A DTC Brand Success Story: Venus et Fleur
How One Brand Exceeded Their ROAS Goals with Simpli.fi
Transcript David: Hello, and welcome to the Simpli.fi Webinar series. I’m David McBee, Director of Training and Education. Thanks for joining us on the second Monday of each month for industry news, interviews, product rollouts, and training on all things related to targeted advertising and connected TV. If you miss us live, you can visit the webinars page of our website at simpli.fi/webinars or request access to our learning management platform per all of our previously recorded episodes and other valuable resources. It’s August of 2022, and this month we have a very special guest. Nikki Rodriguez is the head of marketing at Venus et Fleur, a luxury florist. And I’ll let Nikki explain to you guys what that means in just a moment. We had the privilege of running a campaign for them, and it went very well. And Nikki has been kind enough to join us today to share that story. Nikki, thank you so much for joining us. Nikki: Absolutely, David. Thanks for having me today. David: I am so excited to hear more about how your campaign went and to share with the world a little bit about what we accomplished, but before we do that, would you just share with the listeners kind of a little bit about yourself and the role you play at Venus et Fleur? Nikki: Absolutely. As you mentioned, my name is Nikki Rodriguez. I am the head of marketing at Venus et Fleur. We are a online primarily eCommerce company, but we do have nine boutique locations, and we are in major department stores as well, Neiman, Sacs, Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom, to name a few. And while we are in these channels with brick and mortar that you can find us, our really huge focus is with eCommerce. And we are in a very niche market being that we are luxury for, but we focus primarily on preserved florals. So all of the flowers that we sell are eternity flowers, which is our very specific product that is preserved in the way that keeps it fresh for over a year. So with this very niche market comes really unique opportunities for marketing, but also really large challenges. So was really excited to work with Simpli.fi, and very excited to continue working with Simpli.fi to kind of solve some of the gaps and some problems that we’ve been having and growing the brand. David: Awesome. We’re excited about that as well. Now our listeners have tuned in today to learn about how CTV and programmatic advertising worked for a fellow D2C brand. But before we jump into that, if it’s okay with you, I’d like to share with everyone the 30 second commercial that we ran for you. Nikki: Absolutely. David: Okay. Let’s do it. Commercial Narrator: Add beauty to any celebration with Venus et Fleur’s eternity flowers, a gift that will last all year with no water and no maintenance. Venus et Fleur has a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. With thousands of combinations, there is something for everyone. Shop online at venusetfleur.com. David: Okay. So I got to know, do the flowers really last a year, Nikki? Nikki: They do. I mean, we guarantee that they last a year if you care for them properly. It’s very, very minimal care. It’s just avoiding direct sunlight. And like anything in your house, you have to lightly dust after a few months, when you have something sitting in one place for a very long time. I have a cinnamon tree that I have to believe it or not. But our flowers actually last a lot longer than a year, but a year is the guarantee that we share. David: That’s pretty cool. That’s very awesome. All right. So let’s jump into the campaign a bit. Now I know that we started out the campaign with programmatic CTV, but then we also ran some display ads. My first question to you is why programmatic? Why programmatic CTV to begin with? Nikki: Yeah. Well, that’s a great question. We really need to grow awareness for our brand because we sell a very niche product that people don’t know about, so it is not something necessarily people are searching for. So we have to raise awareness for the product type in general. And then that our brand is the obvious choice. We were the first, and we’re the best in the market. So in doing that and doing research at the most cost effective way to do this, but as well as trackable and a way where we can continue leveraging those audiences, especially because we are primarily a DTC brand. You do the research, you look at traditional TV, you look at traditional billboard. There’s a lot of opportunities, but really to get the most bang for your buck, CTV is a great avenue because you can leverage it from initially just starting with those CTV commercials to then how do you use people that have seen this video in their homes down the line and continue tweeting them down the funnel. Nikki: So that’s why we chose CTV. We feel like it’s a great avenue that you can then leverage. It’s not just, hey, they saw, the impression happened. We don’t know how it happened or who it happened to. And we can’t do anything with it like a lot of traditional brand building. So we feel like this is a great avenue, and it’s a different avenue than what you typically see with Google and Facebook, which at some point gets a little bit saturated. So this allows us to expand new eyes, new people, and really lets us achieve our goals. David: Correct me if I’m wrong. I think that before you came over to Simpli.fi, you ran some OTT campaigns with someone else that didn’t work. Nikki: Right. David: So after having a bad experience in that space, why’d you give Simpli.fi a shot? Nikki: Yeah. You know, Simpli.fi does a lot with the audiences beyond the initial placement through CTV. So what was the most interesting? Well, there’s a couple things. So the first thing that I liked about Simpli.fi was not only do you do the media planning, but you also have the management team. It’s really nice to have that combination because a lot of other agencies are just using another platform and brokering it that way which is challenging because they don’t know everything about it. And they don’t have all the resources for getting the data back and forth. There’s a lot of back and forth that takes a lot of time. And with Simpli.fi, you can get everything in one place. So that was one draw for Simpli.fi. And then secondly, the opportunity to focus mostly on CTV was something unique to Simpli.fi and the amount of granularity available to us in the targeting, which was something we also didn’t have across the other OTT providers that we’ve tried in the past. David: All right. Well, let’s jump into the campaign itself into the specifics. We like to say that our platform was purpose built. That’s one of my favorite phrases that we use, so that a brand will never outgrow our capabilities. We can meet brands wherever they are and continue to grow them wherever they’re going. So to that end, we ran what we call a full funnel campaign for you guys. And you to your credit were game for experimenting with all the different ways that Simpli.fi can get your message in front of potential customers. So let’s go through each of those individually and kind of talk about those. Nikki: Right. The big thing I can speak to on that front is the value of the actual commercial showing on a TV, on a wall. With OTT, we has a lot that was showing on mobile phones, tablets, but realistically the amount of commercials happening there that, I mean, we actually have found, even with YouTube, that children are actually watching, right. Parents hand it over, and you just don’t know how many of those impressions are being engaged with versus like having the TV on and with the volume in a room and how many more people are then seeing that versus like, if it’s an individual device, the person watching it most likely and not always qualified versus TV, it’s everybody in the room. Right. And it’s a little bit more intentional there. And then the quality of what we’re showing and then the purpose overall is wanting that repetition top of mind. And the TV commercial just gives more credibility to that with the brand. So that’s why on the CTV front. David: And I also know that we implemented what we call campaign audience retargeting, which is when we showed display ads to the exact same households where we delivered your CTV ads. Is that something you’re excited about? Nikki: Yeah, absolutely. And the results from that were wonderful. Just additional placements to improve the overall brand awareness for somebody. They say that somebody has to interact with your brand maybe five to seven times before they become a customer. So just kind of guaranteeing that they saw the TV commercial, or even if they heard it, they’re in the room, and then they are on their device. Now they actually see our ads somewhere like that just builds on that credibility and delivered what we were looking for. David: Yeah. I’ve heard a lot of different studies that say, if you see the same creative through different medias, that it has more of an impact on the viewer. And I like the campaign audience retargeting because you can’t click a CTV commercial. And even though a lot of people don’t click display ads, you can potentially click a display ad. And so that can drive traffic right to your website. Nikki: Exactly. David: All right. So I know that we also included some geofencing in your campaign. We picked a certain event in a certain location, and you asked me not to tell anybody about that. So we won’t go into the details of where and when and what you did, but we geofenced a local area so that when individuals entered that geofence, we were then able to serve them display and CTV ads on their other devices. So how did that go? Nikki: That performed really well, and thanks for not giving away all of our secrets. But we evaluate how that performs based on not only the geographic area within a timeframe, but also based on that audience over a 30 day span and where we know that audience is coming from when they go to location and then where they disperse afterwards to try to see in general in those areas, are we seeing an increase? So there’s a number of ways that this is evaluated. So that is what we did to measure the success of this. And in this case was extremely successful during our POP season. David: The next tactic that I know we included was search retargeting, pretty classic targeting people who are searching for flowers. But I do want to point out that Simpli.fi does search retargeting a little different from other DSPs in that we don’t use audience segments. So technically we were showing your ads to people who had searched for flowers within a day or two. And that’s how quickly we were showing your ads to them. What was your take on that particular tactic? Nikki: Yeah. It’s similar to an in-market audience on Google, right, which is like a seven day window, but with it being a shorter window, and then also it being a completely different network than the Google display network. Historically, I think a lot of brands it’s easy to use Google. They know what to use. They know what to do there, so that’s what they do, right. But there’s all of these other networks that people don’t tap into. And this gave us a great opportunity to get in front of people that are looking for our product. And whether it was for peak season or if it was for an evergreen holiday or something like that, right within that timeframe when they’re still kind of in their initial steps of digging into it, that was really awesome to see. Nikki: And the performance was great in terms of the visibility and the engagement and all that. But also it’s nice because when people are looking for those specific terms, they’re still in a very awareness mindset. They don’t have a specific brand that they’re thinking of. They’re just doing initial research. So it’s a great time to get in front of them. And so it’s an awesome tool for us to be able to utilize. David: I mean, on a personal note, I send my mother flowers on her birthday every year, and she’s grateful for them. But on more than one occasion, she’s said, oh, sweetie, those flowers didn’t live very long. Like, what do I tell her, right? If I had run across your ad, and I didn’t organically, and I don’t think I’m in one of the geographies that you were targeting, but if I had run across an ad saying these flowers are going to last a year, I mean, I guarantee you, that’s what I’ll be buying from my mother on her next birthday. Because I don’t want to hear her say that flowers didn’t last very long. I don’t want to hear that disappointment. So I love that you’re getting in front of people who are searching for flowers, but maybe don’t even know that this kind of product exists. Nikki: Yeah. Actually, it’s really common what you just said. I mean, our flowers will last until her next birthday, right. And probably beyond, but it’s definitely more of an experience because it’s such a unique thing, right? It’s full experience. It’s not just the gift. It’s not just the flowers. The wow factor’s definitely there. They also smell amazing. But trying to explain that to people is hard. So you have to get in front of them a lot of different ways to truly explain how the product works so that they can grasp because it is an unknown. They’re not dried and they are fresh cut, but they do last. So it’s very unique. David: All right, I’m going to take a little detour and then we’re going to come back to these tactics, but do you have any of the flowers there? Can you show me? Nikki: I do right behind me. So I have a few in my house. But believe it or not, these are years, years, years, years old. Like this one right here, it’s called a Le Clair, but it’s from our acrylic collection. So it’s actually in a drawer acrylic. And I would get up and get it for you but I’m telling you, we are like five years old on this, four years old. I think I got this one in 2016, ’17. Yeah. And then the dome arrangement here, this is like this vase. We have vases now. They’re part of our Maison collection. They’re really beautiful. But there is a large amount of people that loved our product, but really wanted a vase and not our traditional hat box, which you can see right here. Nikki: So that’s why we launched the Maison collection, really wanting to provide vases and make it feel a little bit, even more luxurious than our product already is if that’s even possible. So, and then down here, I have the hat box, and the hatboxes are like the core product that we have. We have them in tons of styles and colors, et cetera. They’re really unique. It’s a Parisian inspired, hat box. We have square. We have round, we have rectangles. We have rectangles where you can spell out full names, and you can do a lot with it. It gets pretty extensive. We’ll just say that, but they’re all here right behind me. David: Everyone’s leaving the webinar right now to go to your website. Come back after you shop for some flowers. All right, let’s go back to the tactics. One of the other tactics of course is just good old classic demographic targeting, targeting based on a demo of age, gender, household income. Technically, we have hundreds of different demos. We could target homes with a three car garage, homes with a truck, homes where people are interested in making quilts. We have these crazy demos, right? I know you chose kind of an age group. And again, let’s not give away all your secrets, but you chose an age and a household income. How did demo targeting work for you? Nikki: Yeah, I mean, we really focused on that at the top of the funnel, just because we feel like we get them in. We get the right person in, and then we can kind of nurture them. We’ll end up really with the true customer that we’re looking for. And that did really well. Just our direct traffic increase as a direct impact of doing this and it being aligned with our top converting customer. When you look at the profile of that average user that was coming in, it definitely aligned and really helped with all of the goals that we had. David: Perfect. I love that. All right. Couple more things. We ran social display for you, which is a new tactic here at Simpli.fi. And if I were to explain it, I would say that it’s a social media post that has been kind of borrowed and then placed into the display environment, but it continues to look like a social media post as it shows the likes and the comments and all the information that would be along with a social media post. But again, technically, it’s a display ad. Tell us a little bit about your experience with our new social display product. Nikki: That was a huge, a huge performer for us. And that is something that isn’t widely available. So the ability to do that, I think it really… Like I think typical display ads are, I mean, you can do dynamic and they’re static. But I do think that people really feel like they are being advertised to, whereas these native ads just feel like we’re engaging. So, I mean, that has a lot to do the engagement rate, and the actual overall conversion rate in return was wonderful for those. So I’m a huge advocate for those that is newer to us. So we gave it a shot, and we’re really happy with the performance. We plan to continue doing it. David: Awesome. And you know what I like about them is that you can pick one of your social media posts that performed well organically. So you’ve already kind of done like a test on it before you spend a bunch of money promoting it. So I mean, with a display ad, you never really know. Are people going to engage with this? Is it going to inspire them? But with social display you can pick something that has already proven itself and then basically put it out there in the display environment. So I love that. Nikki: Yep. Agree. David: All right. The last tactic and I saved this for last, because it’s the least exciting, but it performed so well. We did site retargeting for you. We targeted obviously website visitors who came to your website, but we also targeted cart abandoners. And I know that had a big financial impact for you guys. Again, without giving away all the sales and the numbers, what was your experience with site retargeting? Nikki: Again, great performer. I will say that it is just giving you access to another network. I think that everybody that has been doing marketing digitally for two to three years knows the value of site retargeting, especially abandoned cart retargeting. But when you’re able to reach people wherever they are not just okay on Facebook or Instagram if they abandon or on the top sites that Google will show their retargeting ads. If that’s all you’re doing and that’s all you have budget for that’s fine, but if you are looking to expand, I think that this is a great opportunity because there’s definitely a lot of people that use the internet differently, especially in 2022. Nikki: And if you don’t have all of your bases covered, you’re going to lose a large percent of those people because they’re not interacting the way that they used to. So I would just say it is an expansion on what you would normally do that doesn’t cannibalize, which is great, but that allows you to continue to see the results you would see from your typical placements, but just having way more impressions and way more performance, because you’re hitting more geography. David: Now, forgive me for not knowing the answer to this. I should have known in my research, but did we do CTV site retargeting for you where we showed CTV ads to the individuals who had come to your website? Nikki: Yep, that as well. David: That’s so cool, right? Like I’m on a website on Tuesday afternoon, and then I’m sitting, watching TV that evening and there’s the commercial. Nikki: Yeah. And the thing about that too, is you’re definitely not doing that because you want them to click on the CTV ad and convert, right. But you don’t convert 100% of your visitors. And they’re considering other brands, and they’re considering other products in general. Where in gifting, there’s a lot of things you can give to somebody. It’s not a given that you’re going to do flowers, let alone preserved flowers. So I think that the goal around that is to continue to [inaudible 00:21:18] to solidify that we are the choice for experiential gifting. David: Experiential gifting, I like that a lot. And then the final thing I wanted to discuss, and this isn’t necessarily a tactic, but I wanted to let everyone know that we also used our customer list suppression so that we didn’t target your current customers. You gave us a list of customers. We uploaded that into our system, and we excluded them from all of our targeting tactics. Nikki: Right, yeah. So for us, we do have a very loyal customer base. And I think a lot of luxury brands are in that same boat, but we really want to make sure we’re getting in front of new people. So that was really important for us to know that all of the efforts and all of the performance that we were driving and the return, all of that’s really being measured on new customer. And so that was a unique feature to be able to have that. And just in general, with Simpli.fi, like the ability to share data across all of the different advertising platforms, and like somebody engages over here on Facebook, but then you can then use Simpli.fi to target that audience and engage there. I mean, all the different platforms we used essentially, they were able to integrate with and then interact with. And I think that is what really contributed to the overarching growth that we saw in terms of search. David: So you have mentioned a couple of times that it performed well, but if you’re willing to, I’d like to just talk a little bit more about performance. When we ran CTV and geofencing and demo targeting, as I understand it, you looked at the overall lift in sales from the geographies that you targeted. Right? Nikki: Right. David: And some people claim that’s not true evidence of the campaign working, that it’s more anecdotal, but you felt good about that? Nikki: Yeah. I mean, you have to kind of compare it to previous years in those peak seasons when you’re in gifting, because there definitely are peak seasons of unique behavior and what you’ve done in the past, and also how much search and direct traffic you’re getting around your brand. So that’s an area where it is easy to follow. So it’s not just about the sales, because sometimes it does take somebody two, three, four weeks to convert sometimes out of the attribution window. But it is about the brand awareness in those areas. Like how much are people visiting your site directly in those areas? What is your organic rank in those areas? Or how much organic traffic are you getting in those specific areas, the branded organic terms, or even just preserved florals or eternity flowers in general, people searching and having awareness around that, in those areas. So we looked at all of that in evaluating the effectiveness of anything that we’re doing top of funnel. And so that was a lot of what we were looking to see improvement on and definitely did from this campaign. David: And then at the bottom of the funnel, we measured the value of every transaction that came from one of our tactics through site retargeting and social display. And what were yours ROAS goals on that? Nikki: Yeah, so I don’t want to be too detailed on the ROAS goals, but I will say that we have a minimum and everything retargeting exceeded that. So we were really happy with that. And in general retargeting does well for us. But it’s a completely new channel, totally new channels. So you’re nervous going into that and especially with a heavy investment on the CTV. But seeing that and also seeing how we move people down the funnel, like from the initial CTV ad all the way down was something that we were really with when it would abandon the funnel rate, all of that. All of that was right aligned what we see across other channels, where we’re looking for these specific metrics. David: And the best ROAS that we got according to my research was the social display. Can we tell people what that ROAS number was? Nikki: I don’t know if we can share, but we can say that it was two X our ideal goal, which is huge. So that is… David: Fair enough. All right. Well, what would you say to other brands who are on the fence about programmatic as a tactic and display and CTV and all that? Nikki: Well, I would say that it’s something that you want to implement if you are willing to give it enough time, enough budget, and utilize all of the resources and channels available. I think the reason why people don’t see success is because they just try one thing, and it doesn’t connect or interact with anything else. And it’s over, right. And you do it for a month, and it takes time. It takes time to see how it performs, especially depending on your attribution windows, you got to be living in that for a while so you can learn from it. And then you also need to make sure that you’re integrating that with everything else that you’re doing, and you’re really aware of what your goals are. And you’re tracking into that. You can’t have just sales, that’s your goal is all I want in eCommerce sales because you have to grow your brand. Nikki: So I would say in terms of that top of funnel, brand awareness, there’s a lot of ways to do it now. And I know that people are dabbling in TikTok, and they’re doing YouTube and all of these things, but all of that is great if your audience is there, but if you have a customer or ideal audience that is older, or that is watching or streaming on TV that is a place where you know you can reach them, then this is an obvious choice. And something that with programmatic, I definitely recommend. And the tracking and the reporting is really granular and totally customizable. So I would say jump into it, but ensure that you give it time before abandoning. And also that you really let Simpli.fi guide the strategy with what they think will be best based on what your goals are. David: I could not have said that better myself. It’s like I wrote that for you. That is so wonderful to hear. Thank you. All right. Before we wrap things up, I just want to give you the opportunity to tell our listeners a little bit more about Venus et Fleur. What does the future look like for your company? Nikki: That’s a great question. We’re in a really beautiful time for the company. We are diversifying our product offering. We really want to be the preserved floral company that is way more than just that. We want to be experiential gifting. We were the first in the preserve floral space for true arrangement gifting. And we want to continue innovating and really move beyond while we always want to honor our initial products. We want to continue moving along, and offering new product. Next week, we launch something that is the first of its kind. I’m so excited about that. So y’all have to check it out, but we’re really trying to diversify our product. And really, we want to elevate experiences and elevate moments for people way beyond just flowers. Nikki: And so while those are our core foundation, our floral is something that really does make an impact when people are gifted our product, they really feel completely different than receiving any other flowers. And so I’m excited to see that happen. That’s why I joined the team here at Venus et Fleur. And I’m excited to continue working with Simpli.fi to make that happen, but yeah, we’re moving in a lot of directions and really continuing to innovate. So I invite you all to follow our journey and see where we go. David: If they do want to follow your journey, what would be the best way for them to do that? Nikki: Ah, great question. So we are all over social. So Instagram, you can follow on Facebook, LinkedIn TikTok. But our website venusetfleur.com, we also have email, SMS, subscriptions where that’s typically the first place you’ll hear about product releases, but we have a lot of ways for you to follow us. And social SMS email are probably the best ways. David: I can’t thank you enough for sharing so much. And for spending this time with me today and for being a Simpli.fi customer, we’re so grateful to you. And thank you so much for your time today, Nikki. Nikki: Of course, and David, thank you. David: Thank you all so much for joining us today. If you have questions about Simpli.fi’s offerings, please reach out to your Simpli.fi account manager or send an email to email@example.com. That’s firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions about training, please send them to email@example.com. A copy of this webinar along with a complete transcript of our conversation will be available on Simpli.fi’s website at simpli.fi/webinars. Please join us on the second Monday of each month for the Simpli.fi Webinar series. I’m David McBee. Be awesome, and I’ll see you next time.
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