Reaching customers at scale without losing their trust: Wednesday’s daily brief
Plus Vendoo's approach to re-selling and changes to Google's Partner Program.
Good morning, Marketers, and are you keeping your customers’ trust?
That’s an important question in these times made sensitive by profound crises in public health and politics. I was speaking with Richard Jones, CMO of Cheetah Digital, a market-centric engagement platform: “There is a dichotomy going on now between adtech on the one side — and how sophisticated it can be with tracking and targeting, and making the case that more personalized ads are better for people — and on the other side this complete distrust of platforms such as Facebook and Google, and adtech in general as an ecosystem.”
Brand marketers, Jones told me, are stuck in the middle, needing to reach people at scale with personalized messages without “rubbing people up the wrong way.” Sure, the “don’t be creepy” message has been around for a while, but I think the current distrust does go deeper than that.
It’s too easy to blame Facebook for everything — adtech in general has done a poor job of explaining what it was doing with consumer data. But certainly, the perception that Facebook is both a voracious consumer of personal data and (fairly or unfairly) a magnet for scandal hasn’t helped. Not only content and cadence, but tone, are going to be key components of trustworthy messaging for a long time to come.
Scrappy reseller platform Vendoo leverages great relationships and a small stack
“I haven’t had a ‘real job’ since I was 18 or 19. I’ve always been working different businesses, trying to figure out my path,” said Josh Dzime-Assison, CMO of the reselling platform Vendoo and self-described born entrepreneur. But even his earliest endeavors signaled the approach to marketing that has informed his career ever since and that underpins Vendoo’s marketing blueprint: Grow real relationships organically, and stay focused and agile.
Finding his niche in 2007, Dzime-Assison (pronounced “geeMASSisson”) parlayed a passion for shoes and vintage streetwear into a brick-and-mortar sneaker store and online reselling business. But he quickly ran into the pain points every successful reseller faces: visibility, inefficiency, and inventory management. A chance meeting with Thomas Rivas, Vendoo’s founder and CEO, changed everything for the fellow fashionistas and the company’s other two founders, CTO Chris Amador and COO Ben Martinez.
Vendoo’s value proposition is to address these issues by allowing users to simultaneously post items on multiple reseller sites and by automating inventory management. Problem not solved. “Being inexperienced, and being minorities in the space, we often weren’t taken seriously when approaching financial institutions,” Dzime-Assison said. He described meetings in which bankers expressed skepticism about their intentions and their funding sources. “We heard a lot of things that I don’t know other people experience getting into this,” he said.
So Dzime-Assison tapped his own network and found the company’s ideal investor, a colleague in the footwear business in the Baltimore area, who gave the startup a cash infusion of $400,000. With an “excited and anxious waiting list of users,” Dzime-Assison said, Vendoo launched on January 20, 2020, and had brought in $30,000 by the end of the month.
Advertisers have until February 2022 to adjust to Google’s new Partner Program requirements
Just over a year ago, Google raised the bar for its Partners program, doubling the 90-day spend threshold and requiring half of users with admin or standard access to pass relevant certification tests. Little did any of us know, the pandemic was right around the corner, and Google postponed the changes until 2021.
Now the company is postponing again, to February 2022. It also integrated the following feedback from Partners:
- The 90-day spend threshold will remain at $10,000 across all of a partner’s managed accounts.
- Partners can either dismiss or apply recommendations to achieve a 70% optimization score.
- Advertisers can tell Google the number of account strategists in their agency, and at least 50% of account strategists (instead half of total users with admin access) will need to be certified in Google Ads.
Nearly a year after the pandemic first upended everything, we’re still dealing with it, so this announcement may provide some much needed breathing room.
Quote of the day
“The most important lesson I learned in the last 12 months was: run the company like a human first and a CEO second, and the rest will take care of itself.” Ryan Denehy, founder and CEO, Electric