Paleo Certified Snacks with Caveman Foods' Damon Levy

Your host, Samir ElKamouny, talks with Damon Levy of Caveman Foods. It’s time to wipe out those artificial sweeteners and GMOs and sink your teeth into something that puts you back on top of the food chain. At Caveman Foods, they believe humans thrive when they fuel their bodies and lives with whole, paleo ingredients.

Paleo Certified Snacks with Caveman Foods' Damon Levy

Your host, Samir ElKamouny, talks with Damon Levy of Caveman Foods. It’s time to wipe out those artificial sweeteners and GMOs and sink your teeth into something that puts you back on top of the food chain. At Caveman Foods, they believe humans thrive when they fuel their bodies and lives with whole, paleo ingredients.

Transcription

Your host, Samir ElKamouny, talks with Damon Levy of Caveman Foods. It’s time to wipe out those artificial sweeteners and GMOs and sink your teeth into something that puts you back on top of the food chain. At Caveman Foods, they believe humans thrive when they fuel their bodies and lives with whole, paleo ingredients.

To learn more about Damon’s work, visit https://www.cavemanfoods.com/

If you’d like to be a guest on Ecom Growth Leaders, click HERE

– Thanks for tuning into the “Ecom Growth Leaders” podcast. This show is intended to highlight marketing, and conversion techniques taught by today’s leaders in the ECOM world. I’ll be interviewing the top marketers that are influencing the market, making an impact, scaling faster than their competitors, and doing good. I’m your host Samir ElKamouny, founder and CEO of Fetch and Funnel, a performance marketing agency specializing in omnichannel media buying, creative production, and conversion optimization. If you enjoy anything from today’s episode, I highly recommend checking out fetchfunnel.com, and sign up for our email newsletter, where I promise to only send you content you can learn from, and apply directly into your business to improve results and scale. At the end of each episode, my goal is to have you feeling inspired and fired up by learning from today’s top innovators, marketers and entrepreneurs. Let’s dig into another amazing story about a unique brand crushing it, and learn from their success and learnings. Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of “Ecom Growth Leaders.” Today, we have a super exciting episode where we are going to be talking to Damon Levy at Caveman Foods. Welcome Damon. I’m super excited to have you on “Ecom Growth Leaders.”

– I’m very excited to be here, Samir.

– So, I’d love to just jump right in, and just have you tell a little bit more about our audience, about Caveman Foods and what you sell, and what the brand is all about.

– Yeah, Caveman is a really fun brand. It’s a brand that’s focused on paleo are kind of if you think about it, a little bit obvious, right? We’re built on the paleo concept. So that means you are avoiding grains, anything really processed, like, so, that for us means, like, soy, gluten, grains, dairy. We avoid things like peanuts and potatoes, pretty much the principles of the paleo diet. And then I think the thing that really sets us apart is that we have a really high bar in terms of how delicious our products have to be. I think pretty much everybody says that in the food industry, right? Nobody’s intentionally making things that don’t taste good, right?

– Yeah.

– But that’s essentially what customers feed back to us. So when we talk to customers, and especially customers who are, like, anybody who repeats. The number one reason by, like, a landslide is that we taste better than everything else they’ve tried, ’cause they all are trying. These are people who are, like, trying to find snack solutions, right? They want on the go snack solutions, and they’ve gone through the gamut of everything, and they can’t find anything that they really love, and we fill that need. And so we make everything from bars. Almond coconut is our most popular flavor, to meat snacks, to grain-free granola. We just launched keto bars, which are specifically for the ketogenic diet, which is super popular right now. We still follow the paleo diet while we make those, which is very difficult. It’s a tough combo to make the two of those. Yeah, that’s the gist of Caveman. We’ve been around about 10 years. Yeah, you can find us in some retail. We do direct consumer, Amazon, all that stuff.

– That’s awesome, yeah. And I saw all the positive reviews, and definitely saw some of those reviews where people sort of replaced some sweet that they were addicted to, or what-not for Caveman. So, yeah, props to you for accomplishing that. Definitely has the right flavor choices in order to make that happen.

– The most common one is people talking about this bar, this coconut almond bar. This was one of those time where you, like, we actually didn’t set out to make it like this. We were just trying to make chocolate almond coconut bar, but we get people literally saying this tastes like a healthy version of Almond Joy. And it’s kind of like, oh, so we’ve run with that. We could talk more about how we played with that, and advertising, but yeah, that’s really what our goal is, is really trying to help people to make healthier choices ’cause people still snack. People still want things that kind of kill their cravings, and feel indulgent, but the thing you kind of hear from people all the time is they don’t wanna feel guilty about what they snack on, so. I wouldn’t call that a mission ’cause that’s not really, like, our North Star, but that tends to be kind of what we’re trying to accomplish is trying to help people find snacks that they really enjoy, but don’t make them feel guilty afterwards.

– Hey, that’s awesome. And so what is your role at Caveman Foods?

– I run everything digital, so, I kind of have an all-encompassing digital role, so. I own the P&L, so I own everything from the website. It’s a small team and so, like, I build stuff on the website, and I run all of our advertising and marketing, and then I manage the operational side of fulfillment, and all that stuff, 3PLs, and Amazon, and all that stuff. We don’t really engage with, like, Instacart, or a lot of, like, digital stuff to support our retail. Most of what we do is either direct consumer, or Amazon from a marketing standpoint. And so that tends to be where I focus.

– Nice, and so I saw a very impressive marketing background. You’ve sort of been in the food, or wine industry for a while. I guess, how did you get into it, or what kind of drew you to Caveman? What got you to a little bit about your story, and what brought you there?

– Yeah, I think that the short answer is I tend to like to work on products that I enjoy and appreciate. I think that, like, the question I often ask myself before I look at roles or companies is, is this something I’d be excited to share with people I know? Yeah, I worked in wine for awhile. I’m super passionate about wine, and enjoyed that quite a bit, but when I was, this was about seven or eight years ago, at the time wine was just so resistant to moving into the digital world. And I was trying to do it really for, I was in wine for, like, six years. And it was clear that it was just gonna go down kicking and screaming.

– It still is.

– It still is, now at least it’s, like, now it’s accepted. It’s still kind of like it’s the stepbrother that is super successful. The stepbrother that started, like, a .com and has made billions. And so everybody now likes it, but doesn’t really like it, that’s probably how wine thinks about digital these days. I think there’s a lot more smart people in wine that work on digital. And so I think it’s a little bit more accepted, but at the time, like, I was moving from one role to another and I was like, I really wanna work in the digital side of marketing. The pace is just so much more, it’s so much more fun. You just can do so much more. And so I made that choice, and then I ended up going to a nonfood company, but then I wanted to get back to food, and found Lolli and Pops, which was a cool company, super passionate customer base. And then Caveman drew me in because similar stuff, really passionate customers, super high NPS, wasn’t being measured when I joined, but it was clear from all of the ways that people talked about it. And, yeah, I was drawn to it because, A, super smart people. B, products that I could get behind, and see products that customers loved.

– It makes your job a lot easier when you have happy customers, and people who are passionate about the product, right?

– Said like a marketing expert, yeah.

– Too good. So I’m curious, you said in charge of PNLs. All of these components of digital, a lot of pieces that you just laid out. I’m curious how you define success at Caveman, and sort of how is it measured in your sort of day to day?

– That’s a question it depends entirely for every single company based on their, what their, I think it depends on for that company where they are from in a capital standpoint, and a growth expectation standpoint, all those things. For us, we’re trying to figure out how to become, like, self-sustaining, and cashflow positive. I care about RoW ads on ads, and lifetime value of customers. I’m trying to figure out that equation that I think probably so many other digital marketers are trying to figure out is how do I acquire a customer in a way that’s gonna be most profitable for Caveman, ultimately, and then how do I manage that equation to scale it? Because as you know in the food world, that first transaction it’s very hard to make, to be profitable in that first transaction. People who are new to your brand, they’re not dropping 150, $200, like you might on clothing, or technology, or something like that. So you gotta be planning to get them to come back, and that’s the key part of what we do is like, how are we constantly trying to figure out how to increase our repeat customer percentages, and our lifetime value? And we started off in a good place. And so it’s more just like, how do you just keep dialing up a little bit?

– Makes sense, yeah. And super difficult hurdle, like you’re saying, right? Lower price point, but then also, if I’ve never tried this am I willing to buy a box, or am I willing to buy multiple products? Yeah, what gets me to push over the edge? So, yeah, I understand very difficult problem to solve.

– Before I joined Caveman, so this was probably four years ago, they tried a program where they did a trial pack, essentially. We’ve played with different ways to do that same thing, but it’s challenging because when you do sampling or trial packs, or stuff like that you just don’t get that high of a percentage of people to convert. And so you’ve gotta find this, but if you set your bar too high in terms of what people have to pay on their first transaction, you get a very low number of people interested. So you’ve gotta find that happy medium for new customers. Like how do you get them in with some skin in the game so that they’re real potential customers, but then how do you still, like, but then you still have to extract a lot more value from them if they don’t pay a lot in their first purchase.

– Yeah, makes sense, makes sense, but done correctly, sounds like what you are can get that loyal customer, which could be harder in other food industries, say coffee, or something like that can be very difficult.

– Yeah.

– Even wine, I think could probably be a difficult one.

– Actually, those three industries are all similar in the sense that they have lots of competition, and lots of switching, right? That’s what a lot of the food industry is so hard is that there’s not that much loyalty. And so you’ve gotta really have a great product in order to have a chance at it, so that’s good, we have that piece covered, but still, it’s still hard ’cause people are, they just like to try new stuff.

– Yeah, you have to be careful. Right, right, and you have to be careful, too, because, I mean, we were talking about this earlier, but being careful of not trying to please everybody at the same time as well because I’m sure you’ve got so many objections that you’re trying to handle, but if you go too far into one direction, price point, or whatever, then you miss out on going, yeah, going even deeper on a much better objection that if you handled could have just gotten you a lot more customers, right? Like, obviously, you’re going after paleo, obviously, you’re going after now keto and things like that, but, yeah, I’m sure there’s so many other components to that. So many other objections you’re trying to handle, yeah.

– Can’t be everything to everybody.

– Yeah.

– I mean, eventually, that’s what food brands want to be, but when you’re a nascent food brand, you can’t do that. Heinz Ketchup, they could do that. Pepsi and Coke, they can do that. Even they probably have targets, but if you’re a nascent food brand, I think that if I was advising, like, entrepreneurs, like, one of the key things you have to do, and a lot of them do this naturally because of, like, the way that they formulate the idea, or whatever it is, is you have to know who you’re going after, and what their mindset is, ’cause if you don’t have somebody in mind every time that you’re creating a product, or creating marketing you’re gonna often get lost.

– Yep, absolutely, great advice. So curious, too, like, what would you consider to be your biggest success so far? It could be more than one, or have you had any specific breakthroughs? Anything like that?

– Well, we’ve had things that have been really successful. Like, we’ve figured out that we can run, like, the best time of year for us to acquire customers is actually around Halloween. That’s been our best customer acquisition time, which is a little bit strange, like, obviously, you’d think that my going in assumption would’ve been that January, February, would be the best time ’cause that’s when people are thinking about diets, and stuff like that, but through just a little bit of luck, we tried some specific advertising, seasonal stuff that we did the first year I was with Caveman. And it just it was like, in digital marketing when you hit that, like, vein of gold, and you’re like, what’s going on here? Like, why did our cost of acquisition, why did our CAC drop by, like, 80% overnight? And so the challenge of that is we haven’t figured out how to replicate any other time of year. It’s that specific, like, Halloween timeframe. And so I don’t know, I think, like, listens to this, and has ideas for ways that we could replicate that. That’s been interesting, but really the thing that from a success standpoint, that’s helped us to just, like, I would say, just month after month improve, and just, like, the constant improvement, is constantly working on repeat and LTV because there are times when you hit challenges that make those things hard, that make repeat hard, like, maybe you discontinue a product. Maybe you have to change a formula for a product. Maybe you go out of stock for a couple months because of supply issues, and those things it’s like throwing obstacles in front of your LTV equation, right? And so I think that probably, like, the thing I’m most proud of for what we’ve done is just constantly improved repeat rates and LTVs to the point where LTV is probably, and LTV we can’t really look at a true LTV ’cause we don’t have enough historical data to look back at it, but trends to indicate that LTV is up, like, 30, 40% over the past couple years.

– Wow, which is huge.

– That’s not the type of, like, that CAGR growth is not the type of thing that you always would assume is super meaningful but it is. It’s really, it changes, like, the equation for everything.

– Oh yeah, absolutely. No, that’s 30, 40% that’s huge. Yeah, the Halloween thing, too, very interesting. I wonder if it’s like a FOMO type of situation, like with the kids, or something. You don’t wanna dig into the bag out of all those sweets, and instead primp it with something a little healthier.

– It’s really interesting ’cause like I told you, the audience for us is primarily older for most of the year. It’s mostly people who are over 50. That’s primarily who loves Caveman. And that makes a lot of sense ’cause those are the people who they grew up on unhealthy snacks, they ate unhealthy things. You think of your grandparents, like, they ate, like, all those packaged candy bars, and they’re being told now, like, they wanna live longer. They’re being told by the doctors, well, like, you’ve gotta stop eating all these things that are full of artificial stuff and way too much sugar. And so they’re looking for healthier snacks. And so it totally makes sense ’cause 20 somethings either just don’t care, or they’re religiously against sugar already. They don’t make sense. And people in their 30s tend to, like, follow, or have the discipline to follow much more strict diets. And so that tends to be our audience. And for Halloween, the audience still seems to be older, and I’m not sure why they’re buying it around Halloween, specifically. I don’t think that they’re giving it out, even though that’s part of our marketing. I think that they’re really just trying to find, like, they’re trying to kind of like, find a healthier alternative ’cause they have, like, the guilt of, like, having pocket-sized Snickers bars all over the place.

– Getting slammed with the Reese’s commercials all day long.

– Yeah, I mean, I can’t slam Reese’s ’cause I love Reese’s, but.

– Same, but you’re still getting hit with them really hard during that month.

– You know the marketing they did, which was, like, a couple years ago they did all that marketing, essentially, which is, like, when it gets down to it, like, what people really want at Halloween is Reese’s. It’s the candy that people actually want. Like it’s the one that kids want, the kids want to trade for. Yeah, there’s always the Snickers lover. There’s the Almond Joy lover, but, like, the vocal majority is the Reese’s Cup lover. That’s what kind of makes Justin’s, that brand so brilliant, right? There’s no competition. They’re like, we can make a pretty good tasting, like, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, that’s healthier ’cause it’s dark chocolate, and almond butter so it’s not peanut allergy. And it’s just kind of good. It’s one of those, like, well, duh, that was an obvious product idea.

– For sure, for sure.

– But I can have Reese’s Cups, even though they’re definitely not part of the paleo diet.

– Same, same. So, yeah, I mean, what are some of the biggest growth levers that you’ve pulled for the business lately, or over the years?

– So if I think about, like, growth levers for us, so, I guess that there’s I’m trying to think of a few different things that I would call out, so. One thing for us is really thinking about your spend based on when you can, when it makes sense to scale, and when it doesn’t. So, like, have your powder available when you know that there’s the best opportunity. So have to spend as much as possible in September, October for us. And then November, December tend to be really difficult for us to acquire customers. So don’t spend as much then. Then ramp back up in January, February. Even though it’s not a very cyclical business in terms of consumption, there’s like, cyclicalness, or whatever the right word is for that, around acquisition of customers, so, that’s something that’s been an important lever. We’ve tried a lot of different channels. We recently tried influencers, not successful for us, paid influencers, but we’ve done different sampling programs, and lead gen stuff. It’s never crushed for us, but it always works a little bit, so we do giveaways and we work with companies. There’s a lot of companies that are popping up that are doing different types of sampling, companies like Sampler. We’re working with one called Peekage right now. We’re gonna start working with one called Healthy-Finds, that are kind of like, that all get. The marketing insight for this is that customers who try our stuff are way more likely to purchase. Just because, again, because we taste better than they expect. And so anything we can do to get our product into people’s hands at as low cost as possible is worth it, so. That’s been something that we are constantly looking at. We find way more success on the Facebook side than the Google side. And then even within Facebook, Facebook works way more effectively than Instagram, or anything else. Again, that’s an audience thing, right? Older folks are not.

– Yeah, the older demos.

– Older demos are not living on Instagram. We’ve tested out TikTok and Snapchat and Pinterest, and none of them really convert for us. They’re all interesting, and, again, they might be good for top of funnel awareness, ultimately, but none of them have really converted as well as kind of the Facebook basic feed advertising. Those things have all been, like, worked for us. I think that these days, I think it’s really interesting, you and I were talking a little bit about, like, creative, and we’ve tried to explore a lot of different creative directions, and what we end up finding success is the stuff that resonates with our audience the most. And it’s, like, okay, and it doesn’t have to be super interesting. Like we’ve gone out and sourced really high-end video, and stuff that we’ve taken big risks there, and it hasn’t paid off because at the end of the day, that’s not really what draws the attention of our consumers. They want to be told very specifically that this is something that’s gonna solve their need from a snack perspective, and is not gonna make them feel guilty, and it’s gonna kill their cravings, like, it’s those insights. And it’s been a little bit challenging to convince our organization that that is the right direction always because, ’cause it’s not sexy, but sometimes that’s what works. So, yeah, from Halloween, like, advertising, and the creative around that was a super interesting story. We were working with a contractor at the time. And it’s, like, totally, like one of those, like very, like, she just went and she took stock art, and, like, photoshopped our bars into a bowl that had something else in it, or it was, like, an empty bowl. And if you look closely, it totally looks photoshopped, like she did it, and she gave it to me and she was like, it’s not done, what do you think? And I just put it up and it just started working. And she was like, well, it wasn’t finished. I was like, it works. And it was totally different than anything else that we had done. So sometimes those successes come out of nowhere. In retrospect you understand why, but, yeah. Seasonal content tends to work really well for us. That’s one of the interesting insights for us. I think at the end of the day the successes for us have really been, like, figuring out how to test things at as low a cost as possible. And so that we can figure out if they’re feasible or not. I forgot what the concept is called, but that essentially you should be able to test almost anything in digital for, like, $1,000.

– I like that.

– And so we try to do that, like how do we test something as close as possible to $1,000 to get an answer? And if we can do that then as a small company you should be able to still justify anything like that. And so that tends to be, like, the success for us is like, okay, the things that do work, like, sampling, we’ve been able to test it without having to spend a lot of money, and then we just keep doing it.

– Yeah, makes sense, so testing super important. Don’t be afraid to test things.

– Oh yeah.

– Don’t be afraid to break things. Throw it up even if it’s not perfect, right? Even if it’s not completely polished just test it out, but then if it’s working, don’t be afraid to continue using that thing. Like you said, it’s just some of those basic images that you’ve had for a long time that are crushing it versus the expensive videos that you had produced that were really crafted well, and tell a great story, but then also the spend. I think that’s a very interesting component, too, that a lot of e-commerce businesses lose sight of, right? ‘Cause we’re always thinking scale, scale scale, gotta spend more next month than I did the previous month, right? Gotta get more revenue than the previous month, but to your point, like, pretty much every e-commerce business has seasonality, right? Even Facebook has seasonality, right? And so can you even compete in the November and December auctions is an interesting conversation for a lot of brands these days, right?

– And part of that, one of the things that I think that we learned over time, is, like, planning a little bit of that seasonality into, like, how you do repeat as well, and how aggressive you are with your promotions on repeat. So, for example, December is a really tough time to acquire customers. There’s just so much, obvious, so much noise and all that stuff. And so we’re just much more aggressive from a promotional standpoint in December because we do still want to comp, like, as much revenue as possible. Like, everybody’s got a CEO, or a board, or, like, investor, that’s like, well, you can’t have a down month, right? But sometimes down months happen, and so I’m not saying that, but I’m saying, so you can think like, okay, well, like, I need to spend as much as possible in September, October, and fill that repeat customer funnel, because most people are gonna come back within 90 days. And so then I’ve got a lot more people to target in November, December. So I think that you think about that cycle. I think that it’s good to think about what your model looks like, and, like, plan out your lifetime value model, and think about it from a monthly standpoint. There’s some cool tools out there. We use this tool called Lifetimely, which is just like.

– Love Lifetimely, yeah.

– And I’ve talked to the guy who started it a few times, ’cause he’s so generous with his time, and it’s, like, such a good tool. Like when I was at Minted, which was a much bigger business digitally, it’s, like, nine figure business. Essentially, it was, like, our CFO sitting with our, like, head of analytics, like, running, like, these, like, lifetime value models, right? That I don’t think were more complex than this plugin for Shopify ’cause these were very smart people that were running that model. And so, yeah, I think you’re making a good point. And, sorry, I talk about it a lot, but I think that understanding that lifetime value, and thinking about, planning out your, like, what your revenue looks like is something that’s totally feasible even if you’re small.

– Yeah, no, and it’s super important because, yeah, a lot of even our clients, and a lot of brands that we’ve worked with, or I’ve spoken with don’t measure that, and it feels obvious for a brand like yours because it’s consumable, right? And it’s a low price point, all those types of things, but, like, it’s in every brand, right? Fashion, shoes, you name it, right? It’s like, yeah, that you can lose money on the front end. It’s a whole entire dollar shaped club model, right? Lose money on the front end to make a bunch of money after month four, or whatever it is. And then it’s just giving the right customer experience, et cetera, et cetera, in order to get them to come back and keep buying. And then to your point to keep ’em coming back, to keep ’em coming back, to keep ’em coming back.

– Yeah, I think our next big evolution on the repeat side, and the retention side is trying to figure out how do we get better at subscriptions?

– Yeah.

– Because we’ve done okay, but if we can build a subscription program, which, yeah, is a little bit more scaled, then there’s a lot more you can do with it. And if you can scale your subscription program to a little bit bigger, then there’s a lot of customization stuff you can do for the customers, like, you can do special runs of products, and things like that. And our scale right now doesn’t allow us to do very much. And so if we could figure out how to do that I’d be excited.

– Yeah, yep, I have, like, a skincare brand that I use, and it’s, like, those silly gifts that they throw in there every couple of months that keeps me coming back, like, what am I gonna get?

– I think there’s a company out there that does a pretty good job at this kind of stuff on the subscription side, but you have to have a little bit more scale to work with them. That’s one of those areas that maybe some companies could come in and innovate on. They’ll figure out how to serve brands that do subscriptions that have smaller scale. I think that I’ve talked to them and they’re like, yeah, if you’re under 2,000 it’s pretty hard to do stuff that’s very personalized and custom. So maybe one day there will be a company that comes in, and figures out how to help brands that are doing 500 subscriptions a month, or something like that.

– Yeah, here we are opening up new opportunities for other people to start businesses, love that.

– It’s definitely an opportunity out there. There’s obviously been a huge amount of evolution, and I’m forgetting the word right now, but, like, people breaking through the 3PL area, and companies coming in and doing, and trying to break that model, but I don’t think anybody’s really focused on the subscription side of it.

– Yeah, agreed. I mean, even just Shopify alone, right? There’s a million subscription services, but I’d say there’s only one that sort of matters out of them all, right?

– Yeah, there’s essentially what, there’s, like, two, there’s two apps that I don’t know, most of the entire market share for Shopify subscriptions. And we’re switching from one to the other right now.

– Interesting.

– And then there’s, like, one that’s more custom that’s not as plugged in and that’s pretty much it. And none of those three really help you do very much on the fulfillment side, which is really the way the place, I mean, think about it. Like you just said, Samir, like, the thing that wows you from that brand, that skincare brand is, like, the little things that they throw in there that you didn’t order. That’s the crazy thing. It’s like, if you could figure out how to do that that’s the thing that makes people even more loyal.

– Yep, yeah, absolutely. I mean, they make a good skincare product, too, but, yeah, it definitely was that silly T-shirt I got month three that I still wear, and it’s free marketing for them, and I know exactly what they’re doing, but I still fell right into their trap.

– That’s the thing that we have no way of doing that right now because I’m sure we could figure out how to write it into, like, do some something on the back end, but then, like, we work in 3PL where we can’t do, like, custom packing out. And so it would probably be impossible to figure out how to work with them on it, so. That integrated subscription software fulfillment is a nice space anyway, specifically.

– Yeah, no, absolutely. So, I mean, curious, like, as you’re talking about trying to get more subscription, and obviously we’ve talked about sort of the target demographic that you know that you have, are you paying close attention to store conversion rate, and is conversion and optimization a high priority for you in the business? Like, are you AB testing things? And what does that look like for you?

– That’s a great question, and it’s so interesting, like, you know when you, I don’t spend a lot of time on it, and it’s because our conversion rate is so high. We have such high conversion rates even from Facebook traffic. And maybe I should still be thinking about how do I make it better, but there’s a couple of things that, like, in this business that I’ve never spent a lot of time on because we’re so far beyond what I generally expect of, assume are, like, the benchmarks. So conversion rate we crush, like, any place that I’ve been before. And abandoned cart, we’ve never had an abandoned cart issue. We actually tried some ’cause there’s a company called Metrical, which I really like, which I’ve worked with in a prior company. And they were super helpful in terms of reversing our abandoned cart issues. And so when I moved to Caveman, I was like, we gotta work with them. And we tried and it was like, we just couldn’t get enough, like, lift in abandoned cart to make it worth it. Not because they weren’t doing a good job, but just ’cause, like, we didn’t have that much room. And so I don’t spend a ton of time thinking about CRO, not to say that there are things that we do that are about improving CRO, but I care a lot more, if I could get more traffic, I wouldn’t care if my conversion rate dropped a little bit. And so I live in more of the world where it’s hard to get attention. I think a lot more about how do I get traffic than I do about the conversion side of the equation. Not saying that that for us is the truth.

– Yep, and the back end, like you were talking about increasing lifetime value, increasing subscription. Yeah, it makes sense.

– I care more about, like, my things are all, like, how do I get traffic cheaper? And then how do I get people to repeat more?

– Yep, yep. So curious what excites you the most in the year ahead either in the ECOM industry, or within your own marketing?

– Well, I think that the disruption, like, around Facebook iOS opens opportunities. And so I’m kind of excited to see what that is. I’m guessing you’re probably in the same camp as I am, like, that attribution problem is still not solved. I don’t know if that’s gonna happen this year, but that’s definitely, like, an exciting thing that I’m hoping somebody is working on. And especially with, like, the issues with iOS. I think that if anybody can put together a better way of thinking about attribution for Shopify type businesses, and if you’re a huge business there’s a lot more you can do, but I think that that’s an interesting area. I think for us at Caveman, I think that we’re excited about these keto bars that we launched. We’re entering a state. Paleo is interesting because, like, I probably shouldn’t say this, but paleo is not on trend right now. It’s not the trendy diet right now. And so nobody’s writing about it. I don’t get press inquiries saying, oh, can you tell me about this paleo thing? And so I’m excited, we’re excited about keto because we didn’t leave our principles in terms of paleo. And I still think we made a really delicious product that meets the needs of a diet that’s maybe on the tail end of a trend, but it’s definitely still very popular. So I’m very excited about that. I’m excited we decided to bring our paid, like, our paid social and paid PPC stuff in-house. And I am strangely excited to do that just as from, like, the learning piece of it and just being in it. I haven’t been in, like, Facebook on like, even in the same depth as I am now for a long time. And so that’s kind of fun. And we’re doing really well right now. Maybe just because we’re spending more time than we have in the past. And so it’s kind of fun to see the success when you’re sitting there and you’re AB testing, and you’re tweaking little things. I’m hopeful that we figure out some new creative that works as you and I were talking, like, sometimes, like, sometimes you get a piece of creative that just doesn’t wanna lose in the Facebook algorithm. And so we’ve been working with a content person for a few months and she’s really good. She does a really great job of developing content as a freelancer. And, like, she’s gotten to know our brand very quickly. And so I’m excited that we might be able to, we’re actually very close to being able to do, to get profitable on the first transaction, which we talked a lot about how hard that was, how hard that is.

– Yeah.

– But we’re very close to being able to figure that out. And I don’t know if we can scale it, but I’m excited to get there, and then figure out if there’s ways to scale it.

– Yeah, that would be amazing.

– Yeah, obviously, that’s the ideal thing for a small brand because then you’re not capital constrained.

– Yeah, especially with the low price point too. Yeah, can be very difficult. I mean, unless it’s a super click baby, don’t need to think about it type of purchase, right? But for you, there’s a lot of things I’m thinking about, right? I’m gonna check the ingredients. I’m gonna see does it taste good? There’s a lot of objections that you have to handle, and then, yeah, and it’s still a low price point, right? Even if you buy a box it’s still a low price point.

– Exactly, so unless you’re a brand like Magic Spoon, which is just, like, kind of, like, perfect product, perfect timing that just kind of, like, that hit it in the right way. I think it’s really hard to do, so, yeah. And then we’ve got another product launching in a couple months that I’m excited about. We do a good amount of innovation here. And so that keeps it interesting as well.

– Super exciting. I’ve getting a bunch of awesome advice. Really great tips here. Curious, just on the last note, what advice would you give to other founders, other marketers out there that are trying to break through some of those, maybe those revenue marks, right? Maybe trying to break through the five million, the 20 million, whatever it is, what advice would you give them?

– I think that I mentioned it before, I’ll go back to it, ’cause I still think it’s the crux is like, figure out who is the customer, and how many of those people do you have to get in order to get to that revenue target you’re trying to reach? And does that seem reasonable? Like, just, like, do that sniff test, like, okay. And can I find them? Like, do I know how to find these people? Just that, like, basic, like, I grew up in like, I’m old from digital marketing and like, and when I started doing marketing, I was doing brand marketing, but it’s the same thing. It’s, like, okay, who are you targeting? Where do you find them? Like, what convinces them to try your product? And starting there is so important. And then I think that it’s important to try a lot of channels out. I think it’s important to just, if you can come up with a hypothesis for that channel, why it makes sense, I think you should try it, and try to figure out how to do it cheap ’cause you can always spend more and improve it, but figure out how to do it cheap. Yeah, like, if you want to do sampling how do you figure out how to do it as cheaply as possible? And then I think that, I mean, so my general advice is spending a ton of time with customers. I spend a lot of time, like, in, like, our customer support, like, software, like, we use Gorgias, like, probably a lot of people for, like, customer service. And I spend a ton of time in Gorgias. Like, I try not to respond to cases. I try to leave that to the team that’s working on that, but, like, reading what people are saying. I think it’s super valuable being close to that customer, understanding, like, it helps you to think about all different types of problems, like, whether it’s an acquisition problem, or a repeat problem. I don’t think it can be overrated.

– Yeah, I absolutely agree with that. Yeah, I mean, even the abandoned cart surveys, the Facebook comments, all of those things can be gold mines, right? You can find just that couple of comments, you start to see some trends, all that stuff. Yeah, absolutely. And that’s where, yeah, you can have your aha moment, and even, like, we were talking about earlier, right? Find out, yeah, what should you be trying to handle? What should you be ignoring? Because those aren’t your actual customers, right? Those are just the people that are loud.

– Yeah, yeah.

– And don’t wanna focus on them ’cause they’ve only bought one box, and never bought more than one box ever.

– So real funny, like, I think it’s funny, but I don’t know if everybody else will, but we ran this ad where the opening line, it was a video with our CEO and his opening line was cavemen may have been the healthiest people who ever walked this earth. And then he talked for another, like, 30 seconds after that. And we got so much engagement on that compared to our normal ads and posts. It was mostly, like, I’m guessing, like, 35 to 50-year-old men, like, just disagree, like just doing this social media disagreement thing, but these weren’t people who were gonna buy from us, but it was still interesting to see ’cause it also still got the Facebook algorithm excited because there was engagement. So they lowered our CPMs on it, right? So sometimes it was good, but the engagement, like, had to be, like, heavily policed because it was like, it wasn’t people who really were, like, interested in the brand. They just wanted to debate that one fact. And so, yeah, I think that stuff is interesting, but I’m also just excited to keep learning. I’d love to keep learning about new channels that might work. Like we’ve played with a lot of, like, alternative channels, like, wholesale channels, like, Faire, or Abound. Like, we have, like, this partnership with the company that, like, does I think that’s like the media company that’s, like, men’s health where they’re doing, like, an affiliate type of business, so, like, stuff like that, I’m always, like, curious to learn more about and try out because you never know if they’ll kind of be like the next little thing that adds 5% to your business.

– Yeah, makes sense. Well, Damon, I appreciate the time. I appreciate the advice. I urge everybody to check out Caveman Foods. It’s just cavemanfoods.com. Awesome product. Look forward to seeing the new stuff coming out as well. And the tease for the new stuff coming around in a couple of months.

– Yeah, I wasn’t trying to be that teasing, but, yeah, I talked a lot about being people who are mostly 50 over who love it, but everyone tends to love our products. And so if you’re a snacker, then you probably will like our stuff. It just happens that the people who are older tend to love their snacks a little bit more than people who are younger.

– That’s okay, I love my snacks.

– Right, exactly.

– I love that little taste of chocolate at night. I’m not gonna lie.

– I mean, everyone does. I think that older people just don’t give a damn as much, right?

– Got it.

– They’re not trying to impress anybody anymore. They’re like, you know what? I’m worth this little healthy candy bar.

– You got it.

– Thank you, Samir, it was nice to talk to you.

– Well, I appreciate it.

– Like, you have super insightful questions.

– You as well, thanks Damon, yeah. And, yeah, look forward to seeing the new products, and thanks again, appreciate it.

– That was great, have a good night.

– Samir ElKamouny here. Thank you so much for listening to “Ecom Growth Leaders” podcast. If you are a successful brand that is crushing it, and would like to be on this program, please visit go.ecomgrowthleaders.com/podcast-guest. If you got something out of this interview, please share this episode on social media. Just do a quick screenshot on your phone, and text it to a friend, or post it on social. “Ecom Growth Leaders” is sponsored by Fetch and Funnel, a performance marketing agency specializing in omnichannel media buying, creative production and conversion optimization. We’ve partnered with 100 plus brands, and generated over 500 million for clients using our trademarked fetch and funnel method. We have tons of content over at our blog, fetchfunnel.com/blog. And also some amazing eBooks like “How to Crush Your Competitors,” and “How to Produce High-Converting Creatives.” Thanks again for listening to “Ecom Growth Leaders.” We are regularly putting out new episodes and content. So to make sure you don’t miss any episodes, go ahead and subscribe. Your thumbs up, ratings, and reviews go a long way to help promote the show. And it means a lot to me and my team. Want to know more? Go to our website, fetchfunnel.com, or follow us on social. Thanks again for listening, and we’ll see you next time.

Topics discussed in this interview:

– Positive reinforcement in a construction setting – Why apply this concept to job site safety? – What really motivates behavior change? – The role of company culture – Focusing on construction as the next major area of opportunity for innovation – Lessons learned from experiments and attempts – Safety unicorns? – What motivators are most effective? – How do different generations respond to different methods of motivation? – Rapid fire questions – What does working with Bill Sims, Jr. look like? – Consequences and behavior modification – Teaching leadership at Disney

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