Coterie has been shaking up the baby care industry. Everything from their brand positioning, aesthetic and digital experience is unique and helps them stand out against competitors.
This is partly thanks to Ankur Goyal, Coterie’s VP of Growth. As well as being highly analytical and data-driven, he’s also a huge advocate for design and creativity.
In this article, discover Ankur’s tips for finding data, testing hypotheses and creating messaging that helps drive conversions. We’ll cover how he’s scaled his growth team and why, in his words, “creative is the lifeblood of any acquisition operation”.
🎧 Listen to Ankur’s episode on Ecommerce Marketing 101: How to Grow Your DTC Brand
🎬 Watch the full episode on YouTube
Ankur’s key takeaways from the podcast
Here are some key takeaways from Ankur’s work at Coterie you can use in your strategies.
- Use customer data to create a hypothesis: When Ankur joined Coterie, he needed to figure out what type of messaging would drive conversions. For this, he analysed customer reviews to find out what the real benefit of Coterie’s nappies were for parents. From this, he was able to text different messaging across his campaigns.
- Create a customer-centric digital experience: To drive growth, it’s important that your target audience connects with your online channels. At Coterie, Ankur needed to consider who was actually buying their products. This has resulted in a digital experience designed for parents, even though the products are designed for babies.
- Work in two-week creative cycles: Using an adaptable method for creative operations, Ankur and his team operate in two-week cycles. This allows them to quickly test and refine various messaging and creative elements.
- Build on strategies that are already working: Double down on what’s already working for your brand. Just because a certain ad format is working well for someone else, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll work for you. In Ankur’s case, he found that static image ads were really effective because their product packaging is self-explanatory.
- Ensure growth marketing doesn’t live in isolation: Ankur believes that your marketing functions shouldn’t live in isolation. For example, if your social team is working with creators and influencers, you could ask them to create content that’ll suit your growth channels.
- Hire a growth designer: A growth designer will have a particular skill set suited to the evolving needs of your online channels. Ankur has found success in working with someone who specifically works on the creative assets needed for his growth channels.
7 ways to drive growth through data and creative
Looking for tips on how to build up your growth channels? Here are some of the tactics that have been working for Ankur and his team at Coterie.
Use customer data to create a hypothesis for new messaging
Ankur joined Coterie two years ago when it already had a small but rapidly growing customer base. His job is to drive conversions, but before he could dive into new campaigns, he had to figure out what to prioritise in Coterie’s messaging. He decided to use available data to form a hypothesis that could be tested at low cost. For this, he looked at previous campaigns, spoke with in-house product engineers and analysed Coterie’s customer reviews.
“The “aha!” moment for me was in our reviews. We had lots of parents saying, ‘...these diapers are so much more absorbent’ and ‘...I was able to sleep because I didn't have to do a night time diaper change…’”
This customer feedback chimed with what their in-house product engineers had mentioned.
“Our engineers and designers mentioned that absorbency was a good benefit. So their designs took this benefit into consideration. But when I saw this strongly emphasised in the reviews, I knew we had to test this in our messaging.”
While some hypotheses didn’t yield great results, others were compelling enough to implement fully into their brand messaging.
Here’s some copy from Coterie’s website and Facebook ads. You can see how the team has focused on the feedback customers were giving them in their reviews.
💡Key takeaways: Analyse customer reviews and find out what really matters to your them. You can use your results to test different messaging across your channels.
Create a customer-centric digital experience
Coterie focuses on parents. If you go on their website, you’ll see branding that is sleek, modern and aimed at parents—not babies.
“Coterie is a parent-centric brand and the product underpins that. You have value propositions that benefit your baby and you have the digital experience that prioritises the parents. You need to make sure your brand positioning and brand aesthetic are consistent with that. We're not just doing it for elevation sake. We're doing it because we are insisting on talking to the parents.
Just check out some of the big-name diaper brands out there. You’ll find messaging and imagery that's playful and generally prioritises benefits to the children, not their parents.
💡 Key takeaway: To drive growth, it’s important that your messaging speaks to your target target audience. In the case of products for children, consider who is actually buying the product. Your positioning should reflect that.
Take an agile approach to your creative operations
Ankur and his team work in sprints. These are weekly or bi-weekly projects which can develop as you gather customer feedback.
For example, if customers are talking about how much they love Coterie’s ‘clean materials’, Ankur can include this messaging in their roadmapping. During brainstorming sessions, the team can share ideas on how other brands are talking about clean materials with their audience. One or two of those ideas can then be prioritised and implemented into the next sprint.
“It is important to note that the team should continue improving on existing messaging and creative that’s already working. This helps balance the trade-off between achieving a new clean materials go-to-market strategy and maintaining the effectiveness of the current messaging.”
💡 Key takeaway: Consider working in one or two-week sprints. At the end of each sprint, you can gather feedback and tweak your creative accordingly.
Build on strategies that are already working
As well as testing new creative, it’s important to build on what’s already working for you - not just what the algorithm is telling you.
In Coterie’s case, Ankur can see that static image ads started performing well, which he believes is down to a redesign of their product packaging.
“Static imagery does more for us than it used to. And I have a suspicion it's because our packaging has become more explanatory. This might be a Coterie specific thing versus an algorithm specific thing. But it shows that if your packaging says something about the product, sometimes that's enough to be a value prop in itself.”
He also mentions that explainer video ads with a clear hook perform well - especially if they feature a creator, too.
💡 Key takeaway: Double down on what’s already working for your brand. Just because a certain ad format is working well for someone else, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll work for you.
Don't let growth marketing live in isolation
Your content should never live in isolation. Whether you’re in growth, social or sales - you can find ways to benefit from each other’s work.
Let’s take Coterie’s ambassador program as an example. As a growth marketer, influencer marketing and user-generated content (UGC) isn’t typically in Ankur’s remit. But that doesn’t mean he can’t use its success in his own tactics.
For example, when Coterie partnered with supermodels, Karlie Kloss and Ashley Graham, Ankur saw an opportunity.
“We had this amazing resource, and I could see how I could use it to advance my growth goals. For example, it turns out having a celebrity endorsement has a really strong impact on your website, especially when you put it near the Add to Cart button.”
Plus, working closely with other marketing functions means Ankur can offer his input into upcoming campaigns.
“I knew we had good data for a particular type of ad format and so we asked if Ashley could record a quick video for us in that format to help boost conversions. It's important to take advantage of what you have and play to each team's strengths.”
💡 Key takeaway: Your marketing functions shouldn’t live in isolation - and neither should your content. If you’re working with creators and influencers, ask them to create content that’ll suit the channels and formats that perform the best for you.
Consider hiring a growth designer
Ankur strongly believes that “creative is the lifeblood of any acquisition operation”. That’s why he hired a growth designer to join his team.
“Having a growth designer within the growth team is vital because the approach to design and the ability to analyse data are different from the requirements of a brand designer. It extends beyond merely designing for the channel; it involves a distinct skill set.”
Ankur describes a growth designer as someone who is constantly improving on delivered projects. It's not a one-and-done piece of work; they’re analysing the performance of their creatives and looking for ways to improve.
Ankur also says it's important for growth designers to adapt to constraints and foster an iterative mentality.
“In scenarios like the celebrity example, where a brand team plans meticulously for a one-day photoshoot, the focus is on a one-time campaign. Thinking too much upfront might hinder progress; instead, you need to work with a few pieces of content, identify what works, and adjust accordingly. It's about adapting to different constraints that foster an evergreen and iterative mentality, especially in the realm of growth design.”
💡 Key takeaway: Consider getting a growth designer to help with your growth strategies. They’ll have a particular skill set suited to the evolving needs of your online channels.
If you’d like to listen to Ankur’s full episode, make sure to subscribe to our podcast: Ecommerce Marketing 101: How to Grow Your DTC Brand.
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