Ryan Shannon is the Managing Director at BAM Bamboo Clothing an activewear brand on a mission to make clothing more sustainable. Founded in 2006 they now do £20m sales a year.
Ryan’s been in marketing for over 30 years. Even before the internet was pre-eminent, Ryan was involved in data and media before it was called performance marketing.
Ryan started on the agency side and has been interested in how to properly balance different types of marketing strategies and platforms. Even though Ryan came from a world heavily invested in catalog, he was the first person to encourage BAM to increase their investment in digital marketing.
About The Business
- Based in Plymouth in Devon
- Small office in London
- 98% of customers are in the UK
- Actively growing International in the coming year
About the Team
The team is about 50 strong and takes care of all the operations and marketing, both online and off.
That team includes a merchandising expert for the eCommerce store and includes experts on social, email, and a head of digital. They also work closely with agencies including several agencies including media, retargeting, CRM, and a CRO.
Since offline marketing is more established, it’s easier to outsource pieces of that — the printing for example. It also has a traditionally longer turn around. Digital, on the other hand is always on, and that requires a need for a team who can keep an eye on and nurture that business full time.
Ryan has built a robust in-house digital team to keep an eye on the business and the brand while leveraging agencies for expertise regarding specific tactics and trends.
Tipping the Scales For Digital
When Ryan joined, he really pushed for more investment in digital, which ended up being a great move in the face of Covid. Digital investment gave them a lot of flexibility in the face of widespread lock downs.
BAM was 70% catalog when Ryan joined and now he says that the company has spun 180 and is looking at 70% revenue from digital channels. He recognizes that there was an increased demand generally because of the lockdown and an uptick in exercise, but reinforces the importance of flexibility.
The company used their digital information to regulate demand based on the stock they had available.
Moderating Marketing and Margins
Because the material that BAM uses is not typical, Ryan says the company is necessarily tied into supply chains that get closer to the source than other businesses.
That means, among other things, that they have a slightly longer turnaround time. That meant that the challenge in 2020 was to manage marketing in an effort to NOT oversell and focus on managing their margins carefully and intelligently.
Thinking Hard About Promotions
BAM is a direct-to-consumer business and is largely reliant on their promotions to drive revenue.
The promotional calendar was really the way that marketing decisions were organized and made. In the face of Covid, the team stepped away from their promotional calendar and tried to make decisions based on what was happening in front of them.
The wake up call for the business was more impactful than just a single year and Ryan says that questioning the value of a promotion is something that will stay with the company over the long term.
Figuring Out Digital Attribution
Businesses who are primarily catalog dependent have an easier time tracing attributions than digital. Even when companies run some digital information alongside catalog things start to get tricky, but there is still some ease in tracking attribution.
But when you go primarily digital, attribution gets far more complex. In conjunction with their agency partners, Tapestry, the team has started tracking by channels. They’ve managed to isolate campaign results and customer value by channel.
Tapestry guided them and helped them really understand how valuable channel isolation can be. Now, the team has begun experimenting with social testing as a means to test campaigns as a way to inform larger marketing decision making.
Understanding Holding Cells
Holding cells refers to the process of eliminating certain inputs into a defined group or segment in order to understand a channel or campaign’s efficacy and impact.
For example, identifying a few geographic areas and shutting off a stimulus — say Google ads — to those areas only. With everything else the same, you can then extrapolate impact of google ads on sales.
So if sales goes down 20% when the ads get shut off, you can begin making an assumption that your google ads are contributing 20% uplift to your business. The more granular level adds more rules and makes the attribution model more comprehensive.
Reality vs. Facebook Data
Another test the company ran was a test in which they included a CTA on one channel (Facebook) in which people seeing the ad were asked to sign up on a separate landing page.
The team used that opportunity to collect real numbers from that environment and compare them to what Facebook numbers were saying.
The difference was dramatic and Ryan says they are pursuing more tests looking into discrepancies.
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eCommerce Book Top Tip
- Winning! By Clive Woodward
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- A great way to get a huge response from catalog consumers is sending them a pair of socks, which fit right in with the catalog and has been a great thing for recruitment.
Tool Top Tip
Growth Top Tip
- Figure out why you want more customers and then make sure you have the operational capabilities.
- Exponential growth driven by a commitment to sustainability with Dan Dicker from Circular & Co
- Ethical eCommerce and how to get to 10,000 customers in 18 months with Lucy Bloomfield
- How team structure is crucial for easy growth with Melvin & Hamilton’s Nicolas Metzke
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