Much has been written about companies pivoting to a digital business structure during Covid. In particular, B2C companies have moved online for the first time, and swiftly built their online offerings.
But how did businesses that were formed as Covid-19 first hit fare? Have they grown?
What were their digital foundations?
And what does success look like?
One such company is consumer skin care company BOOST LAB.
Jumpstarting an ecommerce business
CEO Craig Schweighoffer founded BOOST LAB in early 2020 – just as Covid-19 first hit Australia. For him, moving rapidly from the original retail concept to online was less of a pivot and more of a necessity.
“The original concept was always to grow our brand and sales through retail stores and online,” explains Craig. “Covid reset that expectation after our early work in retail outlets that included chemists. Our early plans for expanding these retail arrangements and partnerships were obviously shelved early in 2020. The move to digital became our primary focus.”
The company started selling products online in November 2020. Today, Craig has plans to open concessions and his own stores in the near future, but digital remains core to the business.
A better customer experience
Digital remains a fundamental foundation for Craig and BOOST LAB. “There’s no doubt that growing our digital presence over the past 18 months of its life means that our planned expansion into retail will see incremental revenue and customers,” says Craig.
“Digital is here to stay. It supports our brand promise: providing quality skincare and accessible price points in a simple way. And digital in particular makes that promise powerful, straightforward and meaningful to customers.”
An example is BOOST LAB’s selfie-based AI skin analyser. “This is so powerful because it immediately engages the customer. It provides instant value, and creates data that is already partially qualified. That means we can communicate and engage with each individual, with their permission, from day 1,” says Craig.
“It’s unique to BOOST LAB, and it’s very cool because it brings together great technology and our consumer product. That attention to detail – creating value and creating digital connectedness – reflects our approach to business.”
Know where to spend your budget
As a start-up, the company’s first focus was to build its brand and market credentials in the serious skincare space.
“Early on, we knew that the way to our target market, women aged 25-35, was through influencers. We worked with them to seed the market with product and to create awareness.
“And we were successful at building our credentials in that space.
But I think the world has now moved on.
“Our best work with influencers now comes from the fact that they enjoy using the product. That authenticity is clear to see, and it’s a powerful connection with our customers. In the influencer world, you just don’t get any cut-through unless you’re authentic.”
Being able to dig deep into your website analytics is key to allocating search and social spend.
From there, spending in search and social media have increased, to drive consumers to the BOOST LAB website. “We were approaching the stage where we wanted to take things to the next level,” said Craig.
“At that point in any company’s history, marketing evolves to being focused on spend, about maximizing the use of creative work. And it’s also at that point when it’s essential to be as efficient as possible. That’s where Digivizer comes in.”
Making decisions using data
Decisions about where to spend previous marketing budget start with data, across a range of metrics. These include which channels work best, how this changes with creative, product or audience demographic, targeting of messages to these audiences, and more.
“We were always on top of our metrics, such as return on advertising spend (ROAS), and cost per acquisition But before Digivizer, finding that data, and making sense of it, was clumsy and difficult.
“We need all the things that Digivizer can capture and analyze, in an efficient way, so that I can make spending decisions that take us to the next level.
Now we can spend wisely, with creativity that resonates, that we can tell is effective.”
Real-time marketing, real-time decisions
As with all marketing, the process is never-ending. Craig is clear about his priorities: to understand how his budget works, and to watch for the moment when performance tapers off.
“You’ve always got to be testing. You actually need something like Digivizer, underneath all of your content, media plans and customer engagement, to help run your business and give you real-time decision making,” he says.
Craig uses data to go into the detail of what’s working, what isn’t, and to look for the indications of where budget should be spent.
“It was quite an eye-opener when we started to use Digivizer to see what our overall performance was,” explains Craig. “I’ve always relied on data to help me make decisions throughout my career. Being able to see everything in one place plays to my strengths,” he adds.
“We want to move faster, so we knew we had to do something different with our content and our digital marketing to get more cut-through. To do more of the same, expecting a different result, isn’t going to work.
Digivizer helps us understand what to change, and the data and insights it gives us guides those decisions.”
Returns on spend, cost per acquisition and more leads
Craig is very clear about quantifying the return on his marketing investment, and whether that’s contributing what he expects to his business.
“We use ROAS as a measure of average order value.
“And we use cost per acquisition (CPA), the cost of acquiring the customers we need, to measure of how efficient we are.
“And we’re definitely more efficient using the Digivizer app.”
Long-term trends are also very important to Craig. “A lot of advertisers shifted their spend from billboards and outdoor to online because fewer consumers are going into shopping centers or driving past billboards. So it’s got a lot more competitive. Which means you have to be really creative. If your creativity resonates with a consumer and they’re spending time watching the video, then you will get preferential treatment from platforms like Google and Facebook.”
It all comes back to data
So, what about the new platform on the block, TikTok?
For Craig, it’s back to data and performance. “TikTok is no different – if people are watching videos and clicking through, and it they enjoy a good experience from our banners on TikTok, we’ll get preferential treatment.
“So we use Digivizer to compare performance for the same creative across a range of platforms, and where customers enjoy our output most. ”
Comparing data across platforms is simplified when you connect all of your accounts in one place.
Craig’s decision to add TikTok to his paid media roster was based on understanding the need to experiment, made possible by being able to measure performance.
“If you don’t try, you’ll never know. So we decided to develop some creative with the TikTok advertising and business development teams, and discussed how TikTok might work for a company in the skin care space.
“Can we get top of funnel top awareness, people coming to our site, can we convert and get a sale out of it?
“We’re still trying to work those things out but it’s very efficient for the top of the funnel, with a very good cost-per-click. And if we can see the performance continue, the plan will be to throttle up spend on TikTok.
How to drive ecommerce business success
“Balance, and performance always remain important though. It’s important to us to have as broad a spread as is sensible across multiple platforms.”
Craig plans to expand BOOST LAB into stores and concession spaces in the coming months, building on the foundations built using digital. As he reminds us, data will, however, continue to play a central role in those decisions.
Craig’s final observation? “If I can control it and measure it, and improve on it, then I know where to increase spending, and get a better result.”
Interview with Craig Schweighoffer, CEO and Founder of BOOST LAB with Alan Smith, Head of Strategic Business Communications at Digivizer, February 2022
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