Being Digital First in CPG⎜ Boosted Commerce ⎜ EP 217

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This is a podcast episode titled, Being Digital First in CPG⎜ Boosted Commerce ⎜ EP 217. The summary for this episode is: <p>Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Vice President Operations of Boosted Commerce, Sarah Dajani. They'll discuss the nuances of building brands and attracting customers on Amazon vs retail vs DTC.</p><p>---</p><p>Crossover Commerce is presented by PingPong Payments. PingPong transfers more than 150 million dollars a day for eCommerce sellers just like you. Helping over 1 million customers now, PingPong has processed over 90 BILLION dollars in cross-border payments. Save with a PingPong account <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">today</a>! </p><p>---</p><p><strong>Stay connected with Crossover Commerce and PingPong Payments:</strong></p><p>✅ Crossover Commerce @ <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>✅ YouTube @ <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>✅ LinkedIn @ <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>---</p><p>You can watch or listen to all episodes of Crossover Commerce at: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p>

Ryan Cramer: What's up, everyone. Welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm your host, Ryan Cramer. And this is Crossover Commerce, presented by PingPong Payments, the leading global payments provider, helping sellers keep more of their hard earned money. Hey. What's up, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Crossover Commerce. I'm your host, Ryan Cramer. And this is my literal corner of the internet, where I bring the best and brightest in the Amazon and e- commerce space. That's right. I am now sitting in a corner of my basement. This is a different setup than I'm used to, or you might be used to seeing. No fear, this is just a temporary setup, just for safety and precautions. I'm in my temporary studio setup. So let's just call it what it is today. But if you're joining us for the first time on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or Twitter, thanks for joining us today. It's a pleasure to have you listen to every episode. Again, this is episode 217 of Crossover Commerce. So if you're thinking to yourself, 217 episodes, where can I find out more, Ryan? Glad you asked. Go to usa. podcast to check out every past episode of all of our great guests. You'll get the transcripts. You'll get all the great content, all the key take ways of Amazon and e- commerce experts like our guest today. And shout out to presiding sponsor, PingPong Payments, helping sellers keep more of their hard earned money when it comes to sending or receiving payments. That being said, again, episode 217. If you're new to the podcast, we just love having great Amazon and e- commerce experts in this space. This week is no exception. We're going to have great four guests lined up for you. Two today. If you only see one, maybe on LinkedIn or pending, there's going to be one later tonight at 07: 00 Eastern. If you want to join us live from the other side of the world, in Japan, we have the great Gary Wong of 7 Figure Seller Summit, going to be joining us live. But today, and right now, if you're listening to us, we have a different guest on today. So I'm really excited. As you know, in this podcast we have so many great experts in the Amazon and e- commerce space, anywhere from people who are starting their brands, who have really stood out in the marketing or advertising world, or they talk about global expansion. Well today, we're actually going to be talking with another great company that has merged in the past couple of years, Boosted Commerce. We're talking with Sarah Dajani of Boosted Commerce. She's the VP of brand marketing. And she's going to be talking to us about, we've deemed this title brand first, Being Digital First, excuse me, in CPG. What does that mean? What does that mean for you as an Amazon seller looking to either exit your business or just grow it to a fantastic company? That being said, want to welcome to, again, Crossover Commerce, Sarah Dajani of Boosted Commerce. Sarah, thank you so much for tuning in, I shouldn't say tuning in, joining us today on Crossover Commerce.

Sarah Dajani: Thanks so much for having me, Ryan. Appreciate it.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. So you appreciate, we were just talking a little bit about where you're located. For everyone who's listening and tuning in, listening live, if you want to say hi to Sarah, everyone just go ahead and put it in the comments section. Let us know where you're listening from. But Sarah, just give us a quick background of you and who you are and how we are here today.

Sarah Dajani: Yeah, sure. So I'm VP of brand management for the food and supplements vertical at Boosted Commerce. I'm living here right outside of San Francisco, in Burlingame, in the middle of Silicon Valley, where there's a lot of people talking about being digital first, as you can imagine. My career kind of went from entrepreneurship in the food sector to being a marketer in the CPG space, to really wanting to learn all the playbooks about being digital first. And that's what led me to Boosted Commerce.

Ryan Cramer: That's amazing. So what do you do, real quickly? What were you doing before Boosted? Were you were a VP of brand management for another company in the similar category? What was that background like?

Sarah Dajani: Well, I kind of have three chapters to my career before Boosted. The first chapter was a kind of a classic consulting background, where I went and worked for a consulting management company abroad actually, in Dubai, and also in Silicon valley. And I got to learn, really, the basics of strategic management. After that, I decided to go after what was my dream at the time, and still really is, which is building a socially conscious business in the food space. So I spent a year working with farmers abroad. I spent time at pastry school and business school. And I ultimately launched a food business in London, with a business partner. And I was baking every day. And we were manufacturing food and trying to source from those farmers abroad, selling at this department store, called Harrods. And it was, as all of the entrepreneurs know, blood, sweat, and tears. And eventually, the company got to a point where it was commercially successful, but not doing the social work that I wanted it to do. And so I came back to the US and I realized that I needed to learn more. And that's what put me in the CPG space. So I knew I needed to learn about digital. So I needed to learn about digital marketing. So I went, became a marketer in the CPG space, and then made my way through a startup CPG, worked at a brand owned by Procter and Gamble, and then eventually landed at Boosted.

Ryan Cramer: That's amazing. I mean, talk about burying the lead. You were talking about building out your own pastry business. And if my wife were listening right now, she'd be very jealous. Are you talking about eco- friendly baking? What's the notion of that business?

Sarah Dajani: Yeah, the social. The social part of it was that in undergraduate, I have an international background in my family. And in undergrad, I realized that a lot of the people that I have interacted with abroad just don't have access to the same opportunities that we have in The States. And so, I really was looking at sort of public policy and ways that we could help solve that. And it came upon this idea of social entrepreneurship, which was about using business to help improve people's income situations and their poverty. So the idea of my whole business, this is making a very long story short.

Ryan Cramer: No, it's okay.

Sarah Dajani: But the idea of my business was that, basically if you want to help anybody, you kind of have to humble yourself first and see, well, they probably know what need better than I know what they need. So I spent a year with farmers in Jordan, olive oil farmers, pomegranate farmers. They were making something called pomegranate molasses, apple cider vinegar, all of these beautiful products. And they came to me and they were like," Where are you from?" And I said," Oh, I'm from The States." And they said," Oh, you're from America?" They're like," Sell our products abroad." They immediately knew what would help them improve their lives, would be a business that brought their raw materials or bought, sorry, their raw materials, and then sold them in markets like London. And if you think about, in the roll up space, people talk a lot about arbitrage. If you think about the arbitrage of a British pound sterling, right? Somebody buying something for a British pound sterling, what that means in terms of income with the exchange rate for a farmer living in Jordan, it's quite significant. And so that was the whole premise of the business. That was what we were trying to accomplish.

Ryan Cramer: That's amazing. Congratulations on just even trying to attempt that. I think those are kinds of businesses that are even more difficult than just starting in the restaurant space, or I say in the food space. Because again, those kind of passions obviously carry over, and it can either be super successful or encounter even more hurdles than just throwing something in a package. Or like you said, there's no thought behind it. And I think that's really cool of the brand itself. It's speaking to a notion of who you are as a company, what you're really focused on. And I think that's fantastic. So you walked away from that. You sold the business. Can you encap it?

Sarah Dajani: Yeah, so we had found quite a bit of commercial success. We were selling in Harrods. We had actually, as clients, the Sultan of Brunei, who owned the Dorchester Hotel Group. So we had quite a bit of commercial success. But I mentioned the first part of my career was in management consulting. So I had learned how to build financial models in that part of my career. And so I built a financial model. And I was like, how big can we get this thing? Because anybody who's done food knows that the margins are thin, let alone doing a socially conscious food business. And so I said, well, we need massive volume. And I just found that actually, if we really, really succeeded in the UK, we wouldn't get to the volume that we needed to be able to place the MOQs, the minimum order quantities, from those farmers abroad. I was like, okay, I'm not going to. It was so hard just to be selling in Harrods in the first place, I was baking 10 hours a day. I mean, it was really, really, really tiring. And so I was like, I'm not going to put all of this effort in so that at the end of the day I'm not even able to do what I originally wanted, which is support those farmers by purchasing from them directly.

Ryan Cramer: So you found yourself doing more shortcuts, I would say, probably to just meet quantity or to meet your expectation, your invoices from Harrods. Is that kind of along those lines?

Sarah Dajani: Well, what I was doing, I was flat out just trying to fulfill the orders that Harrods was sending our way. And I basically did not have time to figure out a way to expand the business.

Ryan Cramer: Wow.

Sarah Dajani: That's right. Yeah.

Ryan Cramer: Okay. So you moved that. You said, there's more opportunity in different countries. You needed to market it more. You needed to kind of develop that idea. Is that something you'd ever come back to, or is this something that it's kind of like, you did that. That was your dream. You accomplished what you set out to do and now you're moving on?

Sarah Dajani: No, it's still there. I still have to figure it out. And so what I-

Ryan Cramer: I was going to say, if you needed a test market, hey, send it to Indiana over here. We're happy to help.

Sarah Dajani: The recipe development is super fun.

Ryan Cramer: Well, congratulations. That's a great story. And I think it leads into what you're doing now. It just makes that seamless transition, I would say. So you learned digital, you learned marketing obviously. Very centric on food in that regards. And now you're moving over to Boosted Commerce, which is, again, digital first in that notion. Tell me about this process. Why Boosted? Why was this a next natural fit for you?

Sarah Dajani: Well, if you don't mind, I'll tell you one quick story about the food business that leads to this answer.

Ryan Cramer: Please do. Yeah.

Sarah Dajani: So when we were marketing our products to Harrods, we walked the floor with one of the Harrods shopkeepers. And if anybody has sold in retail, you know that they have a planogram. And it's really fixed. The way the store looks is the way it is, and you try to get slotted somewhere. This was, by the way, when Instagram didn't even have ads yet. Instagram was just people posting pictures. And so there was no digital advertising on Instagram. So she said," If you try to get this one influencer to post about your products, we will redraw the planogram to have your products front and center because she drives so much foot traffic into our store." And I had no idea what she was talking about. And so I realized I needed to learn all of that. That was my first taste of digital marketing, influencer marketing.

Ryan Cramer: You shook her head, and you're like," Sounds great"?

Sarah Dajani: Sounds great.

Ryan Cramer: Somebody on online going to send all this foot traffic? How does that work?

Sarah Dajani: Exactly. It just didn't make sense to me. And I even looked at the Instagram profiles. I was like, I don't really get this. So I realized I needed to learn. So that's what put me in the marketing world in CPG. So I went to an organic baking company, worked there as a marketer. And then I learned all of the basics around Facebook advertising, SEO. That's where I started managing Amazon businesses as well. And then I moved on to a company called Walker and Company, that had just been bought by Procter and Gamble. And they were in the personal care and beauty space. And so, another company that got bought at the same time was Native Deodorants, which I'm sure many people have heard of. And so, we were part of this class that entered Procter and Gamble, both Walker and Company and Native. And we got to not only learn from everyone's digital marketing tactics that way, but I also got to see the way a brand powerhouse builds and maintains their brands. And so, the only thing that was bugging me about all of this was that I was working, even at Procter and Gamble, it was a startup company that Procter and Gamble had acquired. Before that was another startup. These were all privately backed. Private investors or venture capital investors had backed the companies. And at the time, the goal was revenue growth, not profitable growth, but revenue growth with the goal of selling at a multiple of revenue. But these businesses, more often than not, were unprofitable. I was an entrepreneur. I had just come from an entrepreneurial experience, and I could not understand why you would build a business that was not profitable. I can, of course now looking back, see the answer. But at the time, I said this doesn't make sense. And when I build a business, I want it to be a profitable business. And that's when Boosted came along. And one of my friends was working at Boosted, and he was recruiting. And I told him," Hey, what's this company?" And he told me," Oh, we acquire profitable CPG businesses. And we grow them profitably." And I was like," What? How do you do that? So you guys are profitable from day one. So it's not this thing where the budgets don't make sense because everything is still not quite getting to profitability?" He's like," Yeah, no. We start out profitably and we build it profitably." And so I said," Well, I want to be with the people who think like that because I need to learn how to think like that." So that's what brought me here.

Ryan Cramer: No, that's amazing. Well, that's a good notion in terms of going, obviously, that story and that background into where we are today. So your role there at Boosted, again, everyone knows there's so many different, excellent companies out there. What's different about Boosted, from your mind, that sets it apart from everyone else in this space? And I say like, there's so many businesses out there, business models, similar as to a roll up, an aggregator, is the term that you can say it. But you guys claim that you're different than everyone else. Well, what are those distinguishing factors for you?

Sarah Dajani: Yeah. I have to tell you, I don't look a lot at what our competitors are doing. So I don't know what they're doing, but I do know what I think is special about Boosted for sure.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, please do.

Sarah Dajani: Yeah. So what I think is special about Boosted is, number one, we are focused. So when I say focused, we are focused on certain types of companies that we want to buy. We have a profile for what we want to buy. We're starting to understand, well, what are the synergies in our portfolio of businesses that would direct our M& A strategy? That's one thing that's really important. If you can imagine the complexity of managing one Amazon business, imagine if you're managing 30 Amazon businesses and they all have different vendors.

Ryan Cramer: Right.

Sarah Dajani: It's a nightmare. So there has to be some level of focus and a thesis around the M&A Strategy. I had no idea what a roll up model is. The roll up is another way of saying aggregator. So when I joined Boosted, I was like, oh, CPG of the future. That sounds great.

Ryan Cramer: Portfolio, it can be.

Sarah Dajani: Sorry, what was that, Ryan?

Ryan Cramer: I was going to say portfolio or anything. There's other terms that sound much more eloquent.

Sarah Dajani: Yeah. I don't even know what those terms mean. One of my friends, after I joined, after I signed the contract, he goes," Oh, you're in private equity now." And I was like," What?" He's like," Yeah. Now you're in private equity. You've left product. Now you're like an investor type." And I told him," That's so funny. I know nothing about private equity. Why would they hire me?" And so, that's my way of sort of showing that Boosted, we do have brand people, people like me who have built businesses, think about the customer, think about the product. And I don't know, maybe other aggregators have that. I don't know who they have on their teams, but we spend a lot of time doing interviews with customers, trying to figure out the decision trees that they follow to make their purchasing decisions. We try to understand, not just the keywords that matter, but why do those keywords matter? What is it that's driving people's behavior? What is it in that product that sparks their interest beyond the fact that it's ranking number one on the first page of search results?

Ryan Cramer: Right. So you're doing more. You were saying this pre- show," We're not a widget company." I think this is pre- show. You're not a widget company. You're a brand in a CPG company. And now I'd like to know, and I think a lot of people like that distinction. I personally like the distinction. What makes a company not a widget company, but a CPG company, in your mind, Sarah?

Sarah Dajani: The number one thing is thinking about the customer. That's the number one thing. At end of the day, it's so easy when you're running an Amazon business to never touch the product. You just call the vendor and say," Package it. Here's a PO, please go and package the product. Send it in LTL or parcel to FBA." You see it get scanned in, hopefully without delays. And then the money starts to roll in. It just starts getting sold and the money starts to roll in. And you can go on that way for years. And that's when it starts to feel like a widget, because you're not really touching it. You don't really know who's buying it. Amazon does this terrible thing where they distance you from the customer. And so you can't really talk to them. But the way to get out of that is to start to understand who is your community. Who's buying from you. If you're selling a product that is, let's say, Better For You Shampoo, are the people who are buying that pregnant women? Because they're pregnant, they're going to have a kid and they want to make sure nothing toxic goes into their hair. If you know that, and you know that's the reason they're buying your shampoo, that gives you a ton of information about how you can make it better for them, how you can speak to their concerns in your marketing, how you can drive retention marketing with them, make sure that they stay engaged with your product and interested in it. And then you can think about the life cycle after that. Well, then they have a baby, do you want to make something for their babies? And then they have that continuity of brand. So that's really the difference, is thinking about the customer.

Ryan Cramer: Right. Well, I think that's an important distinction too of, if I'm a person or a brand, entrepreneur on Amazon or CPG company or direct to consumer company, or DDC or CPG company, and I want to, either if I want to exit my business or sell a business, I think that's just a natural thing you want to learn is, I want to put my brand in the hands of somebody who understands those capabilities. I want to go with somebody who understands what the difference is going to be of, I know my target audience, we can grow. We can relate to that. And not everyone, again, we were talking agnostic versus very specific in terms of category focus. And again, those can still be broad, but it's more focused than," Hey, we don't deal with electronics or fashion. Go to someone else for that. We are really focused in food, consumer care, something maybe consumable or put it on top of you, eco- friendly. Whatever you want to categorize yourself under that notion. Is that what is exciting for someone in your position as brand management of, yes, our BD team is not going to bring in an electronic what you may call it, and we have to figure out how to sell that to a consumer. That's widget based marketing. Now this is just focused marketing in that regard.

Sarah Dajani: Yeah. And our BD team and our M& A team are incredible. I mean, they know our business. Sometimes I look at people on their team and I go, oh, I'd like to take them over to my operations team. And that's really-

Ryan Cramer: Stealing within the company.

Sarah Dajani: Exactly. Yeah. I mean, there are quite a few people actually who I'd be like," You would be great on my team. And that's rare to see somebody who's in finance or as they say, finance, to try to have somebody like that.

Ryan Cramer: They're going to make themselves sound very uppity. I won't say uppity. Sound very posh, if you will.

Sarah Dajani: That's the inaudible. Finance. But yeah, I mean, to be on the brand management side and look over at that side and say, oh I'd love to have them on my team. That speaks a lot to the fact that we're in this together. We're thinking the same way. We listen to each other. They care about the business after the transaction is over.

Ryan Cramer: That's really cool. So I know post, we've talked about this on the podcast before, of how important it is after acquisition is happening, when you get to sit down with the former owner and your team, and you could say," What were you going through? What are those steps that you were looking for? What's some insight that we can go grow this?" Do you have those natural interactions with brand owners after acquisition? Or do you just have to absorb everything you can from the instance that they're selling off to a Boosted or you're acquiring them? What is that conversation like? And how do you keep them involved in the process?

Sarah Dajani: Yeah. It starts from the moment we sign an LOI. And sometimes I get involved before the LOI is signed as well, just to talk to them and explain to them a bit who would be taking care of their business. But from the stage of the LOI, we have our routine diligence calls. And that's where I really get to know the founders. And more importantly also, my team that's doing the day to day management of the business gets to know the founders as well. And then once the deal closes, like we say, you don't just sort of hand the keys over and walk away. It's really a transition process. So that's one of the things that Boosted does incredibly well, which is the management of basically a 120 day transition process that starts 30 days before close and ends 90 days after close. And there's a series of, and it's structured differently for each brand. It depends on the complexity. There may be consulting arrangements. There may be just a series of meetings that happen every week to allow for the smooth transition. But a lot, a lot, lot gets discussed in those meetings.

Ryan Cramer: I bet. Has it ever been a notion where you see something where it's not fitting either portfolio or criteria or just voice that you've had to step in and say," Although everything else looks good, this may not fit for us as a company, as a CPG company." Do you have those conversations, those tough conversations within your own team?

Sarah Dajani: Within our own team, between the brand management team or the supply chain team, marketing team, and the M&A team, yeah, we have those conversations all the time. I mean, it's something that I think is a hallmark of good thinking, is that there's a lot of debate.

Ryan Cramer: Right. And I would think that would naturally have to be a good thing, because if you start to accept everyone, again, you start to lose yourself as, kind of going back to your old business, if you will, of where I see the correlation happening of, you might have to not short change yourself, but you might have to compromise in certain areas. Like you said, if you want to be an eco- friendly company, Boosted wants to say," We're eco- friendly. We want to be like Amazon, we want to be net carbon neutral, or something like that by 2050 or something along those lines. Again, if you start to take on everyone and they're like," Well, we can maybe change some of those things down the road, or maybe we can do X, Y, Z." Is that something that either you have to stand up for, or is there a lot of people that are on the same page in that regard?

Sarah Dajani: Yeah, this starts speaking to sort of the politics within the company, because there are different incentives across the different groups. The M& A group has an incentive to acquire businesses, whereas the brand management group has an incentive to grow the businesses. And more often than not, those two incentives overlap, but sometimes they don't. Sometimes it's like, well, acquiring this business may be good for us getting another deal in, but it may not be good for us because we don't think we can grow it as much as would be required or dictated by the multiple. Or we like the business, but it has, for example, let's say that in the supplements line, we're saying it's like a kids focused supplements line. And I would say, we don't do kids supplements. If we do that, my first mind goes to general counsel, we need to have somebody on the legal side who can really advise us on how we can make sure that we're doing this because products for children are held to a higher standard than products for adults. And so those types of conversations do happen. And anybody who's worked with me will tell you that I have no problem speaking up and speaking my opinion, to a fault perhaps. And so there's that. But then also, the whole team has our back. And so there may be someone on M& A who agrees with me, and then somebody who disagrees, someone on the ops side who disagrees with me. And there'll be that debate, and it'll be vigorous. But ultimately, whatever decision we come to, everyone accepts it and moves on.

Ryan Cramer: Right. Well, that's fantastic. Well, that's healthy, I think, within any sort of company of, how do you grow that next iteration? I think a lot of roll up companies or aggregators or whomever you want to dictate the name. A lot of people want to be around for a long time and build out those portfolios and, like you said, be the next Procter and Gamble, or be the next consumer based product focused brand company that's digital first. So that being said, that's your job, from what I'm hearing at the company. Sarah, a lot of people think, when you say, building and growing a brand, that is your job. Once the acquisition is made by the M&A team and the business development team, now it's on you and your team to kind of make that next natural leap, and take that vision and really not shotgun it, but really make it blossom. What are those kinds of first building blocks that you go through with your team? Is it, how do we optimize in digital? Or how do we optimize on direct to consumer or maybe retail? What are those first things that you look at with the company?

Sarah Dajani: Yeah. So I'll talk to you a little bit about the frameworks that we have there. And then I'll mention a few of the pieces of that framework. So within my vertical, food and supplements, what I do is, I mentioned one of the reasons I joined Boosted is because they grow businesses profitably. When I heard that, I said, well, that means that they know the playbooks. And I looked at the founders, Keith and Charlie, and I go, okay, they have a lot of experience. Surely they know playbooks. So when I joined, I'm immediately talking to them about what are your playbooks to grow? More people joined the company. I learned their playbooks. I brought my own playbooks. And then essentially, I had all of these options. We had a menu of 20 to 40 initiatives we could choose from, after close, to grow the business. And the question is, well, which one do I do first? And why? That's paralysis of choice. It's not a good thing to have a lot of options if you don't know what to do. And this is actually what kills companies all the time, is lack of focus, because you try to do it all. And so what I said was, okay, let's create archetypes. So we went into the verticals and we created what we call brand archetypes. And the archetypes, we have fancy internal names around what they're branded as, but we get three archetypes in a vertical. And those archetypes are determined by about nine criteria. So we actually have an index where we rank each brand against nine criteria, and it spits out an archetype. And that archetype will dictate to you, out of those 40 initiatives, which ones do you layer in first and why? And so I acquire a brand, very early on I look at the brand and I know what the archetype is. I don't need to do the indexing. I could. But I know which archetype it's going to fall into. And so I know, out of my 40 initiatives, they need to be layered in this particular way. And then once you get to that stage, what we say is we focus on the inputs, not the output. So the output is net margin growth, for example, velocity growth, whatever you want to call it. But the inputs are what are going to get you there. And the inputs, number one, I'll just list three of the six inputs that we look at. You look at your supply chain first, no product, no sales. Account health. With Amazon, account health is this whole thing. And then there are a few other things. And then we have promotions at the top, promotional activity, PPC, social media ads, email marketing, Amazon Live, all of that stuff. And there are few other things in there as well. So those are the inputs. And so all the initiatives get flooded, categorized into those inputs. All of the initiatives get categorized into those input categories. And then we go ahead and execute against it.

Ryan Cramer: Is that spend, what are you putting? I just want to be clear on, is it a yes, no statement? Or is it a volume statement of, this is how much sales are coming in from, like you said, through CPC or PPC, I'm going to get the acronym right, or something like that. You're saying you're putting inputs. What is that that you're putting in? Is it data? What is it you're inputting?

Sarah Dajani: Well philosophically, a lot of teams, for example, if they're focused, that's meant to be more of a philosophical anchoring point. So if you have a team, let's say you've got a team of brand managers and you tell them," You need to grow revenue. I want to see revenue grow 20% year over year." They may do a lot of things to grow revenue 20% year over year, only so that the next year it'll fall by 40%. They just might do a lot of low quality, hacky tactics to get revenue up 20% year over year.

Ryan Cramer: You're talking about, for example, a launch technique, if it was giveaways or something like that. Whether it be ranking tactics, we've seen in the past, could be 80% conversion or a hundred percent conversion. But again, even if that dips a little bit, Amazon naturally just torpedoes you down in that regard. So just one example I'm assuming that you're talking about.

Sarah Dajani: Exactly. Yeah, that would be one example. And so then, rather than having them focus on the outputs, we tell them, focus on the inputs. So an input, for example, would be ad spend. That would be an input. Like, you need to look at the ad spend, is it optimized correctly? And therefore, are you getting a quality output? So if we can take PPC as an example, do you have a great ACoS because you're spending only on branded keywords? Well, that's not a great input. You've got an output where your ACoS looks good, but the input is not good. You're spending on branded keywords, you need to be spending also on non- branded, and you need to have a strategy around whether you want to win the category or whether you want to win the long tail keywords, or what is it exactly? And so all of that becomes sort of a focus on the inputs of how are you going to go about doing that? And that's where we get into the initiatives, where we say, okay, well, we've done this 800 times. Here's what we think is the right way to do it.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. That makes sense. Do you find yourself finding that a lot of the businesses you guys are acquiring are pretty optimized for Amazon, or is it that next step that retail or different marketplace aspect that that's where you initially have to start? Because, hey, Amazon's pretty good. There's not too much to optimize or tweak in that regards, maybe a few things. But what is it that you're seeing most often with all the brands that Boosted is acquiring?

Sarah Dajani: That's an amazing question. Because that's exactly what the archetypes are all about. It's about looking at the business and figuring out, where do you take it from here? And in some businesses, you look at the Amazon business. There are some businesses where I just go," Oh, you guys have been out of stock too often. If I can just keep you in stock, I can grow the business 20% year over year." There are some businesses we've acquired. There are other businesses, you look at the Amazon, it's like, I can't do much more with this business. We have to build out our Shopify site and hope that crosstalk off Amazon traffic will help.

Ryan Cramer: Well, that, I'm assuming because of the natural, on the M& A side, it's a little bit different because that's where the value comes from. But they also have to probably talk with you in regards of, where is that true growth potential? If it's not on Amazon and there's not'a lift' that you can make on that Amazon, your numbers become instantly more difficult because you don't have the optimization as much on Amazon. Now you have to go through a different channel, whether it be a different marketplace or a different country, or even a direct to consumer channel. Like you said, build out their Shopify store, or their WooCommerce or whatever that looks like. So interesting that you have to take those notions and go there. How often does retail come into conversation, whether it's like," Hey, this brand has a conversation or already is in a store, has a relationship with a Walmart or a Home Depot or something along those lines"? Does that happen often, or are you surprised it doesn't happen as often as you might think? Or that's one of the easiest areas for you to optimize and grow under?

Sarah Dajani: Well, we definitely have those conversations. Foxybae, like I mentioned, one of our most recent acquisitions, just launched in Target. And so we have those conversations all the time. And that one, for me, I always think of supply chain when I think of that. Because I'm never really concerned that we can sell into a retailer. That's not really my concern, or maintain that relationship once we have it. I'm more concerned about making sure that the backend, when we are fulfilling all of these products and accepting POs that come in on pallets, are we able to actually manage this efficiently across our entire supply chain system? That's what I think more about. But yeah, for sure, the more wholesalers you have, the more retail partners you have, the more complexity you get from that fulfillment and logistics standpoint.

Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. Well, it is just, as we say on this channel all the time, you have to think about commerce as a whole and where it's happening. And e- commerce, in all of retail, of all a hundred percent retail e- commerce is maybe 15%, maybe 16% or 17% on Q4. And that means that there's 80% plus where e- commerce is happening, it's in retail and it's on store shelves and in retail stores of some area. So when people look at it in that regards, obviously e- commerce is huge in our industry. But when you look at it in just all of commerce, there's so much opportunity in terms of retail, not a bad thing. But that's where I think a lot of people go from digital obviously first, and then they move into the retail second. So is that something that, I guess, if you're in 2022. And Sarah, you and your team had your plan of, okay, well, we have our established brands, you said Foxybae, which again, I think that was the most recent one that you announced as acquired for the company. Of your 20 to 30 plus brands that you guys are operating, what's the outlook for 2022? Is there a set of goals or overarching statement goals that you and your team are trying to accomplish this year? And what are those?

Sarah Dajani: Oh, yeah. We're big on goals at Boosted. So we definitely have a set of goals. And we have them at different levels. We have them at the executive level, at my org level, the brand management level. And we have them even further down within our different functional areas as well. And so, I think there is a big piece, certainly about bringing more of our brands to retail. That is part of our goal for 2022. I can't get into too much detail about all of the things that we're doing, but there's a lot of stuff also, really exciting stuff we're doing with data. We're swimming in data at Boosted. And so, there are a lot of interesting things that we're doing that are going to be not only useful to us, but also useful to FBA sellers and people that we've acquired businesses from.

Ryan Cramer: That's interesting. Is there any tease of what are you, for example, utilizing the data? Is that to be smarter in terms of advertising? Or is that just where shopper behavior is? Is that what you're talking about there?

Sarah Dajani: It's really all of the above. And it even gets into things about, if an FBA seller really wants to understand how they can acquire customers at more favorable cost per acquisitions, CPAs, we can even support them there. So there's a lot of things that we are doing that really are, I think, going to be exciting once they get announced later in the year.

Ryan Cramer: Oh man. What a tease. And I'm assuming you're pulling from your background too, in that regards of, you were talking about influencers. I think there's a lot of conversation around, off of Amazon to on Amazon. And how do you build on these multiple verticals? Is there something that you feel that you haven't got a grasp on yet? You were saying like, I had to learn digital marketing for CPG. Is there something that you're still learning and excited to learn about in the space right now as time continues to evolve when you're at Boosted?

Sarah Dajani: Oh, there are so many things. There are so, so many things. One of the things for me that I'm watching closely, and I'm still fascinated by is just TikTok and the opportunity to monetize there. And I think that is an area that's really fascinating. I grew up shopping at Walmart. And I grew up without the internet as well. So my mindset is like, oh brands make money because they win the shelves in Walmart. So you can go to a Walmart or a Target, like Procter and Gamble owns Tide, Tide Detergent. If you go into a Target, you notice the detergent aisle is just Tide. There's a small section for Method or All, or any other. But it's all red. And so for me, growing up, I was like, oh, Tide is the brand. You buy it when it's on sale. And then you stock up. But it's the brand, it's the premium brand, all of that. I had one source of information. And that was the same with you, remember TV, cable, all of that? That was the same. It was one source. It was Peter Jennings, he was telling us what the news was. But now there's all this stuff telling you information, all this stuff telling you information. And so Procter and Gamble is starting to lose its hold on the customer because the customer isn't just hearing about brands through TV advertising and shelf space. They're hearing about brands through Amazon, through Instagram, through TikTok, through the D2C websites, through Facebook ads. Although those have gotten really expensive, through all of these other channels. And so, you start to think, really, the pie is getting chopped up.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Quite a bit.

Sarah Dajani: Quite a bit. And so you start to say, well, who can survive with all of these little slivers? Because at some point-

Ryan Cramer: I was going to say, does that make your job that much more difficult in that capacity?

Sarah Dajani: Yeah. Well, it makes it difficult, but it also makes me feel like we have the advantage because, okay, let's just talk about Amazon. Let's say it's a product that customers, if they want to buy it, they're not going to go to Target, Walmart, a specialty store and a few other stores to try to look for it. They're just going to go to Amazon, type in the term and buy it. That type of a brand, I know that I can steal market share just by conquesting keywords. I know that I can consolidate that way, and we'd be bigger than if I was in 5, 000 Target stores. I'd be bigger because the Target stores are in these areas where I get one slot on the bottom of the shelf. Maybe I get half a turn a week. And after a while the buyers would go," Well, no one's really buying it." I'm like," Well, yeah. I know, because no one can find it."

Ryan Cramer: The visibility, where it's placed. Everything like that.

Sarah Dajani: Yeah, exactly. And so with those types of brands, no, I feel really confident. But yeah, when it comes to a food or a supplement brand where I'm up against a company owned by Unilever, it's tough. It's really tough.

Ryan Cramer: What is your philosophy on branded search terms in the capacity of, do you prefer someone searching for that brand on Amazon or do you prefer to win the battle of natural or organic XYZ, like organic laundry detergent or something along those lines? Branded being searching for a Foxybae, the brand you acquired or, hey, I want to have that specific keyword that ties to our company. Which one do you prefer?

Sarah Dajani: I prefer the non- branded, for sure. I prefer the non- branded. I have a very specific background, history in this where, when I was running Amazon businesses previously and I would work with ad agencies, we measured them against ACoS, and they would often improve their ACoS numbers by spending against our branded keywords. And I really didn't like that because I was like, well, I think I would win that anyway. If someone's searching for my brand, I don't want to spend on that, unless a competitor's attacking us. But for the most part, they weren't. And so I was like," I don't want to spend on that. If they're searching for my brand, let them search for my brand. I've won them. I would rather grow, profitably again, with non- branded keywords." That's my background. And so it gives me a bias to prefer those non- branded keywords.

Ryan Cramer: No, that makes complete sense to me. You're a person who doesn't spend on their unbranded name on PPC on Google. You don't have ads at the top.

Sarah Dajani: Well, luckily I'm not the one who makes all of the decisions on this. So we do spend on branded for sure. But with me, certainly my eyes don't look at the results on branded keywords.

Ryan Cramer: Oh man. I always feel bad when I search for a brand. And I always try to not click on the ad because I know exactly why they're bidding on themselves. Socially conscious marketer over here. I'm going to save them a nickel here. crosstalk. Exactly. Well, Sarah, I appreciate your time too. I obviously I would talk more today, but you guys are so busy. Tell me about what you're excited about in 20. We kind of alluded to goals, but first and foremost, what's your personal accomplishment that you want to achieve here in 2022 with Boosted? What is that ultimate personal goal for you that you want to see happen?

Sarah Dajani: Yeah, it's very clear for me. I have two or three brands that are on the cusp of blossoming into what I think can become household name brands. And I want to start to see that flower bloom this year. So I want to start launching our rebrands, launching our D2C sites, launching our new portfolio of products, and just start to say, oh my God. And I love talking to the founders when this happens, like," Look at what you started with. Look at what you created. And look at what it's become." That's what I'm really excited about this year.

Ryan Cramer: That's really cool. And you guys are pretty prevalent. You guys are forthright on which brains you acquire. I think that's really cool of," This is not a secret. We're not going to not tell people that we now have partnered or acquired, and this is the brand we're growing." So that's really neat. In that regards, if they want to learn more information or just connect with you, what are those best ways to do that? Either with Boosted or yourself, Sarah?

Sarah Dajani: Yeah. So with Boosted, you can always go to BoostedCommerce. com. And we have a lot of ways there to interact with the company. Another option for me, you can always email me at sarah @ BoostedCommerce. com as well.

Ryan Cramer: Gotcha. I'm just clicking buttons here. I don't even know what I'm doing over here. So if you see it, no one freak out. It's just me clicking buttons here in the background. No, that's amazing. I think that's so cool to see the back end of post acquisition, obviously, what people's mentality is, and to have that perspective on what you guys are doing. Is it public knowledge? How many brands do you guys operate? Is that something that you guys are forthright?

Sarah Dajani: Yeah. We have over 35.

Ryan Cramer: Over 35. Is there a goal in mind for you guys this year of you would like to see a hundred, 75? Blink twice when I get to the number?

Sarah Dajani: Exactly.

Ryan Cramer: That's OK. As many as you can handle, I will say. I guess my final question for you, is that something that you're fearful of, of acquiring too many brands that you don't give enough attention to or enough love and support? Is that what you're fearful of?

Sarah Dajani: Yes. But we are super aware of that. So, I don't think we're going to do that.

Ryan Cramer: Okay. Side note of, I don't think that's going to be a problem, but I know that's obviously what comes first, the chicken or the egg? Do you hire support or do you hire brands? So, very cool. Sarah, thank you so much for hopping on Crossover Commerce today. I always end the show saying that, if you can make it through an episode with me you're now a friend of the show because you've lasted in my corner of the internet now for an hour, I would say. It's not a fight, but it's a great conversation as always. So you're more than welcome to hop on any time in the future. Thank you so much for joining us today in Crossover Commerce.

Sarah Dajani: Thank you, Ryan. Appreciate it.

Ryan Cramer: No problem. Thank you everyone for hopping on, again, our love session of Crossover Commerce. This is episode 217 of Crossover Commerce, my show, where I bring you the best of brand that's in the Amazon and e- commerce space. Again, I'm alluded to it. We're a minimalist background today. Hopefully we'll add to it here in the next couple of episodes. But we have more episodes coming tonight. Just kind of quick preview. If you're joining us live on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or Twitter, checkout tonight at 07:00 PM Eastern. We're going to be talking with Gary Wong, top take aways from 7 Figure Sellers in 2022. Of course, Gary is a friend of the show. So we love having him come back on and talk about 7 Figure Seller Summit that is coming up in a few weeks. So without further ado, I'm Ryan Cramer. This is Crossover Commerce. We'll catch you guys next time on another episode. Take care.


Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Vice President Operations of Boosted Commerce, Sarah Dajani. They'll discuss the nuances of building brands and attracting customers on Amazon vs retail vs DTC.


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Today's Host

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🎙 Ryan Cramer - Host

|Partnership & Influencer Marketing Manager

Today's Guests

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Sarah Dajani

|VP of Operations at Boosted Commerce