Joe Anhalt Koio

97. How this DTC brand is driving growth by providing a luxurious customer experience

 February 8, 2022

By  Customers Who Click

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In episode 97 of the Customers Who Click podcast, Joe Anhalt, VP of Marketing at Koio, joins me to talk about how they’ve diversified their marketing channels away from Facebook and paid social, how email and SMS fit into their marketing mix for both acquisition and retention, and how they stand out and really show the value of their products.

It can be tough for smaller luxury DTC brands to convince customers to buy high-end products, especially in the middle of a global pandemic. To survive and thrive, smart brands like Koio are investing in providing the best experience across the entire customer journey to reinforce the value and price of their products, and experimenting with other channels so they’re not reliant on paid traffic only.

Joe is the VP of Marketing at Koio, a DTC brand selling handcrafted Italian leather sneakers. Before getting involved in direct-to-consumer marketing, Joe started as a copywriter, which quickly morphed into learning email and content marketing, social media, etc. During his journey, he’s worked with companies like Kool-Aid, Spot Hero, and Interior Define before finally settling at Koio. You can connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or head over to https://www.koio.co/

Key Highlights:

03:48 - 08:52 - What Have Been The Biggest Contributors to Koio’s Growth? - Since luxury sneakers weren’t in demand in 2020, Joe and his team got to run a lot of experiments to drive growth - and 2021 was when they refined the results of those experiments and learned a lot along the way. One of the biggest learnings was utilising their biggest channels, which are email and SMS, to prime people for sales and product launches.

So instead of dropping a surprise sales campaign, for example, they would let their customers know that there is one starting soon - and encourage them to browse items to be discounted BEFORE the sale is starting, and to add desired items to the basket now so on the day of the sale they simply need to place the order. Then, when the sale starts, the messaging is about reinforcing that behaviour, rather than starting from scratch. For smaller brands, who haven’t got the awareness of Apple, this is a great way to ensure their customers won’t miss the sale - and boost conversion rates.

09:54 - 14:01 - How to Convince Customers of Purchasing High-End Luxury Products? - Even after six years of Koio being in business, convincing customers that Koio’s products match the price is still challenging. But, it just comes down to fundamentally having those high expectations for yourself and your team to deliver best in class luxury experience across the entire customer journey. Joe compares it car manufacturing. Think of door handles on Ford or Toyota, and then think of those on Teslas - there’s just such a gap between the experience on them. Basically, your experience has to convey the feeling of luxury, every touchpoint, every interaction customers have with your brand.

16:36 - 23:15 - How Koio Diversified Their Channels from Facebook and Paid Social - Through experimentation on various channels that are relevant to their brand and convey that feeling of luxury. Koio knows that paid traffic is only going to get more expensive, so they’ve been focusing on moving those new customers to their emails SMS and email lists. Of course, they still use Facebook and paid social, but they’re also using affiliate and influencer marketing, experimental campaigns like wild posting, giveaways and brand partnerships. Joe’s also currently looking into organic TikTok, and trying to understand the channel better before spending money on it.

23:28 - 29:06 - How Email and SMS Fits in With Koio’s Marketing - Koio uses SMS and email to support their acquisition and retention efforts. They’ve seen great results with automated flows for things like the welcome flow or abandoned carts in 2021 and want to double down this year too. But it's important to remember that if you really want to make the most out of those channels, never stop optimising. They’re easy to set up and forget, but for better performance, keep gathering data, analysing customer behaviour, a/b testing and tweaking. 

30:03 - 31:54 - What’s Joe Excited About in the Next 12 Months - Joe’s excited about coming out of the pandemic and finally spreading their wings when things return to normal. He’s also excited to refine everything he and his team learned in the past few months, improve those channels while still experimenting with new stuff.

32:31 - Who Would Joe Like to Take For Lunch in the D2C Marketing World?

Scott Galloway who is a professor of marketing at the New York University Stern School of Business, and a public speaker, author, podcast host, and entrepreneur.

34:32 - Joe’s Must-Have Ecommerce Tools:

  • Google Analytics
  • Shopify

Talk to the Host

You can send any other podcast recommendations, questions to ask, episode feedback, guest requests, or general pleasantries to Will’s email or tweet @ Will!

Customers Who Click


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