How Dagne Dover Dominates Customer Lifecycle Marketing (Part 1)

Brady Walker

This past May, Custora announced a new benchmarking feature within our program. Dagne Dover found themselves at the top of 100+ retail marketers with their high-performance lifecycle marketing program.

Through our extensive work with retailers, we have privileged access to some of the retail world’s top brands, and with this access, we’ve been able to develop a holistic view of how retailers in various industries are performing across key metrics. 

In gathering all of the retail industry data, we were able to get a birds-eye-view of the market across three business categories comprising ten key metrics. And it was immediately obvious that some organizations were far ahead of the pack in certain areas. 

One such market leader is the hot new DTC handbag brand, Dagne Dover. One would expect a new direct-to-consumer brand to come in hard and fast on acquisition efforts — and that’s certainly true of Dagne Dover — but the data tells the story of a growing brand with staying power, one that beat out some of today’s biggest legacy brands in terms of Customer Retention and Customer Reactivation. 

Custora CEO and Cofounder Corey Pierson sat down with Dagne Dover’s VP of Consumer Growth and Insight Vadim Grinberg to learn more about how this David of a brand is beating industry Goliaths left and right. 

To hear their conversation in full, you can listen to the audio here:

Or listen to it on the go by subscribing to the Custora Time podcast at all major podcast streaming services:  iTunes / Spotify / Google Podcasts / Stitcher.

Below are our favorite nuggets of strategic wisdom and tactical knowledge from Vadim (edited for brevity and clarity). 

Building a Customer-Centric Brand from the Ground Up

VADIM GRINBERG: What makes our entire team really strong and able to work together collaboratively to the same goals, it isn’t just our size, but also the fact that both sides of the business — the operational/financial/sales-focused one and the creative/branding/customer-focused one — are focusing on the same goals.

This year, we're formalizing what we call the Marketing Growth Team, which speaks to how we think about marketing. It's really not just about creating the content, showing the right stuff to the right people; it's also thinking about how it impacts the business at every point. 

We think a lot about everything that we do, and we try very, very hard to make sure that they're coming back to some measure of success or to answer some question, if not both.

How to Align the Organization Around the Customer

After the first two years of being business, we were gathering a lot of feedback from people, whether it’s on social through survey, word of mouth, actual behavior, and honestly, there’s just so much data to work with. 

I don't mean, necessarily that we're parsing these giant blocks of data and figuring out things. We rely on you guys to do that, but it's seeing the trends and trusting our customer. That's really what it's about. If we want them to trust us to deliver the right product, we have to trust their indicators. The things they're telling us.

That enables us to create content or to speak the language that's on brand, but without faking anything. And on the product side, you want to listen to those indicators to make sure that the product is something people want. 

To me, customer-centricity essentially means authenticity. There's no illusion that we're not trying to sell a product, but we don't have to just pretend it's the only thing customers need.

What Metrics Have You Used to Track Success?

At first, we were just trying to see generally what people were buying. We had very few products, so the AOV (average order volume) was inherent. Over time, as we introduced new products, we saw the propensity to return and the propensity to buy multiple products at once. 

When we started advertising, that's when we started really looking into all of the different types of calculations that you can gain from looking at your traffic or your customers. 

What we kept coming back to is, of course, return, but return wasn't just an efficacy thing for us. For us, return meant the ability to fuel future growth.

What we wanted to do is make sure we're finding the right customers. We backed into realizing that we were talking about lifetime value. The reason we backed into it was that we had a certain number to hit in terms of a revenue goal and we could figure out roughly — in terms of average order value — how many new customers that would be. 

But then we said, "Okay. On average, this will cost us this much money,” because we really only advertise online and our marketing budget focused on that and photo shoots.

We backed into the idea of, “So if we’re spending X on them, that means that they're hopefully worth something to us.” 

We didn't have a CLV model or an algorithm in place, because that's not our expertise. Our founders, with their education at Wharton through Peter Fader, were focused on CLV as the really important obvious metric for the health of a business.

CLV versus customer acquisition cost absolutely (CAC), is highly important. But because we’re e-com and the way that we generate new customers is so reliant on advertising, we can plug in a lot of other metrics, like AOV (average order volume) conversion, and click-through on ads, because we know what images hopefully work. We just figured all that out by working backward. 

I have this giant, giant, giant spreadsheet for marketing ops and advertising spend, which really is reliant on those goals of revenue, and then how all that data has played out to show us what's likely going to happen.

How a Bootstrapped DTC Competes with the Big Boys

Oop! We’ve just about hit our artificially imposed word limit on this article. 

Join us next week as we dive back in for more of our favorite takeaways from Dagne Dover’s VP of Consumer Growth and Insight Vadim Grinberg 

If you don’t want to wait to learn more about how this David of a brand is beating industry Goliath’s left and right, you can hear the full conversation here: 

Or listen to it on the go by subscribing to the Custora Time podcast at all major podcast streaming services: iTunes / Spotify / Google Podcasts / Stitcher.



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