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Robert: Welcome to the eCommerce Marketing Podcast. Today’s guest is Andrew Davis. Andrew’s twenty-year career has taken him form local television to the Today Show. He’s worked for the markets in New York, written for Charles Kuralt, and marketed for tiny startups as well as Fortune 500 brands. In 2001, Andrew Davis co-founded Tipping Point Labs where he changed the way publishers think about how brands market their products. His most recent, Town INC, hit the shelves in September 2015.

Welcome to the eCommerce Marketing Podcast, Andrew, how are you doing?

Andrew: Good! Thanks, Robert.

Robert: Thanks for being on the show. Today, we actually are going to be talking about one of your previous books. It’s called Brandscaping, and, just to give our listeners a quick background about the book, can you just tell us why you wrote the book and just define for us was “Brandscaping” is?

Andrew: Yeah, sure. So I wrote the book because I used to run a marketing and advertising agency that you mentioned called Tipping Point Labs for twelve years. And I learned a lot running the agency and working with clients all over the world, and I felt like it would be great to take some of the things that we did best at Tipping Point and turn it into a book that everyone can use, and that’s why I wrote Brandscaping. But brandscaping really is partnering with likeminded brands to create content designs to drive revenue or increase demands.
So I’ll say it one more time in case the audience was not listening very closely and the want to hear it again: Partner with likeminded brands to create content designed to drive revenue or increase demand.
So an easy example of this would be like Converse. Converse, the show company, actually decided that they were having trouble getting to new customers, so they partnered with Guitar Center, the people that sell guitars and music instruments, and they started creating music together with a bunch of bands from around the world in a music studio that they built together, and then they started sharing the bands’ music and some videos every week with both of their audiences, and all of a sudden Converse was getting access to Guitar Center’s audience and Guitar Center was getting access to Converse’s audience.
Both of those people win. More people buy more instruments and music stuff that might never have bought it before, and more people start buying Converse shoes because they weren’t aware that Converse loved music so much. So that’s a very easy example of brandscaping. Two brands coming together to create content designed to drive revenue or increase demand.

Robert: Okay, and with that example… It seems like, with brandscaping, it doesn’t matter what industry the company or the business is in. just because nobody would have thought “Hey, Guitar Center and Converse, that’s a match made in heaven.” So, with brandscaping, regardless of whatever industry you’re in, any brand can work with another brand to help both companies grow.

Andrew: That’s right. You want to think about brands that your audience already has a relationship with. So, you know, if you have an ecommerce platform that sells makeup to teenage women, then you might want to think about what else those teenage women buy. So do they buy hair products? Well, then maybe you want to partner with someone who makes a hair product. Or maybe they buy shoes from a shoe vendor, well then maybe you want to partner with the show people. Or you could even go way further than that. You could say “Hey, we do sell makeup, but I want to partner with a non-profit who champions the rights of girls or women,” and that’s, again, a great opportunity to build a relationship where you’re partnering with those people who want to go after the same audience and drive revenue to increase demand.

Robert: Okay. And when you were writing the whole book, did you have a particular audience in mind, or were you just thinking “Hey, this is something that can actual work for all businesses out there”?

Andrew: Well, let me think. Did I—I had a specific audience of marketers in mind. I was really trying to challenge the way marketers currently think about reaching their audience. And I realized as I was writing the book and I met lots of the people that were in the case studies of the book that it works for almost anyone.
So I gave you an example of Converse and Guitar Center. Those are two big brands, but there’s also a woman in the book named Lauren Luke. And Lauren Luke started a makeup brand called by Lauren Luke, and she started by creating a YouTube video every single Thursday and then she partnered with Sephora, one of the world’s largest retail stores for makeup, and they started basically distributing the content together. Then all of a sudden she was creating books, she was in retail outlets around the world. So Lauren Luke when from just being someone on YouTube with a few makeup supplies that she was trying to sell to a hundred-million-dollar brand by partnering with Sephora. So it can work for a one-person startup like Lauren Luke who’s just doing an ecommerce platform to sell makeup, or it can work for Converse and Fortune 500 companies selling financial stuff. So it doesn’t really matter.
So the book was focused on marketers specifically and it turns out that lots of entrepreneurs and CEOs have read the book. So it’s been great.

Robert: Okay, with some of the case studies you have in the book, do you have any statistics or figures of how successful brands—what some of their result where once they started doing some of the brandscaping?

Andrew: Yeah—well, every one of the stories in the book kind of has a result for each one of the case studies. I didn’t compile anything across all of the case studies to see what they did. I’m trying to think if I have any big—I don’t think I do, but brands like Converse have driven hundreds of millions of dollars in businesses over the last five or seven years since they started partnering with Guitar Center. That’s been really successful for them. Lauren Luke is a great example. She went from essentially zero revenue to a hundred-million-dollar company from 2007 to 2014 by partnering with other brands, even non-profits she’s partnered with.
There are—I’m trying to think of any other quick examples. But, you know, it’s generally—when you partner with another audience, you’re spending less to get the audience. You could buy an ad online to get to the audience, but it’s much more effective to find a relationship that could be long term with another brand, and you’ll see much bigger results faster when you do that.

Robert: Okay. And how can some ecommerce business start—what do ecommerce businesses need to be thinking about or what do they need to do to start brandscaping or start finding potential partners that they can start targeting the same audience?

Andrew: Yeah, sure. Well, I think the first thing you need to do is think about exactly the audience you already have, the people that are in your email database or have bought from you before, and you need to start really diving into who those people are and what else they buy. So instead of wondering about what they’ve bought from you in the past, start thinking about what they’ve bought before they bought from you. So what other companies do they shop in? Whereabouts do they—and you can do this by actually asking them.

If you look through your database and see your top ten customers who have spent the most with you over the last year, just give them a call and say “Hey, we’re so happy you bought from us. What are some of the other companies you love buying from? What are some of your favorite other brands?” and they’ll be very straight forward with you and tell you those things. Those are immediately great partnerships to start pursuing. So the first thing you should do is, number one, identify your most successful existing customers, find out what else they buy and who else they buy it from.
And then the third thing you want to do is approach those other brands and ask them what you can do to help them drive more business. So don’t start about yourself, don’t tell them that you want to partner and get access to their audience, just you want to help them grow more business. And once you can prove the value of your audience—meaning they might say “Oh, yeah, we’d love to share some content with your audience and see if they buy. Let’s do that.” Once you’ve proven the value of it, then you can go back to them and say “Hey, that worked really well. Our audience loves your stuff. Can we talk about a longer term partnership where we can share content on a more regular basis between ourselves so that we’re both constantly driving both of our businesses?” So that’s how I’d start.

Robert: Okay. And are there any tools that businesses need to be using when they start reaching out to these different companies or for creating content? Are there particular tools that are good for companies to use for when they’re trying new strategies?

Andrew: Yeah. I’d say their basic tools. Number one, they want to use their brain. That’s a good tool. So I want you to really think about this stuff. This isn’t like—brandscaping is certainly not the easiest marketing tactic, it’s not for lazy marketers, it’s not for lazy ecommerce platforms. You’re gonna see big results from this if you really think about it. So the number one tool is your brain.
Number two, the most underutilized marketing tool, I think, is really email. I think even ecommerce businesses focus a lot on publishing lots of stuff to their database and getting people to click stuff, but they’re not really building a real relationship with that audience. And I think if you start thinking about your email and your audience that you’ve got already as your most valuable asset, instead of thinking about them as just a bunch of names, it started to change the way you treat those people and it opens opportunities for great partnerships.
And I think, finally, the last—so email’s a great tool for this—I think one of the—if you’re talking about a real tool, instead of me being silly and saying your brain and your email, I think the last one is really looking at Amazon. So whatever you sell, if you just go and look up on Amazon the things that are already there when you search for the product you sell, I think it’s really good to look at the “customers also bought” section, because that’s exactly where you’re gonna find the right partners. So it’s very easy, if you sell baseball bats, go look up baseball bats, see what else other people buy for just different kinds of baseball bats, and those are great partners to reach out to immediately and say “Hey, I’d love to work with you and help you sell more baseball gloves, or baseball hats,” or whatever the other things are that come up in that search.

Robert: Okay. And, actually, I was laughing when you mentioned the brain because with a lot of marketers, the reality in the world we live in, they just want the new, shiny object, the new strategy.

Andrew: That’s right!

Robert: And everybody always forgets that you have one powerful engine and machine that people almost neglect when they’re always looking for the new shiny object. So yeah, thank you for putting me in my place—[Andrew laughing]—and reminding people that, yes, they do have something they can use.
So one last question from Brandscaping that I have is—it’s not really like a summery. There’s a lot of great takeaways from the book, but if you could just bring it to one thing, what is the one thing that the readers of Brandscaping or our kind of listeners, what’s the one they can take away from Brandscaping?

Andrew: I think the one thing we want to take away from Brandscaping, even if you don’t read the book, but you listen to the podcast, is start asking yourself every single day one simple question. “Who has my next customer as their current customer?” So if you wake up tomorrow and you say “Who has my next customer as their current customer?” and you start looking for these opportunities, you will find great, deep partnerships with brands and companies that you’ve never thought about before. That question, just asking yourself that once a day, spend five minutes thinking about it, will change the way you market.
And next time you talk to a customer or they call customer service or you even go to a customer’s house if you have the opportunity to do that, I want you to start looking around for those other things that they buy so that you are always thinking “Who has my next customer as my current customer?” And I think that’s the one take away. Just write it down on a sticky note and put it above your computer. And for the next week, just think about it, and I think you’ll start seeing the opportunity to find new business with new partners.

Robert: Wow, that is really powerful. It’s something that, I guess—even in our own business, it’s something that, I guess, a lot of businesses don’t think about and that’s where you came up with trying to challenge the marketers, just trying to change how they’re looking at marketing and look at it differently. I think that’s a really powerful question for businesses to start asking themselves.

Andrew: Yeah, I think so too. The key is that you stop thinking you have to do it on your own. You don’t have to do it on your own, there are great partners out there and that one question will help you find those great partners.

Robert: Okay, now just shifting from Brandscaping, you do have a new book that came out in September. It’s Town INC, correct?

Andrew: Yeah, that’s right.

Robert: So that’s the new book about?

Andrew: Thanks. Town INC is all about helping businesses owners think about marketing the place they do business just as much, if not more, than the business they do. So, Robert, I know you’re in Florida. So what’s funny is, in the online world, we’ve stopped telling people where our products are made or where our company is based because we live in this kind of global economy. But what I found after three years of research is businesses who tell people and actively promote where they are based and where they make their products are much more successful than companies that don’t.
So a great example of this is the Missouri Star Quilt Company—which has a great YouTube channel, by the way. They sell quilting supplies, and they’re based in a little town called Hamilton, Missouri, and they have essentially built a huge business out of creating these tutorials and then getting people to come to Hamilton Missouri from all over the world to visit the biggest quilting store in the country. They’ve got a hundred and twenty-four employees now. They own a hotel in town, they own two little restaurants. And all they did was market the place they do business just as much, if not more, than the business they do. And you can see it, if you watch their YouTube commercials, they’re hilarious, they say “You gotta come to Hamilton, Missouri and you gotta see the town and your gotta see our quilt shops!”
So that’s what the book’s all about. And it’s another challenging question I’m asking business owners to really thinking about how they can really differentiate themselves in the global economy by talking about where they’re from.

Robert: So that’s—yeah, yet another challenging question. You’ve got all these great hits. Where can people find you, find the books, follow you—what are the websites?

Andrew: The easiest way to find me is on Twitter, actually. So I’m @TPLDrew—the TPL is for Tipping Point Labs, the agency I started a long time ago. So I’m @TPLDrew. You can find more about me at akadrewdavis.com, like “also known as Drew Davis”—akadrewdavis.com. And if you want to learn more about the new book or Brandscaping, you can find them both on Amazon very easily, just searching “Andrew Davis Brandscaping” or “Brandscaping” or “Town INC” or any of those things. And, yeah, if you reach out to me on Twitter or have questions, I’ll be sure to get back to you.
But this has been great, Robert. Thanks for having me on.

Robert: I actually like the name “AKA Drew Davis.” How did you come up with that name?

Andrew: I struggled to find—after I left the agency, I struggled to find a domain name that would work for Andrew Davis, and I don’t know who came up with it. Maybe a friend of mine or something. They said “Everyone calls you Drew Davis, why don’t you trying ‘also known as Drew Davis,’ AKA?” and I was like “Oh, that’ll work!” and it was available and it’s not the best URL, but it works.

Robert: I definitely like it. I like the attitude that you have in the domain. Any final thoughts you have for the listeners?

Andrew: If the listeners do nothing else, even if they don’t buy the book Brandscaping or they don’t buy Town INC, I think I just want listeners to really value their audience. Don’t forget that your email list, your email database, your existing customers who have bought something from you are your most valuable asset. And really challenge yourself to use it the right way.

Robert: Okay, Andrew. Thank you for doing the podcast. And, everybody, go get the books Town Inc. and Brandscaping from Amazon. Thanks, again, for doing the podcast, Andrew.

Andrew: Thanks, Robert Kilonzo! Have a great afternoon!