinez 12:04

I definitely wasn't ready to be a CEO of a beverage company. So I think that, that that kind of mantra lives in me where I think you'll learn as you go as long as you're willing to. So I think there's people that are open to that. There's also a world where I think about, you know, what am I going to do after perfect? Or what am I gonna do after this time? What am I gonna do in the next chapter of my career? How fun would it be to not be a high level, you know, position and maybe just be like the Director of Social which in and of itself is not an easy thing. But having the chops of building an agency building a beverage company. I'd be way too Boomer to be a director of social in the next five or 10 years. So I'll be like, I won't be with the times at that point. But I do think of the opposite where you're overqualified for a job, but oftentimes, that's just as risky for whoever's hiring somebody that's, that's under all of that.

Mariah Parsons 12:55

I do want to say, I feel like you saying you would be too much of a boomer for that. I don't think that exists now. Especially with tick tock like anyone can make it. So I I, I, what's the word I'm looking for? I support those dreams. There we go.

Vasa Martinez 13:10

I think from a strategy standpoint, I can hang with the best of them. But from a like, it took me a while to figure out some of these new words that are out, you know, keeping up with the words, depending on where you consume your content, it's tough to keep up with those. And if you use them in the wrong, like kind of way. Text, you're definitely boom. I think that's where hiring the right people will help get you through that you can just kind of dictate the strategy and make sure it's executed on and all that.

Mariah Parsons 13:34

Yeah, outsource the new dictionary that comes along. Yes. Yeah.

Noah Rahimzadeh 13:40

Outsourcing is ingrained from the get go of this career. It

Vasa Martinez 13:44

sounds Yeah. Oh, yeah, that dry erase board was gonna be the death of me, man.

Mariah Parsons 13:52

We love the honesty, though here. That's incredible.

Noah Rahimzadeh 13:57

I want to ask about sort of what makes growth Buster stick out from the pack. But before that, I'd love to hear how you sort of think about balancing the brand. And the agency and what your sort of day to day looks like when you know you're really working two sides of the e Commerce of the E commerce. There's actually

Vasa Martinez 14:19

three sides. I'm also the CMO of outer IO.

Mariah Parsons 14:23

Okay, did not add that to the list.

Vasa Martinez 14:29

How do I balance it? I kind of answered the question this way all the time. It's, I give perfect 100% of my time and I give growth Buster and outer I'll excess of that time. So I give more time per week than I should. But when you think about it, you got to take a step back. I was working 80 or 90 hour weeks for growth Buster the first four, four years I'd say when you're five I finally had to take a step back in December take five weeks off, get some shit back to get customers. Yeah, you're fine. So let's get some things back in order And then I did then that helped me this year where it's not as hard as you might think, yeah, I could probably do things more extensively in certain areas. Yeah, I could probably be on more client calls for the agency or Yeah, I could put more slides together for a marketing deck for certain things. But ultimately, I think the job is getting done across all and nothing suffering too much like nothing I could have controlled with GB. Yeah, it's a lot tougher these days with the economy. You know, we're not, we're not going to grow this year. But at that same time, on that same note, like I never really wanted to be a five or $10 million agency, I wanted to work with a handful of dope brands that are doing really cool things that are solving problems in the food system. And that Northstar has always been there. So not and then on top of that, it's not all me doing the work. I hired some really great people,

Noah Rahimzadeh 15:49

you outsource some stuff.

Vasa Martinez 15:50

I mean, if that if we're considering hiring or outsourcing. Yeah, like I delegate a lot of what I used to do, I used to take everything on, like, no worries, I'll get it done, I'm going to do it, I used to call them what I used to call my second second shift, they call it second shift, I would do my like, like, as soon as I woke up, I'd go to the computer, and then I'd go until I couldn't anymore that take a little nap, get back to it. And I just stopped doing that. And the result of that has been the team has grown tremendously, we're smaller, but we're still, you know, everyone's getting better. And they can do a lot of things. You know, we do email SMS, now we're still doing organic social, all of our systems from literally 2017 When I started this, like building an editorial calendar, and for those first three brands, that still exists today. So to answer your question, how do we stand out? I don't know. You know, I'm not I'm not going to pull on any other agencies. There's just 10 of us now, I don't know, I don't know if the answer is that we do stand up. You know, there's a lot of people creating very satellite agencies and what are the what I do and I respect it, because that's how GB started. There's a lot more competition. There's a lot more UGC creators, there's the creator and economy now. So there's a lot more competition, I don't know that we stand out the way that we used to. But I can tell you this, having worked on both sides of the table with both GB and without around perfect. I know that my team, they're gonna go above and beyond in the hours, we might not always hit those KPIs. But we're, we're not going to do bare minimum. I'll put it that way. And I have 1000s 10s of 1000s of dollars with perfect that I wish I could get back in some instances where I know that GB wouldn't have done that. So now I lean lean pretty heavily on I don't pay GB through perfect because that's a conflict of interest. But I know that I can trust the team and their effort and and their know how to get certain things done for perfect. So in a way I have a free marketing department. There's no such thing as free but in a way.

Noah Rahimzadeh 17:40

Yeah. Right. Did you talk about quiet quitting on the on the first episode, it sounds like bluster is not quiet quitting.

Vasa Martinez 17:50

I just can't stand for that. Like I've pretty high expectations for the team. I want them to be their best. I want GB to be a platform for people to eventually, you know, grow in their careers. Like I want it to be like a plucking ground. I don't literally want people to pluck my employees. I want them

Mariah Parsons 18:07

I want it to be like to be so good. Yeah,

Vasa Martinez 18:09

I want it to be like, Oh, you were at growth Buster for five years. Like you'd be a great hire. Like that's my goal for the team. It's not a one dimensional. What can they do? For me? It's like, How good can I make GB? And how much can I train them and give them the reps that they need? So that once GB is ever done or whatever, whatever happens with GB? I don't plan on getting rid of it. You know that they have a great career for it.

Mariah Parsons 18:32

Yeah, I think that's a great feather to like, keep in your hat as well. And with quiet quitting, yeah, it's like the have you heard of this? vasa? Okay. Yeah. So I, on a previous episode, explained it to our other co host, Brian. And it is an interesting phenomenon. But I think it's great that you have what not from working at GB, obviously, but what sounds like a great like culture and kind of like petri dish for like, elevating, you know, all of the different parts that touched GV, whether it's your, like co workers or your employees, and then like all the different brands that you're working with, and you know, just kind of creating that whole ecosystem. So I really respect like the honesty, honestly, that you're like, willing to share that obviously you don't want people to be poached from your agency, but that you want to have that kind of like caliber, and that you expect to have great results, I think is very respectable.

Vasa Martinez 19:33

Yeah, well, I want them to be I want GB to be like a shining star on on the resumes moving forward. Because, I mean, there was there was a couple three different opportunities to sell GB last year. And I'm glad I didn't, you know, like there's a lot of freedom that to be had when you own your own agency. And there's a lot of freedom especially when you could train a team to do a lot of the things that you were normally doing that you don't have to do anymore. So I That's why like when you have See, how do you have the time? Or how do you balance? I can trust the hell out of the GB team to do client stuff. I'll jump in for the high level stuff and you know, certain client calls. That's an important thing where they bought me time to be able to work on perfect for the past year, I mean, developing it, launching it, it was six months and now. So they've been able to get a lot of good experience.

Noah Rahimzadeh 20:21

You said something that was really interesting from you know, an agency founders perspective, thinking about and and a brand's perspective, right thinking about the balance of when to when to leverage an agency, rather than when to hire in house to build it out or use the resources you have currently, there's probably a much more intelligent way to ask this question. But you sort of see where I'm going, is there? Do you have any thoughts or advice around like, when you would say, you will save money by leveraging an agency even though it seems more expensive upfront? Because it sounds like you ran into that problem yourself? firsthand? Yeah.

Vasa Martinez 20:59

So there were certain things where last year my team didn't have the time to do it, we hired an epic email agency is expensive, but you know that that's not any part of the the funds I wish I had back there. They're fantastic. You probably know, David Boson that structured there, I love them. And they helped out perfect, get our flows set up and all of that. But at some point, I had to pull the plug on that because you've got to wait for retail to really kick in. And it's a long little bit of a sales cycle. So I think going back to your your actual question, though, it's gonna vary based on founder, you know, like, there might be a founder, that's epic ad ops, someone or somebody who's just straight from Wall Street, or someone who's a CFO experience, their strengths are going to be their strengths and their weaknesses, and blind spots are gonna be different than mine. So I didn't hire a marketing agency. And it's quite funny how many photography or studios or marketing agencies reach out to, hey, we want to work with perfect like, can you beat $0 per month? If you get if you'll pay me to work, and we got something going Yeah, GV can can take a hike. But that's not the case. So and it's not, it's also not one of my weaknesses. I hired agencies for r&d, and for ops. And those are two of my biggest weaknesses. I don't have an agency refinance right now. But we're not doing 10 million a year yet. Like that's one of the that's one of the hires, because it's one of my hugest weaknesses. So as a founder, the tools that I have in my tool belt are going to vary. So someone hiring an agency doesn't always mean a marketing agency, there might be an outsourced ops agency, there might be an outsourced r&d, not everyone's a food scientist, you know. So everyone will have a point where they have to come to the question of, should I hire this in house or hire an agency? For me? I think an agency is a lot more flexible, there's probably a premium, you're definitely not getting 40 hours per person. Like, why should Why should you like, I see both sides of the fence on this one? Like, why should Why should I get 40 hours of an agency person's time when I'm not paying for their phone or their Wi Fi reimbursement or not paying the payroll taxes on their, you know, on their employment, you know, depending on the state, it gets pretty crazy. So there's there's benefits and savings to be had, I can tell you this, the opposite agency I have there the most expensive, expensive invoice I get every every month, but it's not one that I'm scared of, because they have saved me so much money, I cannot calculate it by knowing how to do X, Y, and Z, or out of and I probably would have been able to launch perfect until two years from now if I did all that stuff by myself. So just depends on the founders my direct answer.

Noah Rahimzadeh 23:21

Sure. That's really, really insightful. I think it's a super unique perspective that you have on that specifically. Okay, shifting focus to retention a little bit. Obviously, we're on retention Chronicles, we want to talk about the balance of retention and acquisition. And again, I think you bring a unique perspective here. So can you maybe just talk a little bit about brands who either lean too much on acquisition and neglect, retention? Versus like, not, you know, realizing that retention is super important, and then letting acquisition fall by the wayside?

Vasa Martinez 24:02

Yeah. So without our own, people don't buy a lot of cauliflower products in q4. So I look at is in two parts, like a two halves. The first half is actually three quarters, how much can we acquire during those three quarters? And I call it House file? How many people in our Facebook group? How many people have downloaded our app? How many people are in our messenger marketing group? How many people are on email? How many people are on SMS? How many people are affiliates? How many people are subscribed? I think that's all set. And that is what I call House file. You could call it a Rolodex, digital Rolodex, whatever you want house files, I mean, how do we bolster that with actual people that are interested in buying your product? q1 q3. And then in q4 when you know acquisition gets tough budget goes down a little bit. I would not like a lot of people saying their budget goes high for Black Friday, Cyber Monday. But it depends on your product and it depends on the founder cauliflower is not that thing that someone's saying Whoo, it's Black Friday, I got a line in my, my four pack sandwich thins. It's just not, you know, like, as many holiday recipes as we do, they help. And they're our top performers. But it's not like somebody cannot wait for a Prime Day, cauliflower do. So the way that we strategize there is really focus on retention, we focus on it every day of the year, but especially in q4, and as a result, we've had record Q fours. Every year, I've been there from 2018 2019 2020 2021. And now this year, we'll break that record again. So I think that when people there's always conversations about CAC, and all of this, and yeah, it's expensive, and CPMs are expensive, and all that. But at the end of the day, you can quantify how much it costs to get somebody new in your house file. Now, getting out the duplicates, like someone might be an SMS subscriber or an email subscriber, you know, a sent, they might be in the Facebook group, they might be on the app, whatever. Still, net new is net new. And there is a cost that you can associate with that net new person in your house file. And there is a extremely positive correlation between growing your house file and retention sales. So another good example is without trial, they were We were out of stock for, you know, a few months, we were doing some really cool things with operations. And I think our our retention sales are like 60 or 70%. Right now, if not more, because we've had to focus on who are existing customers that have either bought or are in has house fall and have not bought. And we have different strategies for both of those buckets. And then you can really drill in on you know, what are they bought? What have they not bought? If they're purchasers, if they're not purchasers, you know, what things have they clicked on? What things do they have? They're not what emails, are they not open, there's certain things you can do to really zoom in on certain people, and try to turn those into sales. And it all goes back to viewing it as how many people am I adding into my house? Well,

Noah Rahimzadeh 26:55

it sounds like there's, you know, the overarching advice is like no wonder be an acquisition mode and know when to retain and grow those customers that you've just acquired. And I think a great example of that, of course, is Black Friday, Cyber Cyber Monday, when a lot when it is a bit very heavy time for a lot of brands, not necessarily all like we just heard. But I find it very fascinating that brands will spend like all of this time and effort and money acquiring customers around Black Friday, Cyber Monday, but then they have no strategy in place to retain and grow those customers. The question at the end, there is like in q4, when you see, you know, record record levels of sales through retention, like what are some strategies that you employ to achieve that?

Vasa Martinez 27:42

relevant emails, we review emails, organic, social, like any sort of owned media has its own strategy. And they all have to be communicating with each other. So there might be a world where you have a retail rollout in q4, you know, we had a new, we typically launched new products in q4, we historically have had awesome new retailers in q4. So there's other things to talk about that support the business. And we we have a strategy and it's not to niche anymore. Like you've got to support retail and food and beverage. So an email that says hey, we just rolled out into X, many sprouts or x many Whole Foods or even if it's regional, there's ways that you can geo target your who you're sending this email to. So if you're sending the Wegmans in the northeast, is someone in Los Angeles isn't getting that email. So you just kind of have some sort of intent with it. It can just be an email blast, it can't just be a promo blast. You got to continue. Like the game within the game is how do you get people to continue opening emails? And in or how do you get people to like, you know, be responsive to SMS to all of our SMS messages aren't? You know, here's a promo or here's a new product or give me something sometimes we like, the team is really great about throwing a random puzzle in there or brain teaser or something fun, like a mean even to continue having that brand voice and not always being pushing for the sale. Yeah, what? I forgot what I was gonna say, when I lost my train of thought before that question, but if it comes back now I'll drop.

Noah Rahimzadeh 29:13

Oh, we were we were talking about sort of like acquisition mode for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and then yes, nothing.

Vasa Martinez 29:20

Yeah. So what I was gonna say is I find it very interesting. And I think people are wising up based on the current economic conditions, that there was a huge appetite for spending 50 or $60 to acquire a customer with an average order value of 4550 55 in the past, and if you think about it, you're so many purchases out from profitability, and there was a time where first purchase profitability was an actual not easy thing, but it was very attainable thing. And what I find very, very funny is that some brands are very averse to taking a haircut with potential customers, and what I mean by that is investing in a loyalty program or investing in a, you know, a beefier subscription program or rewarding those people with an extra discount not it's and I don't view it as like, Oh, we're a discount brand. But people are very averse to nurturing their house file, but they're very very bullish on overspending to acquire somebody. And a bad analogy, almost a bad word again, a bad analogy would be like, imagine, imagine we're having this, we're strangers, we're doing this podcast at a bar. And if I came up to you guys, and it was like, Hey, I don't know you, but Can I buy you a drink? Can I buy you a drink? Can I buy you a drink? Like, I'm constantly spending money trying to be your friend. But if I came up to you guys and said, hey, you know, it's a hot day out, here's, here's a, here's, here's a drink on Monday, it's probably less creepy, it's probably a little bit more approachable. And it's less expensive. You know, you don't always have to focus on that net new person, and spend aggressively I think that if you can find a way to organically win them over at least get them interested. There's way there's ways that your retention funnel can create the sales later on down the line in a very organic, natural way. And not like a pushy, foresee kind of way.

Mariah Parsons 31:13

Yeah, with that analogy, it's like a great one of like, there's like, it's a better. Like, there's less pressure, I guess, like, they're like, there's like, it's more of a kind of like a kind of act of kindness, right? Or it's like, yeah, it's on me, like, you don't have to do anything. And it like builds more of that loyalty, like people. I love psychology. And so I won't go into too much of a tangent of it. But like, if you can give someone the opportunity to kind of, like, help you out or like, give service or like, feel like they're doing something that is like they're motivated by it in their own actions, but you give them the opportunity to do so people like that feeling of like, Oh, um, you know, most people, oh, I'm helping someone or like, Oh, I'm like, getting to know this person more like, there's that genuine aspect of it. So it's super interesting that you bring that up. And that, like, it's all about how you frame it. And like the dialogue between a customer and a product or a brand or an agency, whoever, and then are like friends over drink. And then something you know, with that analogy,

Vasa Martinez 32:17

the one I use internally with clients is if same kind of analogy, were at a networking event. Now, if I walked straight up to you and said, Hey, can I have your business card? Here's mine. That's very, very transactional, you're probably like, What the hell is this dude gonna do with my life? On here? And, and I'm like, you're definitely not a qualified lead. You're like what I give you as a coaster? Like you're putting your drink on it. It's not, you're never gonna hold on to it. But if we're casually having a conversation, hey, where do you work? Oh, cool, you're up. Malomo. I'm a growth Buster, like, I met GB, then it's so much more natural to hand a business card over to somebody. Right? So that's, that's one thing we're, people don't quite yet. And it's something that should be a little more focused on.

Noah Rahimzadeh 33:04

I agree. First of all, I'm going to share this episode with all my single friends, let them know, take this advice when your next time. So thanks for that game for retention.

Mariah Parsons 33:24

But everything has an application, you know, everything's connected.

Noah Rahimzadeh 33:29

On the transactional email and SMS side like, especially like owning partnerships, right? I feel there's so much where there's this pressure, right to like drive revenue. So there's this idea of like lead sharing, but you can't get to lead sharing with GB or any of the other top tier Shopify agencies before you bring value first and sort of build some trust. And I actually think it's the same on the consumer end, obviously, like a huge benefit to Malomo or any other post purchase solution is we're going to take transactional messages and make them more personalized. And there's a very important reason for that. It's that transactional situations are still really good areas to build trust and to bring value to the people that you're serving.

Vasa Martinez 34:17

Yeah, one thing I love is like without trial, we're, we're a client, we're a customer of Malomo. And I love that every step of the way, you get some sort of notification and it's less, hey, give me your business card and more. Hey, what do you do because we have recipes and certain of the pages, the contents really clear, it gives you more information about the brand and value every step of the way. So once you have it you kind of know what to do with as long as you paid attention. You know, if you paid attention to emails, you're gonna get content in there. That's going to be helpful. The second you open the package.

Noah Rahimzadeh 34:50

Yeah, absolutely. And as we know, those transactional messages are so much more highly engaged than normal marketing email. So nor really like Lucky for for brands who are capitalizing on it, their customers are paying attention in those moments.

Vasa Martinez 35:07

beverage companies don't win DTC. And it's not a pet peeve of mine, but I always like, I kind of look sideways at it. When people think that just because prophy has a website, that it's a b2c brand. Purpose website is its retention site, it is a retention channel for six months to a year from now. Yes, it looks as though like I might be selling something that doesn't weigh 20 pounds to ship a 24 pack or 10 pounds with a 12 pack. It makes things impossible to win on DTC leaves you very little margin to spend on marketing. And early on. Yes, I knew I was in habit, a site that I think was dope. Like it was very strict with certain things, I want it to be very functional, but not functional do acquire customers. Yeah, I've tested on ads, just to see feedback on how people talk about it, see how much they hate me for selling a $3 soda, and things like that. But perfect acquisition channels actually retail. And because I have the experience of working with brands, digital and retail, I'm able to execute with my know how on the shelf. And once they see it, they taste it like Holy smokes, this tastes really good. You know, maybe I want to stock up, then I have those channels as backup things. So without our we had acquisition and retention on the website, we're actually winning customers and earning customers on the website. But with perfect, I have no intention to acquire a customer online, I have no appetite for spending $40 to maybe profit five, and which means I'm losing 35 I don't have the dollars to do that one. Two, that's just not my my strategy. So taking retail customers, winning them over them wanting to learn more about the brand, having cool little bells and whistles and tricks for them to visit the website or Amazon and then giving them more information and letting them feel that connection to the brand. That's my whole strategy. And there's there's articles that are coming out like I think think testing published one last week. There's one badass brand that something weird happened with an investor, and they may not make it. And I wanted to put like put one of those roll of vehicles together and like dispense this brands badass, let's save them. But it was already it was ready to pass a line. But they took that like all beverages are doomed. Like yes, if your only strategy is to win online, you might you might run into some trouble. I don't know of any beverage brand that has one DTC. Like even some of the best beverage brands are probably at a loss. Like I know that. I don't know how C four is profitable when I ordered 12 energy drinks at like $14 on Amazon and it wasn't, you know, like I don't know how they aren't good for them. But the whole thing is not perfect for me is the website's retention channel. So you'll see the subscription on there, you'll see certain savings, you'll see our NFT loyalty club where you have, as long as you hold a perfect loyalty card, that's an NF T on Polygon blockchain. Oh, you can unlock certain perks, like I'm going to be sending Starbucks gift cards and you know, hopefully discounts to, you know, mental training apps where you can work on your IQ or do brain teasers just for fun. Like there's gonna be certain perks with that where the customer will see so much value, the website will be a destination to go almost like an old school AOL chat room. I want to have it back and where people can be there like a community almost like, yeah, so that that's the whole thing for me with retention for a beverage company. And I think other brands can do it that don't have a beverage that will only help them. But for me 100% acquisition and retail retention one on one.

Noah Rahimzadeh 38:31

That is super interesting. I wonder, I would imagine that that's an that's a hot take, that would be considered a hot day grind. I don't think that a ton of beverage brands and we work with a lot of them who have been successful, right? Like, obviously, if they're investing in retention, they've they've done a decent job on the acquisition side, probably. But But yeah, I would imagine that that's not a that's not a common opinion. And so it'll be really interesting to share with the audience and get some feedback. But I think your experience, like you said, right on the retail side has probably tremendously helped you understand how that sort of how to leverage both channels effectively for different in different aspects of the customer lifecycle.

Vasa Martinez 39:25

We had a we had a demo on Friday and Sunday in ShopRite for perfect, and in. I think it was a couple hours sampling maybe six to 12 cans, we sold 41 cans on Friday and 44 on Sunday. Now if you think about the cost of what for me to pay for that demo, and maybe six cans, that's my ad spend and the amount of customers that are now perfect customers who have tried it and loved it so much. They love their sample so much that they went and bought it off the shelf. That's 44 customers for a couple 100 bucks. You would never win 44 Customers On a Facebook ad, even in 2017 2018 2015 400, I mean, I won't say never. I'm sure somebody has badass screenshot of Shopify manager, or they smoke. Yeah. But when you think about that, that's how you scale a beverage brand. And then trade, spend promos, and all those things. And you can start calculating, and in store, you know, CAC or whatever people do, but that's how I think about it. I just, I can't afford to spend to try to win customers online. I just don't have I don't have the bank account to do it.

Mariah Parsons 40:27

Yeah, I think that's a great distinction. Like that's a great example to

Vasa Martinez 40:34

Why do think somebody beverage brands have stick packs now, with their powders, powders, you could send three packs of powder in an envelope with a 29, or 39 cent stamp. Yeah, and acquire customers like you send them out for free like 1000 people for the cost of winning maybe five or 10, to try to buy a 12 pack of a beverage they don't even know the like, and they don't even care about your 100% satisfaction guarantee. So I think retail is the way everyone in beverage knows that I think.

Noah Rahimzadeh 40:59

What do you feel like you see from the GB side that brands regularly neglect when it comes to retention?

Vasa Martinez 41:08

I've got a group I think I hope it's a great answer. But it's something new that we're applying at GB. We used to have three different divisions, it was community creative innovation, innovations, more retention. Creative is organic, paid social stuff, even print. And community has been community management, social copywriting scheduling posts, basically all social media management, influencer management. And we've slowly peeled things off of that community department to the point where we're using the same strategies. But we've turned that community department into the story department. And the story department is exactly why I'm on this podcast, because I could talk about more about me as a founder of GP or as CMO of Adderall or the founder of perfect, and it's it's the exact application and execution of what we're doing with GB. And what I think brands lack is it's you see more and more of it these days. But it has to have, I think it's going to be even more important. It's the same reason people are like, go on tick tock and tell your brand story. But it should be a department that that's like tick tock is one particular channel and you know, and it should be in everything you do, whether it's being on blogs, whether it's, you know, being a guest blogger or writing a blog with having a guest blogger read on yours about your story. There's so many different applications of what storytelling about, like, I'll just go straight to it. My favorite book right now is from a SAS guy, b2b guy. It's called founder brand. And it's kind of like the book called Story brand. But it's about how founders should be telling their story more. And it's an anchor for marketing, you could take quotes from this podcast, turn it into audiograms. Or you can turn it into LinkedIn posts, or you can turn it into organic social posts, if that's what your brand is all about if they even care. But no matter what getting your story out, there is something I think a lot of brands are lacking. And it's exactly why GB didn't pivot specifically to go to tick tock. We, I've watched for like two years now and probably waited too long to decide, alright, this is how GB is going to approach telling stories. And it's going to start in our onboarding process with the brands positioning and all of these different things that we do. And then how do we apply that now instead of doing 10, influencer partnerships that brands always question? Now, it's like, you can't deny the value of a podcast, if a buyer says, Hey, I heard you on the Malomo podcast, you were awesome. I didn't know that about you. We'd love to try samples, that the ROI on that compared against one hour of time, and maybe a little bit of agency retainer is so positive, that it's undeniable and we were trying to do more things during this economic climate that are undeniable. So if brands told their story more, I mean, that'd be great.

Mariah Parsons 43:44

Yeah, this is something we've seen like time and time again so I'm very happy that you brought it up in that the movement towards storytelling and the value of knowing someone for like who they are and being authentic to them is what's resonating with people right now. I think the like facade of this everything in life like take it out of like E commerce or business even generally but like people are just like you know what, I want to like break down the barriers break down the walls, I want to know more about you and so that's what people are connecting with. And that's what I think that's why I really think tick tock is like blowing up right now is because it is so good at showing stories and showing so many stories of other different people like the it isn't the same algorithm of like Facebook and social media that are of Instagram that show you like exact like people like you tick tock shows like a ton of other different things. So I'm very I'm I completely agree in that. I think that is a great, like niche thing to focus on if like that switch from community to story, because I think that is what everyone One wants right now is to know more about someone and the example you gave is like, Oh, I didn't know that about your story, like, I'm way more likely to now be loyal to your brand, because I feel like there's a connection between us, rather than, like, you know, some some other type of content that you can that you interact with for a brand.

Vasa Martinez 45:18

Yeah, I think the only barrier to entry with having a story department in your business, and this is something I'm gonna go very, very deep into on LinkedIn, in the coming weeks, the only barrier to entry is being nervous to be on camera or not feeling that you're like, it's like feeling less than, and it took me a while to overcome that, you know, I went through some things where I turned in physically into a different person than what I'm used to. And I'm slowly fixing that. And we're gonna have a huge push on tick tock for the perfect and we were gonna push are the founders of our brands to be comfortable, you know, telling there's, you know, we might not be cutting it or editing or editing it, but just grab a phone and you know, tell your story, put a couple pictures behind you on the green screen or whatever.

Mariah Parsons 46:01

Yeah, put some put some text, it doesn't have to be perfect. You know, it's kind of like acceptable, like, it doesn't even have

Vasa Martinez 46:07

to be tick tock. It can be a more polished About Us page, it can be posting on LinkedIn more than it can be being on podcasts. For me, I'm a fan of being on podcast, not because it feels good for me. But I think I'm more effective in telling the story in a way that's not staged. For me, it's the whole staging of what I'm going to say what I'm going to look at, when I'm on a podcast, I can just stare wherever I want, you know, yeah. But I think it's a combination of all of these things. I don't think tick tock is a silver bullet. I think the chances of you not going viral is still a lot higher, even though the algo is different. But I think it's a great opportunity. And it's like literally the wild wild west. And I don't think it's watered down yet. But I think Podcasts can be a lot more specific. And I think that, you know, a dozen podcast listeners that tune into a podcast are going to listen with a lot more intent than somebody who's scrolling through on Tik Tok that's looking for the next funny viral video or whatever. And there's nothing against that. That's just it's so entertaining. Yeah, but for me, there's just, again, depends on the founder.

Mariah Parsons 47:09

No, I completely agree. Like I love podcasts. Yeah. Yeah.

Noah Rahimzadeh 47:13

I think we're like Mariah. This has been like a hot topic even internally for us. As a you know, partnerships marketing team, as a, as a executive go to market team is like, how can we get the story out in more natural and organic ways. And when you Vasa you hit on this, like, exactly how you're thinking about it. This podcast, for example, can be repurposed in like seven different formats. And it's evergreen. You know, when we two years from now, we could rerun this episode, or snippets from this episode, because they're relevant to something that we're really focused on for that quarter or for that year, whatever it may be. And I do think that there is a lot of authenticity in podcasting. For a lot of other channels. I feel the exact same way. Like I get so much more nervous when it is scripted, because there's this expectation of this is how it should look. Rather than like, there is no expectation,

Mariah Parsons 48:11

which we also designed it to be. Like we Yes, we purposely like it to be, you know, hope not nerve wracking and conversation based, but I think, yeah, we're the same way. I love that point. No, no,

Noah Rahimzadeh 48:26

absolutely. We're, we're sort of wrapping up here, vasa. Unless there's anything else you definitely wanted to talk about, given your experience, you're the perfect person to ask this super loaded question of like, one tip that's helped you throughout your career, sort of get to where you are. Or, you know, you can take that anywhere you want, whether it's a book that you read, that changed your sort of trajectory, or a big risk that you took sort of wherever you want to take it, floor floor is yours. I'd love to hear what you credit. You know where you are today to?

Vasa Martinez 49:02

Yeah, for me, I think for a while, I always worried about what other people think thought of me. And like so I got a funny example. It hasn't happened yet. But Wednesday night, there's an event that I'm going to it's an Marina del Rey for startups. EPG. And it's like one of those black tie event type things but it's at Daniel's house. And I'm not a black tie person. I'm not, I'm just not anymore. So I'm going to rock a shirt that has a T rex with a slot on the back of it and it's shooting out lasers from its eyes and that's my version of being dressed up. It's like it's like a Vegas shirt for me and love that. I'll probably throw the gold sequined jacket on top of it just to be a little bit you know, little fancy there but it's a $20 jacket from Amazon like I think the the underlying theme there is that as far as I can remember I was as myself as possible and through the yours. Certain things about myself that didn't serve me I've had to sacrifice. So you're constantly evolving as a person, I'm not trying to get too philosophical or anything like that. But the truth, I've always just tried to be myself and not try to fit in the mold of what other people think. You know, I've got two sleeves of tattoos on my arms. And I was once told by a CEO, you'll basically never amount to anything, because your tattoos you'll never be able to sell your business like I have. And it was a funny story. I won't go too into detail on that, because I don't want to be able to people to decipher who it was. But I was like, that's not true. That's especially not true. Because I know that I'm leaving this company in like a month or two, and I'm starting my own thing. I don't think people are gonna give a shit. Yeah, tos. And lo and behold, years pass. And nobody really cares about any of them anymore. As long as you're a hard worker yourself, you're a good person. Like, if you check off most of these boxes, you're, you're all right, you know. So I think that's one thing I've had in my career that's helped me advance, like, when I went to Friday's, I was like, I don't care. If you put me in the kitchen, I'll wash the dishes. When I went to the nightclub, I'll start as a dishwasher, I'll clean your bathrooms, I don't care, I know that this is the place to be. And I'll earn my way there. And I think part of that mindset of, I'll do a lot of the dirty work, not going to do it forever. And when I get past it, I'm not going to be too good to do the dirty work again. But as long as I'm down to do the dirty work, and I don't really care, it's not a big deal. I remember seeing people that when I went to college when I was in the nightclub, and I was bartending or sometimes I was before I got to the bar, I was like a basically a busser the equivalent of a busser at that place. And I didn't, I wasn't embarrassed that they saw me working at a bar, and they're all doing like crazy jobs, like cool jobs. Like, this is what I got to do, you know, and I paid off my loans. And under 10 years, like six years, I paid off my loans. And there were a lot, I did what I had to do. So having that ability to be righteously myself was has been something that served me there's things I've had to evolve, but it's it's been helpful.

Noah Rahimzadeh 51:55

That's awesome advice. And I think, I think, sort of going back to what we talked about right before this, like, authenticity has probably never been more important. I feel like in this day and age, because it's it's pretty easy to see when somebody is just wants a transactional relationship, and that's becoming less and less accepted. I mean, like, the tattoo is a good example where there, you know, there might have been a time 50 years ago or so where the CEO might have, he wasn't 100% Right still, but like, would have been a lot more right. Or his probability of being right might have been a lot higher than right. But now it's like people want to know who you really are. They want you to be authentic. They want you to actually focus on like building a real relationship with them. And all of these things right tie back into the DDC spirit DTC space really, really well. So not for that reason, but I love that answer.

Vasa Martinez 52:57

I think that's why there's so many Einstein shirts with him having tattoos not to focus on. It's like, there's a lot of people that won't buy a shirt with Einstein on it, like knew the will. But now that he has like a face tattoo or some sort of, yep, I can relate to this guy because he's smart as hell. And he's got is that uses like a human wallet. business a little bit of

Mariah Parsons 53:18

that's an incredible analogy.

Vasa Martinez 53:20

I love that. Human bowling. Yeah. All right. Thanks. Yeah, no worries. I recently just got my wallet. So I had to pay some tribute to

Mariah Parsons 53:31

will also need a picture of that.

Vasa Martinez 53:33

It's too fancy.

Mariah Parsons 53:36

Too fancy. That's that doesn't seem like a good one. Yeah. This has been so fun, though. Thank you for joining. It was a blast talking to you.

Vasa Martinez 53:45

Awesome. Well, thank you for having me.