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Building Long-Term Sustainable Growth in DTC with Brian Peters from Shopify

As Strategic Partnership Manager at Shopify, Brian Peters is all about using 21st century technology to help merchants get to the next level. That said, at heart, his focus is still 100% on the people. Brian talks to Kristen about VC funding and bootstrapping, building out a retention plan as acquisition costs grow, and navigating the rise of SMS in the DTC space. This week’s episode is all about long-term, sustainable growth and making plays that can pay off in the long run.

How Blume Created a Raving Community with Gen Z Customers

Blume’s focus on customer education goes way beyond their products. They’re all about helping teens and their parents navigate a really difficult time, and that makes for super engaged fans of the brand. Thing is, they’ve built up a dedicated following among millennial customers as well. Blume is a brand that knows their ideal audience, but crafts amazing experiences that go way beyond a demographic. Kristen and Blume's Head of Growth, Kristin Eberth, talk about the things that set Blume apart- from their incredible community work to their new loyalty program, Blumetopia.

Building a Business around Community (+ Launching an SMS Program) with Eric Bandholz of Beardbrand

Eric Bandholz bootstrapped Beardbrand from the very beginning all the way to their current place at the top of the male styling market. How? Well, for one thing, by creating a brand that focuses on storytelling and individual connections. Kristen and Eric dig deep into BB’s new SMS channel, how they've built word of mouth to nearly one fifth of acquisitions, and some amazing customer stories.

Weathering Today's Crisis and Planning for Recovery (with Val Geisler)

Val and Kristen are exploring the questions that we’re all asking right now. How can DTC brands handle the current crisis? Should we communicate more? Less? How do we approach selling with tact and delicacy in tough times? It’s a pretty wide-ranging conversation, with examples and advice pulled from great operators in the community. Obviously, no one has the answers right now. This episode is a chance to talk through, explore, and knowledge-share while we collectively take stock and figure out our approach moving forward. Check out the show notes for more resources.

How Glossier has Transformed the Customer Experience with Erin Miller

Glossier is a monolith in the online beauty business, and they’ve gotten there by building incredibly personalized connections with their customers. This episode of Playing for Keeps is all about the ways that brands can scale authentic relationships over time. Erin Miller, head of customer experience at Glossier, talks about great micro-interactions, taking a customer’s perspective in communication channels, and the connection between employee retention and customer retention. Plus: how to keep personalization from getting creepy.

What to do with that LTV:CAC data: Bambu Earth on Creating Phenomenal Customer Experiences

What does long-term growth look like for DTC brands? How can businesses focus on profitability beyond the initial sale and into the next 3, 6, or even 9 months? It’s not always easy for cash-hungry startups, but it’s vital for sustainable scaling. Kohlman Verheyen’s work with Bambu Earth is a great case study for combining metrics with genuine customer connections. Kohlman digs into their founder-first approach, the success they’ve had with product bundles, and the communication plan they use to grow their base of fanatical brand loyalists.

The Most Important Equation in Retention (with Taylor Holiday)

As a managing partner at Common Thread Collective, Taylor Holiday builds and consults for a huge range of successful brands. CTC has figured out a game-changing equation to help brands manage their cash flow. This week’s episode is loaded with hard-hitting tactics from one of the top agencies in the DTC space. It’s a deep dive on the metrics that brands can use to better understand and serve their customers. Kristen and Taylor talk sustainable growth, parsing data, maximizing ad returns, and a data-driven approach to the customer journey.

Turning Discomfort into Subscription Gold with MANSCAPED

The first thing most people notice about Manscaped is the brand’s amazing sense of humor. It didn’t come out of nowhere. They’ve built their business by making taboo topics feel comfortable and approachable, with some pretty astounding results. They’re also a fantastic example of subscription eCommerce done right. Kristen talks to Senior VP of Growth, Ben Acott, about the strategies they use to grow and sustain a subscription-first model. They also explore exclusivity as a sales driver, product iteration, and talk a whole lot about balls.

The new wave of sustainability in eCommerce with Corinne Watson

Eco-conscious business is a hot topic right now, but what does that really mean for DTC brands? How do businesses adopt sustainable practices and remain competitive in the market? As a writer and researcher for BigCommerce, Corinne Watson is all about understanding the ways that brands build sustainability into their processes. She and Kristen talk about the larger cultural and economic trends shaping the conversation right now, as well as simple, actionable steps brands can take to lower their footprint. Bonus: what changing demographics mean for the DTC space.

Building Relationships in a Crowded Market with Damian Soong of Form Nutrition

The supplement market is a bustling space, with players ranging from enormous corporations to smaller DTC brands. Form Nutrition has found their place by putting the mission dead center: helping customers realize the greatest version of themselves while being mindful of others. This mission is built into every aspect of the business and it has a ton of implications for customer relationships and retention. Kristen talks with co-founder Damian Soong about everything from marketing attribution to turning customers with a bad initial impression of the product into ambassadors for the brand.

Customer-Driven Growth with Karen Young from Oui the People

Growing a brand is about more than just great products. It’s about finding your customers and building your business around their needs and hopes and individual stories. It’s about genuinely caring more than the store in the next tab over. So how do you make community priority #1 online? Kristen talks about building connections with influencers, harnessing email for retention, and a lot more with Karen Young from Oui the People. Bonus: how to survive a massive rebranding.

Season 2 Preview: How Did We Get Here and Where are We Headed?

Season 2 of Playing for Keeps is officially here! Join Kristen as she tells the story of Playing for Keeps, how we got here, what it means to her, and where this season is headed. Big announcement enclosed-- you don't want to miss this one.

The Best of Season 1: The top 5 lessons, trends, and takeaways

Before we move on to a new season, new guests, and some exciting new tips and tricks, let’s take a look back at everything we learned in season 1. Kristen runs through some of the standout moments from Playing for Keeps so far and how they set the stage for 2020’s year of retention. It’s bite-sized, it’s sharp, and it’s loaded with some of the best advice you’ll get all year.

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Playing for Keeps is a passion project created with love by the retention nuts here at Churn Buster. © Churn Buster LLC